NICARAGUA 7: SUN FLOWER ABODE

SUN FLOWER ABODE

IN MANAGUA, NICARAGUA IN 2009 ARCHITECT MARIO SALINAS THE MINISTER OF TOURISM, SLAPPED DOWN ON HIS OFFICE COFFEE TABLE A DREADFUL ARCHITECTURAL PLAN DONE BY SOME LOCAL ARCHITECT OF A THREE BEDROOM HOUSE FOR ROSARIO MURILLO AND SAID, “CAN YOU DO BETTER THAN THIS?” KNOWING FULL WELL THAT HE WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF FANTASTIC TALENT. MARIO AND I GO BACK TO 1985 WHEN HE WAS ASSISTING THE LATE HERTY LEWITES, THEN THE MINISTER OF TOURISM, JUST AFTER THE OVERTHROW OF SOMOSA THE DICTATOR, AND I WAS TECHNICALLY WORKING UNDER MARIO, REVAMPING THE HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL WITH A SCHEME TO REFLECT THE PROGRESSIVE LIBERATING SANDINISTA GOVERNMENT. WE ARE BUDDIES AND MARIO WAS TRYING TO SLOT ME TO DO SOME WORK, SINCE HERTY HAD BEEN DEAD FOR FOUR YEARS AND I WAS LOOKING FOR SOME MEANINGFUL PROJECT. MARIO HAD FAIRLY ORCHESTRATED THE JOURNALIST ROTUNDA COMPETITION THAT I WON IN 2004.

DANIEL ORTEGA PRESIDENT AND ROSARIO MURILLO HIS WIFE

IN FACT MARIO HAD RESCUED MY WIFE AND I A WEEK BEFORE , FROM OUR VAN THAT GOT STUCK IN THE RIVER WHILE DEPARTING FROM MARIOS HORSE RANCH BEACH RETREAT AFTER A DAY IN SUN. WHERE DANIEL ORTEGA THE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE ROSARIO ON A PREVIOUS VISIT TO HIS HOUSE HAD BEEN EXPECTED TO SHOW . MARIO AND HIS WIFE GRACIOUSLY PUTTING US UP FOR THE NIGHT AND OVERSEEING THE REPAIR OF OUR VAN THE NEXT DAY. LUCIA SMALL, MY FILM MAKER DAUGHTER HAD FILMED MARIO IN HIS PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT OFFICE IN 2004 FOR A SEGMENT IN MY FATHER THE GENIUS TWO.

MARIO SALINAS, MINISTER OF TOURISM, NICARAGUA, 2009 AT HIS BEACH HOUSE HE DESIGNED

THE HOUSE DESIGN CHALLENGE WAS LIKE MEAT BEFORE A HUNGRY TIGER. MARIO STATING IT HAD TO BE SIMPLE. I WENT BACK TO MY WIFE’S VILLA AND KNOCKED OUT A SCHEME IN A COUPLE DAYS. BUILT A VERY ROUGH MODEL, AND DID SOME DRAWINGS AND RUSHED BACK TO MARIO TO GET A READING WHETHER I WAS ON THE RIGHT TRACK. MARIO NODDED HIS HEAD IN UNDERSTANDING AND SAID HE WOULD PRESENT IT TO ROSARIO, WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH AND LIKES AMERICANS. IN 1986, HERTY HAD INTRODUCED ME TO ROSARIO AND ORTEGA AT A GALA RECEPTION AT A COUNTRY CLUB.

ROSARIO WAS INTO THE SPIRITUAL WORLD, LIKED BRIGHT COLORS AND RELATED TO NATURE. A HIPPIE AT HEART THAT HUNG OUT WITH OKO ONO, THE LATE JOHN LENNON’S WIFE. ROSARIO IS IN CHARGE OF THE VISUAL ASPECTS OF THE SANDINISTA GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING URBAN PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE. LAST YEAR, SHE RESTORED MY JOURNALIST ROTUNDA AND PAINTED THE WHITE MONUMENT MULTIPLE COLORS AND APPLIED LARGE INDIAN SYMBOLS MARKINGS. ORTEGA’S RECENT TRIUMPH IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS ASSURED ROSARIO’S CONTINUED PROGRESSIVE PROGRAMS IN HOUSING, EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND THE ARTS .

MY CONCEPT WAS THAT ROSARIO SHOULD HAVE A HOUSE BEFITTING THE PRESIDENCY THAT WELCOMES GUESTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD WITH A SYMBOLIC TROPICAL INVITATION THAT RESPECTS THE EARTH AND BEAUTY OF NICARAGUA. BUILT WITH LOCAL MATERIALS , BUILDING TECHNIQUES AND NATIVE CRAFTSMEN, UTILIZING NATURAL COOLING OF A LATIN CENTRAL PATIO HOUSE. SUSTAINABLE IN EVERY WAY. THE OVERALL PATTERN OF THE SUN FLOWER BEING A SPIRITUAL SYMBOL. THE COMBINATION OF; UTILITY OF FOOD AND OIL ,AND THE BEAUTY OF COLOR AND SHAPE. THE INCAS WORSHIPPED THE SUN FLOWER. ALL THIS AS A SYMBOL OF INCORPORATING SOPHISTICATED DESIGN THINKING. THE PERFECT POSITIVE LIVING ENVIRONMENT AND PR SPIN.

