Sunday, September 11, 2011
A Grand Hotel on The Hudson
Paul Laffoley, Architect, A.I.A., 2002
Both the beginning and the end of Post-Modernism involved the destruction of buildings that had been designed by Minoru Yamasaki: the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project and the World Trade Center.
Antonio Gaudi expressed Barcelona’s Islamic and Gothic heritage through riotously polychrome biomorphic forms. This makes Gaudi the last authentic practitioner of the Baroque in the 20th Century.
Architect Peter Eisenman (1932- ) to my mind said it all about setting the stage for building something on Ground Zero: "I purposely didn't go into the Max Protetch Show. I couldn't ask the questions that needed to be asked. Whatever goes up has to be a public icon, whether it makes an impact from the water or the air or the ground. It has to be some sort of public acknowledgement. It can't be another set of buildings that just blends in."
Dateline: Monday, 2 April 1906: The Great Catalonian Architect, Antonio Gaudi y Cornet (1852-1926), is contacted by two New York financiers who want Gaudi to build a Grand Hotel for New York City. According to these unnamed financiers, the hotel was to be "sited outside New York, it would be surrounded by gardens, joined by rapid transport to the centre of the city, and visible for miles." At first Gaudi is overjoyed at the prospect. He thought the location was to be Brooklyn Heights, near the Brooklyn Bridge, or perhaps in Flushing at the Queensboro Bridge, both sites with plenty of flat open space where the American dream could be properly memorialized.
Dateline: Tuesday, 3 April 1906: Gaudi begins to work on preliminary sketches of a building that reaches to a structural height of 1016 feet. The addition of an observatory he called "the Sphere of All Space" added another 62 feet to the height. The width of the footprint of the building was to be 400'-0" x 400'-0." If built, therefore, the hotel would have been 100'-0" taller than the tallest building in the world at that time – the Eiffel Tower, completed in 1889.
The parti that Gaudi chose, which would have occupied 3.7 acres, was composed of a cluster of catenary parabolic towers of varying heights grouped together like engaged columns around a central soaring parabolic shaft. (See "American Hotel" at http://www.op.net/%7Ejmeltzer/Gaudi/hotel.html)
Gaudi's competition was only tangentially with Eiffel's masterpiece, his real rivalry was with the original Waldorf Astoria Hotel designed by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh in 1893, which was located, until its demolition in 1929, at the site now held by the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue between 34th and 33rd Streets.
Owned by Colonel John Jacob Astor, The Waldorf became one of the gathering places of the New York 400 besides Madison Square Garden. But unlike The Garden, which was an exclusive club, The Waldorf was open to the public both day and night. The hoi polloi were able to mingle with the elite in the lobbies, ballrooms, concert halls, theatres, and banks that had up to the minute contact with the Stock Exchange downtown. The Waldorf featured huge dining rooms, various fashionable shops, a mezzanine where a full orchestra played from morning to night. There were lavish corridors where one could rest and an open air restaurant on the 17th floor – the roof of the hotel. It was only in the 1500 rooms and 1200 bathrooms where one could find complete privacy. The rest of the structure was free for examination.
Seeming to its patrons and visitors as if they had entered a live-in museum, all the interior accoutrement was either selected or made by the best artists of America. In essence "The American Dream" that is symbolized to immigrants by the Statue of Liberty (erected in 1884) was seen up close and realized by The Waldorf. To the people who entered this world, it became a visit to the end of the proverbial rainbow, complete with privilege, urbanity and culture.
Dateline: Wednesday, 8 July 1908: Nelson Rockefeller is born.
Dateline: Sunday 20, December 1908: This was to be the day of substantial completion of the Grand Hotel and the moment of the issue of a certificate of occupancy. The hope was to take advantage of New York's Gala Christmas celebration. The formal opening with all the final details and glitter was to occur a few years later. As to why this never happened, and why Gaudi's sketch plans never progressed even to the design development stage, we will never know for sure.
Lemma: Over the years, the great temptation to speculate about this architectural kibosh by many architectural historians became irresistible, such as the theory that there had been a basic paranoid misunderstanding between Gaudi and his client. Perhaps the financiers were shocked at what was concocted; perhaps to them Gaudi's Grand Hotel was a little too grand. They were expecting something one quarter of the suggested height, say 250 feet. After all, The Waldorf was only a few feet above 170 feet.
Perhaps, in turn, Gaudi was enraged by what he thought were outright lies on the part of his clients. Claiming to have "more money than God," the clients' net worth did not even come close. And the site was not what was promised - an expanse of flat buildable land from which the entire New York skyline could be observed, such as that possessed today by the Citicorp Building in Queens. Instead, the financiers actually owned about 16 acres of practically worthless landfill on Lower Manhattan's West Side - the site to be chosen at a later time for the ill-fated World Trade Center.
Only in a technical sense was this small parcel of land not a part of Manhattan. Geologically, in the 1600's an inverse of a river delta formed at the tip of Lower Manhattan by means of the convergence of the Hudson and the East River. The two waters created a series of small closed packed islands of river bottom silt (alluvial deposits). Here the actual puritanical granite monolith that constitutes the real Manhattan remains 65 feet away - straight down!
New Yorkers found this area perfect for dumping as well as for the creation of additional land. This was the case with many seacoast cities founded during the colonial period, such as Boston. In this real estate limbo, if you dig down today only three feet, river water starts to seep up. No large and weighty buildings were ever attempted in this area without sending many piles through the muck to bedrock, as was the case with the American Architect Cass Gilbert when he built a modest sized gothic skyscraper on West Street (1905-1907). It was a trial run for his famous and huge Woolworth Building (1911-1913) sited on Broadway near City Hall Park, and dubbed "The Cathedral of Commerce."
