Jonathan

View Post

Unmitigated sense of place

In A Sense of Place, 12. SOP 2.0 by Jonathan

During our initial few classes, the idea of being able to “map” one’s surroundings came about as an important part of knowing space — having a illustrative outline of such a space within the foreground of one’s mind — and in many ways the way in which apps like Google Maps, etc., act to disrupt this can, perhaps, provoke some sort …

View Post

In-step-Singapore

In A Sense of Place, 10. Placemaking by Jonathan

In 1993, science fiction writer reviewed not something related to his field, but in fact the city of Singapore (though perhaps effectively drawing upon his experiences playing with a genre that naturally bends towards dystopian realizations of advanced technology), and came to the conclusion of a “Disneyland with the Death Penalty” — the title of the essay. The text itself construes …

View Post

Movable types

In A Sense of Place, 9. Placelessness by Jonathan

In the silence of hotel rooms, I am placeless — as in any place ruled by an imposition, an inferred sense of what the space is like prior to my arrival. A hotel room — the Ikea-brand type, wherein all the furniture desperately seeks the corner of the wall that perfectly matches it and yet cannot reach . . . …

View Post

Vernacular consumerism

In A Sense of Place, 8. The Vernacular Landscape by Jonathan

It is interesting to consider the extent to which we “make a home for ourselves” somewhere can constitute an act of architecture, an act of construction which changes an environment just enough to assure a hermeneutics of space within an immediate room. This can be seen in nearly everything we do, from pulling shut a shower curtain and dividing ourselves from the rest …

View Post

Reston, Virginia

In A Sense of Place, 7. Sprawl and New Urbanism by Jonathan

In 1964, a late-comer to the whole notion of “expansion” decided to found the city of Reston in Northern Virginia using the initials of his name, Robert E. Smith, in a typically modernist way of appointing himself as the fundamental ideologue behind an entire community of people. Being born to wealthy parents, what else is a rich kid supposed to do …

View Post

Our American factory factory

In A Sense of Place, 6. Shock of the New by Jonathan

In the texts assigned for this week, writers tend to locate the birth — the antediluvian turning point — of a recklessly reproduced modern style somewhere around the invention of the industrial setting, the factory, the large shipping-crate-like container in which workers would toil without authority, automatons rendered useful in the partial production of a good. Yes, yes, yes, this …

View Post

Jacques Tati’s “Playtime” and Jacobs

In A Sense of Place, 5. Visions of Utopia by Jonathan

In Jacobs’ final few notes (in “The Citizen”) on the future of building projects in large, historical cities, she mentioned something she has been skirting for quite awhile: the way a city can maintain its history while directing itself towards the future, protecting the fabric of past buildings while still continuing to grow. In the movie Playtime by Jacques Tati, we see …

View Post

City in the snow

In A Sense of Place, 4. The Social Life of Places by Jonathan

While investigating the terms which are negotiated between a city and its dwellers, a city must be understood for the plastic organism that it is, and perhaps to break apart certain spaces into categorical wholes can, at a point, reach a wall. Surely, Whyte’s goal is clear: to come to some understanding about the most effective and productive placement of …

View Post

Place in terms of “the Rural” and “the Urban”

In A Sense of Place, 2. The Spirit of Place by Jonathan

Based on the Roman origins of “genius loci” as a conception of space, as well as the fact that, of course, my book of Horace’s poems is conveniently absent, perhaps the oft-cited Gallatin obsession of “empire” is a good place to start in an investigation on the development of our civilization’s current take on the division and usage of spaces. Horace, a …

View Post

Beside the Acropolis

In A Sense of Place, 1. The Experience of Place by Jonathan

In Athens, confronted again by city-corridors threading towards most dramatic Acropolis photo-ops, stands in servitude the less-dramatic Areopagus, which up until now I’d known only as the “rock outcropping that is not the big one.” During fall break, ritually imbibing in communion as a local necessity, right-in (after a few days in Sofia) off a morning flight from NYU’s Berlin …