Jurgen Bergbauer – Houses and other objects…

juergen_bergbauer_haus51

untitled (Häuser no. 5) – Jurgen Bergbauer
60 cm x 155 cm (24” x 60”) lambdaprint on aluminium / diasec face matt , 2003

42 Studien (Print Detail) – Jurgen Bergbauer
Installation virtual 2008

juergen_bergbauer_natur4

Natur IV – Jurgen Bergbauer
180 cm x 240cm (71” x 95”) lambdaprint on aluminium / diasec face matt, 2008

juergen_bergbauer_natur

Natur – Jurgen Bergbauer
Installation virtual 2008 –

Quite nice work by Jurgen Bergbauer (artist website here)found via post by 5B4 Photography and Books (written up nicely as well….) – here’s some more hinting at the “construction” of the book by Jurgen Bergbauer.

There is a tight consistency and pattern of study or inquiry that appeals to my aesthetic sense and architectural interest which draws me to these wonderfully rich photographic images of Bergbauer’s.  The exploration of natural forms and resulting patterns or “structure” resonates for me in the direction of a “quell the clutter” approach…  Jurgen Bergbauer is an artist that I am to watch for upcoming work for sure….

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On Farming – Call for Submissions

[Crop rotations.]

 

I came across this “Call for Submissions” by way of flickr.  The first proposed issue for publication looks promising…  In this era of globalization and with an optimistic view towards the potential of the butterfly effect  – why not consider a look and offer your own insights.

From the web site:

 

ISSUE #1: ON FARMING

The first edition of [bracket] is centered around the theme of farming. Once merely understood in terms of agriculture, today information, energy, labour, and landscape, among others, can be farmed… More here.

 

[bracket] is a collaboration of Archinect and InfraNet Lab, and is composed of a collection of diverse editors and an open-source contributing membership.

[bracket] is an annual publication documenting issues overlooked yet central to our cultural milieu that have evolved out of the new disciplinary territory at the intersection of architecturelandscapeurbanism and, now, the internet. It is no coincidence that the professional term architect can also now refer to information architects, and that the word community can also now refer to an online community. [bracket] is a publishing platform for ideas charting the complex overlap of the sphere of architecture and online social spheres.

 

http://www.brkt.org/

Sprawl: Interesting Point – Invisible Hands

Thinking about how we might picture our “contemporary relationship with the land” I’m interested in understanding more – here’s a book that I’d like to read tackling the notion of Sprawl: Invisible Hands
(Unattributed Photo above)

Maybe I’ll just stick to reading the wonderful new copy I just received of Robert Adams – “The New West” – republished by Aperture this year (2008)

 

Suburban Despair
Is urban sprawl really an American menace?

Text By Witold Rybczynski
Posted Monday, Nov. 7, 2005, at 6:42 PM ET

We hate sprawl. It’s responsible for everything that we don’t like about modern American life: strip malls, McMansions, big-box stores, the loss of favorite countryside, the decline of downtowns, traffic congestion, SUVs, high gas consumption, dependence on foreign oil, the Iraq war. No doubt about it, sprawl is bad, American bad. Like expanding waistlines, it’s touted around the world as yet another symptom of our profligacy and wastefulness as a nation. Or, as Robert Bruegmann puts it in his new book, “cities that sprawl and, by implication, the citizens living in them, are self indulgent and undisciplined.”

Or not.