FLOOR PLAN, I LIKED THE SHADOW PATTERN ON THE PRINT, SO LET IT BE. SCALE IN METERS

CROSS SECTION GARDEN, DINING, SALA (LIVING ROOM), BEDROOM, GARDEN ARROWS SHOWING AIR MOVEMENT

THE HOUSE PATTERN BEING A ROUND SCHEME WITH A CENTRAL GATHERING LIVING ROOM CALLED SALA IN SPANISH. THIS WAS A TYPICAL CENTRAL ATRIUM LATIN HOME IDEA. A HIGH CEILING APEX THAT VENTED UPWARD CATCHING THE DRAFTS OF THE PREVAILING WINDS. INDIRECT LIGHT FROM ABOVE. I HAVE BEEN ACUSED OF MAKING HOUSES LIKE CHURCHES, UPLIFTING AND HEROIC. I PLEAD GUILTY FOR THE DRAMA OF INSPIRATION. MANAGUA NICARAGUA LIVING IS ALL ABOUT STAYING COOL. SO I DID A MIST DRIP SYSTEM THAT RINGED THE SALA THAT FELL ON NATIVE PLANTS SURROUNDING THE SEATING. AN EXPOSED WOODEN TRUST SYSTEM MEETS A STEEL RING AT THE APEX, OPEN VIEW OF THE SKY. MARIO UPON SEEING THIS GRASP THE WATER DRIPPING FROM ABOVE. I DID NOT ASCERTAIN HIS REACTION, BUT HE SEEMED UPBEAT ABOUT THE DESIGN. CROSS VENTILATION SWEPT THROUGH ALLTHE ROOMS OF THE HOUSE UTILIZING THE CENTRAL PATIO COOLING.

THE SIMPLICITY WAS THAT ALL THE DIVISION WALLS THAT CREATED THE DIFFERENT SIZE ROOMS FANNED OUT IN PLAN WERE THE SAME IN CROSS SECTION. PUNCTURED WITH VARIED OPENINGS, BUT THE SAME SLOPE AND MATERIALS, ABSOLUTELY STRAIGHT FROM A CENTER PIN. THE ENDS THAT WENT INTO THE LANDSCAPE DID A CURVY LOW THING THAT BROUGHT INTEREST, THE RADIUS ALL THE SAME. BUT EASILY BUILT WITH THE BLOCKS AND STONES USED IN COMMON CONSTRUCTION. THE WALLS TAPERING OUT OF THE EARTH LIKE A GIANT ROOT PATTERN, SO TYPICAL OF THE TROPICS. THE WATER DRAINING FROM THE ROOF TO A SERIES OF REFLECTING POOLS THAT COOLED THE AIR DRAFTED OVER THEM. THE POOLS SURROUNDED BY LUSH PLANTS WITH ABUNDANT FLOWERS AND FRUIT.

THE HOUSE WAS ROUGHLY THE SQUARE FOOTAGE GIVEN ME TO WORK WITH, BUT COULD BE INCREASED OR DECREASED DEPENDING ON THE BUDGET AND FUNCTIONAL DESIRES. THE PLAN BEING ABLE TO ADJUST TO VARIOUS INTERESTS FROM THE CLIENT. THE OUTSIDE FENESTRATION WALL MOVING OUT OR IN BETWEEN THE PARTY WALLS. THE PRIVATE FUNCTION ON THE LEFT, PUBLIC IN THE MIDDLE AND SERVICE ON THE RIGHT. ALL SEEN ON THE ABOVE FLOOR PLAN DRAWING.

AERIAL VIEW OF THE MODEL, THAT EXPOSED FRAMING IS TO SHOW THE STRUCTURAL LAYOUT - COVERED ROOF IN FOREGROUND

ELEVATION, A BIT OF LAUNDRY

DINING AND GARDEN

CLOSE UP OF DINING AREA, KITCHEN BAR, CROSS THROUGH VENTILATION TO ENTRY HALL

I WAS NOT GIVEN A SITE, SO I HAD TO DO A GENERIC ORIENTATION. THE SUN, WIND AND VIEW WOULD INFLUENCE THE FINAL AXIS.

COLOR WAS USED TO APPEAL TO ROSARIO’S TASTE. THE LATINS BEING BIG ON COLOR. REFLECTING THE LIVELINESS OF THE CULTURE. MUCHO MUSIC, DANCE, LAUGHTER AND LIVING FOR THE MOMENT . NICARAGUA LIVES THE FIESTA PARTY AND HAS NUMEROUS HOLIDAYS TO CELEBRATE YEAR AROUND. EVERY BODY LOVES SATURDAY NIGHT AND A BUNCH OF OTHER NIGHTS AS WELL. ALL POSITIVE FOR ONES SANITY. MY LOVE OF WORKING WAS RESPECTED, BUT NOT THE GOAL OF THE SOCIETY. I OFTEN MARVELED AT HOW MUCH FUN NATIVE NICARAGUA PEOPLE HAVE. HOW CONTRARY TO WHAT I OBSERVE OF THE GUARDED BEHAVIOR OF THE GRINGO.

MARIO TOOK THE ROUGH MODEL AND DRAWINGS AND SAID HE WOULD PRESENT IT TO ROSARIO, BUT THAT HER SCHEDULE WAS CROWDED AND HE WOULD WAIT FOR THE PROPER MOMENT TO PRESENT IT TO HER. I DEVELOPED THE SCHEME FUTHER WITH THE ENCLOSED MODEL, FEELING BAD THAT MARIO INSISTENCE ON TAKING THE ROUGH MODEL AND DRAWINGS THAT REALLY I HAD DONE FOR HIS EYES ONLY. THE FINAL MODEL SHOWN WAS MADE OUT OF ONE SIDED COLOR ILLUSTRATION BOARD, DRIED FERN STEMS FOR WOOD AND SOME COLOR PAPER AND ROCKS. ALL CONNECTED BY A GLUE GUN TO TRAVEL. MY AFTER THOUGHT BEING, MORE COLOR FOR THE WALLS. BUT ROSARIO NEVER SAW IT ANYWAY.

TO MY SURPRISE, WHEN I CALLED MARIO BACK TO GET THE RESULT OF ROSARIO’S REACTION, MARIO DID NOT RETURN MY CALLS, NOR REPEATED CALLS. THE MODEL HUNG IN OUR HOUSE FOR YEARS AND GOT NUMEROUS COMPLIMENTS FROM VISITING ARTISTS AND GENERAL PUBLIC. IT WAS ONE OF THOSE SIMPLE DESIGNS THAT PEOPLE ARE ATTRACTED TO, THAT I FOUND CONSERVATIVE. I HAD RESTRAINED MYSELF FROM REALLY CUTTING LOOSE. THE LABOR IS SO CHEAP IN NICARAGUA, WHICH I HAVE YET TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TO PERSONALLY BUILD SOMETHING BIOMORPHIC. MY WIFE BEING TOTALLY UP FOR ME DOING SO.

