The remains of Bradbury’s home
January 14, 2015 5:13 AM   Subscribe

The lovely house where Ray Bradbury lived for 50 years is being torn down by its new owner, architect Thom Mayne.
posted by xowie (114 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
The crash. The attic smashing into kitchen and parlor. The parlor into cellar, cellar into sub-cellar. Deep freeze, armchair, film tapes, circuits, beds, and all like skeletons thrown in a cluttered mound deep under.

Smoke and silence. A great quantity of smoke.

Dawn showed faintly in the east. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall, a last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped rubble and steam:

"Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is..."
posted by TedW at 5:25 AM on January 14, 2015 [50 favorites]


It's a symbol of how something is deeply wrong with the world when a $1.765 million house in lovely condition (and with at least some cultural significance) is a casual tear down. Doing so is also more tone deaf than I would have expected from a prominent architect -- I wouldn't have thought he would want his personal brand to become "the guy who tore down Bradbury's house."
posted by Dip Flash at 5:28 AM on January 14, 2015 [26 favorites]


Time marches on.
posted by fairmettle at 5:36 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ray Bradbury has his legacy. They're the printed words that are so integrated into our culture that middle school students read and consider them. I'm in agreement with some of the comments on Curbed in that if he or his descendents had wanted the house to be a thing of historical reference, they could have made it so.
posted by fireoyster at 5:36 AM on January 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


At least Bradbury's boyhood home should be safe for a while: it's sited in Waukegan, Illinois, a town thoroughly beneath the notice of starchitects.
posted by Iridic at 5:37 AM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I went to Mark Twain's house in Hartford a few years ago and being able to stand in the room where works like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were written was a profound, almost religious experience for me. I would have loved to visit Bradbury's house although I guess that most of his most important work was done before he moved there.
posted by octothorpe at 5:38 AM on January 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I found that very interesting to be able to visit Hermann Hesse's house in Montagnola. I would have appreciated to see that house that seemed gorgeous. It would have been the perfect place for a Ray Bradbury museum.
posted by nicolin at 5:38 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Everything passes. But at least we still have so many of Bradbury's stories.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:39 AM on January 14, 2015


It's a symbol of how something is deeply wrong with the world when a $1.765 million house

But is that valuation because of the location or because of the house? It's a nice house, but maybe it's $400k around here in CT, and most buyers aren't even interested in a three bedroom house.
posted by smackfu at 5:44 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm really not seeing the problem with this. Bradbury didn't build the house, it isn't representative of his talent. Had there been a community of people interested in preserving the house, they could have done so. This man bought a piece of property, he has a right to do what he pleases with it without being criticised for it

(I'm a Bradbury fan)
posted by HuronBob at 5:46 AM on January 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


To make the story even more surrealistic, at least when I read the story of Bradbury's $1.75 million small suburban bungalow, at the bottom of the page was a link to an article about a 6 bedroom mansion in Detroit for $412k. Wow.
posted by Mcable at 5:47 AM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Let's say we preserved every lovely but not architecturally significant house in the greater LA area in which someone famous once lived. How long until huge chunks of the area were frozen in amber with little chance for innovative new architecture?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:56 AM on January 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Not all that appealing a house, honestly.

Not sure why this is news except as a kind of knee-jerk outrage-trolling to those who identify with Bradbury's writing. I mean, houses that well-known writers once lived in probably get torn down every week, somewhere. (Maybe I'm jaded living in Ithaca, where there are houses all over the place once lived in by famous figures like Nabokov, Pynchon, Sagan, Alex Haley, Rod Serling, Vonnegut, Paul Wolfowitz, David Foster Wallace, ... er, Ann Coulter...)

Seriously, however, I would imagine they at least salvaged those hardwood floors.
posted by aught at 5:56 AM on January 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


That kitchen is not exactly what pops in my mind when I hear the phrase "Ray Bradbury's Kitchen." (Which sounds like a great title for a short story, even though "Ray Bradbury's Basement" might be more approriate, though has less of a poetic ring to it, to my ear, at least.)

Looks like Bob Heinlein's Bonny Doon is still standing, though he did design and build that one himself.
posted by valkane at 6:05 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is, or was, a pretty dingy, terribly-decorated house. I'm pretty confident that whatever Thom Mayne builds there will be awesome, and a fair trade-off.
posted by Flashman at 6:07 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


If the house burned instead, I'd hope that the fire chief would have the presence of mind to slip in a sly Fahrenheit 451 reference in the press release.
posted by dr_dank at 6:10 AM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


First they came for the Ray Bradbury houses, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Ray Bradbury house.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:11 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is, or was, a pretty dingy, terribly-decorated house. I'm pretty confident that whatever Thom Mayne builds there will be awesome, and a fair trade-off.

Really, every thing I can find that he's designed looks horrible.
posted by octothorpe at 6:15 AM on January 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


From the tone of this article, you'd think it was architecturally significant or that every copy of all of his books were thrown in a dumpster along with the resulting viscera of his house.
posted by cellphone at 6:19 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is anything protected at all in L.A.? Seems like teardowns of terrific Spanish Colonials is pretty standard.
posted by pashdown at 6:20 AM on January 14, 2015


I'm with HuronBob. I feel like I'm missing something here. The house looked sweet and I'm sad it was torn down because while it needed updating, it had a lot of things about it people might love (including me), and I would prefer that someone had bought it who would love it instead of helping to contribute to the wasteful everything-is-disposable culture that is so prevalent now. But I would have said that if the house had no famous former residents.

Bradbury was known for his writing, and he didn't write about architecture that I'm aware of (correct me if I'm wrong). Was there a notable essay he wrote in praise of the house? Having this house razed doesn't impact on his work or his legacy in any way. Los Angeles real estate being what it is, I'm guessing that there were many similar houses on that same block that have already suffered the same treatment.
posted by Mchelly at 6:22 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is (or was) a very nice house with lots of charms, but definitely not the style that is in vogue right now. Old houses are not popular (have they ever been?) and I am fully confident that, as this house is being built by a famous architect, the new one will be a monstrosity of a structure with none of the charm but all of the glitz.

