BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE 1 – LAUNCHING PAD

THE VERTICAL CITY WAS DORMANT BUT NOT DEAD, IN 1969 I HAD AN OFFICE IN VENICE CALIFORNIA, WHERE I WAS DESIGNING APARTMENTS. VENICE CALIFORNIA WAS THE DREAM OF ABBOT KINNEY, A TOBACCO TYCOON THAT CAME WEST. HE BUILT HIS 1900 – 1920 RENAISSANCE ON LOW MARSH LAND NEXT TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN TEN MILES FROM DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES AT THE END OF A RAPID TRANSIT RED CAR LINE. VENICE WITH CANALS COMPLETE WITH GONDOLAS WAS A DREAM COMMUNITY WITH BEACH COTTAGES AND AN OPERA HOUSE. THE OPERA HOUSE BURNED DOWN IN 1920 AND THE EMPHASIS EVOLVED TO ENTERTAINMENT WITH ROLLER COASTERS, BATH HOUSES AND CONEY ISLAND GAMES. KINNEY DIED AND THE CANALS WERE GIVEN TO THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES. THE UPKEEP WAS DIFFICULT SO THE CITY FILLED IN MOST OF THE CANALS.

WHAT IS AMAZING TO ME WAS THE VISION OF ABBOT KINNEY AND HIS ABILITY TO BUILD HIS DREAM. THE PREMISE OF USING THE MASH LAND FOR CANALS ETC. KINNEY WAS A RICH GUY THAT PUT HIS MONEY ON THE LINE AT A SIGNIFICANT SCALE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I LIVED IN VENICE FOR TWENTY TWO YEARS AND WITNESSED THE REMNANTS OF KINNEY’S QUEST. PEDESTRIAN WALKWAYS FRONTAGE AND ALLEY SERVICE STREETS, A PEDESTRIAN BOARDWALK. BEING STANDARD PLANNING. THINGS CHANGE, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THEY GET BETTER.

WHERE ARE THE VISIONARY DEVELOPERS TO BUILD THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE AT ANY SCALE. DO THEY EXIST OR WAS THAT JUST A FLEETING ERA OF THE PAST?

KINNEY ADDRESSES A WHOLE RANGE OF URBAN ACTIVES THAT WAS A DELIGHT TO INTERACT WITH. MODERNISM IN ARCHITECTURE NOT ONE OF THEM, HE RELIED ON FACETED STYLES OF THE PAST. COVERED PEDESTRIAN SIDEWALKS WITH CLASSICAL COLUMNS. ETC. THE PURE MODERNIST MUST REALIZE THIS WAS A URBAN PLANNING SCHEME THAT APPEALED TO THE PUBLIC ARCHITECTURAL TASTES OF THE TIME. WHAT IS THAT TODAY? NOW THE MOST RADICAL OF MODERN STRUCTURES ARE BUILT IN THIS HIGH END AREA. THE DECAYING CANALS UPGRADED AND NOW REVERED. ABBOT KINNEY BLVD THE CHICK TRENDY PLACE. . MY REACTION WANTING TO TAKE A BASEBALL BAT TO ALL THE UPSCALE EXPENSIVE SHE SHE SHOPS. BUT I WAS ALL PART OF THE PACKAGE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. THE TUG AND PULL OF PRICING A NEIGHBORHOOD OUT THE WORKING CLASS BUDGET. THERE IS A FINE LINE BETWEEN CLEANING A NEIGHBORHOOD UP AND GENTRIFYING . GREED TAKES OVER. THE AMERICAN WAY, MAKE IT WORTH MORE AND YOU GET RICHER.

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THE GRAND CANAL CIRCLE, NOW ALL FILLED WITH ASPHALT STREETS AT THE CENTER OF VENICE. POST OFFICE, BANK, ETC. A HOT SPOT THESE DAYS.

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1909 VENICE CANALS , A DEVELOPMENT THAT WAS DELIGHTFUL

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THE ORIGINAL BUILDINGS, SOME OF WHICH GOT RAZZED IN URBAN RENEWAL, JUST A FEW LEFT WHEN I HAD MY OFFICE THERE

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THE BOARD WALK, STILL EXISTING TODAY, NOTICE THE ATIRE. A RESPECT SELDOM SCENE NOW, BUT THE ALLURE OF THE BOARDWALK VS. THE BEAUTIFUL BEACH REMAINS THE SAME. PEOPLE CONGREGATE ON THE BOARD WALK AND DISMISS THE JOYS OF THE OCEAN , A SHORT DISTANCE AWAY. GIVE ME THE OCEAN.

