No Little Plans II

We dream of an economically vibrant and environmentally healthy region; one whose concentrated areas of activity enable people of complementary talents to achieve high levels of creativity and productivity; a region where all persons have ready access to jobs; to housing near their jobs, and to good schools and job training; a region in which people are enabled and encouraged to find nourishment in a diversity and complexity of persons, interests, and tastes, and to enjoy an exciting array of cultural, recreational, and intellectual opportunities; and, most important, a region that undergirds strong neighborhoods, communities, and families so that they are enabled to nurture the intellectual, moral, and social development of children.
Chicago Metropolis 2020

Chicago Metropolis 2020 is the successor to Daniel Burnham’s 1906 Plan of Chicago.  (see No Little Plans I) Both were sponsored by the Commercial Club of Chicago. But contrast the above statement to Burnham’s famous “Make no little plans, they have no power to stir men’s blood,” and you will start to understand how they are different—and how they are similar.

The above quotation sounds like it was written by committee. It was. Six committees actually, within the club, informed by innumerable other committees, companies, policy groups, etc, that take three more pages to list in the acknowledgments. Such is our diverse urban life these days. (BTW, there is an online version of the document as well, quite different.)

Burnham, in his day only had to worry about stirring the blood of men, and you can bet they were all white men as well, property owners and from western Europe. I doubt that the hoards of immigrants pouring in from Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, and a dozen other countries that fueled the engines of industry were asked what they thought, although they were very much supposed to be the beneficiaries of Burnham’s concern about green space and slums.

And who is supposed to be stirred by our contemporary committees?  Leafing through the book gives a quick impression.

Lots of cute little kids. The study addresses the issues of “public education and child care, transportation, land use and housing, governance and taxation, and economic well-being”, but it’s pretty clear the intended audience is a diverse one.

Here’s an idea of the type of graphics used.  Quite different from the uniform pastels of the Burnham Plan.

And what about Burnham’s encircling parks and green spaces? In the back of the book, almost as an afterthought, is a five page description of how an “intermodal village center” might work in the Chicago suburbs, based on the protected “green heart” area in the middle of four major Dutch cities. I always like these conceptual drawings in the back of urban planning books, they seem like they might spur much creative thought.

Posted in Architecture, Illinois. Comments Off on No Little Plans II

No Little Plans I

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.
—Daniel Burnham

Ah, the Burnham Plan.  More properly, the Plan of Chicago, first published by the Commercial Club of Chicago in 1909 in a limited edition of 1650 copies, then lovingly republished in 1993 as a reproduction. The followup document is Chicago Metropolis 2020, but more about that later.  You can read a scanned image of one of the original copies of the Burnham Plan in Google books, but then you will miss one of the most important parts of the book, if not the most important— how it looks and feels.

First the cover, as classic and black as the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and with gilded letters.

Then you open the book.  Handling the pages is a delight.  They’re thick, and an ivory color. Plenty of space is used for the illustrations.  Some pages are even blank—no rush to save money by crowding things together.

Burnham’s plan invokes the timelessness of Babylon, Egypt, Athens and Rome,  then the sophistication of city planning in Europe.

But mostly it’s a vision of “organic unity”

and the “Spirit of Chicago”.

A civic center for governmental activities was planned for west of the lakefront; today the University of Illinois stands on this spot.

The project was not commissioned by a governmental agency, but by the business leaders of the day.

“The Lakefront by right belongs to the people,” wrote Burnham.

I stopped short when I read that.  The book is full of purple prose, compound sentences, and phrases meant to be skimmed over, not parsed.  Then comes this  simple, clear statement about the lakefront. “Not a foot of its shores should be appropriated to the exclusion of the people.”

And that, in the end, is what Burnham is most remembered for, not just Chicago’s long, continuous, and public lakefront, but green space:  parks with lagoons, wide boulevards connecting the park systems, and forest  encircling the city.

I like this book, yes, and although it was quite expensive at the time (a paperback version is now available in time for the centennial), I have never considered reselling it. But you should see urban planning students with this book. Smitten, yes. I once saw a video a student had made superimposing Burnham’s drawings over a satellite image of the city. It was about a 1 minute tape, but they set it to loop and the other students watched it over and over for a good ten minutes.

