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 architecture and a bird.
first, the bird. technically it’s called a ‘turkey goblin’. actually technically and taxonomically it’s probably not called a turkey goblin. but my friend misty, with whom i was hiking, decided that it’s a turkey goblin. so, henceforth, turkey goblin.
and the architecture. or engineering. or, a bridge. or a part of a bridge. or, to keep this going, a bridge and some giant concrete pilings that look like they were supposed to be a bridge at some point but ended up as not quite a bridge.
i’m sometimes impressed by things that required unimaginable time and resources and energy and money to be built but were then never quite finished. as i’m assuming is/was the case with these very big concrete pilings built in the middle of the los angeles river. or maybe they serve a purpose, other than just being brutalist and photogenic.
the bridge serves a purpose. it was designed with a specific utility in mind, i’m assuming, and it now satisfies that utility, letting cars and people go from one side of the river to the other. but the pilings? giant and immovable? they just sit there, waiting for a railway bridge (i’m guessing) that will never materialize. like giant concrete miss havershams. just sitting and slowly succumbing to entropy and birds.
in other news: it was a beautiful day and you might have figured out that los angeles has a river (named, imaginatively, the los angeles river) and very few people seem to hang out at the river but it’s beautiful and covered in strange birds, like the aformentioned turkey goblin.
ok, i hope you had a nice weekend.
first off: thanks to palm springs modernism week for organizing a whole bunch of great events last week, and also for asking me to come out and speak with frances anderton at the ace on saturday.
also on saturday i was able to visit the richard neutra ‘miller house’. palm springs is, of course, filled with remarkable mid century architecture, with this house standing as one of the best examples. simple and thoughtful and smart and interesting and practical and understated, it’s mid century desert architecture (as designed by a man born in the mountains of austria, of course) at it’s best.
palm springs fascinates and baffles me. it’s beautiful and it seems like a great place to live, even if it’s a desert furnace that without irrigation is probably incapable of supporting biological life for 2 or 3 months out of the year.
oh, and there are probably much better photographs of this iconic house, but, for better or worse, here are mine.
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.
ok, this is not architecture.
unless you count inexplicable sky prisms as architecture.
which, i’m guessing, some people would and could.
in any case, here are some pictures of this inexplicable giant prism i saw in the sky today.
i don’t know much about sky prisms, as i’d never seen one before in non-rainbow form.
any thoughts on what it might be are welcome.
my guess: the opening of a portal to another dimension, hopefully benign.
or, if not a benign dimension then a dimension populated by benign aliens.
eh, here’s hoping.
i mean, really, have you ever seen anything like this before?
one of the greatest places in hollywood is the barnsdall art park.
it has an iconic frank lloyd wright house building, a bunch of stately pine trees, a beautiful art museum, a theater, and this odd little outlier building.
this odd little outlier building even has a plaque. it says ‘arts and crafts house’.
which, really, says very little about the house, as it’s not even really an arts and crafts house.
so, me being captain ignorant, i don’t know if it was designed by frank lloyd wright or not.
i looks sort of like frank lloyd wright and schindler got together and made a nice house, but i’m assuming that’s not actually what happened.
is it a frank lloyd wright house?
what is it?
even the nice barnsdall art park web site doesn’t have any information about it, which is kind of a shame as it’s a beautiful little house, even if it’s kind of falling apart.
i’m also including a view from the oddball little maybe-frank-lloyd-wright-designed-it house, as it’s a really nice view and it somehow makes los feliz and bits of hollywood look the little villages they must’ve been in 1923. or so i’m guessing.
and maybe if i’m lucky i’ll find out who actually designed this little beauty of a house and maybe if i’m even luckier they’ll fix it up, as it’s really not in the greatest shape.
it would be odd to have a fully functioning public pool in the middle of a big city.
it would be nice, but it would be odd.
and then i guess it would be even odder to have a fully un-functioning pool in the middle of a big city.
just a big hole in the ground, unceremoniously surrounded by a cheap chain link fence.
but there, right in the middle of hollywood, is a giant moribund pool surrounded by a cheap chain link fence.
which is odd.
‘how is it architecture?’
well, someone built it and it looks amazing, especially in the middle of the city.
and the twisty turny blue fiberglass slide in the corner is a pretty remarkable structure in it’s own right.
i guess the giant empty pool in the middle of the city begs some questions.
like: ‘what happened?’
i mean, it would seem as if a functioning gigantic pool in the middle of the city might be pretty popular.
so let’s look at hypotheses as to why it’s empty and in pool prison:
- they ran out of water and/or pool toys.
- aliens landed here and this is now a black ops government site like area 51.
- it’s actually a piece of installation art, possibly by ai weiwei. maybe the pool is actually filled with invisible sesame seeds.
- it’s a pool for mimes.
in any case, it’s a big amazing photogenic hole in the ground in the middle of a huge city.