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eff mai lyph [Jul. 31st, 2009|09:22 am]
Within the span of week the following things have happened:

Phone ruined and replaced
Cheap Digital Camera ruined
Attacked by Hornets
Sweater Shrunk
Camera Bag stolen out of Car

remember in earlier posts when I said that every second week in February is the worst week ever? Well, this year it did'nt happen, there were no heinous days. I thought this an odd circumstance because for the past five years the second week of February had been the low point of the year after which all other unfortunate events compared themselves to. Apparently there has been a shift: it is now the last week of July.
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"Do you prepare your sermons?" "Well, I always know it will be something about burning." [Jul. 23rd, 2009|01:23 am]
[mood |cheerfullaughing]

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2009 Design Awards [Jul. 22nd, 2009|11:14 pm]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

So here are the winners of the 2009 Design Awards from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum :


#1: SHoP Architects -

On their website SHoP architects have a flash intro on their basic beliefs.

"Efficiency and great design are not mutually exclusive"
"Push Design, embrace responsibility"

These two statements are clearly a reference to sustainable design. I have to complement them on the fact that they could touch on sustainability without having to use a word that is getting simultaneously tired and taboo: Green. Throughout my time in architecture school one of the driving points was to create a building that was as "green" as possible, that is, environmentally friendly. This often meant that the grand gestures were either:

a. diminished
b. bullshit.

This lead me to believe that the only truly environmental building is this:

I think SHoP design follows a great change in the discussion about sustainability: through these two dogmatic statements they explain that environmentalism is not the goal of architecture, it is a method in which architecture will flourish. I believe this method that will become standard. Just like steel 100 years ago.

they also had another one:

"Building Buildings is better than talking about buildings"

ooooh SHoP you're so edgy. You know, I like this.....I especially liked it when Frank Furness said it in 1880.

nice try.

SHoP Architecture Projects:

this one is almost a little too much Shigeru Ban. But I buy it. 

#2: Architecture Research Office

"ARO communicates ideas clearly in a consistent language. It frames city life as well as natural beauty. Ideas about site, program, and daily activity are conveyed through its use. Compelling to look at, appealing to touch, this architecture is as sensuous as it is intellectually rigorous."

How retro. Architecture that is concerned with texture and materiality more than their statement about texture and materiality. The other thing I find interesting about this particular firm is that they're not afraid to have an individual style. Sometimes it's nice to look at a building and know whose behind it. 

#3 Michael Maltzan

"Michael Maltzan... creates progressive, transfomative experiences throughout the concentrated exploration of movement and perception, charting new trajectories for architecture, urbanism and the public realm"

Transformative? I'm sorry but if spell check is confused by your word choice: I start getting suspicious.

So I began to research: going strictly textbook, the word "Transformative" comes from Transformative Learning Theory. which is:
"becoming critically aware of one's own tacit assumptions and expectations and those of others and assessing their relevance for making an interpretation"

So let me get this straight: you are "critically thinking". No matter how usefull you think your thesaurus is, there is only so far you can go with it. The only thing Maltzan really proved with that statement is that he likes to make cool forms and thinks that he needs some Mezirowian filler to make it legitimate...that and he passed freshman english 101.

Michael Maltzan Projects:

I had one other problem with Maltzan:


Can you tell who was the architect between these buildings? On the left is Michael Maltzan on the right is another, much more famous architect. I know it's sometimes considered unsporting to base an opinion solely on aesthetics and I don't even know if Maltzan is influenced by the other architect. But all I can say about Michael Maltzan's aesthetics is that:


I can't believe it's not Zaha.

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Special Guest Star: Wolveswithkeys [Jul. 21st, 2009|07:27 pm]
[mood |amusedamused]

I know what you're thinking, man, molly if only you could appear in more blogs. Well fear no more.


for a full-time awesome wedding blog:

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(no subject) [Jul. 13th, 2009|07:11 pm]
[mood |calmcalm]

I can't tell if this is the best movie ever or the worst movie ever. I mean, I do love Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop, but a villain from another dimension?

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COMIC UPDATES! [Jul. 11th, 2009|09:47 pm]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Eisenmann and Graves part 1


Eisenmann and Graves part 2


Eisenmann and Graves part 3


Louis Kahn gets into fights part 1


Louis Kahn gets into fights part 2


Maya Lin takes out a restraining order


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Scotland Watercolors [Jul. 11th, 2009|08:13 pm]
[mood |awakeawake]

Cawdor Castle



Biking in Kilts



Fyvie Castle



Eilean Donan Castle



Highland Cow






Glenfiddich Distillery



Clan Gunn



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Charles Dammit Gaulle Aeroport [Jul. 8th, 2009|11:36 pm]
[mood |exhaustedexhausted]

Part 19: A Letter That Will Never Be Sent

Dear Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris, France.

How dare you. How dare you make me love you with your rabbits who live under the runway and then choose to turn to suck all of a sudden.

First we get into you late, but that’s not your fault…it, well it just got me mad that’s all. I was hungry, I was tired. Then you decide to organize your departures list by time of departure, rather than alphabetically. What the hell man? What if your gate or time is changed? What then, huh? You never even thought about me when you made that decision did you?

Well guess what. Our gate did change. Deal with that.

Then one of your staff told us we were to go to terminal E52, so away we go going all the way down the concourse taking the tram and going through security, taking everything out of my camera bag, putting it all back in and arriving at E52 just as the boarding began. Or at least that what would have been happening if E52 had been the correct gate. No, no, my love, it was gate E42.

