BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE 2

00282_s_11aggf5anz0282_3_2_2

DSC04823_3
LETTERHEAD 1971

THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE WAS FOR LA, BUT MEANT AS A PROTOTYPE TO TRANSFORM OTHER CITIES. CITIES ARE THE HIGH DENSITY POINTS WHERE THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE LIVE, AND FOR SOME STANGE REASON EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE. THE HAPPENING PLACE, CITIES. BUT ALSO THE POLLUTION MONSTERS THAT SUCK HUGE AREAS AROUND THEM FOR SUPPORT. LA DRAWING WATER FROM THE COLORADO RIVER, GRABBING THE WATER FROM THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE SIERRAS AND WATER FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. THE IMPACT OF HAVING A HUGE CITY IN AN AREA WHERE IT CAN NOT BE SUPPORTED BY IT’S LOCAL NATURAL SYSTEM IS GREEDY, BUT CONSIDERED INVENTIVE.

THE ECOLOGICAL CONCERNS OF THE VERTICAL CITY IN DETROIT WERE NOW THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE IN LOS ANGELES. WHY NOT SAN FRANCISCO, NEW YORK, MIAMI, OR CLEVELAND?

DAVID TEACHOUT WAS A FELLOW PROFESSOR AT CAL POLY POMONA IN 1970-1972. HE WAS A HOLISTIC THINKER. HE HAD BEEN AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNDER DUNCAN STEWERT, WHO HAD BEEN CLOSE TO BUCKMINISTER FULLER. DAVID TEACHOUT WAS ABLE TO CRIT THE STRUCTURAL STUDIES OF THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE I WAS INVOLVED WITH. IN FACT HE IS THE ONLY PERSON THAT HAS EVER SHOWN ANY SERIOUS INTEREST IN THE DETAILS OF THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. DAVID OVER THE YEARS HAS BECOME MY OFFICIAL GURU. THE PERFECT GUY, HE IS SO PERFECT THAT HE MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE: VEGETARIAN, CONSISTENT EXERCISE, YOGA CLASS, MEDITATION, BUILDS SOLAR HOUSE SUBDIVISIONS. HE IS A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT THAT INTEGRATES THE PLANTS INTO HIS BUILDINGS. DAVIDS FATHER HOLDING INFINITE RECORDS IN SPORTS FROM OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE, HIS MOTHER AN ACTRESS. DAVID RAISED MIDDLE CLASS AMERICA ENDED UP AS A NAVY FIGHTER PIOLET AND TOOK GREAT PRIDE IN FLYING WELL, SO WELL, THAT HE TRAINED FOR ATOMIC BOMB DROPS OVER CHINA. EISENHOWER WAS ALL GUNG HO , BUT DID REFRAIN FROM BLASTING AWAY CHINA WHEN HIS MILITARY ADVISORS URGED HIM TO DO SO. THE STORY GOES THAT SOME ANTI WAR MOVEMENT GROUP SENT LETTERS WITH TEA BAGS TO EISENHOWER TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR CHINA. A HUGE AMOUNT OF TEA BAG LETTERS ARRIVED IN THE OVAL OFFICE WHICH EISENHOWER SHOWED TO HIS GENERALS, SAYING SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT THAT CITIZENS OF THE USA WERE NOT UP FOR ANNIHILATING CHINA.

1200px-Habitat_panorama

MOSHE SAFDIE, HABITAT 67, MONTREAL

800px-Montreal_-_QC_-_Habitat67
MOSHE SAFDIE, HABITAT 67, MONTREAL

THE WORD ” MEGASTRUCTURE ” HAS COME TO SUGGEST A HARSH, CONCRETE- HUGE ENVIRONMENT , PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF SUCH WELL- KNOWN EXAMPLES AS HABITAT 67 WORLD’S FAIR IN MONTREAL. IT IS NOW A HIGH END CONDO LIVING COMPLEX. THE PREMISE WAS TO STACK PRECAST UNITS, BUT BY SO DOING THE LOADS BUILD UP AND THE LOWER UNITS REQUIRING MORE CONCRETE TO WITHSTAND THE COMPRESSIVE FORCES. THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE WAS A FRAME WITH PLUG ON FUNCTIONS. IN THE SIXTIES SOLERI, ARCHIGRAM , MATABOLIST AND NUMEROUS OTHERS INCLUDING MYSELF , OFFERED MEGASTRUCTURES AS THE URBAN HOPE. MEGASTRUCTURES BECAME UNPOPULAR WITH DEVELOPERS AND ARCHITECTS, BECAUSE THEY REQUIRED PUTTING TOGETHER TOO MANY AGENCIES AND PARTS TO IMPLEMENT. A SINGLE BUILDING IS SIMPLE IN COMPARISON. EXISTING MEGASTRUCTURE OF URBAN PLANNING ALREADY EXISTS, LIKE A DEEP PILE CARPET WITH INTERDEPENDENT FUNCTIONS LIKE WATER , TRANSPORTATION, POWER, WASTE, BUILDINGS AND PEOPLE. ONE OF MY FAVORITE VISUAL IMAGES IS FLYING INTO ANY METROPOLITAN AREA AT NIGHT WITH THE LIGHTS SPREADING OUT FOR MILES BELOW, ABSTRACTLY DEPICTING THE LIVING MEGASTRUCTURE. MEGASTRUCTURE CAN ALSO MEAN A COMBINATION OF MANY OBJECTS AND SYSTEMS IN WAYS THAT COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER AND CREATE A DIVERSIFIED BUT HARMONIOUS WHOLE. NATURE OFFERS EXAMPLES OF HUGE ECOLOGICAL MEGA STRUCTURES THAT COMBINE MOUNTAINS, VALLEYS, FORESTS, STREAMS, ANIMALS ETC.. OUR PROBLEM AS HUMAN BEINGS IS TO INTERACT WITH THESE NATURAL SYSTEMS IN HARMONIOUS WAYS. THE ULTIMATE MEGASTRUCTURE BEING THE EARTH AS A WHOLE.

