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wonders never cease Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th, 2010 More Songs about Buildings and Food (but really just buildings)

Cathedral Today marks the anniversary of both the beginning of construction and, 83 years later, the completion of one of our city's finest examples of architecture, the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, more commonly known as the Washington National Cathedral. The peak of this neogothic structure is the highest point in the city, at 676 feet above sea level. It hosts our favorite collection of gargoyles, with one of Darth Vader filling the role of a traditional grotesque. It also contains over two hundred stained glass windows, including one that depicts the moon landing and incorporates a stone from the moon in its center. If you get a chance to visit, you should, and don't skip the stroll through the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed gardens either. We've been thinking quite a bit about architecture lately ourselves. Our own architect of our own never-ending home renovation has practically become a member of the family. Our Georgetown shop landlord and upstairs-neighbor, Dale Overmyer, has been so busy expanding his architecture practice that he needs to take over our space, so we're losing our beloved shop. (So, we're scouting for a new location. So, we'll need an architect again.) This week's play list is inspired by architects and their creations, for better or worse:

1. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright - Simon and Garfunkel
“A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

2. Little Boxes - Malvina Reynolds
“Ah, to build, to build! That is the noblest art of all the arts. Painting and sculpture are but images, are merely shadows cast by outward things on stone or canvas, having in themselves no separate existence. Architecture, existing in itself, and not in seeming a something it is not, surpasses them as substance shadow." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

3. Don't Worry About the Government - Talking Heads
“True, there are architects so called in this country, and I have heard of one at least possessed with the idea of making architectural ornaments have a core of truth, a necessity, and hence a beauty, as if it were a revelation to him. All very well perhaps from his point of view, but only a little better than the common dilettantism." - Henry David Thoreau

4. Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect - The Decemberists
"Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money." - Ambrose Bierce

5. Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks
"In my experience, if you have to keep the lavatory door shut by extending your left leg, it's modern architecture." - Nancy Banks-Smith

6. Mansion On the Hill - The National
“A modern, harmonic and lively architecture is the visible sign of an authentic democracy." - Walter Gropius

7. Saga Of The Architect Angel - Bruce Springsteen
“Form ever follows function." - Louis Henry Sullivan

8. Government Center - Jonathan Richman
"All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.” - Philip Johnson

9. Glass, Concrete & Stone - David Byrne
“Don't fight forces, use them." - R. Buckminster Fuller

10. Norwegian Wood - The Beatles
“You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe: when it knocked down our buildings it did not replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that." - Charles, Prince Of Wales

11. Alec Eiffel - The Pixies
“There are three forms of visual art: Painting is art to look at, sculpture is art you can walk around, and architecture is art you can walk through” - Dan Rice

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