Monday, May 11, 2009

A Narcissist Writes...

Original posts are in short supply here at the moment due to ongoing issues of being massively exhausted most of the time. A combination of work and a baby being to blame, not that I'm one to complain.....

However I have been busy elsewhere. My review of Jeremy Till's new book is in the current issue of Icon. I'll post it up here if it doesn't make it on to the Icon Eye website. I tried to avoid reading other reviews of Jeremy's book until I had written mine although I did listen to AJ editor Kieran Long discussing it on Radio 4. I have though just read The Sesquipedalist's excellent review, and there is a lot of overlap with my own (hopefully not the only reason I rate his review)

One of the things that Steve goes into that I didn't is Jeremy Till's
role as an academic. Till initiated some very interesting things in his former role as Director of Architecture at Sheffield, including an attempt to abandon the ridiculous crit structure of teaching. I've thought for a while that architectural education is stuck in various ruts, although conversation around this seems to flit between either professional tutors who have a vested interest in it remaining the same, and blinkered professionals who regard all intellectual speculation as pretentious. Nonetheless Architecture Depends does clearly emanate from academia where myths of the architect's omnipotence flourish as a result of the unit system and its mini-starchitect structure.

Also in this month's Icon is my post on ice cream vans which has been published as their Icon of the Month. It looks lovely, much nicer than it does on-line. Thanks are due to Kosmograd and to Murphy at Entschwindet und Vergeht for their helpful comments on the post at the time, which have informed the slightly expanded version of it in Icon.

Finally, a reminder to any Manchester based people that I'll be giving a lecture as part of this tomorrow night. No support band I'm afraid but I will do encores. It starts at 6pm, and it's here: Room 303 Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chatham Building, Cavendish Street, Manchester.

That'll be the justification for the gratuitous Smiths picture too, although it's meant to be self-deprecating given that this post is written by me about some other things I've written. Or going to say. And sorry people of Manchester if using The Smiths is like making gor blimey guvnor jokes about London.


Jeremy Till said...

I can recommend Charles' review - it is good because it is at the same time generally supportive and intelligently critical. I was acutely conscious of his main point (that I set up strawmen in order to better demolish them) when writing the book, and sort of address it as an issue (page 42, 44). I kept saying to myself 'don't parody' but then would go to another lecture or architectural exhibition, have all my prejudices confirmed in trumps, and think I was not going far enough. My mistake is identify the issue with too many individuals and not enough with the controlling culture and value systems, so Charles' criticism probably sticks.

Charles Holland said...

Thanks for your comment Jeremy. My review was definitely written from a supportive point of view. I haven't actually read Richard Weston's BD review which I will now.

I/FAT have a tendency towards the kick the straw man when he's down approach too which is probably why I homed in on it.

Good stuff though. Particularly enjoyed the story of the student being sick in the Silvestrin (?!) apartment!