Just finished reading Eugene Rogan’s book The Fall of the Ottomans, which presents a wholistic and detailed account of the middle eastern front during the Great war. It does contain controversial content and there are various chapters and sections that I cannot fully agree with, but regardless, I do heavily recommend reading It.Continue reading
The Machine that ended Urbanism
The series of plan images shown above illustrate the city of Detroit through the 20th century.
Many unprecedented and unsolvable problems regarding urbanism was born with the main stream adaptation of the automobile through out the 20th century.
An Urban Device
Satellite image of the Grand Bazaar (completed in 1730) in Istanbul. An urban device which connects many different geometries of exterior and interior corridors through a unifying enclosed theme of commerce. Almost like a key stone.Continue reading
The Dialogue Within
The Old Guitarist, from Piscasso’s Blue period collection 1903-1904
I was taught that mentally forcing myself to make more carefully calculated decisions on pressing issues as opposed to making a decision through a reaction under the influence of negative or positive momentary emotional burdens was unarguably a crucially important skill in the development of my character in this material world. I thought that not giving into the temptation of instantly reacting was a masculine virtue, instead of constantly following my gut instincts similar to that of a cro-magnon man. In situations where I deeply felt that my mind had to react, I quickly engaged an inner voice to artificially tell me to give it a day or two and “sleep on it” in order to make a fully thoughtful decision devoid of the heated emotion I was in at that specific moment. I would be orchestrating my life based on processed and verified data, using the passing of time as an undisputable ally along the way. It was made clear through the more experienced colleagues ahead of me in the game of life that this was the right mindset to adopt for a man desiring to progress. However, later, as I contemplated more and more on this mental approach, I realized that; to artificially degrade the mind into an emotionless computer like state that thinks mainly about taking the right actions, which would directly or indirectly promote self-interests was a fallacy. In a way it was like having a full grip on the puppet strings of a puppet who I was assuming was the person I was dealing with which later I realized was my authentic self, desperately pleading to reemerge. As I got older, constantly monitoring my thoughts to keep them in line with my self-interests just seemed to me as a different type of an Orwellian approach to life. This time Big Brother wasn’t a dystopian character in a fictional book in the year 1984, but It was me, being the Big brother by constantly monitoring my inner dialogue, making sure it was in line with the interests of Oceania (Self Interests of power and wealth within this made up material world).
Compared to past generations in history, the world is experiencing an unprecedented amount of materialism. Most other virtues of life have been over shadowed by this phenomenon, which was developed by the baby boomer generation, and later picked up by the millennials. These materialist trends were accelerated via social media and the success gurus within it.
“One Person’s Art is Another’s Trash”
When I was in my early 20s, I thought differently of most things compared to my 30s. I was substantially more hopeful and confident about the future and positive about the intentions of those within my community. In a sense I was a classical optimist. I thought that if something looks beautiful to me, the feeling must be a universal one and that others most definitely should be seeing the beauty that I see as well. However, I was far from being accurate on these predictions.
On the Human Ego
Raul Conestro oil painting
I’m convinced that the single biggest weakness of the human animal is his “ego”.
History and our daily lives are full of examples where ego’s stood and continue to stand in the way of progress and achievement. Continue reading
God Is In The Budget
Low budget projects are mostly a waste of time. No matter what intellectual effort you put chances are pretty high that the product is going to look bad up close in detail, specially for projects in the East. In these types of buildings your enthusiasm will not be acknowledged and shared by the cheap workmanship and cheap construction materials used on the building. Everyone is going to be there on site to get the job done quickly with as little effort as possible and then get out. The massing and site diagram of the project could be flawless, but detailing of the structure will be a mess no matter how often you visit the construction site. Modules will be executed optionally, causing a disastrous chain reaction of aesthetic catastrophes, railings and other building components such as window sills will not be in harmony regarding color palates and material properties. All construction materials will be selected by the subcontractor based on price, not on compositional compatibility. Architecture does not have immunity from the bitter toughness of capitalism, just like any other profession except for music and the visual arts such as painting and sculpting. A good musician can sit down with sticks and stones or a broken guitar and produce acceptable art work, but in the highly collaborative profession of architecture its different; budget really does make a huge difference. Continue reading
Pablo Picasso 1905, family of Saltimbanques
I understand and fully accept the unspoken fact that everyone thinks that they are the “chosen one”. I think it is a natural and instinctual behavior to be selfish deep inside. It’s an indispensable and immutable component of our survival instincts. But this does not mean that we must constantly display it to everyone with all of its nudity. Human beings are also social animals with cultures and customs which do not appreciate fully exposed individual selfish intents. This is derived from the fact that a tribe’s survival and well being has always been more important than any individual’s self interests within that tribe. Hence we have called people who don’t understand and comply with these collective values ‘selfish’ and those who understand them ‘generous’. Continue reading