00311_s_11aggf5anz0311_3_2

THE NATURAL MEGASTRUCTURE

IMG_7422_gallery_larger

LOS ANGELES BASIN FROM THE AIR

00282_s_11aggf5anz0282_3_2_2

BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE FROM THE AIR LOS ANGELES BASIN 1971

THIS GLARING DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LA NOW, AND BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE TELLS THE STORY, THE LAND OPEN AND RESTORED, THE CITY SCINTILLATING FUNCTIONAL BEAUTY. A GIGANTIC SELF SUSTAINING GREEN HOUSE MOUNTAIN. ALL SO LOGICAL ,GORGEOUS AND FUN TO LIVE IN VS. THE TRIAL AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE EXISTING .

TO ME SO REASONABLE AND SIMPLE, AND I AM SURE A DELIGHT FOR THE CREATIVE MINDS OF OUR AGE TO BUILD. BUT SO FAR FAR FAR AWAY FROM THE LIMITED MINDS OF OUR SOCIETY. MAYBE THE CHINESE WILL BE UP FOR THE TASK.

00281_s_11aggf5anz0281_2_2_2

BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE ELEVATION AT NIGHT 1971

00209_s_11aggf5anz0209_2

CONNECTION STUDIES OF WINGS COMING TOGETHER 1971

00283_s_11aggf5anz0283_2_2_2

THE INITIAL START WAS IN A BLIGHTED AREA OF THE CITY . DEPICTED IN RED. THE STRUCTURE COULD SPAN OVER EXISTING BUILDINGS, CONSTRUCTION WOULD START WITHOUT MAJOR REMOVAL OF BUILDINGS ON THE LAND. THE BB CREATING A GREEN ECO RESTORATION OF THE LAND BELOW SURROUNDING THE BASE. THE GROWTH PATTERN WAS HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL. IF THE PROJECT FAILED AFTER THE INITIAL STAGE, IT COULD BE TURNED INTO A THEME PARK. FOR YEARS IN LECTURES I SAID THIS IN JEST. THE THEME PARK CONCEPT BECAME A REALITY WITH THE ” BIOSPHERE TWO” PROJECT IN ARIZONA, A GIGANTIC ENCLOSED SPACE BY PETER PIERCE THAT STUDIED THE EFFECTS OF A CLOSED LOOP SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT, THE SECOND BIGGEST TOURIST ATTRACTION AFTER THE GRAND CANYON IN ARIZONA FOR AWHILE.

RECENTLY I HAVE COME TO REALIZE THAT THE THEME PARK WOULD BE A WAY TO START THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. THE VISITORS IN THE BB STAYING FOR EXTENDED TIMES TO EXPERIENCE A LIFE STYLE IN HARMONY WITH NATURE AND FELLOW HUMANS. THUS CREATING A PERMANENT ABODE FOR THOSE INTERESTED. A SOPHISTICATED COMMUNE OR KUBUTZ AT A SCALE THAT MATTERS THAT WOULD GIVE ONE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GRADUALLY EXPERIENCE THE BB THEY COULD JOIN.

L. A. IS EARTHQUAKE TIME, SO I CONSULTED AN EXPERT SEIMIC ENGINEER AT CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY COMMONLY REFEREED TO AS CAL TECH. MY FOOTINGS WERE SPACED A HALF MILE APART. HE SAID THAT EARTHQUAKES PUSH AND PULL OF THE EARTH SURFACE, CREATED A DIFFERENCE OF MAYBE MAX. SIX FEET BETWEEN THE FOOTINGS. THE SCALE OF STRUCTURE WAS IN TENSION AND COULD EASILY FLEX TO ACCOMMODATE THE RUMBLE. THE DAILY EXPANSION AND CONTRACTION OF THE STRUCTURE DUE TO HEAT CHANGES WOULD ALSO CREATE MOVEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE. THE FOOTINGS BEING ABSORPTIVE AS WELL.

HOK Present jpeg glen howard small _Page_013_2_2_2

A PICTURE OF THE LA BASIN AFTER THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE HAD ABSORBED THE 11 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE REGION IN 1972. THE IDEA BEING TO RETURN THE BASIN TO A NATURAL STATE. WHEN THE EARLY SPANISH EXPLORERS FIRST CAME TO THE LA BASIC, THERE WERE ABUNDANT ANIMALS, LUSH GRASS LANDS, AND RIVERS DEEP AND WIDE. THE WATER TABLE WAS HIGH. FOR YEARS ARTESIAN WELLS WERE USED AS A WATER SOURCE. ORANGE GROVES BEING THE LAST CROP TO USE THE WELLS. ALL THE MAJOR DOWNTOWNS WOULD BE HISTORICALLY KEPT FOR EXPERIENCES OF THE WAY IT USED TO BE. LA, BEVERLY HILLS, PASADENA, SANTA MONICA, CULVER CITY, ORANGE, SAN PEDRO. VAN NUYS, GLENDALE, MANHATTAN BEACH , PALOS VERDES, ETC. , THE TOURIST ATTRACTION. THE RIVERS ONCE AGAIN OVERFLOWING AND SHIFTING WITH NATURAL CYCLES.