Later:  The Commercial Club’s Chicago Metropolis 2020 in No Little Plans II

Posted in Architecture. Comments Off on No Little Plans I

Mecca goes Vegas

If you’re not Moslem, chances are you’ll never see the architectural wonders of Mecca.  The NYT has a short (7 photos) slideshow of the new and the old, including a tacky replica of London’s Big Ben, decked out in green Allah neon.

In a companion piece, the NYT also tracks the controversy over the latest architectural additions to the holy city: New Look for Mecca: Gargantuan and Gaudy.

It is an architectural absurdity. Just south of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Muslim world’s holiest site, a kitsch rendition of London’s Big Ben is nearing completion. Called the Royal Mecca Clock Tower, it will be one of the tallest buildings in the world, the centerpiece of a complex that is housing a gargantuan shopping mall, an 800-room hotel and a prayer hall for several thousand people. Its muscular form, an unabashed knockoff of the original, blown up to a grotesque scale, will be decorated with Arabic inscriptions and topped by a crescent-shape spire in what feels like a cynical nod to Islam’s architectural past. To make room for it, the Saudi government bulldozed an 18th-century Ottoman fortress and the hill it stood on. ….

“It is the commercialization of the house of God,” said Sami Angawi, a Saudi architect who founded a research center that studies urban planning issues surrounding the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, and has been one of the development’s most vocal critics. “The closer to the mosque, the more expensive the apartments. In the most expensive towers, you can pay millions” for a 25-year leasing agreement, he said. “If you can see the mosque, you pay triple.”

….[The construction boom — and the demolition that comes with it] has been facilitated by Saudi Arabia’s especially strict interpretation of Islam, which regards much history after the age of Muhammad, and the artifacts it produced, as corrupt, meaning that centuries-old buildings can be destroyed with impunity.

Contrast some building projects of the past, Frei Otto’s tent cities from the 70’s:

made up of collapsible lightweight structures inspired by the traditions of nomadic Bedouin tribes and intended to accommodate hajj pilgrims without damaging the delicate ecology of the hills that surround the old city.

and Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill’s Hajj terminal at King Abdul Aziz International Airport, completed in 1981:

A grid of more than 200 tentlike canopies supported on a system of steel cables and columns, it is divided into small open-air villages, where travelers can rest and pray in the shade before continuing their journey.

Some say the new construction will change the spiritual experience of the hajj as well.

…. Many people told me that the intensity of the experience of standing in the mosque’s courtyard has a lot to do with its relationship to the surrounding mountains. Most of these represent sacred sites in their own right and their looming presence imbues the space with a powerful sense of intimacy. But that experience, too, is certain to be lessened with the addition of each new tower, which blots out another part of the view. Not that there will be much to look at: many hillsides will soon be marred by new rail lines, roads and tunnels, while others are being carved up to make room for still more towers.

“The irony is that developers argue that the more towers you build the more views you have,” said Faisal al-Mubarak, an urban planner who works at the ministry of tourism and antiquities. “But only rich people go inside these towers. They have the views.”

[image: NYT]

Posted in Architecture, Islam. Comments Off on Mecca goes Vegas


Last week when I was at Taliesin, I was reminded that the Chicago Cultural Center downtown, aka the old library building, currently has a Sullivan exhibit.

Usually I try not to post imperfectly focused photos, but these were taken indoors without a tripod, and I have included any that give some idea of Sullivan’s style.

Posted in Architecture. Comments Off on Sullivan


Book sale

Yesterday I ended up at a couple of bookstores, and while I don’t usually blog about buying books, yesterday was just too much fun to keep to myself.

So here’s the list of what I scored:

Ruth Rendell, An Unkindness of Ravens (thanks, m-l)
Sara Paretsky, Bleeding Kansas
Dorothy Sayers, The Complete Stories
Roger Dixon and Stefan Muthesius, Victorian Architecture
Emil Kaufman, Architecture in the Age of Reason: Baroque and Post-Baroque in England, Italy, and France
Eight issues of The Tuilieries Brochures from 1931 and 1932 with outstanding photography:

French Architecture as Source Material
Provincial Architecture of Northern Franc
Some Small Houses from French Villages
Formal Design in Minor French Buildings (see Amazon listing)
Dijon–Capital of Burgundy
Saulieu of the Morvan
An Architect Revisits France
Falaise–The Heart of Normandy

L.C. Kalff, Creative Light
Arnold Lewis, American Victorian Architecture
The book division of the National Geographic Society, The Builders: Marvels of Engineering (1992 with the World Trade Center on the cover)

A little heavy on the architecture, yes.  I love looking at architecture books, but that’s not usually something I’m willing to spend money on.  But they all came from the dollar table at the Antiquarian’s book sale, and were 25% off to boot. How could I resist?

