This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Paul Bunyan, Luggage Salesman

Posted by: James Lileks under Architecture, Minnesota History Updated: August 21, 2013 - 12:42 PM

Some people aren’t happy Paul Bunyan is being used in the new state health-insurance PSAs, but it’s not the first time he’s been used to sell something. Voila:

 

 

 

Really makes you want to pick up and go. But if you decide to pick up Paul and take him somewhere, don’t hire these guys:

 

 

ARCHITORTURE Wish I could see this. Atlantic Cities reports:

Chicagoans right now have a rare opportunity to gape at some of the most schizoid, cutting-edge architectural projects that were never built in their city.

 At the Expo 72 Gallery in the Loop, there is a 160-foot panorama of Chicago's skyline sprawling along the walls. Visitors who download the "Phantom City" app can point it at different places on the image to reveal more than 100 visionary masterpieces, such as the Sears Tower deconstructed into a pile of flaccid tubes and a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building submerged in Lake Michigan like a sinking ship.

Or you could call it the “Horrors Averted” app, I guess. The only reason anyone would want to live or work in a pile of flaccid tubes would be to avoid seeing it.

Some of the visionary structures are more famous than what actually got built, he argues, like alternative schemes for the Tribune Tower that would've given it gaping scars, a honeycomb facade or a top like a graduate's mortarboard. "Any of them is more well known than the tower that was built, but most known is Adolf Loos' entry, which is in the form of a Doric column," (the organizer of the exhibition) says. "Hardly any architect knows where [the current Tribune building] is and what it means. The visionary proposals are more important."

If hardly any architect knows about the current Trib building is, there’s a problem in the profession - namely, the lack of interest in its history and the styles shoved into the closet by the rise of Modernism. I’m not one of those I-hate-Mieses-to-pieces guys, and I see the appeal of the honeycomb facade building in historical context. It was as bold as the “gaping scars” one, a Gropius / Bauhaus design that would look as crisp and interesting today as the day it was built. But study of the winner shows the evolution of Raymond Hood’s work, which would produce the greatest skyscraper of the 30s, the RCA building in Rockefeller Center. How did the guy who designed the Gothic tower do something as clean as RCA? Because he wasn’t blinded by stylistic ideology, that’s why. A necessary lesson.

I’ve never seen this one:

 

Whoa. Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the National Life Insurance building. What a brute. Some designs of the 20s and 30s looked like they were carved from mountains by a race of giants, and little made today has the same power and confidence. As time went on, architects designed silly things that would never be built:

Stanley Tigerman’s conceptual collage depicts Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Crown Hall for the Illinois Institute of Technology – which houses the School of Architecture – sinking into Lake Michigan. Tigerman’s work is a critique on the state of architectural pedagogy in Chicago and its environs in the late 1970s.

A critique. No developer ever wanted to lay out $100 mil on a critique.

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