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1930 OIL WAS DISCOVERED AND THE CHARM OF VENICE WAS SHARED WITH OIL DERRICKS. THE AREA BECAME FINANCIALLY DEPRESSED, ARTISTS AND BEATNIKS MOVED IN.

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VENICE IN 1941 AS I REMEMBER IT AS A KID
AND RECOLLECT GOING TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY AT VENICE BEACH, ALL VERY WEIRD FOR ME, BECAUSE MY PARENTS NEVER WENT NEAR VENICE, BECAUSE OF THE POLLUTION.

WHEN I GOT TO VENICE IN 1968 IT HAD CHANGED FROM ITS BEAT GENERATION REPUTATION OF COFFEE HOUSES. THE OIL WELLS SITES WERE BEING DISMANTLED AND THE OCEAN SEWAGE FROM THE HYPERION SEWAGE PLANT WAS BEING DUMPED FURTHER OUT TO SEA WITH AN EXTENDED PIPE THE BEACH HAD BEEN INCREASES WITH SAND FROM THE NEW MARINA DEL REY YACHAT HARBOR. THE THREAT OF HIGH RISE DEVELOPMENT ON THE BEACH HAD BEEN DEFEATED, THERE WAS A STRONG DRIVE FOR LOW RISE DEVELOPMENT. SMART MONEY WAS INVESTING. VERY SHEIK NOW, THE RICH ROUGH EDGE PLAY GROUND.

MY OFFICE GALLERY ROOM HAD TWO LONG WALLS. ON ONE WALL WERE THE APARTMENTS AND HOUSES I WAS ENGAGED WITH BUILDING AND THE OTHER WALL, IN STARK CONTRAST WERE THE VERTICAL CITY DRAWINGS. A SKITZO LIFE, BUT A REOCCURRING THEME IN MY LIFE. HARDLY FAIR TO THE DEVELOPERS THAT HAD PUT THEIR MONEY ON THE LINE FOR BUILD ABLE EXCITING STUFF. I ON THE OTHER HAND LIVED IN THE VERTICAL CITY. ECONOMICS OF SUPPORTING A FAMILY AND MYSELF DICTATED HAVING AN ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE.

BUILDING ANYTHING THAT IS PERMANENT IS A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY. I HAD THE SMARTS TO USE THE CODES TO MANIPULATE THINGS TO GET EXTRA SPACE FOR THE DEVELOPERS. CREATING EXCITING INTERIOR SPACES AND LOTS OF ROOF DECKS. THE PROGRAM WAS TO GET AS MUCH SQUARE FOOTAGE AS POSSIBLE. I WAS A MASTER AT BREAKAWAY UNITS. BEDROOMS OR DENS THAT BECAME ADDITIONAL APARTMENTS AFTER THE BUILDING WAS PERMITTED. THE DEVELOPER ON HIS OWN. . THE STANDARD APARTMENTS FOR DEVELOPERS WERE 8′ FOOT CEILING HEIGHTS AND NO CHANGE OF LEVELS. I WAS INSPIRED BY SCHINDLER WHO HAD GREAT SPACES WITH LIMITED BUDGETS, I DESIGNED 6 APARTMENTS COMPLEXES THAT RENTERS SNAPPED UP, MUCH TO THE DELIGHT OF THE DEVELOPERS. I WAS FAST, INVENTIVE, AND CHEAP . ANOTHER FIRM AT THE SAME TIME WAS GREENBERB AND FLORES ARCHITECTS. THEY DID THEIR OWN DEVELOPMENT, HAD A MUCH BETTER GRASP OF MATERIALS, DETAILING AND MASSING OF BUILDINGS. PLUS BETTER BUDGETS TO WORK WITH, THEY CREATED GREAT BUILDINGS IN THE SAME MARKET. MY PARTNER MIGUEL FLORES HELPED AT DETAILING, , BUT THE CLARITY OF MATERIALS, DRAINAGE SYSTEMS, RAILINGS, AND GENERAL MASSING WAS MISSING. I SHOULD HAVE STUDIED SHINDLER MORE. THIS WAS THE LOW POINT IN MY ARCHITECTURAL CAREER. I DID NOT HAVE THE SENSITIVITY TO DO IT RIGHT, AND MY DEVELOPER CLIENTS WANTED THINGS DONE YESTERDAY. I BLEW IT. ESTER MC COYE SAW MY PROJECTS, SHE QUESTIONED MY ERRORS, BUT REMAINED QUIET. I MET HER THROUGH LEADING A CRUSADE TO PRESERVE A BERNARD MAYBECK PACKARD SHOWROOM IN LOS ANGELES IN 1962. ANOTHER BLOG.

