Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tabubilgirl has the flu, so she is fulminating. Because it beats sniffling.

I have, previously, expounded upon on the subject (or piffle) of contemporary archi-speak.
            Having been out of the professional loop for the past year and a half, I've been rather under-exposed to the vernacular. I try to remain au-courant, but up here in Rural South Australia, people only drop their tenses when they talk, instead of their common sense, and I have unfortunately regained a sense of perspective.
            Stuff like THIS is the sort of reason that I get cheesed off.  Bldgblog's content is exciting and moody and thought-provoking and the more-philosophical-than-thou "WE-invented-the-wheel" (or rather "WE generated a primary conceptualization of the multi-modular implementation of a demi-discoid meta-form") presentation gives me the terminal twitches. 
            The author of this blog is clearly a man of passion, with a wholly catholic appreciation of designed space in every medium and manifestation imaginable. (see?!) My current, sniffle-soaked cranky-flu problem is with the way the contributors learned to talk about it. An architect can't even clear a building site without getting so excited they need to go and lie down. Seriously - 
            "For their project Log Chop Bench (2011), the Canadian design firm The Practice of Everyday Design used 'a logger's brute strength and surgical precision to carve out seats on a reclaimed log.''

This verbal bloat reminds me of what happened after they put the lid on the new Convention Center in Vancouver.  It has a marvelous green roof - a meadow that spills down the side of the building to be crossed and re-crossed by a series of terraced walking tracks.  It's bright green and gorgeous and ecologically ambitious and there's a plaque riveted to the concrete verge of one of the walking tracks that spells out the biological, climatological, agro-historical, socio-philosophical and epistemological metaphysics behind every board, sheet, nail, rivet and grass stem in the project.
            It reads as if the competition for the prokect had been rather stiff, and as if the competition board was composed of city council members rather more interested in culturally-sensitive point-scoring than the merits of the actual designs, and as if the lead architects for this particular project had gotten rather desperate, and the night before the presentation, over a few stiff drinks, had hammered out the galloping mother of all architectural expositions, and then, rather unexpectedly, found out that they'd won.
            With one small caveat.  The competition board was so absolutely enchanted with everything they'd said that they insisted it be written down and place it somewhere prominent so that posterity would be fully appraised of how deeply sensitive the city had been in its choice of Convention Center.
            I like to imagine that somewhere, there is a small group of architects deeply embarrassed about that.

One can excuse the form when one is playing to a panel. The etiquette is rigid.  But that delightful little log bench on Bldgblog also reminds me of every visit I've ever made to the marvelous circular Guggenheim Museum in New York.  One walks out of the place with a mind packed full of visions of dry white pages of small black-typed philosophy - the curators and artists appear to have spent more time working out their arcane vocabularies than they have on creating the art.
            It's the exquisite Kandisky explosions in the permanent collection - sold as is, sans speech-bubbles, that stick. You have to work them out yourself. 

Show, don't tell.

Just for a week.
I dare you.

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