To me this article is more of a sign that there is something weird about us (humans) that we love to tear down perfectly good structures just because of their age.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:22 AM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


It should be interesting when they true to demolish the nursery.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:28 AM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I love L.A. architecture in its many instantiations; I haven't lived there in almost 25 years, and Cheviot Hills always seemed like nothing more than a solid slice of classic Los Angeles "middle class" (which means whatever it means). Surprised that Mayne wants to build there, but I'm probably out of touch...

I think it was a cool house, and someone could have really loved it and kept it neighborhood-y. On the other hand, I hope that Mayne does something cool and Bradbury-inspired, mid-century scifi with it. He's got the chops.

In conclusion: Reserving Judgement.
posted by allthinky at 6:36 AM on January 14, 2015


Let's say we preserved every lovely but not architecturally significant house in the greater LA area in which someone famous once lived. How long until huge chunks of the area were frozen in amber with little chance for innovative new architecture?

This contrasts the LA you have now, somehow?
posted by mhoye at 6:40 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bradbury was my favorite author growing up. A science fiction writer, a poet, a social commentator, rolled into one...a rare beast. Back then, you read his science fiction novels in school as required reading, you read passages he wrote in English class as examples of how to write. And this when science fiction was considered a back-burner, niche genre hardly taken seriously by anyone.
What's the worse crime, to burn things intentionally to remove them from the world forever because of some ideological stance, or to be so ephemerally minded as to raze and erase culture without the merest twinge of awareness or conscience? In short, this makes me sad.
posted by jabah at 6:42 AM on January 14, 2015


Really, every thing I can find that he's designed looks horrible.

This is the asshole responsible for that fucking eyesore hanging over Harbord?

I was all "meh, it's a pretty house I'd love to live in but doesn't seem all that significant" but now I want to burn him with fire because holy hell, why is he an architect.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:45 AM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Iridic: "At least Bradbury's boyhood home should be safe for a while: it's sited in Waukegan, Illinois, a town thoroughly beneath the notice of starchitects."

Yeah, I only know of Waukegan through a Tom Waits lyric and even then, given his penchant for drawing tales from whole cloth I couldn't have told you with absolute certainty that it was a real town anyway.

Still might not be.
posted by komara at 6:49 AM on January 14, 2015


Winston Churchill famously said, "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us." There is great value in preserving artist’s homes.

I happen to be a fan of Thom Mayne, but this demolition seems particularly tone-deaf. The house - although clearly obsolete by Cheviot Hills standards - could have been moved elsewhere and used as a museum.

And yes, ~$1.7 million is a typical price for a teardown in the better parts of West L.A. This has been true for years.
posted by xowie at 6:51 AM on January 14, 2015


Definitely should have just burned it down.

It was actual a nice little house, granted not one I would pay over a million dollars for, but we are a society that put signs up saying, "So and So once slept here," and it's understandable that a home that housed one of our great science fiction writers of the 20th Century would engender an emotional response. For the same reason that Grace Land is toured and well known, the house offers an unspoken peak into the personality of the person who lived in it. It doesn't matter that Bradbury never did a thing with architecture, but it's significant to understanding at least a slice of who he was by the fact that he chose to call this his home for fifty years until his death.

It isn't a crime, but it's a pity.
posted by Atreides at 6:54 AM on January 14, 2015


octothorpe: It is, or was, a pretty dingy, terribly-decorated house. I'm pretty confident that whatever Thom Mayne builds there will be awesome, and a fair trade-off.

Really, every thing I can find that he's designed looks horrible.
Wow.... an architect who makes Brutalism look "homey". Wow.

Still, far be it from me to condemn a successful artist's work because it doesn't appeal to me. Condemning his actions regarding a potentially historic building is another matter.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:58 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


From what I can tell he seems to make his buildings out of duct tape.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:00 AM on January 14, 2015


duct tape and ugly
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:01 AM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's a lovely home, and I can totally imagine him living a long and happy life there. But of all the working architects I can think of, Thom Mayne is the perfect one to build a house Bradbury would have loved. I'm willing to bet it will be quirky, take the surroundings into account, and use the latest in forward-thinking building technology but to make the humans inside comfortable rather than uncomfortable. I'd love to see pictures of it when it's done.

The other night, I was delighted to be watching an old episode of "You Bet Your Life" on youtube, in which a devilishly handsome, thirty-year-old Bradbury got stumped by Groucho on a Henry James question. It was one of those late-night moments where you say, "Did that just happen, or have I already fallen asleep?"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:03 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bradbury was my favorite author growing up. A science fiction writer, a poet, a social commentator, rolled into one...a rare beast.

And very generous with his gifts, too. Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You is probably my favorite book on writing, and I can't possibly underestimate the amount of help it was to me in my writing days.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:07 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


he has a right to do what he pleases with it without being criticised for it

How did he acquire this right? I want it too. I'm sick of people criticizing me.
posted by compartment at 7:09 AM on January 14, 2015 [14 favorites]


Chicago's sense of historic preservation is calibrated just about right, to my eyes. Many, many historically or architecturally important buildings are preserved, providing living history all through the city. But at the same time, a building simply being old, or having ties to someone famous, is not enough. Chicago doesn't get them all right, but they have encouraged the preservation enough lovely old buildings that they now enjoy the luxury of being able to say things like, "Well sure, it's a Sullivan, but it's not a particularly good Sullivan, so let's let something new happen here instead."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:09 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I live in a historic home in Massachusetts, an 1840s Victorian. I love old houses. I love Ray Bradbury. I have zero problems with that house being torn down. If they wanted to preserve it, they could have, whether through designating it a historical property with covenants or turning it into a museum open to the public.

If they sold it as a private residence, there is really no point to it being preserved. How far would you go, in the case? No changing the exterior? The interior? The garden? The wallpaper? What about the tile? What makes that house worthwhile as an object to be preserved?
posted by lydhre at 7:10 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm put off by the tone of the article and some comments here, somehow trying to conflate the fact that a great writer's house was torn down with the fact that the tearer down was a well known architect1 . So? The house had little value from an architectural point of view. It might have some from a historical one, but that would be the same if the culprit where a famous conductor, entrepreneur or cook.

