Rank #1: 47 — Venturi Scott-Brown & Learning From Las Vegas
We continue our discussion of the theoretical works of Robert Venturi with this episode on ‘Learning from Las Vegas — The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form’ — researched and written with Denise Scott-Brown and Steven Izenour, and published in 1972. The book, which examines the architecture of the Vegas strip, is the origin of the famous ‘Duck vs Decorated Shed’ comparison, and contains a lot else besides, including denunciations of the cult of Space, praise for the ‘ugly and ordinary,’ a certain amount of ostentatiously-wielded erudition, and so on. Music: Al Smith 'Road House' https://archive.org/details/78road-houseal-smith-a-smith-c-carter_gbia0054635a This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus — a streaming learning service with video lectures by experts in all sorts of fields. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/BUILDINGS to get a month of free access to thousands of courses. Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts. Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us! Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #2: 46 — Robert Venturi's 'Complexity & Contradiction' — Valid Banalities
For the first AB+C of 2019 we’re tackling one of the seminal texts of the 1960s, and an iconic moment in the stylistic overthrow of the postwar modernist order — Robert Venturi’s ‘Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture’ (1966). It’s a slim, lavishly illustrated volume, which seems lucid and straightforward, but upon closer reading turns out to be much more elusive. What are complexity and contradiction, where are they found, and what are architects supposed to do with them? On the bonus we’ll be discussing the early projects of Venturi and Rauch. This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus — a streaming learning service with video lectures by experts in all sorts of fields. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/BUILDINGS to get a month of free access to thousands of courses. Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts. Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us! Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #3: 26 – Le Corbusier – 1 – Have Formwork, Will Travel
We’re taking on the origin story of (for better or worse) the most important architect of the 20th century — Charles-Edouard Jeanneret aka Le Corbusier. His origins — petit bourgeois, Swiss, provincial — can make his eventual rise to world-enveloping notoriety and era-defining influence seem all the more unlikely. We’re digging into his childhood, family, education and travels as a young man before taking on a couple of early projects. We discuss — La Chaux de Fonds Charles L’Eplattanier, his teacher Jugendstil & Art Nouveau Early projects — Villa Fallet Villas Stotzer & Jacquemet Villa Jeanneret Villa Favre-Jacot Travels, and meetings with — Otto Wagner Josef Hoffmann Vienna Secession Building Auguste Perret Rue Franklin Apartments Peter Behrens Mount Athos And a more detailed look at — Villa Schwob (including Colin Rowe’s ‘Mannerism and Modern Architecture’) Maison Domino We've been reading — Nicholas Fox Weber ‘Le Corbusier: A Life’ (2008) Jean-Louis Cohen ‘Le Corbusier: Le Grand’ (2014) Oppositions 15-16 (1980) Music — The final part of Beethoven’s 9th — the Ode to Joy An excerpt from — Mahler: Symphony No. 3: iii. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast from archive.org Britt Brothers — ‘Alpine Milkman Yodel’ (1933) from archive.org Thanks for listening! Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #4: 03 – How To Run An Efficient Dystopia – Taylorism and Science Fiction Cities
George & Luke survey three dystopian cities; the glass perfection of Yvegny Zamyatin’s ‘We’, the consumer World State of Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, and the shattered ruin of George Orwell’s ‘1984’. Competing visions of technological progress gone awry, and the real-world ideas that inspired them. We read: Yvegeny Zamyatin ‘We’ tr. Clarence Brown (Penguin, 1993) Aldous Huxley ‘Brave New World’ (1932) George Orwell ‘1984’ (1948) Music: ‘Shadows’, ‘Fearweaver’, ‘Bindings’ and ‘Demons’ from the album ‘Phantoms’ by Three Chain Links. From the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org
Rank #5: 40 — '2001 – A Space Odyssey' 1/2 — Pink Upholstery in Cartesian Space
Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001 a space odyssey is the iconic depiction of space travel, channeling the optimism and excitement of radical advances in space exploration and technology. It’s an uncompromising, utterly singular film, whose vision of a possible future is carried through comprehensively. Its scope and ambition are still basically unequalled. Kubrick is famous for the obsessiveness of his research — in this case bringing in expertise from leading scientists, cutting edge digital pioneers, animators, makers of special effects. As a result, 2001 seems to capture the imagination of a very particular era of technological optimism in the mid 1960s in America and worldwide. We talk about the film, its amazing worlds and interiors, the Worlds Fairs in Seattle and New York which were a proving ground for many of those involved, as well as passing references to — Chris Marker’s La Jetee — Charles and Ray Eames — Xerox PARC — Superstudio Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. On this episode's bonus — we're talking Osaka Expo and Space habitats. Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #6: 18 – Junkspace – Rem Koolhaas & the End of Architecture