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1970 PRIVATEER AND PACIFIC AVE, MARINA DEL REY UNDER CONSTRUCTION. EACH UNIT WAS THREE LEVELS, WITH GARAGE PARKING ON GRADE. THIS WAS CLASSIFIED AS A EIGHT UNIT TWO STORY BUILDING BY BUILDING UP THE SIDE YARDS 3 FEET AND MAKING MEZZANINES . I HAD NOT MATURED ENOUGH DESIGN WISE TO MAKE THE MOST OF THESE PROJECTS.

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ON THE BEACH 1970 1 IRONSIDE MARINA DEL REY

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THE INTERIOR, USERS LOVED THE SPACES, PHOTO SULIUS SHULMAN

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A PRELIMINARY MODEL TO GET IT RIGHT, CHANNEL FRONTAGE AT PACIFIC AVE, MARINA DEL REY. 1969 A CLARITY OF STRUCTURE ETC, NOT BUILT, A SWIMMING POOL WAS ON THE ROOF DECK LEVEL. IF I HAD KEPT MY PRACTICE IN VENICE, I WOULD HAVE EVOLVED TO PRODUCE SOME QUALITY DESIGNS. BUT I WAS OUT TO CHANGE THE WORLD. I DID NOT RETURN TO BUILDING SIGNIFICANTLY, UNTIL 13 YEARS LATTER.

I MADE A RASH DECISION. MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY WIFE WAS STRAINED. WE HAD DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS. WE BOTH WERE UNHAPPY. I TOOK OFF ONE NIGHT AND WENT TO LIVE IN MY OFFICE IN VENICE TO ESCAPE MY WIFE . IN RETROSPECT THE MARRIAGE COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED, BUT WE WERE YOUNG. I WAS BRASH. THE REAL LOSERS WERE THE CHILDREN. I STRONGLY ADVISE EXTENSIVE COUNSELING AND SOUL SEARCHING BEFORE ONE TAKES SUCH A DRASTIC MEASURE. WE HAD MARRIED YOUNG. DEFINITELY WE BOTH NEEDED MATURITY , WE WERE PROGRAMMED FOR MARRIAGE AND HAVING A FAMILY. THE TIMES WERE CHANGING RAPIDLY WITH THE FLOWER CHILD ERA.

I LOVED MY KIDS, BUT I MISJUDGED MY RESPONSIBILITY TO THEM. I WAS A FAITHFUL WEEKEND FATHER, BUT THEY NEEDED MORE. THE BEST THING WAS THAT THEY ALL TURNED OUT GREAT. I SAY, BECAUSE THEY HAD TO DEAL WITH HARDSHIP, THEY DON’T BUY THIS RATIONALIZATION. I HAVE APOLOGIZED FOR LEAVING THEM , BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE UP FOR THE GRIEF I CAUSED THEM WITH MY DEPARTURE. READ MY BLOG ON DIVORCE NUMBER ONE.

THE CLASH BETWEEN IDEAL ARCHITECTURE AND RUNNING AN ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH ME ECONOMICALLY AND MENTALLY, SO I APPROACHED RAY KAPPE WHO WAS THE NEW DIRECTOR OF ARCHITECTURE AT CAL POLY POMONA, FOR A TEACHING POSITION. HE BEING AN EXCELLENT DESIGNER PICKED UP ABILITIES IMMEDIATELY. LATER TO SAY THAT HE HAD NEVER SEEN ANYONE OF MY TALENT BEFORE. THE NEST WAS SECURED. I COULD DEVOTE TIME TO MY URBAN DREAMS.

I HAD MY OWN URBAN WORKSHOP AT CAL POLY. I RAN A SEMINAR ON MEGASTRUCTURES, I REFINED THE VERTICAL CITY. PICKING OUT PARTS THAT NEEDED TO BE EXPLORED, DOING NEW DRAWINGS, WRITING, LECTURING AND DISCUSSING. THE TIME WAS RIGHT. THERE WAS A FEELING THAT IF YOU HAD A GOOD IDEA AND WORKED ON IT, THE WORLD WOULD ACCEPT IT. OSAKA 70, THE JAPANESE WORLDS FAIR THAT EMBELLISHED AND BUILT THE FUTURE, WAS THE REALISTIC OUTCRY THAT THE WORLD COULD CHANGE AND WANTED TO WITH THE NEW TECHNOLOGY.

THE VERTICAL CITY WAS QUITE A DIFFERENT LOOK THAN OSAKA 70. ECOLOGY AND HOLISTIC THINKING HAD NOT CAUGHT ON IN THE PROFESSION. MY DESIGNS IN CONTRAST BEING A COMBINATION OF NATURE AND TECHNOLOGY IN A SENSUOUS PACKAGE.

