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What the Hell is Modern Architecture? Part Two: Mid-Century Madness

Hello friends! It’s everybody’s favorite time of the 20th century, kudos to Mad Men

For the purpose of this post, Mid-Century starts in the late 1930s and goes through about 1960. While the 60s were integral to the concept of “Mid-Century Modernism” to people who shop at Design Within Reach, it really belongs to the period known as Late Modernism, which will be the subject of next week’s post. 

Where we left off with our beloved modernists two weeks ago, World War II was just starting. Coincidentally, it turns out dictators really like columns and stuff (who knew), and so Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius fled to the US where they responded to the hostile takeover of their countries by committing a benevolent takeover of the major American universities.  

Though the architecture of fascism was overwhelmingly traditional, (with the exception of Italian Futurism) modernism has still been deemed “fascist” by the ill-informed for over fifty years. Go figure. 

The Second World War had a major impact on the field of architecture. For one, it destroyed previous socioeconomic orders, and the horrific use of technology to commit so many heinous atrocities undermined its central position in the previous ideas of technocratic utopia. The machine for living in had a bad taste in its mouth, now. 

In addition, in Europe, the destruction of so many urban communities during the war left a vacuum for housing projects, many of which failed and most of which were completely insensitive to people’s aesthetic needs post-tragedy. 

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. One of the pinnacle struggles of midcentury was the battle to continue old norms (the International Style of 1920s Europe) and to pave new frontiers. Meanwhile, in non-western countries, this prewar architecture spread like wildfire, partially as a reaction against the 19th century traditionalism they inherited from colonialism. In countries like Finland, Brazil, and Mexico, there was considerable effort to balance new modern aesthetics with national identities and climates. 

But back to the Bauhaus babes: Gropius (and later Marcel Breuer) were both invited to teach at Harvard, effectively ending that school’s history of Beaux Arts classicism. 

Gropius’ arrival did something else for American architecture: with the exception of Richard Neutra & Co. on the west coast and Wright in the Midwest, American architecture was relatively stale innovation-wise on the East Coast, and bringing Gropius in kickstarted architectural change in that region

Gropius’ students, sick of the rather boring eclecticism of the time, flocked to hear the new European ideas, including future stars Paul Rudolph (my personal bae), IM Pei, and Philip Johnson, who would all go on to be icons of Late Modernism (and to some extents, its scapegoats.)

Enter the Saarinens

Meanwhile in the Midwest, where actual progress happened in lieu of lectures, the Finnish-born architect Eliel Saarinen and his son, Eero, effectively kickstarted the aesthetics of the mid-century. Eliel, a figure of the previous generation, shifted his attention to American design late in life, but Eero seemed to have been born into the American jet-set ideal. 

Saarinen the Younger established his reputation when he won the competition to build the 1947 Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri aka:

The 1950s were a period of (highly idealized) prosperity and optimism (despite the constant threat of nuclear winter) with a focus on scientific progress and good ol’ American ingenuity. 

It was said ingenuity that enabled new methods of construction, including the wall of glass. One of the pinnacle examples of this progress and optimism was the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan begun by Saarinen the Elder and finished by Saarinen the Younger in 1948. 

It was in this building that the processes of American manufacturing, management, and industry were canonized in architectural form - the building, seemingly weightless, floats above a green, minimal lawn. 

Meanwhile, Mies

Meanwhile, Mies van der Rohe, was spending 1939-1956 building the new campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Mies was very fond of the craftsmanship of American steel manufacturing, and used the steel beam as a way to articulate his functional ideals with a finesse like no other. 

The glass box of the Institute’s Crown Hall was fervently egalitarian in that it was supposed to be good for anything and everything, and neutral to the concept of place and the specificity of internal function. 

(The irony of Mies’ buildings and their honesty of expression, is that the fire code of the time required that steel be surrounded by fireproofing, and therefore the steel visual on buildings such as Crown Hall, is, in fact, a decorative effect, something not lost on later theorists such as Robert Venturi.)

