June 30, 2009

News Flash: Beauty=Boring, Ugly=Interesting!

An interesting discussion over on CityKin about beauty in architecture: Rem Koolhaas gets double-teamed by Spiegel Online and CityKin after what I consider to be a light-hearted and witty conversation. His designs are a bit scary at times, but who can't love someone for saying, "Isn't it remarkable? Talk about beauty and you get boring answers, but talk about ugliness and things get interesting." (p.s. reminds me of Bob's Learning From Las Vegas discussion of Heroic and Original, or Ugly and Ordinary, p. 91 AND Is boring architecture interesting? p. 93).

Above all, CityKin's take on the interview is a relatively accurate perspective on today's public perception of architecture: pissed off and unimpressed. Next on the agenda for us unemployed architects? (1) Apparently don't talk s#*% about today's boring urban centers being caused by suburban"weekend warriors", and (2) celebrate beauty in architecture. As a last resort, N O R T O N will be designing an infill project for the city - something of a hybrid between a new urbanist McMansion and a neo-classical monumental civic building. Perhaps then I will be popular...or at least I will have achieved beauty in architecture! I can't wait.

June 28, 2009

Big Day

(image via)
Every once in a while I google the name of this blog to see what comes up. It really is fascinating. Today, however, was a milestone. For the first time since the invention of the word "Mockitecture," (which really doesn't even make sense), Google no longer asks "did you mean rockitecture?" Ahhh!

June 25, 2009

Controversial Cartoon Books

After a recent trip to Frisch's, a local cafe-of-sorts, for an all-you-can-eat breakfast on borrowed money (long story), I became captivated by the children's coloring book placemat my friend and I were given. It featured, of all things, dinosaurs with one of the city's architectural landmarks, Union Terminal, in the background!

WOW, I thought...kids of all ages are being treated to a fantastic meal AND are learning about the city's architectural heritage all in one happy event. THIS is what will put the profession of architecture back on the map!!! After some quick research back at the office, I discovered this children's cartoon has some controversial company.

Most notably, FEMA - the United State's disaster management organization - released an infamous cartoon coloring book, titled "A Scary Thing Happened" to the eWorld after 9/11 featuring burning buildings and the twin towers under attack by commercial airlines. Soccer moms nationwide were pissed, and rightfully so! If you have a free two minutes & eight seconds, check out the enjoyable YouTube video below.

Already inspired, I stumbled across more equally frightening coloring book imagery - this time religious-based. Scenes of friendly dinosaurs accompanied by bible verses from the book of Genesis had me trembling.

I came to a couple of key conclusions. The first being, children's coloring books are a creative source of propaganda that ALL governments, religious institutions, etc. should be aware of and exploit to their full advantage. The second being I will NEVER let my kids near crayons and coloring books...EVER.

In response to all of these controversial coloring books, and in the spirit of Contemporary Space's (CS13) recent "Greetings From Cincinnati" opening, I decided to make a coloring book of my own, after all, why not put on a clinic for all of Cincinnati's spoiled little brats? The following pages celebrate everything from the Queen City's colonization of Native American tribes, to our overly-industrialized landscape. CS13 and others doing a fantastic job at cleaning up Cincinnati's image after media attacks year after year were not too pleased with my work. I hope you are repulsed and offended by the following as well.

June 24, 2009

Mockitecture.com's Pending Patents

In the spirit of Jacques Carelman's series of catalogues (Catalog of Fantastic Things, 1971; Catalog of Extraordinary Objects, 1971; A catalog of Unfindable Objects, 1984; The Catalogue of Fantastic Inventions, 1984), we are releasing never before seen initial/early phase sketches of products with patents pending. A rare glimpse into the creative genius from the Mockitecture School of Thought:

June 23, 2009

Slutty Technology + A New Brutalism = ...

...A rant by N O R T O N

I was recently eStalking Sam Jacob via twitter (my apologies to Mr. Jacob for eStalking, and to everyone for mentioning Twitter) and came across an interesting article: The young generation with a new vision to build Britain, by Geraldine Bedell of The Observer.  You can read about it here.

Something that immediately caught my eye: a discussion of our generation's rejection of what I would call "technological puke" or what others call "bubble architecture"...and what Peter Lynch in the article identifies as the "idiot avant garde."