A nice assortment.  The first thing I started reading was the Rendell whodunit (or whydunit as the case may be).  From page two: “Joy Williams took him into the front room that she called the lounge.  There were no books.”  Somehow, you know this is not going to end well.

[The rest of the photos are clickable.]

Moving on to The Builders (1992), which I picked up because it had photos of pyramids, and bridges and cathedrals, on the front cover is a photo of the World Trade Center, with another inside.  These photos give me an odd moiré pattern when I look at them with various browsers, but are very nice viewed with zoom. And yes, I know they load slow, but they also have high resolution.

The cover photo is supposed to be “framed by an Alexander Calder sculpture”. Maybe World Trade Center Stabile (Bent Propeller)?–here are before and after pictures of the Calder sculpture.

[Note: the link is no longer working, but I will leave it up in case someone can find it in google cache–I have had no luck–or the wayback machine after a suitable amount of time has passed. In the meantime, no more Ms. Nice Guy with polite links to images of unknown copyright status.  Here are some images of the statue, if you see your image here leave a message and I will credit you.]

Creative Light is out of print.  This page demonstrates how light principles work in a church sanctuary.

And here is le Corbusier’s 1937 “brises soleil”  invention–facade of screens for protection from the sun (Ministry of Works, Rio de Janeiro).

Corb’s “Chapel of Ronchamp” uses semi-cylindrical towers to channel the light to the wall behind the altar.

His monastery at La Tourette uses “light cannons” to direct light.

The “Tulierries” pamphlet series has striking architectural photographs of various areas in France.  (And except for one or two issues, these are totally out of print and unobtainable.) This page is from Provincial Architecture of Northern France:

From Formal Design in Minor French Buildings:

Why again should we take French architecture of this particular period rather than that of an earlier time?  Precisely because the charm of the French Formal style depends upon intrinsic excellence of design rather than upon the charm of softening line and surface texture resulting ;from the decay of age as in the farmhouse type.  It is the spacing and  balance of the windows and their relation to the wall surface texture resulting from the decay of age as in the farmhouse typel  It is the spacing and balance of the wqindows and their relation to the wall surfaces that pleases us, not the irregularities of hand work.  The wall surfaces are as true as the machine-minded American workmen could make them; the lines of the ridge and the eave do not sag despondently.

In the last analysis is not this fad of living in imitation primitive farmhouses, surrounded carefully by all modern conveniences, a little ridiculous?”

Um, no.

But the photos are still incredible.

This one is from Some Small Houses From French Villages:

This type of photography simply doesn’t exist any more. Typically this type of photo was done with a 4X5 large format camera. In these days when the SLR has suddenly been replaced by the digital camera, who knows what the future of this type of photography will be.

As for the buildings, give me the key and I’ll be ready to move into any one of them.

Punch card

One of these photos is the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center, the other is an IBM punch card.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center at 71 W Van Buren Street in Chicago was designed by Harry Weese & Associates in 1975.

This looks like an example of Brutalism, which Weese was known for.  Brutalist architecture is characterized by blocky concrete buildings with repetitive angular geometries. The phrase was coined by Le Corbusier, who called it in French béton brut, or “raw concrete.”

This is not the only thing people have said looks like a punch card.  There is also Bicentennial Park at Ohio University designed by Maya Lin, and the Engineering Research Building at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The university where I grew up would throw away boxes and boxes of these cards; people used to make Christmas wreaths out of them, spray-painted gold.

Here’s also some tantalizing bits available in snippet view about Chicago architects that mentions the corrections building.

Pave Muromtsev Dacha, put up a parking lot

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parkin’ lot
–Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

The following is a transcript, via Google Translate, of the March 16th  Russian language interview with Nikolai Boldyrev about the destruction of the historic Muromtsev Dacha in Moscow, apparently with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Moscow authorities working with “developers” who want to turn the area into a parking lot. A parking lot.  Seriously.

