Thread Central


indy doesn't just have to accept what libeskind brings, does it?! 

i think the eminently qualified archietct of the ima could put on her superwoman belt, partner up with her favorite curator, that super-smart arts coordinator we talked about, a certain talented architect whose firm does lots of neighborhood revitalization projects, and others, and start a community conversation!

why shouldn't a grassroots committee be involved in shaping the community conversation, serving as the good 'client' that libeskind will really need to make the project more suitable for the city's needs? 

seems like a good opportunity! 

Nov 29, 12 7:05 am

hell, if they want some non-biased/apolitical assistance, maybe a kentucky architect could even pitch in. and/or a very savvy and influential college dean. 

Nov 29, 12 7:07 am
vado retro

Indianapolis! Don't point that Libeskind! You could put somebody's eye out!

Nov 29, 12 11:27 am

So, along the subject of "archinect: then and now" that we were discussing a few posts ago, something occurred to me last night:

I was reading a bit about Virginia Woolf, and then happened to have a conversation regarding David Foster Wallace, which started me thinking about how many writers have committed suicide, which then made me realize: I can't think of any architects (PRACTICING architects, not arch students) who have committed suicide.  I wonder if there are any?  And I thought, I should start a thread about this and see if anyone can think of any, or we can ruminated on why architects don't seem to commit suicide as much as writers (is it a difference in the creative process?).  And then I suddenly realized, I couldn't start a thread about that - it wouldn't work.  But 5 or 6 years ago, it totally would have worked.  And then I thought: that's what I can put my finger on, regarding how archinect is different today than a few years back:  we've lost a certain playfulness in the forums that we used to have.  We've traded it, I think, for a higher level of professionalism on the site - which is certainly nice, and has positive effects.  But I do think we've given up a certain amount of playfulness, a "let's-not-take-life-too-seriously"-ness, that used to be a hallmark feature of the forums.  There's more cynicism and snark now, somehow, which might be the downside of taking things more seriously.

Somehow, I can't imagine the garwondler rising up out of the forums these days - however, that's not necessary a bad thing, I guess.

Nov 30, 12 3:08 pm
Sarah Hamilton

Manta, you SHOULD ABSOLUTLEY create that thread. Just let me know when you do, since I never leave TC.

Nov 30, 12 5:44 pm

manta what wouldn't work? you think  it would just degenerate into " cynicism and snark now"? While I have  been on Archinect less than some (more than 5 yrs?) i remember snark always being a part, it is Internets after all. Although less playfulness more professionalism i do think is right..

Nov 30, 12 5:59 pm

Not to intrude, but I finally see where Archinect’s more circumspect old guard have relocated.  And right here in plain sight, under the “Thread Central” title that’s just bland enough to discourage entry by the youngsters itching for a fight, or those trying to get someone to do their research for them.

I stumbled across Y’All the other day.  It’s nice to find some of the old flavor and, dare I say it, civility.

Donna’s pique over Libeskind made me want to both laugh and cry, with a little nausea thrown in.  “Der Libermeister” (as he was called by my best friend) taught one of the urban design studios during his spectacular year at UCLA back in ‘95.  And by “spectacular” I mean embarrassing and highly visible.  My friends and I were in the UD program, and so were stuck with “the five-foot Pole” (per same friend) and his unique brand of “teaching.”  What a clusterf*ck of a studio… just a disaster.   It was made all the more unpleasant (then) but hilarious (now) by the obsequious fawning of his many acolytes in architecture.  The whole thing was capped by the unintentional comic relief provided by the TA: a smug and humorless putz if there ever was one, who sort of ran things when Libeskind was away—most of the time.

In almost a decade of grad school (long story), that one class stands out at the only really negative academic experience I had.  Whew!  Sorry for the long vent/rant.  (vant?)

I guess the point here, Donna, is to take him out if you get the chance... say, at a public meeting.  (See Chris Walken's character at the end of The Dead Zone.)  Otherwise, good luck.