IF THERE WAS A SIGNIFICANT DROP OFF IN POPULATION AND NEEDS, THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE COULD REVERSE THE CYCLE OF GROWTH AND EAT ITSELF IN THE SAME MANNER IT BUILT ITSELF. THERE WERE ROVING REMODEL MACHINES FOR UPDATING AND REPAIRED THE CITY.

THE LA TIMES DID A MAJOR ARTICLE ON THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE IN JANUARY OF 1972 . PEOPLE CALLED TO HELP.
PAT KONRAD WAS THE MAIN MAN. A PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS MAJOR THAT HAD JUST GRADUATED FROM BOSTON UNIVERSITY. HE ASSISTED ME FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS AND BECAME A STUDENT OF MINE. ONE NIGHT, AN ATTRACTIVE WOMAN SHOWED UP TO HELP, BUT MILICA SCARED HER OFF.

00776_s_11aggf5anz0776_2

ROLLER COASTER PIN BALL RIDE , SCI-ARC FRESHMAN STUDENT PROJECT 1973 , PAT KONRAD, MY ASSISTANT FOR MANY YEARS,

THE VERTICAL CITY HAD NOT DEALT WITH STRUCTURE IN DEEPTH. FOR THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. I REALIZED I WAS A NOVICE AT STRUCTURE AND SOUGHT OUT CONRAD WASSMAN (A RENOWN STRUCTURAL INNOVATOR) AT USC. CONRAD SAID MY SYSTEM WAS NOT STRUCTURAL. NOW REVIEWING IT AFTER 30 YEARS OF INCREASED STRUCTURAL AWARENESS, THE VERTICAL CITY WAS INDEED STRUCTURAL, IF ANALYZED AS A WHOLE SYSTEM. THAT IS CONSIDERING THE COMPRESSION MEMBERS AND THE SKIN COMBINED. IN FACT IT WAS MORE SOPHISTICATED IN SOME WAYS THAN WHAT I DEVELOPED FOR THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. THE LESSON LEARNED, IF YOU DO NOT KNOW STRUCTURES AND RELY ON EVEN THE BEST OF ENGINEERS, YOU CAN GET BAD ADVICE.

CIVIL ENGINEERS HAVE BEEN A SORE SPOT IN MY CAREER TO CONTEND WITH. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR BUILDINGS FAILING. SO THEY DESIGN CONSERVATIVELY. IN NICARAGUA I WAS TOLD IF MY STRUCTURES FAILED I WOULD BE PUT IN JAIL. I HAD AN ENGINEER STUDENT FROM CHINA WHERE THERE WAS A DEATH IN ONE OF HIS STRUCTURES AND HE WAS PAYING THE FAMILY OFF AND HE HAD TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY. SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND AN ENGINEER’S CAUTION ABOUT BUILDING WEAK. THEREFORE, MOST OF THE TIME, THEY TAKE THE PATH TO OVERBUILT, THUS IT IS HARD TO GET THEM TO BE INVENTIVE. OTHER FACTORS LIKE RUST AND DECAY OVER TIME PLAY A FACTOR. DIFFICULT TO CONTROL IF A BUILDING IS NOT MAINTAINED PROPERLY. I CAN DISCUSS STRUCTURE IN AN INTELLIGENT WAY WITH ENGINEERS, THAT FRUSTRATES MANY, BUT IS APPRECIATED BY OTHERS.

THE FIELD TEST SYSTEM, LIKE FLW USED ON THE COLUMNS FOR JOHNSON WAX RACINE, WHERE HE PUT SAND BAGS ON THE COLUMN TO DEMONSTRATE THE STRENGTH, BEING THE TRUE TEST THAT ENGINEERS RARELY RESORT TO, BUT I WANTING TO USE. THE KILLER COMES WHEN THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT OR ENGINEER REFUSES TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE TEST, MAKING IT A FINANCIAL IMPOSSIBILITY FOR ME. THEREFORE 3 DIMENSIONAL CALCULATION STRUCTURES ARE DIFFICULT TO SELL. WITH THE COMPUTER PROGRAMS IT HAS BECOME BETTER AND THERE ARE SOME EXTREMELY ADVENTURESOME STRUCTURES, USUALLY BY LARGE FIRMS. THE LITTLE GUY CAN NOT COMPETE. A NEW AGE.

CONRAD WASSMAN’S COMMENTS RESULTED IN MY PURSUIT OF INVESTIGATING A NEW STRUCTURAL SYSTEM. THE MODEL BUILDING TECHNIQUE WAS WIRE SOLDERED TOGETHER.

THE FIRST STRUCTURAL ATTEMPTS AT MAKING A SYSTEM FOR THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE WERE MORE SCULPTURAL THAN STRUCTURAL. I AM A BIG BELIEVER OF ONE HAVING TO THROW THEMSELVES INTO 3D FORM AND EVOLVING THROUGH A SERIES OF STUDIES TO PRODUCE THE FINAL SOLUTION. ALL SORTS OF THINGS HAPPEN IN THE PROCESS THAT CAN NOT BE IMMEDIATELY BE UNDERSTOOD. I COULD PRODUCE THESE MODELS IN A FEW DAYS SO THE PROCESS ALLOWED FOR SOLUTIONS EVOLVING FROM PRIOR SOLUTIONS.

