Anarchitecture

is what I originally wanted to call this blog, as I’m a fan of Lucien Kroll, who used the term to describe his work.

La Meme

Shown above is La Meme, a medical student dormitory in Brussels that is pretty amazing.

  • Internal partitions are movable so that spaces can be rearranged to match residents’ taste and allow for large communal living as well as traditional dorm rooms.
  • Facades and partitions are on a grid, for dimensional regularity, but are diverse so that each space can be unique inside and out according to the choices of the occupants.
  • The exterior is scaled by ladders and stairways and upper levels set back to help mitigate the height of the building in a generally low-rise environment.
  • The chaos of the facade just looks cool.
  • Bricks were laid in patterns according to the whims of each mason, specifically avoiding any kind of regularity (which Kroll thought turned skilled craftwork into mind-numbing drudgery).
  • This building and the complex it’s a part of were planned in a participatory process with students at the university, and very popular after completion.
  • The university hated the building and canceled some of the rest of the project that Kroll was to design.

Unfortunately, anArchitecture had beaten me to the pun, and I had to go another way.

All this to say, I revisited anArchitecture today only to find that I may have a crappy job. According to the Work Life Balance post, the fact that virtually no one in my office is in their 30s should be a warning sign. I have been wondering since I started why my workplace consists of a large cadre of 20-somethings supervised by a smaller group whose ages begin at 47. Hostile hours for parents with young children is as sensical an explanation as any. And I do work 45-50 hours a week, but that hardly seems a burden after the ungodly hours of college design labs.

Mostly, it seems architects and engineers need unions just like everyone else. Paging SEIU…

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