Wouldn’t the building itself have some value as a tourist draw? Studiolum says the dacha was “the last building of a suburban – podmoskovnoe – dacha settlement established back in the 19th century on a radiating ground plan conceived in the spirit of Ruskinian “communal settlements”. ”

For more about the destruction and the historical significance of this building, see Studiolum’s The House that did not exist, The house that does not exist anymore, and Landscape after battle . Also the museum on Wikipedia, an interesting discussion thread at Languagehat’s “The Muromtsev Dacha”, and a video of the destruction.

In 2001, when the Taliban blew up the 1700 year old Bamiyan Buddhas, the world was appalled.  The cliff statues weren’t just the cultural heritage of Afghanistan, they belonged to the world and to future generations.

Now the Moscow government is destroying the cultural heritage of the Russian people, but this time it isn’t about religion, it’s about money. As a non-Russian speaker, it’s hard for me to evaluate the value of the journals, books, sketches, and papers of Russian literary figures destroyed at the Muromtsev Dacha museum,  but it’s inconceivable to me that a city the size and importance of Moscow would not have a plan to safeguard its literary heritage (not to mention the occupants of the museum!) and that it would be unwilling and unable to work with existing citizens’ groups who are willing to lend free expertise and advice, or that there would not be wealthy patrons willing to lend their support.

But it’s worse than that.  The destruction of Muromtsev Dacha is not isolated. According to the St. Petersburg Times, it’s only one of a series of Moscow arsons committed against historically protected buildings that are in prime real estate areas: last month a listed building on Potapovsky Pereulok close to Chistiye Prudy, the month before that, Dom Bykova, one of Moscow’s finest examples of Art Nouveau, near Mayakovskaya metro station. Other notable Moscow fires include the Central Manezh Exhibition Hall near Red Square and the private residence of neoclassical architect Matvei Kazakov.

Image credits: Cats at dacha window by doroti danini.  Dacha site satellite image superimposed with numbered plots from Архнадзор.

*translation notes sent by a reader


From OBSCHEROSSIYSKAYA DAILY NEWSPAPER (JOURNALS “NO”). (Russian follows.)  [*The title of the newspaper is not ЕЖЕДНЕВНАЯ ОБЩЕРОССИЙСКАЯ ГАЗЕТА / OBSCHEROSSIYSKAYA DAILY NEWSPAPER – which only means “Russian daily newspaper” – but NOVAYA IZVESTIYA.]

(A second, earlier  piece follows this one, but even more difficult to read, about the women injured and hospitalized during the destruction of the museum.)

March 16, 2010
“Against us committed criminal offenses”
“NO” talked with his father Anfisa Boldyrev, [*the father of Anfisa Boldyrev, who was] beaten by police during the demolition of the house-museum in Tsaritsyno
ALESYA Lonskaya

March 7 this year on the orders of the prefecture of the Southern Administrative District (SAD) was demolished house-museum on the site of the former summer residences of the first chairman of the State Duma Sergei Muromtseva in Tsaritsyno. Until recently, this house was inhabited by six families. Residents staged a folk museum where the writer Benedict Erofeev, held a cultural evening and tried to formalize the barracks in the property. But the authorities before the court acknowledged that the facility is occupied illegally. Two months before the demolition, January 3, house-museum set on fire. Nearly a dozen people yesterday applied to the Investigation Department of UPC Moscow. One of the residents of the house-museum Nikolai Boldyrev, whose dwelling together with all the equipment was destroyed and whose daughter was beaten during the demolition of the police, gave an interview to “NO”.

– Have you started on the tribunal claim for recognition of ownership of the house. But the house is no longer …

I think that it will be closed, because the object of the dispute is lost (at the time of signing of this issue the court’s decision was not yet known. – “NO”). In place of the house is now plain, littered with old bricks and cladding tile stoves end of XIX century. And I’m talking to you, standing in line at the prosecutor’s office.

– Why did you come to the prosecutor?

– We are sitting here man 25 witnesses. Each writes from a statement of misconduct by law enforcement officers and the prefecture of the Southern District. With the demolition of homes, we have not shown any document, they said that this operation is the removal of rubble, but the paper on the removal of “garbage” is not shown. Apparently, this document does not at all, they are all referred to the oral order. Ask: “Whose?” Answer: “It does not matter.” Against us is committed criminal offenses – such as the intentional destruction of property, personal injury (beaten by police Boldyreva Anfisa daughter is in hospital. – “NO”). After the fire two months we have saved the museum exhibits, and from their apartments did not have time to pull out because they were confident that we can hold up to heat.