DURING MY RECENT STAY IN NICARAGUA MY WIFE ACTUALLY TALKED WITH MARIO’S CORDIAL WIFE AT THE BANK AND CONVEYED TO HER I WAS IN TOWN. MY WIFE RELAYING TO ME THE PHONE NUMBER MARIO’S WIFE GAVE HER TO CALL MARIO, WHICH I DID, AND GOT NO RESPONSE BACK FROM MARIO.

MY WIFE, CHRISTINE LUGO BACA IS FROM A RENOWN FAMILY, AND HER LATE FATHER GENARO LUGO , WAS A FAMOUS AND RESPECTED ARTIST IN NICARAGUA WHOM ORTEGA AND ROSARIO VISTED NUMEROUS TIMES YEARS AGO ROSARIO PERSONALLY INTERVENED AFTER HIS DEATH TO GIVE A MUST NEEDED PUBLIC HONORED BURIAL THAT THE FAMILY WAS FOREVER GRATEFUL TO HER FOR SO DOING. MY WIFE BEING A BIG FAN OF ROSARIO AND ESPECIALLY LIKES THE COLOR AND RESTORATION ROSARIO DID ON MY JOURNALIST ROTUNDA.

I HAVE HOPES THAT ROSARIO WOULD WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THE SUN FLOWER ABODE FOR HER, MY ARTISTIC IDEAS FOR LOW INCOME HOUSING, AND A TON OF OTHER DESIGNS AS WELL. SHE IS VERY SENSITIVE. I HAVE HAD LOTS OF EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH SUCH WOMEN AND ANTICIPATE A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP.

FINDING ME IS NOT DIFFICULT. I AM STILL WAITING FOR MARIO’S CALL.

GLEN

MARIO ON THE PHONE, AND I LOOKING DREADFUL AFTER A SWIM IN THE PACIFIC, TALKING TO AN ARCHITECT RELATIVE OF MARIO FROM COSTA RICA AND A PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER FRIEND OF MARIO


ENTRY ON RIGHT, VENT SCOOP ON ROOF


MASTER BEDROOM SUITE CENTER BOTTOM, DINING RIGHT

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  • eric chavkin

    Glen , Glad to see this project. And I see theory again. Let me go on and elaborate

    Again, as i described previously in other posts, the simple bio-forms generate the resulting structures. There is a linking, or parallels, between the classes of NATURAL STRUCTURES that you taught at SCI-Arc and the classes of primitive bio-forms that see especially in the Nicaraguan projects.

    All this talk of classes of forms may sound like Bauhaus but different. The Bauhaus primitives , cube, square, cone , triangle, all seem so, regular, abstract and mechanical. They originate from a Platonic vocabulary.: point to line to plane ala Kandinsky; pyramid, cube, sphere – in a way these are the shorthand of modernist shape-vocabulary.

    Looking over the inventory of your bio-forms, the Glen Small vocabulary, are shapes that mimic or resemble life forms at an early stage with more curves, less straight line geometries. I think that this ‘evolved’ vocabulary will become the new vocabulary, like a new bio-language of forms, like the Bauhaus had a system of forms.

    So we have an architectural design vocabulary based on natural structures coupled with an environmental based ethics. So far so good….

    eric chavkin

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIC,

      I TRIED TO DOWN LOAD A PICTURE OF A SUN FLOWER FOR THIS REPLY, BUT MY SKILLS DID NOT ALLOW.

      A LOT TO BE LEARNED THAT PROBABLY COULD BE APPLIED, BESIDES THE FORM IN PLAN.

      THIS WAS JUST A FAST PROJECT THAT HAS NOT GOTTEN TO DESIGN DEVELOPMENT TUNING.

      ALL MY MOVING AROUND THE LAST FEW YEARS HAS DISRUPTED HAVING MY HISTORICAL WORK TO ACCESS AND I GET FRIGHTENED I WILL DIE BEFORE I TELL ALL THAT I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT. . THE LAST TRAMA BEING THREE SIGNIFICANT RESEARCH PERSONAL VOLUMES MISSING IN NICARAGUA,

      YOU ARE UP TO MAKING BROAD COMPARISONS, BUT I SEE IT ALL IN THE SAME DIRECTION OF USING PATTERNS TO DESIGN WITH. ALL THE ORIGINAL GEOMETRICS THAT THE GREEKS USED PLUS MOST CIVILIZATIONS DISCOVERED AND WERE WELL VERSED AT USING ARE JUST THE TOOLS OF THE GAME. NATURE BEING THE ULTIMATE SOURCE THAT IS DERIVED FROM FUNCTIONS THAT ARE IN MOTION WITH TIME.

      I AM GLAD TO SEE THE RECENT INTEREST IN ARCHITECTURE TO USE AND LEARN FROM PATTERNS OF NATURE.

      I WROTE MY FIRST ARTICLE ON NATURE INSPIRING FORM AND FUNCTION DESIGN FOR MY HISTORY CLASS AT UNIVERSITY OF OREGON IN 1960. THE BARNACLE GRIPPING THE ROCK AND GROWING UPWARD BEING THE ITEM OF CHOICE.

      KEEP CLOSE,

      GLEN

  • eric chavkin

    Funny you should mention the Greeks. For the last few weeks I have been studying their aesthetics, philosophy and literature, mostly Greek Drama: Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles. and mythology. But the primitives that observe in your work have little to do with what the Greek forms, although the works are all in hindsight prototypes for Western cultures.

    The primitive shapes/forms/precursors to be are a new vocabulary and distinct from the earlier 20thC constructivist/Bauhaus design vocabulary. That shape vocabulary as I said derives from Plato’s ideal forms, mathematical. What connection I do see with ancient Greek philosophy would be pre- Plato, pre-Socratic , visions of a nature and earth-loving world-view.

