Message - Re: Would you put a Blob in Williamsburg?

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Posted by  Nathan Werner on October 09, 2003 at 21:41:02:

In Reply to:  Re: Would you put a Blob in Williamsburg? posted by JWmHarmon on May 12, 2002 at 21:27:18:

dear JWmHarmon
Put a blob in Williamsburg? Why not. In a 'bubble' full of neutral fabric how would one be able to discern between one building and the next. Look at any city today or of the past. What does it have that defines it? A city is a fabric that weaves itself together to form a vocabulary that is shared in an architectural regionalism. The inclusion of monuments are a necessity in defining points in space that give scale and definition within a city.

In New York we have points of interest such as Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim that redefines a spatial area of NYC, the same way the Eiffel Tower's presence is a focal point in Paris that helps people define their place within Paris. I believe Heidegger and Kant would beg to differ with you in terms of place but not appropriateness. You can't just place these "blobs" anywhere. Responsible architects work from the context that they are provided to create the spatial requirements the progam necessitates.

In no way am I advocating putting an amorphic structure in downtown historic Williamsburg, but I have no qualms in saying that it could be visible from the historic district. This new structure would be justified as a new greeting/visitor center to the downtown that lies in juxtaposition to the old fabric of colonial Williamsburg. The choice would be one of ignorance if one thought that she could incorporate such a program into a 'shell' that appeared to be of period. Most people would never locate such a building within the faceless crowd and it would be untruthfull to do a complex within such a shell.

The sustainability of such architecture should be considered. Are you one to advocate the placement of a WAL-MART within the historic limits of Williamsburg, you must surely tolerate this yourself because I know there most undoubtetly a WAL-MART within the near viscinity of your quaint hometown. When someone places a box in front of you are you impressed? When someone places a stool in front of you are you impressed? Both are made to be sat on, but which one is more interesting? True thought was put into the stool with a taste for its exact use and aesthetics. The WAL-MART box will be evacuated and faceless within a few years while the Guggenheim stool will be kept due to its exact and most designed use. You might even find that the stool doesent just function as a sitting device, but as a step-stool. Why didn't the box become this? A box can serve just as good a step stool as the one designed as a step-stool. Human nature will always preserve and go to lengths to continue to use the unique. Faceless architecture does play its integral role in life, but it cannot survive without its book-ends that communicate with it.

Nathan Werner


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