In Sprawl, cheekily subtitled “A Compact History,” Bruegmann, a professor of art history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, examines the assumptions that underpin most people’s strongly held convictions about sprawl. His conclusions are unexpected. To begin with, he finds that urban sprawl is not a recent phenomenon: It has been a feature of city life since the earliest times. The urban rich have always sought the pleasures of living in low-density residential neighborhoods on the outskirts of cities. As long ago as the Ming dynasty in the 14th century, the Chinese gentry sang the praises of the exurban life, and the rustic villa suburbana was a common feature of ancient Rome. Pliny’s maritime villa was 17 miles from the city, and many fashionable Roman villa districts such as Tusculum-where Cicero had a summer house-were much closer. Bruegmann also observes that medieval suburbs-those urbanized areas outside cities’ protective walls-had a variety of uses. Manufacturing processes that were too dirty to be located inside the city (such as brick kilns, tanneries, slaughterhouses) were in the suburbs; so were the homes of those who could not afford to reside within the city proper. This pattern continued during the Renaissance. Those compact little cities bounded by bucolic landscapes, portrayed in innumerable idealized paintings, were surrounded by extensive suburbs.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “sprawl” first appeared in print in this context in 1955, in an article in the London Times that contained a disapproving reference to “great sprawl” at the city’s periphery. But, as Bruegmann shows, by then London had been spreading into the surrounding countryside for hundreds of years. During the 17th and 18th centuries, while the poor moved increasingly eastward, affluent Londoners built suburban estates in the westerly direction of Westminster and Whitehall, commuting to town by carriage. These areas are today the Central West End; one generation’s suburb is the next generation’s urban neighborhood. As Bruegmann notes, “Clearly, from the beginning of modern urban history, and contrary to much accepted wisdom, suburban development was very diverse and catered to all kinds of people and activities.”

When inexpensive public transportation opened up South London for development in the 19th century, London sprawl took a different form: streets and streets of small brick-terrace houses. For middle-class families, this dispersal was a godsend, since it allowed them to exchange a cramped flat for a house with a garden. The outward movement continued in the boom years between the First and Second World Wars, causing the built-up area of London to double, although the population increased by only about 10 percent-which sounds a lot like Atlanta today.

It was not only by sprawling at the edges that cities reduced their densities. Preindustrial cities began life by exhibiting what planners call a steep “density gradient,” that is, the population density was extremely high in the center and dropped off rapidly at the edges. Over time, with growing prosperity-and the availability of increasingly far-reaching mass transportation (omnibuses, streetcars, trains, subways, cars)-this gradient flattened out. Density at the center reduced while density in the (expanding) suburbs increased. The single most important variable in this common pattern was, as Bruegmann observes, not geography or culture, but the point at which the city reached economic maturity. In the case of London, the city’s population density peaked in the early 19th century; in Paris it happened in the 1850s; and in New York City in the early 1900s. While the common perception is that sprawl is America’s contribution to urban culture, Bruegmann shows that it appeared in Europe first.

Little boxes on a hillside.

Yet haven’t high rates of automobile ownership, easy availability of land, and a lack of central planning made sprawl much worse in the United States? Most American tourists spend their time visiting historic city centers, so they may be unaware that suburbs now constitute the bulk of European metropolitan areas, just as they do in America. We marvel at the efficiency of European mass transit, but since 1950, transit ridership has remained flat, while the use of private automobiles has skyrocketed. Just as in America. “As cities across Europe have become more affluent in the last decades of the twentieth century,” Bruegmann writes, “they have witnessed a continuing decline in population densities in the historic core, a quickening of the pace of suburban and exurban development, a sharp rise in automobile ownership and use, and the proliferation of subdivisions of single-family houses and suburban shopping centers.” Despite some of the most stringent anti-sprawl regulations in the world and high gas prices, the population of the City of Paris has declined by almost a third since 1921, while its suburbs have grown. Over the last 15 years, the city of Milan has lost about 600,000 people to its metropolitan fringes, while Barcelona, considered by many a model compact city, has developed extensive suburbs and has experienced the largest population loss of any European city in the last 25 years. Greater London, too, continues to sprawl, resulting in a population density of 12,000 persons per square mile, about half that of New York City.

The point is not that London, any more than Barcelona or Paris, is a city in decline (although the demographics of European city centers have changed and are now home to wealthier and older inhabitants, just like some American cities). Central urban densities are dropping because household sizes are smaller and affluent people occupy more space. Like Americans, Europeans have opted for decentralization. To a great extent, this dispersal is driven by a desire for home-ownership. “Polls consistently confirm that most Europeans, like most Americans, and indeed most people worldwide, would prefer to live in single-family houses on their own piece of land rather than in apartment buildings,” Bruegmann writes. So strong is this preference that certain European countries such as Ireland and the United Kingdom now have higher single-family house occupancy rates than the United States, while others, such as Holland, Belgium, and Norway, are comparable. Half of all French households now live in houses.

