Architecture is always a way of envisioning our world transformed into something else

Omnivoracious, the Amazon.com editors' blog, has just posted a relatively long interview with BLDGBLOG about The BLDGBLOG Book – and I think it turned out really well, in fact. If you're new to BLDGBLOG, or if you simply want to know more about the motivation behind this site or The BLDGBLOG Book, then it might be worth checking it out.
From Franz Kafka to prison break films, haunted house novels to the effects of weathering on high-tech materials, Norse myths to Los Angeles traffic jams, artificial glaciers to the overlooked spatial opinions of private parking attendants, the interview really seems to run the list of things I've been trying to focus on here.
A brief excerpt:
    For instance, what do janitors or security guards or novelists or even housewives – let alone prison guards or elevator-repair personnel – think about the buildings around them? What do suburban teenagers think about contemporary home design, when their own bedrooms are right next door to their parents – or what do teenagers think about urban planning, when they have to drive an hour each way to get to school? These sorts of apparently trivial experiences of the built environment are often far more important to hear about than simply learning – yet again – how a certain architect fits him- or herself into a self-chosen design lineage.

    So perhaps we should stop talking to Frank Gehry and start interviewing valet parkers in Los Angeles – or crime novelists, or SWAT team captains. They all have an opinion about the built environment, and about the way that cities function, but no one tends to ask them what those opinion might be.
If you get a chance, check it out – and if you haven't picked up a copy of The BLDGBLOG Book yet, definitely consider ordering one soon. And thanks!

Comments are moderated.

If it's not spam, it will appear here shortly!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that it is a great idea ask the people who really engage architecture on an everyday basis. As I live in Rome, and I've often wondered what my neighbors think and feel about the uneven cobblestone streets, the dog poop, and labyrinthian paths that they negotiate on a daily basis. Oh, and how about carrying that 6-pack of liter water bottles up the many fights of stairs once you arrive home from the store that's a half kilometer away? Rome is a very tactile experience of the built environment that you feel with every part of your body, mind and spirit.

August 13, 2009 8:47 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

Congratulations Geoff on what sounds like an amazing book. I cannot wait to grab a copy.

I just completed another read of Jacobs' The Death & Life of Great American Cities and, at the heart, it sounds like your book runs along a parallel premise of emphasizing the importance of everyday observation and non-hierarchical design (design only by "designers") - something I am becoming increasingly passionate about. Is this assumption correct?

Looking forward to the read and, again, congrats.

August 13, 2009 12:27 PM  
Blogger EHorn said...

I received the book in the mail a few weeks ago and have been quickly devouring it since. I would have been finished already if I didn't feel compelled to let it soak slowly into my consciousness in order to truly comprehend the concepts which yourself and the contributors obviously put a good deal of consideration into. I love it. Very nicely laid out as well.

August 15, 2009 7:34 PM  
Blogger Cameron said...

I've noticed a couple of references to Kafka's Trial as architectural thought in bldgblog and thought you may be interested in this. Some Kafka scholar's have been pursuing the theme of the cage in their recent work. Below is a link to a book show discussion about it.

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bookshow/stories/2009/2615895.htm

August 17, 2009 3:13 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

dammit man, a link to the book! my lazy fingers won't type!

August 17, 2009 11:05 PM  
Blogger namugaya said...

lived in uganda all my life...and now more than ever i'm starting to realise the effect of the built on mine and everyone else's daily life(mind,body and spirit)....book sounds great...working on getting a copy of my own

August 19, 2009 2:48 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Vis-a-vis my comments about the architectural insights of janitors and cleaning crews and so on, I was just tipped off by a reader (Jose) about this film: Philosopher Kings. Anyone seen it?

Thanks for the comments, by the way!

August 27, 2009 6:55 AM  

Post a Comment