Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Directions - Part II: Architecture

As Lenny Bruce taught us in "Thank You, Masked Man", some actions create and solve a problem simultaneously and continuously. As we build skyscrapers we create vacancies, encouraging urban drift. New arrivals start families which, in turn, leads to skyscrapers expanding goemetrically in size and number. If our purpose is to build a larger community this "build-it-and-they-will-come", "big tent", "upwards, ever upwards" dynamic is key.

With a site and Foundation in place, we need four more things for this project:

  1. Vision:

    What talent we have has hitherto constructed only single dwellings, often created by and for no one other than the builder. At least some of these creators will have to cease their navel bombardment of self-interest to fashion rooms/stanzas for strangers. They will need to break out of the strict, stultifying cells--prison and corporeal--of self-absorption that restrict their scope and passions.

  2. Artisans:

    Skills will have to be upgraded and either orchestrated or diversified. Without effective guilds, which would be less likely in a civilization still living in row houses, the plumber may have to help with the wiring, painting, landscaping and even promotional efforts.

  3. Material:

    Mud bricks won't stand up under the strain so new materials will have to be developed and tested. The latter could be a challenging concept for this group.

  4. Occupants:

    Potential tenants have to be shown--not told but shown--the advantages of apartment living.

Motivation shouldn't be a problem. These edifices will be erected for the same reasons Shakespeare "built" (in the sense that Yankee Stadium was "the house that Babe Ruth built", at least) the Globe and Blackfriars theatres: survival and prosperity. (The bulk of Shakespeare's wealth came only indirectly from his plays; it was theatre ownership that made him rich.)

Designing for those beyond our immediate community is revolutionary even if archeological digs reveal that previous societies beat us to the punch by centuries. Our dictionaries may downplay to quaternary importance the fact that revolution is circular but, with luck, our historians and architects won't.

Coming soon - Part III: Criticism

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