For the most part, therefore, this area was to support only small lightweight structures that needed sub-basements that contained sump-pumps going twenty-four/seven. For years this place was like another world - the repository of cutting edge technology. In Gaudi's time and in that of the great inventor of the 20th Century - Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) - this section was a collection of small shops that sold to amateur and professional alike such things as parts for wireless telegraphy and crystal set radio receivers. In the 1940's this area sold the world's first personal television sets.
Gaudi's clients probably thought they could "bait and switch" the architect, counting on what they thought would be the great engineer's natural naivete. But what the clients did not count on was Gaudi's innate and intense paranoia, which surfaced first as a fear of those who might steal his new and unrealized ideas, and second as a fear of those who would exploit his reputation. Gaudi thought his clients could utilize his methods of building skyscrapers on so-called "unbuildable land," and franchise the techniques to other similar sites in the world in order to raise the equity of questionable real estate, without any recompense to him in terms of money or glory.
There was also another type of paranoia that possessed Gaudi, which his clients did not understand or could not anticipate. It had to do with a combination of his personal, national and ethnic heritage.
Gaudi was born on Friday June 25, 1852 in the small town of Reus Spain, 52 miles west of Barcelona, the large city he moved to when he was 17 to study Architecture. It was the city that was to be his home until he died on Thursday June 10, 1926. He was astrologically under the influence of the Sun-sign of Cancer the Crab - a cardinal water sign ruled by the Moon. Cancers possess highly developed protective and defensive instincts. They are extraordinarily sensitive and fearful of ridicule. Solitude and powerful imaginations are their real forms of gratification.
Cancers desire the absolute possession of their beloved. When the beloved resists, Cancers may eschew all forms of love even to the point of complete celibacy. They are masters of the art of passive resistance. This is a powerful weapon which, when wielded, makes the individual unapproachable.
Cancer the Crab is naturally the most paranoid of all the Sun-signs. Being Catalan - a native of Catalonia - Gaudi was also part of the separatist world of the fabled Basque people (Euskal Herria). As a territory it is roughly situated in the Pyrenees mountains, which forms the border between France and Spain. It is the ultimate ethnic retreat of these people. The Basque have been trounced upon throughout history with little regard.
In 218 B.C.E. at the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, Hannibal attacked Rome from Spain by crossing the Pyrenees and the Alps. As his 37 elephants passed through Basque territory, those who came out to see the spectacle were unceremoniously trampled. The Basque immediately placed a curse on Hannibal and those who followed him. In 183 B.C.E., Hannibal commited suicide. In 1937 Guernica y Luno, the political headquarters of the Basque since the 19th Century, was bombed by the nascent Nazi Luftwaffe. The Nazis were invited to practice their prowess by air through the intervention of the Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco (1892-1975), who hoped to rid the world of those annoying separatists.
Soon after that the most violent and extreme of the Basque separatists formed the E.T.A. (Euskadi-Ta-AskataSuna, which loosely translated means "Basque Fatherland Liberty.") Even earlier, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) immortalized Guernica in paint when he was invited to compose a mural for the Spanish Republican Government Pavilion at the 1937 Paris exposition. Although not Basque by birth, having been born in Malaga, Southern Spain, Picasso spent his formative years as an artist in Barcelona and was sympathetic toward their struggle.
By making the bombing of Guernica the subject of his mural, Picasso made a public declaration that is unmistakable in its message of outrage and compassion for the innocent victims of such violence. It took Picasso just three weeks to finish his "Guernica" - the length of time of the bombings. Besides Barcelona, the cultural center of the Basque country, and Guernica, there is also Bilbao, the industrial center since the Middle Ages.
On the French side of the border is the Commune of Lourdes that was made famous as a spiritual and healing shrine by Marie Bernarde Soubirous (Saint Bernadette) (1844-1879). Bernadette was a sickly, uneducated 14 year old French Basque peasant girl - a miller's daughter. She received 18 visions of The Blessed Virgin Mary in which she was told how to construct a Basilica over the original healing spring and grotto. She was then referred to as "The Seer of Lourdes."
As a group, the Basque are chthonically 'paranoid' beyond any psychiatric definition of the word. They appear to be without origin lost in the mists of time. The word "Basque" is, of course, French as in the phrase "Courir Comme Un Basque" (to Run like a Hare) or "Tambour de Basque" (A Tambourine with Jingles). The references here are to the infamous gypsies. On the move from their home base they became the legendary wanderers. Thousands of years ago a contingent of Basque made it as far east as Northern India and settled in places now called Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Basque language "Euskara" is a paranoid's dream of apophatic communication. It cannot be traced linguistically to the tree of Indo-European languages. And no one knows how old it is. The best translators of Basque on the Spanish side of the border speak Catalan (a mixture of Basque and Spanish) and on the French side, Provencal, they speak a hybrid of French and Basque.
The language Euskara (Basque) contains no possibility of metaphor, symbol or idiom. Each verbal phoneme has a specific meaning that is never violated. Compound words are made by adding and subtracting phonemes. Like the mythic unbreakable military code that is used for defense, Basque says what it means and means what it says. The structure of Basque, therefore, is by agglutination: The formation of derivational or inflectional words by putting together constituents of which each expresses a single definite meaning.
Dateline: Thursday 31, December 1908: As a New Year's Eve ritual, Gaudi places a complete Basque curse on his American ex-clients and the land they owned on Manhattan, bounded today by Vesey, Liberty, Church and West Streets. Gaudi then returns to work on plans for a chapel addition to the convent of The Colegio Teresiano, but he is so mentally agitated by the operations he had to endure to place the curse that this present project is placed in jeopardy by a nasty verbal disagreement between himself and the Mother Superior of the convent.
Lemma: Because Gaudi was a believing Roman Catholic, he felt conflicted over casting a curse. The Church considers such activities as magic, alchemy or dabbling in the Occult to be evil and forbidden. On the one hand, a prayer or blessing, which is essentially a positive supplication in a defined religio-social context, and involves many people in order to be effective, is just fine. On the other hand, a curse, which is of a highly destructive nature, and is often considered the work of single person in secret, is eschewed.