Mies’ seminal work of the period was the famous Farnsworth House (1945-51), where he applied the cool sleekness of his academic and industrial buildings to residential design. 

Perhaps Mies is most infamous in the long run for his tall skyscrapers, the most famous of which is the Seagram Building (New York City, 1954-8), which he designed with the help of Gropius acolyte Philip Johnson. 

The building owes its debts to Sullivan, who over half a century before, used appearance to express the ideal of its structure, an idea Mies evolved into “lying in order to tell the truth” - his steel frame hid within it wind bracing and other engineering necessities; the mullions separating the windows are applied, rather than structural necessity. 

While Mies’ aesthetic would be elevated to the epitome of American corporate style, it continued in the tradition of the Deutsches Werkbund of early modernity, which believed that industrial technique should be worn on the sleeve of architectural form. 

Unfortunately, the Miesian ideal was taken up by countless (often garbage) imitators, which reduced his finesse to mere uniformity, resulting in the endlessly replicating “glass box downtowns” of the 60s and 70s. The criticisms of later theorists that Mies left out the messiness of life within the glass structure, weren’t entirely invalid, but much of the time the ad nauseum replication of glass boxes are the faults of Mies’ imitators rather than Mies himself. 

Meanwhile, in Brazil and Finland

Brazil and Finland are perhaps the most notable of the nations to have adopted modernism after the pre-war German-French-American trichotomy, because their national architectural figures have contributed so much to the architecture of the time. 

Brazil’s strongman, Oscar Niemeyer, was born in Rio de Janeiro, and studied architecture at the Escola Nacional des Belas Artes. His architecture was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier, and featured a heavy use of reinforced concrete. Niemeyer was a believer in constructing “monuments” - architecture that stood out from its surroundings, and the concept that architecture should be infused with social idealism. 

Niemeyer’s most famous buildings were those built for the deal city of Brazil’s new capital, Brasilia. Built with Socialist ideas, such as the government owning apartments and leasing them to employees, and that the common worker and the top officials would share the same public spaces, the project, which was constructed hundreds of miles out in the middle of nowhere, aimed to bring a higher quality of life to a rural region.  

Unfortunately, his leftist politics resulted in his exile from Brazil, when Castelo Branco usurped the previous president and made Brazil a dictatorship until 1985. Oh well. 


In Finland, home of the Saarinens, the architect Alvar Aalto was quietly straight killing it at modern architecture. Unamused by the cold corporatism of the endlessly replicating glass box, Aalto and his contemporaries sought to infuse the vernacular traditions of their country, pre-industrial rusticism, and environmental consciousness with the sleekness of modernism

(This was easier to achieve in the Nordic countries, where rabid industrialization had not yet ruined natural resources such as timber.)

Aalto’s remarkable sensitivity to his clients and their anticipated behavior within his dwellings combined with his keen sense of place made his architecture successful during a time dominated by the necessity of post-war building making (in place of lasting architecture.)  

The sensitivity to the Earth, and the desire to embed his buildings fully into their environment (rather than make them objects on the lawn as was the modern tradition in Europe at the time), set Aalto apart from his contemporaries, and deeply inspired many young architects of midcentury, most notably Louis Kahn. 

But that’s not why y’all came here. Y’all came here for this:

On the Pop Side of Things: What Most People Think of When They Hear “Mid Century Modern”

While Gropius lectured, Mies built his boxes, Wright got weird with the Guggenheim, Aalto and Niemeyer led their countries as pioneers, and Corbu hid in Europe (butthurt that he was used for his input on the design of the United Nations building but never received the official commission- basically, he got catfished by the UN) the endless sprawl of the suburbs inched across the US, and the Federal Highway Act paved the way for a new way of life: sitting in the car a lot.

What most people associate with mid-century modernism are the “retro” vibes of the 50s - the Eames rocker, the fanciful signs, and the space-age hotels. What they don’t realize is that much of this beloved imagery existed outside the architectural canon, in the realm of folk or commercial architecture.

