Precise Buildings

Taj Mahal- Agra, India

On either side of the Taj Mahal are two large sandstone buildings. The two buildings are precise mirror images of each other, maintaining the symmetry of the Taj Mahal itself. The Western building is an operating Mosque. The other was presumably used as a guesthouse, though its main purpose was for architectural balance. 

“They took off in airplane so they could organize the new optics of the big city. Typically on a big model, you push around with the optics until bingo you had something that looks like some wonderful composition. Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is a great example. From the air it’s very interesting. It’s interesting for a bird or eagle. From the helicopter view, it has got wonderful districts with sharp and precise government buildings and residential buildings. However, nobody spent three minutes to think about what Brasilia would look like at the eye level. That was typical – planners were to look after the plan, the architects were to look after the buildings. With modernism, they were free of the context of the city. They placed it on open lands surrounded by grass. Nobody was responsible for looking after the people who were to move in these new structures… 

You would think that the landscape architects were the ones. At least they were down at eye level and were moving around. But as far as I’m concerned, some landscape architects have done great jobs for people, but most of the work is not great, just silly benches. They’re more occupied with plans and form. There’s a general pursuit of form in the area of architecture and also in the profession of landscape architecture. So, what really happened was that the eye level stuff were handled by the traffic engineers. They are the ones who mostly shaped our environments in our cities…

…I sum up that in 50 years nobody has systematically looked after a good urban habitat for Homo sapiens.”

Jan Gehl on cities, Brasilia and the perils of designing in plan.

Interview with ASLA:

art school au: backstories

by @gallisonaf

content warnings: death mention

  • root groves is a fine art major
  • she scraped through high school with good grades in every subject but she LOVED art so she went for it
  • her teachers used to scold her for doodling in class, but always with a smile, since she was usually acing the class despite her dreaminess
  • he worked three jobs in high school to scrape up enough money for college 
  • they might not have all been entirely legal but she was determined to use her own money
  • her mom’s death was hard enough on her grandparents, root’s only other caretakers
  • she and her mom were in a bombing in texas
  • she survived, deaf in one ear, but her mom was too close and didn’t make it
  • the incident made her mood darker. less rose period and more blue period
  • as she lost a bit of her childhood innocence, her art grew more and more terrifying; nightmares come to life
  • root moved away right after high school 
  • she felt like she was suffocating every second that she had to stay in texas
  • she’s a sophomore now and is focusing on figure drawing and painting
  • she’s always been able to uncannily reproduce the essence of a person in a few lines, a few paint strokes 
  • she likes to think that her impaired hearing makes her eyes sharper, more attuned
  • it’s scary how easily she captures likeness, aura, and emotion 
  • people joke that you can’t use a poker face around her, she’ll see right through you to your roots
  • it’s how she got her nickname
  • sameen shaw majors in architecture 
  • she’s been doing art her whole life: drawing, painting, ceramics, photography
  • her art was always done with acute precision and detail 
  • plants, buildings, animals, everything. except people, she never really got the hang of figures. or people in general
  • except michael cole, her first best friend
  • everyone in middle school thought they were dating
  • it wasn’t like that
  • her bond with michael was deeper than anything as silly as a romantic relationship
  • he was her muse, her partner in crime, her confidant
  • they’d spend hours outside in the summer, reading, sketching, taking dumb photos of each other for later
  • michael died in a motorcycle accident in their sophomore year of high school
  • shaw stopped drawing in color that day
  • but she kept drawing 
  • it was her way to cope, to create a bubble of safety so she could breathe
  • after high school she applied to a college for fine art but didn’t get in
  • (they said she wasn’t creative enough)
  • (because she didn’t use color)
  • (fuck them, she knew she was amazing)
  • she got over it when she she was given a 4 year scholarship for architecture
  • she’s still a bit bitter
  • just a bit