I TURNED MY PRACTICE OVER TO MY PARTNER MIGUEL FLORES. I DEVOTED FULL TIME TO TEACHING AND DEVELOPING THE LA VERSION OF THE VERTICAL CITY CALLED THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE.

THE WORD BIOMORPHIC WAS INTRODUCED TO ME BY DAN LIEBERMAN, AN ARCHITECT IN MILL VALLEY, THAT I WORKED FOR BRIEFLY. IT MEANS EVOKING IMAGES OF BIOLOGICAL ORGANISM. BIOSPHERE IS THE LIVING CRUST OF THE EARTH WHERE LIVING ORGANISM CAN EXIST. BESIDES THE OBVIOUS MEANINGS, I LIKED THE WAY THE WORDS FLOWED TOGETHER. I GET OFF ON JUST SAYING BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. BUT IT WAS WAS AN ERROR TO NAME THE PROJECT WITH UNFAMILIAR WORDS. NOBODY, EXCEPT THOSE WORD ORIENTED PEOPLE, EVER CAN REMEMBER THE NAME NOR KNEW WHAT IT MEANT. THAT IS WHY I NAMED FUTURE PROJECTS WITH TITLES LIKE GREEN MACHINE AND TURF TOWN. CATCHY AND SIMPLE. I WANT TO CONNECT WITH A BROAD AUDIENCE. IN CONTRAST TO BUCKMINISTER FULLER AND PALO SOLERI WHO MADE UP WORDS AND TALKED IN PEDANTIC TERMS. JUST THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT I FEEL NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR COMMUNICATION. THERE IS ENOUGH DIVISION BY LANGUAGES NOW, SO WHY INCREASE THE VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS PROBLEM.

WHAT BROUGHT ME BACK TO CONTINUING THE VERTICAL CITY IN LA WITH THE NAME OF THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE, WAS A QUEST TO DEMONSTRATE AN ALTERNATIVE TO OUR CITIES. I BELIEVE THAT THE WORLD NEEDS TO BE AWARE OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE. THAT IS MY JOB. THAT IS WHAT I AM SKILLED TO DO. FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON I WAS BLESSED WITH ABILITIES AND INSIGHT TO CREATE THIS VISION. TO GET THIS MESSAGE OUT IS WHY I’M WRITING THIS BLOG BOOK. THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE IS IGNORED, CRITICIZED OR UNKNOWN. YOU WOULD THINK IT IS ALREADY BUILT. I PERSONALLY WALK IT’S STREETS , DWELL IN A FLYING HOUSE, AND RIDE AN INFLATABLE SUPER CAR. I SMELL THE VEGETATION, HEAR THE WATERFALLS , TWEETER OF BIRDS AND LAUGHTER OF CHILDREN. THIS SETS MY PRIORITIES AND CONSUMES MY PASSION. I’M LIVING IN THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE.

THE PUSH WAS ON, TEACHING IN THE SPIRIT OF IDEALS AND WORKING ON THE DREAM. I WAS DIVORCED AND FREE, BUT TIME WAS REQUIRED TO DATE. A FULL TIME OCCUPATION IF YOU WORK AT IT CREATIVELY, WHICH I DID. AT ONE POINT I RAN AN AD IN THE LA FREE PRESS. ARCHITECT OUT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, BRUTALLY HONEST, WANTS A WOMAN WITH COMPATIBLE VALUES, NO DRUGS. I HAD TEN RESPONSES. THEY WOULD WRITE, I WOULD CALL THEM, WE WOULD MEET FOR LUNCH OR DINNER. I ENDED UP WITH A WOMAN WITH NINE KIDS THAT WANTED TO START A COMMUNE. SHE WAS WONDERFUL, BUT BEYOND A REALISTIC RELATIONSHIP. ANOTHER WOMAN (NOT FROM THE ADD) WHO WAS AN ARCHITECT, HAD A COUPLE OF CATS SHE WOULD KEEP IN THE HOUSE. THE CATS WOULD RE-LEAVE THEMSELVES ALL OVER THE PLACE . I WAS ON MY WAY TO OPENING A DOOR TO LET THEM OUT ONE EVENING WHEN SHE YELLED THAT THEY WERE HER CATS AND IF SHE WANTED THEM INSIDE IT WAS HER BUSINESS. ANOTHER TIME I WAS WORKING IN MY OFFICE LATE WHEN I HEARD A KNOCK ON THE BACK DOOR. A YOUNG WOMAN CAME IN AND PROCEEDED TO HAVE ME TURN OFF ALL THE LIGHTS , BE QUIET, AND LAY ON THE FLOOR . SHE THEN SPOKE OF THE SOUNDS SHE HEARD IN THE NIGHT. AFTER AN HOUR SHE LEFT. I DATED A COUPLE OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN EXTENSIVELY WITHOUT SEX . I NEVER COULD FIGURE IT OUT, BECAUSE IT WAS THE ERA OF SEXUAL FREEDOM AND I WAS ATTRACTED TO BOTH OF THEM. ONE, YEARS LATER ONE TELLING ME SHE WAS SCARED OF MY LIFE STYLE.