1 Please stop using the term 'starchitect', it makes you sound dumb. It's right up there with Micro$oft .
posted by signal at 7:19 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


At least Bradbury's Palm Springs house is intact, and rentable. (I've stayed there. It's pretty cool.)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:21 AM on January 14, 2015


The Underpants Monster: "The other night, I was delighted to be watching an old episode of "You Bet Your Life" on youtube, in which a devilishly handsome, thirty-year-old Bradbury got stumped by Groucho on a Henry James question. It was one of those late-night moments where you say, "Did that just happen, or have I already fallen asleep?""

It happened.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:26 AM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I loved Mr. Bradbury but I have no attachment to the house... except that all that nice hardwood is going to end up in a landfill. That makes me sad.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:43 AM on January 14, 2015


Okay, on further perusal of the links:

1.) Thom Mayne is a terrible, terrible architect in the vein of Gehry and Libeskind. Anyone who designs those horribly ugly buildings that are only remarkable because they say "fuck you" to the existing city around them are hackity hacks of the first order. Would anyone want to live in a city of nothing but these buildings? No. I'm sorry, I don't believe in throwing away 2-3000 years of Western architecture because your mommy didn't give you enough attention as a child. Go build your narcissistic, leaky, death-ray buildings in some other country.

2.) Bradbury's house, while homey on the inside, is hideous on the outside. What does it present to the neighborhood? A big fucking garage and a mostly blank wall. Tear it down and the neighborhood won't be any worse for it, except for the even uglier monstrosity that is sure to replace it.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:49 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm with you on Liebeskind but Gehry does a lot of beautiful things. The north facade of the AGO is just lovely (although that goddamn staircase oh god).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:57 AM on January 14, 2015


Oh I dunno, Thom Mayne's residential work shows... he thinks people should live in a laboratory sterile recreation of a rat warren.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:58 AM on January 14, 2015


I'm ok with it being torn down, even though I love Bradbury. But can someone who likes Thom Mayne explain the appeal? It looks like all that horrible blocky concrete shit they build in the 60s where later the concrete got stained and things looked like a junkyard. I'm more of an art nouveau kinda guy, but it seems like making buildings pretty or harmonious or whatever is not a priority for humanity any more :-(
posted by freecellwizard at 8:04 AM on January 14, 2015


I can't believe the anti-architecture vitriol I'm reading here. Would people be so sentimental if a world-renowned architect wanted to tear down Ayn Rand's house?
posted by Flashman at 8:06 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's his current house. Looks nice to me.
posted by smackfu at 8:07 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Am I the only person in this thread who thinks Mayne's buildings are interesting? The somewhat ironic thing for me is that some of the structures - the Cooper Union building comes to mind - would be right in place on the covers of the sci fi paperbacks that would have been on my shelves when I was a kid, shoulder to shoulder with Bradbury's books - I'm thinking Chris Foss illustrations in particular.

Also, Morphosis recently designed a building for the Cornell campus here in Ithaca, Gates Hall (yes, that Gates); it's an interesting-looking structure too. Also, I kind of like Geary's designs.
posted by aught at 8:08 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Looks like Thom Mayne is one of the architects on Brad Pitt's Make It Right project in New Orleans (previously, in my very first post on the blue). Essentially, those are interesting, green, futuristic homes in a "barren moonscape" of a neighborhood where no one actually wants to live.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:09 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


The north facade of the AGO is just lovely (although that goddamn staircase oh god).

What is wrong with the staircase?! Or do you mean like 'oh god I'm going to come in my pants just looking at it'?
posted by Flashman at 8:09 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm with you on Liebeskind but Gehry does a lot of beautiful things. The north facade of the AGO is just lovely (although that goddamn staircase oh god).

With the exception of the staircase, and I know it's hard to except, the south facing side of the AGO is perhaps my favorite thing in the world to look at. The blue brings me more peace than anything else I've known.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:11 AM on January 14, 2015


That house looks incredibly tiring to live in, to me.

And the bathtub only has room for one person!

What is wrong with the staircase?!

Try walking up and down it sometime. Looks gorgeous, can't count the number of times I've nearly gone ass-over-tit down it.

the south facing side of the AGO is perhaps my favorite thing in the world to look at

It's lovely but for me there's no dialogue between the front and the back. If I'm going to go look at architecture in Toronto, it's this, hands-down.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:13 AM on January 14, 2015


(Then again I'm someone who thinks the LACMA rebuild is spectacular, albeit concerned about something on pillars in an earthquake zone, so wtf do I know)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:14 AM on January 14, 2015


Oh, and also Thom Mayne looks like he stole Steve Job's skin.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:20 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow that house is a mess. To each his own I guess. Some parts are cool but the profusion of styles and decor is as bad (to me) in its own way as the old castles/mansions where every room has 80 paintings in thick gilded frames. It's like the opposite of a clean Scandinavian look or equivalently spare plan that I would want to live in. Like Don Draper's apartment in later Mad Men seasons is 1000 times more my speed. I want to live there.

But I don't hate architects! I just am dubious about some of this. Good discussion though.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:58 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean Tom Mayne's *current* house is a mess, not the Bradbury house. My last comment was ambiguous.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:00 AM on January 14, 2015


Eh, Thom Mayne built the monstrosity that bankrupted Cooper Union. He can tear down a hundred writers' homes and not blacken his soul any further. (Sickening to see this, but I'm glad it was documented, and a fan saved the house numbers.)
posted by Scram at 9:08 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thom Mayne built the monstrosity that bankrupted Cooper Union

Jesus Christ, it looks like a giant robot took a dump right next to a real building.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:12 AM on January 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bradbury didn't build the house, it isn't representative of his talent.

Susan B Anthony was not noted as an architect, but where she used to live and work was considered worth preserving.
posted by rochrobbb at 9:23 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eh, Thom Mayne built the monstrosity that bankrupted Cooper Union.

