Home Shouldn’t Have to be Temporary

Seven: Home: 1230 North Burlington Street 

Fleming opens the discussion with the previously analyzed proposals of suburbia and new urbanism and then transitions into the additional proposal of homes, using a widely believed statement. The common belief statement is signaled by the words: “They imply” (Fleming, 149) meaning that though many people believe the following to be true it he doesn’t necessarily agree. Then he continued to use the terms ‘they’ and ‘others’ to the two opposing groups to highlight the absence of a common place. ‘They’ refers to the “middle- and upper-class (white) neighbors (Fleming, 149). Whereas the others are characterized “as abnormal, their homes as disorganized, their communities as hellish” (Fleming, 149). Then Fleming carries on to introducing what his intentions are for this chapter by stating: “In the pages that follow, I try to give voice to the residents’ own plans for the revitalization of Cabrini Green” (Fleming, 150) By making this claim he is putting himself in the position of the speaker for those who are not being heard. Therefore his audience are those essentially more privileged and those who may not have come across this astonishing issue.

By simply looking at the title of the first subsection, the readers are drawn to the word ‘others’ because of its ambiguity. In this case the word represents the economically superior majority, essentially the white population.  Then he continues to state a common belief of the stereotypical poor region of people “who are different from (and less that) the rest of us– as poor, dependant, and troubled” (Fleming, 150). He goes on to explaining who is to blame and eventually it comes down to “the federal government supporting, rather than checking, the economic segregation of the U.S. population” (Fleming, 150-1). Therefore it is clear to the audience that the others and the government have viewed and continued to exacerbate the problem instead of coming together to resolve the injustice.

The home proposal is ineffective partially because the housing is not exactly seen as a ‘home,’ it is more of a ‘way station,’ a temporary placement. Fleming then points out that only a few people actually realize this issue and therefore he structures his argument from the two different perspectives, in order for both sides to understand one another.

 

Words Matter

Saatchi & Saatchi is a creative agency which is known for their use of emotions as a means to deliver their message to the public. In this particular visual they are portraying the importance of words. This infomercial effectively explained to me that words are the weapon of governments, media, and individuals. It is the means through which we communicate and therefore we give them the power to hurt us, make us happy and also encourage us.  

Never Were Private

At the beginning of this week I attended the Cybersecurity in an Age of Uncertainty: US-Israel Perspectives” conference at the Washington School of Law. Before attending this event I was not acquainted with the topic and neither did I bother about the matter because I admit that I am somewhat ignorant and simply choose to believe that companies and the development of the technologies legally, can’t hard their users. Initially, I only attended the conference because the business club, TAMID, which I am a part of was one of the sponsors of the event. The event was grand in attendance and enriching knowledge. Though I may not be a hacker or an IT, AI, or IoT enthusiast of professional, I found the addressed topics rather captivating. Technology is made to simplify our lives, to make our routine day to day activities more time and quality efficient. Even though simple Internet of Things Technologies usually serve as gadgets that collect data, they can also be manipulated in malicious ways. Being at this conference, also reminded me of the TV show I recently began to watch, Mr. Robot. Putting the conference and the TV show together got me wondering about who is it really that we should trust? Today we constantly speak on the matter of the internet illuminating our privacy, which is according to the Human Rights Act one of our primary rights. Yet by displaying all of our personal information on the web, are we making ourselves vulnerable? So if anyone who knows their way around coding can find out every dirty secret about you, how does that threaten you? Isn’t it then you fault for feeling that information to the web?

Try again.

Irish playwright and author Samuel Beckett (1906 – 1989) at a first night performance, 25th April 1970. (Photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)

In Worstward Ho!, Samuel Beckett writes “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” What Beckett means by this is we must fail no matter what, because the only way to fail is by not trying. This concept is important to understand because most people are let down by failure and tend to give up after the first failed attempt. This phrase could serve as motivation to people who are working hard at something and get so close to success but something happens and they simply give up, when in reality they could get back up to try again and maybe succeed. The form of the phrase itself it rather simple, abrupt and straight to the point with the use of so many full stops. I believe that Beckett uses such form to communicate the phrase as a sequence of short commands. The abruptness of the sentences comes at the reader as a sort of series of flashes. If this statement were in any other form it would subtract from the intended effect of having the words come in individual stages. Using the form that he does makes the statement come as a sort of outline or plan for the reader, as if each sentence is a step by step instruction. Using different punctuation for each segment would change the sentence visually, also changing the meaning of the statement. Keeping the form of two word sentences with full stops keeps the whole thing structured and similar.  