As a member of the generation Lynch is talking about, I find the subject is critically relevant, yet lacking significant discourse.  In school, for example, faculty were seemingly caught off guard by "thin" design where image and flashy computer graphics trumped "thick" design of drawing, thought, and decision-making.  We were not slapped in the face for presenting a building associated with the "idiot avant garde" -  the infamous building which was seemingly only designed around, or built for, that one night rendering produced in 3D Studio Max, V-Ray, et. al.

From Bedell's article: 
Patrick Lynch is actively hostile to what he sees as the inevitable decline of modernism into what he calls the "idiot avant garde, which means that all your work ultimately looks the same, whatever the climate". He claims that younger architects are disenchanted with "the idea that technological progress equals artistic progress equals moral progress equals virtue, which leads to the kind of thinking that it's OK to go and build for a completely unpalatable regime and fuck up the planet for money, because you're working in your signature style and it's an expression of individual creativity" (^interjection: isn't that what happened in China for last summer's olympic games???)
A couple of reasons for my personal hatred of slutty technology:  

  1. The tradition of "making" is succumbing to the tradition of "picking" with a mouse (e.g. before: "that architect has a hot pencil." today: "that architect has a hot mouse.")
  2. The building I was trained as an architect in (Mr. Eisenman's 1996 addition to D.A.A.P.) seemingly exists for the architect's pursuit of a singular, narrow-minded vision and (brutal)ly ignores the needs and uses of students and faculty.  Perhaps this is a new interpretation of brutalism - one of narrow and limited social objectives.  It seems fitting Eisenman's building is in the shadows of one of the largest continuously poured concrete structures in the world - a the brutalist tower/skyscraper named Crosley Tower. Images below:

(Link to evan.chakroff's photostream)

June 22, 2009

N O R T O N unleashes a new line of thank you cards

N O R T O N, a recent college graduate in search of jobs that don't actually exist, has amassed a pile of rejection emails and letters. In response to these dire employment conditions (and out of pure boredom) a new line of "Thank You" cards has been released. Sporting images of campus buildings manipulated with bold Sharpie line work, these cards attack an otherwise critically serious problem (the architecture profession is in trouble right now) with humor. When asked about his intentions, N O R T O N laughed saying:
"Oh, you just reviewed my portfolio in ten minutes and decided I would not be able to contribute to your firm in a positive manner? Why thank you! ...what's that? no, thank YOU. really...I insist!"
It would appear N O R T O N has lost it...it seems that he is mentally unable to juggle the combination of six years of expensive higher education, no job prospects, and a lack of social interaction with the outside world.

June 21, 2009

Could This Post Be More Poorly Cited?

Justificationability preponderanced nevertheless, postrationed forwards, the longest word in the english language... Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

Even more hilariously, there are two other words that are so long and rediculous, that they are disputed to even be words. It comes as a prerequisite for mockitects to challenge these boundaries. [

Or, if you prefer your word choice scripted, try this. (via AMNP)

June 10, 2009

News Flash: America invades Venice...and fails!

One day I hope to create something as brilliant as Mike Bouchet has done at the 2009 Venice Biennale. If you haven't heard of his Watershed project yet - check out the brief description over at BLDGBLOG and YouTube: IT WILL BE WELL WORTH YOUR TIME!!!

Bouchet's take on American suburbia makes me proud to have grown up living the American dream (in suburbia). I've crossed out Susan Boyle and penciled in Bouchet to top my recently created list of Heroes/People I Want To Have Lunch With.

I Love Mike Bouchet.

June 6, 2009

June 2, 2009

Found Artifacts

I found these two gems while cleaning out what remains of my studio.  The first is a newspaper clipping from a local November 2008 election that reflects the perilous state of local politics here in the midwest.  No wonder we've been arguing (among other things) over proposed upgrades the the city's public transit system for almost a decade now.

The second is a book that was abandoned by a retiring architecture professor here at the University of Cincinnati.  The collection of articles from the likes of Bob Venturi, Alan Gowans, Robert Jones, along with contributions from the editors (Marshall Fishwick and J. Meredith Neil), explore the notion of a "Popular Architecture" that emerged in the 1950's as an ultimate rejection of an International Style.  Neil introduced the texts by declaring the American architectural landscape experienced a "movement from LeCorbusier and Gropius to the almost anonymous designers of neon signs."  Looks to be a promising read...