Suddenly, the world of motels, supermarkets, diners, and more sprung up seemingly overnight. The architecture of this time was designed to get people’s attention, and not much more - which is perhaps why it is so endearing. Originating from Southern California, this style was known as “Googie,” “Space Age,” and “Atomic Age” architecture, inspired by the events that transpired as part of the Space Race, and the pop culture surrounding the events of the Cold War.

Also originating in California, the ideal of the Mid-Century Modern House was canonized in the Case Study Houses (built for Arts & Architecture Magazine, made famous by the photographs of Julius Schulman), the houses of Richard Neutra, and the affordable tract home plans put together by architects such as Joseph Eichler, and Palmer & Kilmer.  

It makes sense that such architecture originated in California, a state that adopted the automobile with a fervent efficiency and built its best-known city of Los Angeles around it.

The unique decor made by companies like furniture giants Knoll and Herman Miller, fit right at home in such adventurous houses. Herman Miller hired the famous duo Charles and Ray Eames to design many lines of chairs and other furniture which have become iconic in and of themselves.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

The Eames’ designs took the functionalism of modernism and infused it with fanciful coziness which became instantly appealing. The Eames’ chairs dared onlookers to sit in them, and were designed to excel at their purpose: to be sat in. These attributes, along with the slick futuristic design, have made Eames-design furniture timeless and highly desirable, even today.

While the Eameses were the most famous of the mid-century designers, the work of architects such as Eero Saarinen, and designers like George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi, should not be left out as well:

The fanciful nature of Mid-Century Modern design has seen a resurge in recent years, as younger generations delight in its charming simplicity and thoughtful execution for the first time.

Mid-century was the period during which American corporate zeitgeist, pop culture, and technological innovation reached its peak in the public eye. However, a new generation of architects were coming of age, whose sculptural monumentality would send a wave of dissent through the world of modernism, thrusting it into the period known as Late Modernism. 

Which is what we’ll get to next week! 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post on Mid-Century Modernism! I’m sorry I couldn’t post an ugly house this Thursday, as it was Thanksgiving and drama was high. Trust me, the upcoming Michigan Monstrosity is well worth the wait. 

As a side note, for all of you who submitted a logo proposal to me, I am going through the entries (all 200 of them) and will select a winner soon, so stay tuned!

Like this post? Want to see more like it, and get behind-the-scenes access to all things McMansionHell? Consider supporting me on Patreon! 

The original Yugioh series taught kids so many life lessons. Like “always believe in your friends”, “friendly competition can build connections that will last a lifetime”, and “people who play with bootleg cards will literally die”

Apprentice Illusion Magician
You can Special Summon this card (from your hand) by discarding 1 card. If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can add 1 “Dark Magician” from your Deck to your hand. During damage calculation (in either player’s turn), if your other DARK Spellcaster-Type monster battles an opponent’s monster: You can send this card from your hand or face-up from your field to the Graveyard; that monster you control gains 2000 ATK and DEF during that damage calculation only.
Can Be Found In: Weekly Shonen Jump April 2017 (JUMP-EN080)

Spellcasters are probably one of the most diverse Types in the game, yet able to keep a focus arround Spell Cards and themes arroudn them. Archetypes like Prophecy and Gravekeepers became powerful builds in the competitive scene, while the famous “Dark Magician” can be one of the most supported monsters in the whole game. Each one of the Type’s themes can act on their own, but share several options to make it possible to work  together in mixed strategies. While nowadays might be preferable to focus in a single archetype, Spellcasters are in an interesting position thanks to the diverse support and gamestyles arround them.