Nov 30, 12 7:30 pm

oh come on, so his lack of interest in your classmates is evidence of bad design skills?  different subject altogether. 

i find it worrying that someone who is otherwise cool with the avant garde is worried that her town is not hip enough and might swing into the dark ages because of the unknown design that danny is going to have built for her town.  when architects are worrying that we might need to dumb it down for the general public what have we got left?  why not just ask him to do a good building for a change, because we know he is capable of it but has inexplicably  decided not to give a shit for the last 10 years or so.  and see what happens.  make a documentary about it or a blog, but why oh why would the answer simply be to aim for something less challenging?  it's not like there isn't enough crap building going on already.  i know that isn't quite what you are saying but it seems to be the undertow of the conversation somehow.

alternatively see if they can trade danny in for zaha.  she will do the same trippy lines, but with better planning.

Nov 30, 12 8:09 pm

i didn't think donna asked for dumbed-down danny but was *bemoaning* the dumb danny(tm) of the past decade. and she's right: indy's not unsophisticated. if he delivers his normal schlock, the people who thought the whole effort was a bad idea will be in a great gloating position. the smart folks in indy HAVE to set him straight from the start. or find the one bold intern in his office who'll throw off the yoke and deliver the non-pointy goods.

Nov 30, 12 8:32 pm

An interesting and familiar struggle in public projects: politics and (versus?) design... and the effect of the starchitect.

Will local decision-makers recoil at anything unconventional?  (For whatever reason: actual distaste, political hay-making, etcetera.)

Will the star visit and design while considering community inputs?  Or just swoop in, conjure, and depart?

I'm curious if any alternative types competed with DL for this gig, or if someone just hired him...

Nov 30, 12 9:25 pm

HIPSTER ARCHITECTURE LIVES!                                                                                                       but it is bullshit  Libeskind !  

Nov 30, 12 10:16 pm

I would go to say it is not honest.....decorated fractured boxes..and  fluff..ACUTE  angles are a fricking nightmare for anyone who has to build them.  I know cause I have been there.

Nov 30, 12 10:19 pm
Sarah Hamilton

I just noticed we are up to 945 pages. We should have a party when we reach 1000.

Dec 1, 12 9:32 am

its not a big deal if you are experienced snook.  no offence meant, but folks like takenaka and nikkei can do it all for breakfast (sure there are counterparts in USA) so that whole idea of [construction being too hard = we shouldn't be building it] ain't such a convincing one.  it just means small players can't build it.  Nothing new.  A carpenter 500 years ago couldn't build a stone cathedral either.

I got that point Steven.  What I wonder is why it goes down that road in the end?  It isn't about the merits of the building or of modern architecture but how will it affect the professional image.  And yet we barely get a beep from projects like this.  And they are far more common.  Nothing wrong with standards but what happened to the mentality of pushing boundaries? 

Are we so scared of our clients that now our first thought isn't that the architecture sucks hind teat but instead how will the public react?  So much so that banal schlock is given a pass while danny is panned?  Cool to expect more of him. Would love to see an open letter that asked him to live up to his best for the sake of the profession and the community and the city he will be building in.  I don't see that happening though.  is it too scary to take our profession that seriously (again)? 

i'm genuinely curious.

Dec 1, 12 8:41 pm

I'm confused, will, regarding that hideous stadium project.  Do you mean that architects aren't speaking up enough about it to the public?  Or that it didn't solicit much commenting on this board?

I hadn't seen that before - it's so terrible it almost makes me wonder if it's a joke.  It really looks a lot like something that the worst student in my 2nd year undergrad studio would have designed.  If it only had the golden section incorporated somehow... (and by that I mean, if it literally had walls that just followed the golden section in spiral - not that the mathematical principle itself was incorporated somehow as a design driver).  Remember that kid?  We all knew that kid.  That kid grew up to design this crappy stadium.

Dec 2, 12 1:54 am

i think will and i come at things from different ends. [steven, that should be telling you something because will is doing more exciting work...] 

you'll see i commented on the arena thread, too, and with a hopeful attitude. i hate that it's a banal corporate box, but i like that it's possibly an attempt to reconsider what we've come to expect as arena form. i don't *think* i'm attributing more intention than is there when i say that the project appears to want to work within the given urban fabric rather than disrupt it like so many arenas do. 

what i wish for - in both libeskind's and 360's case - is thinking about the job the architecture is doing. not the function of the building, but what the architectural solution is bringing to the table. 360 appears to be attempting something, but in way to understated a way. too often libeskind seems to be *only* form/style-making, without considering the role of the work beyond his signature. 

