Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

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DavidC
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Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by DavidC »


Rood
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by Rood »

An interesting lecture in a rather unlikely place ... Mississippi State University, in Starkville, Mississippi, a city of some 25,000 people ... and a town with a decidedly checkered history (see it's Wikipedia entry), but at the end of the lecture who knew which building was the last featured structure? No one in the audience knew, but Mccarter called it likely the most beautiful building in America ... with the possible exception of Johnson's Wax.

SDR
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by SDR »

When was it that the owners of Jacobs II paid $50/year for all energy consumption ?

I can't find that concrete church/hall in Kahn---the "character" he referred to when that slide came on---so it could be anyone's. Nervi ? Breuer ? Lord Peter Whimsey, RIBA ?

Interesting lecture, aiming (like Scully at his best ? Or . . .?) at the heart of building, rather than the skin. And what architecture history presentation has given the viewer a greater number of examples ? Yes---every image ought to have been identified, especially as the lecture was recorded for posterity (however long that is, these days) and available for study ?

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

Rood
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by Rood »

It's Marcel Breuer's St. Johns Abbey Church: Collegeville, Minnesota. Breuer also designed the campus, and built a church for the Annunciation Abbey, University of Mary, south of Bismark, North Dakota

https://saintjohnsabbey.org/church

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Mary

SDR
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by SDR »

Oh---the one with the concrete-billboard bell tower. Here's another space there ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universit ... Chapel.jpg

Breuer is largely untapped territory, still. Is that possible---or is it only my ignorance showing ? He was doing slick concrete work when Arata Isozaki was still in knee pants ?

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

Matt2
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by Matt2 »

Thanks for posting. I liked the topic, but his lecture was really just a series of quote from famous architects about the importance of interior space as where architecture begins. Okay, got it. I look forward to a sequel that breaks down various qualities of interior space and how they effect human beings.

SDR
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by SDR »

Bingo . . .

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

Roderick Grant
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, the "other space" is the North Dakota building.
One reason St. John's is so little known is that Collegeville is a tiny community NW of Minneapolis and St. Cloud. Not many architectural historians get out that way, apparently.
I recall when that church was first published. It got a lot of attention in Minnesota. One of Breuer's best works.

Reidy
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by Reidy »

Fallingwater and Taliesin are a long way from town, and TWest used to be, yet the historians found them.

SDR
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by SDR »

Vincent Scully annoys some Wrightians---and others for all I know---and not without reason: in this undated lecture of a little over an hour, presumably in an academic setting, the historian misstates Wright's birthdates (both of them), misspells Richard Bock's name, calls the Barton house a guest quarters to Martin, and expounds to the point of illegibility, in places, in his urgency to transmit the contents of his fevered brain to the audience. And his remarks about color are lost to the black-and-white video camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LdPwDGkyzE

But the connections he makes, between architects (some ancient) and between continents---or reaches of the same continent---are always entertaining, at least, and perhaps pertinent as well. Recent comments here about similarities between the entrances of the Charnley and Winslow houses are dealt with (at c. 48:05), with pre-Columbian content thrown into the mix for good measure. The earlier parts of the slide lecture contain examples of precursors to Wright, without the explicit claims to same that one expects; Sculley lets the audience make the connections for itself. Then he becomes more direct. He clearly loves Wright but won't let him get away with much, without calling him out. As I say, entertaining at least, and not without merit as imaginative and probing scholarship. If you can keep up with him, more power to you; there's a lot here . . .

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

Roderick Grant
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by Roderick Grant »

I have never studied Scully much, but I wonder to what extent it could be argued that, other than his focus on FLW (and that's the "elephant in the room" no one has ever been able to ignore), he was almost entirely provincial? He kept his focus on New England and eastern New York. Going further afield, he tended to use examples to correlate with that architecture. He was one of those writers who gained credibility more by dint of his rhetorical style than his understanding of the subject at hand. Brendan Gill was another such.

SDR
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by SDR »

I suppose H-R Hitchcock and/or Reyner Banham would be others of that ilk ?

"Vincent Joseph Scully Jr. (August 21, 1920 – November 30, 2017)[1] was an American art historian who was a Sterling Professor of the History of Art in Architecture at Yale University, and the author of several books on the subject. Architect Philip Johnson once described Scully as 'the most influential architectural teacher ever.' " (That this is a Johnson quote would automatically give it less importance, to some ?)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Scully

Scully does know Newport and the East Coast, at least; in this lecture he gives us Richardson both in Massachusetts and in Chicago, along with Sullivan. His take on Heurtley was a welcome surprise; we've already absorbed his thoughts on Wright's own house, but here he pulls in two additional references to its design. There is enough content to go around, and one guesses that Wrightians will find at least some of it sufficiently credible to give Scully the benefit of the doubt.

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

jay
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by jay »

Roderick asks if Scully was 'almost entirely provincial', which I find to be an interesting avenue to wander, albeit figuratively (I believe Roderick meant literally, as in geographically...? I'm basing my thoughts below mostly on Scully's "shingle style" celebrations...)

In particular, when Scully endorsed Venturi don't we find the wheels coming off the provincial wagon?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wqaAgWOfKQ

Both men seemed to have an utmost respect for the local vernacular. And yet Venturi's work, with Scully's blessing, seems, to me at least, to disrupt the grace of the provincial local vernacular by creating buildings that are, again in my opinion, works of pure post-modernist self-fascination.

Even odder, both Scully and Venturi scoff at the idea that Venturi's work is post-modern. I suppose that term can mean many things to many people, but for me it's quite simple. Post-modernism is when the work of art focuses itself almost entirely on its 'meaning'. The work becomes a "statement", something to be interpreted. It becomes an intellectual enterprise, purely symbolic. The sense of corporeal satisfaction is left for dead, while a high elite conceptualization is there for the exclusive types––architecture for students of architecture––and all of it so rich in history, thrown together in a collage of historical forms. (At least in Venturi's po-mo works.)

Wright was as conceptual as any pure artist, but he always brought his works down to the corporeal level. His buildings became localized when they embraced the landscape around them.

Perhaps Scully was seduced by the architect's architecture that is Venturi.... And I'm no deep reader of his, so perhaps I'm mistaken...but his embrace of the all-conceptual/non-sensuous works of Venturi I find to be wildly divorced from any value system of provincial-vernacular aesthetics, let alone the humanistic sense-perceptions of Wrightian aesthetics.

SDR
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by SDR »

Two seemingly contradictory ideas or facts can exist at the same time; it's perfectly natural, even universal, but it can make definitive conclusion difficult.

"Marx was not a Marxist; Freud was not a Freudian; and Robert Venturi is not a Post-modernist." D. Scott-Brown.

The Vanna Venturi house isn't shingled, it is smooth and planar (as is admitted here by its architect); in that, it is a "statement." But a building still contains space, has entrances and windows, and sounds and smells. It may be a statement, but it also affects the senses, and offers shelter.

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

jay
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Re: Lecture: Robert McCarter - "The Space Within"

Post by jay »

Every object, including dog excrement, contains sensory information, and every house, including the ramshackle hut, provides shelter.

I find every sensuous element of the Vanna Venturi house to be incidental to its architectural statement. (Or perhaps I should say every possible sensuous element is overshadowed by "meaning".)

It's a shame Wright didn't live long enough to comment on the VV house.

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