– Who destroyed your property?

– At seven in the morning broke off the house and gave it to the plundering of the so-called employees of public utilities: are migrants who speak little in Russian.  I’ve talked with one and found out that they had it was subbotnik**, and they do not pay for it, they were told: all that you find in the house – will be yours. They drove the “Gazelle”, loaded our belongings there, and we kept police cordon and were not allowed there.  This is a horror when you see 50 people in orange jackets who scavenge in your pictures, in photos of your children, your great-grandfather …

[subbotnik**: Studiolum says “Ah, субботник, sweet subbotnik! This word evokes the memory of those glorious times, when работа, work was still дело чести и долга, matter of honor and duty, and brigades organized themselves to keep working unpaid on суббота, the weekend (lit. Saturday).
…that is, Sabbath. In Hungarian it unfortunately did not have such a perfectly sounding name: it was rather called “Communist shift”.]

– What are the valuables were buried under the rubble?

– I had a unique library with books of the XIX century. The collection of his high-school textbooks beginning of XX century … a few pictures, decorations to his grandfather – he had many awards, he went to Berlin. The collection was a samovar. Ancient icons.

– And what was saved?

– We pulled out the manuscript Erofeev, books Muromtseva. As luck, two months after the fire was cold. And there were snowfalls. Some of the rescued things we just had nowhere to put, we have adapted a shed under defrost. Basically trying to save a unique book. For example, a set of laws Russia Empire.

– The representative of the prefecture of SAD at the end of last week described you as the illegal invaders 600 “delicious” square meters in Tsaritsyno, although you supposedly have two apartments.

– Two flats we have not. All our great semeika spelled out in Zelenograd in the apartment area of 40 square meters. And for us there nine people. We just saved and joined the museum, which have created. A claim of ownership was fed by six families who lived in this house. Our family is doing the same 40 meters.

– Where are the six families who filed lawsuits?

– In the three families have housing, they live at his residence. But even three families have nowhere to live, they wander on to friends and acquaintances. We will seek justice, and it is not in material values. We live without things, and it’s all nonsense.  The main thing – a lost cultural environment … I have five children, now would be the sixth. I have no right to despair.

– In Moscow lost with this house?

– Our house was open to all.  Moscow lost in the first few thousand loyal citizens who came to this house, there were sewing costumes for the dance, staged literary and musical evenings.  That youth, and older people who have been spit on politics. They were engaged in creative work on a piece of land. Now these people became the opposition government.

– Why do you call a living museum exhibit?

– Do you imagine: a piece of paper hanging on the wall at this leaf Yerofeyev were written some lines. And where they come from? When he fell ill with cancer, after surgery, he lost his voice. He came to visit us, we talked, and he wrote us in response to handle. Or hanging on the wall of binoculars. And I can tell you that Yerofeeva the apartment was visible two wine shop, and he looked, what they give to each shop (laughs). Binoculars Yerofeyev used to determine the range of wine and vodka products in the period of alcohol crisis.


16 Марта 2010 г. «Против нас совершили уголовные преступления»«НИ» поговорили с отцом Анфисы Болдыревой, избитой милицией при сносе дома-музея в Царицыно

До недавнего времени этот дом населяли шесть семей. Жильцы устроили там народный музей писателя Венедикта Ерофеева, проводили культурные вечера и пытались оформить барак в собственность. Но власти еще до решения суда признали, что объект занят незаконно. За два месяца до сноса, 3 января, дом-музей подожгли. Почти полтора десятка человек вчера подали заявления в следственное управление СКП по Москве. Один из жителей дома-музея Николай БОЛДЫРЕВ, чье жилище вместе со всем имуществом было уничтожено и чью дочь во время сноса избили милиционеры, дал интервью «НИ».

– У вас начался суд по иску о признании права собственности на часть дома. Но дома уже нет…

– Да, суд состоится. – Yes, the court held. Я думаю, что он будет закрыт, потому что объект спора утерян (на момент подписания этого номера решение суда еще не было известно. – «НИ»). На месте дома теперь равнина, где валяются старинные кирпичи и облицовка изразцовых печей конца XIX века. А я сейчас разговариваю с вами, стоя в очереди в прокуратуру.

– Зачем вы пришли в прокуратуру?