It appears that all cities-at least all cities in the industrialized Western world-have experienced a dispersal of population from the center to a lower-density periphery. In other words, sprawl is universal. Why is this significant? “Most American anti-sprawl reformers today believe that sprawl is a recent and peculiarly American phenomenon caused by specific technological innovations like the automobile and by government policies like single-use zoning or the mortgage-interest deduction on the federal income tax,” Bruegmann writes. “It is important for them to believe this because if sprawl turned out to be a long-standing feature of urban development worldwide, it would suggest that stopping it involves something much more fundamental than correcting some poor American land-use policy.”

What this iconoclastic little book demonstrates is that sprawl is not the anomalous result of American zoning laws, or mortgage interest tax deduction, or cheap gas, or subsidized highway construction, or cultural antipathy toward cities. Nor is it an aberration. Bruegmann shows that asking whether sprawl is “good” or “bad” is the wrong question. Sprawl is and always has been inherent to urbanization. It is driven less by the regulations of legislators, the actions of developers, and the theories of city planners, than by the decisions of millions of individuals-Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” This makes altering it very complicated, indeed. There are scores of books offering “solutions” to sprawl. Their authors would do well to read this book. To find solutions-or, rather, better ways to manage sprawl, which is not the same thing-it helps to get the problem right..

Comments

“outregis ” says:

“The argument made by this book, at least as provided in the synopsis above, is demonstrably wrong on almost every point.

The historical country homes of the rich bear no relation to the millions of tract homes lived in by suburbanites in the era of the automobile. Both in real numbers and pecentage of the population, they represented a far lesser impact on society and the environment.

The fact that automobile ownership and sprawl are on the rise in Europe hardly make it a desirable goal. If sprawl is what people want, then that is one thing. If people want to fight sprawl, then the fact that it is happening in other parts of the world doesn’t mean we should accept it.

Zoning laws, cheap gas, and subsidized highway construction all play major roles in the creation of sprawl. These are decisions made by our government, and (indirectly) our population, not some invisible hand.”

Matt Niebuhr says:

” I have not read the book (yet).

What caught my attention, in reading Rybczynski’s review on the book, was and is that the book may offer a longer view of what is now coined “sprawl”… The book may begin to offer other perspectives (historical) on the problem – which of course I think sprawl is a problem.

Summarily, I hold the belief that the problem of sprawl – is a problem solved through economic constraints on the “invisible hand” i.e. us who is the general public.

Only when for example, gas becomes too expensive, when our time spent to and from places of living and working becomes too consuming, when our perception of our “quality of life” is adversely effected by the choices we make — and can afford to make — will there be any change in thinking that the “surban” life is the pursuit worth going after.

I think your point about historical country homes of the rich is fine in terms of numbers of people/actual cost impact etc – But I disagree that it bears no relation. I think that the “historical country home” created an example. A pursuit – that fosters a desire of the “mass” class to also want for that kind of environment. Historically speaking, it may have been more about the clean, open, fresh, healthy countryside – private yet not isolated – that drove the issue. Cities were (some still are of course) dirty, concentrated, elbows to asses if you will, type living conditions. For the most part now, generally speaking, those kinds of problems are solved with modern infrastructure.

For me, the issue is about the “invisible hand” is really about our perception of status by where you live and the pursuit of the “made it” identity… In that sense, we are the “invisible hand”. We are responsible for it – not somebody else. Zoning laws reflect economic pressures, Subsidized highway construction and cheap gas are enablers. So decisions in this light are not “by our government” but by our own doing. That is the “invisible hand”.

UPDATE: Cover: Art Building U of Iowa

UPDATE: Steven Holl – interviewed by Charlie Rose. I was very happy and excited to see a bit of the University of Iowa’s new Art Building be a part of the noted work discussed in the interview by Charlie Rose. I have to say that having been a part of the team for the Art Building and from the architect-of-record point of view, this was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I’ve had. I think it is important to note how many times Mr. Holl refers to “we” or “us” when describing the process. It begins with a strong idea that a group can work upon and with.

The “we” expands and contracts of course throughout process but ultimately boils down to recognizing the power of a strong client / architect / builder – with these three willful partners in this process a lot of great work and ideas can be accomplished.

