MoMA: Landmarks of Modern Architecture
Scavenger Hunt on Foursquare
The game grabbed my attention, and took me to:
At first, it took me by surprise, the descriptions of selected buildings. While some are interesting, one begins to see some stretch: A building by Junzo Yoshimura ‘utilizes ribbon windows, which Le Corbusier also used in his most iconic buildings’.
My impression was that while Corbusier was fascinated by what he saw upon his visit to US; New York, and USA in general were largely irreverent to Corb. Even in an era where all things European were considered cultured and worth emulating, and many of his disciples found work in US. Of course it was also a time to celebrate geniuses. And buildings in 60s and 70s? That’s pretty late – by that time Le Corbusier was already through the cycle of falling in love and then becoming disillusioned with the Soviets (following his entry for The Palace of Soviets. And he was busy building for Nehru in India, a new city) So I remember thinking: some real fan of Le Corbusier here!
Now I see the reason -
Through September 23
MoMA presents its first major exhibition on the work of Le Corbusier, encompassing his work as an architect, interior designer, artist, city planner, writer, and photographer.
In celebration of the Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light and Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Architecture exhibitions—and these artists’ lasting influence on global architecture—MoMA invites you on a Foursquare scavenger hunt to find iconic modernist architectural sites in New York City.
Some are famous enough, but others are lesser known, and worth visiting. Grab the opportunity, check in!
If interested in more on previous Scavenger Hunt by MoMA: see
Who doesn’t love an architect in need?
Consider this for one of the most famous buildings of all times, at least with architects:
Cost of the Building: 155,000
Architect’s Fees: 8,000
At the time when the guy needed work… old and nearly forgotten, it was okay with the client to pay that money (eventually, about 10,000)
More on the said building
It is interesting to read the account of work as progressed on this project by Jim Atkins* on
… “Out-of-phase activities such as the drawings being completed after the work was begun were commonplace with the construction of Fallingwater, and these errant events would chronically plague the project throughout construction and cause delays and re-work”
This is a sort of a working text, it will be updated a couple (or may be more) times.
* In FALLINGWATER PART 3 The Story of a Country House—The Design (Third of a six part series)
Getting worked up with all the unsolicited and downright annoying spam, more this month than ever. Of course I am angry at myself for not knowing more techniques to spot them right away, and some of them do look genuine (read: you hope them to be for you). So for some I went ip checking, and for yet others, pasted the text in Google to find out if the same has been posted elsewhere. It’s an old technique but always turns up some nice gems from others as hassled, or from some forum I didn’t know was discussing SPAM.
So there were the usual, people who found whole databases, list of most annoying ones (which included the one I had searched), and various techniques and plug ins to deal with SPAM. But that won’t give me satisfaction or peace, I know.
Hence I recommend the best way I came across to deal with it, after you are done with the serious stuff.
Dealing with SPAM… the fun way @
Peter Cartier, thanks for making light of it.
Yahoo reports this morning that a four lane bridge over a river north of Seattle collapsed but there were no casualties even as 3 persons were sent to hospital; and shows a picture of collapsed bridge along with 2 cars dumped in shallow water.
More information here:
No fatalities in I-5 bridge collapse in NW Wash
The AP article states that built in 1955, the bridge was designated as functionally obsolete. ‘It had a sufficiency rating of 57.4 out of 100, according to federal records. That is well below the statewide average rating of 80, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data, but 759 bridges in the state have a lower sufficiency score.’
‘Washington state was given a C in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 infrastructure report card. The group said more than a quarter of Washington’s 7,840 bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.’
It also talks about how many bridges in that county are more than 50/ 70/ 80 years old.
Our own case: Ellis Bridge
The collapsed bridge somehow reminded me of Ellis Bridge (Long ago rechristened as Vivekanand Bridge but I can’t seem to relate to the new name) in Ahmedabad. Ellis Bridge has crossed its designated life span of 100 years during which it did commendably well too. But after being rendered functionally obsolete, even if the same terms were not used, a new function has not yet been assigned to it. I have not heard of any attempts to check if it is structurally deficient, or is still good to go after the expiry date. Even if it were, being narrow, it is certainly not enough for the new age traffic. It’s present is far less glorious than it’s past: Ensconced in railings and roads passing on both sides, without even a pedestrian access to it, with trash thrown on it’s tattered tar surface, it certainly makes a sorry sight.
