Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

So, anyway...

Dr. Smith also mentioned in passing that he wondered what the world looks like to an architect. I have no idea what anyone else sees, but I know I have a real hard time soaking up the ambiance or atmosphere or design intent or Great Ideas in a building, because I always start looking at the way it was put together. Part of this is what I was talking about yesterday about the subjectivity inherent in interpreting the particular artistic expression of a composition. I can look at something and come up with equal numbers of explanations of why it is The Greatest Thing Since the Wheel or Why This Is Just a Pile of Crap. I figure I can let the pointy-headed academic sorts fight about that--they're good at it and enjoy it much more than walking around a muddy jobsite.

What I look for is how well things are thought out, and how well they are made. If afterthoughts and brain-fade are evident as you walk through a building, if it's obvious that the designer never figured on having to allow for THAT mechanical louver be located right THERE, it the ceiling grid is off-kilter, if the drywall looks like it was finished with a rake, if there's a large water-filled Rubbermaid garbage can sitting under the roof leak in the glorious atrium--well, I notice it. Those things say that someone, somewhere, wasn't thinking.

If there's one thing that separates art from sitting on the john, it's the idea of deliberate, contemplative, reflective, thoughtful input into what you're doing. (Obviously, this also means that sitting on the john can be quite artistic.) There are a lot of architects out there who make wonderful sculptural assemblages of fascinating bits of junk to look at from the outside, or that have bits and pieces of wonderful space inside, but in the end I will always find them failures if there's a fire alarm pull station right over there by accident, or if that door over there bangs into the other one, or if you can hear the elevator pump squealing.

Next--some stuff to look at!

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