    The shape expression, the form vocabulary for this new way of seeing requires different eyes, and a new formal design vocabulary not based on Platonism. The squiggles, wiggles, spirals and seedlings as well as other bio-forms reach forward towards a design philosophy and design principals that will look more and more like nature.

    Shape-bending software and more efficient computer technologies make rendering this easier. Constructions based these new different parameters are popping up in many places as project ideas.

    The next phase in design has already been planted. Like a new garden it needs nurturing to grow. The design metaphor for a new world is is already here. The seeds are all ready to sprout.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIC

      FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION COMPUTERS. WHAT I OBSERVE IS THAT THE COMPUTER PROGRAMS ARE INFLUENCING THE DESIGN SHAPES. THIS IS ALL IN THE DIRECTION OF BIOMORPHIC FORM, BUT NOT MUCH AFTER THAT. THE NATURAL SHAPES NEED DEEPTH, IF SO A WHOLE NEW DIMENSION OF DESIGN WILL FOLLOW BASED ON HOLISTIC THINKING, LIKE IT OCCURES IN NATURE.

      GLEN

  • eric chavkin

    Yes Glen,

    I agree that the software is advanced to create anything and not as limited as we were with triangles and tee-squares. We are no longer captive to THAT instrument mentality. But the present instrument, computers need a direction, a philosophy, beyond the instrumental designs that as you observed correctly have not much going for it but shapes.

    Lets expand.

    An ABC’s of design starting from primitive bio-forms woud be useful. A starting point, that would integrate the ecological with form, in a self-evident expressive correspondence. A new formalism, a bio-formalism based in nature, expressed as form. Makes sense to you? I’m describing the basis for a new design language. A bio-pedagogy.

    That would be a hells of a laboratory / class / at SCI-Arc ( or anywhere.)

    eric chavkin

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIC

      YOU HEAR ME KNOCKING,THEY HEAR ME KNOCKING, THE WORLD HEARS ME KNOCKING THE OBVIOUS DOOR, RESEARCH LAB AT SCI-ARC.

      HAPPY NEW YEAR

      GLEN

      • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

        BLOG READERS,

        I AM TIRED OF HOWLING TO THE SKY ABOUT THE STATE OF THE WORLD AND ARCHITECTURE. SO I PICKED A PERSONAL DESIGN TO TALK ABOUT ON MY BLOG THIS TIME.

        ALL INNOCENT AND SIMPLE TO DISCUSS. BUT AT THE SAME TIME NOT ANYTHING THAT I EVER SAW PROPOSED AS A HOUSE, JUST ON A DESIGN LEVEL I THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE A DISCUSSION. ERIC STEPPED FOWARD WITH THE NATURAL FORM PATTERN THING AND THAT WAS REFRESHING, BUT NO OTHER COMMENTS. YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS IN HISTORY BOOKS ETC, SO I WOULD THINK THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING TO CARRY ON A CONVERSATION ABOUT.

        I HAVE A FEELING IT WILL COME UP BEING BUILT OR PROPOSED BY SOMEONE ELSE, LIKE A LOT OF MY DESIGNS RECENTLY.

        I AM NOT HARPING, I AM JUST CURIOUS WHY SOME THINGS I SAY ON MY BLOG GET A LOT OF DISCUSSION AND OTHER THINGS LIKE THIS GET ALMOST ZERO COMMENTS?

        IF YOU READ THE BLOG CAREFULLY, THERE ARE NUMEROUS ISSUES TO DISCUSS .

        CURIOUS,

        GLEN

  • eric chavkin

    OK Glen, lets look at this

    Several things are interesting to me

    The circular star shape, that you say is somewhat unique and
    the cooling section, the outflow of warm air (the chimney effect) coupled with a cooling pool along the perimeter.

    As to the claim of uniqueness I would assume that that the shape, simple as it is, would have precedents. My favorite book for form / shape types research is FANTASTIC ARCHITECTURE by Ulrich Conrads.

    Bruce Goff has many built and unbuilt residence designs. Most are spiral , a few circular ones, none incorporate environmental or solar stategies in the design. Goff, when I asked him about that lack of solar or environmental concerns in his work replied that “his roofs were well insulated” which was more of a dance than an explanation. Goff wasn’t at all interested in ecology, or natural structures.

    There were a few large scale projects in Germany and France from the 20s (also un-built) and also without ecological concerns.

    So as to the shape yours is uncommon, and in my research I could find no other pattern close to this design. I am sure that one has been done somewhere by someone but if one exists where it is is a mystery.

    As to solar cooling it was only until the mid 60′s interest in folk architecture, does solar cooling come into play. mostly in Pakistan , a few examples in African thatch roofed Palaces of the Cameron. Another design that is close is by Guedes, a Mozambique architect, who among all architects I know comes closest in spirit and design to you. There is a 42 page PDF of his lifetime of works on the island put together by his students. He is almost unknown and only mentioned in an anthology ‘ New African Architecture’ put out by Brazillier in the early 70s. I know that David Wright, a relative of FLW was involved in solar design early on and wrote a book on the subject. But not a circular one , not with standing fin-walls. Greg Davis put together a solar cooling tent using the chimney effect with misting that was constructed Downtown LA. I think the combination of the shape and solar cooling is probably a first. Cool ( my pun)

    The closest project I could find was something I did. It was one of those at SCI-Arc with fin-walls and pools but with the cooling chimney in section. I took part of as inspiration from the Goff Aurora house in Illinois. Mine project was a circle with walls radiating from the center for rooms. The ceiling had a glazed retractable dome and it looked like a spaceship. It was also on a slope, a partly buried. Too fussy compared to yours. I will try and find the drawings. I do have a slide of the cardboard model

    so yes Glen , you may have another prototype.

    eric

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIC,

      THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO RESEARCH THE DESIGN.

      THE CIRCLE HAS BEEN AROUND FOREVER, AND HAS MANY INTERPRETATION. I JUST DID MINE WITH A VERY LIMITED BUDGET APPROACH.

      FULLER DID THE DYMAXION SCHEMES, BUT THEY ALWAYS GOT CONFUSED IN PLAN.