Cooper Union bankrupted Cooper Union, which architect they chose didn't matter in the slightest.
posted by smackfu at 9:24 AM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Architecture really brings out Metafilter's "you call that art? Why, my six year old chid could do a better job" streak. It's hard to figure out what this community's sweet-spot is for architecture, though, because scorn also gets reflexively poured on anyone proposing deliberately historicist architectural developments.

There is, of course, no historical innovation in architecture, no matter how currently beloved, which did not meet its share of outraged hostility when it first appeared on the scene. In any large well-established city, the buildings whose demolition causes ire and angst and cries of "why can't they make buildings like those any more" were probably built amidst similar cries of outrage about whatever buildings they, in turn, replaced.

There are few arts that so manifestly are not "of their moment" as architecture. No architect expects his or her buildings to be judged primarily by the taste of the moment of the building's creation, but by the evolving taste of decades to come. Many of te world's most iconic buildings were met with howls of outrage when they were first unveiled. In general I think it wise, if your first response to an architectural design is bafflement (i.e., if it's not "I know what this architect was trying to do, but they've failed to do it" but is, as with many of the reactions to Morphosis architecture in this thread "this can't possibly be intended to be aesthetically pleasing, it must be some sort of hoax or deliberate insult from the architect") that you try to suspend your judgment for a while. Try to see what it is that the architect is, at least, trying to do, and see if rather than rejecting it out of hand because it is unfamiliar to you you can find some way to engage with the architect's aesthetic vision. Because 80 years from now we'll all be howling in outrage because they're tearing down some "lovely old Morphosis bulding" to build some "ghastly new monstrosity."
posted by yoink at 9:29 AM on January 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


...except that all that nice hardwood is going to end up in a landfill.

Depends on who's doing the teardown. Grandpa and some of my uncles worked demolitions for the city (and moonlighted for private companies), and all the flooring* and a lot of other architectural stuff in my grandparents' house was salvaged from demolished buildings. Nowadays there are whole demolition companies that specialize in architectural salvage, even when the building being torn down isn't a mansion with marble fireplaces and magohany wainscoting.

(They had a big 1860's farmhouse, and they ended up being able to do the whole thing in solid, narrow, tongue-and-groove oak from a college dining hall that was being torn down and rebuilt. Their house came without a bathroom, and they got their tub and sink from another demolition.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:36 AM on January 14, 2015


I presume that they are trying to make buildings which are aesthetically pleasing. In which case, abject failure for Mayne.

This is a repellent lump of horseshit, with a stupid LOOKITME penis extension sticking out over a nice street and slicing the view from either east or west. It doesn't communicate with any of the buildings nearby (admittedly both the sports complex and the library are hideously brutalist), it's just plopped down there with no regard to proportion, grace, or context.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:36 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ok, fine, I understand the motivation for wanting to demolish charming old houses to build robot poops (love that imagery, entropicamericana), forward progress and all that, but...but... Who pays the top dollar to buy a famous person's house if they're just going to tear it down? Is he trying to be that hip brand of self-centered all the kids are enjoying these days?
posted by Mooseli at 10:18 AM on January 14, 2015


(Full disclosure, Ray Bradbury was by far and away one of the most influential figures of my childhood)
posted by Mooseli at 10:18 AM on January 14, 2015


Who pays the top dollar to buy a famous person's house

It's not clear to me that there was much, if any, premium to the cost of this house. The price is not unusual.
posted by Justinian at 10:27 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Here's his current house. Looks nice to me.

I can see how it could appeal to people. Though to me, while the individual elements look all right by themselves, it just looks so jumbled and crammed together, as if he abandoned the idea of 'rooms' and instead made them 'zones' - maybe that's related to his 'Make Brutalism Homey' thing mentioned above. That's just my reaction to it. Maybe I'm just old fashioned. I'm no architect - I'm just some guy, you know?
posted by chambers at 10:32 AM on January 14, 2015


According to Wikipedia, he wrote the following books in that house:

(1972) The Halloween Tree

(1985) Death Is a Lonely Business

(1990) A Graveyard for Lunatics

(1992) Green Shadows, White Whale – Fictionalized autobiographical reminiscences, portions of which had been previously published as individual stories.

(2001) From the Dust Returned – Fix-up novel of previously published, loosely connected stories.

(2002) Let's All Kill Constance

(2006) Farewell Summer

posted by craniac at 10:51 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not clear to me that there was much, if any, premium to the cost of this house. The price is not unusual.

Relative to LA real estate, I guess?
posted by smackfu at 11:06 AM on January 14, 2015


The price is not unusual.

Sympathetic sigh for folks in big cities ... I live in what seems like a giant fancy house to me and it's like 1/6 the price of that place. Yikes!

Also on further viewing of more of the guy's stuff, I do like certain aspects. I guess I'd have to actually go walk around the buildings to really get a better feel. But all people on the thread are doing is giving their gut reaction. I realize architecture has to move forward (a good thing). To make a parallel to fashion, many "regular people" see runway models and think 90% of what's shown is ridiculous baloney which no one would or could ever wear. Which is probably true, but some of the elements of those crazy outfits make their way into off-the-rack clothes. It's just an artistic statement like "whaddaya think of really tall hats with veils?" or whatever.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:28 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Architecture really brings out Metafilter's "you call that art? Why, my six year old chid could do a better job" streak.