While from the context of paranormal research, a prayer and a curse (or imprecation) are existentially equivalent, a curse must be powered by fear or hate, the energy of which originates outside of the subconscious of the perpetrator, but can effect the subconscious. In the Swiss psychologist's, Carl Jung's (1875-1961) terminology, the person making a curse must accept a new archetype.
The Mind Physics of a Basque curse is similar to that of the formation of the Hindu concept of the Tulpa – the complete materialized form of energy begun as a thought in someone's conscious mind. Starting with inner visualization, then to out-of-the-body lucid-dreaming and fetal-dreaming (which leads to the pre-birth experience simultaneously with the near-death-experience), and onto the Tulpa energy form - the curse becomes objective to the mind that started the process. In Hinduism, these paranormal abilities are called "Siddhis" or perfect abilities, or "Vibhutis" or revelation powers.
Dateline: 1912: Minoru Yamasaki, the future architect of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City, is born in Seattle, Washington. He is a second generation Japanese American.
Lemma: A few of the many ironies about the life of the designer of what were the world's tallest buildings between the years of 1972 to 1974 are the following: as an adult he grew only to five feet, one inch, and he was afflicted with Acrophobia (the abnormal dread of being at a great height), Anablepophobia (the fear of looking up at high places), and Batophoba (the avoidance of high objects).
Dateline: 1913: John Davison Rockefeller founded The Rockefeller Foundation.
Dateline: 1914: Gaudi develops interior restorations for the Cathedral at Palma on the island of Mallorca. The set piece of the cathedral was an elaborate tribune (platform from which an assembly is addressed). He made the tribune resemble a streetcar.
Lemma: The first streetcar (drawn by horses) circulated in New York City in 1852, the year of Gaudi's birth. Gaudi was always thinking about the future. That is why his Grand Hotel design anticipates rocket imagery of Buck Rogers of the 1920's and 1930's complete with the livid colors that would be fashionable in the 25th Century.
Dateline: Saturday, 12 June 1915: David Rockefeller is born.
Dateline: 7, June 1926: Gaudi is run over by an electric street car belonging to the Barcelona Streetcar Company. While taking his daily walk along The Avenue Gran Via De Les Corts Catalones, Gaudi stopped at the Plasa De Tetuan to gaze at his building, the Sagrada Familia. It was right then that the streetcar struck him from behind. At first he was unrecognized and considered to be some old homeless person.
Lemma: The Karma that Gaudi had produced from his curse on Manhattan finally rebounded on him, via guilt.
Dateline: 10, June 1926: Gaudi dies in the Hospital De La Santa Creu in Barcelona.
Dateline: 12, June 1926: Thousands attend Gaudi's funeral as the cortege enters the church grounds of the Sagrada Familia. Gaudi is entombed at the Crypt of the Temple.
Dateline: 20, July 1936: Someone starts an intentional sacrilegious fire in the crypt which results in the desecration of Gaudi's tomb.
Dateline: 1936: The World's Fair in Flushing Meadow Park in the City of New York is planned for 1939. The Fair Commission went to architects Wallace K. Harrison and J. Andre Foulihoux, who were given virtually free reign. Harrison was on the design team of Rockefeller Center, built from 1931 to 1939, and located between 5th and 6th Avenues and 48th to 50th Streets in New York City, dedicated to the Oil Magnate and Philanthropist John Davison Rockefeller (1839-1937).
Dateline: Thursday, 20 April 1939: The World's Fair opens and continues until Tuesday 31 October. Also in 1940 it starts Saturday 11 May and ends Monday 21 October. Also, April 20 is the 50th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday. The theme of the Fair is "Building the World of Tomorrow" and the symbols of the Fair were the Trylon representing "Progress" and the Perisphere meaning "the Universe."
Everywhere one turned, the future was arrayed in gleaming, confident form. In the giant spherical building at the center of the Fair (the Perisphere), visitors were confronted with a huge diorama of "Democracity." This was a sweeping vision of a perfectly integrated futuristic metropolis, created by the Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss (1903-1972) (http://www.hollywoodphones.com/wedreyfus.html, http://www.jitterbuzz.com/indclo.html, http://www.packer34.freeserve.co.uk/1939v1951.htm). "Democracity" was essentially an updated version of ideas presented at the turn of the 20th Century (1898-1902) by the British social thinker Ebenezer Howard in "Garden Cities of Tomorrow."
But the exhibit that stole the show was "Futurama" designed by Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958), famed expert on future trends. He is well known as a Broadway stage designer and a charter member of the new profession of Industrial Design.
General Motors and Shell Oil spent eight million dollars on "Futurama" (the most costly exhibit of the Fair) to show the impact of the automobile on cities. Albert Kahn (1862-1942), a German-born American architect who specialized in factory design, created the windowless streamlined housing for the General Motors Pavilion. He was, however, a Neoclassicist finding International Modernism unintelligent, doubting if it was architecture at all.
Lemma: While both Henry Dreyfuss and Norman Bel Geddes represented the heroic phase of Modernism to the America of the 1930's, Dreyfuss was the poet of the vast reaches of the new suburbia, Bel Geddes caused the viewers to look directly at the street details of the urban world of tomorrow. In fact one part of the Futurama exhibit showed a typical urban street intersection of New York in the year 1960. It was a full scale replica that visitors walked out into the daylight to see, after having been in the darkened city model space.
But besides "Democracity" and "Futurama," the rest of the fair was loaded with kitsch amusement park-like pavilions. In infrastructure, the fairgrounds was both fascist in design and confusing, and by October of 1940 had not even been completed. The visual result was the industrial cacophony that one sees on the "other side of the tracks" in most cities.
Sixty nations took part, more than in any other World's Fair, although Germany, Spain and China were conspicuously absent. While various countries sent perfunctory letters of regret as to why they could not participate, it was only Germany that had a legitimate excuse, but they never wrote at all. Hitler was too busy spending the Spring and Summer getting ready to attack Poland on September 1, 1939 and begin the Second World War.