The Ones Who Got Away

Many agree that the architecture of the headquarter is key to giving a grandiose first impression, therefore it is reasonable for the authors of the American Institute of Architects magazine to describe the new headquarters of the Washington Post as as “the towers of a downtown office builing exceeding Washington’s height restrictions” (64). Even if you aren’t into architecture, I completely understand buildings may not be the most fascinating thing out there. Yet you cannot tell me that you won’t be intrigued when the first line screams that an office building is exceeding the city’s height regulations and is still standing. You would at least read a bit more to find out how the architects got around the law.

Approaching the building from the Franklin Square Park, it simply stuns one just how much the building stands out from its surroundings. That aspect is not surprising because this was a special project for the architects, in the sense that the “One Franklin Square is Hartman Cox Architects first downtown building that “needed to transform its area rather than be drawn from a strong historic context” (American Institute of Architects 64). In the presented context, the author’s intent is to get the audience to comprehend the complexity of the architect’s task, and that it is not every day one gets the opportunity to construct a revolutionary design for the nation’s capital. In the fragment, words like ‘transform’ and ‘historic’ signal conflicting factors which are intended to describe the clashing relationship between the structure and its surrounding environment. Also the author successfully points out and praises the professionalism and expertise because they were the ones chosen for the challenging task and they carried through beyond set expectations.

Hartman Cox Architects understood the importance of the relationship between the building and its surrounding and they described it as being “located on K Street, N.W., Washington’s main commercial thoroughfare, which is composed of mostly blocky, banal buildings” (American Institute of Architects 64). The author used this quote to incorporate a direct vision of the artists, which make the article appear more credible. The appeal to ethos causes the readers to think they are interacting with a direct report of the architect’s thought process. I believe that the author used this quote in order to address the importance of the surrounding buildings and society because they play roles in defining the atmosphere and purpose of the structure.

When it comes to designing a building that is intended to reflect architectural perfect Graham Davidson, the project manager, expresses that “everything is set back and banded to break down the scale” (American Institute of Architects 64).Looking at the floor plans it is evident that every corner is scaled down to perfection, as if it is the mirror image of the opposing wing. Mentioning Davidson’s comment in the article again allows the reader to directly communicate with the points suggested by the architects and even further the author displays their respect for the architect’s legitimacy as an expert. Additionally I would like to mention that throughout the article the author mentions that the structure is exceeding the city height restrictions, and I believe this to be the exigence of the article. Reading this article, the audience would be greatly intrigued by a building exceeding the regulations and would end up wonder: How can that be? Who permitted this? How did they get around the restrictions? Strategically the author revealed that: “The architects were allowed to boost their building’s height, according to Hartman, because the tower are empty and, therefore, mere embellishments, according to the code” (American Institute of Architects, 64). Not revealing the most interesting explanation about the towers until the end of the article is a way of keeping the reader reading, even if they don’t pay attention to the rest of the facts, you still succeeded at carrying them through the entire article.

While analyzing this text we must consider time as a factor determining the validity of the author’s argument. Though this article was published in April, 1991 I believe this article is a valid source in terms of giving the audience and valid perspective of thinking process behind the construction and the explanation of the relationship between the structure and its environment. According to the ancient greeks there are two understandings of time, Chronos time and Kairos time. “Chronos Time is chronological and measurable. Kairos Time is more open-ended and expansive such that one can experience an “eternity” in a brief instant. It is not a cold finality at all” (Mills). With this understanding, I consider the American Institute of Architects’ article written with Kairos in mind, because as I read it in 2017 it is still relatable. Even after twenty-six  years I am still able to understand the concepts discussed in the article because the building and the design have remained unchanged.  Timeless concepts and aspects of architecture directly correlate with the meaning of Kairos time.

