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post #961 of 1310
Originally Posted by sipang View Post

Found it, had to post
post #962 of 1310
Thread Starter 
Bye bye Leb

Originally Posted by source' View Post

Lebbeus Woods, 1940-2012

By Geoff Manaugh l BLDGBLG

Like many people, I was—and remain—devastated to have learned that architect Lebbeus Woods passed away last night, just as the hurricane was moving out of New York City and as his very neighborhood, Lower Manhattan, had temporarily become part of the Atlantic seabed, floodwaters pouring into nearby subway tunnels and knocking out power to nearly every building south of 23rd Street, an event seemingly predicted, or forewarned, by Lebbeus's own work. [...]

Lebbeus mentored and taught many, many people, and I am, by every measure, the least qualified of any of them to write about his influence; but learning that Lebbeus has passed away, and under such utterly surreal circumstances, with his own city—literally, the streets all around him—flooding in the darkness as the oceans rose up, compelled me to write something for him, or about him, or because of him, or to him. [...]

Speaking only for myself, Lebbeus is a canonical figure in the West—and I mean a West not of landed aristocrats, armies, and regal blood-lines but of travelers, heretics, outsiders, peripheral exploratory figures whose missives and maps from the edges of things always chip away at the doomed fortifications of the people who thought the world not only was ownable, but that it was theirs. Lebbeus Woods is the West. William S. Burroughs is the West. Giordano Bruno is the West. Audre Lorde is the West. William Blake is the West. For that matter, Albert Einstein, as Leb would probably agree, having designed an interstellar tomb for the man, is the West. Lebbeus Woods should be on the same sorts of lists as James Joyce or John Cage, a person as culturally relevant as he was scientifically suggestive, seething with ideas applicable to nearly every discipline.

In any case, it isn't just the quality of Lebbeus's work—the incredible drawings, the elaborate models—or even the engaged intensity of his political writings, on architecture as politics pursued by other means or architecture as war, that will guarantee him a lasting, multi-disciplinary influence for generations to come. There is something much more interesting and fundamental to his work that has always attracted me, and it verges on mythology. It verges on theology, in fact.

Here, if I can be permitted a long aside, it all comes down to ground conditions—to the interruption, even the complete disappearance, of the ground plane, of firm terrestrial reference, of terra firma, of the Earth, of the very planet we think we stand on. Whether presented under the guise of the earthquake or of warfare or even of General Relativity, Lebbeus's work was constantly erasing the very surfaces we stood on—or, perhaps more accurately, he was always revealing that those dependable footholds we thought we had were never there to begin with. That we inhabit mobile terrain, a universe free of fixed points, devoid of gravity or centrality or even the ability to be trusted.

Architecture, for Lebbeus, was a kind of counter-balance, a—I'm going to use the word—religious accounting for this lack of center elsewhere, this lack of world. It was a kind of factoring of the zero, to throw out a meaningless phrase: it was the realization that there is nothing on offer for us here, the realization that the instant we trust something it will be shaken loose in great convulsions of seismicity, that cities will fall—to war or to hurricanes—that subways will flood, that entire continents will be unmoored, split in two, terribly and irreversibly, as something maddeningly and wildly, in every possible sense outside of human knowledge, something older and immeasurable, violently shudders and wakes up, leaps again into the foreground and throws us from its back in order to walk on impatiently and destructively without us.

Something ancient and out of view will rapidly come back into focus and destroy all the cameras we use to film it. This is the premise of Lebbeus's earthquake, Lebbeus's terrestrial event outside measured comprehensibility, Lebbeus' state of war.

Because what I like about Lebbeus's work is its nearly insane honesty, its straight-ahead declaration that nothing—genuinely and absolutely nothing—is here to welcome us or accept us or say yes to us. That there is no solid or lasting ground to build anything on, let alone anything out there other than ourselves expecting us to build it.

Architecture is thus an act—a delirious and amazing act—of construction for no reason at all in the literal sense that architecture is outside rational calculation. That is, architecture—capital-A architecture, sure—must be seen, in this context, as something more than just supplying housing or emergency shelter; architecture becomes a nearly astronomical gesture, in the sense that architecture literally augments the planetary surface. Architecture increases (or decreases) a planet's base habitability. It adds something new to—or, rather, it complexifies—the mass and volume of the universe. It even adds time: B is separated from C by nothing, until you add a series of obstacles, lengthening the distance between them. That series of obstacles—that elongated and previously non-existent sequence of space-time—is architecture.

As Lebbeus himself once wrote, it is through architecture that humans realize new forms of spatial experience that would have been impossible under natural conditions—not in caves, not in forests, not even while out wandering through fog banks or deserts or into the frigid and monotonous vacuity of the Antarctic. Perhaps not even on the Earth. Architecture is a different kind of space altogether, offered, we could say, as a kind of post-terrestrial resistance against unstable ground, against the lack of a trustworthy planet. Against the lack of an inhabitable world.