Ellis Bridge is in the last cycle of it’s life, and has been decaying and neglected before someone thought of putting a set of two roads around it, or as happened recently, of letting it go. Happy that the idea of demolishing it has been reversed thanks to some laudable citizen activism and good sense on AMC’s part. But it is going to take much much more to really ‘save’ Ellis Bridge.
Bring on the accessibility, improve the geometry, revitalise the whole area, add the infrastructure, educate the citizens, sensitise the decision makers… we are all stakeholders in this!
pdate: Brouhaha over logo continues…
News: CEPT University logo has changed.
For a while, there was voting going on facebook for what should become CEPT’s new Logo. Seems it’s over. The colourful sketch centred design seems to have lost to a plain and modern set of words – at least on CEPT website, and as of right now.
There is also some childish criticism going around and youth focussed (and news starved) dailies are making items out of the same.
Mr. Bhowmick’s take in Times of India (16 May 2013)
DNA reports (16 May 2013):
Folks on facebook are reacting angrily:
- Not a new logo, a new font!
- Where is the logo? All I can see is Grey CEPT and Green University.
- It’s disgusting!
- It’s architects’ job, not planners’. Don’t ruin it by changing the logo.
As is obvious, many are really upset over the issue. A strange yet familiar brand of Alumni activism and reactions are emerging as well. I am looking with amazement at the groups being formed to oppose the ‘call’ taken by the administration. And public consultation? People want to be consulted because they liked the earlier logo? Because the institution teaches them public participation?
Even as it may not be clear how much ownership the President feels over School or CEPT (having studied there, when his father was the dean (same as president now), and one of the founding fathers of School of Architecture; and having his wife as well as sister study there… not to forget the three years his son spent in SID; as well as teaching; taking workshops and employing a good number of CEPT products); no one can blame him for not knowing it up close and personal.
Apparently there is some bad blood between the existing personalities and the new ones, like in all changes. Calling Bimal Patel autocratic has become a routine response on campus now, and what is euphemistically called administration is another name for the new President. If changing of the logo is, as portrayed, his move, it’s not earning him any brownie points.
The original (whatever that means) logo was certainly popular, judging by the emotional reactions of so many past and present students. No doubt that even bureaucratic organisations like Council of Architecture and Government of Gujarat departments dealing with a huge number of universities too instantly recognised anything CEPT thanks to that logo.
Adding this example from a surveyer’s website to prove it:
And Janmarg page, with it’s all too famous logos…
But I am finding it really strange that the logo design is being attributed entirely to Mr. Bhaumik, and there is no mention from so many who participated in the CEPT logo contest back in 1992.
And strangely, none either of the seed planted by Binnie (One Kamaljit Singh Sandhu, hope the name is correct, from 1986 batch) during a NASA meet. It was a sketch made on a bath towel when the team participating in that NASA realised they had no banner or flag like the other schools. I wish someone would dig that up, and move the discussion towards constructive efforts to foster the brand recognition CEPT already has. There is certainly enough space below the university’s name on the red brick wall at the entrance…
Subject: Bob Sieger, Madison architect + HotelRED, Wisconsin
Story such as this would be interesting from any walk of life but it interests me more because it is from an architect’s life. And it is about a building.
This is a hotel sporting contemporary interiors, and the facade treatment makes for an eye catching building. What interested me first was the appearance, and then some research revealed a life story as well.
As hotels go, this building looks different in grey RCC and reds of all kinds. Tripadvisor is full of reviews saying people loved the contemporary feel and the use of red. Even when there are folks calling it cold, there are enough guests raving about the grey and red and its sleekness.
Architects normally try to realise their aesthetic dreams through their own dwelling (I mean normal architects*). Many architects get to experiment on other people’s dwellings. If big enough, they get to fly fancy on museums and office buildings even. But not so much with hospitals and gas stations and conservative building types such as government/ service buildings and hotels. So such an aesthetic for a function oriented commercial building seems to be an odd choice and an achievement simultaneously.
This is one way for destiny to grant an architect his dreams. On the hotel website and elsewhere, there is some description about the architect wanting to design the building in a certain manner, and his preference for a specific colour and such. But how do you convince a client to build your vision? There are two answers: 1. Do it yourself and 2. In case f trouble, you might get lucky like Bob, so keep that faith.
