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My name is Geek. Architecture Geek.

It took me a while to realise that the Fruit-Loopy smell permeating the office this morning was coming off -- me. When I went to the store yesterday, I found they'd run out of my usual brand of shampoo, that smells of melons and coconuts, and so I grabbed another bottle off the shelf without really looking at it all that closely. Now I smell like a blooming orchard, although I can't work out what fruit exactly...cherries? Definitely not apples, or anything citrus-y...

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his then definitive work on De Stijl movement - this was some years ago and I don't know if any later publication has superseded it in the meantime.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.

Comments

( 14 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
bogwitch
Feb. 23rd, 2004 05:17 am (UTC)
Hee. I was going to use that Strangelove banner! (Only I had nothing to say this morning).

Must be wonderful to be an expert on something, only I can't keep it all in my head for long enough. It all gets pushed out by my next obsession!
gamiila
Feb. 23rd, 2004 05:37 am (UTC)
Re:
Oh! Well, maybe you can find a use for this one, then:


Captain, Captain Jack Sparrow is love.


And being an expert on something as trivial as the wrk of a little-known Dutch architect is something of a mixed blessing, believe me! I mean, I enjoy it and think it's relevant, but most people I meet just look at me funny on those rare occasions when I impart my knowledge.
bogwitch
Feb. 24th, 2004 02:50 am (UTC)
Re:
People look at me funny anyway, so that'd be no loss.

Blimey. How many of those banners is there?
gamiila
Feb. 24th, 2004 03:19 am (UTC)
Re:
Countless! There's a whole community devoted to them...but I haven't seen a BtVS/AtS one yet.

www.livejournal.com/community/colorbar_love
bogwitch
Feb. 24th, 2004 03:23 am (UTC)
Re:
That won't do. Someone (not me) will have to make one.,
gamiila
Feb. 24th, 2004 03:26 am (UTC)
Re:
Oh, I'm sure someone (not me, and not you either) will!

I hope...or maybe I should look into how it's done...if only this blasted phone would stop ringing everytime I want to click on a link!
bogwitch
Feb. 24th, 2004 03:43 am (UTC)
Re:
Bloody work. It's a flipping annoyance and gets in the way of your life.
cheesygirl
Feb. 23rd, 2004 06:29 am (UTC)
Hee! I'm a bit of an architecture geek myself, although I certainly don't have anything close to your level of expertise, it's just a subject I explore from time to time. I do love early 20th century architecture so I wish I could hear your lectures. I'm sure you'll do a great job.
gamiila
Feb. 23rd, 2004 07:05 am (UTC)
Re:
I do love early 20th century architecture so I wish I could hear your lectures. I'm sure you'll do a great job.

Thanks! I'm bubbling over with ideas at the moment, but I'm going to have to find a way to rein myself in soon. The ladies of the board that came to talk to me about this thing last week were quite impressed with me, I could tell, but before leaving they did make it clear that my intended audience doesn't know the first thing about architecture...hmmm, maybe I should start with Vitruvius instead? No, no, not going to change my mind now! Dutch architecture of the Interbellum, that's what I'll tell them about. They'll probably appreciate being able to see it all around them once they've learned what to look for...
vegmb
Feb. 23rd, 2004 10:59 am (UTC)
Geek? Are we geeks?
Are there actually people in the world who don't enjoy spending hours pouring over old blueprints? I had no idea. Maybe that is why my friends and family give me those strange looks when I start talking about work...I'm a civil engineer.

BTW, love the dm.
gamiila
Feb. 24th, 2004 05:59 am (UTC)
Re: Geek? Are we geeks?
Maybe that is why my friends and family give me those strange looks when I start talking about work...I'm a civil engineer.

Isn't that a lucky coincidence? Well then, you can talk about your work to me to your heart's content any time you feel like it, and I'll hang upon your every word! ;-)
calove
Feb. 23rd, 2004 03:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, it's so good to hear you enthusing over something so passionately! I can perfectly understand the lure of old plans and the like - I know bugger all about them, but they are fascinating. Love old maps too. The son of the architect who built our current house turned up on the doorstep a few years back and presented us with the original plans. It's just a dull, 1950's box (although it's been modified over the past few years), but unrolling the crinkly old paper from the tatty brown tube and seeing the original drawings was really exciting.

For me, it's a nicely prepared specimen and a microscope, preferably a nice, state-of-the-art TEM, although straight optical types can be pretty damn good too. I can spend hours in a darkened room just looking and marveling.

Sounds like your presentation is coming together very nicely indeed. I'm sure you'll wow them. You certainly wow me!
tiashome
Feb. 23rd, 2004 06:13 pm (UTC)
Loved reading about your love for all things architectural ;-) I just spent a happy 1/2 hr clicking around the NAI site. This cubicle looks so cool.

...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?!
No! I can't imagine what Techno!Cure would sound like ...

And good luck with the class, chica. Sounds like you're having fun putting it together.
gamiila
Feb. 24th, 2004 05:10 am (UTC)
Wonder if I can persuade HP to place an order? I would so enjoy coming to work if I could have a cubicle like that!

No! I can't imagine what Techno!Cure would sound like ...

It's worse than that: it's two d&b dj-s featuring Robert Smith. He's actively participating in the destruction of his own work!

( 14 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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