Architecture, if you will, is a Wile E. Coyote moment where you look down and realize the universe is missing—that you are standing on empty air—so you construct for yourself a structure or space in which you might somehow attempt survival. Architecture is more than buildings. It is a spacesuit. It is a counter-planet—or maybe it is the only planet, always and ever a terraforming of this alien location we call the Earth. [...]

If you were to walk through an architecture school today—and I don't recommend it—you'd think that the height of invention was to make your building look like a Venus flytrap, or that mathematically efficient triangular spaceframes were the answer to everything, every problem of space and habitability. But this is like someone really good at choosing fonts in Microsoft Word. It doesn't matter what you can do, formally, to the words in your document if those words don't actually say anything.

Lebbeus will probably be missed for his formal inventiveness: buildings on stilts, massive seawalls, rotatable buildings that look like snowflakes. Deformed coasts anti-seismically jeweled with buildings. Tombs for Einstein falling through space.

But this would be to miss the motivating absence at the heart of all those explorations, which is that we don't yet know what the world is, what the Earth is—whether or not there even is a world or an Earth or a universe at all—and architecture is one of the arts of discovering an answer to this. Or inventing an answer to this, even flat-out fabricating an answer to this, meaning that architecture is more mythology than science.

Architecture is about the lack of stability and how to address it. Architecture is about the void and how to cross it. Architecture is about inhospitability and how to live within it.

Lebbeus Woods would have had it no other way, and—as students, writers, poets, novelists, filmmakers, or mere thinkers—neither should we.

His dystopian visions were often set in disaster stricken cities – from Sarajevo to Zagreb, Havana to New York – and often adopted an almost medical metaphor, faceted accretions acting as "scabs" over the "wounds" of a building damaged by war and natural catastrophe. "Architecture should be judged not only by the problems it solves," said Woods, "but by the problems it creates."

After destruction, it is not possible to immediately resume the old, disrupted ways of living. Indeed, this can only be done by regressing to them, led by the resurgence of social, political and professional institutions under whose authority they once existed. But too much has been suffered and lost, too much learned at too great a price to be quickly forgotten. The spirit of invention that makes survival possible under the extreme conditions created by destruction makes possible the new ways of living in a city that will, in a sense, always remain in a paradoxical state of destruction and construction. [...] The spaces of the old city were shaped to sponsor conventionality. In their damaged state, they offer an entirely new possibility for understanding the origins of both space and habitation.

-- Radical Reconstruction, 1997

Terra Nova: Korean DMZ (1988)

Berlin Free-Zone 3-2, a 1990 proposal by Mr. Woods for an abandoned government building in reunified Berlin. The structure, more theoretical than practical, has no assigned purpose.

Zagreb Free Zone (1991)

War and Architecture (1996)

Havana, Radical Reconstruction (1994)

Sarjevo: High Houses

The High Houses are proposed as part of the reconstruction of Sarajevo after the siege of the city that lasted from 1992 though late 1995. Their site is the badly damaged “old tobacco factory” in the Marijn dvor section near the city center.

The concept of the project is simple. The houses rise up high into the airspace once occupied by falling mortar and artillery shells fired by the city’s besiegers in the surrounding mountains.

San Francisco Bay Project (1995)

Sarajevo: Scab (1997)

Sarajevo: New Tissue (1997)

Sarajevo: Scar (1997)

San Francisco: Wave House (1997)

Lower Manhattan (1999)

I made the drawing as a demonstration of the fact that Manhattan exists, with its towers and skyscrapers, because it sits on a rock – on a granite base. You can put all this weight in a very small area because Manhattan sits on the Earth. Let’s not forget that buildings sit on the Earth.

I wanted to suggest that maybe lower Manhattan – not lower downtown, but lower in the sense of below the city – could form a new relationship with the planet. So, in the drawing, you see that the East River and the Hudson are both dammed. They’re purposefully drained, as it were. The underground – or lower Manhattan – is revealed, and, in the drawing, there are suggestions of inhabitation in that lower region.

So it was a romantic idea – and the drawing is very conceptual in that sense.

But the exposure of the rock base, or the underground condition of the city, completely changes the scale relationship between the city and its environment. It’s peeling back the surface to see what the planetary reality is. And the new scale relationship is not about huge blockbuster buildings; it’s not about towers and skyscrapers. It’s about the relationship of the relatively small human scratchings on the surface of the earth compared to the earth itself. I think that comes across in the drawing. It’s not geologically correct, I’m sure, but the idea is there.

