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Educational Design
 
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Pretty reflective library!
I would like to ask opinion about the building to people who use it,
and please initiate a dialogue around it if you have something to say!
Cri Murphy
Responses
 
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Mirror, mirror on the wall...

...I see nothing, nothing at all.
Frank John Snelling
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Well, it is quite hard to miss something like this don't you think?
Cri Murphy
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Hmmm maybe a space age Aztec temple?
Frank John Snelling
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Maybe... and relocated in Seattle. Quite romantic.
Cri Murphy
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
This procedure was mentioned a lot by the architectural author Charles Jencks especially when he describes the Late-Modern architecture. Using this technique make the building; reflective to the surroundings, clear, sensitive to the lighting, non- transpierced and half-transparence. All these qualities provide ambiguity and clearness at same time and improve the feature of what he calls: sfumato
Susan al-Nasiry
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Susan, "sfumato" sounds like Italian from fuma = fume = smoky?
Frank John Snelling
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Frank, you are spot on. About.com describes "sfumato" as:

"(noun) - A word, from the Latin (via Italian) fumare ("to smoke"), used to denote a painting technique. Sfumato means that there are no harsh outlines (as in a coloring book) present; areas blend into one another through miniscule brushstrokes, which makes for a rather hazy, albeit more realistic, depiction of light and color. An early, wonderful example of sfumato can be seen in Leonardo's Mona Lisa." [From about.com - art history]
Shiraz Allibhai
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Shiraz, Thank you for the definition.:)
I know that "ambiguity" in architecture today is preferred by the avante garde because it is easier to explain away ugliness, incongruity and mediocrity.

Sometimes when I see modern design I am reminded of the Hans Anderson story:-"The King's New Clothes", where a tailor does not have enough time to make clothes for a king and pretends to dress him. So the King walks about in public wearing nothing and every adult pretends he wears a magnificent suit of clothes until a small boy in the crowd to ask of his mother "Why isn't the King wearing any clothes?".

Applying this analogy to architecture, the avante garde design things with no environmental context and no contextual context and yet expect everyone to stop thinking and stop seeing the reality.
Frank John Snelling
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Frank, as I said before, when you see a building with no expression, the explanation of the architect maybe will change your mind. Here is the architect's concept for this building as he thinks we're supposed to see it:

Koolhaas sees the new library as a custodian of the book, a showcase for new information, a place for thought, discussion and reflection - a dynamic presence.

Our first operation has been the "combining" and consolidation of the apparently ungovernable proliferation of programs and media. By combining like with like, we have identified five platforms, each a programmatic cluster that is architecturally defined and equipped for maximum, dedicated performance. Because each platform is designed for a unique purpose, they are different in size, density, opacity.
http://www.arcspace.com/architects/koolhaas/Seattle/
Susan al-Nasiry
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Susan, No doubt the interior spaces of the Seattle central Library have been carefully thought out for the brief.

But, a "see through" envelope exposing the inside to the outside and vice versa leaves nothing to the imagination and as such is a complete abdication of architecture and architectural design.

Whereas, If one reads a book or listens to a story on the radio, then because there is no information for one sense or another, then one's own imagination creates the imagery. So by analogy an opaque or semi-opaque envelope for a building creates separate spaces where one's imagination can run riot.

A "see through" building is simply a "see through" building and nothing catches my attention or imagination. I feel as though I am looking at an human ant-farm where all of the moving images and types of behaviour are knowns.

I suppose given so-called "Reality TV" is apparently very popular today, then voyeurism may explain the motive under-lying such "see through" designs?
Frank John Snelling
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Another Koolhaas' architecture that looks good in magazine and journal.
Azfar Yusof
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Azfar, Okay, is architecture that looks good in magazines and journals the aim of todays' designers?
Frank John Snelling
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
I just said that Koolhaas's design looks good in magazines and journals because he himself was a journalist and scriptwriter, which I think influences his design. :))
Azfar Yusof
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Azfar, Rem Koolhaas was a journalist and a scriptwriter? So "The virtual is more important than the reality"???

In fact, Rem Koolhaas as a journalist makes a lot of sense, because verbal or written presentations seem to be more important than what is being presented.

Thus, the process of presentation as a media event becomes more important than the product presented.

Plus, the presenter of the media event becomes more important than the process and the product.
Frank John Snelling
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Dear all,

I think to judge a building we cannot just look at the photos inside a magazine, the most important to evaluate is to enter this building, live inside, feel the spatial spaces and mass according to holes, touch and smell the materials. We have to see it by the real human scale, the proportion also very important.

My opinion includes all architectural works published in magazines not only this one. I suggest we go to visit these buildings to be able to evaluate better;) :D
Susan al-Nasiry
Seattle Central Library, Seattle
Susan, as you say, seeing pictures in a magazine is something like seeing black and white images of a colour picture.

But, for me it is the environmental and cultural contexts and the texture of the building which bring colour and depth to these black and white images.

Buildings which have no context and no texture are colourless and tasteless.
Frank John Snelling
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