Dec 2, 12 8:51 am
vado retro

@manta...i was having dinner the other night with three english professors and we got to talking about a poet/prof who didn't get tenured because he was deemed as uncollegial in that he went off on a fulbright and was an alcoholic and dysfunctional. my reponse...doesn't a poet have to be dysfunctional and generally fucked up to create anything worth reading. also, manta email me! sometime i'd love to catch up. 

as far as indy goes, i think whoever chose danny thinks they are being avant garde when, in fact, they are how many years behind the times? a competition is the way to go on these allows for a wide variety of ideas and potential solutions. perhaps makes way for new voices to be heard. etc. with the choices that are being made in indianapolis right now regarding architecture ie barton tower and a new godawful urban infill project, those making the calls need to be disconnected.,

Dec 2, 12 9:18 am

why all the hate on Libeskind? I thought his WTC winner was a total winner. Invoking statue of liberty and keeping things off balance made for one of few tower designs that  made sense to me. No wonder he went nutty after getting screwed on that. Seeing the turd that got built instead must hurt even more. Maybe indy is his comeback album...

Speaking of music, who is this vado kid, just waltzing into TC like he owns it. Ze nerve.

Dec 2, 12 11:35 am

the wtc masterplan was good, but the 'crystal', the 'ascent', the denver museum, that prefab house prototype and his other recent built works are variations on a tired theme. in 1989 student-me thought his drawings were beguiling. little did i know that they'd be some of his last ideas, sketches for every project for the subsequent 20yrs. 

somehow, though hadid's work is also stylistically consistent, there seems to be more of a challenge in it to discover a way to approach each project in a unique way. libeskind seems to envision the project and then try to figure out how to fit it to the situation. 

besides the holocaust museum, only his imperial war museum gave me anything to chew on - and that was limited: the swelling floor as a signal of the british empire's owning of a piece of the globe was pretty powerful. 

[the midwestern dining room table critic should probably stop now, until i can boast better idea-driven built work to back up my critiques....?]

Dec 2, 12 11:50 am

invoking the statue of liberty? and 1776' tall? good ideas? steven is right, the master plan was the only thing of value for the wtc. 

Dec 2, 12 4:28 pm

@manta i was mentioning it because its such crap and i would bet most people wouldn't say a damn thing about it, but if a starchitect makes less than stellar work it portends the death of Architecture, and that is even before the design is started.  that stadium thingy is a safe project that the public will not object to because its basically walmart with a step glued on.  Architecture is clearly already living on a liver machine or something.

the morphosis building in the news recently is amazing and would def be something to aim for.  Libeskind maybe off his game and not ever get up to those standards but he will probably not design anything as bad as that boxy stadium.  so what have we got to lose? 

@ steven, i saw that you were positive about that big box stadium.  can't say that I see it the same as you, but definitely appreciate the Bill Murray like attitude that you have.  It's a good thing and you may be right.  The stepped side could become something better if anyone cared.  The blank walls might also be better (the stadium in tokyo by zaha soon to be started is good example of trying to be contextual in serious way with massive stadium) but wouldn't count on that somehow.  I wonder if Richardson had the same kinds of problems when he was building?  or sullivan.  did everyone hate it when they tried to talk about context and building urban life?  I am guessing our disconnect with world is not new thing.  I get the feeling our lack of confidence is new though.

Dec 2, 12 6:18 pm

That stadium* is a piece of shit.  Seriously.  And I don't think it's contextual.  The "neighborhood" (used loosely) isn't full of pre-existing other piece of shit corporate-y looking office-y looking buildings - it's a fairly gap-toothed former industrial area down by the docks.  The new stadium will be adjacent to the parking garage for SafeCo field, between two trainyards and like 3 blocks from the docks.  

For reference, that area is referred to as Seattle's "Stadium District", if that gives you any indication. 