THE RESULT OF STUDIES BEING A NECKLACE OF CRUCIFORM COMPRESSION MEMBERS (A COMPRESSION MEMBER BEING THE CENTRAL POLES OF A TENT ) LINKED AT THE TIPS BY TENSION CABLES (THE CABLES THAT ARE PULLING OR IN TENSION ). NOT A TENSEGRITY SYSTEM ( A SYSTEM THAT THE COMPRESSION ELEMENTS NEVER TOUCH.) BEING IN THE BB THE SHORT COMPRESSION MEMBERS TIPS OF THE CRUCIFORM TOUCHED , BUT AN OFF SHOOT OF THE IDEA. THE STRUCTURE PULLING IN ON ITSELF, SIMILAR TO A BICYCLE WHEEL WITH RIM, HUB, AND SPOKES, THEREFORE IT DID NOT RELY ON THE GROUND TO HOLD IT TOGETHER. THE GROUND WAS USED FOR BEARING COMPRESSION LOADS AND ANCHORING TO THE EARTH.

THE STRUCTURAL STUDIES WERE MADE IN WIRE AND THAT BECAME GOLDEN WHEN PHOTOGRAPHED WITH OUTDOOR FILM INSIDE, THE USE OF THE FLUX AND SOLDERING GUN CREATED RASHES ON MY FACE AND NUMBED MY RIGHT HAND. I GOT ACUPUNCTURE TO CLEAR UP MY PHYSICAL PROBLEM. IT WAS THE ERA BEFORE THE ACUPUNCTURE WAS ACCEPTED. MILICA MADE THE CONTACT AND WE WENT DEEP INTO CHINA TOWN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS FOR THE TREATMENT.

IMG_000092_2

EVOLVING 1 SCULPTURAL FIRST TRY 1971

00369_s_11aggf5anz0369_2_2_2

EVOLVING 2 1971

00307_s_11aggf5anz0307_3_2

EVOLVING 3, 1971 THE NECKLACE SYSTEM THAT EXPRESSED THE IDEA SHAPE OF THE COMPRESSION MEMBERS AND ALL HYPERBOLIC SURFACES OF TENSION SKIN WITH STRAIGHT LINES
00208_s_11aggf5anz0208_3_2_2
EVOLVING 10, 1996 THE INTERSECTION OF THE THREE WINGS COMING TOGETHER. DOWNTOWN ALL HYPERBOLIC SURFACES. NOTICE THE OVAL RINGS ON THE SKIN, THE LITE SLOTS FOR THE INTERIOR. THE COMPRESSION CROSSES BEING IN HEAVY GAUGE WIRE.

00275_s_11aggf5anz0275_2_2_2

EVOLVING 5, 1971 A LARGE DETAIL MODEL OF THE SKIN SPANNING BETWEEN COMPRESSION CORE MEMBERS, THE FOOTING AT THE BOTTOM. THE SKIN WALKWAYS BEING 3 D TENSEGRITY THIRTY FEET WIDE . THIS MODEL BECAME TOO COMPLICATED TO FINISH, REQUIRING MAJOR ASSISTANCE. THE SIZE WAS GETTING TOO BIG TO MOVE AS WELL, BUT WHAT IT DEMONSTRATED WAS THAT IT WAS ALL BUILD-ABLE AND THE STRENGTH OF THE THREE DIMENSIONAL SKIN WAS AWESOME.

00364_s_11aggf5anz0364_2_2

EVOLVING 4, 1972 SIMPLISTIC MODEL OF PARTS, USED A PLASTIC FILM GEL FOR SKIN MEMBRANE

HOK Present jpeg glen howard small _Page_016_2_2_2

THE NECKLACE STRUCTURAL COMPRESSION MEMBERS DIAGRAM WITH PIN CONNECTION AT HORIZONTAL TIPS.

HOK Present jpeg glen howard small _Page_017_2_2_2

THE FREE TIPS STRUCTURAL NECKLACE DIAGRAM OF THE COMPRESSION MEMBERS CONNECTED WITH MAJOR TENSION ELEMENTS

HOK Present jpeg glen howard small _Page_018_2_3

THE STRUCTURAL NECKLACE DIAGRAM WITH THE 3D TENSION SKIN CONNECTING AND MAJOR TENSION ELEMENTS ENCLOSING A SYSTEM WITH LIGHT AND VENTILATION SLOTS. ALL THE DIAGRAMS A LAYERING SYSTEM.

DSC06338

LA TIMES, HOME MAGAZINE JANUARY 2, 1972

DSC06342

L A TIMES, HOME MAGAZINE JAN. 2 1972 MODEL OF BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE PHOTO BOB POLACSEK AN EXAMPLE OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER TAKING OVER, BY PUTTING ON A REFLECTIVE SURFACE AND CROPPING THE MODEL. TOTALLY DISTORTED, BUT NOBODY CARED OTHER THAN I. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED, IF I HAD REQUIRED APPROVAL BEFORE PUBLISHING, WHICH I DID NOT. THE RESULT BEING AN ABSTRACTED IMAGE, WHICH IN SOME WAYS WAS COOL. THE HORIZON WALKWAYS READ WELL.

MY STATE OF MIND WAS EUPHORIA. I WAS ADAMANT THAT I WAS DOING THE RIGHT THING. THE DRAMA OF THE LATE SIXTIES AND EARLY SEVENTIES WAS HOPE OF MAN LIVING IN HARMONY AND LOVE. I HAD RED PANTS, COLORFUL SHIRTS, AND AN AFGAN COAT OF SHAGGY SHEEP SKIN. WORE MY HAIR IN A PIG TAIL AND LET IT FALL AT NIGHT. THIS WAS THE AGE OF AQUARIUS.
BY NOW MY CONCERNS WERE WAY BEYOND WHAT PEOPLE WANTED TO DISCUSS. BUT I WAS ON A ROLL TOTALLY ABSORBED IN DESIGNING THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. I AM REMINDED DUSTIN HOFFMAN, IN LITTLE BIG MAN, SAYING “I WASN’T ONLY PLAYING INDIAN I WAS AN INDIAN.” IN MY CASE I WASN’T DREAMING, I WAS PURSUING TOTAL REALITY OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. I WAS SELF ASSURED, BUT VERY DEFENSIVE WHEN ANYONE QUESTIONED THE PROJECT. THERE WAS A SPIRIT OF THE TIMES: HAIR, WOODSTOCK, FLOWER CHILDREN, EARTH DAY, LOVE INS, AND A RETURN TO THE WILDERNESS TO LIVE IN GEODESIC DOMES.

