Welcome to the 2013 Misfits’ Midsummernights’ Quiz! It’s being brought to you from London and so has a bit of a British theme. As is now usual, answers are at the bottom of the post – no cheating! To kick off, we’ll start with a question about out the 2013 winner of the WTF! Prize.
Q1: Name the inspiration for the central design feature on this building at Dubai Marina.
Q5: Do you notice anything special about this set of drawings?
- Hannes Meyer
- Diébédo Francis Kéré
- Karel Teige
- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Q7: Who said “There will always be a place for exuberant architecture”?
- His Royal Highness Prince Charles
- Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE
- Baron Foster of Thames Bank
- Mickey Mouse
- Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE
- The Mona Lisa
- Huckleberry Finn
Q10: Let’s not talk about La Zaha anymore. Who are the people occupying the same space as La Zaha in these photos?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
To our eye, the church itself, apart from the tower, (for such it almost is) is perhaps, one of the most miserable structures in the metropolis,—in its starved proportions more resembling a manufactory, or warehouse, than the impressive character of a church exterior; an effect to which the Londoner is not an entire stranger. Here, too, we are inclined to ascribe much of the ridicule, which the whole church has received, to its puny proportions and scantiness of decoration, which are far from being assisted by any stupendousness in their details, the first impression of which might probably have fixed the attention of the spectator. Indeed, the whole style of the tower and steeple appears peculiarly illadapted for so small a scale as has here been attempted.
Nash was lampooned in the contemporary press.
ANSWER TO Q2: Just a bit down the road. Yes, that’s right! This is St. Pancras New Church (1822), also on Euston Road, London. Only two years separate this church from All Souls Church. Both formed part of a defensive line of church building along Euston Road to counter the godlessness of anything north. This porch is not to be confused with the Erechtheion which is somewhere else.
ANSWER TO Q3: London Olympic Swimming Pool came it at £269 mil. – or at least it did as far as the accounting can be trusted. This is only £3 mil. more than 30 St Mary’s Axe which used up £266 mil. of somebody’s money. With a lettable floor area of 516,100 sq.ft this works out at £515/sq.ft, considerably more than the £376/sq.ft for the 130,000 sq.ft lettable floor area of City Hall which cost a mere £49 mil. to build. The Millennium Dome cost £789 mil. – again, if the accounting is to be A) believed and B) has anything like a shared baseline. “According to the UK National Audit Office, the total cost of The Dome at the liquidation of the New Millennium Experience Company in 2002 was £789 million, of which £628 million was covered by National Lottery grants and £189 million through sales of tickets etc.” etc. etc.
ANSWER TO Q4: If your answer was something along the lines of anything in the next image, famously drawn by Rem Koolhaas’ other missus, then you are wrong. Sorry.
It’s a reworking of the “Grand Hotel” that Gaudí designed for much the same site in 1908.
Now that Ground Zero is but a gaping wound on the body of New York City and in the soul of America, many have speculated as to what to do at the site of the violent laceration. I believe one thing is clear, that in order to begin the healing process, whatever is placed there must not proceed from the same living ego impulse that motivated Yamasaki. That is why I feel Gaudí’s Grand Hotel would be the appropriate solution. Several facts support this idea: first, the Hotel was planned for the site in 1903; second, Gaudí has been dead for seventy-five years; third, the Hotel would function as a celebration of life, for which New York City is famous; fourth, it could act as a permanent memorial for all those who lost their lives in the disaster; and fifth, it would take the combined efforts of the entire artistic and architectural communities of New York City and other areas to bring the building into being.
At the time, I wrote,
“I’ve never thought the world needed another Gaudí building but I do now. His Grand Hotel proposal was an optimistic vision of a bright future in 1908 but is much more now. It reminds us that we still have to build one – and to do that we have to be able to imagine one first. It is already a memorial to what we have lost. This building is as much of a correction as we can hope for. Hats off to Paul Laffoley for proposing it.”
I still think so. My point was not whether the building is a facsimile or simulcrum of what the architect would have overseen, but whether the vision was still valid. The physical manifestation of an architect’s oeuvre is not the question. It is whether the proposal (by the original architect or someone else) is a accurate reflection of the zeitgeist. I liked to think that Laffoley’s proposal (of Gaudí’s proposal) would have been, but what now stands there is. Sadly.
ANSWER TO Q5: First let’s have another look!
Yes, the building has a basement that is not normally shown, presumably because it is totally devoid of any kind of architectural invention – apart from the stairs down, that is. Once in the basement, even the balustrade disappears. See Section B-B.
That should have been a clue. To the left of the stairs as you go up from the basement must be the boiler since there’s a chimney on all the floors above. That’s it by the radiator. Now that radiator would have been coal-fired. Since the basement is divided into two spaces, the one with the door is probably the coal store. I’d expect to see the opening of a coal delivery chute in the driveway outside the side door but this next photo shows how it could appear, except that what we see is one structural bay away from where a chute would discharge. It’s probably a trap for the bathroom drains. If there had been a coal chute, it was probably covered up in the 1985 renovations – the same ones in which the ground floor washbasin was relocated to the other side of the column. Who’d want to know about a boiler anyway?
I found the drawing for this question on the Italian site archweb. There was also this which is worth a look as you don’t see very often, perhaps because the proportions are so awkward. Why did The Great Man put windows on the cantilevered bits when he didn’t on the mothership?? The extra window area wasn’t necessary there, and nor was it necessary here. It sort of leads one to conclude that LC was making it up as he went along.
ANSWER TO Q6: This was Diébédo Francis Kéré. Nowhere in any misfits’ post was this mentioned, but you should have guessed from this photograph. Tsk tsk.
ANSWER TO Q7: The full answer was Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE, in response replying to a question about the future of her company’s aesthetic in a time of economic downturn. I forget where. Trust me on this.
ANSWER TO Q8: They are all British National Treasures – in a manner of speaking. All have received birthday honours from the Queen and have the right to be called Dame. From top left, there is Dame Shirley Bassey who was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2000, Dame Barbara Windsor who received her CBE in 2000 also for her long career in entertainment (a.k.a. the the Carry On series of movies
The last image is of Professor Tina Lavender of the School of Nursing at the University of Manchester, who received hers for services to Midwifery. I think that’s right – the honours list is complicated. See here for the full 2012 list. Dame Zaha Hadid recieved her DBE in 2012 for services to architecture, but there’s no information on what exactly those services were.
ANSWER TO Q9A: The guy with the white hair is Peter Smithson who, along with his wife Alison, were known as The Smithsons. I’m not making this up! At the beginning, they were a bit Miesey,
but then got a bit brutal. Here’s their Robin Hood Gardens project from 1972 – an embarrassing reminder to every British government since, that housing (like education, healthcare and employment) used to once be part of the social contract between a government and its people.
ANSWER TO Q9C: Stella McCartney. We don’t know what it is they both found so interesting up there.
ANSWER TO Q9D: Who else but Patrik Schumacher? He wrote a book called The Autopoiesis of Architecture. I haven’t read it yet. You probably haven’t either.