A fuzzy empire of blur, a low grade purgatory, a perpetual Jacuzzi with millions of your best friends… We're discussing Junkspace (2001), Rem Koolhaas's notoriously elliptical wander through the dystopian and formless morass of early 21st retail architecture that seems gradually to be devouring the city, and the world. In keeping with the essay, the episode is radically unstructured, only barely makes sense, and is held together largely by hyperbole. We discussed – – Rem Koolhaas and OMA – The books SMLXL and Delirious New York – Exodus: The Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture – Frederic Jameson's review of Junkspace in NLR 21 (2003) – Jameson's Postmodernism, Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991) – Walter Benajmin's Passagenwerk or Arcades Project Music – 'Ruca' and 'Agnes' from the album 'Teal' by Rod Hamilton and 'Curiosity', 'Quisitive' and 'Biking in the Park' from the album 'Music for Podcasts' by Lee Rosevere; both from the Free Music Archive Blue Gas 'Shadows From Nowhere' (1984) This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #7: 39 — Catastrophe Curves — Early 90s Computer Architecture
The 1990s were when computers really entered the mainstream of architecture. The rise of personal computing, with wider access to inexpensive machines, the world wide web, advances in software and hardware, all took place against the background of global political transformation that at the time was theorised as the End of History, the breakup of the Soviet Union, democratisation, and the apparent rise of a single, global, liberal capitalist world order. But the exploration of CAD, rendering, generative design and CNC manufacture would all be theorised through a pre-existing set of ideas and agendas, drawing heavily on ‘French theory’ — Derrida, (and particularly) Deleuze — and a partially pre-digested blend of complexity mathematics. We find ourselves — among the blobs, deformed surfaces, landscapes and evolutionary forms — in a world of ‘affective singularities’, ‘the Fold’, pliancy, Catastrophe Theory… We talk technology, key actors, and attempt a glossary of key concepts… Under discussion — — Frank Gehry’s fish sculpture — Revit / BIM — The F117 and B2 defense projects — Peter Eisenman — John Frazer — MIT Computer Lab — the Bilbao Guggenheim — Cardiff opera house — Yokohama ferry terminal — NOX’s Freshwater and Saltwater pavilions — The Affective — Catastrophe Theory — D’Arcy Thompson — The Fold — Singularity — Max Reinhardt Haus — Phallogocentrism & Helene Cixous Recordings are from Peter Eisenman’s Lecture ‘Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media’ (1993) (AA archive)[https://www.aaschool.ac.uk//VIDEO/lecture.php?ID=737] Music — Lee Rosevere ‘Quizitive’ Lee Rosevere ‘Curiosity’ Lee Rosevere ‘Thoughtful’ all from (Free Music Archive)[freemusicarchive.org] Clips of — Awesome 3 ‘Don’t Go’ (1992) Liquid ‘Sweet Harmony’ (1992) 2 Bad Mice ‘Bombscare’ (1992) M.A.N.I.C ‘I’m Coming Hardcore’ (Original Mix) (1991) *Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. * Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #8: 13 – Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead' – 1 of 2
This isn't one of those book reviews where you're expected to read the book first – we did it so you don't have to. Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead' is a 750 page long novel which at times is physically painful to read. It's a supposedly 'philosophical' book in which none of the motivations and actions of the characters make any sense. People have long conversations which are nearly impossible to follow. Rand maunders on about apparently random bits of mise-en-scene for pages. Even if you were going to live for a thousand years, it would still be an outrageous misuse of your time. In spite of this, it's probably the most successful and influential depiction of an architect in fiction – the indominatable will of one (orange haired) man, Howard Roark, pitted against the entire resources of a corrupt and servile society, determined to try and make him care about other people's well-being. Millions of people have read (and claimed to enjoy!) it. We've had a moderately good time making fun of it. Expect bad language and worse politics throughout. Features music by Chris Zabriskie – 'Heliograph' from the album 'Divider', 'The Dark Glow of the Mountains', 'I need to start writing things down' and 'We always thought the future would be kind of fun' from the album 'The Dark Glow of Mountains' and 'Cylinder 3' from the album 'Cylinders'. All at the Free Music Archive This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #9: 04 – Barbican Estate – Establishment Brutalism
Exploring the history and architecture of the inimitable Barbican Estate, the joys of brutalism, concrete, late modernist planning, concealed historical references, getting lost, etc. Includes a couple of short forays into the imagined lives of inhabitants and visitors... Music includes: ‘Β6’ from the album ‘ΝΕΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΚΟΚΚΑΛΑ’ by Kοκκαλα and ‘Heavy Traffic’ from the album ‘The Happiest Days Of Our Lives’ by Three Chain Links. Both from the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org Look at pictures on our Google+ page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104384327113725304822
Rank #10: 15 – Michelangelo – 1 of 3 – David and the Sistene & Medici Chapels
The first of a three-parter in which we try to understand the work, and myth, of Michelangelo Buonarroti, referred to by followers as ‘the Divine’, and genuinely described by his biographer as a messenger sent from God to stop people from doing bad art. It’s a long recording and we may have spent a bit too long talking about the ‘New Sacristy’ in Florence. But the 15 minute, rhapsodic description of David’s perfect body? We regret it Not At All. Some slightly excessive chat about a particular part of David's body but otherwise extremely wholesome. Music – GF Handel’s ‘Unto us a son is born’ ‘Kyrie Chant’ from Cantores in Ecclesia on archive.org https://archive.org/details/CantoresInEcclesia/05Track5.wma Outro: Kano ‘I Need Love’ (Full Time / Zig Zag, 1983) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AypT-SaUJE This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #11: 07 – The Glass Paradise – 1 of 3 – Coloured Glass Destroys Hatred!