I LIVED BRIEFLY WITH AN ASSISTANT PRODUCER OF THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW. SHE WAS PRETTY , LIVELY AND WORE HOT PANTS . WE SLEPT WITH OUR ARMS AROUND EACH OTHER FOR THREE MONTHS. SHE INVITED ME TO A DEAN MARTIN SHOW TAPING. ONE JOKE WAS MAKING FUN OF THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS. I WENT ON A CRUSADE AND WROTE A NUMBER OF CRITICAL LETTERS TO THE FCC AND OTHER IMPORTANT SORE SPOTS THAT IRRITATED THE DIRECTOR. THE CLIMAX WAS A PHONE CALL FROM THE DIRECTOR TELLING ME THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW WAS LOVED AND I WOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED ON THE SET AGAIN. SHE DUMPED ME, BECAUSE I HAD KIDS, I WAS NOT INTERESTED IN MONEY, AND PROBABLY BECAUSE I HAD IDEAL MADNESS, ALTHOUGH SHE NEVER MENTIONED THE LATTER. I WAS DEVASTATED, I BEGGED HER TO STAY PROMISING I WOULD EARN SUBSTANTIAL MONEY FOR HER. MY VALUES SUPPRESSED. I NEVER HAVE FORGIVEN HER NOR THE WOMEN THAT THINK LIKE HER. THE NICEST THING SHE DID DO WAS LEAVE ME, SHE UNDERSTOOD HERSELF AND HER NEEDS. WE LIVED IN A PROSAIC HOUSE IN PASADENA, THAT MY GRANDMOTHER LIVED IN BEFORE HER DEATH, WHICH I IMMEDIATELY PAINTED THE INTERIOR WHITE, AND BOUGHT A HUGE FERN UPON HER DEPARTURE, TOO LATE, A LADY NEEDS A CLASSY PAD.

DURING THIS BRIEF ROMANCE I PRODUCED A SERIES OF WATER COLORS DRAWINGS OF THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE.

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RENDERING TECHNIQUE STUDY 1969 WATER COLOR

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RENDERING TECHNIQUE STUDY 1969 WATER COLOR

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RENDERING TECHNIQUE STUDY 1969 PASTELS

THE RENDERING TECHNIQUE I HAD LEARNED WHILE TAKING AN EXTENSION COURSE AT UCLA IN 1969. THE INSPIRATION WAS SYD MEAD US STEEL BOOK DRAWINGS OF FUTURISTIC CARS. THE TRICK WAS TO MAKE A FANTASTIC WASH. WETTING AN ILLUSTRATION BOARD AND DROPPING COLORS, USING A SPONGE AND ANY OTHER MEANS TO CREATE UNEXPECTED RUNNING OF COLORS. I KNEW WHAT THE DRAWING WOULD EVENTUALLY BE AND EMPHASIZES COLOR AND LIGHTNESS IN A GENERAL LOCATION, BUT NOT IN ANY PRECISE MANNER. THE UNEXPECTED VARIATION OF THE MIXES CREATE THE INTEREST. YOU THEN LET THIS ALL DRY AND GO BACK AND DRAW, ERASE AND PAINT OVER TO CREATE THE DETAIL.

INTERIOR OF BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE ON THE VERTICAL COMPRESSION MEMBER WITH SHOPS AND OFFICES LOOKING AT THE RESERVOIR BELOW AND FLYING HOUSES ON THE SKIN.

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TYPICAL RESIDENTIAL PEDESTRIAN WALKWAY, CAR UNITS SUSPENDED FROM UNDER SIDE. A STRUCTURAL TRELLIS COVERED IN FOLIAGE. NOTICE THE CAMERA LENS PATTERN ENTRANCE DOORS TO FLYING HOUSES.