Dateline: Monday, 12 June 1939: It is David Rockefeller's 24th birthday. His brother Nelson, who is 31, suggests that they attend the World's Fair. Waiting for an hour and a half outside in the winding line to "Futurama," they begin to wonder if this was such a good idea on a hot sunny day.
But once inside and ensconced in one of the moving audio-visual velvet-lined inglenooks, these two young men, grandsons of John D. Rockefeller Sr. and heirs to the one of America's greatest fortunes, became mesmerized by Norman Bel Geddes' huge vision of "The City of Tomorrow." They saw it as New York City should be. They left the Fair immediately, seeing nothing else, wondering how they could help bring into materialization the promise of "Highways and Horizons."
Dateline: Sunday, 7 December 1941: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor at Honolulu Hawaii. The United States enters the Second World War. All visions of the future are on hold.
Dateline: Monday, 30 April 1945: Adolf Hitler commits suicide in Berlin.
Dateline: Monday, 6 August 1945: The first Atomic bomb is dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
Dateline: Wednesday, 9 August 1945: A second Atomic bomb devastates the city of Nagasaki.
Dateline: Tuesday, 14 August 1945: Japan surrenders, World War II ends. It is my 5th birthday. American resumes its preoccupation with the future and Heroic Modernism.
Dateline: 1950: Minoru Yamasaki is commissioned to design a public housing project consisting of several slab blocks in Saint Louis Missouri. It was called the Pruitt-Igoe Scheme. When the first slab went up in 1951 it was said to have been constructed according to the most progressive ideals of the Congress of International Modern Architects (CIAM). It won an award from the American Institute of Architects. All the slabs were finished in 1958.
Dateline: 1957: Osama (the Lion) Bin Muhammad Bin Laden is born in the City of Riyadh Saudi Arabia. He is the person who one day will declare a Jihad (a Holy War against the Enemies of Islam) on the United States. He will admit in the future to being the one responsible for the destruction of the yet to be World Trade Center in New York City.
Architect Minoru Yamasaki (who was a favorite designer of the Bin Laden's family's patrons – the Saudi Royal family) was commissioned to design the King Fahd Dhahran Air Terminal in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The fenestration of the air terminal displayed the mixed imagery of modern technology, traditional Islamic detailing with "flamboyant" (a late style of continental gothic c.1375-mid 1500s, which evolved from second pointed curvilinear work, especially the flowing forms of the tracery: it gets its name from the flame-like shapes bounded by the curved bars).
David Rockefeller is trying to decide how he can be of service to New York City because his brother Nelson is running for Governor of New York State, and David feels upstaged.
Dateline: April 1958: I am enrolled in a course at Brown University, Providence, RI, on the History of American Architecture within an international context. The course is being delivered by Professor William H. Jordy (1917-1997). Jordy held a position that was very unpopular at the time, that is, the future of architecture could be predicted more by its body of unbuilt projects than its built work. In that regard, Jordy mentioned Gaudi's Grand Hotel project and its location somewhere in lower Manhattan.
Dateline: 1958: Nelson Rockefeller is elected Governor and the heat is on David to come up with something for New York City. He begins with a name - "The Billion Dollar Plan" where money is to be applied to depressed areas. David decides to concentrate on Manhattan below 110th street (the north end of Central Park). In discussions with friends it becomes apparent that Lower Manhattan below 14th Street should be the target. But areas like Greenwich Village, the East Village the Lower East Side, Tribeca, Little Italy and Chinatown are so ethnically and culturally established that dropping a billion dollars on any of these areas will hardly be noticed.
David's friends suggest the area below the Brooklyn Bridge on the East River as far South as Maiden Lane and as far West as Nassau Street. But what could be done there in this no man's land of 3 and 4-deckers that acted as dormitories for transients and sailors from the Brooklyn Navy Yard?
Many suggestions were forthcoming, but David recalled the endless "City of Tomorrow" which covered the earth in "Futurama" at the World's Fair. And New York City must be the center of this Gaeapolis "since this particular area is near the New York Stock Exchange, and we are on the verge of a new medievalism," reasoned David, "we could have a World Trade Fair like they had in the 12th Century - in our case it would be a World Trade Center with New York City as the center."
Dateline: 1959: Nelson Rockefeller agrees that a World Trade Center would work but not a social entity funded entirely by private money - there must be public money also for the general public to identify with it. As Governor, Nelson is able to interest the New York Port Authority in overseeing the development and construction of the project, since it involved importing goods and services from other countries. Soon it was realized that drop-shipping at dockside was sufficient and less expensive to display the goods of the world.
Instead of abandoning the idea, it was decided to rent to ultra upscale clientele. Since the Port Authority is an interstate agency, New Jersey had to be worked into the mix to justify public money, or so said the CEO of the Port Authority, Austin J. Tobin. He suggested that to make the plan really work, the site of the WTC should be moved the West side. This was the site of Gaudi's Grand Hotel, if it had been built. This would accomplish two things: 1) the P.A.T.H. train from New Jersey (Port Authority Trans Hudson) could now exit in Manhattan right under the WTC, and 2) the Twin Towers could be seen from Hoboken.
Dateline: 1960: The time had come to choose the architect for the entire project. A competition among a limited number of applicants was established. Minoru Yamasaki, an architect with offices in both Seattle and Chicago, wins the competition.
Although he was an award-winning designer and known within the architectural profession, Yamasaki was not well known to the general public. But he did have one advantage over the other competitors - he was willing to erect the tallest structures in the world at that time. It was a record that lasted from 1972 to 1974. But more to the point was the fact that he proposed Twin Towers. It was possible, therefore, to celebrate the two major benefactors of the project - Nelson and David Rockefeller.