That and its "I don't actually know what Brutalism is, but it sure sounds like something I'm not supposed to like" streak.
 
posted by Herodios at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Architectural arguments aside, if the reason you don't want Bradbury's house knocked down is that he wrote your favorite book there, well, in my experience, just about any house or apartment of any author who wrote one of your favorite books will do, and that's good only for the first occasion, when you're standing there trying to get over your shock that [the book that rocked your world, preferably when you were about 13] was written in such mundane surroundings. After that, the only real attraction for looking at a writer's digs is to see what's on their bookshelves, and those have obviously been cleared off by the time it was put on the market. I don't think that the old house was bad, but there would have been quite a few things that I'd have changed if I'd moved in, and anyone who dropped in to see the great man's abode afterward would have mighty disappointed.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:52 AM on January 14, 2015


My House and Welcome to It:

James Thurber grew up at 77 Jefferson Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. He lived there until his departure from an Ohio State University (and from Columbus) in 1917. It’s actually nearer the Columbus Art Museum and Columbus College of Art and Design than it is to OSU. It’s also not far from the birthplace of Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

The house narrowly missed getting bulldozed in the construction of Interstate highway 71. When I lived in the area it had been standing vacant for years; boarded up and covered with graffiti (including as I recall, a pretty tight rendering of a Rorer 714 - the neighborhood was mostly art students, after all), despite the historical placque out front.

Nevertheless, in 1984 the Thurber house became The Thurber House, a museum, literary center, headquarters of Thurber Prize for Humor, and residence of the James Thurber Writer-in-Residence.

It is also, apparently, a haunted house.

Thurber claimed to have been haunted by a ghost in the house on November 17, 1915, which inspired his short story "The Night the Ghost Got In". Thurber later learned that a) the house was ‘known’ to be haunted by others in the neighborhood; b) a man had committed suicide there some years before; and c) Thurber’s ghost encounter occurred 47 years to the day after the Ohio Lunatic Asylum -- which had stood where the house stands now -- burned to the ground, killing seven people.

Several of the writers-in-residence have also been haunted, including the first, William O'Rourke. He wrote his own updated version of Thurber’s ghost story, "The Night the Ghost Didn't Get In".

Although plenty of Thurber's stories take place in the house -- or a fictionalized version of it -- it's his boyhood home. His literary career began well after he'd left for good. He wrote no-one's favourite story there. On the other hand, there's no sign of bulldozers in the area.
 
posted by Herodios at 1:17 PM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


yoink: "Architecture really brings out Metafilter's "you call that art? Why, my six year old chid could do a better job" streak."

It's really weird how visceral some mefites are in their hatred of architects. It's like they lump us in with tax auditors and lawyers. There's a lack of proportion in the absolute hatred some people here seem to have for specific buildings, the architects who designed them and the discipline as a whole.

Referencing this thread and Bachelard's book "The Poetics of Space" in particular, I think it has something to do with architecture and the built environment's role as a memory-vault, as a link with some of our deepest memories that somehow define our sense of self, and the perception that bad, elitist, artsy, out-of-touch architects are either a) destroying some building or space that relates to people's personal history or b) creating spaces that are different from what people imagine they live in (or imagine they'd like to live in ).
posted by signal at 1:59 PM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


-The price is not unusual.

--Sympathetic sigh for folks in big cities ... I live in what seems like a giant fancy house to me and it's like 1/6 the price of that place. Yikes!


I pay more than three times as much for a one-bedroom apartment as I did for a three-bedroom house in my last hometown. And you could fit my current city inside North Hollywood. People come to my town after selling their tiny apartments in New York City, buy massive old Victorian houses, and pat themselves on the back about how cheap it is to live here. Real estate be crazy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:01 PM on January 14, 2015


signal, fwiw it's mainly just specific buildings I hate. Bad architecture makes me seethe the same way bad food from celebuchefs does.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:09 PM on January 14, 2015


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Bad architecture makes me seethe the same way bad food from celebuchefs does."

That's sort of my point. Why do you hate bad architecture? Do you also hate all the bad architecture you see everyday that's not signed by somebody famous, or is it just the brand-name badness that gets to you?
posted by signal at 2:22 PM on January 14, 2015


No, I hate the generic too. I suppose the brand-name bothers me more because ugh, why are you so famous and getting paid such money to produce such shit? (See also Celine Dion, for whom I am constitutionally required to apologize to the rest of the world.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:31 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


This man bought a piece of property, …

Yes.

… he has a right to do what he pleases with it …

Yes, subject to planning and construction laws.

… without being criticised for it.

No.
posted by robcorr at 2:45 PM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Herodios, I attended CCAD and lived within a few hundred feet of the Thurber house and I never knew it was there.
posted by Mcable at 3:00 PM on January 14, 2015


Another historic structure in Southern California threatened with demolition: The First Taco Bell.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:02 PM on January 14, 2015


Cheviot Hills is a very white, upper income, mostly Jewish part of LA that is one of many upscale suburban-feeling parts located within the main commercial/residential areas. It's really close to Fox Studios.

It definitely has that suburban feel to it, there is a big community center and a gold course. For visual reference, I am pretty sure many TV family homes are located there including the Modern Family House.

A typical Thom Mayne style building would stick out like a sore thumb, but sticking out like a sore thumb is what Thom Mayne does. It should be interesting to see how much he battles the neighborhood to get his home built. There are plenty of other areas where he could've build a contemporary home without much trouble.
posted by cell divide at 3:13 PM on January 14, 2015


Any time my parents update/redesign/improve their westside LA (Beverlywood-ish, so 2 ish miles away, but close enough r demographics) I ask them why they are spending my inheritance. Really, I tell them that I hour the improvements are what they want and not in some attempt to increase property values. Bc I find the3 bedroom 2 bath one story home I spent my entire life in to be charming, but the original front section of the home is pre-electricity. And every home that's sold on their block in the last 10 years has been sold and torn down, replaces w 2 stories, built to the limits of the property line. But 3000 years from now when my parents are gone (that's not actually going to happen, right??) my brother and I will make a hilarious chunk of cash off that teardown. Hilarious.(la la la I can't hear you, they're gonna live forever)
posted by atomicstone at 4:45 PM on January 14, 2015


Another historic structure in Southern California threatened with demolition: The First Taco Bell.

To be fair, the men's room in that place has already been demolished, usually several times each Friday and Saturday night.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:50 PM on January 14, 2015


A friend of mine rented Flannery O'Connor's house (well, she lived there at some point) in Savannah while we were architecture students (and he loved Mayne). He claimed it was haunted by her, but I think he was just stoned a lot (I never got any vibes). I think it's interesting that it was a (just below) market rate rental that no one seemed to mind get rented out to art students (who were notorious for stupid shit like painting fake permanent black shadows cast by moulding) with no restrictions to behavior as a consequence of its cultural history as long as they didn't do anything to the exterior because it might offend the delicate heightened sensibilities of the Savannah Historic Commission (who didn't even know how Victorian houses were painted).