– Нас тут человек 25 сидят свидетелей. Каждый пишет от себя заявление о неправомерных действиях сотрудников правоохранительных органов и префектуры Южного округа. При сносе дома нам не показали ни одного документа, они говорили, что это операция по вывозу строительного мусора, но бумаги о вывозе «мусора» не показали. Судя по всему, этого документа нет вообще, они все ссылались на устное распоряжение. Спрашиваем: «Чье?» Отвечают: «Не важно». Против нас совершили уголовные преступления – в частности, умышленное уничтожение имущества, причинение вреда здоровью (избитая милиционерами дочь Болдырева Анфиса находится в больнице. – «НИ»). После пожара мы два месяца спасали музейные экспонаты, а из своих квартир ничего не успели вытащить, потому что были уверены, что дотянем до тепла.

– Кто уничтожил ваше имущество?

– В семь утра в выходной разломали дом и отдали его на разграбление так называемым сотрудникам коммунальных служб: это мигранты, плохо говорящие по-русски. Я там с одним поговорил и выяснил, что у них это был субботник, и им за это не заплатили, им сказали: все, что вы найдете в доме, – будет вашим. Они подгоняли «Газели», грузили туда наше имущество, а нас держало милицейское оцепление и не пускало туда. Это какой-то ужас, когда ты видишь 50 человек в оранжевых куртках, которые роются в твоих фотографиях, в фотографиях твоих детей, твоего прадеда…

– Какие ценные вещи были погребены под обломками?

– У меня была уникальная библиотека с книгами XIX века. Коллекция гимназических учебников начала XX века… Несколько картин, боевые награды деда – у него много наград, он дошел до Берлина. Коллекция самоваров была. Старинные иконы.

– А что удалось спасти?

– Мы вытащили рукописи Ерофеева, книжки Муромцева. Как назло, два месяца после пожара было холодно. И были снегопады. Часть спасенных вещей нам просто некуда было класть, мы одну бытовку приспособили под разморозку. В основном пытались спасать уникальные книжки. Например, свод законов Российской империи.

– Представительница префектуры ЮАО в конце минувшей недели охарактеризовала вас как незаконных захватчиков 600 «лакомых» квадратных метров в Царицыно, хотя у вас якобы есть две квартиры.

– Двух квартир у нас нет. Вся наша семейка огромная прописана в Зеленограде в квартире площадью 40 квадратных метров. Мы просто сохраняли и пополняли музей, который создали сами. И нас там девять человек. А иск на право собственности подавался от шести семей, которые жили в этом доме. Наша семья там занимала те же 40 метров.

– Где сейчас шесть семей, которые подавали иски?

– У троих семей есть жилье, они живут по месту прописки. Но еще трем семьям негде жить, они скитаются по друзьям и знакомым. Мы будем добиваться справедливости, и дело не в материальных ценностях. Мы живем без вещей, и это все ерунда. Главное – потерянная культурная среда… У меня пятеро детей, сейчас шестой будет. Я не имею права отчаиваться.

– Что потеряла Москва вместе с этим домом?

– Наш дом был открыт для всех. Москва потеряла в первую очередь несколько тысяч лояльных граждан, которые приходили в этот дом, шили там костюмы для танцев, устраивали литературные и музыкальные вечера. Это и молодежь, и пожилые люди, которым было плевать на политику.  Они занимались созидательным трудом на кусочке земли. Теперь эти люди стали оппозицией власти.

– Почему вас называют живым музейным экспонатом?

– А вы представьте: висит листок бумаги на стене, на этом листике Ерофеевым были написаны какие-то строчки. А откуда они взялись? Когда он заболел раком, после операции он потерял голос.  Он приходил к нам в гости, мы говорили, а он в ответ писал нам ручкой.  Или висит на стене бинокль. И я могу рассказать, что у Ерофеева из квартиры было видно два винных магазина, и он смотрел, что дают в каждом магазине (смеется). Бинокль использовался Ерофеевым для определения ассортимента вино-водочных товаров в период алкогольного кризиса.


