6 March


birth of Michelangelo


Thomas Jefferson appointed Benjamin Henry Latrobe surveyor of public buildings in Washington with the especial charge of the Capitol.
In terms of Latrobe's involvement at Ury House, I suspect Latrobe provided Miers Fisher with renovation designs for Ury House just prior to his (Latrobe's) move to Washington D.C., thus the work at Ury House proceeded without Latrobe's supervision. As Latrobe's appointments in Washington came to an end, 1810-11, Latrobe returned to Ury House and recorded the work that had transpired.


I do not mean to confuse the issue by raising questions regarding Le Corbusier's stylistic evolution, although I do admit that style is not intregral to the promenade architecturale. In fact, the main reason Le Corbusier was able to design two very perceptively different buildings, and yet simultaneously maintain a conceptual parity is because, in both buildings, Le Corbusier followed the promenade architecturale formula.

As it turns out, it is exactly those design elements that are similar to both the Villa Savoye and the Palais des Congrès which comprise the promenade architecturale formula, and, moreover, it is the specific sequence in which the design elements occur that renders the promenade architecturale's morphology. The promenade architecturale is not just any route or path through a building, but, more accurately, it is a carefully orchestrated succession of "architectural events" whereby the total (building) design embodies a channel of transcendence.

Both the Villa Savoye and the Palais des Congrès embody a channel of transcendence, which manifests itself literally as well as figuratively through each building's respective ramps and the paths that they purvey.



Carrere and Hastings, Cairnwood (Bryn Athyn, PA: 1895), image: 2000.03.06.
Cairnwood is the former home of John and Gertrude Pitcairn. As the founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass and through longstanding connections with the Pennsylvania Railroad, John Pitcairn's fortune allowed him to purchase the land which is now Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, and build this magnificent home. The house was designed by the famed Carrere and Hastings firm. The grounds around the house were designed by Olmstead, Olmstead and Eliot. The original grounds consisted of the house, a carriage house, stables, gardens and greenhouses, and a host of buildings for the staff and servants.
Cairnwood was getting a new Norwegian slate roof. And turning around 180 degrees:

If you walk the north former railroad trail of Lorimer Park to its end, you're almost then at the southern border of Bryn Athyn--Cairnwood is about a mile further north. There have been deer sightings in each of my trips through Lorimer Park over the past two weeks--the five sprinters-in-a-row I saw at the southern end of the north RR trail two weeks ago may well have been the same five I saw grazing in the southern-most cow pasture at near dusk last week. And the three very young ones I saw yesterday slowly grazing and climbing the small leg of the pasture that slopes down to the creek may well be the same three young ones I saw within the herd of seven I saw last December in the woods just adjacent to the same part of the pasture. I watched the three young ones for about five minutes, then a hardy cyclist approached from the other side of the field. The deer heard him immediately. He took a picture. When the cyclist and I crossed paths I said, "They're very young." He said, "Yeah. It's the reason I decided to ride through the park today."


Is modern oblivion all around what is really to blame. Progress über alles and God bless the garbage disposal? Is there a subconscious shame that comes with modern oblivion that hence engenders a selective deaf-dumb-and-blind-ness?

In another current thread here, it is said that "architects are taught to think differently." Do architects realize how much they are likewise unwittingly taught to forget?


Oh gosh, the problems of representation.

Why does nothing last forever?


Ongoing work documenting the collection of "houses under a common roof."

Mar 6, 13 10:16 am

Just before noon today, the postman delivered a starting-to-fall-apart copy of Perspecta 11, originally published in 1967, and edited by Peter de Bretteville and Arthur Golding. The name Peter de Bretteville seemed familiar for some reason, but I wasn't sure why. I did a google search, but nothing made a connection, so then I did a google image search, and again nothing made a connection, except one image looked like it came from Quondam. (Anymore, it's not uncommon that a google image search on an architectural topic will include an image or two from Quondam.) The image, Piranesi fragments of the Forma Urbis... from Quondam, but posted online via Archinect, the 13 December thread. Mystery solved:

Yes citizen, the de Bretteville and Simon Houses are featured in the October 1977 Progressive Architecture, and now seeing the content of Perspecta 11 gives the Laurel Canyon houses a most interesting background.

Perspecta 11 is a very fecund issue, full of all kinds of goodies that seem topical even today.

Large images of Venturi and Rauch's FDR Memorial Competition.

A 24 page Archigram supplement.

A conversation with James Stirling.

An article by Marshall McLuhan

And much more.


This is what's on my other computer's screen, Leon Krier's 'houses under a common roof' for La Villette. Very coincidentally, today's blog from Kazys Varnelis could even be subtitled 'houses under a common roof.'


Mar 6, 13 7:10 pm

Excellent.  Thanks for posting, Quondam.

And yet another reminder of how time passes so quickly.  Youngsters, take care of yourselves, for when you wake up tomorrow, you'll be middle-aged.

Mar 14, 13 12:58 pm

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