Archive for the ‘Cambridge’ Category

If Barack Obama were a building, Part III

01/30/2009

what building would Barack Obama be?

A colleague writes,

I’d put the Harvard quad on the list…..he is Harvard, through and through…..


I chose this photograph of Harvard Yard because it shows one of the best buildings on campus, on any campus anywhere- H.H. Richardson’s Sever Hall. They say Obama likes to have varying viewpoints in the room, which he then synthesizes into what for him is the most correct response. Sever Hall does that. Each floor is different, and the details throughout seem to oppose each other, until Richardson somehow synthesizes them into something great.

I could look at this building for longer than I can look at most, and I’ve been known to look at buildings “until they begin to dance.”

Sever Hall, as teh parts work out their oppostions for you, seems to improve as you look at it. It has done this for me for many years. Let’s hope Obama does the same!

Christopher Hawthorne, the terrific Architecture Critic of the Los Angeles Times, has a must-read story today on The neoclassicism of Barack Obama. It’s must-read for its insight, and because he links to Hello Beautiful!

I thanked Christopher and wrote,

I’ve been meaning to write about the ideas Schinkel’s architecture
have for us in this new era, how he wished to pull Prussian society together in peace, and to uplift them and unite them physically and through culture. That is a role architecture could play today.

I’ve also been meaning to write about what we can learn from Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more” – today in this era of belt-tightening. Mies shows us how with “almost nothing” (his words) we can live lives of dignity and beauty, with as much freedom as we should have on earth, and with a sense of a collective (enlightened) society.

Stay tuned. And read Christopher’s piece. And tell me,

If Barack Obama were a building, what building would he be?

Read parts one and two.
And back in October, I mused on Obama and columns

..

From Cambridge to LA

07/23/2008

On my way to LA.
So I thought I’d say “see you soon” to some of my favorite Boston and Cambridge spots. Here’s the Saarinen chapel at MIT. Don’t the electric lights above the altar look like a blue LA sky?

Steven Holl – Simmons Hall at MIT

04/28/2008

See it if you visit Boston next month for the AIA convention.

Didn’t Corb’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts look good in the sun today?

09/14/2007

As did Sterling’s Sackler Museum.


In Cambridge, Mass. where autumn reigns.
-E