Here’s a piece of news: Hotel next to Camp Randall open for business (Originally appeared in Wisconsin State Journal @
Nearly two years after construction shut down, a new hotel across from Camp Randall Stadium opened its doors Tuesday and welcomed its first guests. HotelRED, at 1501 Monroe St., is finishing up some details but launched a soft opening this week with a grand opening planned for later in the month. “We’ve gone from development to finally being open,” said Michael Erikson, president of Red Hospitality, which owns the hotel. “We’re excited. We have guests.” Construction on the four-story, 48-room hotel began in 2008 in a project headed up by Madison architect and developer Bob Sieger. It stopped in October 2009 because of financial problems. Red Hospitality acquired it in March and completed construction. Erikson is Sieger’s son-in-law. Some rooms still need some details such as mirrors or phones, Erikson said, and the restaurant and bar are not open yet. With its unique red-and-concrete design and prominent location, the hotel has been a curiosity for neighbors and passersby for some time. Because of that, Erikson said the staff has been giving people tours. “We’ve started having staff by the front door so if people pop their heads in, we can show them around,” he said. The hotel will be managed by Fort Atkinson-based Inn Development and Management, which specializes in boutique hotels in Wisconsin and Iowa.
If you already figured out the point by putting together the title and this paragraph, 100 marks to you.
* + those in Hollywood movies of course.
The address from where I have borrowed these images (
). Thanks for putting them up, Zane Williams.
Link to a pdf explaining the Architecture of HotelRED @
Folks, this is Vivekanand Bridge, not the glorious Ellis Bridge that was. No point getting overly nostalgic…
(Postal Department’s tribute to Ellisbridge @
A plan of Victoria Garden, in relation to Ellis Bridge before the widening…
For many years I have been watching what is happening to the area around this historic monument. So much so that most people are barely conscious of the structure while passing by. There have been many stages and layers of destruction to what it was, and it is only the relic, mere symbol that is hanging low, ready to yield to practical and myopic decision making. Look at the series of short serving changes/ destructive decisions…
1. First, the ruin of Sunday Market/ Ravivari
2. Downfall of Victoria Garden’s and the road around it
3. Messing with Road leading to Ahmedshah’s mosque, area around Sewa office, and Akhandanand Press/ path to Bhadra
4. Breaking of turret next to Ellis Bridge to create a split bridge on both sides (thus breaking things even more historic, thereby establishing the logic of new over old, or measurable value like smooth movement over some vague sentiment about history)
5. Putting a pathetic excuse of a park next to Ellisbridge without parking or even a way to get there, and its psychotic security more interested in driving away visitors then letting them enjoy the
6. Constructing the mammoth of a flyover (literally) on Ashram Road (etiolating the beautiful 1938 Town Hall by Claude Batley in the process) and ending it right at the foot of Ellis Bridge.
7. The fact remains that given 120 years after the bridge, and numerous new bridges, nothing as beautiful has come up, and authorities during all these years may find it hard to ignore.
Although one may argue there were many other smaller steps leading to this spot, the decent has been constant and consistent. And more than the authorities, the citizens’ disinterest has brought it to this state. Hoping that this is what the Save Ellis Bridge’ movement might change.
In my humble opinion, the only way to avoid degradation of the area and save Ellis Bridge is the overhaul or preservation not of one element but of the entire environment. If more people are proactive, taking a long term view of our environment, built and otherwise, surely authorities will pay attention.
It is not only the designers’ job: the Great Sons of Ahmedabad’s Soil, as called by someone during this movement, too, need support.
Photos in skyscrapercity: @
Slide show by Sivan Palakkaparambil on Tripadvisor
Update: Not all are patriots.
I have received enough spam mail from some sick mind/s who used words ‘Boston sympathy’ to tag this post. It originated in US and ip leads to a router.
I love Boston (but not bots). It’s an amazing city, in company of many amazing neighbours, full of inspiring people who responded so quickly with offers of help. Salute, true humans.
Sympathy for Boston (and others)
This morning, newspapers are reporting that the accused for Pune German Bakery blast is convicted.
Also, news is coming in about the three blasts at the end of Boston Marathon. My sympathy for the city, her citizens and all who are affected.
