Model as Public Sculpture 
This is a temporary sculpture worthy of public display and public money, although I’m not sure where the funding for this particular piece came from.

It’s The Termite Pavilion at Pestival in London. wrote:

The piece is in part based on the pioneering work of Dr Rupert Soar and the TERMES project, a team of international experts based in Namibia who have created the first ever 3D scans of termite mounds. Their findings have been a embraced by entomologists and architects alike, and have featured in Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ series.

For the Termite Pavilion, a team of architects and engineers selected a central section a termite mound scan and scaled it up to a size which would allow humans to move through it. The structure arrived in kit form and was put together on site. It is made of cross laminated timber, sourced from Austrian spruce, for reasons of sustainability, durability and cost.

I had written, “Maybe something with life, scale, and interest would be more successful.” I believe this has all of that. Now I’m not in anyway saying this a work of great art or even art at all, it does however show a great deal of fine craftsmanship, what some life is like, what scale can do to experience, and is an opportunity to learn.

This serves to tie together my last two blog entries beautifully.

It also shows what group energy / work can bring to fruition!
This is not an example of a group struggling for pole position and thus watering down an idea. This is an example of a group with a single goal that brought all their skills into the fold thus creating something “larger” than any one could have on their know synergy.

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Architectural Weirding 
This summer has had a load of great weather days which is not how it’s always wierding. On one of those days recently I visited Millennium Park. I hadn’t been since they finished the Modern Wing of the Art Institute nor the temporary sculptures purported to commemorate the Burnham plan of 1909. How does one commemorate something historical within a movement that rejects history? Apparently by creative paralysis near a bridge with no terminus.

My family and I arrived into the Pritzker Pavilion by Frank Gehry and I think I saw him!

That’s his head alright! Architectural wierding, yes yes!?

Next we headed over the pedestrian bridge to the Modern Wing. The entrance from Gehry’s head pavilion is askew to everything and the terminus at either end is abrupt ala modernism. They tried to hide the park side in shrubbery...oy! However the bridge offers views never before available of the surrounding area. Its generous width allows free movement to take it all in without being run over. Its walls are mesh and thus allow little ones to see as well. It’s surprisingly high for a pedestrian bridge with relatively low walls and no safety fence. The experience had me teetering on the edge of acrophobia which was kept in check by the oversized wooden guardrail.

The sculpture terrace at the Modern Wing turned us back towards the skyline and yes Gehry’s head pavilion. The mesh over the field is fantastic from all perspectives, and it’s functional. Wow what a concept! It has scale and proportion appropriate to its use and creates a comfortable space. This terrace, I must admit to my surprise, also has scale and proportion appropriate to its use and delicately encloses while not intruding on the views available, even down to the street. The detailing of the vertical elements is also scaled wonderfully from near and far. It reveals itself in new and simple ways as you approach.

Next it was back over the bridge to experience the temporary sculptures.

Well here we are... at the van Berkel sculpture. My son felt the need to strike a pose and I joined him.

I believe this was an effort to create an experience in a “place” void of such. If “Space is the breath of art” FLLW, then Chicago is choking. Same thing over at the Hadid sculpture.

I did experience one feeling and that was regret. I should mention that these two pieces are lit up at night and are probably a lot more interesting to look at. I don’t believe that lighting would bring life to the experience, a mere distraction. They do offer good photo opts simply because there isn’t anyone there. Where are they?

They’re over here at the “Bean”! To borrow another quote from Mr. Wright, “Chewing gum for the eyes”. While the others are just wads of chewing gum. What’s more exciting than one’s own reflection? Not much. It’s a very temporary experience. You don’t take it with you. That’s why everyone needs a picture of it...oh ya the bean.

Reflection of another kind. This is another Chicago park.

I guess I’d like to see something more cultural in Millennium Park.

This is culture albeit of another culture, was temporary and I’m guessing a little cheaper. JK

Maybe something with life, scale, and interest would be more successful.

Interest is directly related to the quality of a thing.
The energy felt at the bean is a result of proximity of excited people and not within the object itself. The shine and crowds draw you near, the reflection gets your attention, and the energy is contagious for sure keeping you there for a while.
The notion that a bridge must go somewhere draws you to it and the experience is the view but there’s nothing about the trip inherent in the design. But it’s quiet when it’s ok to be quiet.
The temporary sculptures offer nothing save for the possibility of a light show. Regret I say, not just in the design opportunities missed but the environmentally unfriendly embodied energy that went into the sculptures which is abhorrent. Blobs for the mobs.
The energy from an appropriately designed thing can permeate ones soul. This energy can bring life to ones senses while engaging the mind in a balanced and life fulfilling manner. This energy is not lost when your gaze moves away. It is part of you and your growth. Architecture can be fun and exciting but it shouldn’t take when its main function is to give, its weird if it does.

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Sweet Spot 

Creating a sweet spot in a space or place will heighten the experience for the user. This example is a simple inlay, pre grout, one of two in a walk-in shower designed and executed by the Architect. The design and overall functionality of the space are of primary importance, but the seemingly simple act of creating a sweet spot will breathe new life into most spaces. Finding the spot is not a random process. Random processes generally result in a one time experience followed by insensate experiences. Careful design and placement of an element will make a space sing…a children’s song that brings one back to that free mind space we once experienced without trying in our youth.The price of this shower inlay was minimal relative to the overall cost of the shower but makes each experience priceless.

Sweet spots add an enduring quality that is “green” by attrition.

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