VERTICAL CITY 3, DOWN TO EARTH

PEERING OVER THE TRIANGULAR VERTICAL CITY MODEL AT THE RIPE AGE OF 29 IN MY STUDIO AT CRANBROOK ACADEMY OF ART

MAKING A FLUID FOLLOWING SHAPES LIKE I WAS PROPOSING IN VERTICAL CITY 2, STARTS TO HAVE RAMIFICATION OF GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT HOW SOMETHING OF THIS SIZE OF 5,000 FT HIGH WILL STAND UP. I LIKED NERVI , CANDELLA AND GAUDI STRUCTURES, BUT WAS NOT EQUIPPED STRUCTURALLY ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND HOW THEY WENT TOGETHER. I SORT OF GOT INTO STRUCTURES THROUGH THE BACK DOOR. AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON I HAD GOTTEN A “D” IN ONE STRUCTURE CLASS. THE STRUCTURAL PROFESSOR WOULD START AT ONE END OF THE BLACK BOARD, THAT COVERED THE FRONT OF THE ROOM, AND WORK HIS WAY ACROSS THE BLACK BOARD TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM, SHOWING HOW SKILLFUL HE WAS BY SOLVING A FORMULA FOR A STRUCTURAL PRINCIPLE . ALL I WANTED WAS THE FORMULA AND HOW TO PLUG IN THE NUMBERS. I SHOWED ZERO APTITUDE TO MAKE SENSE OF IT. LOOKING BACK IT WAS THE FAULT OF THE PROFESSORS, I WAS NOT DUMB. I RELIED ON MY MODEL BUILDING SKILLS TO MAKE STRUCTURAL MODELS ETC. I BARELY MADE IT THOUGH, ALTHOUGH I WAS GOOD AT MATH UP THROUGH ALEGRA, BUT AFTER THAT THE COURSES WERE GEARED TO ANOTHER LEVEL. TO MY DELIGHT AND SURPRISE I PASSED THE ACCREDITATION STRUCTURAL EXAMINE IN CALIFORNIA THAT WAS ALL NUMBER CRUNCHING AT THE TIME ON THE FIRST GO AROUND. WHAT ANSWERS I COULD NOT GET TO, I OUTLINED.

TO THIS DAY I FIND THE PROCESS OF TEACHING WITH NUMBER CRUNCHING A HUGE MISTAKE. THE PRINCIPLES ARE WHAT COUNT. IF A STUDENT IS AWARE HOW THE STRUCTURE WORKS TO BE THE STRONGEST AND WEAKEST THEN THEY CAN DESIGN WITH KNOWLEDGE. BUILDING DEPARTMENTS RARELY ACCEPT AN ARCHITECTS TAKE ON STRUCTURE AND A LICENSED STRUCTURAL ENGINEER IS A MUST. SO IF AN ARCHITECT UNDERSTANDS HOW A CANTILEVER OR SPACE FRAME WORKS THEY CAN DIALOGUE WITH A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER. IT IS RARE THAT A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER PUSHES FOR THE LEAST STRUCTURE WITH THE MAXIMUM STRENGTH, BUT WITH THE COMPUTER WORLD THAT IS CHANGING.

THE ABOVE MODEL OF TAKING THE ROTATED STRAIGHT STICK PRINCIPLE AND TRIANGULATING THE SURFACE BETWEEN I HAVE NEVER SCEEN. IT WAS EXPERIMENTING TO GET A THREE DIMENSIONAL SKIN THAT HAD LIGHT SLOTS. I CONNECTED THE TWO SIDES WITH BRIDGES THAT WERE CONFUSING , HALF TENSION AND HALF CANTILEVERED. I WAS AFTER A LOOK WITH THE BRIDGES, BUT THEY LACKED CLARITY OF STRUCTURE. THE ROOF LACKED STRUCTURAL DEEPTH. LOOKING AT THE WHOLE STRUCTURE NOW, ALL THE PARTS WERE THERE AND I COULD EASILY NOW REFINE THE STRUCTURE TO MAKE IT EFFICIENT.