The act of scaring and scarring unarmed and unrelated citizens is becoming more and more common. Delhi, Mumbai, Malegaon, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, London, Brussels, Paris, and many more cities come to mind.
How is a city affected by these? Not only these events change the life of those who were directly affected, but also of those who weren’t there. Yesterday, we have heard the 100th story when a person who met with an accident did not find help.
It has become common for Mumbai people to start worrying seriously if a loved one is late and hasn’t called. Of course mutual trust is affected. India, which has long battled these terror acts sees more and more polarisation taking place because of actions of some.
Of course the CCTV systems for public places are finding more supporters. If in London all the dustbins from public places like tube stations are removed, it is to make them safer. In airports, routinely a bag will be picked up by the security if the owner veered away from it for more than two minutes.
Essentially adpoted as a way to draw attention, to display anger, and power, in a way highlights the powerlessness of those behind such acts. Often the show of power is towards an authority or a system. The trouble is that in large democracies, it is more and more difficult to pin down the blame for making decisions on persons, and even more difficult to harm them personally. So the acts of anger are turning more symbolic, directed more and more towards citizens.
Generally a government doesn’t give in to terror/ guerrilla warfare, and if the intention is to serve an ideology, it is not fulfilled. Governments don’t change their outlook on account of a few angry/ misguided subjects (specially if they try to harm other subjects). History stands witness to the fact that if it was towards a demand, it is not met. If it was a reaction from members of a large group, the rest of that group gets in more trouble. For those poor sods who went crazy on their own, they are just murdering people whether they look at it that way or not.
My heart goes out to citizens harmed and scared. Peace.
Let us take the case of (Architecture, Urban, Planning, Transport, Structure) design consultancy of public projects, supposedly open to all.
All applicants are equal in the eyes of the client (institution/ trust/ society/ charity/ local authority/ semi, non and proper government) and it is, theoretically, a level playing field as far as private players are concerned… right?
Where the market regulates the fees and businesses remain as moral as they choose to be, take a scenario where those who want to do big projects invariably cut down fees/ offer bribes to decision makers/ take cuts from contractors.
Q.: Why didn’t some private consultants who were also teachers at C.E.P.T. ever need to cut their rates and give in to harsh market demands?
Now choose an answer:
- They were already quoting competitive rates and were content with what came their way
- They believed in sticking to their guns as regards fees and so, no spoiling the field
- They were much better than all others, and potential clients knew that
- Some of us are more equal than others
- All of the above
Answer and explanation coming soon…
The Faculty of Planning Summer Internship Committee is out on streets.
Out with a fancy booklet with mostly irrelevant photos and even fancier designations printed at the back.
The students, some smart and some not, are looking to spend their time in offices and organisations learning something that’ll help them in their next year of studies and prepare them for future. More like prepare their employers for what they’ll be looking at in a year or two.
How long is the internship?
True, the internship idea itself was the child of necessity, how else to make a 1.5 year course 2 years long?
Divide the extra 6 months in two: extend the thesis duration, and send the students out for some months.
Well, that was when the course became a degree.
Coming back to internship:
Where could a post graduate student spend her/ his time fruitfully with their employer also gaining from their energy and enthusiasm?
Generally speaking, in short range research, documentation and conceptualising projects with clear strategy and where their work is well defined – where someone has time and leisure to cut it to measure, and monitor. The pace is slower. And either where bulk of the work is done by others, or similar roles already exist in bulk… A place where an inexperienced person coming in is not such a novelty, and a trained person leaving is not such a problem.
This is the opposite of what most private consultancies are. This is the reason so many of them will turn them down, not explaining why. Also, many students who do end up in one of these high paced and demanding places are going to be used as fodder, being shunted about, sort of wasting their time, and sort of the other party’s as well. Too much to learn, and no one with the time to teach it. Sadly, this is a pre-curser to what they’ll face when they land their first job. Not enough skills, no patience to acquire it. Both sides lack latitude – One side wants quick money, the other, quick work. Believe me, market is replete with employers disillusioned. Post graduates with a bright future, but many of them will be disoriented if they pick out a wrong place because of ignorance, outward glamour or lured by higher pay.
And there’s no-one to tell them this. Partly because those who are supposed to be doing these things are themselves turning into those hurried practices.
More on that another time.