Steven, I appreciate you looking on the bright side but sometimes a piece of shit is just a piece of shit.



*or at least, the 3 released conceptual renderings of the stadium.

Dec 2, 12 9:10 pm

agreed about the idea of a competition, vado.  I will say though that sometimes it seems like the quality of work that is built out of competitions depends largely on the selection / advising team / jury.  So if it were done in Indy Donna & husband should be on committee!

Dec 2, 12 9:11 pm

Maybe I'm just a bit cynical b/c I just got back from Portugal where it seems like every single building - even the random buildings that would be "developer's special" here in the states, are designed about 1,000 times better than the average contemporary vernacular US building.  And that seems to have a lot to do with how well educated / how sensitive the Portuguese are about / to design.  I do think we could get there in the US but it will take a LOT of advocacy & education.  So let's get started!  Let's get out and tell people why that stadium sucks!

btw - will - I take pleasure in the fact that the article slamming the stadium design was splashed huge all over the front page of the paper in Seattle.  Article headline was the lead front page headline.  I would feel bad for the architects but I don't - with that kind of cash they have an even GREATER responsibility to cough up a good design.  They are stewards of a big chunk of Seattle's future built environment!  If they can't do a good enough job, they need to hire someone who can!  Argh.

Dec 2, 12 9:16 pm

Will, I guess I see my role as being required - as in, having a moral imperative - to support any move towards avant-garde architecture in my city because we have so little of it, the people making decisions are terrified of it, and the regular people don't understand it at all.  But I can't see myself being able to honestly defend a Libeskind project because he is all random words and built crap.  I understand the Holocaust mMuseum is a huge success but that program is not common.  I also can't see a transit center in an unimportant Midwestern city being a project that would inspire him to brilliance - if he's even capable of it, which I severely doubt.

If Thom Mayne built something here I'd defend it to high heaven, even if the project ended up being a misstep I'd be able to say it's part of a body of important and stellar work.  With Libeskind I can't do that. AND Libeskind is so full of hot air that he will offend everyone here with his crazytalk - we're not so dumb in the Midwest that we'll fall for something just because someone else says it's smart.

So "what we have to lose" is a door to any future ambitious architectural projects slamming shut.  Given that choice, I'd rather see something bland now than have the next 50 years of blandness be owed to another shard pile that Danny just disrespectfully shakes out of his sleeve.  Especially on THIS project: I can't emphasize enough that the vast majority of this state thinks that public transit is socialist evil welfare for the poor undeserving dregs of society. I want good transit far more than I want, in this case, good architecture. I see Libeskind derailing this project easily.

Dec 2, 12 9:17 pm

maybe an op-ed in the form of an open letter is the best thing donna.  make it all angry-ish and like, 'danny, don't suck on this one.  you've done right a few times, but let's be honest.  take this one serious.  don't suck.'  then if it does suck, maybe there will be an opening for some sort of community involvement saying 'we wanted this to work.  we gave you a chance, we were open minded.  we wanted you do good danny.  but you blew it.  now let's get a real architect.'

do they still have op-ed's?  or is that just a dead print-journalism thing?  maybe you need to post on huff-po for an op-ed to work now?  i honestly don't even know anymore, but i have seen community groups shut down planned projects (maybe not on this scale though).

Dec 2, 12 9:32 pm

The weather here feels like spring right now.  Very strange.

I dislike everything about Libeskind, but I don't want this project shut down.  I want it to succeed with our city not coming out a laughingstock.

On manta's topic, I think the forum has lost a lot of playfulness, and isn't it funny that we could talk about architects committing suicide as a "playful" topic?!   But pre-fall 2008 (recession) any topic at all could become playful.  Remember the fast help please thread? Lord, that still makes me laugh.

Seriously, thought: the recession forced a lot of people out of the profession and made the rest of us feel too burdened to have fun.  And the new students in school are terrified - they know they're spending a ton of money on a degree that will likely be close to worthless (it's not only architecture degrees facing this problem, either).

When is the Pritzker announced? That's always a topic good for lots of speculation.