      GOEFF WAS SPECIAL, THE BAVENGER HOUSE IS MY FAVORITE, BUT IT RECENTLY MEANT THE DEMISE OF BEING DESTROYED AND BEING SOLD OFF AS RUIN PARTS.

      I LIKE THE PROTOTYPE IDEA. BUT MY WISH IS TO HAVE THE CLIENT BUILD IT.

      GLEN

      • eric chavkin

        Glen, no so much the circle. Lots of history of circle designs. This is Circular with radiating fin-walls, open or closed at the ends. Addition of the Solar chimney with cooling ponds/ pools and the design is a nice solar/green prototype. One could add a greenhouse/solarium , garden extensions. Shapes are wedges that can also be varied as to length, width & height. Enclosed spaces open or closed. Lots of variations. Works as an oblong, oval, dumbell
        .

        eric

  • maninthemirror

    You can praise me, pat me, call me a genius,
    You can even criticize me, curse me, mock me,
    But you can never ever ignore me.

    Sorry Glen, I HAD decided not to be critical and let it be this time around.
    The plan I liked very much, but the 3D is too simplistic for me. Most students would come up with something similar if given the same plan.

    Unfortunately we Architects are like prostitutes, we try to think how we can please the client and screw up our designs in the process.

    I am expecting much more from you for the evolo competition (no client to blame), so work hard and smart, and don’t let us down.

    Also, it would be interesting to know which of your designs have come up being built or proposed by someone else.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      MITM

      GLAD TO SEE THAT YOU ARE ALERT AND ATTENTIVE IN CLASS.

      EVOLO COMPETITION MIGHT BE A DISAPPOINTMENT TO YOU BECAUSE MY APPROACH IS TO MAKE IT REALISTIC, BUT EVEN TRYING TO DO SO, IT WILL SEEM RADICAL TO OTHER APPROACHES,

      AS YOU ARE AWARE I AM MANY FACETED WHEN DESIGNING. WHAT YOU CALL A STUDENT DESIGN HAS NO MERIT FOR YOU. CONSIDER THE SOURCE, CIRCUMSTANCES AND LIMITATIONS. ALL PART OF DESIGN.

      SOME PEOPLE LIKE MY HOUSES. LIKE MY OWN HOUSE THAT WAS FORECLOSED ON. THERE ARE SIMILARITIES TO THE ROSARIO HOUSE, BUT TOTALLY DIFFERENT. I KNOW WHEN I DID MY OWN HOUSE AS A SPECULATION HOUSE AND ENDED UP LIVING IN IT, IT WAS THE HIGH POINT OF HOUSE LIVING FOR ME. IF BUILT THE ROSARIO ONE WOUD DO LIKEWISE. IF THAT IS STUDENT STUFF OR WHATEVER STUFF PROVIDES MEANINGFUL ARCHITECTURAL SPACE AND BENEFITS LIFES. I SUPPORT THAT AND HAVE A BUNCH OF HOUSES THAT PEOPLE SWEAR BY THAT ARE NOT THE FLYING HOUSE IN THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. ANOTHER DIFFERENT APPROACH AND BODY OF WORK.

      IT IS JUST NOT YOUR INTEREST. THAT IS FINE TOO. BUT GIVE SOME SLACK. TO ME IT IS INTERESTING THAT THE MAGAZINES ARE FILLED WITH HOMES THAT COST A LOT OF MONEY TO BUILD AND OWN. IN FACT, VERY FEW INEXPENSIVE SPACES EVER ARE PUBLISHED. WHY IS THAT? MINIMUM SPACES CAN BE FANTASTIC TOO. CARLOS WANTS ME TO SHOW HIM, AND I WILL. BUT AT THE MOMENT I AM BUSY WITH OTHER THINGS.

      I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN SEEING YOUR WORK MITM. ESPECIALLY THE BUILT STUFF.

      KEEP CLOSE,

      GLEN

  • maninthemirror

    Glen,

    I just feel that the 3 dimension has not been worked on in your Rosario house (too basic and hence potential lost). As I said I liked the plan, but in 3D it looks like a hut to me. Nice but not great.

    Sorry I did try and give you some slack, by remaining silent earlier. But as you probably know not everything you do is great, and people have their own likes and dislikes.

    I however did like whatever little I saw of your own house and the Nelson house.

    As for my work, one day you will probably see it. However unlike a SATISFIED, CONTENT AND PROUD GLEN SMALL, I AM MOSTLY UNSATISFIED AND DISCONTENT ABOUT MY WORK (ESPECIALLY BUILT WORK).

    ARE WE HAVING A REVERSAL OF ROLES HERE?

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      MITM,

      LIKE A HUT, HOW OBSERVANT. NOBODY TALKED ABOUT WHY THE CLIENT NEVER RESPONDED. MAYBE MY SCHEME WAS THOUGHT TO BE JUST THE OPPOSITE OF A SIMPLE HUT, AND THEREFORE TOO GRANDIOSE. AS I POINTED OUT I HELD MY GUNS IN MY HOLSTERS ON THIS ONE. VERY SIMPLE, THAT IS THE SCHEME.

      I RESPECT YOUR OPINIONS AND WHAT TURNS YOU ON. IF YOU LIKE MY HOUSE AND THE NELSON HOUSE THAT WILL DO. BUT THE COST OF BOTH WERE PRICY AND COMPLICATED COMPARED TO THE ROSARIO ABODE.

      I REGRET ASKING YOU TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE, SORRY I EMBARRASSED YOU. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT MY STUFF, SO THAT WAS A CHEAP SHOT.

      LETS BE FRIENDS,

      GLEN

  • eric chavkin

    Glen,

    I’m not like you in that I have designed very little and built even less. BUT what i have done I am proud of. My first attempts at design were strange and not like anything anyone else did. I sketched our a spiral kitchen plan for Jan and it won her ‘kitchen-of-the-year” at a home show. My other kitchen designs were equally bizarre concepts. My Writers Guild cinema in Beverly Hills is still considered avant-garde today , a dozen years after it was built.

