Miwa-an Teahouse -- Marc Peter Keane
I discovered this the other day. It's long gone, but it lives on in the Web. The designer is an authority on Japanese gardens.
The Arbor of the Three Wheels is an experimental Japanese teahouse and tea garden built as a year-long installation (2003-2004). The curved walls, which are made of hand-woven dogwood and willow stems, create sections of three interlocking circles, thus the name. In Buddhist philosophy, the three wheels represent the interconnections between people: the Giver, the Receiver, and the That Which is Shared. Miwa-an was envisioned as a place where people could come together to share things: ideas, lessons, or a cup of tea.
The Japanese teahouse is a singularly-complex, culturally-specific architectural problem. I find it fascinating, as an outsider to the tradition that developed and still generates solutions for that very specific program.
Note that even though this is described as a "teahouse" it has no roof that I can perceive from these photos..it's an enclosure of insubstantial walls, more of a dedicated tearoom although in a garden and not inside another structure. It also dispenses with the traditional proportional system based on the tatami mat, like many recent teahouse designs.
These photos are from the designer's website. More are available here:
Bonus: Alan Moore finally meets the fate he deserves after the credits!
We have the meaning-laden bridge and the nameless sacerdotal figures at intervals along the guards...and of course the ornate buildings on the far side of the crossing that are transformed, in the gloaming mist, into silhouettes not immediately recognizable as architecture. They could be life-forms in fact, a gathering of conspiring Lovecraftian deities for the most part oblivious to the humans they overlook.
That doesn't sound very nice does it? An ancient bridge into a giant-haunted, misty world? Yet every time I study this image, the Ligotti-like phrase I want to stay here forever runs through my mind. I haven't thought about Edmund Burke's concept of the sublime since I was forced to read the treatise in architecture school, but this photograph and the sensations it engenders in me does irresistibly lead credence to his theory.
This is a quite beguiling sales video for the iconic American Organic House I described in an earlier post.
I'm feeling really inadequate as an architect and furniture designer right now....
Okay, they've failed me.
Just happened to see this intriguing short film for the first time yesterday, though it was finished in 2012: pity that director Carl E. Rinsch didn't move on to greater things.
The visual idiom, a combination of the bleak and the elaborate, is remarkable here. I keep thinking that Baroque is the best descriptor, although I haven't really decided why I think that.
They have another, slightly less-coherent piece online -- something like a trailer for a non-existent film -- which seems related despite a different director:
It's as if someone there sees a bleak, wintry, cybernetics-dominated Russia as the future human condition...which is the more odd, because as far as I can tell the studio is based in Barcelona.
Pollaro didn’t hesitate. “I asked him, ‘Why don’t we make some of this stuff real?’” he recalls.
Pollaro thought “I’m going to get rich with this passé shit”
There's this idea that there is an alternate Modernism in Architecture, a Modernism that did not proceed from Frank LLoyd Wright through his European admirers (like Mies van der Rohe) to finally return to North America as a corporatized International Style stripped of its earlier socialist impulses.
This alternative Modernism, taking the moniker "American Organic Architecture" from a Wright polemic, remained rooted on the continent of its birth, principally in the West: it proceeded from FLLW's usurpation of the Prairie School through the increasingly "Sci-Fi " Wright projects of the "third revival" of his career (for instance, the Marin County Civic Center); took a few side-trips into Googie; and finally manifested itself in the psychedelic, flamboyant works of Bruce Goff, who is sometimes (quite understandably) referred to as "Frank LLoyd Wright on Acid. "
Goff's followers, friends, and fellow-travellers (like Wright son Lloyd, John Lautner, Bart Prince, Fay Jones, and Mickey Muennig...and their students) carry on the faith. Spurned by the well-known architecture schools, ignored by theorists, they happily (or perhaps not-so-happily) continue their formal (okay, "trippy") explorations of Organicism, largely through the medium of the suburban or country single-family residence.
A good example of American Organic Architecture is like a lens into a different universe, one where the free spirits of the Sixties (and shag wall-to-wall carpeting) somehow triumphed and diverted technological progress away from its course of miniaturization and ever-increasing computational power towards a his-boy-Elroy-go-go-zoom-swoop suburb-in-the-sky reminiscent of The Jetsons.
Or maybe...towards something in the background of a Star Trek movie.
So why am I bringing this up? Because it seems like the poster-child Organic Architecture piece, designed by one of the most uncompromisingly formal of the Organic Architects, just went up for sale: the 1993 Desert House, in Joshua Tree, California by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg (b.1934).
(These images are a subset of those appearing in the Curbed post.)
The Desert House was in fact the cover image for one of the few recent publications on the American Organic school, Hess & Weintraub's Organic Architecture: The Other Modernism (Gibbs Smith: Salt Lake City, 2006).
Don't bother going to Kellogg's website...it's a malware host right now, and even when it wasn't it mainly consisted of near-paranoid rants against the mainstream architectural establishment, coupled with largely-unexplained photos of extremely unique architectural forms. You can read some more about him here:
I am almost certain that the Desert House appeared in an episode of a Star Trek franchise. Or maybe I'm simply confusing it with the sets for the 1980s television version of Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles -- the one where Rock Hudson argues with the ghost of a Martian whose civilization died a thousand years ago, a Martian who insists that Hudson's character is the ghost from another world.
Three million dollars and it's all yours.
- LW4Principal, or possibly Chief Cultist, 2008 - present
- Boston Architectural CollegeInstructor, 2007 - 2013
Lewis Wadsworth is a designer, artist, and teacher in Boston, Massachusetts.
Lewis' architectural projects have appeared in AIArchitect, the journal of the American Institute of Architects, and have been honored by the Boston Society of Architects. He has also illustrated projects for architecture firms in the United States, Australia, and Japan. He teaches 3D design and software courses at the Boston Architectural College. He has served as a technical adviser on software manuals, and oddly enough sometimes is paid to tell publishers what he thinks about proposed books on software commonly used by architects.
Lewis also fences with an épée. A lot. And yes, that is a type of sword.
- Yale School of ArchitectureMaster of Architecture, 2001 - 2005(where, notably, he was told by the same fool who gave Maya Lin a "B" for her Vietnam Veterans Memorial project that he was too "unconventional" to be an architect)
- Dartmouth CollegeA.B. Visual Studies, 1986 - 1990(where he learned a few things, mostly concerning the habits of obscure Roman emperors. You have to be pretty decadent to invent veal.)