“Apprentice Illusion Magician” can take several purposes during a Duel thanks to an array of abilities able to cover all kinds of situations. Although a high Level creature, “Apprentice Illusion Magician” is able to Special Summon herself from our hand if we discard another card as requeriment. No matter if she’s summoned by her effect or by other methods, in return she will allow us to look for “Dark Magician” and add him to our hand. But “Apprentice Illusion Magician” doesn’t just act as both a searcher and solid field pressence, as instead can be sent from our hand or field when another DARK Spellcaster of ours battles to gain an ATK and DEF boost of 2000. So while she has some sort of focus arround the most popular Spellcaster in the entire franchise, “Apprentice Illusion Magician” is capable to work along other monsters of her own kind to provide a powerful and unpredictable supporting effect.

Despite her high stats, Spellcasters such as “Apprentice Illusion Magician” are well supported beyond her own effect, making it possible to bring her to the field under all sorts of conditions while also obtaining “Dark Magician” in the process. Since she’s a supporting card arround “Dark Magician”, she can be brought from our Deck along the famous Spellcaster with the activation of the Trap “Magician Navigation”. Other methods include “Magician’s Circle” and “Dark Renewal” responding opponent actions or our own by summoning her from our Deck, or in the case of the latter Trap Card able to revive her in later turns if needed. Although works along “Dark Magician” she can be supported by other archetypes without any difficulties, like Prophecy providing the effects of “Temperance of Prophecy” or Pendulum Magicians with the help of the Xyz Monster “Timestar Magician”. Remember that has an effect from our hand to boost other Spellcasters in battle, so might not be a priority to summon her right away.

With three effects at our disposition, “Apprentice Illusion Magician” can take several roles and purposes during the progress of a Duel. Her summoning effect can go from overwhelming the opponent along other summons and/or use her as material of bigger monsters, and with the ability to look for “Dark Magician” will compensate the card we spent for her Special Summon. “Dark Magician” has all sorts of methods to be summoned and from our hand is no exception, from a simple Special Summon with assistance of cards like “Dark Magic Veil” and “Eternal Soul” to responding against the opponent’s field by activating “Magical Dimension”. However, with an ability that grants a big stat boost in battles “Apprentice Illusion Magician” doesn’t need to focus on its other two effects all the time, and instead can stay in our hand to support not only “Dark Magician” himself but other Spellcasters. That can range from facing stronger monsters than our own to giving us a push of damage that can finish off the opponent, and with several candidates including archetypes like Magician Girls and Gravekeepers is quite possible to play “Apprentice Illusion Magician” without the need of “Dark Magician” in our Deck.

“Apprentice Illusion Magician” provides a package of abilities ready to cover all kinds of setups and situations on her own. Her Special Summon can take all sorts of positions on the field depending of all kinds of conditions, and obtaining “Dark Magician” in the process can give us all sorts of benefits to play along with. However, “Apprentice Illusion Magician” might be more feared due her boosting ability, hiding in our hand or even sacrificing herself on the field to counter incoming attacks or give a powerful Spellcaster enough ATK to take down the opponent. But while “Apprentice Illusion Magician” is clearly a must have for all kinds of builds involving DARK Spellcasters, her purpose as assistant of “Dark Magician” can become lackluster or even unnecessary due the many searching and summoning options arround the Normal Monster. But even if “Apprentice Illusion Magician” exclusively works to support other monsters in battle, is still a powerful card to work along with or without “Dark Magician”.

Personal Rating: A

+ Special Summons herself if we send a card in our hand
+ Adds “Dark Magician” to our hand when summoned
+ Can be sent to the Graveyard to give a 2000 ATK and DEF boost to a DARK Spellcaster in battle
+ Flexible purposes

- Her searching effect can become barely used due the many options arround “Dark Magician”

“ Cardio, Abs & Obliques - Muffin Top ”.

(So I’m gonna post some workouts like this.. I don’t own any of this, but I’m sure as hell these will help us). Stay Healthy. All the love.

How to Choose a Major
somewhatsociable said to howtomusicmajor: I want to have a career in music, but I’m not sure in what way? How can I narrow down what part of the industry to go for?

That’s a good question! This is something a LOT of musicians struggle with. I’ll be honest, performance-based careers are not lucrative. It can be hard to mesh a desire for stability with the equally strong desire for a music career. It’s not impossible, though! Here are some tips for handling that balancing act.