    I don’t try to be different, it just comes out that way. It’s how i am wired. Some people like it, most find my designs ‘interesting’,. Its how I express myself. Its always about form expressing what I want to say in an interesting way. I wish it were easier for me. Writing is the cheapest substitute I could find and I use words as tools to form the expression. The reflection in my mirror tells me if it’s right.

    Merry Christmas to you ,milicia and the kids

    eric

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIIC,

      IT MUST BE FRUSTRATING TO BE YOU. I GET SO WRAPPED UP IN MYSELF THAT I FORGET HOW PRECIOUS YOU ARE. YOU ARE A RARE HUMAN THAT IS UNIQUE IN MULTIPLE WAYS. TALK ABOUT BEING ON THE EDGE AND SURVIVING, YOU ARE THE ULTIMATE GAMESMAN THAT IS BRILLIANT, BUT GETS BEAT UP.

      I MUST SAY THAT YOU MAKE ME LOOK CONSERVATIVE IN COMPARISON TO YOUR LIFE STYLE. BUT WHAT IS INTERESTING IS THAT WE HAVE STAYED CLOSE AND RESPECT EACH OTHER.

      YES YOU ARE A GENIUS WITH PERCEPTION AND WORDS. THAT HOLDS TRUE, AND EVERYONE I KNOW HAS SEEN FLASHES OF THAT. I DID NOT REALIZE THAT YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR YOUR DESIGNS. MAYBE WE CAN DO A BLOG ON YOU, YOUR WORK, AND THOUGHTS. START A FORMER STUDENT THING.

      HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND THANKS FOR BEING MY CLOSE FRIEND.

      GLEN

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIIC,

      IT MUST BE FRUSTRATING TO BE YOU. I GET SO WRAPPED UP IN MYSELF THAT I FORGET HOW PRECIOUS YOU ARE. YOU ARE A RARE HUMAN THAT IS UNIQUE IN MULTIPLE WAYS. TALK ABOUT BEING ON THE EDGE AND SURVIVING, YOU ARE THE ULTIMATE GAMESMAN THAT IS BRILLIANT, BUT GETS BEAT UP.

      I MUST SAY THAT YOU MAKE ME LOOK CONSERVATIVE IN COMPARISON TO YOUR LIFE STYLE. BUT WHAT IS INTERESTING IS THAT WE HAVE STAYED CLOSE AND RESPECT EACH OTHER.

      YES YOU ARE A GENIUS WITH PERCEPTION AND WORDS. THAT HOLDS TRUE, AND EVERYONE I KNOW HAS SEEN FLASHES OF THAT. I DID NOT REALIZE THAT YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR YOUR DESIGNS. MAYBE WE CAN DO A BLOG ON YOU, YOUR WORK, AND THOUGHTS. START A FORMER STUDENT THING.

      HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND THANKS FOR BEING MY CLOSE FRIEND.

      GLEN

      • eric chavkin

        Glen thanks for the praise.

        If I am a survivor its just that i set it up that way. My expenses are paid without borrowing money and i can do whatever i want. I wish i knew how to make my own blog.

        My terrorist friend calls me ‘Allah’s cow’ which means God looks after me. My karma is good, I pass ATM machines and money comes out. I worked 4 hours on a film and won the grand prize.(all true) I am lucky. But I am lazy. I am getting inspired to compile this inventory of bio-forms. It is theory. A practical ethis aesthetic theory. it just needs articulation and a logical method exposition.

  • maninthemirror

    The Rosario abode, too grandoise? I don’t think it is grandoise enough for a President. Once again we are not on the same page. Makes me wonder how I ever got through your class at Sci-Arc.:)

    I am in no way embrassed, why should I be?

    I know that you are one who tells it like it is, so surely you should not react like your neighbour did to negative comments.

    I am not satisfied but proud of some of my works. As I cannot attach it here, will e-mail you some examples in the future. Feel free to shoot it down. I don’t take critism personally.

    You are the only teacher I am in touch with, and I have learnt good designing from you.
    For that I am grateful.

    So in the future if I am once again critical of you or your work (God forbid) , and you take cheap shots, it dosen’t matter.

    I shall remain your friend.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      MITM

      THE POLITICAL IMAGE ROSARIO PROJECTS IS BEING SIMPLE WITH BUILDINGS. SHE BUILDING NATIVE STRUCTURES. A FOLKLORE APPROACH.

      THE DESIGN WAS TO SPIN THAT INTEREST OF HERS. THE HOUSE I WAS GIVEN AS A STARTING POINT WAS VERY CONSERVATIVE AND MODEST.

      WAITING TO SEE YOUR BUILT PROJECTS.

      YOU ARE ONE OF MANY PREVIOUS STUDENTS THAT HAVE IDEAS OF WHAT GLEN SHOULD BE DESIGNING.

      THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONCERN.

      STAY CLOSE,

      GLEN

      • eric chavkin

        ROSARIO project has the simplicity of a permanent tent / tipi. Or thatch covered pyramid that a village elder would reside. The home grown semantics recall the Mayan structures but in wood construction not stone. What I was looking at in the project was not semantic meanings, now that it was brought up, but How I envision this work as part of a larger inventory of bio-forms, and later a vocabulary of solutions.

        Think
        Los Angeles TURFTOWN
        Abu-Dhabi ECO-RESORT
        NYC Jungle Theater

        eric

  • Carlos

    Glen, how refreshing it was to read all the posts in the blog, and to find that MITM’s views mirror my own and to a lesser extent Eric’s as well. Do you expect everyone to praise you? You are human Glen. We are your friends and like MITM, you are the only professor with whom I remain in touch after some 30 years. I appreciate when friends offer criticism of me and what I do, sometimes they are the mirror that tells it like it is; they don’t necessarily reflect the image in my mind’s eye as to what I am and they bring me down to earth.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      CARLOS

      YOU HAVE A BIG EGO, I HAVE A BIG EGO , MITM HAS A BIG EGO, CHAVKIN HAS A BIG EGO ETC. A HEALTHY SURVIVAL TOOL IN ARCHITECTURE. FOR SOME REASON AFTER ANSWERING ALL YOUR QUESTIONS AND MITM’S AS WELL IN A LUCID WAY YOU KEEP YELPING.. I KNOW YOU RESPECT ME AND WANT THE BEST FOR ME, I HAVE HEARD WHAT YOU HAVE SAID AND ANSWERED YOUR CONCERNS. WE DISAGREE ON THIS ONE.