I BOUGHT THE HIPPIE ERA FOR REAL. I DRESSED AND GREW MY HAIR FOR THE TIMES. MY SHIRTS WERE ABSTRACT AND COLORFUL. MY SISTER SEWED TWO BEAUTIFUL SHIRTS. ONE WITH GIANT BUTTERFLIES AND ONE WITH ABSTRACT ORGANIC SHAPES. I HAD AN AFGHAN FUR COAT THAT MADE ME LOOK LIKE BIG BIRD. I BELIEVED THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD WANTED TO BE COLORFUL, ECOLOGICAL AND FULL OF LOVE FOR THEIR FELLOW WORLD CITIZENS.

ONE NOON WALKING ON OLYMPIC BLVD. IN FULL HIPPIE DRESS TO A RESTAURANT PAST A BEER TRUCK DRIVER, WHO WAS UNLOADING HIS TRUCK. HE STOPPED ME AND TOLD ME HE HATED ME. I COULDN’ T FATHOM WHY HE FELT THIS WAY, BUT THE MESSAGE WAS CLEAR. I CONSIDERED MYSELF COLORFUL, NON THREATENING, AND OUT TO HELP THE WORLD. IN REALITY MY DIFFERENT APPEARANCE FROM THE NORM SCARED PEOPLE. I WOULD GO INTO A HARDWARE STORE AND RECEIVE POOR SERVICE. TEN YEARS LATER WHEN I WAS IN MY SUIT ERA THE SAME CLERKS WOULD TREAT ME LIKE A KING. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A SUIT MADE. I WOULD TELL MY CHILDREN MY WHITE DRESS SHIRT WAS MY MAGIC SHIRT. I NEVER VENTURED TO THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT WITHOUT MY SUIT. IN GENERAL I GOT ALONG VERY WELL AT THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT, IN PART BECAUSE OF MY SUIT. BUT ALSO, I WOULD TALK TO THE PLAN CHECKERS ABOUT THEIR FAMILIES, EVENTS OF THE DAY AND OTHER SMALL TALK. I DID THIS TO RELAX THEM, BUT ALSO BECAUSE I ENJOYED TALKING TO THEM. I MADE FRIENDS THERE THAT I COULD GET STRAIGHT INFORMATION FROM, THEY RESPONDED BY HELPING ME IN SOLVING MY PROBLEMS BY SHOWING ME THE PROPER WAYS TO PROCEED.

THE BEER TRUCK DRIVER WAS EXPRESSING HIS DISGUST FOR THE IMPRACTICAL COLORFUL HIPPIE WORLD, THAT STRONG DISGUST ALSO WAS STRONG IN THE PROFESSION OF ARCHITECTURE, WHICH RELIES ON CONSERVATIVE ESTABLISHMENT TO BUILD. I REPRESENTED THE NEW FRINGE.
ARCHITECTURALLY MEGASTRUCTURES WERE IN . NOT LIKE WHAT I ENVISIONED BUT DEFINITELY BEING DONE, CUMBERNAUL SCOTLAND, HABITAT 67 MONTREAL, OSAKA 70 JAPAN, THE MATABOLISTS, SOLERIE, ARCHIGRAM. THERE WAS A SPIRIT OF WHY NOT, WE CAN BUILD ANYTHING THAT WE CAN THINK OF. I HAD A SINCERE BELIEF THAT IF THE SENSITIVE PROGRESSIVE BIG BUCK PEOPLE COULD BE REACHED THEY WOULD BUILD THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. I WAS FULL OF HOPE. UNLIKE MANY OF THE HIGH TECH MACHINE MEGASTRUCTURES OF THE ERA, I WAS DEALING WITH NATURE AND NATURAL SYSTEMS AS WELL. MY IDEA WAS TO TURN THE CITY INTO AN OASIS. I DIFFERED FROM SOLERI AT THE TIME, BECAUSE I WAS INTO TECHNOLOGY. I SAW NATURE AS A TECHNOLOGY. IF YOU COULD LEARN FROM NATURE HOW TO HUMANIZE TECHNOLOGY THEN IT WAS A NATURAL EXTENSION OF NATURE. I ONCE GAVE A LECTURE AT ONE OF THE CLAREMONT COLLEGES IN 1971 I SHARED THE EVENING LECTURE WITH SOLERI. THE NEXT DAY AT A DISCUSSION WHEN SOMEBODY SAID SOLERI AND SMALL, SOLERI BLURTED OUT BY SAYING SMALL AND I ARE DIFFERENT AND GETTING FURTHER APART ALL OF THE TIME. IN 1965 I WAS DOING ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY AT A VERY LARGE SCALE AND CONCENTRATED ON TRANSFORMING EXISTING CITIES. SOLERI DEALT WITH ISOLATED NEW CITIES AND DIDN’T EMBRACE THE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY AND THE SCALE I WAS WORKING AT. SOLERI WAS A GUEST IN MY HOME IN 1967 DUE TO A LECTURE I GOT HIM AT LAWRENCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, WHERE I WAS TEACHING. IN 1980 I WENT TO ARCOSANTI WITH A GROUP OF STUDENTS. HE IGNORED ME. I THINK PEOPLE THAT DID NOT CONCUR IN TOTAL WITH HIM WERE THREATENING. IT IS A SHAME BECAUSE WE HAD SO MUCH TO DISCUSS.