Dec 2, 12 10:47 pm

i'm going to back-pedal a little on the seattle stadium thing, not because i don't mean what i said but because i think my intentions were misunderstood. i didn't mean to be defending it, exactly, so much as defending what i see as an *effort* to consider an urban-friendly stadium typology. what i'd like to see if a stadium model that doesn't rip a hole in an urban fabric so much as create a catalyst for urban fabric to accrue around it.  

and note, manta, that i did not use the words 'contextual' or 'fit' anywhere. that's not my bag. what i'd look for is for this project to create its own context, of sorts; one of a walkable streetscape, supporting a pedestrian scale of development around it.

i can't even consider zaha's project in the same terms, will, because it holds the city at flyways lengths on all sides. it's contextual in a context of freeway, i suppose, but that's (for me) the danger of claiming anything is contextual. it's a dubious (and unfortunately widely accepted) value. 


re: libeskind. i'm not as morbid about him as donna. one, i think a public transit project is a challenge for his office that the old forms won't answer. two, i know that there is talent in his office and - if they can be engaged in a dialogue about indy-specific needs - i think the project could be more fruitful. there needs to be a concerted effort to get past the 'shake it out of his sleeve' danger. 

where i share donna's concerns mostly has to do with how things often work here in flyover land. because the design community conversation is so anemic, community leaders often just move on without engaging the community in a meaningful way. what that often means is that a designer will be engaged to great fanfare, the news will die down and, a few months later, a design proposal will hit the front page. obviously (to design types, anyway), this doesn't bode well for community buy-in because everyone feels something is being rammed through and that they have no choice/no input. the no-tax folks bitch because they're paying for something a non-transparent elite has bought, it's too expensive, on and on. the public project supporters feel money is being spent on baubles instead of making the project better in a meaningful way. if only all of these folks were brought in to an inclusive process, they'd see and understand what's important, buy-in to the goals of the thing, and help sell it to the community at large. but that seldom happens here...

indy has a chance. the indianapolis cultural trail project has been hugely successful, the community loves it, and it's shown that a very expensive urban redevelopment project can be seen across the community as a good investment. if they're smart, they'll learn from this project and build on its lessons. 

Dec 3, 12 7:44 am

there is a forum post that seems to be some kid wanting us to write his history essay for him.  there is a potential for funny and playful there.  not a lot of interest in that though.

i guess instead i should go on a tirade about the failure of his institution in encouraging him to think for himself and educated himself.

Dec 3, 12 9:41 am

Good thought, curtkram, but piero's a lost cause.

Dec 3, 12 11:02 am

I've had a superwoman kind of day.  Early morning exercise and laundry, got the kid to school, worked my butt off at work, did a little volunteer community gig after work, walked the dog, made a delicious dinner, tested a Christmas candy recipe (failure! haha it looks like hell but is tasty) and spent the evening submitting my work for an award (on the 3Form site).

Yet my list of things to get done tonight is still 10 items long.  WTF? Why do we need to sleep?!

Dec 3, 12 11:37 pm

i voted! everybody get over there! donna's only real competition is TEN Arquitectos...

Dec 4, 12 7:05 am

The Chop Stick made it to Arch Daily today woohoo!

Of course one of the first comments is lamenting cutting down a tree to make a building.  WTF, people?!  This is what we do as architects - we turn natural resources into habitation.  I find it stunning that people feel nothing when they see a 2x4, but when they see a tree used as a building they get all misty-eyed about the death of a noble, graceful tree. IMO (as I posted on AD), it's much more respectful of the materials to make them visible, to celebrate their use.

Next thing you know I'll be saying we all need to slaughter our own chickens instead of buying packaged legs in the supermarket, huh?



BTW, thanks Steven! You have to register with 3Form to vote so I'd never ask anyone to do that.  But if you'all want to vote for me, feel free.

Dec 4, 12 9:15 am

congrats on all the publicity donna.  sonali thinks buildings are made of magic instead of natural resources.

i put in my 5 stars.  i think the roof garden is well done too.  a few of the submittals, on the interior side too, are really bad. 

Dec 4, 12 10:21 am
Sarah Hamilton

Donna, that thread was fun.  Maybe we should revive some classics.