TRIANGULATED MODEL 1966 WATER INLETS, LIGHT SLOTS ON SKIN TO LIGHT INTERIOR NATURALLY

THE TRIANGULATION WAS A RESULT OF FULLER TALKING ABOUT THE TRIANGLE BEING THE STRONGEST SHAPE. I AND MOST PEOPLE HAVE DIFFICULTIES WITH TRIANGLES LOOKING LIKE OIL DERRICKS, OR SPACE FRAMES, AN INDUSTRIAL LOOK THAT IS ANTI FLOWING. NATURE WHEN IT GETS TO THE JOINT SOFTENS THE CONNECTION, BECOMING MORE ROUNDED. A COMMON PATTERN NOW. TO GET THE ORGANIC LOOK.

TRIANGULATED MODEL CROSS SECTION

ALL OF THIS MAKES ME PONDER HOW I EVER EVOLVED TO THE STRUCTURAL CLARITY I HAD WHEN TEACHING NATURAL STRUCTURES FOR OVER 15 YEARS AS A PROFESSOR.
NOW STRUCTURE SEEMS SO AUTOMATIC AND IT IS EASY TO DISCUSS WITH CREATIVE STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS. BUT THE RELIANCE TO EQUATE STRUCTURES WITH SOME SIMPLE FORMULA IS STILL PREVALENT IN THE PROFESSION. THE NEW PROGRAMS BRING A FRESH BREEZE FOR COMPLICATED FORM, BUT IN MANY WAYS BECOMING A CRUTCH FOR ARCHITECTS DO NOT DEAL WITH THE BASIC OF BUILDING COMPLICATED FORMS IN SOME RATIONAL STRUCTURAL MATTER. GEHRY THE WORST OFFENDER OF THAT, CREATING SOME COMPUTER PROGRAMS TO ALLOW FOR THE ARBITRARY STRUCTURE HE GETS WHEN CRUNCHING PAPER ETC.

FLOWING FORM SKETCH 1966 BALLS MOVEMENT CAPSULES INSPIRED BY KONRAD WACHSMANN MODULAR SPACE FRAME

TRIANGULAR INTERIOR BRIDGE, USED A RENDERING TECHNIQUE OF PAUL RUDOPH OF STRAIGHT LINE HATCHING. NOTICE SHIP IN INLET BAY IN CENTER OF DRAWING, CAPSULE MOVEMENT SYSTEM. A LABYRINTH OF FUNCTIONS WITH PEOPLE STROLLING

TRIANGULAR SCHEME, VIEW FROM DECK, INFINITY OF THE HORIZON DETROIT RIVER TO LAKE ERIE, ENVISIONED AS THE GREEN GROUND SWEEPING UPWARD

TRIANGULAR SCHEME FROM GRADE LOOKING UPWARD.

TRIANGULAR SCHEME CROSS SECTION, THE FOUNDATION GRIPPING THE GROUND.

TRIANGULAR SCHEME LOWER BRIDGE AND CROSS SECTION

TRIANGULAR SCHEME AREA USE DIAGRAM

TRIANGULAR SCHEME GREENERY AND WATER SYSTEM

TRIANGULAR SCHEME LINEAR GROWTH PATTERN WATER INLETS FROM DETROIT RIVER

A REGIONAL SCHEME, A LINEAR SCHEME THAT GOT BIGGER AS IT ADDED SECTIONS THAT INCREASED IN SIZE.

THE TRIANGULAR SCHEME WAS THE RESULTS OF ONE YEAR AT CRANBROOK. IT HAD MADE ME COME TO GRIPS WITH GROWTH PATTERNS, STRUCTURE, AND FUNCTIONAL USES.
WHAT IT LACKED WAS THAT SENSUOUS AESTHETICS THAT I AM ATTRACTED TO, THAT COMES OUT OF BEING INFLUENCES BY NATURE. THE GROUND PLANE HAD HUGE GRIPPING FOUNDATIONS, LATER TO EVOLE TO RELATIVELY SMALL POINTS TOUCHING THE EARTH.