The following is an earlier article from the OBSCHEROSSIYSKAYA DAILY NEWSPAPER  ( “NO”)[*The title of the newspaper is not ЕЖЕДНЕВНАЯ ОБЩЕРОССИЙСКАЯ ГАЗЕТА / OBSCHEROSSIYSKAYA DAILY NEWSPAPER – which only means “Russian daily newspaper” – but NOVAYA IZVESTIYA.], also via Google Translate, that frankly doesn’t scan at all in English.  The only thing I can make out is that two women were thrown from the second floor to the first floor of the dacha and that they were both hospitalized with concussions. Pasting the translations results in the original language mouseovers being incorporated into the text; I haven’t take the time to separate them as it’s equally  hard to read either way.

two women were thrown”..this is the classic case of passive voice used in exactly the place where you want to be able to say WHO threw the women.  But who were they? I can’t read what’s on their jackets.


12 Марта 2010 г. March 12, 2010

«У них был шок» “They had a shock”

Девушек, жестоко избитых милицией при сносе «дачи Муромцева», «НИ» нашли в больнице The girls were brutally beaten by police during the demolition of “giving Muromtseva”, “NOR” found in hospital

Алеся ЛОНСКАЯ, Нуне ЕГЯН, Василий ВАСЮКОВ Ales Lonskaya, Nune EGYAN, Vasily Vasyukov

Former summer residence of the first chairman of the State Duma Sergei Muromtseva demolished, showed no relevant documents. Много лет в этом здании живет семья Болдыревых, которая в скором времени собиралась отстаивать в суде свое право собственности на часть дома. Many years in this house lives a family Boldyrev, which soon was going to defend in court its right to ownership of the house. Однако дачу уничтожили, несмотря на то, что суд пока даже не состоялся. However, the cottage was destroyed, despite the fact that the court has not even taken place. Историческое строение защищали более 50 активистов. The historic building protected more than 50 activists.

Анфису Болдыреву и Лилю Бурганову милиционеры избили, когда ворвались в дом. Anfisa Boldyrev and Lily Burganova police beat, when broke into the house. Из милицейского автобуса вышли больше 10 человек в касках. From a police bus went more than 10 people in helmets. Девушки находились на втором этаже, где после пожара отсутствует лестница, и милиционеры просто сбросили их вниз, на первый этаж, а потом поволокли на улицу, выворачивая руки, и швырнули на землю. The girls were on the second floor, where, after a fire there is no ladder, and the policemen just threw them down on the first floor, then dragged into the street, twisting his hands and threw him to the ground. «Пострадали и другие люди, просто некогда им ходить по врачам. “Injured and other people simply have no time for them to go to doctors. Может быть, кто-то еще потом сообщит о побоях, – рассказывает «НИ» Александра Черняк, бывшая жительница дачи Муромцева. Maybe someone else then tell of beatings, – says “NO” Alexander Cherniak, a former resident of Cottage Muromtseva. – Всех парней увезли в милицию, где им потом сказали, что «это вы к нам в гости пришли, а мы вас не забирали». – All the guys were taken to the police station, where they were then told that “it is you to come visit us, and we have not taken away.” Девушкам мы вызвали «скорую». The girls we called an ambulance. У них был шок, и они просто не чувствовали боли». They had a shock, and they just do not feel pain. “

Обе девушки находятся в Боткинской больнице. Both girls are in the Botkin Hospital. У Лилии Бургановой сотрясение мозга, а вывихнутая рука – синего цвета от кисти до локтя. We Lilies Burganova concussion, a dislocated arm – blue from wrist to elbow. Бедро тоже все в гематомах. The thigh also all hematomas. Анфиса Болдырева тоже лежит с сотрясением, помимо этого у нее ушибы ребер и грудной клетки. Anfisa too Boldyreva lies with concussion, in addition, she has bruises ribs and chest.

«Во время сноса дома оперуполномоченный Лазарев угрожал нам, толкал людей, моего отца скинул с «КамАЗа». “During the demolition of the house detective Lazarev threatened us, pushing people, my father took off with” KAMAZ “. Он называл нас рейдерами и клоунами, требовал вынести из бани все вещи, иначе, говорил, «я сейчас психану и прикажу сломать», хотя баня вообще не относится к дому. He called us raiders and clowns, demanded from the bath to make all things differently, saying, “I now psihanu and order break down, although the bath does not apply to the house. Но ее тоже сломали. But it also broke. Теперь мы должны были писать показания на имя его начальника Антипова. Now we had to write statements in the name of his chief Antipova. Мы постоянно чувствовали давление на нас со стороны Антипова, лично от него слышали угрозы», – рассказывает «НИ» Анфиса Болдырева. We always felt the pressure on us from Antipov, personally heard from him a threat “, – says” NO “Anfisa Boldyrev.