Dec 4, 12 3:17 pm
vado retro

vote for donna. she'll set you free!

Dec 4, 12 3:32 pm

blah blah ...buildings are made of magic... blah...  as sarah hamilton always says, "that's two different buckets of possums" (sarah:  I don't say that.  toaster: I know I make things up.  sarah:  stop assigning country-fied sayings to me, it's offensive.  toaster:  I apologize, I'm an ass.  sarah: burro.  toaster: what? sarah: burrocito. toaster: shut up.  sarah: you shut up.)


been away for a while - let's see if I got this right:  paul keeps a pee bucket, citizen & donna tag-teamed against liebskind in a UFC cage match (where we learned liebskind is a biter), manta thinks linguica is an appropriate building material, will voted for gary johnson, rusty... (dude, I totally tl;dr all your posts - it's like - oh, there's a post by rusty - "blahblahblahashnnnzzzzzzzzzz"), orhan recently spent $7000 on mustache implants - yet I see no mustache, and steven is still at the derby waiting for his horse to finish...


meanwhile in the forums:  there's a few  "how do I become a high-class architectural prostitute" posts, a thread where a lot of people passionately discuss something they know very little about, not a lot of people freaking out (and fueling the freak out) over applications this year for some reason...

Dec 4, 12 4:54 pm
Sarah Hamilton

I saw a possum the other day in a tree.  I ran and got my son to check it out.  It was exciting.  He wasn't in a bucket.

Toaster, you now have to start a new thread, just for fun.  Maybe about Orhan's invisible mustache.

Dec 4, 12 5:16 pm

lol tosterovern.  if i was gonna vote for someone i admire it would probably be barney frank, not gary johnson.


totally hoping you will write op-ed to danny libeskind donna.  those all sound like great arguments to make public instead of chewing it out here.  we all need to take those kinds of public positions but never do.  architects are such a reactionary crowd.  i really envy you the chance to be involved in your community so deeply and legitimately.  here is almost impossible since i am expat and can never  be more than that even if i become a citizen.

about zaha stadium scale makes it pretty hard to be contextual but in city where context is bollocks to start with (because even something this big is inconsequential urbanistically speaking) the only true gesture is the luxurious gift of open space, which otherwise pretty much never exists.  she may have done that by accident, but at least there aren't any horrid blank walls facing a street and killing it.

awesome that shit architecture is being called out in seattle.  wishing for more of that.


also totally awesome to see your work in two places online yesterday donna.  way cool. and then some.

opossums also very awesome.  rick perry could maybe make a program to have one in each home.

Dec 4, 12 6:25 pm
Sarah Hamilton

Rick Perry would never release the money for that, unless it turns out to be lucrative for the 1%.

Dec 4, 12 6:43 pm
David Cuthbert

It's been ages since I've been in TC and feeling really bloody ashamed at my absence. But I just had to come in here and tell everyone that Donna rocks just for her involvement on such a happy project.

Back to regular programming (hi vado)

Dec 4, 12 8:52 pm

i love toaster! we need more of that kind humor here.

Dec 4, 12 9:39 pm

hey donna - you know what buildings are made of?




let me show you -




Dec 4, 12 9:57 pm

toaster overestimates my taste for horse-racing. my best bets are always on the drinks.

Dec 4, 12 10:01 pm

hi all!

Will I totally agree with your latest post on the Perot Museum/Morphosis news post...although i remember going to "science center" type museum in STL when i lived there 15 + yrs ago.

Dec 4, 12 10:37 pm

toaster your imagined exchange with Sarah was the highlight of my day. What a fun, hilarious post!


I'm about to start a new tread.

Dec 4, 12 10:59 pm

buying new shoes? night night...

Dec 4, 12 11:13 pm

did you guys notice dear abra is back with a "touchy" question and "garwondler" made it to "urban dictionary" ?

Dec 5, 12 2:37 am

toast: " oh, there's a post by rusty - "blahblahblahashnnnzzzzzzzzzz"


Dec 5, 12 3:21 am

omg.  that's insensitive rusty.  there are no more twinkies :(

Dec 5, 12 7:29 am

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