Anyway, I thought I'd better start preparing myself if I'm going to teach a bunch of biddies about architecture soon, so I spent my Saturday pouring over all sorts of documents and architectural drawings in the library and archival vaults of the NAi (=Dutch Institute for Architecture, in Rotterdam). Ah - there's nothing like the smell and view of 50-year old tracing paper full of colourful drawings to make a person truly feel in their element. Well, maybe not any person per se...but me, undoubtedly! I've been working in computers and databases for 9 years now; and even if I appreciate the fact that it brings home the bacon, I can't wax lyrical about the experience. But show me blueprints, even if they're just for the wiring, and I can. Too bad you need maths and sciences to enroll in Delft...I would have loved to have been a civil engineer and/or an architect. Still, architectural historian isn't too bad a consolation prize. Even if I can only be that in my leisure time these days.
I've decided to make it easy on myself and start with the work of two particular architects of the early 20th century: Robert van 't Hoff and Dirk Roosenburg; work with which I've become intimately acquainted over the years. I wrote a paper on the first in my 4th year at uni, for guest lecturer prof. Twombly of Columbia University who taught 'Americanistics' -- interesting to Literature, Politics, History and Art students alike. The fricking thing grew and grew until I thought I could use it for my final paper as well, but unfortunately then, just as I was getting ready, the archives I needed were closed off for any further research; due to someone who has just been appointed director of the Boymans-Van Beuningen Museum as per June 1st, needing access to complete his then definitive work on De Stijl movement - this was some years ago and I don't know if any later publication has superseded it in the meantime. There I was, 6 months from graduation and cut off from my most important resources from one day to the next. I won't say I panicked because that's not in my nature, but I was quite upset and worried. I went to my promotor who happened to be having a chat with one of the most influential Dutch architects of the present era, Rem Koolhaas, when I dropped in. As soon as Koolhaas heard of my predicament, he suggested I forget about Van 't Hoff and do research into his grandfather's body of work instead, which had remained unpublished (in the sense that no one had actually written a paper or a thesis on him yet) until that day. Enter Dirk Roosenburg . Today, I'm still considered the leading expert on his work, and every few years or so there's one or two students contact me for interviews and help with their own projects on utilitarian Dutch architecture in the period between the two world wars. Which I'm always happy to provide because hey! gives me a chance to talk shop again.
So I think I'll just give them a rough outline of the state of Dutch architecture around 1880 and the radical changes that took place in the following decades, and use the work of these two gentlemen to illustrate my point. Since Van 't Hoff only built a handful of projects, he's perfect material for an introductory lecture; and I can talk about Roosenburg for hours.
I came home feeling quite satisfied with myself and my plans, and absent-mindedly put on the telly to MTV for background noise while I went about doing the housework...then had the shock of my life when I heard Robert Smith murder his very own A Forest, one of my best-beloved songs of all time, in a remix version, with the technobeat completely annihilating the driving guitars that make it so distinctive. How could he?!
BTW, recoil_ made this lovely DM-banner in answer to all the Marriage is Love-banners out there (and also in my LJ, because, you know: sheep...plus, I see no reason why gay couples shouldn't be allowed to marry), which goes wonderfully well with the music playing on my Walkman this morning.
depeche mode is love. strangelove.