After the War (2010)

"The Einstein Tomb project (1980) was created as a memorial to the life and work of Albert Einstein, a symbolic structure in the same spirit as Boullee’s Cenotaph to Isaac Newton. Because the self-effacing Einstein—who transformed physics as much as Newton before him—explicitly stated that after his death he wanted no such memorial as a site of veneration, I designed it to be launched into deep space, traveling on a beam of light, never to be seen in terrestrial space and time. However, owing to the gravity-warped structure of space (which Einstein’s greatest work—his theory of gravitation—described) it would return to Earth in sidereal time, an infinite number of times, or at least until the end of time and space at the death of the universe."
post #963 of 1310
wow crazy
post #964 of 1310
LW was also featured on the Siki Im facebook page. appropriate since siki was an architect himself..

scroll down for some more photoes of LW's work. great post sip-san icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif
post #965 of 1310
God that stuff is amazing, I wonder how many of his projects are actually put into motion lol
post #966 of 1310
Thread Starter 

Well, not exactly. The Light Pavillon (2008) in Chengdu, China, is his first and only build work, it was actually completed earlier this month.

He also did several installations in the past but his main contribution remains theoretical first and foremost. It's always been more about widening the field of what architecture could be than creating concrete buildings. That's why his vision borrows from archeology, urban planning as well as science fiction (he actually worked on the pre-David Fincher Alien 3 as conceptual architect but his designs logically don't appear in the finished film).

Here's what he had to say about some of his theoretical work from 20 years ago

I am revisiting the work I did some fifteen years ago for an unhappy reason. Originally intended to address the destruction of buildings in Sarajevo, Bosnia—which I and many others hoped would prove to be an isolated catastrophe—it has instead turned out to be only the beginning of a new trend resulting from globalization, a proliferation of regional, often insurgent-driven wars that have resulted in the piece-by-piece destruction of cities and the killing of their inhabitants that characterized the torturous three-year attack on Sarajevo.

In going over what I wrote about this work at the time—in 1993—I find it inadequate in its explanation of what inspired the designs, drawings, and models and what I hoped to achieve by making them. No wonder, I say in hindsight, that they were accused of “aestheticizing violence,” and merely being exploitative of a tragic human condition. I failed to put the work in the broader human context that it needed to be understood as proposals for architecture serving rational and needed purposes. I hope to correct—to the extent I can here—this failure.

Because of my work concerned with the Sarajevo crisis long ago, people have often asked what I was working on for Baghdad, or Kabul, or Tripoli, or a growing list of cities that have shared its fate. My answer is always the same: nothing. While each is different, the destruction they have suffered is so similar to that suffered by Sarajevo that the principles I established there apply as well to the more recent catastrophes. This is a crucial point. My “war and architecture” work was not aimed at proposing the reconstruction of particular buildings—that should be the work of local architects—but at deriving guiding principles. The specific buildings I addressed with my designs were meant more as demonstrations of how these principles might work in particular cases, rather than as actual building proposals.
post #967 of 1310
a bit unorthodox maybe even for this thread but this documentary was interesting anyway

Blind U.S. bluesman masters throat-singing of Tuva

First, what is Tuvan throat singing ? A style in which one or more pitches sound simultaneously over a fundamental pitch, producing a unique sound. Example:

The feature presentation is about the journey of blind American singer Paul Pena to the isolated Asian nation of Tuva due to his interest in Tuvan throat singing after hearing it on the radio and remarkably being able to almost immediately imitate what he heard. It won the 1999 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for a Documentary. It was also nominated for an Academy Award in 2000 in the Best Documentary Feature category.
post #968 of 1310

post #969 of 1310
post #970 of 1310

Love Hamada's photos, there are a lot cooler photos in that series though!






More photography please!

post #971 of 1310


Are you a photographer yourself? shog[1].gif you should post a few of your photos!

Would love to see more art/whatever by people who post here.

post #972 of 1310
^could be a good thread
post #973 of 1310
i'd love to have that thread on sw & d
post #974 of 1310
Thread Starter 
Theo Jansen has been creating Strandbeest (Dutch: strand=beach; beest=beast), wind-walking examples of artificial life since 1990. What was at first a rudimentary breed has slowly evolved into a generation of machines that are able to react to their environment: "over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storms and water, and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives."

Constructed as intricate assemblages of piping, wood, and wing-like sails, Jansen's creations are constantly being improved and have become excellently adapted to their sandy beach environment. The creations sport legs, which "prove to be more efficient on sand than wheels...they don’t need to touch every inch of the ground along the way, as a wheel has to".

The creations are also able to store air pressure and use it to drive them in the absence of wind: "Self-propelling beach animals like Animaris Percipiere have a stomach. This consists of recycled plastic bottles containing air, that can be pumped up to a high pressure by the wind." Theo's more sophisticated creations are able to detect once they have entered water and walk away from it, and one model will even anchor itself to the earth if it senses a storm approaching.

post #975 of 1310
wow. sip-san, you are incredible.
im trying to remember a name of a ceramicist...shes female, belgium, dead, works were all white and her family still produces limited runs of her original works...GO!

seriously, do you know who it is? redface.gif
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