I WAS NOT LOOKING FOR THE NEXT COMMISSION LIKE THE CORPORATE ARCHITECTS OF THE DAY, THEREFORE I WAS STRANGE.
UNLIKE SOLERI, WHO SET UP A COMPOUND FOR HIS FOLLOWERS, I WAS IN MAINSTREAM TEACHING AT A STATE UNIVERSITY AND GOING TO FACULTY MEETINGS. I HAD BUILT COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS AND WAS A LICENSED ARCHITECT AND WATCHED FOOTBALL. I BROUGHT A TV TO SCI-ARC TO WATCH THE WORLD SERIES IN MY DESIGN STUDIO. I WAS NOT A MYSTIC, BUT MIDDLE CLASS THAT BELIEVED IN PURSUING THE IDEAL. I HAD GONE TOO FAR AND THE PROFESSION IGNORED ME. WHAT I WAS DOING WAS THOUGHT AS COMIC BOOK STUFF, NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY. YET ALL THAT I ESPOUSED WITH THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE IS RELEVANT NOW AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE SO IN THE FUTURE. THE AVANT-GARDE ARCHITECTS OF TODAY WANTING TO DO COMIC BOOKS, BUT STILL EONS AWAY FROM THE BB.

GLEN

Share this Post:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Print
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    READERS,

    HAVE YOU ALL STARTED USING SODERING GUNS TO DESIGN WITH?
    I HAD THESE WIRE MODELS PINNED TO MY WALL OVER THE KITCHEN BAR COUNTER. PEOPLE WOULD COMMENT, HOW BEAUTIFUL , ARE THESE SCULPTURE? SAY SOMETHING.

    GLEN

  • http://www.patrickmatson.com Denis Sheeran

    I have just recently been introduced to your work and am greatly enamoured by it. To think we have become a world of concrete and glass boxes when the biomorphic shapes of flora and fauna are there as inspiration that is also tried and tested by evolution. I cheer your work as it cheers me.

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      DENIS,

      THANKS FOR CHEERING FOR THE OBVIOUS, AND YET SO OBSCURE TO THE MANMADE BUILDING WORLD AS AN OBJECTIVE.

      THERE IS A UNIVERSAL CELEBRATION OF FLOWERS AS BEAUTIFUL AND DESIRED, BUT NOT APPLICABLE TO SHELTER. ALTHOUGH WHEN THE BIOMORPHIC SHAPES ARE USED IN AN ORGANIC WAY FOR CONSTRUCTION, THEY USUALLY ARE CELEBRATED. COLORS ARE A DIFFERENT MATTER. ALTHOUGH THE LATINS ARE ABLE TO EMBRACE PURPLE AND PINK HOUSES AS BEING DESIRABLE. THE BEIGE SLOP OF THE NORTHERN SOCIETIES IS THE REFINED STANDARD. REFLECTED IN THE HUMAN PERSONALITIES AND LACK OF LUST FOR LIFE AS WELL.

      THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS. IT MADE MY WEEK.

      GLEN

  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    DAVID TEACHOUT, WHO I COMMENTED ABOUT, HAS HAD TECHNICAL PROBLEMS ABOUT LEAVING A REPLY. HE PUSHES SEND AND HIS REPLY IS LOST. IF OTHERS ARE HAVING SIMILAR PROBLEMS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I AM ADDING HIS COMMENTS. HE IS ALSO A FANTASTIC PAINTER AND REALLY NEEDS SEVERAL BLOGS ON HIS LIFE TO GIVE A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO A FASCINATING MAN THAT WE ALL CAN LEARN FROM TO BETTER THE WORLD.

    GLEN,

    BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE EXPOSITION CONCISE AND CLEAR. ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISITICS ARE EASILY UNDERSTOOD.
    AESTHETICALY STUNNING. EXAMPLE OF EVOLUTION OF STRUCTURE COUPLED WITH COMMENTS PARTICULARLY ENLIGHTENING. AS IN PREVIOUS DISCUSSION, SCALING UP NOT EASY. VIEWERS CAN NOTE THAT MATURE STRUCTURE EVOLVES TO HYPERBOLIC PARABALOIDS, THEORETICALLY 100 % EFFICIENT, IF CONSTRUCTED AS THIN AND AS COHERANT AS POSSIBLE.

    I AM MENTIONED IN THE BLOG. I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AS MORE THAN A NAVAL AVIATOR, VERY YOUNG, WHO FLEW AS A JET FIGHTER PILOT WITH THE ADDITIONAL TRAINING AS A SPECIAL WEAPONS DELIVERY PILOT. ANOTHER LIFE. THE ATOMIC BOMB I WAS ORDERED TO PREPARE TO “DELIVER” TO CHINA IN 1956 WAS TWELVE TIMES MORE POWERFUL MORE THE HIROSHIMA BOMB. THAT MOMENT WAS AN ULTIMATE ABERATION IN HUMAN BEHAVIOR. IT WAS, AND THE CONTINUED POLICY OF MAINTAINING AND POSSIBLY USING THE 7500 NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE US ARSENAL, IS INSANE. MY NOVEL, BURDEN OF ASHES, REVEALS THE INSANITY OF THIS UTTERLY DESTRUCTIVE PATH. THE FACT THAT I FLEW JETS OFF AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER, FASCINATES EVEN SOME OF MY MOST LIBERAL FRIENDS. THIS FACT OVERSHADOWS THE PURPOSE FOR THAT ADVENTURE. THE PURPOSE, MASS DESTRUCTION OF HUMANS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT, IS NEVER PART OF THE CONVERSATION. TO HAVE “ACHIEVED” SUCH SUCCESS AS A NAVAL AVIATOR, ULTIMATELY, NEEDS TO BE SEEN AS A CATASTROPHIC FAILURE OF AN INDIVIDUAL AND THE SOCIETY THAT EMPOWERED HIM.

