Especially evocative of the past is the Xystus complex (pp. 270-1) at the eastern end of Inter-Junction City, in which subtle veils of translucent polycarbonate have been used to give a reassuring modesty and shelter to residential thresholds, while infusing the entire street with mystery and surprise. From every point one can survey clues about hundreds of appealing destinations and encounters, along trails that lead off in varied directions and reappear across the street in facing apartments with their own inviting places and routes.
But these incidents are sufficiently blurred so that the future remains somewhat clouded, invested with doubt and adventure. The nebulous maze does not present a fixed drama at which to gaze passively, but a drama in which we are meant to participate. As we assess and manoeuvre among these prospects, it is we, rather than the building, that become the centre of dramatic attention.
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What is of utmost human importance in Yamamoto’s decorating, including his designs for Saitama Prefectural University and Future University Hakodate, stems less from physical things than from forces awaiting each person to set them in motion. Attention has shifted to action rather than finished form, and its experience is almost the accidental concatenation of its parts. Occupants and visitors alike are drawn into a state of becoming, defining and creating themselves in action, where the end is always unknown. This kind of ever-present future is expressed more eloquently by William Carlos Williams: The virtue of it all is in an.
Suggested in Yamamoto’s work, as well as in that of Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, Louis I. Kahn, Herman Hertzberger, Grafton Architects and Maurice Smith, is a more generous form that our buildings and cities could take if we wished them to become places of inexhaustible opportunity. This freedom is not exercised through aimless or happy-go-lucky behaviour, but with inner direction, alert at every moment to alternatives and contrary desires, as new options are brought into view along the way. In doing so, people are repeatedly brought back to life as powers in space, living forces given the chance to initiate a wealth of acts placed firmly under their own control, with outcomes and deeds they care about, confirming over and again their basic existence as human beings.
I never gave much thought to historic homes and their significance. I was used to seeing the pioneer homes in Utah, but to me it seemed like most of them were either in downtown areas of the smaller cities and being used as run-down rentals or in the super-exclusive avenues section of Salt Lake City.
There wasn't a lot of in-between for these homes, and since I didn't really know anyone in either of those places, I just didn't spend time around them. I grew up hearing the stories of the people of this time and their lives and accomplishments but didn't really stop to think about their immediate surroundings, their day-to-day routines, or their homes. I have always been fascinated by the 1800s. It was such an incredible century of transformation for America and the world. I'm sure that everyone through history tends to romanticize the past and I guess I'm no different. I'm not saying I'd like to have lived then, by any means; I really do enjoy my Bluetooth headphones.