I WAS STARTING TO GET INVOLVED WITH POETIC DESCRIPTIONS OF LIVING IN THIS CITY, WHICH I ELABORATED ON IN FUTURE SCHEMES.

I NEVER QUESTIONED WHETHER THIS WAS SCIENCE FICTION. THIS WAS A BUILD ABLE SCHEME OF A CITY FOR THE PRESENT.

MY ORIGINAL PREMISE WAS TO CREATE THE IDEAL CITY, I DID NOT LET EXISTING CITIES BE THE BASIS TO EVOLVE FROM, MY MIND WAS WIDE OPEN TO POSSIBILITIES. WHEN I DO THAT, NEW THINGS HAPPEN. IT IS A COMMON THING I EMPHASIZE TO STUDENTS. OPEN UP YOUR MIND.

GLEN

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  • eric chavkin

    Glen, I dig the triangulation.
    A possible explanation for triangles in nature is this: growth is mostly symmetrical and one general direction but the rate or succession of change builds upon the previous, like stepping. Symmetrical succession forms triangles as forms build.. i think this is obvious in plants. And in one plane. I rarely see the double-back triangulation principals that you are using. Cantilevers with graduated sections yes, but not compounded triangulation in two/three planes. Have you seen this in nature expressed as a structural principal?

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      eric,

      interesting question, that i am not equiped to deal with. it would take a lot of research. there are many examples of parallels crossing over that create diamond patterns with rounded touch point connections. wheather these have deepth that connect is a correct question. i think so knowing the sponge like bee hives growth and shapes. but a pure triangle is some form of three d pattern is one to be questioned. maybe a reader will know?

      what i find in nature is that it offers points to study that inspire, but rarely a blantant copy that make since for the built environment of man.

      being in a mini jungle at the moment offers a lab to observe. i wll do some exploration.

      glen

  • eric chavkin

    Bee hives and Sponges? Bee hives are extended hexagons laid out with a plane. Sponges and lets include the calciferous colonies of reefs. I think these are massed tubular groupings , similar to hives. I dont see triangulations, tenslie of tension, mostly if not all compression systems.

    I did see something in some protozoan families: radiolaria, and especially Dinoflagellida ( some of these look like your projects in parts)

  • eric chavkin

    Triangulation in nature

    MORE: Seashell riibbing and conical spirals, interior structuring of bones, tree branches with secondary twigs forming triangulations; complexed inorganic molecular compounds (minerals); shape of most all of proteins.

  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    Eric,

    the whole idea of triangulation in nature seems to not be a subject others want to discuss. just you and i lost in a world of form.

    my wife does hand reading and showed lines in the hand that indicated creative ideas. the lines showed no interest in money, they did not exist.

    the selective interest of mine is so limited to others. i watch a room full of people laughing and discussing with interest. my interest being a certain kind of architecture that is inspired by nature. with age i find it dominating. wanting to pull back and just surround myself with the beauty that inspires me. i have given up on the idea that others can relate or want to.

    so be it from the jungle.

    glen

  • eric chavkin

    Yeah Glen same here. I cant wont dont talk about what interests me in my neighborhood , they think I am crazy or just weird. I am bored out of my mind.

