After the GGW Meetup

At the GGW meetup this past week, Dan Reed or Matt Johnson reminded me of the segment of Koyaanisqatsi that shows the results of bad parts of civilization and… well just watch – with the volume up.

Oh, and this brings up all the year-end album collections getting thrown around. I’m going to spare the bloviation, and just give you some lyrics tangentially related to Pruitt-Igoe:

Fojol and 99 designs

I’m a bit overwhelmed with various jaints at the moment, but take a look at these prospective designs for the Fojol Bros. logo, made in a sort of capitalist fantasy called 99 Designs.

I’ve gotta say, though, the one I like the most is the one below. It’s so simple, yet so jaunty. I’m a fan of understatement (especially litotes), so even though this design doesn’t suit the Bros. too well, it deserves recognition.

God Hates Blog Posts

GodHatesProtesters is the hardest-hitting webstream of tomfoolery that’s come my way recently, and with much more palle than the backroom snickering of  Spotted: DC Summer Interns. While garrulous and hateful protesting isn’t a novel phenomenon, the people doing it do seem to be acting crazier than usual. Likewise, the approach featured in GHP is not the usual counter-protest tactic of more anger. Instead, it builds on the rich tradition of snobby pranks and other high-minded jackassery. Enjoy yo guvmin’t cheese!

Also! This is my 100th post, less than a year from the first. Hooray for arbitrary milestones!

Resolution and a little denouement

With the considerable help of Thomas Allen of 703Designs and Alexandra Silverthorne, I was able to get the bad code out and get things back to normal. It was a simple error, buried in a couple of posts, but it’s not exactly clear how it got in there. You might also be interested in Alexandra’s photography installation series, The Parks Project, which has placed photographic plaques in several parks around the city, including Fort Reno.

In the meantime, I’ve changed to a theme that displays text better and loads more quickly. I’ve also revised a number of posts for clarity:

I’ll also be updating the blogroll to be more local soon. So czech that out.

And I’ll leave you with a quotation about the New Art Institute of Chicago building, by Nicky O:

It’s hard to know how these qualities will play out amid the gloom and doom of the new economy. In some ways Mr. Piano’s refined, risk-averse architecture may be more appealing than ever. He is not out to start a revolution. His designs are about tranquillity, not conflict. The serenity of his best buildings can almost make you believe that we live in a civilized world.

A calm, comfortable building that uses modern materials in a rational, humane way. Sounds good to me.

Formatting problems…

As you can probably tell, something is terribly wrong with this blog. I’m working to fix this, and I changed by theme to see if that was the problem.  I had extensively tweaked my prior theme in spite of my limited experience, so it seemed like a reasonable suspect. Until I get this fixed, you can click through to individual posts, which don’t seem to have nearly the same problem.

I would appreciate it if anyone who knows anything about CSS and PHP could tell me what is up.

Introducing The Fort Reno Project

This blog exists partially as an outlet for a particular project I have long been thinking about, teased by its difficulty. Fort Reno Park, in Tenleytown, occupies one of the most historically complex sites in the District of Columbia, yet it is also one of the least understood and developed sites. It once was a farmland, a civil war fort, then a black neighborhood, and finally turned into undifferentiated parkland after an abortive attempt to create an extensive system of parks and civic buildings in DC. In the process, most of its history has been swept away, damaging the permeability of the neighborhood and acting as more of a dead zone than an asset. I am doing this primarily as a personal project, something to use for my portfolio.

 I want to explore the way that social media, blogs in particular, can be used by architects to solicit information and, in turn, illuminate process for laypersons. Rather than asking questions wildly, I will present my plans, my theory, and my designs for the site and hope to get constructive criticism through the comments. I expect that the gradual revelation of plans will help locals easily digest the ideas, expose them to healthy strategies of urban design, and ultimately make them feel involved from the start. They may not be going anywhere, but the lack of productive local involvement or even transparency has resulted in sour relations with an often parochial and misinformed locale.

I hope that this develops buzz and becomes a catalyst for neighborhood identity, the explorations of place and history informing the kernel of a new spirit of Tenleytown-Tobago-AU Park. Additionally, I want to show residents the power of architecture and the value of good urban design by giving examples in the real world and relating them to local situations. Most audaciously, I want to energize the area’s community groups to act more productively, giving and getting more from those around them. Changing the values of a population is the surest way to changing lifestyles, something critical to creating a meaningful, sustainable city.

The thought of redesigning the park is nothing new. Tenleytown neighbors have been trying for years, DC Parks has made a little change, and the NPS’s CityParks project aims to make the DC parks better. Nonetheless, I will bring a decidedly different perspective to the concepts of historical preservation, park use, context, place, park design, interpretation, social capital, and management than any of these projects have before. I appreciate any thoughts on the matter. I want to know what people want to see examined or designed, so feel free to request things. I really am open to all reasonable suggestions other than “leave it alone.”

The first post, about the history of geography will be coming tonight, but in general I will post my ideas slowly – I have a job – and this will take a considerable amount of time and dedication, lasting well into the summer. If you are interested and wish to get updates most easily, rather than checking back and getting frustrated, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed.