November 27th, 2004

krazy koati

While looking down the corridor out to where the van is waiting

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To take any other topic: That skyscraper book I just finished was fascinating; it was a collection of articles -- and photographs -- from the Architectural Record, a journal that started out as public and turned industrial. So you get theoretical discussions and critiques of skyscraper construction as the art began developing.

The layout is a bit odd so attempted footnotes end up on the side, maybe on another page, and the like, but it's always fun to see what contemporaries thought with the smug knowledge of history on your side. (They also point out still valid problems, like how boring most skyscrapers are to walk past on the street.) And then there's ``Oh! Duh'' moments like reading an article that says this architect ``finally solved the skyscraper problem'' with a picture of what looks like a generic skyscraper, and puzzling over what's special there.

They included a sketch of a never-built building -- what would have been the ``extension'' to the Metropolitan Life building in Manhattan, had the most recent Great Depression not quashed the skyscraper race. I'm in love. It looks like a purebred Chrysler Building. It would be 80 to 100 storeys tall and every one of them is gorgeous. What a shame nobody made it yet.

Trivia: The word ``glands'' comes from Latin for acorn, because the lymph nodes -- the first body part to be termed glands -- resemble acorns in shape; but by the modern definition they are not glands at all. Source: The Human Body: Its Structure and Operation, Isaac Asimov.

Currently Reading: A History of Italian Unity 1814-1871, Bolton King.