      AS FAR AS AGREEING WITH ME GOES, I ENCOUNTER DISAGREEMENT ON A DAILY BASIS EVER SINCE I BEGAN ARCHITECTURE. I SHOULD BE SHELL SHOCKED AND ACCUSTOM TO THAT, BUT IT DOES HURT ME.

      I NOTICE OTHERS THAT CAN’T STAND THE HEAT, COMPROMISE AND GIVE THE CLIENTS WHAT THEY DEMAND. NO MATTER HOW BAD THEIR TASTE IS. RATIONALIZED BY PUTTING MEAT ON THE TABLE FOR THE FAMILY . I PULL MY PUNCHES, BUT I NEVER CAVE IN. I DID THIS ON THIS DESIGN. AND SHOULD BE APPLAUDED FOR IT. YOU CAN”T SEE THAT, OK LEAVE IT AT THAT.

      IT REMINDS ME OF A CARTOON WITH TWO DOGS. ONE DOG ALL GROOMED AND IN GOOD SHAPE SAYING COME TO MY HOUSE, THEY TAKE CARE OF ME AND LIFE IS BLISSFUL, THE OTHER MANGY DOG SAYS ” WHAT IS THAT AROUND YOUR NECK” GROOMED DOG SAYS, “A COLLAR.”

      AT LEAST YOU GUYS ARE DIALOGUING WITH ME, THE OTHERS ,THAT DO NOT KNOW I EXIST, NOR INTERACT WITH ME ARE THE SCARY ONES..

      GLEN

      • eric chavkin

        Glen, Not everybody responds. I asked about his project that was like one of yours. And sent a link to your site.
        his email back. Dont despair
        ************

        Thanks Eric.

        Your link is great. I lived for several years in LA and I am surprised to not know more about Glen Small…interesting ideas and fantastic drawings on the stadium and his website.
        I’m quite familiar with Frei Otto’s work from my Behnisch days–he was the engineering mastermind for the Munich Stadium, which still remains their best work (and a source of inspiration for all succeeding projects in the office).

        Plasticity in Arcadia is quite an odd and challenging project. It is located in the beautiful Moray Firth in Scotland–a sand dune landscape that shifts and changes over time. The project is particularly interested in degrading systems and the fabrication of architectural environments through traces and language–something I’ve held very close over the last few years. Burgeoning was set up to try and explore more of these issues by positioning design and design research.

        Best,
        Mauricio

        • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

          ERIC,

          THANKS FOR THE CONNECTION. COULD YOU PROVIDE A LINK SO I COULD VIEW MAURICO PROJECT.

          WHAT IS OF INTERESTS IS THAT HE HAS NEVER HEARD OF ME.

          SCARY FOR ME TO HEAR. WHEN I AM DEAD AND GONE I WILL BE DISCOVERED.

          THIS INTERNET THING SHOULD BE ABLE TO COMPENSATE FOR THAT.

          KEEP CLOSE,

          GLEN

  • eric chavkin

    Carlos, Merry Christmas. Thirty years, and feels like yesterday.What do you think of the bio-forms vocabulary approach? I am trying to extract theory of of Glen’s practice which is actually quite easy. The ethics and aesthetics work. Google archinect and my name and read what other comments I wrote.

    eric

  • maninthemirror
    • Carlos

      Interesting. We need an anti-corruption campaign here… and more! Just like Blago got 14 years in the can, all the presidents and members of congress need to be tried for allowing, supporting, starting, or continuing any act of war, with the law being retroactive.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      MITM

      A LOT MORE GUTSY THAN I. IT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT BEING SPEARHEADED WITH A DIRECTION BY A RESPECTED AND BRAVE LEADER.

      WHO IS THE ANNA OF THE USA?

      THANKS FOR THE MESSAGE.

      GLEN

      • maninthemirror

        Every country needs an Anna.

        Glen, this would have been possible if along with the Green Machine, you had also invented a Cloning Machine :)

  • eric chavkin

    Good morning everyone,

    This thread and much of the previous threads are about politics, political symbolism, political action. Fine. Good discussion about ethics and design. My input is about aesthetics, and an aesthetic theory of bio-forms or whatever name that attaches to this.

    What I think alot about is the linkage between Glen’s forms, especially the bio-forms and the relationship to nature. My assumption is that nature is ethical onto itself and design by imitation and inspiration is ethical by associations. I realize that this logic is full of fallacies and perhaps non-definable. But I am trying to make explicit the THEORY that Glen works from and articulate the best I can.

    Of everyone who taught I SCI-Arc in the beginning Glen was the only one that had a theory. It’s just not written as theory. Which is why I wrote that his works read like manifestos.

    merry christmas guys

  • orhan

    this house is like a theater or a movie set. i would like to write a movie when the camera goes around one circular run, stories told in each compartment and it ends in the central room with a bang. the state of things II
    http://WWW.WIM-WENDERS.COM/MOVIES/MOVIES_SPEC/THESTATEOFTHINGS/THE_STATE_OF_THINGS.HTM

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ORHAN,

      LIKE THE SUNFLOWER; ALL THE COLOR, MOVEMENT AND DRAMA ON THE EDGES THAT IS HELD TOGETHER WITH THE SEEDS OF REPRODUCTION IN THE CENTER. WHETHER THAT EQUATES TO A BANG IS ANYBODY’S GUESS. ALL ABOUT INTERACTION AND VENTING OUT THE WIND SCOOP.

      GLEN

  • Carlos

    Speaking of circles (more or less), and cyclical events, I was wondering if there is a new year’s Glen Small resolution, or a manifesto, or just a last word, you know, since this year is both young and short, if one believes the checkstand ‘literature’ concerning the predictions of my ancestors the Mayans.