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INTERIOR OF FLYING HOUSE LIVING AREA, SOFT SURFACES, KINETIC COLORS AND VARIOUS INTENSITIES, POOL, VISTA TO HORIZON OCEAN

YEARS LATER I WAS ON A FILM PANEL AT USC WITH SYD MEAD ILLUSTRATOR OF BLADE RUNNER, THE ROGER RABBIT SET DESIGNER AND THE BACK TO THE FUTURE MAN DESIGNER. I ASKED SYD MEAD WHY IN THE MOVIE BLADE RUNNER, HE DEPICTED THE FUTURE AS DOOMS DAY AND NEGATIVE . SYD MEADS ANSWER WAS, SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT THAT, THAT IS WHAT THE SCRIPT WAS THAT HE GOT. I THOUGHT THESE FANTASTIC ILLUSTRATORS WERE MORE THAN TOOLS OF HOLLYWOOD AND COULD PUT THEIR EFFORTS TO SUGGEST POSITIVE EVOLUTION FOR THE FUTURE. THE WORLD DOESN’T KNOW THE POSITIVE POSSIBILITIES FOR THE FUTURE, ALTHOUGH SYD HAS DONE A NUMBER OF POSITIVE DRAWINGS PROPOSALS FOR COMPLEXES AS WELL. THE MOVIE BUSINESS BEING A GLARING ILLUSION OF WHAT COULD BE, YET IS HARDLY EVER USED TO GET THERE.

MILICA DEDIJER MY SECOND WIFTE CAUGHT ME ON THE REBOUND. A TALENTED YUGOSLAVIAN ARCHITECT. INTELLIGENT, MORAL, PRETTY, DOMINEERING, AND OUTSPOKEN. SHE WANTED SOMEBODY SHE ADMIRED TO HAVE CHILDREN WITH. I WANTED LOVE AND A COMFORTABLE HOME LIFE. I GOT MY WISH INITIALLY, SHE GOT HER WISH FOR 24 YEARS. WE MET AT A PAUL RUDOLPH LECTURE I MOVED IN AFTER OUR FIRST DATE. SHE WAS SO BEAUTIFUL, THAT THE LIFEGUARDS WOULD FOLLOW HER HOME. MINI SKIRTS AND BIKINIS.

I TURNED HER APARTMENT LIVING ROOM INTO A STUDIO. THAT WAS ONE OF THE HIGH POINTS OF MY CAREER. TEACHING, WORKING ON SAVING THE WORLD AND MADLY IN LOVE. I FEEL THEY ALL GO TOGETHER. IN MY LIFE THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE GARRET CONCEPT FOR THE ARTIST. IN FACT IF ONE IS STRUGGLING FOR A BUCK THERE IS NO TIME NOR ENERGY FOR PROGRESSIVE CREATIVE WORK. MY WORLD WAS FINANCIALLY STRETCHED TEACHING, BUT ENOUGH TO SUPPORT THE ERA OF THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE STUDIES.

GLEN

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  • eric chavkin

    Hi Glen, May the force be with you….

    I see where this is going…. a psychological explanation for your explosion of creativity. I can relate. The drawings exude with life, as if you came back from the dead and this was the result. I agree that love and sex and just being in the moment carries over and inundates one’s perception of the world. As Rollo May says the courage to create is connected to the courage to love. So where do we go from here if this is the result. The biosphere, with all it’s emphasis on play, sex and nature, is yout reinterpretation of a garden of eden, but without the fall, without the sin and is the direct expression of all that.

    more later

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      eric,

      happy new year.

      you say it much better than i. the garden of eden. i watched “never on sunday last night”, and realized the celebration of life. like you squatting and kick dancing to the frenzy of the music, maybe you still can, but i doubt it.

      that is the way it is in nicaragua, where money is limited, but music and dance easy to come by. i bought a new guitar for $50 bucks and put it the hands of the family doctor and all the family squabbles stopped.

      i wish it was that simple, but a country that makes love, dances and sings should be a country not interested in killing. but history has shown that western civilization thrives on war. how ridiculous in an era that could fed and house the world.

      i will continue with the biomorphic biosphere blogs to explore the relevance .

      glen

      • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

        READERS,

        JUST AN OBSERVATION, IF I WRITE AN ARTICLE THAT IS CRITICAL ABOUT AN ARCHITECT OR ON A JUBJECT LIKE, DRESSING FOR THE OFFICE THERE ARE A LOT OF COMMENTS. THIS INDICATE READERS ARE LISTENING AND WANT TO ENTERACT TO HAVE A CONVERSATION. BUT IF I WRITE AN ARTICLE LIKE THIS BLOG ON MY WORK THERE IS SILENCE, EXCEPT FOR ERIC, WHOM IS ASTUTE AT DISCUSSING ANY SUBJECT, BUT IN MY CASE READS LAYERS OF MANY MEANINGS.

        QUESTION, IS GOING TO THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN AND PROPOSING A SOLUTION BEYOND ANY DISCUSSION POINT? I EVEN LET YOU PEEK AT A FEW OF MY REALTITY MISTAKES AND SHOWED VENICE IN ITS HAY DAY. STILL NO COMMENT.