«По-хамски во время сноса никто себя не вел, милиционеры старались отгородить людей, чтобы они не пострадали, – объяснил нам действия правоохранителей начальник пресс-службы УВД Южного округа Москвы Валерий Бузовкин. “In boorishly during the demolition of one himself did not conduct, the police tried to isolate people so that they have not suffered, – explained to us of the law enforcement chief of the press service of the ATC for the Southern District of Moscow Valery Buzovkin. – Две дамы обратились через день, что они якобы пострадали от действий милиционеров. – Two ladies called one day that they allegedly suffered from the actions of policemen. По этому поводу сотрудниками инспекции по личному составу ГУВД Москвы проводится служебная проверка, результаты которой будут переданы в прокуратуру». In this regard, the inspection staff for personnel of the Moscow police official investigation is conducted, the results of which will be referred to prosecutors. Г-н Бузовкин не согласен с версией о том, что милиционеры не представлялись и не показывали удостоверений: «А кому их было показывать? Mr. BUZOVKIN not agree with the version that the police did not present and did not show identity: “And who was their show? Я был там и не видел, чтобы кто-то просил». I was there and saw that someone asked. “

Falling down bridge

The Minneapolis bridge that collapsed in August of 2007 has been completely removed and replaced.  Here is a view of the rebuilt bridge from 1) the Plymouth street bridge directly to the south (downriver) 2) the Seven Corners entrance ramp to northbound 35W and 3) the Stone Bridge upriver.

from plymouth st bridge

entrance to bridge

The small bridgelike structure in front is part of a lock.  River traffic enters the lock on the right beyond the pier-like structure with the yellow end.

bridge and lock

Posted in Architecture. Comments Off on Falling down bridge

Poem Bridge at Dusk

The Irene Hixon Whitney bridge in Minneapolis has a poem written on the upper beams.

Not satisfied with seeing photographs of the poem itself, I had to go to the bridge and try to interact with it, as I like to do with public art.

The bridge itself crosses I-94 near downtown Minneapolis, a busy highway with three or four lanes going in each direction. I went at dusk and took a video with a handheld camera. I wasn’t real happy with the film–I wasn’t walking slow enough to read the poem on film–but if anyone is really interested, I can post it later.

I started on the sculpture garden end, next to the the spoon (Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden next to the Walker Art Center).  The cherry was controversial when it first appeared, but it is certainly popular with the public, which can’t seem to stop photographing it.

spoon sculpture

For those who don’t like bridges, the bridge itself is not comfortable.

A portion of the poem can be seen in the upper left corner.

The words of the poem:

And now I cannot remember how I would
have had it. It is not a conduit (confluence?) but a place.
The place, of movement and an order.
The place of old order.
But the tail end of the movement is new.
Driving us to say what we are thinking.
It is so much like a beach after all, where you stand
and think of going no further.
And it is good when you get to no further.
It is like a reason that picks you up and
places you where you always wanted to be.
This far, it is fair to be crossing, to have crossed.
Then there is no promise in the other.
Here it is. Steel and air, a mottled presence,
small panacea
and lucky for us.
And then it got very cool.

John Ashbery

Here is a link to a slide show of the poem.

2 bicycle on bridge

The other end of the bridge connects to Loring Park.  On the right is the Walker Art Center.

3 walker art center

Loring Park used to have a reputation for being rough, and as an eighteen year old college student, I certainly avoided it. Later, in the late 70’s, my straight male friends reported it was a very aggressive and uncomfortable gay pickup spot. It looks deserted now.

4 loring park

The bridge itself is supposed to have three prototypical bridge elements: a suspension element, a post element that the suspension part attaches to, and an arch element.  One of the arches is visible here, along with one of the posts.

6 bridge span

But forget the bridge.  I want to hang out around the cherry. Water sprayed from the top of the cherry makes it wet and shiny. The cherry from the north west:

7spoon from north

The cherry from the west:

8 spoon from west

Even more people show up to photograph the cherry.

10 spoon after dark with tourists

No post is complete without a toad.  Here is a Minneapolis Sculpture Garden toad, completely unafraid of the human feet walking a few inches away from it, and apparently well-fed.

11 toad