That’s was when the decline began.  

There is no way to escape your horrible terminal of E51-E76 except to beg a security officer to help you, who then yells at you and gives you a lecture about manners (I’m going to let that irony sink in). Do you not get it CDG? My flight leaves in twenty minutes on the opposite side of the airport. So another tram and ANOTHER security screening, where I take all of my stuff out of my camera bag and put it all back in AGAIN. Then I run as fast as I can with two really heavy bags down maybe 1/8th of a mine, because E42 is at the very very very last terminal, my mom sprains her Achilles heel. And just when I can taste the sweet juice of victory you appear out of nowhere just in time to force me to go through a “random” security check.

Random..right, sure, ok. Listen up CDG, I’m being racially profiled as a white girl. I get it, I get that I’m here to prove you’re not racist, but today is not the day to mess with me.

Listen Charles D.G., I love you but I don’t know if I’m in-love with you now. Why did you do that?

Maybe we can still be friends sometime in the future.

M.E.B.J. McCormick


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For the pictures [Jul. 8th, 2009|11:02 pm]
[mood |geekygeeky]

Check Facebook for the Visuals. To be finished this afternoon.
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Scotland: Last Day [Jul. 8th, 2009|10:50 pm]
[mood |calmcalm]

Part 18: And you thought there weren’t anymore castles…silly, silly. GLAMIS!

            So tomorrow we leave via Aberdeen, and but there is still time for one more outing; to Glamis Castle in the small town of Glamis in Angus. The town of Glamis is a charming village, but unlike the charming villages of the north, there is a staged quality to them. Like a walk-through at a museum.



            The Castle Glamis most recently was the home of the Queen Mother as well as the birthplace of Princess Margaret. There was a strong attachment to both of these women; the Queen Mother because she represented the last of a Victorian culture that was dying out and Princess Margaret, who represented the fearlessness and confidence and spite of the 60s. Though the two women whom the now castle represents are polar opposites, there is an indefinable association. I mean, what family doesn’t have the uptight grand matriarch or the rebellious aunt?

            The architecture of Glamis Castle can be traced back to an early Pictish grave:


however, for the most part the construction took place relatively between 1200 and 1400 A.D. however, as is a recurring theme with Castles in this area there is a timeline of additions, remodeling and demolition (either by choice or by war).

            The final result is an extremely heavy form that carries with it the battlements, ramparts and a collage of fenestration that shows the evolution of style. The hard thing about analyzing Castles is the lack of a recurring exterior consistency.

            It’s a case by case basis as to the aesthetics, and I’ll be honest, while I like the look of Glamis, I think I preferred Fyvie. The true difficulty of these Castles is that they kind of a smack in the face of everything you learn in architecture school. One of the themes that gets pushed down your throat is that everything must have a concept and must have a deep psychological or metaphysical meaning, and that any other solution is something somehow less meaningful or stupid.

            In the design of Glamis Castle there is essentially nothing much more in the concept other than power, defense and maintaining image. Here you will find no questioning our place the universe, no romantic-poetesque whimpering about how unfair the world is; rather each move made is not in anyway humble or apologetic and yet, not overly arrogant, strangely balanced in that way. Sometimes I feel like a lot of contemporary Architecture is constantly tripping over itself either to deliberately offend or overly apologize but here the Castle gives off the sense of “Do what you want, I don’t really care”. It’s powerful in its apathy, like those kids in high-school who would hang outside the 7-11 and smoke.

            The main problem with the interior of Glamis is that they have too much stuff. While the architecture is apathetically powerful, the interior is hopelessly Victorian; layer after layer of tapestries, ceramics, paintings, oiled wood, and Italian plaster. I mean elegant objects and true elegance are different. To paraphrase:

“Simplicity is the sign of true elegance” and to probably misquote my brother: “Elegance is simplicity and efficiency; Example 1: Violence. Maybe not always the best option, but you cannot deny it’s elegant.”


            In addition to tapestries, Glamis Castle is also wallowing in myth and folklore.

Myth 1: It is in this castle that the Literary Macbeth lived. You remember the Historical Macbeth lived in Cawdor. We entered the room which inspired the setting for the murder of Duncan, which was cool, but built about 200 years too late to have been accurate.

Myth 2: Earl Beardie and a few of his guests were playing cards one night on a Saturday and were warned by a servant that it was growing close to midnight and it’s a sin to gamble on the Sabbath. The Earl ignored the warnings and continued to play, just after midnight they were joined by a handsome stranger who played with them. Just before dawn the Earl mentioned how much fun he had had and said “I would play that game til’ the end of time”. Lo, his wish was granted, because the man who had joined them was, in fact, the Devil. It is said that if you put your ear to the stone on Saturday nights, you can people playing away. The game they’re playing? Probably “Patience”.

Myth 3: In the chapel there is always a place saved for “The Grey Lady” thought to be Janet Douglas, The Lady Glamis who had been burned unfairly as a witch in 1537. It is said she wafts in from time to time, says her prayers and disappears.


That any much, much more, next time of Scottish Tragedy Theatre.

The last, and best, part of this castle was the garden, in particular the trees, which ranged from Oak to Cedar. One row of trees looked like topiaries, but when you walk through it’s a wonderful surprise because looking up you see a wild tangle of branches that defy the trimmed and perfect look from the exterior. The madness within.

After Glamis we drove up to Aberdeen and got checked into a hotel just in time to catch the last of Michael Jackson’s funeral.



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