        I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU. THE PROFESSION OF ARCHITECTURE THAT YOU ARE ALL OBSERVE AND ARE PART OF.

        GLEN

  • eric chavkin

    Glen, I think this is the reason. Talking at others creates conversation. Talking about yourself elicits admiration. I will write some some more on Biomorpic and naturalism later

    eric

  • http://www.metamechanics.com Chris Teeter

    Hey Glenn,

    I’m a reader and just recently watched your daughters documentary. In short, thank you for making all the mistakes I probably would of made, seriously – thank you. now I know, almost did the walk-out but your film told me better…compromise is good for business and life in general. it’s just architecture, people are more important (especially my 2 daughters).

    I read this stuff and saw the buildings you did in the documentary and all I can think is: 1) you have poor marketing people if any and 2) although enjoyable, you ripping into all those now famous architects back in the day was probably your mistake…you were RIGHT though, calling them on their bullshit that they sold to the public….but that’s not the point, is it?

    I was in college at the beginning of the internet general public absorbtion and most architectural stuff was in books as far as education was concerned. You could easily have spun all your projects into conceptual master pieces pre-empting the Biomorphic Biosphere…your building in the documentary you mention Porn films are filmed in could of been a prelude…My first job of substantial length in NYC was for Alfredo De Vido, he gave me a book when I left the interview, apparently he paid to have them published…after I looked through the work and for my short 9 months working ther I was pretty much a raging Glenn Small…the day I was asked to leave I went on a date with the only real client in the office’s daughter…all I thought when I left, such a hack had a book for work I could spin out in 2 minutes! then 6 months unemployment working for food and my link to my future via I-Beam Design and Alison Sky (SITE), I’m thankful for someone willing to have some kid model 3D stuff in shabby jeans and t-shirt smelling like last night’s bar…drawing parallelcs here.

    In your day, I think the general public still took architects seriously, I am pretty sure no one does now and the most exciting architects these days really wished they were comic book creators (Rem Koolhass, Bjarke Ingles). Think about it, how many young firms create the company based on their last names and not by initials. There aren’t anymore fancy 3 names firms cropping up…it’s names like – NICE, MRDVR, Morphosis…it’s not cool to be a fake lawyer stamping drawings. You sound old and stodgy if your name is Finkel Dum Fancy.

    You’d be much cooler today than back then, you were about 40 years ahead of your time politically – you called the bullshit and had genuine imagination.

    Now that modernsm is an HGTV special, your approach is actually understood as different.

    I think the game of architecture (established by Philipp Johnson and Inc.) is dieing, no one believes the hype anymore and no one believes it’s a REAL profession. Who takes Rober A.M. Stern seriously? Anyone? ok there are some fools out there.

    No one comments on your stuff because its JUST FUCKING GREAT! moreover, you were doing BIG and Koolhass and everyone else 40 years ago and now the kids look at your stuff and just see LSD watercolors.

    I’ve been trying to finish an EVOLO competition entry for 4 years now. Unfortunately making a living takes precedent to exploring the future in the way you did in the Biomorphic Biosphere, you have any interest in some guy like me producing 3D models of your Biomorphic Biosphere in 3D realism, with renderings, animations, details etc… let me know?

    bored, can’t finish my shit, send me something.

    maybe then if you present the Biomorphic Biosphere in a hip DIAGRAM COMIC BOOK STYLE, the kids might get it, 40 YEARS too late.

    – Chris

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      chris,

      thanks for your insight. the biomorphic biosphere is a new civilization. it is wrapping it all up to say this is the possibilities of how to live, from physical structure to society and all the moves to get there.

      i just read “the untold story of united states history”civilization by oliver stone. the line between existing and blowing ourselves up a fraction of a second. the ruthless behavior of our country that is beyond any form of humane concern. what a shame. my minor conflicts seem inconsequential compared to the way humanity runs the earth.

      i feel the running off to paradise calling again, a common theme in my life, but in paradise the same sick humanity exists. chalk it up to human nature.

      so my roll, however meager, is to just keep doing what i do and telling it straight. compromise does have its values, but at the point of abandoning my principles i draw the line.

      buildings and cities last long after the politics have changed, so maybe that is all that is asked of an architect. but i see it as a much bigger picture. i never should have gone to the top of the mountain, but i did. i could not help myself, and i am glad i did.

      keep close and take care of your wife and kids,

      glen

      • http://www.metamechanics.com Chris Teeter

        how to live is best expressed in a story or film.

        if the biomorphic biosphere existence could be powerfully expressed as your life was in the documentary – I think people might get it.

        you have vision clearly, my buddy who is an actor and cartoonists/comic book illustrator has vision as well. he used to show me “boards” for comic skits he was doing. In those single boards I understood everything the skit was about and I imagine a guy like you would as well.

        the masses are asses – for the most part because they don’t have the ability (whether time or DNA) to have vision, recognize vision, imagine, and essentially be creative. The creative act is essentially rebelious – a fuck the system kind of move.

