Archive for December, 2007

Mies vs. Rem!

The showdown at

SEED – A One Day Conference in Chicago
on design, entrepreneurship and inspiration.

Friday, January 18. The first one sold out and reservations for this one are going quickly.

Jim Coudal is at it again, along with Jason Fried of 37signals and Carlos Segura of Segura Inc. and T.26; again presenting a one-day conference on design, entrepreneurship and inspiration on Chicago’s IIT Campus. For more on what it’s all about, check Mike Rohde’s illustrated notes from the first Seed and a couple reviews too.

And I’ll be there during lunch to talk about Mies and his great IIT campus, vs. Rem Koolhaas’ student center at IIT.

Be there! The first SEED Conference was a blast. The folks were jazzed.

BlooMIES ?!


Bloomingdales in the Mies in DC?

The Mayor of Washington D.C. is talking to the Bloomingdale’s corporation about potentially locating a new store in the Mies van der Rohe–designed Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library.

Would a modern and contemporary art museum, a wing of the nearby National Gallery, which needs to expand, be a better idea?

Woe is Mies.



Who said?:

To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.

– Samuel Beckett

(in conversation, 1961.)


What goes up must come down.

Lee Bey has a nice post on the photos of Charles W. Cushman, taken around the country between about 1938 and 1969. Lee likes this photo, he says it’s Dali-esque.

The swooping lines and the corner bay window immediately reminded me of

Fred and Ginger, by Frank Gehry, in Prague. Interesting what happens when architects portray a challenge to gravity.

And when you see the above, it’s always interesting to see a photo of the other Fred and Ginger, also light as two feathers,

Happy Holidays! And check out Lee’s blog, The Urban Observer. It’s been superb lately. With his own fantastic photographs.

And if Fred and Ginger, either in building or in blood, didn’t warm you up, here are two more shots of summer from Charles W. Cushman.


Mies and the National Gallery of Art in Washington

Tyler breaks the story that the National Gallery of Art seeks to expand into the nearby Federal Trade Commission headquarters.
That’s great, I hope it happens. The NGA needs more room and adding a public building to the mall would enliven the area. Since 9-11 and the new security measures around DC buildings, and more restricted access, the mall is less animated than it had been, near the government bureau buildings.

But did Tyler forget his own terrific idea?

Use Mies’ Martin Luther King library (4 blocks away) as a wing of the National Gallery in which to show contemporary art.

Tyler says contemporary, I say modern and contemporary, but wouldn’t it be great to see art in there?

The DC building needs to be saved, and restored. If not as a library, then why not a gallery? And I know who should do the restoration work.

You are here.

A Festival of Maps.


If sunglasses can darken and lighten, why not windows?
Coming soon

Best political TV ad of the season!

John Silber – Architecture of the Absurd


Silber: “How Genius Disfigured a Practical Art.”
10 minute video.

How local TV news disfigures discussion about architecture. Sad.

The problem with America’s built environment is not Frank Gehry’s Stata Center (whose interior impresses me more and more each time I see it. The exterior I still find a little tragi-comic for upright Cambridge.) The problem is the bland, boring and cheap buildings you might see on the way to Stata. The ones with not enough art or thought in them.

Herzog versus Eisenman. Kipnis referees.


Round 2 is supposed to be at Yale.