ok, today is…architectural blog #6? #7?
i should really pay more attention to numbers and sequence. as without numbers and sequences what do we have? chaos. ok, maybe not chaos. i’m just being hyperbolic.
in any case, here are some pictures. 2 pictures of a perfect little bucolic vine covered country house in the middle of the teeming megalopolis, as l.a, at it’s best, is the land of arbitrary architecture.
see, l.a is a desert. a mountainous desert, inhabited by coyotes and rattlesnakes and bounded by vast ocean and huge mountains. and, traditionally, a lot of architecture is informed by climate (like, say, steeply pitched roofs in switzerland to help the snow fall off), or available building materials (like, say, mud huts in places where they don’t have a lot of timber). but l.a architecture is arbitrary. deeply, profoundly arbitrary (which is why it’s so interesting.
oh, and that a lot of houses in l.a were built by oddball film people and artists with utopian ideas and sporadic influxes of money).
generally the only pragmatic and non-arbitrary aspect of l.a architecture is: will it fall down in an earthquake? apart from that criterion it’s a free for all. use whatever materials to build whatever house in whatever style you so choose (just do your best to keep it from falling down the hill should the hill start shaking).
people in other parts of the world sometimes express disdain at the arbitrary nature of l.a architecture. as if to say, what, that people should be bound by old (and now arbitrary, in many cases) forms of architectural and aesthetic tradition?
in philosophy there’s a thing called the ‘is/ought fallacy’. it posits that it’s deeply fallacious to state that ‘because something is it thus ought to be’. or, ‘because something has been it thus ought to be’. which is easy to dismiss as a rationale for slavery or child labor (almost no one in the 21st century would say ‘because our ancestors had slaves it therefore is ok if we have slaves’). but people still fall into the ‘is/ought’ fallacy when it comes to architecture and aesthetics. to say, ‘because our ancestors built houses a certain way we therefore should build houses a certain way’. it’s fallacious reasoning. it’s perfectly ok to say, ‘we like the way out ancestors built houses, so we’ll build some old timey houses that look like the houses our ancestors built’. but it’s absurd and fallacious to make a prima facie case for old architectural forms having a worth or merit simply because they’re old and have been around for a while (sorry, prince charles). and which, at least for me, makes it a-ok to celebrate the absurd and arbitrary nature of l.a architecture (i mean, i could go on and try to further prove my point and sound even more like a grad student but i’ll just skip to some pictures. if you want to talk more about the arbitrary and subjective as regards architectural aesthetics just corner me in a parking lot somewhere).
so, the first 2 pictures today are of l.a architecture at it’s most fantastic and arbitrary. a vine covered fantasy house with a giant turret, located smack dab in the middle of the heaving megalopolis.
and the 3rd picture is just a poetic (so says me) picture of dystopian downtown as seen through a griffith park pine tree.
ok, have a nice weekend.
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