We begin a three-part exploration of the Glass Paradise – an early 20th vision of a better world – starting off with Bruno Taut’s extraordinary Glashaus (1914), and the even stranger text which inspired it, Paul Scheerbart’s ‘Glassarchitektur’. Conceived as a model for a new and more beautiful way of living – the Glashaus is a glimpse at a future that never came to pass, filled with jewel-like cites and kaleidoscopic colour. Also, vacuum cleaners as insect exterminators, spinning crystal globes at every door, gold-leafed factories, glass fibre soft furnishings, and the ever-present threat of zeppelin attack. Much of our material is drawn from the excellent ’Glass! Love!! Perpetual Motion!!! A Paul Scheerbart Reader’ by Josiah McElheny & Christine Burgin (eds) (University of Chicago, 2015) – highly recommended. Music by – Albert Campbell & Irving Gillette ‘By the dear old River Rhine’ (1911) at https://archive.org/details/edba-2410 Arthur F. Collins, Byron G. Harlan ‘On the banks of the Rhine with a Stein’ (1905) https://archive.org/details/edgm-9124 ‘Ice Chimes’ from the album ‘Disquiet Junto’ by Lee Rosevere at http://freemusicarchive.org/music/LeeRosevere/DisquietJunto ‘Tarnished Copper’ from the album ‘Marimba, Vibraphone, Chimes & Bells’ by Podington Bear at http://freemusicarchive.org/music/PodingtonBear/MarimbaVibraphoneChimes_Bells Look at pictures on our Google+ page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104384327113725304822
Rank #12: Bonus Unlocked — 44.5 — Italian Architecture Under Fascism
We're a bit late with the first episode of the new year, so I'm releasing our bonus conversation on Italian fascist architecture to tide you over until then. If you want more material like this, there's a link to the Patreon below. We talk about the architecture of the Italian fascist period. Some of it is pretty good, unfortunately. Some of it is very weird indeed. We cover a lot ground, including — Gino Coppedè, Giovanni Muzio, Antoni Sant’Elia, Mario Chiattone, Giuseppe Terragni , Fortunato Depero, Marcello Piacentini, Armando Brasini and more. Music is Ottorino Respighi — Serenata per piccola orchestra Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us! Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #13: 14 – Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead' – 2 of 2
The second part of your discussion of Ayn Rand's extremely long fantasy about the 'ideal man' and the buildings he makes. The book gets weirder and more political as it goes on, and we meet Rand's Mary-Sue character, the long-suffering helmet-haired ice princess Dominique Francon. All these things make the book worse. Features music by Chris Zabriskie – 'Heliograph' from the album 'Divider', 'We always thought the future would be kind of fun' from the album 'The Dark Glow of Mountains' and 'Cylinder 3' from the album 'Cylinders'. and by MMFFF – 'Meeting the Demon' from the album 'The Dance of the Sky' All at the Free Music Archive This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #14: 22 – Chicago Tribune – 1 of 2 – World's Most Beautiful Office Building
In 1922, to coincide with its 75th birthday, the Chicago Tribune set out to endow the city with ‘the world’s most beautiful office building’. The results of the design competition have been seen in retrospect less as ‘the ultimate in civic expression’ than as an expression of aesthetic and theoretical crisis within architecture. Hugely varied, bizarre, ingenious and occasionally grotesque, the entries provide a window into a discipline in transformation, as well as into the politics of a new American metropolis. Apologies for some slight issues with the sound. A book showing all the competition entries has been uploaded to Monoskop — if you download it you will be able to see what we’re talking about… https://monoskop.org/File:TribuneTowerCompetitionvol1_1980.pdf We discuss the entries by John Mead Howells & Raymond Hood (plate 1) Eliel Saarinen (13) Holabird & Roche (20) John Wynkoop (90) Ross & Sloan (84) Hornbostel & Wood (91) Daniel Burnham (44) Jarvis Hunt (118) William Drummond (134) Sjostrom & Eklund (190) Music includes — Arthur Fields ‘How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paree?’ Jockers Dance Orchestra ‘The Royal Vagabond’ The Columbians ‘Just Like a Rainbow’ Victor Dance Orchestra ‘The Great One Step’ …all from the Free Music Archive and first heard on the excellent Antique Phonograph Music Program This podcast is powered by Pinecast.
Rank #15: 06 – Tate Modern – Herzog & de Meuron Before and After
Luke & George visit and discuss Switch House, the new extension to Tate Modern – and the architects of both it, and the original museum, Herzog & de Meuron. Plus – thoughts on the machine tool utopia also known as Switerland, design process, and the centrality of the spreadsheet in modern architecture. Music: ‘Holy Roller’ from the album ‘Shangri-La (Instrumentals)’ by YACHT. From the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org Look at pictures on our Google+ page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104384327113725304822