you drive around l.a and you see beige strip malls and offices from 1982 and beautiful mid century houses and odd architectural detritus and autobody shops and pawn shops and check cashing places and mountains and desert and eucalyptus trees and craftsmen houses and every other disparate and baffling thing that has found it’s way to los angeles.
and then occasionally you see things that remind you that at one point l.a had the makings of a normal city.
union station is one of those things. it’s a beautiful old train station and it sits nicely in the pantheon of beautiful old train stations. because at one point l.a was destined to be a normal city, with normal and beautiful buildings and an urban core and public transportation. and then the 20th century happened and l.a exploded in every direction, literally, metaphorically, figuratively.
little outposts of normalcy were left behind, clustered around a leaking downtown like little dioramas of conventional urbanism. you look at union station and think, “wow, this was built when people still expected l.a to behave like other cities”.
it was built when everyone assumed that the future would involve public transit and urban hubs and tall buildings. and then BOOM l.a blew up in every direction, metastasizing oddly and dysfunctionally and beautifully into a city without a center. a city where the remnants of public transit were covered over with an embarrassed cough.
now we’re rediscovering public transit and urban centers and l.a is starting to feel like a live-able city again, not just a sprawling tapestry of freeways and loneliness. but it’s the 21st century. the 20th century gave birth to l.a but also almost destroyed it. the 20th century made l.a a city of the oddball future, and now we’re slowly realizing that some simple things from the past are still worth having around. like urban hubs and public transit and walkable streets and venerable buildings.
also i just realized i’m rambling. i blame insomnia and fluoride.
here’s union station, it’s really pretty.
Eames House Bird by Vitra, photographed in a Machine Shop in the United States. 2014.
As noted elsewhere, back in May the Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau formally unveiled the new Walter Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy Masters’ Houses.
Both had been damaged during the Second World War and subsequently demolished. Rather than simply re-build what had been the decision was made to build new houses which referenced the originals.
The result is one and a half buildings - while Gropius had a house to himself László Moholy-Nagy’s accommodation was one half of a house shared with Lyonel Feininger - which while physically reminiscent of the originals are functionally far removed.
Or perhaps better put, which while reminiscent of the physical form that defines the popular understanding of the ideals and principles on which the originals were built, are functionally far removed.
The originals were conceived and constructed as accommodation. The new objects have however no clearly defined function. As such are little more than abstract quadratic constructions.
We still find the idea to rebuild was the correct one; however, are also the opinion that a project such as, for example, the B10 Active House by Werner Sobek in the Weissenhofsiedlung Stuttgart is a more useful, relevant, interesting and for all faithful re-interpretation of the ideas, the principles, the hope, of the Modernist era rather than the isolated, distant, somehow hollow, if formally correct, constructions in Dessau.
A few impressions:
The new Walter Gropius Director’s House in Dessau.
The new Walter Gropius Director’s House in Dessau. Rear view.
Left the new László Moholy-Nagy House in Dessau. Right the old Lyonel Feininger House.
The new László Moholy-Nagy House in Dessau
The new Walter Gropius Director’s House in Dessau
"Variations of these tubes led to the discovery of the electron, as well as the design of fluorescent and neon lighting, x-ray machines…" -From Dr. Bolt’s recent blog post on the Museum’s newly acquired Geissler tubes. Not only are they interesting and beautiful to look at but they were an important step in #glass and science. http://ift.tt/VYb0QO
Until August 31st the Triennale di Milano is presenting the exhibition “Re–forming Milan. Design experiments for neglected and decayed spaces and buildings”. Presenting the results of research projects by students of the Politecnico di Milano School of Architecture and Society the exhibition over 100 solutions for reinvigorating and salvaging neglected and decaying spaces and buildings in Milan. The exhibition can be viewed during the normal museum opening hours. Entrance is free.
In addition to the film showing the creation of the Pressed Chair prototype, 20th Century Moormann have also released two films showing the stress tests Pressed Chair was subjected to.Films that beautifully underline the humour, passion and spirit of adventure that defines Nils Holger Moormann as both designer and producer.
It could be the perfect accompaniment to Schwarz auf Weiss by Jenni-Fee Hahn.
Kaffee-Dusche by Christopher Supardjo is a coffee maker where time isn’t of the essence. And the coffee brewed definitely isn’t “to go”.
Crafted from wood and brass Kaffee-Dusche offers not only the olfactory experience of the coffee being prepared, but you can also visually follow the process.
And with its oil burner you also have that congenital security and tranquillity that fire brings to the human soul.
Light the burner, brew some coffee, write a letter …. Facebook can wait!
Kaffee-Dusche by Christopher Supardjo was created as part of the “Aufgebrüht” course at the UdK Berlin and was displayed as part of the Rundgang 2012.