Mayne's work doesn't come off as that brutal to me, relative to anything else in context. The Caltrans building is relatively harmless, and is apparently well liked by it's users. It and the Federal Building in SF are noted for being exceptionally energy efficient.

I'm guessing everyone here would think it good for the gander to glibly observe that Bradbury was a hack and skip along?
posted by 99_ at 7:28 PM on January 14, 2015


Eh, Thom Mayne built the monstrosity that bankrupted Cooper Union.

Imagine that. A building that can travel back four decades and force the trustees to run consistent deficit spending made possible only by slowly selling off almost the entire endowment Peter Cooper left them. Now that's a starchitect!

By the way, here's a broadly positive review of the building (praising it for the intelligent dialogue it enters into with its surroundings, among other things) from the New York Times architecture critic.

My point being not that "the NYT architecture critic is obviously right and you're obviously wrong." Simply that if someone with that degree of expertise considers the building a thoughtful and sensitive response to its environment it's worth at least pondering the possibility that it might not be self-evidently the willful act of cultural vandalism that you suspect.
posted by yoink at 9:14 PM on January 14, 2015


This is sad for me because I exchanged letters for awhile with Bradbury when I was in middle school. This is the first time I've seen the house and honestly it's pretty ugly, and it's nothing without him and his typewriter in it, but still that's where my letters went and his came from.

[Fun Bradbury trivia that he wrote about once that I can't find with a cursory google: the first thing he ever wrote was a sequel to The Gods of Mars when he was 12.]
posted by edeezy at 10:27 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Simply that if someone with that degree of expertise considers the building a thoughtful and sensitive response to its environment it's worth at least pondering the possibility that it might not be self-evidently the willful act of cultural vandalism that you suspect.

Which raises the question of artists creating art for those in the know or for everyone. With a painting/sculpture/food, okay; you're only going to get people who seek it out.

Architecture is for everyone who lives in the area, so different standards apply, to my mind.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:51 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Which raises the question of artists creating art for those in the know or for everyone."

You could actually raise this question about any art form, and it would be equally pointless. Different artists make art for different reasons and for different audiences.

Architects don't have any tacit or explicit remit to create 'for the people' any more than choreographers do, at least not in a liberal democracy.

Architecture is for everyone who lives in the area

While this could be true, though a bit narrow, it wouldn't follow that it has to pander to its neighbors tastes and preconceptions. It could just as well be 'for everyone' by upsetting and challenging them. We shouldn't view architecture as merely functional or comforting. Not all architecture has to be disruptive, of course, but neither does it all have to be familiar and bland.
posted by signal at 5:27 AM on January 15, 2015


Architecture is for everyone who lives in the area

That attitude is what gives rise to Homeowner Representative Board Approved architecture--the "no one must ever try anything that might be read as interesting or experimental" ethos. It is the architecture of malls and Orange County gated communities. That is the architecture that makes my blood boil--bereft of any spark of aesthetic engagement, seeing the only possible virtue as being "inoffensive."

You might think that you'd like a city where everything was subject to veto by the local community, but in fact you'd find it soul-crushingly dull.
posted by yoink at 7:01 AM on January 15, 2015


While this could be true, though a bit narrow, it wouldn't follow that it has to pander to its neighbors tastes and preconceptions. It could just as well be 'for everyone' by upsetting and challenging them. We shouldn't view architecture as merely functional or comforting. Not all architecture has to be disruptive, of course, but neither does it all have to be familiar and bland.

It's not 'could be true,' it is manifestly true. Architecture by its very nature isn't for a select few; everyone experiences it.

Nowhere did I say everything had to be familiar and bland--see above; I love the LACMA redesign, which many hate, and to me at least is neither familiar nor bland.

You might think that you'd like a city where everything was subject to veto by the local community, but in fact you'd find it soul-crushingly dull.

Seeing as that's not a thing I even hinted at I'm really not sure what your point is.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:23 AM on January 15, 2015


Well you know, feckless fecal fear mongering, if you don't agree with every aspect of on my professional (yet subjective) opinion, you must be a philistine.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:13 AM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Architecture is for . . . Which raises the question . . . You could actually raise this question about any . . . While this could be true, though a bit narrow, it wouldn't follow . . . We shouldn't view architecture as . . . That attitude is what gives rise . . . You might think . . . Nowhere did I say . . . that's not a thing I even hinted at . . . if you don't agree . . . you must be . . .

I say we stop talking about it and dance about it instead.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:26 AM on January 15, 2015


feckless fecal fear mongering: "It's not 'could be true,' it is manifestly true. Architecture by its very nature isn't for a select few; everyone experiences it."

You say "Architecture is for everyone who lives in the area". Architecture, in a capitalist society, is first for its owners, be they individuals or a public or private corporation. It of course also impacts the city (not just the area) around it.

Avant garde, experimental architecture like Morphosis' also affects other architects, informs their own practice, and so has an impact far beyond its own 'area'.

Sufficiently iconic buildings and spaces can also become part of the imagination of people who have never seen them in person, think of the The Washington Monument, the Eiffel Tower, Neuschwanstein, the New York Guggenheim or the Pompidou Center. All of these were rejected by (some of) their neighbors. Should they have been replaced with more complacent, "harmonious" buildings?

So yes, 'Architecture is for everyone who lives in the area' can be true, in a limited sense, but the truth is more complex and far reaching. And reducing it to a false dichotomy of 'select few' vs. 'everybody' doesn't help the discussion.
posted by signal at 8:36 AM on January 15, 2015


Okay fine, architecture is for everyone then.

Which means architects should stop designing stuff in a vacuum and plopping it down. Yes, 'harmonious' should be an overriding concern.