The North Tower, at a design height of 1368 feet tall, was dedicated to Nelson Rockefeller, and the South Tower, at a design height of 1362 feet, was dedicated to David Rockefeller. The six foot disparity is slight in comparison to the heights of the towers, but reflected the slight difference in height of the brothers.
Lemma: When the American architectural critic Ada Louise Landman Huxtable (1921- ), a native New Yorker, who had just finished her monograph on the Contemporary Engineer Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979), first saw Yamasaki's model of the World Trade Center, her only comment was a single sentence that expressed the colossal dullness of the project and the fact that the Twin Towers are as ravishingly redundant as the two legs of a Can Can dancer upended on the floor: "these are big buildings, but they are not great architecture."
Dateline: Tuesday, 10 April 1962: Without any warning I am grand juried out of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where I was studying Architectural Design. Consulting my Uncle John, who was an architect and a source of absolute inverse knowledge, he told me no matter what I did in the future, never have anything to do with this "person." He was pointing to the cover of the April issue of "Progressive Architecture." The magazine featured the work of visionary artist and architect Frederick J. Kiesler, the Austrian set designer who was the youngest member of the De Stijl Movement in the 1920's. Kiesler was living in New York City.
Dateline: Monday, 16 April 1962: I arrive in New York and proceed directly to Kiesler's apartment at 56 Seventh Avenue near the corner of 15th Street. He accepts me as a sculptor's apprentice, but he cannot pay me anything.
Dateline: Wednesday, 25 April 1962: After applying for a job at 16 architectural firms with no luck, I walk into the offices of Emery Roth and Sons Architects, located at Second Avenue and 52nd Street. I go through the same routine of explaining myself and my patent lack of salable architectural skills, expecting the same brush off. But instead, they claim even though I can't do working drawings, specifications or renderings, I show a flair for design. They put me in the "Design Group" and tell me to return the next Monday, when they would be starting a new project. For the next four days I was walking two inches off the ground, and I spent my time going to every movie I could on 42nd Street right off Times Square.
Dateline: Monday, 30 April 1962: The World Trade Center Project begins. Into the main conference room walks Minoru Yamasaki, with his very ample entourage trailing behind carrying the most beautifully detailed architectural model I had ever seen. One end of the long conference table was unceremoniously cleared of papers and people, as the model was carefully lowered onto the table surface.
Next came two piles of notebooks that constituted the functional program for the project. A sotto voce buzz filled the room, the subject of which was the physical size of Yamasaki, which was five feet one inch. I, of course, did not join in because I was already apprenticed to the King of Miniature Architects, Kiesler, who was four feet ten inches.
Reaching up on his tiptoes, Yamasaki tapped the top of one of the piles of program notes and said: "Well boys fill-er-up." Some wag at the other end of the table piped up with: "What do you want, high test or regular?" He was just extending Yamasaki's gasoline reference, but Yamasaki became livid with rage, turned heel and abruptly left, never to be seen again.
Lemma: The entourage removed the large model but somehow forgot the notebooks. One of the partners of the firm fired the guy that spoke the offending remark on the spot saying "you can't win them all."
For the next two weeks everyone thought the World Trade Center job was lost. And I was quite puzzled because the "Design Group" was now idle. One of my workmates who had been employed there for years informed me that Emory Roth and Sons was known in the trade as "a pencil" - an architectural office in a city that is used by "big-time designers" who come into town to do a job. "Pencils" initiate no new designs. They make their money by catering to the egos of prominent architects and materializing the works of others. "My design group" was but a figurehead and the least paid of all the departments.
Realizing that I had been ambushed again on the road of life, I went to the partner who had hired me and asked to be transferred to the production staff. He began to fade me like a con artist's mark saying, "Why do you want to do that? I thought you could develop as a designer in this office. Don't become a mole hunched over a drafting table afflicted with tunnel vision. Go back to your desk and think great thoughts until I have something for you."
Just then the telephone rang, and he picked it up very annoyed because he had asked the secretary to hold his calls. As he was about to slam down the phone, she rushed in and said he better take this one. A few remarks and he blanched, turning to me he said crestfallen, "I do have something for you, we need a presentation by the end of the week, get to work, and go talk to Dave." Dave was the head of the Design Group.
Later I discovered what was said, the liaison officer from Yamasaki's office asked "How is the World Trade Center coming along, we want your first report on Friday May 18."
Dateline: Wednesday, 3 April 1963: A year later, I am mysteriously called into the head office. My guess is to be praised for what I had accomplished. From the start I had made many discoveries such as:
•the last 15 floors of both Towers could be left out and still fulfill the program, leaving enough space at the top of the Towers to act as water tanks in case of fire;
•double layers of asbestos on the interior steel girders and columns of the Towers can be rendered harmless to humans by being covered with a thick coating of epoxy resin;
•the X-bracings on the interior surfaces of the service cores should be welded and not bolted together as it said in the specifications.
But Mr. Gershon shot me the final curveball. "You're fired!" "Why?" I interjected. "It was not you're performance on the job. We assigned you floors 15 to 45 in the North Tower (Nelson), and you struggled with the designs but in the end you managed to satisfy your very tough clients. For that we thank you very much."
"Then what is the problem?" I continued to press, "Was it my suggestions about the general design and engineering of the Towers?"
"Actually many of your suggestions are brilliant. We may even implement a few of them." I was about to open my mouth again when he reached the real explanation. "It was your last suggestion that was the trouble."
"But didn't you say everyone liked it, even Yamasaki's liaison? "Yes I did, but..."
My suggestion had been to add 17 structural bridges between the Towers connecting the internal structures together. The bridges would begin at floor 20 and extend every fifth floor to the 80th level. The resulting image would have been of an enormous ladder in the space between the two Towers. I thought the bridges would allow double rentable space on the flat on 17 floors, and in case of fire each Tower can be used to evacuate each other's population.
And besides, 17 was Kiesler's mystic number - a highly spiritual number symbolized by the 8-pointed Star of Venus or of Maal; being the "number of immortality" it means "that one's name lives after him, and is fortunate if it works out in relation to future events."