    THIS EMPHASIS ON THE NOVELTY OF BEING A NAVAL AVIATOR, DISALLOWS WHAT MOST OF MY LIFE HAS BEEN ABOUT. MY CHILDREN, WHO HAVE MATURED INTO SENSITIVE, COMPASSIONATE AND TALENTED INDIVIDUALS IS OF MOST IMPORTANCE. I AM IMMENSELY PROUD OF MY TWO SONS, WHO UNDER ENORMOUS PRESSURE, TURNED THEIR BACKS ON WAR. LEAVING THREE PROFESSIONS, (AVIATION, UNIVERSITY TEACHING, WORK AS AN ASSOCIATE IN A LEADING LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURAL OFFICE), I FOLLOWED MY HEART INTO PAINTING, WITH SOME RECOGNITION ON THE WEST AND EAST COAST. IN ADDITION, THERE HAS BEEN A BIT OF TEACHING, AND ONGOING WORK AS AN INDEPENDENT DESIGNER OF A WIDE RANGE OF PROJECTS. IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS I HELPED FOUND AN ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL, THE FIRST IN SANTA CRUZ. PAINTING AND DESIGN HAS LED TO WRITING; TWO NOVELS, A NOVELLA AND A NUMBER OF SHORT STORIES, MY BOOK OF POEMS WAS PUBLISHED LAST YEAR.

    I TOO HAD MY WORK FEATURED IN THE SUNDAY LA TIMES: MY SEVEN SOLAR HOUSES PROJECT. OVER THIRTY YEARS AGO I DESIGNED A HOUSE THAT IS, EXCEPT FOR THE PROPANE KITCHEN STOVE AND A SMALL AMOUNT OF ELECTRICITY, ENERGY FREE, UTILIZING THE SUN AND NATUAL CONVECTION TO MAINTAIN A COMFORTABLE INDOOR CLIMATE IN AN ENVIRONMENT WITH A TEMPERATURE RANGE OF 25 TO 100 DEGREES. ALL MY HOUSES ARE “SOLAR” TO VARYING DEGREES. I DESIGNED THE FINEST FARM LABOR HOUSING IN THE STATE, RIGHT ON TO THE TERRACED FARM FIELD OF A VERY SUCCESSFUL ORGANIC FARM. MY HOUSES ARE CAREFULLY INTEGRATED WITH THE LAND, AND TAKE THEIR FORM FROM AN ORGANIC EVOLUTION IN DESIGN, NOT FROM THE LATEST FASHION OR PRESCRIPTED STYLE. SITE PLANNING AND GARDEN DESIGN HAS RESULTED IN SOME NOTABLE RESULTS. MOST RECENTLY, I’VE DEVELOPED THE THIRD ITERATION OF A DETAILED PRELIMINARY DESIGN FOR A FOUR LEVEL RESTAURANT ON A SMALL CITY SITE. AND THERE’S MORE.

    THE POET IN ME HAS EXPERIENCED THE IRONY OF THE BEAUTY OF FLIGHT IN THE SERVICE OF WAR. THERE ARE OTHER DIMENSIONS OF MY LIFE I CARE NOT TO TALK ABOUT, THAT WISH TO REMAIN PRIVATE. YOU KNOW A LITTLE OF WHAT I REFER TO FROM OUR CONVERSATIONS. IT SEEMS, THAT FOR ME, IT IS IMPORTANT TO SEE THE POETRY IN THINGS. THERE IS MUCH POETRY IN WHAT YOU DO. PERHAPS THAT IS THE ATTRACTION.

    I SEE A PARALLEL WITH YOUR EXPERIENCE AND MINE, OF MEETING APATHY AND DISINTERESTED IN DISCUSSING THE FUNDAMENTAL ECOLOGICAL ISSUES, (OR IN MY CASE, THE SOCIAL/MORAL ISSUES),.THAT ARE THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR THINKING AND RESULATANT DESIGNS. YOU PROPOSE A COMPREHENSIVE, ECOLOGICAL SOLUTION TO THE ENORMOUS FAILURE OF OUR CITIES, LA, IN PARTICULAR, WHICH YOU MENTION BRIEFLY. HUGE AND DISTANT COLONIZATIONS MUST BE EMPLOYED TO ACQUIRE RESOURCES TO MAKE OUR CITIES WORK. WHOLE RIVERS, AQUIFERS, MOUNTAINS, FORESTS, ETC, ARE SACRIFICED TO ALLOW FOR THE MOST MUNDANE AND WASTEFUL BEHAVIOR. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WHEN THE COLORADO RIVER IS EMPTIED, THE OWENS VALLEY TURNED TO DESERT, WHEN BLACK MESA OF THE HOPIS IS DESTROYED AND THE AQUIFER BENEATH IT DEPLETED BEYOND REPAIR, ALL TO ENSURE THAT LAWNS BE WATERED, LIGHTS LEFT ON, MORE AND MORE ASPHALT AND CONCRETE COVER THE LAND. THE LA RIVER AND THE SANTA ANA RIVER ARE CONCRETE CHANNELS THAT HURRY PRECIOUS RAINWATER TO THE SEA. GENERATIONS HAVE BEEN BORN AND LIVE WITH THIS STRUCTURED ENVIRONMENT THAT THEY ACCEPT AS NORMAL. THESE FUNDAMENTAL FACTS OF THE WAY OUR CURRENT CITIES ARE STRUCTURED, IS THE CONVERSATION THAT SHOULD FOLLOW IN THE WAKE OF YOUR PROPOSALS.