Harmonious doesn't mean samey. Off the top of my head, the ballet school and the Royal Conservatory of Music here in Toronto have both had additions/extensions to old buildings, that are undeniably very new, and are gorgeous.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:41 AM on January 15, 2015


The Longaberger Company World Headquarters Building in Nerk, Ahia.

Guess what they make.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:41 AM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seeing as that's not a thing I even hinted at I'm really not sure what your point is.

Look just a few posts up:
Which raises the question of artists creating art for those in the know or for everyone. With a painting/sculpture/food, okay; you're only going to get people who seek it out.

Architecture is for everyone who lives in the area, so different standards apply, to my mind.
If you're saying that architecture should be designed to please "everyone who lives in the area" then you're asking for architectural pablum. And I know that that isn't, in fact, what you personally want. Take, for example, the LACMA redesign. Do you think that would get built if it had to get signed off on by "everyone who lives in the area"?

So, in other words, you're only invoking this standard when you happen to personally dislike a building (as in the Morphosis cases). It's not one you actually stand by, because you recognize, in fact, that it's a standard that would prevent a great deal of excellent architecture--including many, perhaps most, of the more widely beloved iconic buildings throughout the world (see e.g., the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House etc.).
posted by yoink at 8:43 AM on January 15, 2015


If you're saying that architecture should be designed to please "everyone who lives in the area"

I didn't say that.

Doesn't have to please everyone, but should be, you know, not hideously ugly.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:46 AM on January 15, 2015


Harmonious doesn't mean samey.

In practice, though, it does. That is, if you look at what gets built when designs have to be signed off on by committees charged with ensuring that new buildings are "in character" you aren't going to see any of the innovative architectural designs that you, personally, admire. The new LACMA, for example, would clearly be right out--there's nothing remotely like it in LA, and it's clearly like nothing else on that stretch of Wilshire. You could kiss the Guggenheim in NY goodbye, as well as the one in Bilbao. Louis Sullivan's marvelous Chicago buildings? Nope, all gone. The Chrysler Building in NY? Sorry, clearly not "harmonious" with its contemporary surroundings. Brunelleschi's great Duomo in Florence? Radically innovative, clearly unlike anything that surrounded it at the time. Obviously a ghastly error. Etc. etc. etc.

No, "harmonious" is just one of those arbitrary standards people drag out to try to give some semblance of principle to personal aesthetic responses.
posted by yoink at 8:51 AM on January 15, 2015


Doesn't have to please everyone, but should be, you know, not hideously ugly.

But that's exactly the problem with Homeowner Representative Boards and the like. It's not that they attempt to find things that everybody likes, it's that they veto anything that somebody might dislike (i.e., think "hideously ugly"). It's exactly that that leads to aesthetic pablum. Give the surrounding community veto power and you veto everything remotely innovative, personal or exploratory.
posted by yoink at 8:57 AM on January 15, 2015


yes okay my tastes are objectively wrong and architects should just make ghastly buildings okay I have seen the error of my ways

or you could not ignore that I don't think harmonious needs to mean pablum but what the hell ever, I'm done
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:05 AM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Washington Monument, the Eiffel Tower

Not buildings, different standards apply.

The Longaberger Company World Headquarters Building in Nerk, Ahia.

See, a lot of people would probably think that's hideous, but I think it's great. It whimsically evokes 20th century roadside architecture, and is better than another anonymous low-rise office park. Also, still recognizably a building with those crazy details like windows and a skylight.

The new LACMA, for example, would clearly be right out--there's nothing remotely like it in LA, and it's clearly like nothing else on that stretch of Wilshire. You could kiss the Guggenheim in NY goodbye, as well as the one in Bilbao. Louis Sullivan's marvelous Chicago buildings? Nope, all gone. The Chrysler Building in NY?

I'll give you the first three, but not the others. The first three are all cases where the unique form actually fits the function. A museum is a destination where one goes to escape the city, so not engaging with the city like a traditional building is not as much of a sin. Their type of architecture is wholly inappropriate for schools, public buildings, and offices. There's also not a museum on every block. Most bold designs become much less effective when they're not surrounded by traditional buildings. They're kind of lazy that way. Museums are also not going to want a whole of natural light flowing in, so these bold designs are much better than being a blank square. I'm assuming Gehry's Guggenheim also had "death ray" problems like the WDCH? How about leaks? (Kind of a bummer for a museum and a major "fail" if you ask me.)

Yes, the Sullivan buildings and Chrysler Building were bold when new, but they were also still recognizably buildings built with human considerations in mind, not shiny, windowless "fuck you"s. (Let's not delve in the sophomoric "phallic symbol" debate about hi-rises.)
posted by entropicamericana at 9:12 AM on January 15, 2015


entropicamericana: "How about leaks? (Kind of a bummer for a museum and a major "fail" if you ask me.) "

Part of the famous-architects-suck-schtick is to harp on whether or not something leaks, etc. To dismiss something like the Bilbao Guggenheim on something that petty is an attempt to reduce actual discussion about the merits or shortcomings of the building to base details that really tell you nothing about its actual impact. It's crapping over serious architectural criticism in favor of cheap snark.
There's a thousand museums in the world that don't leak and are by any meaningful definition much, much, much less interesting, relevant and influential than Guggenheim Bilbao.
posted by signal at 11:05 AM on January 15, 2015


I'm just a country mouse who isn't paid to have an opinion about architecture, but I don't think pointing out when something fails at its primary purpose (i.e providing shelter in general or protecting priceless works of art from the elements in particular) is a particularly illegitimate form of criticism.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:20 AM on January 15, 2015


entropicamericana: "I don't think pointing out when something fails at its primary purpose (i.e providing shelter in general or protecting priceless works of art from the elements in particular) is a particularly illegitimate form of criticism."

I'm not sure about it's legitimacy, but it is petty and not conductive to any serious thought or debate. The idea that architecture's "primary purpose" is providing shelter precludes any serious argument, too.
posted by signal at 11:39 AM on January 15, 2015


I'm not sure about it's legitimacy, but it is petty and not conductive to any serious thought or debate. he idea that architecture's "primary purpose" is providing shelter precludes any serious argument, too.