Outline your other skills and hobbies.

The first step to choosing a potential career is trying to specify what, exactly, you wanna do with music. Write down your hobbies and your talents. No need to be humble - this is the time to brag. Anything you enjoy doing or that you’re good at should go on the list.

Now look at it. If things like “teaching” are on there, consider education. If you like computers, consider music technology. Writing? Give me some competition, build a blog! However, things less obvious can help you choose, too. I know someone who’s a performance major and loves reading, and plans to attend the same grad school as me for a Music Library master’s degree.

Describe the life you want to be living at age 25, 45, and 65.

Again, be honest here. Write down the lifestyle you want at 25, 45, and 65. Hint: if you want a stable, low-stress life in your mid-20s, attending a high-pressure conservatory known for pumping out world-class performers maaaaaay not be for you. Music business may be a better bet - small labels and publishers would be glad to have you. If you’re okay with a world-traveling(or at least state-traveling) career, then straight performance may be for you.

Consider double-majoring.

Music is such a broad and independent field that even the most thorough single major may not be broad enough to prepare you for what you end up doing. Consider getting another! If you love performing, but want a fallback plan, consider business or Communications. Don’t ever, EVER use Music Ed. as a fallback if you wouldn’t be happy spending your life with kids. That’s unfair to you and your potential students. Having a fallback plan isn’t a sign that you don’t think you’ll succeed - it’s just a smart move.

Follow your passion.

What do you love about music? The performing? Analyzing it? Do you think you’d love conducting or teaching it? The most important part of a music major is that you truly, absolutely love what you do. It’s too high-stress and -effort if you aren’t motivated by passion.

Finally, choosing your major will need to happen by the end of your freshman year in college. Until then, usually, you can be undecided. Take the core music classes, figure out what lights you up. If you don’t know now, you’ll have a better idea of what your options are and where to look then. You got this!

bosswooper  asked:

Hey, it's me with the Mimikyu (Migu) again. Things have been getting MUCH better, and I'm planning to build a semi-competitive team and start travelling with Migu. However, someone told me Mimikyu don't get along with the pikachu line, and it got me wondering if there's certain pokémon I should avoid having on the same team. I'd like for Migu to be the "alpha pokémon" of the team, but is that a bad idea? I really hope you can help me!

The “alpha Pokémon” concept is mostly a myth caused by faulty studies. True, every team will have individual Pokémon that are more dominant than others. However, if Pokémon A is dominant to Pokémon B and Pokémon B is dominant to Pokémon C, Pokémon A will not necessarily be dominant to Pokémon C. Much like humans, relationships are a little more complicated than labels.

That said, it’s a good idea to make sure your team is not going to gang up on one Pokémon or vice-versa. While Mimikyu are notorious for not cooperating with the Pikachu line, other rivalries, such as the Arcanine/Mankey, Zangoose/Seviper, and Corsula/Mareanie exist. When you start looking at building your team, just do your research. Along with dietary, exercise, and social needs, most resources will list Pokémon that may clash with your potential teammates.

In Japan, @harleydavidson has been running the same dealer-based Battle Of The Kings contest that we’ve seen in Europe. But it’s the Street Build Off competition that has made our jaws hit the floor.
This Street 750 flat tracker comes from @hideki_hoshikawa of Asterisk. It’s got a complete new cro-moly frame, classic 43mm Ceriani forks up front and a cutting-edge Öhlins TTX GP shock out back. The wheels are Roland Sands’ Del Mars—19 inches both front and back—shod with Dunlop DT3 race rubber.
We’d take it for a ride in a heartbeat—would you?
To see the other four incredible customs from the Street Build Off competition, hit the link in our bio.
@darkcustom_japan #streetbuildoff #harleydavidson #flattracker #harleygram #street750 #HDCustomKings #DarkCustom #LiveYourLegend #bikeexif