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Friday, June 6, 2008

Many More Leaves

posted by on June 6 at 13:33 PM

Keith of Green Housing Collaborative recently sent me a link to this post on hugeasscity:
Dan Bertolet writes:

How unfortunate that we all don’t have a stash of whatever it was that Charles Mudede was smoking when he wrote this Stranger piece on the new Four Seasons building on 1st Ave between Union and University. How fun it would be to look up at a stark, rectilinear glass and concrete tower that forms a massive barrier to sun, mountains, and water, and interpret it as profound connection to the natural world, a form that casts shadows like those from pristine alpine peaks because it is painted the color of mud.

First: I’m not a pot smoker. If you have to know, wine is my prime (and almost only) poison. Second: The poster’s leading criticism does not connect with what I attempted to explain in the article. Dan is concerned with pedestrian matters:

Back here on earth, on the ground, what I see is a building that fails to embrace the street. As you can see in the photo above, roughly half of what the passing pedestrian encounters at eye level while walking along the building on 1st Ave is concrete wall.

I couldn’t care less about the street and what the building is doing to it. My leading concern was (and still is) the coding of the work. To my eyes, the Four Seasons is less a building and more of a book. And here I’m referring, of course, to the second chapter of Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, “This Will Kill That.” Because everyone has read this novel, everyone knows that the chapter is about architecture as a form of writing:

Architecture began like all writing. It was first an alphabet. Men planted a stone upright, it was a letter, and each letter was a hieroglyph, and upon each hieroglyph rested a group of ideas, like the capital on the column. This is what the earliest races did everywhere, at the same moment, on the surface of the entire world.”
What everyone might not know is that this chapter inspired Frank Lloyd Wright to become an architect—verification of this claim can be found in Edward R. Ford’s The Details of Modern Architecture: 1928 to 1988.

This is what I read in the Four Seasons: It tells the story of Seattle’s self-imagined relationship with its natural surroundings. For this reason, its story/coding is less related to the international green movement in architecture and more related (if not totally related) to the mural of the orca whales on Seattle Steam, a building that the Four Season faces and echoes. Indeed, to walk down Western Ave is to walk in a forest of correspondences.

This (the coding, the language, the correspondences) is the utter matter of my article.

RSS icon Comments


Wow. What a complete load of crap.

Posted by ROAG | June 6, 2008 1:45 PM

Charles, there are many competing theories as to what got Wright started on his archictural path.

One (now generally debunked) theory was that his mother put engravings of great buildings on his nursery wall and proclaimed that she would raise her son to be an architect.

Another has it that Wright witnessed the collapse of the old Wisconsin Capitol Building and resolved to become an architect to prevent similar tragedies from ever happening again.

Your theory is also one of several others in play.

To say that one chapter in a book gave birth to the greatest architectural legacy in our country's history is to perhaps oversimplify the complexity of the man, and the dynamics afoot that drove the man to his destiny.

Just sayin'...

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 6, 2008 1:45 PM

maybe next time just email him?

or, can there be an art/Mudede blog or filter?

Posted by Postum | June 6, 2008 1:47 PM

That didn't make any sense...

The 1st Avenue side is f***ing ugly.

But it still has time to redeem itself depending on what they do with tree placement,interesting things to look at in the windows, etc. We could be in love with it in a year...who knows.

Posted by JesseJB | June 6, 2008 1:53 PM

Eeeegads -- *architectural

@3 -- Eat me.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 6, 2008 2:49 PM

The First Ave. side is cold, unfriendly and sterile. But the Western Ave. side looks like something out of Blade Runner. It's easy to visualize anti-grav cars landing and taking off from the staggered balconies.

Posted by crazycatguy | June 6, 2008 3:07 PM

Normally, I would say I haven't seen such shit since my Grandpappy's outhouse exploded in the Heatwave of '91, but since I could care less about Charles and the majority of his posts, I'll just keep quiet...


Posted by michael strangeways | June 6, 2008 3:21 PM

Yeah, who cares what it looks like from the street or how it is to actually have the thing plopped down and have to walk past long as it's lube for Chuck's masturbatory self-involved ramblings.

Posted by Greg | June 6, 2008 3:43 PM

The world would be a better place if Frank Lloyd Wright had never been born.

Posted by Fnarf | June 6, 2008 3:59 PM

So what you're saying is that you disagree with Dan because he based his review of the building on reality, while you base your review on a paragraph from a novel written almost 200 years ago.

Glad we got that cleared up.

Posted by Queegmire | June 6, 2008 4:17 PM

I agree with Dan Bertolet. Charles Mudede is a pretentious Mr. Dummy Stupid Head. Here's how I know for sure: If I can't understand what someone is trying to say, then of course it's that person who's the source of the failure to understand--not me.

In other words, it's not even remotely possible that I am a glue-sniffing hesher for failing to understand Mudede's recent attempts to tease philosophical interpretations out of Seattle's local architecture. Mudede obviously "doesn't know what he's talking about." It really is that simple.

So there!

Posted by Bellevue Hospital | June 6, 2008 4:21 PM

Everyone thinks you're an idiot Chaz, not just the white girls you hate so much.

Posted by left coast | June 6, 2008 4:27 PM

Well, I I'm a fan. Sign me up for the filter.

Posted by damnqueerfuck | June 6, 2008 4:30 PM

Charles -

You mean you COULDN'T care less, not COULD. You are a writer - get it right!

Posted by Blue Barberpole | June 6, 2008 5:51 PM

Oh come on, dude.

Someone disagreed with you on the internet, and made good points as to why.

I think you're mature enough to know that the option to directly confront this person through humble email is possible; that waving it around on a blog in which you take part to create the OMGZDRAMA is not the only way to feel vindicated.

Yes yes, what they said was blasphemous and needs to be corrected with righteous humiliation and name-calling, but it does nothing to improve your image to your fans by being the one to present for such a task. If someone's said something mean about you on the internet, you don't have to make a post about it and meticulously point out why each of their opinions are wrong, and how each of yours are godly and just.

I've personally taken to skimming (and usually skipping) over the Slog posts that I see are written by you, because it is usually only with your posts that I feel compelled to comment to in such a way.
Remind yourself that this is a blog with a very large audience, and some of us still critique the most beneficial and productive ways to handle situations, and do not always appreciate your wanking.

thank you.

Posted by morgi | June 6, 2008 5:52 PM

mudede's a dunce, it was the froebel blocks that inspired wright to be an architect. it was, "in his veins"

i have that on verification from his grandson.

Posted by holz | June 6, 2008 11:33 PM

Gotta go with the 'load of crap' theory.

Posted by serial catowner | June 7, 2008 5:38 AM


Please tell me the two of them are going to come to blows over this. Mudede would blather on and on about how the "coding" of his punch is going to express how intellectually insulted he is, and Bertolet would just shrug and kick him in the balls.

Posted by k | June 7, 2008 7:55 AM

Charles, I am intrigued by your points and I love that new building, if you want to call it that.

Posted by Deacon Seattle | June 7, 2008 11:45 AM

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