SMALL TOO BIG

DETROIT STADIUM 1969

A LOUD VOICE THUNDERED “SMALL TOO BIG”

I HAVE WAITED FOR THAT TRUTH FROM ABOVE OR BELOW. BUT THE REALITY IS, A DESERT FRIEND, LOUIS KANNENBERG, OFFHANDEDLY SAID “ YOU ARE TOO BIG” .

REPEATEDLY I HAVE PROPOSED TOO BIG. LUCKILY MANY GOT BUILT, BUT THE MAJORITY ENDED UP PAPER ARCHITECTURE. AND THE BEST ONES NEED TO BE BUILT.

MODERN ARCHITECTURAL GREATS LIKE LE CORBUSIER , FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, BUCKMINSTER FULLER, FREI OTTO, PAOLO SOLERI ENVISIONED WHAT COULD BE BUILT. BUT THE POPULOUS WOULD HAVE NONE OF THAT. THEIR BIG SCHEMES BEING SCIENCE FICTION IN THE EYES OF THE PROFESSION AND PUBLIC.

THERE IS NOTHING BUILT OR PROPOSED LIKE THE SCALE AND COMPLEXITY OF MY VERTICAL CITY , THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE AND DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE. THESE ARE NOT FICTIONAL STAGE SETS BUT SERIOUS VISIONARY SCHEMES TO BE BUILT NOW.

THE ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION HAS IGNORED BIG IDEAS. FOR GOOD REASON, THE PROPOSALS ARE NOT COMMERCIAL AND DO NOT FIT INTO THE PACKAGES OF CONTEMPORARY DEVELOPMENT. THEY BREAK ALL THE RULES AND CALL FOR REVOLUTIONARY THINKING AND IMPLEMENTATION THE PRESENT THINKING IS NIBBLING AT THE FRINGE, BUT THE SCALE AND COMPLEXITY OF IMPLEMENTATION IS INSIGNIFICANT.

TECHNOLOGY MARCHES ON WITH DRIVE-LESS MODULAR TRANSPORTATION PODS NUMEROUS INNOVATIVE POWER SOURCES, RECYCLING, COLLECTION OF WATER, ROBOTIC LABOR, MASS FOOD PRODUCTION, ETC. BUT THE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT STILL RELY ON WARS AND THREATS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. HOW PRIMITIVE AND SCARY FOR AN ENLIGHTENED WORLD .

TECHNOLOGY HAS OUTPACED SOCIETY .

A SIMPLE STRATEGY I HAVE USED FOREVER IS BLOWING UP THE SCALE. THE MOST OBVIOUS FOR ME WAS TO TAKE WHAT ARCHITECT FREI OTTO DID WITH AN EXHIBIT TENT FOR GERMANY IN MONTREAL EXPO 67 AND TURN THAT INTO A MEGA STADIUM SCHEME FOR DETROIT IN 1969.

ARCHITECTS TAKE IDEAS FROM EACH OTHER. IT IS A FORM OF EVOLUTION. THE CREATIVE SIDE IS WHAT YOU DO WITH WHAT YOU OBSERVE. I HAVE SKING ON THE ROOF FOR THE DETROIT STADIUM, WHICH I HAD SEEN AT WELTON AND BECKET ARCHITECTS AROUND 1961 WHILE LOOKING FOR EMPLOYMENT. THE SCALE OF BOTH IDEAS I BLEW UP BIG. WHICH PUTS THINGS IN ANOTHER CATEGORY. THE BIGGER MAKES SOLUTIONS THAT FUNCTION TOGETHER, BUT OUTRUN THE DEVELOPMENT MODE.

BIG REQUIRES BENEVOLENT DICTATORIAL POWER TO IMPLEMENT. WE AS A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY CAN’T SEEM TO GET BEHIND ANYTHING OTHER THAN CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS, THE BIG IDEAS’ IMPLEMENTATION COMES FROM THE MIDDLE EAST OIL COUNTRIES AND THE CHINESE DEVELOPERS OUT OF CONTROL. ALL BUILT FOR THE WRONG REASONS.

I SEE NOTHING THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE THAT PATTERN. JUST PROJECTS GETTING BIGGER, BUT STILL NOT OVERALL SYSTEMS.

RIGHT NOW THERE IS A BIG PUSH TO DO SOMETHING WITH THE LOS ANGELES RIVER, WELL THAT IS NICE, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE SYSTEMS IN THE CITY THAT NEED TO BE INCORPORATED, THE LEAST OF WHICH IS A TRAFFIC GRID LOCK.

THESE ARE THE MAJORITY OF THE “SMALL TOO BIG” PROJECTS I HAVE PROPOSED OVER THE YEARS CULMINATING WITH A RETRACTABLE CONOPY OVER THE OUTDOOR PLAZA AT THE JOSHUA TREE SALOON. THE BEAT GOES ON. THE MESSAGE THE SAME, TOO BIG BEYOND THE ABILITY OF THE CLIENT TO IMPLEMENT. THE FIRM “BIG” HAS TAPPED INTO THAT, WITH THE LATE QUESTIONABLE PHILIP JOHNSON AS THEIR MENTOR.

GLEN

VERTICAL CITY, DETROIT 1967, IN LOWER RIGHT, THE EIFFEL TOWER, EMPIRE STATE BLDG. & MILE HIGH SKYSCRAPER BY FLW

KERN BLOCK, DETROIT 1966 MORT PERSKY DETROIT FREE PRESS MAGAZINE EDITOR. CREATING A CENTER OF TOWN WITH ONE BUILDING. SOMETHING AVERAGE WAS BUILT INSTEAD.