I live in an award-winng architecturally significant building. We just paid the big bucks to have the water-proofing and surfacing redone because it couldn't keep water out. I assure you that we didn't find it particularly petty or to preclude serious thought.
posted by Justinian at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Justinian: "I live in an award-winng architecturally significant building. We just paid the big bucks to have the water-proofing and surfacing redone because it couldn't keep water out. I assure you that we didn't find it particularly petty or to preclude serious thought."

I know you're answering in the spirit of snark, but: I'm not saying building shouldn't keep water out, I'm saying that no serious or interesting architectural analysis revolves around how many leaks a building has, and to pretend it does is disingenuous, at best.
posted by signal at 12:57 PM on January 15, 2015


That's sort of my point. Why do you hate bad architecture? Do you also hate all the bad architecture you see everyday that's not signed by somebody famous, or is it just the brand-name badness that gets to you?

I was hesitant to post this reply yesterday, as I thought it might be too much of a derail, but seeing that the train cars are already lying horizontal next to the tracks...

I'm not only going to invoke the old Zappa quote "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture" but mix three of those subjects together at once.

It's easy to see the many parallels when it comes to arguments concerning people's preferences of architecture and music - the historical styles, the experimental artists, the fandom, the cliques and factions, the great sums of money involved, etc.

What surprises me is that some are baffled that there is a segment of people who really dislike a good portion of current architecture. It seems the same as saying "I don't understand why some people really don't like (insert any successful pop artist or music style). Why do they hate music so much?" and follow it with a vague assumption that is jab at the critic's reasons, such as it being and attempt to be cool by not liking popular stuff, or its due to their age or assorted prejudices.

I'm generally not a fan of most current architecture. There are many styles I do enjoy and appreciate, but when it comes to the last 100 years or so, finding enjoyment there is the exception rather than the rule. This doesn't mean I hate architects, or think we should all live in old houses or soulless generic cubes, or that there should not be exploration and advancement of architecture in general. It just happens that I don't find much of the designs of the current era pleasing. For the sake of this argument, consider that my definition of the term 'bad architecture.'

Encountering 'bad architecture' is like walking past a person that's constantly blasting the same song, a song that you really dislike, over and over out of a boombox every time you go past them. We understand that there are people who like the song, from the artist who wrote and performed it to the people that bought it, the countless hours it took to create and distribute and the tens of thousands of people from record labels, truck drivers, internet companies, to record store clerks that rely on popular music to have a job. All that doesn't change the fact that you don't like the song, and don't look forward to hearing it every time you have to go past that person. You can understand the reasoning and the mechanics that went into making that particular song, and can acknowledge the appeal it could have to others, but why on Earth should you be obligated to like it?

With that in mind, almost every time I come across 'bad architecture' I simply just notice it an move on. The only time I really would give it any more thought is the rare moments when it's both bad and somehow would in some abstract manner, cost me money through public revenue or higher costs of good or services to cover the building costs - public buildings, hospitals, etc. Even then, it's not like I'm campaigning against them - incredible advances in efficiency these days often means less cost over time, not more. It's just a momentary gut reaction. At worst it amounts to "Wow, that building looks awful - its a bunch of curvy, wiggly, partially metal-plated pretentious nonsense. Did the city actually pay for that?"

Eventually styles and aesthetics will change, and maybe the next wave of design will be something that I dig.
posted by chambers at 1:38 PM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Non-snarky: I agree that a serious analysis should not revolve around "does it leak?". That's dumb. I do, however, think that successful architecture should be able to perform the basic and fundamental purpose for which it was built. You could design and build an incredibly beautiful interesting home that did not have a roof. I would still call it an architectural failure.

So I think "successfully functions" is necessary to be architecturally successful. It isn't sufficient and the analysis shouldn't, as you say, revolve around that. But I do think it's an architectural failure if it doesn't manage to meet that requirement. An interesting failure, maybe, but still a failure.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 PM on January 15, 2015


Analogy: If I designed an incredible-on-almost-every-level car but that car got half a mile to the gallon I think you would agree the car is not successful. That doesn't mean that it's correct to assert that analysis of cars should or does revolve around fuel efficiency but it does mean that the car can be considered a failure on that basis even if everything else is wonderful.
posted by Justinian at 1:41 PM on January 15, 2015


And now to argue with myself: Usually when the roof leaks it is a failure of the builders and contractors and not the architect. So it is probably not fair to consider that as an aspect of architectural design.

Arguing with myself is the best because I always win.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on January 15, 2015


Analogy: If I designed an incredible-on-almost-every-level car but that car got half a mile to the gallon I think you would agree the car is not successful. That doesn't mean that it's correct to assert that analysis of cars should or does revolve around fuel efficiency but it does mean that the car can be considered a failure on that basis even if everything else is wonderful.

A roof leak does not correlate to 0.5mpg. If your 'architecturally significant' building is more the 50 years old, you may have maintenance issues that buildings of a similar era using more traditional construction methods of that era don't. But that doesn't mean the 101 canard OH NOES FALT ROOVES means every International Style building is inherently a failure. Aside from experimental design, they often were modestly budgeted. So 50 years on, it's going to be tricky if you want to retain the existing detailing. But if your building is less than 50 years old and you have endemic roof leaks? Put that on the contractor. We solved flat roof design a long time ago. Most contractors don't really read documents closely. They build what then know how to, and if the specs deviate (even if they are correct or a better solution), the often make errors or take short cuts (since they bid quickly assuming everything is going to be stock).

Plenty of cars that are considered in some circles to be extraordinary as designed objects are hard to maintain or are trouble-prone (Ferrari, Jaguar, Saabs from some eras). Even the new Tesla Model S is considered a failure by some combustion engine die-hards (because, yes, of range limitations). And try getting into a paddle shift conversation with a gear head some time. By your measure, a Camry is the best car ever.
posted by 99_ at 9:34 PM on January 15, 2015




« Older The Positive Value of Negative Reviews   |   Sometimes security risks hide in plain sight Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments