[Ebook] Los Angeles The Architecture of Four Ecologies By Reyner Banham – serv3.3pub.co.uk

[Ebook] Los Angeles The Architecture of Four Ecologies By Reyner Banham – serv3.3pub.co.uk [BOOKS] ✪ Los Angeles The Architecture of Four Ecologies Author Reyner Banham – Serv3.3pub.co.uk Reyner Banham examined the built environment of Los Angeles in a way no architectural historian before him had done looking with fresh eyes at its manifestations of popular taste and industrial ingenu The Architecture MOBI ó Reyner Banham examined the built environment of Los Angeles in a way no architectural historian before him had done looking Los Angeles PDF or with fresh eyes at its manifestations of popular taste and industrial ingenuity as well as its traditional modes of residential and Angeles The Architecture MOBI í commercial building His construct of four ecologies examined the ways Angelenos relate to the beach Angeles The Architecture of Four MOBI :ç the freeways the flatlands and the Angeles The Architecture of Four MOBI :ç foothills Banham delighted in this mobile city and identified it as an exemplar of the posturban future.


10 thoughts on “Los Angeles The Architecture of Four Ecologies

  1. Adam Adam says:

    I read this in the midst of a bout of terrible crippling nostalgia for LA after having to leave the city in late 2012 for grad school I think it's somewhat of a literary trope about LA that people love it despite the fact that they really aren't supposed to Honestly the kind of love people like Reyner Banham and I have for LA just doesn't add up You spend most of your time in awful traffic on terrible old freeways to navigate a grotesue suburban sprawl that paradoxically features almost nowhere to park the job you can't find does nothing to help you meet the absurd costs of living it's the exemplar of hyperbolic consumer culture global warming has turned good weather into one thing to which the wealthy westsiders lay exclusive claim and the whole city is an architectural and urban planning disaster And yet Reyner Banham was a distinguished architectural critic who professed an unabashed love for the city If you are not familiar with the technical vocabulary of architecture as I wasn't when I read this you will find some of it a bit confusing but Banham was clearly writing with a wider audience in mind so you'll get enough out of it as I sure did His love for the city really comes through in the prose and that makes it a real joy to read even if you don't always know what he's going on about His sudden uncharacteristically dismissive attitude toward downtown is hilarious I wonder what he would say about its current comebackA nice supplement to the book is an old BBC I think special featuring him driving around LA listening to an eight track in his car I first saw it on YouTube but I've noticed it comes and goes It even features his own nerdy narration I recommend this book to anyone interested in architecture or anyone who's feelin' nostalgic about good ol' LA


  2. J. J. says:

    Nicely thought out a serious analysis of the non urban Urban Center without a center that is LA Or was LA Necessarily compartmentalized Banham's study takes an unrelated set of parameters and relates them from an overhead perspective on history development design influences What are now a deeply tangled set of cultural aspects were a little less so in 1971 when this was published So something of a time capsule but one that looks imaginatively toward the future too It's not really fair to look at 2009 Los Angeles and pronounce judgements on Banham's vision; but it's fair to say that his optimistic and buoyant post urban parsing of the course ahead hasn't evolved uite as he foresaw so long ago Banham wanted to lay the foundation it would seem for the new direction in The American Lifestyle it's minimum reuirements glories idiosyncracies conveniences and goals But he pictures a world of wonder a sunny urban encyclopedia accessible by friendly freeway off ramp to each fortunate smiling everyman of the future From the intriguing buildings of RM Schindler to the cartoon drive in schlock Banham seems to have counted it all as fairly benevolent a wealth of profuse intermingling leading to an unpredictable if inevitable synthesis that would gel sometime in the future His vision of Autopia however must leave the contemporary reader mystified The banks and cuttings of the freeways are often the only topographical features of note in the townscape and the planting on their slopes can make a contribution to the local environment that outweighs the disturbances caused by their construction Surely even thirty eight years ago the insight of this statement must have been fairly shallow Further the actual experience of driving on the freeways prints itself deeply on the conscious mind and unthinking reflexes As you acuire the special skills involved the Los Angeles freeways become a special way of being alive which can be duplicated on other systems but not with this totality and extremityLA was always a vast epicurean Doughnut and Hole experience though so Banham can't really be faulted for a smart if otherwise all doughnut perspective To his credit he's a shrewd judge of individual projects and architecture rendering certain aspects of the city in the making with deft critical detail It's on the Urban Planning And Design side where he might've wanted to hedge his bets a little broadly Absolutely pick this up if you live in Los Angeles It's a hard city to read maybe not a city at all and any solid attempt at getting an overall picture is a worthwhile one Just maybe the urban center without a center IS a doughnut after allAs those post ironists in Randy Newman's band will tell anyone who asks LA We love it


