Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Futurist Architecture 50s, 60s

The Hat "n" Boots - "Built in 1947 of concrete and steel, the boots are 24 feet high and 20 feet long. The hat is 22 feet tall with a 45-foot brim of curving concrete on wire and steel". (THE WELL-BUILT ELEPHANT - and other roadside attractions: A Tribute to American Eccentricity, by J.J.C Andrews).


In a column on Monday, April 25, 2011, Kathleen Merryman quotes Melissa McGinnis of Point Defiance Park - "At this point, we are in a compile and assess mode," about the fire at the Pagoda. Merryman adds, "There's a bit of humor and gratitude in the mode. While no one wants a fire in a historic building, this one at least melted the ugly 1960s plastic ceiling lamps. It spared the shovels and rakes in the basement."

The 1960s plastic ceiling lamps can be included in the design space of a book about architecture I have been reading. In Chapter i ("Critics") the author quotes a defender of this kind of design: "Popular taste has become the modern critic's favorite whipping boy," wrote Douglas Haskell in Architectural Forum (August 1958) I quote from GOOGIE: FIFTIES COFFEE SHOP ARCHITECTURE ("Author Alan Hess traces the evolution of these early postwar designs in a lively yet learned essay profusely illutrated..."). Alan Hess explores the topic Why do these buildings look the way they do?

It is a familiar idea carried along by Merryman - that this design space from the 1950s and 1960s is automatically ugly. Somewhere in the actual social importance that people learn to appreciate antiques for beauty and the stories they tell everything 50s and 60s becomes dismissed or easy to dismiss.

One reason why the coffee shops look the way they look is that other alternative energy plans were discarded while the unusual designs created by the alternatives were retained - "Outside, the House of the Future was a cruciform set on a pedestal, a vestige of an early plan to allow the house to rotate to make best use of solar heat in winter." This Monsanto House of the Future (in GOOGIE: FIFTIES COFFEE SHOP ARCHITECTURE Chapter D - '50s Houses) followed through on a design theme (the pedestal) but discarded the purpose - rotation for solar heat.

The coffee shops can seem like mimicry of Futuristic Design. But in other chapters Hess discusses how some of the designs which repeated the shapes of cars used modern structure for practical car-related purpose - recognizable roadway signs are an example, as are wide driveways with overhangs.

One of my aunts and my mother each had an extension-rod lamp with three futuristic light fixtures attached - I was reminded of the lamps after I went to Easter Morning church service in the chapel at First Lutheran Church. Above the seating in the chapel are three futuristic chandeliers, each with five futuristic fixtures.

It has been fifty-four years. But, set into each fixture is its answer at last - over fifty years later, the curl of an eco bulb.

First Lutheran Church will be the Gathering Place for the Tour of Homes of the Tacoma Historical Society next weekend. According to a news article, the church was completed in 1929 - the chapel is in the 1957 educational wing.
The blurb of GOOGIE - "The metal-framed angular designs, employing lavish use of glass, natural (and unnatural) stone, tile, and integrated landscaping became a cachet for the proliferating coffee shops and drive-in restaurants of the 1950s." This was futuristic and some of the futuristic examples were radical.

Photo - 2003 Choir Practice - Laura Jensen in white sweater vest.

First Lutheran's Chapel recently smoothly accepted the smaller grand piano that had been in the sanctuary before the church got its present Steinway. So the design proves to handle this recent (2010) change. When we must compare it with GOOGIE because the design elements are the same, we need to remember that the style of architecture sprang from the Futuristic mode. When I notice this I see that the GOOGIE's California Coffee Shops' radical overemphasis defines the design trend, makes it recognizable by exaggeration and everyday repetition.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Dinner Plate 1960s

The starburst design on this plate is made out of trees.

The store sold these - we had this pattern.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Japan - Children's Art - about 1957

This is a saved drawing of Japan from several saved. In about 1957 some drawings I did as a child were included in an art show with the sister city in Japan. I was sent a beautiful thank you letter from Japan.

Polaroid Swinger

This is a computer altered drawing of the Polaroid Swinger my mom bought in 1966 to take family photos.

Polaroid Swinger Photo of Bake Sale during Leif Erickson Fest in Tacoma

With the Polaroid Swinger my mom bought in 1966 to take family photos she could take a snapshot of the ladies at this bake sale. It was in downtown Tacoma at Rhodes Brothers Department Store. It was during Leif Erickson Fest.

Polaroid Swinger Photo About 1970

The Polaroid Swinger could get a certain amount of close-up detail - the camera my mom bought in 1966 to take family photos was used to take some pictures of her doll collection - she had included our Ginny Dolls from the 1950's.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Books At Twelve-Ten for April

Seven people gathered for the Books at 12:10 discussion of Thomas L. Friedman's HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED on Tuesday, April 12, 2010.

As we read, what strongly impressed each of us? One reader felt depressed because we wait for the government to take action on these truths about the ecology but we do not see it happen. There is a disconnect and no follow-up.

For this reader to use water and electricity with care was an emotional solution.

My own strong impression was that Thomas L. Friedman was not using logic as a writing method. His method of writing is clearly Standard English, but is not logically restricted. When logic is the method, there is a rule against calling an element of the writing by a term used in another context. In a logical method, the context is to remain restricted.

In Chapter Ten - The Energy Internet: When IT Becomes ET - the familiar term ET (Extra-Terrestrial) becomes Energy Technology instead. Friedman's language throughout borrows from different contexts (Climate Change becomes Global Wierding) as he signals an Eco-system experience as opposed to a Logical System experience.

HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED reiterates and reiterates a constant impression Friedman has of the ecological situation.

The group discussed clean power solutions and the term, affluenza. There were many points made by Thomas Friedman. President Carter has placed solar panels on the White House which were removed during the Reagan administration. I did not know that until I read it in HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED.

One reader felt hope in these truths. She believes there should be an Every Day Person's Handbook of the truths in HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED.

As some of us answered the question of how we use renewable energy in our lives, I was able to relate that I have used three adult bicycles since 1990 and have never owned a car. I use public transportation, walk or ride a bicycle. Although I sometimes am in a car with a relative, I am not at all used to riding in a car.

The discussion ended in a review of upcoming Tacoma Reads Together events surrounding THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND – an afternoon at Wheelock Library about local wind energy and an event at University of Puget Sound about Food and Justice.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Reconciliation 2009 Group Documentary

"64 years after the first atomic bombs were dropped on civilians in Japan, an 18 person interfaith delegation will visit Japan with one purpose: to create a world free of nuclear weapons." freeworlddocumentary.com

The story of this trip to Japan in 2009 presently appears in the film at festivals. The trailer appears on You Tube.