28 February 2011

Group Drawing 100505

This was drawn following student reviews by Jassen Callender, Burak Erdim, Mark Wise, and myself. The media are pen, Tabasco and beer on napkin.

Form Poems 100503-100609

27 February 2011

Junya Ishigami

I have an odd fascination with Ishigami's drawings. Intentionally naive, nonetheless I like the attempt to draw nature. Nature is terribly inconvenient to architectural representation. Trees and plants are hard to draw. They cover up and layer on to the structure, making it difficult to describe the form and material. I like Ishigami's answer - it's not about verisimilitude, it's about the idea.

25 February 2011

Anton Trofymov


I just came across this photographer's work via the Brooklyn Arts Council, where he is having a show. His night photos in particular are technically excellent, and have a haunting quality, yet are not overtly threatening. He appears to be shooting with a 4x5 camera, and makes a clearly determined effort to make his shots with care.

On a personal note, some of his images are of places which I have also attempted to photograph, but with far less success. He is also achieving something which I often strive for in my work - this brooding quality of purely architectural space.

Great work.

24 February 2011

Food is a Weapon

I don't remember where I found these images. I was researching a piece on food and architecture, and was thinking about the Victory Garden of WW II. I have found various stats on them, but there are claims that as much as 40% of US produce was coming from them during the war. They represent a potential model for the future.

Another potential model is the public awareness. This does work if the message is consistent. At present, we are a divided society. We need a common goal (or enemy). It is really hard when the enemy is us. Which brings me to Walt Kelly's poster for the first Earth Day. Self-consciousness is an effective tool.

Wisdom and Knowledge

"Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times."
This is the inscription above the entrance to 30 Rockefeller Place. I made the quip
"okay, we're screwed." We appear to be in a time of collective denial of the systems of knowledge that we have developed. I appreciate skepticism. It allows us to question received wisdom and the distortion of facts. Skepticism has lead to the development of the scientific method and peer review. It provides for regulatory oversight and third party verification. It gives us a way to trust.

But how to explain Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli? http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/science/earth/23virginia.html?_r=1&ref=science. The science of climate analysis is incredibly robust. It has sustained repeated assault with no evidence of wrong doing. It is minutely reviewed. Yet, there are no calls for senate or congressional hearings. Faith has replaced knowledge. Cleverness has replaced wisdom. Cucccinelli I fear is pursuing this for cynical and self-serving reasons. Why others less intelligent and informed than he abandon wisdom and knowledge I have more sympathy for: it forms the basis of their way of life. To believe that we are permanently damaging the global environment through our daily actions is hard to accept, especially when we cannot see any effect - CO2 is invisible.

I can only pray for reason to return.

21 February 2011


I did a nice drawing last night. I had fun. But somehow it seems particularly trivial in relation to the events unfolding in Libya. People were rather shocked when I credited Hosni Mubarak with a relatively peaceful withdrawal from power. True, blood was shed and lives lost, but in comparison to what is happening right now in Libya, it was relatively peaceful. I wish the Libyan people courage. I hope Khadafi recognizes the injustice (and futility) of his actions and does the right thing - its time to go.

20 February 2011

Tunisia, Egypt, Wisconsin

Wisconsin? Rather than have their rights quashed by a strident governor, members of public unions are protesting the governors machinations to deny them the right to bargain as a group. They have shown a willingness to make financial concessions, but they are not willing to give up their shared voice. As the Tunisians, Egyptians, and others throughout the middle east have shown, it is only through that collected voice are they heard. I only hope that Wisconsin is merely a beginning in this country. Entrenched corporate self interest has been well represented in this country for too long and is stifling true innovation. It is not about capitalism, it is about protection of market share. The current power and money are protecting their turf, to the detriment of the poor and middle class. Ultimately to the detriment of our environment. It has put a block on any meaningful progress on climate change, health care, and a broad spectrum of other issues that are crippling our economy and quality of life.

My cheers for these people in Wisconsin, for challenging this attempt to silence their voice. Throughout the middle east, ordinary people have so far overthrown two dictators in the region, and have their sights on many more. Tunisia and Egypt were relatively non-violent - very few deaths. Do we Americans have the same commitment? I am afraid we are still too well fed. But I could be wrong - we need to look to Wisconsin.

Form Poems 100227-100315

14 February 2011

Home Ownership

Two federal programs that support home ownership appear to be in question: the government backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the mortgage interest tax deduction. Both of these threaten to substantially increase the cost of home ownership. But lets look at the big picture: both of these favor home owners at the expense of those who rent. Also, these programs make bigger houses farther out from city centers and work more affordable. They enabled the almost doubling of house sizes in the past 60 years. They enabled two car families.

Perhaps we don't need to eliminate the program entirely. Houses that meet certain criteria of energy efficiency and proximity to services or mass transit could be eligible for low interest home loans backed by the government. Similarly, energy efficient upgrades could be eligible for no interest loans and 100% tax credits.

The elimination of the tax credits makes me fear that I will never be able to own again in New York. But that is personal self interest. The bigger picture is perhaps more positive.

09 February 2011

Form Poems 100217-100226

There are some good ones in this series (at least I think so - but then who am I).

Form Poems 090922-100216