The liaison had passed on my suggestion for 17 bridges to "Yama" (the familiar term for Yamasaki), who upon hearing the suggestion raised his head and sniffed the air, saying, "Whoever made that suggestion must be fired and I mean now! A 'ladder' like that will only encourage a swarm of human files and besides that, it will destroy the purity of the twin forms in space."
On my way out of the office, I knew this was not my day or my week, because just the night before Kiesler had tried to kill me with a wooden mallet, blaming me for the destruction of one of his sculptures. I was chased down his stairs and out into the night. I knew my time in New York City was up.
Lemma: Even in its simple form, the WTC was an attractive nuisance. As an example, the celebrated aerialist Phillippe Petit walked a tightrope stretched between the Towers in 1974. Upon his arrest Petit explained his bad behavior to the delight of cheering onlookers saying, "If I see three oranges, I have to juggle, and if I see two towers, I have to walk!"
On October 13, 2001, at M.I.T., a number of structural engineers held a conference as to why the Twin Towers came down so easily and quickly. After much hemming and hawing, they all agreed that "the Tower's resistive systems played no role. Otherwise the time of the fall would have been extended. As it was, the debris took about nine seconds to reach the ground from the top."
But wouldn't the X-bracings, had they been welded as I suggested, have helped in this regard? And wouldn't the bridges I suggested have been better than escape tubes deployed out windows, or exterior people-lowering machines, or even parachutes, levitating platforms or flying carpets?
Dateline: September 1964: I return to Boston and meet one more time with Professor Jordy. He wants to know how I had fared in New York City. When I mention designing part of the World Trade Center, he jumps up and shouts: "That's it, that's where they wanted to put Gaudi's Hotel!"
Dateline: Tuesday, 20 August 1968: Construction begins on the World Trade Center. A lot of the building time was spent on preparing the foundation. Engineers sink a wall of steel mesh and concrete into the watery alluvial deposits until they reached bedrock 65 feet down. This circumferential wall was called "the bathtube" from which earth and water was "bailed out." Then the desideratum (the mud) was placed along the Hudson River bank to create 23 acres of new real estate (Battery Park City Waterfront Promenade). "The bathtube" was created by the slurry trench method, a form of soil-engineering known since the 15th Century. Slurry is a mixture of watery but insoluble matter such as filtered mud, lime and plaster of paris.
In Gaudi's time, Bentonite was the material of choice. It is an absorptive and very light colloidal clay used often as a sealing agent. As slurry, it would be introduced into a hole while being drilled. It would hold back even the most watery of soils. Then steel mesh would be introduced into the hole and concrete poured in over the slurry. Since the liquid concrete has a higher density than liquid Bentonite, the Bentonite would be forced up out of the hole for use again, while the concrete cured into a pier or part of a wall. It was this part of the process that Gaudi's former client had wished to observe in full detail in New York City's alluvial and watery earth.
Dateline: 1969: The works of Gaudi are declared national monuments.
Dateline: Saturday 15 July 1972: At 3:32 p.m. Central Daylight Time Heroic Modernism dies and Post-Modernism is born. The architect and critic, Charles Jencks, uses the dynamiting of several slab blocks of Yamasaki's design of the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project in St. Louis Missouri as the temporal touchstone of the event. He claimed even in 1977 in his book The Language of Post-Modern Architecture that, "many people didn't notice and no one was seen to mourn,..."
There were, however, three people who did notice. The first and the most obvious was Minoru Yamasaki himself, who received the news of the demolition two weeks before the fact. For Yamasaki the impact was blunted by the realization that his Twin Towers were substantially complete and were the tallest buildings in the world, and would remain so until the Sears Towers, which reached 1454 feet, went up in 1974 in Chicago Illinois.
The other two people were the Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss and his wife, who was his business manager. Yamasaki had known Dreyfuss since the 1939 World's Fair. It turned out that Dreyfuss and his wife took the news of the dynamiting of Yamasaki's the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project much harder, realizing its true significance. In San Francisco's Nob Hill area, Mr and Mrs Dreyfuss took their Norman Bel Geddes sleek teardrop-shaped car out of their garage on Jones Street, took a right onto Sacramento Street and another right onto Van Ness Avenue, then a left onto Lombard and followed Lombard to Route 101, which became the Golden Gate Bridge.
Pulling up to a stop on the Bay Side of the bridge, it was 1:00 p.m. Crowds began to gather to gawk at the odd car, which no one had seen before because this was the first time it had been driven since its purchase in 1933. The cops started to show up, so to divert the throng Dreyfuss began a lecture on the unusual appearance of his car, saying that its streamlining was nine thousand years ahead of its time. At that point everyone thought he was just a crazy old man. But more people kept pushing forward from all sides and the police could not take him into custody.
At exactly 1:32, Dreyfuss and his wife climbed over the safety rail, joined hands and jumped to their death into the murky waters below, shouting as they descended: "Goodbye to Modernism and the Future."
Lemma: It seems Gaudi's curse was now fully operative.
Dateline: 1974: The World Trade Center and all the ancillary buildings are completed.
Dateline: 1984: Three works by Gaudi are entered on the World Heritage List of UNESCO: the Casa Mila, the Palagio Guell, and the Park Guell.
Dateline: 1986: The Heroic Modern Architect, Minoru Yamasaki, dies.
Dateline: Friday, 26 February 1993: At 12:18 p.m. E.S.T. the World Trade Center Twin Towers are attacked by an incendiary bomb. The bomb was located on the B-2 parking level. The bomb went off with a concussive blast force that traveled at a speed of 5,000 miles per second. Expanding gas from the bomb created a cyclone with 1500 pounds of pressure per square centimeter.
