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
Stuff to Look At
Go Google on "architecture" and you get 24,300,000 results. That's probably a bit much to wade through in the next five minutes or so. By adding "possumblog" to the search string narrows things down considerably to about 96 results, but that's still probably a little too much to look at. Further adding the word "poophead" to the string unfortunately leads to a zero result, which I find very difficult to believe, as well as not the least bit useful for our discussions, so I will endeavor to give you the abbreviated version of Interesting Architecty Stuff to Look At.
I love books of any sort, and just about any book you pick up on architecture will be jam-packed with lovely photos and piquant ripostes and all sorts of letters and numbers. Click on Books above and it'll take you to the American Institute of Architects' store webpage, which is probably as good as any other place to start looking. (Not necessarily to buy, though--you will usually do better at Amazon or B&N or Books-A-Million)
Over the years, the ones I have consistently come back to and reread are things such as the reprint of the 1932 Graphic Standards--nifty book from back in the day when draftsmen were men and smoked like coal-burning four-stack destroyers. Beware the reviews you see on the Amazon site--quite a few dimbulbs bought this and complained that it didn't have any current information in it. Hey, go play in traffic, Sparky.
I have a rapidly oxidizing paperback 3rd edition on my desk right here beside me of The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture . Lots of arcane, as well as darned useful information. You never know when you might need to distinguish between an aedicule and an adytum. Or what a zoophorus is, for that matter.
Another one I thumb through on occasion is Ye Olde Banister Fletcher, densely packed with stuffy turgidity and pictures--a must-have!
Of course, NOBODY'S library would be complete without the always exciting Hollander Manual. If you are intent on becoming an architect, it pays to know what sorts of junkyard parts will fit your falling apart piece of tin that's the only thing you can afford to buy because your cheap, idiotic boss won't pay you what he pays his cleaning lady at his condo in Orange Beach because intern architects are a dime a dozen and it's hard to find good cleaning ladies and... uh. Sorry. Never mind.
For all you theory buffs, I think it's hard to go wrong with Louis Sullivan's Kindergarten Chats or his The Autobiography of an Idea. He was the originator of the phrase "form ever follows function," and he was Frank Lloyd Wright's mentor and boss. Sullivan had a profound influence on Wright, and by extension, the whole of American architecture. A brilliant man, who died a penniless drunk in a rundown Chicago hotel, April 14, 1924.
Before Sullivan's ideas about organic architecture, there was John Ruskin, who wrote both Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice, which still give me goosebumps whenever I read a few passages. Good stuff.
I have stacks and stacks of other books, too--you can never have too many books, even if you'll never read them all.
We're all a bunch of big kids. Some of us do seem to have a sort of pyromanic/electrophilic side to us, so I would recommend not getting anything containing petroleum distillates or that has any loose or easily accessible wires. Clicking on the word "Toys" above will take you to the biggest list of architectural toy links I have ever seen with either of my two eyeballs. Some of them are antiques, some of them are still being made--just click through on stuff and see what you find.
If you're an insufferable yuppie who is hell-bent on forcing your child into a life of servitude, get 'im a set of Froebel Blocks, just like Frankie Wright's crazy Welsh mama got for him.
For the more pedestrian sorts of us, it's hard to beat Lego. (Except for their recent foray into making stupid sets of stuff that are intended to be built into the thing pictured on the box.) Just plain Legos are best. Don't leave them in the floor or you'll puncture your foot.
A more grown-up toy is the fabulous Rotring 600 Trio. It's three, THREE writing tools in one--a red ballpoint, a blue ballpoint, and a .7mm mechanical pencil. Way, way cool. Made of satin nickel plated brass so it weighs 54 pounds. Be the envy of EVERYONE when they ask to borrow a pen and you slap this chunk into their palm. Can also be used as a self-defense tool and won't get taken away from you at the security station like a pair of stupid nail clippers. I've had mine for probably ten years. It needs a cap for the eraser socket.
Another great toy is the Calculated Industries Construction Master IV Foot Inch Calculator. You will never again need to remember how to add decimal inches again! (Let's see-- .08, .17, .25, .33, .42, .50, .58, .67, .75, .83, .92, and 1.0. And that's just 1 thru 12 inches with no fractions.) Use it to figure rafter solutions, stairs, area, volume, and convert back and forth between real units and made up metric units. One of the handiest tools you'll ever find. (You can also use it to figure out how much cubic inches an engine has when all you know is its size in cubic centimeter or liters.)
Now, all of you know I never seriously beg for money or anything on here--I may joke, but I have remained scrupulous over the past months in not operating this site for profit of any sort. Having said that, I would now like to make an exception and beg you to send me the one toy I have always wanted. Tuxedo black, 327, 4-speed--I won't ask for anything else this year, I promise. I realize it's not strictly an architectural toy, but I promise I will use it to look at buildings.
Nobody making enough fun of you? Well, bucko, slap on some of these, and one of these, and a pair of these, and maybe this, and then snuggle down inside one of these, and you'll be stylin' like all the famous architects!
Now then, that should be enough stuff to look at today. I'm about to go out and see if anyone has left me my present yet.
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