Likewise, Aristotle was teaching students the three branches of Oratory, which were judicial, deliberative and epideictic. Judicial oratory represents the past and intends to accuse or defend, while epideictic refers to the present and its purpose is to praise or blame. However, I believe that in this article the author utilizes the deliberative oratory to exhort or make the public aware of the grandiose building in the center of Washington D.C. Though this article is not strictly rhetorical and does not fight for a particular point of view, but it is intended to express and sell the brilliance of the building and its architects.

 

Citations:

“Branches of Oratory.” Branches of Oratory. Accessed 8 Mar. 2017.

Mills, Wilmer. Living in Eternity.  8 June 2011. Accessed 2 Mar. 2017.

“Tall Order.” Architecture- The AIA Journal, vol. 80, no. 4, 1991, pp. 64–65.

 

Talking to Strangers is Simpler Than Talking to Relatives

As I have recently gotten into watching TED talks,  I have discovered this specific one, which I think relates to our conversations about built environments and the inhabitants. Kio Stark explains why people should reach out and talk to strangers. When reading the title, before watching the video, I subconsciously panicked. I believe myself to be a moderately social individual, but talking to strangers sounds like a risk I would not be willing to take. As Stark reminds us that from a very young age we are taught the law of ‘stranger danger’ and that is because we do not know the intentions of those surrounding us. Yet most of the people around us are absolutely harmless. Then it got me thinking about our discussions of built environments and I was wondering if the buildings are built in a way to connect us or drive us apart as strangers? And as I am sitting in the library writing this post I have experienced an encounter with a stranger. The table I am sitting at is rectangular and has four chairs. I have taken up half of the table with my things and numerous people have walked by and noticed that I am here and therefore understand that this table is occupied. Then a young man walks toward the table and stops to look at me for a second and proceeds to pull out a chair directly across from me and sits down. I smile and move my computer closer to me, so I seem friendly enough, clearing the table for his things. Yet in my head I am thinking “how dare he sit here, doesn’t he see that I have taken over the table?” I am sure he is a nice boy with a charming personality, but I was slightly thrown off by his actions when my intentions were made rather clear. What now? Am I supposed to start a conversation with him? According to Stark, opening up to strangers is much simpler than to relatives or those with whom we are close with. When speaking to strangers it is a simple interaction with no consequences. When it comes to speaking to strangers we have certain bias, because we expect them to understand and if they don’t then we end up disappointed. So maybe after all I should try and acknowledge strangers, who knows they world could end up being a friendly place.

Ment to Serve the People, Not Their Egos

 

While planning for my trip to New York, I came across a video which game me a new perspective on the purpose of architecture. Beginning with a brief insight on the history of the great immigration in the 1840s and then an explanation of the nature of New York, being a city of whild hussle and the world’s most complex structures. Kevin Roche, an architect from Ireland, explained that when designing the Ford Foundation Building, he wanted to design a central area where the office workers would be able to come to and be a part of a community, to make them feel like they belonged. I was particularly inspired by his advice for people, architects in particular to think of the future and serve the people and build a better environment for the generations to come.  

 

The Washington Post: Sound

Listening to the audio recording you may have been thinking that it sounds like every other city, like New York or London, but I promise you Washington D.C. is a much more quiet and timid city. Even though everyone who is out is only going about their business, but you hear the cars passing, people laughing, birds calling. It was not until I began recording this audio, when I actually noticed all the surrounding sounds. Usually I walk around talking to my friends, or listening to my own thoughts, or listen to my music. Standing outside the headquarters of The Washington Post and listening to the surrounding sounds allowed me to grasp a better understanding of what surrounds those who live in the area or come to work everyday. I was there during a late Sunday afternoon, and I am sure that the sound on the weekend is certainly different than it is during the week.

The Washington Post: Exterior Design

As you make your way down the street, it may feel like the building to you left are a giant endless wall of structures that all look alike. In a way it feels like they are trying to keep you away from the parallel street. Then you approach The Washington Post headquarters is a monumental building trimmed in marble from top to bottom, which evidently signals the solidarity and professionalism of the establishment. The simple and limited design sets the environment which would be characterized as official yet intimidating. As you can see in the image, the size plaque is the only indication of what this building represents, but the you see the revolving doors. The gold revolving doors stand out from the rest of the building, as if they are indicating the entrance and welcoming the visitors through the portal and into the world of media.  

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