ok, i’m including this in my oddball architecture blog for a few reasons…
- i think it’s a really beautiful video (as made by my friend colin rich).
- with clearly no objectivity i like the song a lot (as made by mark lanegan and i).
- it’s all based in and around los angeles (salton sea, joshua tree, and the angeles national forest).
- it’s kind of an entropic love letter to los angeles and the desert around los angeles.
- there are lots of buildings in the video (even if some are very far away…)
oh, and i highly highly highly recommend watching it full screen, as it’s really beautiful.
see, l.a is a random city. or, rather, a city of randomness. and random things. and a twisted unicorn spaghetti approach to cohesion. and because l.a is random i believe it would be odd to make any attempt to either shoe-horn or force any notions of cohesion onto it. even if involving dangling participles. like the last sentence. sorry.
now, this building. house. bunker. it’s a random house in a random setting. it’s modern and kind of brutalist and boxy. it’s also grey, with dark windows. all well and good, but it presents a whole host of questions.
like, for instance, who wants to build a grey modernist box house on a desert hillside underneath blue skies and eucalyptus trees? i’m not saying it’s a bad choice, it’s just not necessarily the first choice many people would necessarily make when confronted with a building lot on a hillside surrounded by azure skies and eucalyptus trees.
i actually like this grey box house. it’s simple and austere and utilitarian and it makes very little sense in it’s site/context, but it makes perfect contextual sense in a sprawling urban environment that’s fantastically devoid of cohesion.
i mean, a house like this could’ve been anything. it could’ve been a beige hairball (as in: coughed up by a predator). or it could’ve been a norman castle or a spanish hacienda or a mies inspired rectilinear glass box or a lautner spaceship.
it could’ve been anything. and it’s a grey assemblage of boxes and dark windows. which is great, i guess. baffling when scrutinized, but great. cohesion is for sissies.
maybe that’s a new slogan for los angeles. along with: ‘los angeles, the first city of the apocalypse.’
p.s-i’m also including a picture of a giant cross with downtown in the background. it has nothing to do with this house. except that they’re in the same neighborhood. ok, thanks again.
here’s a quick one.
i was hiking around my neighborhood earlier today and i saw this little house (well, it looks little from a distance, maybe it’s not actually so little up close).
it’s nestled bucolically at the base of some hills and forest, and is possibly inhabited by some benign grimm’s fairy tale character (assuming there are benign grimm’s fairy tale characters). which, of course, is nice. but which, of course, in most circumstances, is rarely all that remarkable. except in this case the house in question is about 1/2 a mile from the center of densely weird hollywood and about 1/4 mile away from one of the busiest freeways in the united states. which, as someone who was born on 148th st in nyc, still seems odd and strange and kind of magically remarkable. that there’s almost no delineation between the urban and natural in l.a, just some odd and random demarcations that rarely, if ever, make much municipal sense.
for instance: you’ll be driving down a street in my neighborhood and looking at a big expanse of trees or scrub brush and wondering: is that a park? is it part of the reservoir? is it someone’s property? is it brigadoon? is it where elephants go to plot the demise of their human overlords? can i hike there? will i get shot? and these are all equally valid questions.
quotidian urban sprawl juxtaposed randomly with relatively untrammeled nature.
oh, and sorry for the big-ish pretentious grad-student-y words, i didn’t have a lot of friends growing up so i spent my summers reading my mom’s books rather than playing outdoors with the normal children.
as tonight is the oscars i thought i’d put up a picture of the hollywood sign.
well, actually the back of the hollywood sign.
i love that the hollywood sign has become this iconic image, representing l.a universally, far and wide.
what makes it amazing is that originally the hollywood sign was erected as temporary advertising for a real estate development.
originally it said ‘hollywoodland’ (the name of the real estate development), but the ‘land’ part fell down.
paris has the eiffel tower, nyc has the empire state building, rome has the colliseum, and l.a has a big old sign advertising a real estate development from the 20’s.
which, if you dislike l.a, you probably see it as a symbol of the quick, vapid, and disposable nature of l.a culture.
or if you like l.a (as i do) you see it as something kind of odd, modern, accidental, impermanent, and endearing.
so here’s to the world’s most famous and recognizable real estate development advertisement.
ok, happy academy awards.