VERTICAL ROAD, CLIENT DETROIT FREE PRESS MAGAZINE, TRAFFIC PROBLEM, MORT PERSKY EDITOR 1967

NEW CENTER GM HEADQUARTERS, DETROIT PLANNING DEPARTMENT, CHARLES BLESSING DIRECTOR 1968 TYING NEW AND OLD TOGETHER IN A STAGING DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM

WOODWARD CORRIDOR, DETROIT MICHIGAN VILICAN AND LAYMAN PLANNING 1968 HIGH RISE TO SUBURBIA WITH TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM NODES.

DETROIT STADIUM DETROIT FREE PRESS MAGAZINE, MORT PERSKY DIRECTOR 1969

BIOMOROPIC BIOSPHERE 1972 THE NEW ECO LOS ANGELES THAT TRANSFORMS THE LOS ANGELS BASIN

GREEN MACHINE: CLIENT LOS ANGELES CITY PLANNING, CALVIN HAMILTON DIRECTOR 1980, ECO LOW INCOME VERTICAL TRAILER PARK, VENICE CALIFORNIA. SILL WAITING TO BE BUILT. THE LAND IS VACANT, SOME PARKING LOT.

TURF TOWN, LOS ANGELES SCI-ARC CLASS 1983 ECO SOLAR ZONING ENVELOPE FOR MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT.

ECO TATAMI MAT HILLSIDE HOUSING , JAPAN SHIZUO HARADA ASSOCIATE 1984 CELEBRATING THE EXTENDED FAMILY THAT LIVES TOGETHER AND EXPANDS AS NEEDS ARISE IN MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT.

JUNGLE THEATER NEW YORK TIMES SQUARE COMPETITION SCI-ARC CLASS 1985 A SYSTEM THAT ENCLOSED NEW AND OLD BUILDINGS WITH A ECO ROOF MEMBRANE THAT COULD EXPAND TO ENCLOSE NEW YORK CITY.

LIFE SAVERS , HOMELESS HOUSING SCI-ARC CLASS 1988 A SYSTEM OF MODULARS THAT COULD EXPAND HORIZONTALLY AND VERTICALLY TO MEET THE TRANSIENT LIVING NEEDS OF SANTA MONICA. MATERIALS AND LABOR LOCAL WITH MINIMUM COST OF $500 A UNIT . INSULATED AND SECURE.

VILLAGE, NICARAGUA CLIENT PETER HOLSTEAD 1999 BUILT WITH LOCAL LABOR AND MATERIALS.

MANAGUA NICARAGUA LAKE FRONT DEVELOPMENT CLIENT THE LATE HERTY LEWITES, MAYOR, ROGER LEWITES PARTNER. CONCHA ACOUSTICA IN CENTER GOT BUILT, THE PLAN IGNORED WITH THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF HERTY LEWITES.

ABU DAHBI ECO RESORT CLIENT TDIC, LEE TABLER DIRECTOR A GREAT PROJECT THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUILT

15 UP 15 DOWN, SANTA MONICA HOUSING SYSTEM COMPETITION ORHAN AYYUCE PARTNER 2012
A COMPETITION, INCORPORATING SOLAR ZONING, ECO PLANTING AND RECYCLING, AND LAYERING THE TRANSPORTATION.

NEZUA ECO RESORT DEVELOPMENT ROGER LEWITES PARTNER 2013
TOO MUCH FOR THE CONSERVATIVE DEVELOPER.

DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE 2013 eVOLO COMPETITION TOTALLY IGNORED, YET TOTALLY BUILD ABLE FOR EXISTING CITIES.

HUBCAP ECO TOWN, PALMDALE CA. CLIENT DAN STURGIS 2014 A SYSTEM OF GREEN MIXED USE ROTATING FROM A CENTRAL HUB INSIDE A ONE MILE BY ONE MILE FRAME. CARS ON PERIMETER..

LOTUS SPIRITUAL TENT CLIENT CASS PHELPS AND MICHELLE LAPENAI CARLOS OVALLE PARTNER 2014

JOSHUA TREE DOWNTOWN ECO CANOPY 2015 A SYSTEM OF EXISTING PROPERTIES WITH TENSILE WIRES FOR CANOPY DOWN PROPERTY LINES. SWALES, SOLAR COLLECTORS, RECYCLING, AND OASIS GARDENS AUGMENT THE CANOPY.

LIFE SAVER PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE FOR JOSHUA TREE RANDY POLUMBO PARTNER 2016
A HAPPENING BRIDGE CROSSING WITH ELEVATORS BOTH SIDES.

STAGE BACKDROP CLIENT ROLO CASTILLO 2016
ON HOLD FOR BEING TOO SOPHISTICATED, BUT LOVED BY ALL.

JOSHUA TREE SALOON RETRACTABLE CANOPY 2016 USING EXISTING CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM OF POLES, JUST TOO BIG FOR A BOOMING BUSINESS THAT WANTED SHADING. CHE SERA SERA. STILL WAITING FOR THE CANOPY TO HAPPEN.

MOST OF THESE PROJECTS CAN BE FOUND IN MY 100 PLUS BLOGS smallatlarge.com WHERE I GO INTO DETAILS ABOUT THEM.
cleardot.gif

GLEN

Share this Post:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Print
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Add to favorites
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Tumblr

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

CommentLuv badge

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)