Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I don’t know how I got sucked into Facebook in the first place, but Joy is assisting me to extricate myself out of this mess. I don’t have time or the interest  to know what everyone is doing!  However, I will stay in touch with the cyber-world via e-Mail. No, I do not Text either!  I have let go of FAXing, unless my scanner is down.

LES HALLES                                               

 Or better known as ”Le Catastrophe!”. An area in central Paris where all fresh food was handled that consisted of several huge, steel structures that were built in early 1800’s. How such a great project was built in the first place is a miracle in itself, but the destruction of it in the 1970.s is even a greater enigma.   Understandably, by the early 1900’s it was too much activity to contain it so it was moved to another outer place in Paris. The food scene was taken care of elsewhere but then the Parisians didn’t know what to do with these huge Le  Halles. So they demolished them. But not before an American businessman was able to buy one and have it moved to another area in Paris.  Now, as everyone looks back, they concur that  “Golley, these would make really cool market area for all kinds of shops, etc.” I would like to see some of the controversy, pros and cons, regarding the destruction of them. This is a good lesson for all of us. But let’s not get hung up on saving structures that are only old, but not great. 

AUGUSTO SANDINO  1895-1934  Now here was a real revolutionary kind of guy. He declared war on the United States when his army probably consisted of no more than about 600 malcontents. To Castro, Che, and other later leaders, he was a real role model.  He led a rebellion in Nicaragua against the U.S occupation  until 1933, when General Samoza  seized power in a coup d’etat.  Samoza killed Sandino then  ruled as a dictatorship for 40 years, with the help of the United States (Why do we always do that?).  Sandino is still a national hero in Nicaragua. I guess the U.S. doesn’t really think of him in that light. The Sandinistas (FSLN) overthrew the Samoza regime in 1979. Other South American rebels still use the term “Sandinista”.

TIME FOR FUN                               
   In my early days of architecting in California, I frequented the first Coffeehouse in the West, Portofino in Malibu. This was in  the ‘60’s and a coffeehouse was a far cry from Starbucks as it was a funky building where the customers generally provided the entertainment . Poetry, (Ginsburg was there), reading of  plays by the  Avant Guarde & Shakespeare, etc. Then, as I have done for all my professional days, I traded part of my fee for food & drink. The owners wanted to add an outdoor area with a stage and some protection from the elements. I came up with a tensile structure that was efficient, minimal and inexpensive. It was never built and I have lost the drawings.
  Although I’ve renovated several small auditoriums (The Cinnabar Theatre being one, Polly Klass Theater also) only recently have I had the opportunity to design a major auditorium , and this one for several thousand people.  Instead of doing the project for food & Drink, I am trading for a few points in a future lifetime. (This is taking the long view).
Anyway, the program is fairly involved as the first phase will be designed  for about a thousand seats, while a second phase will add another 1500 seats, and with an ultimate build-out of about 7000 seats, the later to be on sloped lawns with a canvas cover to ward off the rain and sun of the Wisconsin summers.   I began with a floor plan of a 90 degree angle with the apex at the speakers small platform, but soon realized that expanding the arc to 120 degrees we could add another one fourth of audience (Several thousand). Of course, the problem becomes that some people will be 250 to 300 feet from the speaker, (That’s the length of a football field) so Auditory and Visual augmentation will have to be installed every 50 feet or so. I built a crude model as the roof was getting a little complex You will notice the red roof is the roof of the building, while the tent structures are the tan color. 
There are other smaller aspects of this project (for ISHA, The Institute for Human Awareness),  and one is a small domed structure for about 400 seat auditorium. I initially began with a Lamella type structure but it developed into a modified Fuller Type of roof, using wood timbers and steel connectors . This dome will be fabricated in Portland, Oregon, and delivered to our site in central Wisconsin for final assembly.  This dome project is about a million dollar project, while the cost of the  large auditorium will be around  three million dollars, built in stages.  Currently, I’m looking at various roof framing systems (Steel, Glu-Lam, etc.) I’m using fold-up walls for moveable walls similar to airplane hanger doors due to 40 foot spans..
Of course, there are other aspects of such a project that we have to consider such as: Dining Halls & kitchen, toilet pavilions, parking and maybe some housing.
        Thus endeth todays’ talk on Architecture.