Two hundred and twenty-six parked cars were pulverized by cement blocks. Two hundred thousand linear feet of plaster cracked, and smoke rose one quarter of a mile into the sky via elevator shafts. The explosion created a five-story deep crater 200 feet in diameter. Within the crater smoke, fire, falling floor, crashing ceilings, crumbling walls, rocketing shards of glass, office furniture, computers, typewriters, copiers shot through the air like a deluge of meteorites. As a result, six people died and more and one thousand were injured.
Ramzi Ahmad Youssuf under the direction of Osama Bin Laden oversaw the bombing of the World Trade Center.
Lemma: For a number of years after this incident an investigation ensued, the thrust of which was an ongoing investigation of hidden bomb locations. The bombs that were being looked for were those of the following design: "The four twenty-foot long fuses each embedded in surgical tubing, led first to four charges of gunpowder affixed to four canisters of nitroglycerin. The nitro was packed alongside three cylinders of compressed hydrogen, which were in contact with 1500 pounds of newspapers, paperbags, and rags soaked in nitric acid and urea, in paste form, filled four cardboard boxes."
Dateline: 1998: Advocates of the reputation of Gaudi from Catalonia approach a representative of the Vatican (a Spanish Papal Nuncio) with the suggestion that Gaudi should be beatified. In 2002, the commemorative year of the 150th Anniversary of Gaudi's birth, the second stage of his canonization will be attempted in the town of his birth, Reus, near Barcelona. (see http://www.reusgaudi2002.org) I will have an exhibit there, which will consist of my proposal that Gaudi's Grand Hotel be built at Ground Zero.
Lemma: In the Roman Catholic Church, canonization is a process in which officials analyze the evidence of a candidate's reputation for sanctity or virtue and seek out evidence for any miracles done. The results are submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and, after their findings are ratified by the Pope, the candidate is beatified. Further proof of additional miracles is required before full canonization. When the process is complete, the candidate is declared a cult figure or saint.
To be recommended for beatification is a great honor for a member of the clergy, but for a lay person such as Gaudi it is a most unusual honor. For, anyone who has ever seen Gaudi's buildings in their glorious reality will have to admit, as the modernist Architect Le Corbusier (1887-1965) did in 1920, that Gaudi's works are "miracles in stone," making Gaudi the 20th Century's greatest architect.
I am sure that Le Corbusier meant the word 'miracle' in the sense of an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing or accomplishment. But to the Catholic Church, miracles are as Saint Augustine (354-430) defined them, not contrary to nature but contrary to our knowledge of nature. There are, therefore, two orders of knowing nature, and those events are properly called miracles. These contradict the lower order of the human knowing of nature, while expressing the higher or divine knowledge of nature.
The 18th Century skeptic, British Philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), who lived at the rise of modern science, declared that miracles can never be proved, nor even rendered probable; miracles must, therefore, be relegated to the realm of superstition. As an Empiricist, Hume denied the possibility of ever being able to affirm a miracle rationally. His position was that all knowledge, which is constantly increasing, must be proven by the scientific experiment performed within the context of a society.
The experiment, therefore, must be open to all in a democratic manner and repeatable, ad infinitum. But the reality of experience even to the classical causal relationship is that each occasion of experience (an event) is literally unique in the history of the universe, even if its uniqueness consists in the change of a single circumstance. The non-repeatable experiment, therefore, is the true nature of human knowledge. Art, Science and History can, therefore, be seen as equivalent paths to truth, along with Philosophy and Religion.
Hume should have claimed not that there are no miracles, but that some miracles are more miraculous than others. It was undoubtedly the same kind of egotism that afflicted Hume as that which caused Le Corbusier to fail to define the word 'miracle,' in the Ecclesiastical sense of the word, in relation to Gaudi's architecture.
Dateline: Thursday, 8 March 2001: At 9:30 a.m. Osama Bin Laden during morning prayers in his small cave near Kabul Afghanistan, where he lives with his four wives and fifteen children, makes the final decision to attack the World Trade Center for the second time, plus the Pentagon, and the White House. All at one time.
Lemma: Satan who always has one of his infinite number of ears cocked toward the upper surface of Earth, which he refers to as "the skin of that obscure, obscene, crude, and tasteless planet within which I am forced to reside," is annoyed by the continual importunings of Osama Bin Laden. "That Arab 'trust fund kid' is beginning to occupy a lot of my earth time of late. I don't care about a bunch of buildings. I am after human souls and I already have his. But in the surprise malefactions he engineers, there are often some humans that die with major sins on their souls with no time left to make amends. And a soul is a soul, anyway you can get one."
Accepting the inevitable, Satan assigns a third rate Demon, who has yet to attain official rank and name, to do the task. He calls him "Camel-head," because his face is all pushed in with a drooling tongue sticking out his slack jaw. His eyes have the blank stare of a trapped animal. When he fell from grace he actually forgot to visualize the bottom half of his new physical body and assumed his angel wings were just fine the way they are.
"I think he is just the jamoke to service the curse of Osama the Lion-hearted camel jockey," mused Satan. To "Camel-head": go topside in New York City and look for Twin Towers that resemble the upright posts of a ladder. They are down in Lower Manhattan. You can't miss the structure. Osama is only really interested in the World Trade Center. Besides he can't handle the rest of his request."
"Okay chief, I'm ready to do your glorious bidding."
"Fine but don't call me chief. My name is Satanicus, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Magnificentissimus."
Dateline: Friday, 9 March 2001: At that instant, "Camel-head" is transferred from the center of the earth to Lower Manhattan and it is 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Scanning the area he "remembers" his orders: "ladder, New York City, bring it down." This is not what Satan really said, but to one of the Qliphoth demons (whose real name turned out to be in the end: Gamaliel - the obscene; Tzalalimoron - the Clanger; and Bahimoron - the Bestial), this is the only part of the order he could recall.
The World Trade Center was, therefore, ignored in favor of someone climbing a real ladder - namely me. Since "Camel-head" noticed that I resembled the statue of his materialized self, which exists on the parapet of the Tower of Saint John on the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, he became instantly outraged and blindly jealous of the fact that I had a "bottom half" and two good legs.
