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February 20, 2008

Sustainability

The problem with the world is that you can't build something out of anything any more. We just don't have enough of the right stuff any more because we used it all in the past and we're running out. That, and we are now so in debt to the environment that we have to now build things in a way that attempts to save it, to reverse the damage that we have caused in the past. There are just too many people and too little of everything else.
For this reason, it is logical that in the future, it is necessary to build with more than just aesthetic design in mind. Function has always been a factor, but now sustainability is also a must.
To be completely honest, I always took sustainability as a given. I had never really thought of designing something that would fall apart, or be so terribly inefficient that it would cost so much to operate that it would be, in essence, redundant.
Since we now have the technology to build 'smartly', why not do it? It may be more costly immediately, but in the end, it could save unbelievable amounts of money and resources.
So what influenced me? How did I come to believe this? I think any educated person would agree that sustainability is a huge issue, and because I am an educated person, it comes naturally to me. However, if I had to think of some songs that go along with this I would probably choose a playlist something like this:
1. Ventura Highway (America)
2. 1979 (the Smashing Punpkins)
3. Snow (RHCP)
4. Slow Cheetah (RHCP)
5. Hotel California (Live version, The Eagles & Eric Clapton)
6. Space Oddity (David Bowie)
7. Horse with No Name (America)

February 7, 2008

Andy Goldsworthy

The interesting thing about Andy Goldsworthy is that his sculptures/art are all formed relatively quickly; his projects are usually completed in a few hours, and a few days to a week at most (from what we have seen in the video). Some of his pieces depend on things (outside factors) that are unique to him. For example, a painter usually does not have to deal with wind ruining his/her work, or the tide coming in and halting his progress. These are elements that are usually more associated with architecture. An architect, when designing a building should take into account the natural elements that will affect the structure, or the structure may be compromised. In this way, I think it is more appropriate to call Andy Goldsworthy less and artist and more an architect, even though the terms may sometimes by synonymous.
His idea of the energy of his work I believe comes from the pieces that he uses. A specific stick or rock or flower petal may not have much inherent energy, but when he combines them with other specimens, who themselves have little energy, they form one structure that has immense energy. The most amazing part of his work is that for some of his pieces, one can remove a part of the work and examine it by itself, thus taking away its part of the energy of the whole work, but one can also replace that part, reunifying the energy of the piece.
In this way, the energy of a city is not so much each individual building by itself (though I find some unique buildings to have immense energy when viewed by themselves, and these are the buildings that I believe have achieved a sort of individualism) but as the sum of the parts of the city, how the buildings work together. For example, the buildings of the central mall of the university are more or less of the same sort of style; they have columns in front of their large and imposing facades and are nice to look at, but they really become impressive when one sits in the middle of the mall and is surrounded by them. This is when they possess the most energy. Another example is the outline of down town Minneapolis. The skyscrapers huddled together (almost looking as if they would be scared to stand alone) are very impressive and contain vast amounts of energy, within (the lights and work that one knows is going on) and outside (the colors, the shape of them). Although it is very rare to see such a tall building by itself, I can imagine that it would seem very imposing if I were to stand by its base and crank my neck all the way back in effort to see all the way to the top. Imposing, yes, but not full of energy. Again, the energy comes from the sum of all the parts of the city; all the skyscrapers together.