    BTW did you know Bud Goldstone died. Goldstone was the engineer that put together the test to show the structural integrity of the WATTS TOWER. Goldstone , Allen Porter and Seymor Rosen put together a committee SAVE THE WATTS TOWERS. I’m sure you were part of that. Pure Natural Structures.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      eric,

      sorry to hear of the death of bud goldstone. yes i was connected after the fact. i asked him about my flying house in the biomorphic biosphere. he said he could make a brick fly.

      you have to hand it to simon rodia (sp) building the towers, a man that lived his dreams. amazing to me that so many people love the towers, but see no connection to their personal lives, like building a similar complex for themselves.
      i am sure the committee to save the towers, lived in ding bat environments compared to the watts towers. just a speculation.

      glen

  • eric chavkin

    FYI Allen Porter lived in Evanston in a brick apartment. Porter was an excellent graphic artist. Porter and Seymour Rosen started the non-profit SPACES which promotes and help saves environments like Watts Towers. They are good people and walk the walk as well as talk.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      eric,

      the point i was trying to make was not about people being good or not, but about living in architectural spaces that inspire one. i have been fortunate enough to live in other peoples monuments most of my life and my own house for a ten year period.

      when i see the watts towers and realize a regular guy like Simon Rodia lived there and liked what he was doing, i ask myself, where are my architectural dreams of being in an inspiring space? i can rationalize i am broke, but i realize i am too busy espousing design for others and do not take care about myself.

      glen

  • eric chavkin

    Yes , there is a life defining psychology within wonderful, inspiring environments. The questions to ask “Would everyone be inspired and be wonderful if they lived in inspiring wonderful environments? Conversely, does oppressive and ugly or even dull sameness makes people just angry, ugly or plain dull as well?
    I have always assumed that good design can effect people in good ways, either by active imitation or overall ambiance. I have not seen direct cause and effects. The goodness of good design, I notice, tends to be personal and emotional, and works with persons open to their open psychologies. The ones that good design effect, I recall, talk in terms of ‘this is a comfortable space”, ” I feel good here” “I like my room”..etc From my discussions, mostly with women, good design, good space , brings out emotional responses. It’s the relationship between design and feeling. It’s subtle.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      eric,
      i think most people are unaware of the environment they are in. other than it is plush, big, fancy, etc. form is not in the evaluation.

      maybe they relate to the person they are with or talking to. i was at a fancy art opening last night with a cool sax and piano. when they were not playing live, the music was from a recording. i was the only person that clapped and understood what was happening, there must have been at least a hundred people or more chatting away and vaguely looking at the art.

      i do not know what people like, and i have no interest to deal with them.
      give me a horse parade.

      i just know i get all charged up in visual spaces.

      glen

  • eric chavkin

    Glen, I noticed that your triangles here are ; mostly 45 degrees. Triangulation in nature: cracks, insect wings patterns , leaf patterns; are all 120 degrees. Have you explored this?

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      eric,

      no i have not explored the triangulations in nature. it falls into the category of investigation that usually only shows up for me when i am exploring a specific interest.

      in my next blog i bring up the question, why do not people want to discuss with me exploring the scale and concerns the vertical city addresses. it is not that people are confrontational, they just are silent about my interests.

      there is a hopelessness at the urban scale for just simple things like raised pedestrian walks, so why would there be any interest in about designs for a huge urban scale? to me it represents the failure of mankind.

      my recent DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE is very build able, but there was no interest. lets say i function alone, and yet i love parties.

      glen

  • eric chavkin

    SCALE. Biomorphic Biosphere scale, Tropisphere scale, Downtown Detroit scale. Urban scale like Boulee, Corbusier’s City of Tomorrow, Fuller’s dome over Manhattan, Soleri’s Arcosanti. China city building scale. Micro-climate scale.

    The size is intimidating in a human behavior changing way. In your scenarios band-aids wont work and bandages too small. This is whole body replacement. And society changing.

    The anxiety I perceive has to do with the uniform bio-aesthetic, the imposing physical structure. With Biosphere the changes are even more extreme: People live within an bio-organic framework as if insects in a colony but without any apparent economic system with the biomorphic eco-system. Humanity have evolved and transformed into another species altogether. A return to the Garden of Eden.

    Yours is the stuff of dreams, after thoughts in response to post-apocalyptic science fiction. I feel people dread the dark and dangerous catastrophic prelude before the emerging biomorphic dawn.

    Good morning