    MY PLANNING SOLUTIONS FOR THE LA BASIN, MY ORIGINAL HOME, IS BOTH SIMILAR AND DIFFERENT. I HAVE PROPOSED DENSE, WELL DEFINED TOWNS THROUGHOUT THE BASIN. BUILT UP AND DOWN AS A COMBINATION EARTH AND CONSTRUCTED MEGASTRUCTURES. EACH TOWN WOULD BE LARGE ENOUGH TO BE RELATIVELY SELF SUFFICIENT, YET SMALL ENOUGH TO INVITE INTIMACY AND IDENTIFICATION. RISING UP AS OUTCROPS, ONE WOULD HAVE A VARIETY OF SPACES CLOSE BY, EASILY ACCESSED BY BUILT IN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS AND MOVEMENT PATHWAYS. THE AUTOMOBILE WOULD BE AN OPTION FOR TRAVEL ACROSS THE OPEN SPACES BETWEEN TOWNS, CREATED BY THE CONSOLIDATION OF POPULATIONS IN THE TOWNS. AS IN THE BB, MUCH OF THE BASIN COULD RETURN TO A MORE NATURAL STATE, WITH ABSORBTION OF WATER RECHARGING THE AQUIFERS: A RETURN TO PRE-COLUMBIAN ECOLOGIES. EACH TOWN STRUCTURE, LIKE BB, CREATING ENERGY.

    CANALS WOULD WEAVE THROUGH THE LANDSCAPE, ON WHICH LARGE ELECTRICALLY DRIVEN BARGES WOULD TRANSPORT CONTAINERS TO DISTRIBUTION HUBS. OVERHEADS OF PV PANELS WOULD CREATE ELECTRICITY AND SHADE, REDUCING EVAPORATION. OTHER BOATS WOULD TRANSPORT PEOPLE. MY FATHER RAN BAREFOOT IN HIS YOUTH UPON THE VESTIGES OF NATURAL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LAND, CLIMBED THE SAN GABRIELS IN THE MOONLIGHT, SWAM IN THE YEAR-ROUND STREAMS AND POOLS UNDER THE GREAT SYCAMORE TREES. LATE IN HIS LIFE AS I DROVE HIM THROUGH THE DISASTER THAT HAS BECOME THE HEART OF LA, NEAR OLVERA ST. WHERE HIS PARENTS WERE MARRIED IN THE PUEBLO CIUDAD DE LOS ANGELES IN THE LATE 1800’S, HE CRIED TEARS FOR WHAT HAD BEEN LOST: THE HARD, ANGRY, AGGRESSIVE CITY FILLED WITH DIRTY AIR AND A CACAPHONY OF MECHANICAL NOISE NOW BEFORE US, BEHIND US, BENEATH US, ABOVE US: WE, FATHER AND SON, CAPTIVES OF AN ENORMOUS ERROR.

    PERHAPS, THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT FACING ANY COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO LARGE SCALE DESIGN IS BUREAUCRATIC. YOU TOUCHED ON THIS SUBJECT. CRISTO’S RUNNING FENCE PROJECT IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA IS INSTRUCTIVE..

    THE PROJECT PROPOSED A TEMPORARY FABRIC FENCE SUPPORTED BY METAL POSTS, TO RUN CONTINUOUSLY FROM INLAND TO THE SEA, MAYBE 50 MILES. BECAUSE PERMITS WERE REQUIRED, HE WAS REQUIRED TO GAIN APPROVAL FROM CITIES, COUNTIES, THE STATE AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AS WELL AS THE MANY PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERS WHO WERE AFFECTED BY THE PROJECT. TALK ABOUT A CAN OF WORMS. THE PROJECT TURNED OUT TO BE A REVELATION OF HOW OUR MULTI-LEVEL GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS OR DOESN’T FUNCTION, AND HOW THROUGH PERSISTENCE AND PATIENCE, A PROJECT CAN TRANSCEND BUREAUCRATIC BARRIERS AND BE BUILT. IT TOOK AN ARTIST TO DO IT. A PRIMER FOR TRANSCENDING THE ARTIFICE OF PROPERTY LAID DOWN UPON OUR LONG SUFFERING EARTH.

    FLYING IN AND OUT OF LA AT NIGHT YEARS AGO, I HAD EXACTLY THE SAME EXPERIENCE: THE ELECTRICAL DISPLAY REVEALING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM OF THE SPRAWLING METROPOLIS. TO AN ARTIST AT 20,OOO FEET ABOVE THE CITY, THE ABSTRACTION OF LIGHTS THAT RAN SHIVERING ACROSS THE DARK CANVAS BELOW ME, WAS QUITE STRIKING. ON THE GROUND, THE ABSTRACTION FADED INTO A FALTERING AND SAD REALITY.

    DAVID

    David Teachout
    mjlock1@mac.com

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      david,

      how revealing, especially since your family grew up in the pueblo era of LA.
      my readers can relate, but helpless before the powers in place.
      my take is nature will have its’ way. probably gassing the planet in some manner.
      the atomic blowing us away is a reality that haunts us. a split second away from oblivion. something we have been living under for a half a century that we have barely managed to control from happening and is still a disaster in the making.

      my aim is to give alternatives for development. whether anybody in power is listening seems remote.

      glen