  3. Suzanne Suzanne says:

    Something of an artifact a little bit dated 43 years after publication since things don’t exactly stand still around here but still a good resource for the student of Southern California history Non academic and entertaining this one considers the area and its architecture from a slightly different angle than most books of this sort looking at the “four ecologies” of the beaches the foothills the flatlands and the freeways as the major influences on the built environment and development of Los Angeles Loved the chapters on all the great buildings which seemed to concentrate on the international modern and mid century the abundance of great pictures throughout and the rich bibliography which will have me adding even books to my already groaning TBR list Fun too to recognize a picture of a mid century bank building located 3 blocks from where I grew up knowing that just outside the right of the frame on the adjacent side street was a little medical building that used to house my mom’s OB’s office the doctor who delivered both me and my sister


  4. Nat Nat says:

    Banham talks about the difference between the well balanced meal of a hamburger you can eat with one hand and the kind that come ornamentally disassembled Here's what he says about the latterAssembled with proper care it can be a work of visual art as well; indeed it must be considered as visual art first and foremost since some components are present in too small a uantity generally to make a significant gustatory as opposed to visual contribution for instance the seemingly mandatory ring of red dyed apple which does a lot for the eye as a foil to the general greenery of the salads but precious little for the palate p93 I've never gotten a ring of red dyed apple with a burger Is this some kind of mid century weirdness?Banham could have profitably used terminology from Learning from Las Vegas in describing the difference between Jack in the Boxes decorated sheds and buildings like the Brown Derby buildings as signs p94 if Learning from Las Vegas had been written yet I didn't realize that dingbat was a term for a type of apartment building rather than the little ornaments that those buildings usually have stuck on them p157There are what look like two arguments against driverless cars on p202 that go as follows 1 The marginal gains in efficiency of automation might be offset by the psychological deprivations caused by destroying the residual illusions of free decision and driving skill present in the current non driverless arrangement 1C So we shouldn't automate driving2 The million or so human minds at large on the freeway system comprise a far greater computing capacity than could be built into any machine currently conceivable this was in 1971 but presumably this is still true 2C Therefore why not put the greater computing capacity to work by fostering the illusion that it is in charge of the situation?Neither argument is very good Hippie LA girls sitting outside something called Color Me Aardvark which gets zero google hits are the Angeleno euivalent of Cockneys p217Wagner's Los AngelesZweimillionenstadt in Sudkalifornien from 1935 sounds super geil Should try to track down a copy


  5. Aatif Rashid Aatif Rashid says:

    Though a little dated now his chapter on freeways and traffic especially so it's an illuminating futurist architect's appraisal of Los Angeles as an ideal postmodern city full of witty insights and the kind of light beautiful 1960s prose that non fiction books these days in their uest for directness have lost I think people still cling to conservative views of what a city should look like and even if you don't live in LA Banham's book can help you appreciate modernist architecture and will give you a interesting vision of the exuberant optimism of the mid 20th century“The motor age from the mid twenties onwards again tended to confirm the going patter and the freeway network that now traverses the city which has since added major aerospace industries to its economic armory conspicuously parallels the five first railways out of the pueblo Indeed the freeways seem to have fixed Los Angeles in canonical and monumental form much as the great streets of Sixtus V fixed Baroue Rome or the Grand Travaux of Baron Haussman fixed the Paris of la belle epoue Whether you regard them as crowns of thorns or chaplets of laurels the freeways are what the tutelary deity of the City of Angeles should wear upon her head instead of the mural crowns sported by civic goddesses of old”


  6. Casey Schreiner Casey Schreiner says:

    Hands down one of the best books about LA I've ever read Whether or not you agree with Banham's predictions and analysis it's fantastic food for thought and an absolute must read for anyone who loves to hate or hates to love Los Angeles


