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Charles Mudede is my favorite architecture critic. And while I fully consider this column of his to be about architecture, I welcome disagreement because it would be fun to talk about.
Donna started a thread!!!
maybe they were laughing because someone terminated the vinyl wallcovering on an outside corner instead of an inside corner? we may never know.
I like anyone who drinks, is funny, and writes well. And I have to agree that explosions of loud laughter fueled by alcohol are annoying --until, that is, the annoyed achieves the same blood-alcohol level as the annoyer.
Creating social spaces is one of the responsibilities with which we are charged. We have to make places where people feel comfortably able to be human, to go about the myriad formal and informal processes that make us a society.
We're also charged with making sure color/material changes don't happen at an outside corner. For godssake, never.
(Also, citizen, I'm a loud laugher, whether drunk or not.)
And, also, this is the column that introduced me to Mudede's writing and made me a fan.
But even into this cheery holiday atmosphere judgment must descend and do its mean (or meaningful) work. For six of the seven gingerbread structures on display were not produced by children afflicted with juvenile diabetes—those naughty diseased children could not be trusted with the raw materials, with the gingerbreads, sweets, and icings—but by the most prestigious architectural firms in the city. So we must assess these structures with a critical eye. Which is best? Which is worst? If an architectural firm is incapable of decent gingerbread design, what of the buildings that firm is inflicting on our helpless city?
I don't believe Mudede wrote that. There's not a single reference to Marxism, Racism, or Africa.
I think the article - the original one I posted - also brings up social media space together with social physical space. You used to have to whisper and exchange knowing glances with your table mates if the person at the table behind you was laughing too loudly. Now you can complain about it to the world, silently.
Didn't the Blur Building attempt to make a physical space where you could read another's thoughts in the ether?
(I'd already guessed that, Donna. Laughing, loud or otherwise, is one of my favorite things.)
The older but second piece you posted seems to be more obviously about architecture, although perhaps, architecture more as Sam Bompas and Harry Parr would practice.
The second one also actually has I think more to say about the intersection between building/design/space and human experience. is really literally a launch of a new food/bar review column i guess?
Finally, re: the gingerbread houses, personally I would say i would grade Callison Architecture's "A Very Kremlin Christmas" not the KMD design as "By far the best on display" but agree that NBBJ's "March of the Arctic Nesting Dolls" is no doubt "The worst".
Plus, that (at least render) of Sheraton by Callison Architecture is pretty fugly/uninspiring...
As far as I know I haven't consciously read his writing before but look forward to more. Donna, could you point me to some of your favorite of his, more conventional architectural criticism?
Well he's definitely not a conventional architecture critic, but architecture (and urbanism) and how it interacts with/forms culture is at a lot of his writing. I think I like his writing so much because it always tweaks my view; he always brings a bizarre perspective that resonates, at least with me, and weakens a shibboleth or two. There's this statement about cities vs. nature:
The city is totally human. The steps in an apartment building are for human feet, the door knobs afford human hands, the bed is for a human back (a horse would crush a mattress, abhor a toilet bowl), the window is there for you, the streets are paved for your modes of transportation. This urban world didn't fall on you; it sprang from you. The woods are alienating. The river hates you.
I love that this passage reminds me that even buildings I don't like are of humans, and must resonate for one reason or another with some humans somewhere. So maybe I need to get into a frame of mind, as a member of the human community, that would allow me to appreciate them too? Then I remember that I'm actually okay with being a little bit elitist about architecture. But at least it made me think.
He also did a series on The Ugliest Building In Seattle. Let me see if I can find it.
This is fantastic, Donna, thanks for sharing! I am also a loud laugher, although perversely super annoyed by other loud laughers. Ah, humans.
I totally agree on his urbanism statement. I've said many times that one of the best classes I took in school was about the psychology of the built environment - and was actually taught by someone trained in the subject, was housed in the humanities department, etc. It was fascinating and really opened my eyes to what architecture really is about: humans.
curtkram: speaking of loud laughter... HA!
my first thought when reading that donna was bachelard and poetics of space.
Mudede is at it again. This one is a delight: long and rambling and harsh. With a headline like this, who can resist diving in?
I Hate the Beacon Hill Library, and You Should Too.
I should write one called I Hate MoMA's Jaw-Droppingly Stupid Decisions, and You Should Too.
Thanks for posting, Donna. He's a really good writer. His tone and style reminds me a bit of David Foster Wallace.