  • eric chavkin

    I think an INVENTORY of Glen’s patterns are in order. There are circle designs, pyramid designs, fan-shaped, spiral… Lets see if there is a pattern to the pattern.

    eric

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIC

      PATTEM, IS THIS A WORD? YOUR SMARTS ARE NOT TO BE QUESTIONED, SO ENLIGHTEN ME.

      THANKS,

      GLEN

      YOU HAVE INFORMED ME I SHOULD COMMENT MORE ON ARCHITECTURAL WORK, BECAUSE I GET A LOT OF READS WHEN I DO COMMENT.

      THIS I COULD DO, AND I AM THINKING ABOUT THAT AS A PART TIME JOB. I REALIZE IF I DO, I CAN KISS THE FELLOW LOVE OF THE ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION OFF. BUT MAYBE I HAVE ALREADY DONE THAT, CONSIDERING HOW SELDOM I AM INVITED TO ANYTHING.

  • maninthemirror

    2012 – SMALL NO LONGER AT LARGE?

    OUR BLOG HOST IS MISSING. TRUST YOU ARE WORKING HARD ON EVOLO.

    • Carlos

      Yesterday I got an email from Glen, from which I quote: “LETTING MY MIND RUN WILD ON THE COMPETITION.”
      So there you go, the genius is at work. Can’t wait to see the outcome, Go Glen!

      • maninthemirror

        Can’t wait either.

        Hoping to see Glen of the future, rather than Glen of the past.

        • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

          MITM

          THAT DEPENDS ON WHAT FUTURE YOU CAN RELATE TO, AS OF LATE YOU SEEM TO BE PRESSING FOR ME WALKING ON WATER .

          I BEING ARMED WITH MY PENCILS AND WATER COLOR : HAVING TO RELY ON MY PRIMITIVE MIND . IN THE WORLD OF COMPUTER IMAGES AND PSEUDO JARGON .

          MY PLEAS FOR A LITTLE HELP FROM CLOSE COMPUTER NERDS WERE IGNORED. SO I MUST SHARPEN MY PENCILS, CONTROL MY INSECURITIES AND STRID FORWARD TO MEET THE CHALLENGE, ALWAYS KNOWING THE WORST I CAN DO IS END UP PUTTING MY SCHEME ON MY BLOG, THANK THE INTERNET AGE FOR THAT. IT IS GOOD TO BE ALIVE. WHAT FUN IT IS.

          THE NEXT BLOG HAS BEEN DELIVERED, BUT DELAYED BECAUSE I WAS CONFUSED ABOUT HOW TO PROCEED, WORKING ON EVOLO, LAZINESS, THE DUCKS TRIUMPH IN THE ROSE BOWL AND TIM THE BLOG CONDUCTOR VISITING HIS AILING FATHER IN THE UK, IT SHOULD COME OUT BY MID WEEK.

          HAPPY NEW YEAR

          GLEN

          • maninthemirror

            Glen,

            Pencils and watercolours are an advantage. It will make you stand out from the crowd of computer aided designs.

            Do send in your entry a couple of days before the deadline, as I had an issue sending in my submission last year as it was too heavy.

            Now time for you to go ahead and master walking on water.

            Cheers and a Happy New year to you too.

  • eric chavkin

    Glen,

    Classicism has it orders, pediments and rules of symmetry. This is the humanist ideal of design, and architecture

    The bio-forms concept would be a set of primary patterns, but looking like invertebrate embryos: curves, spirals, fans, flower/star, etc. The rules would be based on environmental processes: solar orientation being primary (so far). Morphology also.

    Books consulted on morphology

    ON GROWTH AND FORM
    LAWS OF FORM -whyte
    Invertebrate embrology
    seed growth

    Hard to focus on this with a crowd yacking all the time and singing stupid songs while i type

  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    MITM

    AS CHANCE WOULD HAVE IT I WOKE UP TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE BEARING POINTS, I NEED A LITTLE PRACTICAL HIGHER CALLING TO PULL THIS OFF. BUT NOT YOUR ALL OUT BEYOND BIOMORPHIC BIOSHERE PUSH YOU SEEM TO BE ALLUDING TO.

    THANKS FOR THE ADVICE ON THE DATE, AS USUAL I CAN NOT RELATE TO COMPUTER LOADS. I THOUGHT THE IDEA WAS TO TAKE A PICTURE OR SCAN THE 24″ X 48″ FORMAT PROPORTIONS AND SEND AT HIGH QUALITY.

    I WILL ASK SOME COMPUTER NERD TO MATCH THE DOTS EVOLO IS ASKING FOR.

    SWEATING IN OREGON,

    GLEN

    • maninthemirror

      Glen,

      From memory, Evolo takes the e-mailed files you send them and then print them out in 24″ x 48″.

      As you are manually drawing it, I am not sure whether a photograph of your drawing, will enable a good quality large print out, neither am I sure how you can scan 24″ x 48″, unless you scan them in small bits and have some one fix it up in photoshop.

      In any case you need to get a computer genius (let’s not call him a nerd), to figure it out for you sooner rather than later.

      Don’t sweat, ENJOY.

      • Carlos

        There are various places near Glen that can scan large format. I would not recommend skimping on this task. Just about any Staples or such office supply place has this capability, as do most FedEx-Kinkos. Of course the best is a reprographics place.

        • maninthemirror

          It makes sence to import the scanned manual drawings into photoshop, since you can change colours, brightness, contrast, etc and hence liven up the drawing.
          Having individual smaller drawings scanned and got into photoshop, means they can be seperately dealt with, for colour, contrast, etc but they would then need to be composed / put together on the 24″x48″ format along with whatever text you choose.

  • james t. wilson

    I am attempting to get in contact wih Glen Howard Small. Will search via Google. This is in regards to his wife Christine Lugo Baca. Hopefully, she would know of, or have access to, Genaro Lugo’s curriculae vitae. Will supply details and reasons to his daughter. Please assist me in my search, if possible. OK?? OK!!

  • eric chavkin

    ORTEGA is the name, I was wrong “DANIEL ORTEGA THE PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE ROSARIO”