  7. Andrea Andrea says:

    Mr Banham completely ignores all dynamics of poverty and racism in LA which makes his book rather like an amputated limb analyzed at a great distance from both its body and the mob of wealthy LA boosters including Banham himself who removed it with a blunt axe There are some insights and it is both eminently readable in fact its exaggerations and over the topness contribute to this and full of pictures But all in all it is infuriating and just plain wrong often than not I do like the idea of LA design urbanism and architecture as the language of movement To some extent this is true as Banham writes One can most properly begin by learning the local language; and the language of design architecture and urbanism in Los Angeles is the language of movement Mobility outweighs monumentality there to a uniue degree as Richard Austin Smith pointed out in a justly famous article in 1965 and the city will never be fully understood by those who cannot move fluently through its diffuse urban texture cannot go with the flow of its unprecedented life So like earlier generations of English intellectuals who taught themselves Italian in order to read Dante in the original I learned to drive in order to read Los Angeles in the original What I find significant however is that this is not true of everything and everybody aside from how often the freeways completely cease to move at all and the most common perception of LA is being stuck This shows how the city has become a failure of movement but perhaps in 1971 this failure wasn't entirely apparent But importantly whole sections of the city were intentionally left out of this movement freeways facilitated movement above and around the 'ghettos' leaving them out of sight out of mind And it's residents most without cars are left outside of this life of the city and according to Banham thereby unable to understand it I think this is an important insight but one I have extrapolated as Banham never makes this connection Even when he highlights in a most racist pun which I find rather unforgiveable only 6 years after the Watts riotsAnd with the beginning of the sixties and the passing away of the last PE connexions no place was strategically ill placed for anything as the freeways with their different priorities threaded across the plains and left Watts always on one side Whatever else has ailed Watts and it is black on practically every map of disadvantages its isolation from transportation contributes to everyone of its misfortunesIn his division of LA into 4 ecologies he looks at Surfurbia the Foothills Autopia andI still cannot uite get my head around this the plains of Id He writes The world's image of Los Angeles as opposed to its images of component parts like Hollywood or Malibu is of an endless plain endlessly gridded with endless streets peppered endlessly with tickytacky houses clustered in indistinguishable neighbourhoods slashed across by endless freeways that have destroyed any community spirit that may once have existed and so on endlessly Statistically and superficially this might be a fair picture if Los Angeles consisted only of the problem areas of the City proper the small percentage of the total metropolis that urban alarmists delight to dwell upon But even though it is an untrue picture on any fair assessment of the built structure and the topography of the Greater Los Angeles area there is a certain underlying psychological truth about it in terms of some of the most basic and unlovely but vital drives of the urban psychology of Los Angeles the flat plains are indeed the heartlands of the city's Id 79 These central flatlands are where the crudest urban lusts and most fundamental aspirations are created manipulated and with luck satisfied How easy to write off the problem areas of the City proper even though hundreds of thousands of people inhabit them And don't get me started on the age old exploitative connections between poor people Black and brown people and the satisfaction of white lusts and working out of unbridled desires Such a labelling represents the projection of fear and desire onto a population from the outside not the reality of life from within these communities Ghettos represent much than the contained repository for the Id of the white and wealthy Though perhaps Banham is talking about any and all communities built onto the flatlands as his vast map indicates But to group all of these areas together even in the simple terms of architecture seems a gross simplificationI will end with Banham's own overblown claims which at this point in time seem faintly ridiculous There is much to learn from LA but that it is a healthy and vibrant metropolis which should serve as a model seems very much in doubt That he could believe it to be so so soon after the Watts riots is in itself ridiculous unless he was impressed with how easily and geographically the complaints of the poor were contained On the other hand there are many who do not wish to read the book and would like to prevent others from doing so; they have soundly based fears about what might happen if the secrets of the Southern Californian metropolis were too profanely opened and made plain Los Angeles threatens the intellectual repose and professional livelihood of many architects artists planners and environmentalists because it breaks the rules of urban design that they promulgate in works and writings and teach to their students In so far as Los Angeles performs the functions ofa great city in terms of size cosmopolitan style creative energy international influence distinctive way of life and corporate personality to the extent that Los Angeles has these ualities then to that same extent all the most admired theorists of the present century from the Futurists and Le Corbusier to Jane Jacobs and Sibyl Moholy Nagy have been wrong The belief that certain densities of population and certain physical forms of structure are essential to the working of a great city views shared by groups as diverse as the editors of the Architectural Review and the members of Team Ten must be to that same extent false And the methods of 218 design taught for instance by the Institute for Architecture and Urban Planning in New York and similar schools must be to that extent irrelevantSomehow I don't think this claim of irrelevance has made much of an impact


  8. Danny Gibson Danny Gibson says:

    I really enjoyed this clear and well organized explanation of the built environment in Los Angeles The chapters dedicated to architecture like The Exiles were a little too in depth for me but the ecology bits were just right for the laymanIt's worth saying that like many books about cities there are plenty of outdated opinions I actually don't think it was ever fair to say Downtown Los Angeles is only deserving of a note but that's become especially false again And that's saying nothing of the ramifications of all major Angeleno history between 1971 and nowLos Angeles as a setting will always be subject to the writers imagination and even a book on the stucco glass and roads of the place isn't exempt


  9. Connie Kronlokken Connie Kronlokken says:

    This book written about 1971 puts a positive spin on LA and its architecture Mr Banham a British architectural critic learned to drive to understand the freeways and seems to have a wonderful time deconstructing what he sees Los Angeles cradles and embodies the most potent current version of the great bourgeois vision of the good life in a tamed countryside I am sure LA is now crowded but I myself enjoyed looking up at the hills with a little sickle moon hanging over them in the evenings when I lived there long enough to get used to the freeways in 1990


  10. David Allen David Allen says:

    This sense of possibilities still ahead is part of the basic life style of Los Angeles concludes Banham perhaps the first outsider to have positive and original things to say about LA Were he here in 2019 he might find less to like about the freeways he extolled and to like about the downtown he dismissed But he understood LA predicted the future desirability of Venice and was open minded enough to see Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles as a perfect SoCal allegory


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