  • http://www.metamechanics.com Chris Teeter

    Glenn – here’s a link about this new hip way of presenting things (it’s a critique of it actually)

    http://thefunambulist.net/2012/08/11/architectural-theories-critique-of-a-new-architectural-paradigm/

    also insulting everyone never hurst.

    I think ease us into the Biomorphic Biosphere, it’s massive. And now that as Eric points out you are explaining the source for the creativity, I would go on to explain it’s meaning at the time and now (something I am not good at, so can’t advise on that)

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      chris,

      if i had the money, i would bring you in to make it comprehensible and suductive. yes i would like to make a comic book that sold the bigger ideas, if that is what is needed. but like archigram before, i am much too serious, i want to show it how it can be done and how it could help to make better lives. that makes the existing shutter, because they have vested interests and want things the way they are, they are up for entertainment, but not change.

      glen

      • http://www.metamechanics.com Chris Teeter

        Hey Glen thanks for responding, been busy working kind of stuff….
        I think the entertainment method is a way of proposing change without making anyone really realize what is being asked of them. Social media is a good example. At 13 I was on MUDDS (txt base only chat forums) pre-Netscape days, a very nerdy thing to do, social behavior still happened in person…eventually thought via cell phones and and ease of internet access – people who would of shunned the technology, never dated someone via the web, etc…are now on Facebook (I’m not on it). the shear desire to still remain social as possible has forced essentially anti-tech people to become techy.

        by presenting the future in different manners or in other words re-directing people’s desire you can convince people of what matters.

        anyway if I get bored I can make you a deal, if it’s experimental its no charge until satisfied, but right now very busy….I never finish my ideas and only occasionally post them under an alter ego on an anonymously owned web site.

  • eric chavkin

    The Garden of Eden analogy is for me not so specific as imagery. Bosch’s middle aged GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS is pinpoint as too the Biosphere resemblance. It has all the botanical seedpodlings and exotic plantings, wild colors and the garden is populated with naked nymphs, polyamorous couplings, and hybrid half-peoples. Its a visual orgy. And exciting to look at. Glens Biosphere has for me the same feel.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      ERIC,

      THAT SENSUOUS ENVIRONMENT OF BEAUTIFUL BODIES, LUSH GARDEN, WATER ELEMENTS AND SUNSHINE. A RUGENS UNDER THE BIG TREE IN THE MIDDLE OF NATURE. WHAT IS EVERYBODY CHATTING ABOUT, ARE THEY DANCING , LISTENING TO MUSIC AND EATING? ARE THE KIDS DARTING ABOUT AND LAUGHING? OR ARE THEY INVENTING GREAT STUFF AND SAILING THE SEAS?

      REMOVE THE WAR STUFF .

      GLEN

  • eric chavkin

    BIOSPHERE SEMANTICS

    Biosphere, stratosphere, ecosphere, ionosphere…. all and each names for science descriptions of physical natural properties. Glen’s Biosphere, Biosphere 2 are like proper names, such as Mr. Smith, IBM, California, just names. Glens name Biomorphic Biosphere connects the science description with his design with a neat catchy alliteration of Bio-Bio

    BIOMORPHIC Semantics

    The Morphosis of biomorphic derives originally from the 18thC German philosopher and scientist Goethe study of plant )s It means shape or form ( if I remember right. pls correct)

    The biomorphic part means resembling plants or living organisms but not specific a specific species, more or less in general.

    The gardens like ecosphere of Glen’s is thus the Biomorphic Biosphere. All this is obvious to Glen and us that like his work, pls forgive the obvious

    This is my semantics of morphosis – and forget Thom Mayne’s MORPHOSIS which is just a name

    I use The suffix – morphic for names of different forms when I describe things like art, architecture, design.

    BIOMORPHIC -plant like forms
    ZOOMORPHIC – animal like forms
    ANTHROPOMORPHIC -have a human like form (think facade for a house that looks like a face)

    GEOMORPHIC looks like geologic formation (think of the Flinstones, the thing of fantastic four, Lots of concrete churches in Europe or water parks of landscape architect Halpirin. this tends to be primative ala stone age

    MECHANOMORPHIC, machine like properties, Mechanical parts substitution. Think of Science fiction robots, gadgets, with an emphasis on the mechanics.

    So the point of this aside is that when I see design organized as Bio, zoo, geo, anthropo, etc forms I start with name and go from there.

  • eric chavkin

    Glen, How does one insert images into comments? Can you ask?eric