Well, it’s fun to see your work, whether it’s a photograph, or a project, or both/and – published.

Art Building – School of Art and Art History, University of Iowa
Steven Holl Architects – Design Architect (Project link)
HLKB Architecture – Architect of Record

More photo’s of the project here

A review by Blair KaminChicago Tribute architecture critic here in ArchRecord (full article in January 2007 ArchRecord magazine).

Best experienced as is all good architecture… in person…

Intersecting Images: Fragments [as seen through the lens]

Personal responsibility reminder…

Simply stated:

Inherent to architecture is the opportunity to craft experience through shaping our environment. That is the essential quality that architecture must endeavor to achieve. This requires that we see, hear, feel and contemplate seriously the constraints of a given situation. The situation is the intersection of program and site – tempered by the constraints of desire and economy of means and materials. Be clear about the priority to have always in mind the opportunity to craft experience in any given situation…

Just don’t build ’em like we used to…

I was struck today by an article glanced at from a web version of an industry publication… Residential Architect… that made me wonder why anyone could possibly feel safe sleeping at night in their bed… The text below if from an tradeshowadertisement website

“Even when you’re asleep, NOAA Weather/All Hazards Radio can alert you to weather and non-weather civil emergencies that may affect you in and near your home. The radio reflects a broadcast capability that comprises a nationwide network of more than 960 stations in 50 states and U.S. territories. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has adopted this capability as way of reaching Americans directly in the event of a local or national emergency. Emergency messages may include the following:

Natural hazards, such as tornados, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes;

Technological events, such as chemical releases, oil spills, nuclear power plant emergencies, maritime accidents and train derailments; AMBER alerts, 9-1-1 outages;

and
Terrorist attacks”

I don’t mean to be flippant about the subject – it is an important issue to think about – maybe even to rehearse in your head a little…but after awhile – it’s a certain amount of fatique sets in…. but being able to be notified… is having a real impact on what our homes.

It’s about “shelter”… but from who / what and at what price ?

This fall every U.S. public school received a NOAA Weather/All Hazards Radio. This new capability means that school personnel can now be alerted directly, quickly and accurately to approaching danger, including hazardous weather, terrorism, abducted children, and derailed trains carrying toxic materials, among a range of other acute concerns.

Entitled, “America Is Safer When Our Schools Are Safer,” the Departments of Commerce/National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Homeland Security and Education are supporting this important initiative.

Increasingly, the broadcast capability is being integrated into other household devices, including TVs, clock radios and hand-held radio.

Fortified…for safer living® program, …(the) home is a fortress cleverly disguised as a typical family home.

Just a few of the features include:

A room built from the same material as bullet-resistant vests that can keep a family safe amidst F5 tornados and Category 5 hurricanes. A roof made from stone coated 26-gauge steel that can mimic the look of tile, shake or shingle while providing greater protection from earthquakes (at half the weight of composition shingles) and defend against hurricane force winds. Windows and doors that meet the
toughest wind-borne debris requirements in the nation and feature impact resistant glass tested to be an incredible nine times stronger than a car windshield.

Of course a home is threatened by much more than just natural disasters, which is why this demonstration home includes products that protect residents from everything from UV rays, to exterior noise, to mold, to termites, all without sacrificing any aesthetics.

Building as Camera Obscura


AIA Minnesota Announces 2006 Honor, Divine Detail Awards

Other winners
Other 2006 architecture award winners – Star Tribune December 8, 2006

“Architects Cermak Rhoades designed a life-size camera obscura as a temporary structure for the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Its cedar exterior gives way to an all-white interior, where the gardens can be seen in a new way.”

What better way to visually re-experience (a chance to perceive) a landscape than a room size camera obscura… A place to pause and ponder. Useful or Useless? It’s up to you to make it what you need. However, it does provide for an interesting distinction between looking and seeing…


An 1817 encyclopedia page from the Wilgus Collection

All the rules are there for giving an architectural form…

I think the place deserves better photographs than what I could find…. more about the architects by the architects here…. AIA Minnesota here….. other recognition for Minnesota work here….