As I climbed heavenward toward my destination, I felt a distinct pull starting to drag the ladder and me down. At first I resisted, thinking I could make a grab for the crossbar overhead just a few inches above my outstretched hands. Considering the possibility of actually holding on to the rail for about 10 to 12 hours before help came to the rescue was more than I could bear, since I was about 16 feet above a concrete floor.
The plan I chose instead was to go down with the ladder and step out on my right foot thinking I could save my life and most of my body parts. It was right at that moment that the demon entered my right ankle. Falling to the floor, I heard a bloodcurdling scream being shouted by whom I knew not, but the message was succinct: "Come down with a vengeance."
Lemma: The reason "Camel-head" entered my leg (in the form of osteomyelitis: an infectious inflammatory disease of bone often of bacterial origin that is marked by local death and separation of tissue) was that he recognized in me the same visual and behavioral characteristics as the person who posed for his statue in 1247 A.D. At that time, he pushed the artist's model off the parapet to his death. Since demons cannot tell time, he believed I was the same person, only made whole again. The model had deformed wizened legs permanently folded, giving him the appearance of having no "bottom half."
The continuation of such a close genetic resemblance over the years was the result, of course, from inbreeding. My name, Laffoley, is derived from "La Folie" or "La Folye" a French nickname meaning "the mad one." From the 9th Century to the height of the Gothic period in the 13th Century, across France certain convents took in children that were physically deformed, autistic, epileptic, catatonic, moronic or idiots. They were brought up by the nuns and lost their family names. They were allowed to marry but only from the same convent, thus the genetic bloodlines were closed off.
My variation of the name indicates that I originated from a convent in the City of Chartres. These people became the artists' models of choice during the Gothic period in the West – the time of the great Cathedral-building. This period in history emphasizes the existence of absolute evil, personified as Satan and his minions, represented as bizarre and terrifying extremes of individuality. The "LaFolyes" were exactly what was needed as models.
"Camel-head" entered the mind of a sculptor assigned to work the Towers of Saint John and Notre Dame so that the sculptor would pick "Camel-head's" likeness. The resulting statue is called "the Devil," but this was just "Camel-head" trying to pull a fast one on Satan and convince the general public of that time that he (Camel-head) was the real master of evil.
An image of Satanicus B.A. Magnificentissimus - the real image - exists on Notre Dame. Perched atop an obscure door jamb-shaft on the north side of the Cathedral is a crouching Gargoyle with mouth agape and eyes rolled back in their ecstasy of evil, creating an expression of ultimate defiance against the Almighty, and guaranteeing that all curses will be immediately answered, which by the way is not the case with all prayers. God hears all prayers but does not always grant them because he knows that many requests, if heeded, will bring unsuspected evil results to the petitioner. Of course Satan is not afflicted with such concerns. To him the more evil he can produce in the world the better.
Dateline: Wednesday - Saturday, 4-14 July 2001: According to "LeFigaro" of Paris, Osama Bin Laden is treated for a kidney ailment in an American Hospital in Dubayy on the Gulf of Oman in the United Arab Emirates. There he is met by an official of the CIA in his hospital suite. At the time, he was a fugitive for bombing two U.S. Embassies and the aircraft carrier USS Cole in Aden Harbor, Yemen. On July 14, Bin Laden leaves Dubayy on a private jet. On July 15, the CIA official (who is a spy for the Taliban) returns to CIA Headquarters.
Dateline: August 2001: The FBI arrests an Islamic militant linked to Osama Bin Laden in an overgentrified part of Boston - that section of Charlestown near the end of the Charlestown Bridge from city square and the Harvard Mall right up to the Bunker Hill Monument, in essence the final destination of "the Freedom Trail." It is here, where residents are interested in money and pseudo-history, that members of the Bin Laden family bought condominiums and started a terrorist cell. French Intelligence sources confirm at the time of his arrest the militant had in his possession technical information about Boeing aircraft and flying manuals.
Dateline: Monday to Monday 3-10 September 2001: NBC reports that a caller to a Cayman Islands radio talk show was heard to give several warnings of an imminent attack on the United States by Osama Bin Laden.
Dateline: Tuesday, 11 September 2001: General Mahmud of the I.S.J. (the Inter-Service Intelligence, the powerful intelligence service of Pakistan that is considered a state within a state), who is a friend of Mohammed Atta, visits Washington D.C. on behalf of the Taliban – a term that literally means "pupils" or "students" and is used for the students of religious schools who are politically and militarily active in militant Islamist organizations.
The Taliban is also the common name for the current leadership of Afghanistan because most of its leaders are former students and teachers in such religious schools, and the core of Armed Forces is also made up of former students. The Taliban is also the core of the present Islamic renaissance, not Osama Bin Laden's terrorist organization - Al Qaeda - Arabic for "the base," the umbrella organization founded in 1988 by Osama Bin Laden, as Emir, Muhammad Atef, and Ayman Al Zawahiri, to carry on the Jihad - the Holy War against all Unbelievers.
The attack on America begins in the morning when nineteen suicidal, living-dead, religious zombies hijack four United States airliners, which they crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington Virginia, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Speculation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is that the intended target for the fourth plane was to be either the White House or the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
Lemma: The timeline on this day for "the Brotherhood of Terror" begins at dawn involving 19 terrorists of Al Qaeda:
(1) 7:58 a.m. (E.D.T.) at Logan International Airport Flight 175 of United Airlines departs for Los Angeles from Boston;
(2) 8:00 a.m. at Logan International Airport Flight 11 of American Airlines departs for Los Angeles from Boston;
(3) 8:01 a.m. at the Washington Dulles International Airport, Flight 77 of American Airlines departs for Los Angeles from Herndon Virginia;
(4) 8:03 a.m. at Newark International Airport, Flight 93 of United Airlines departs for Los Angeles from Newark New Jersey;
(5) 8:45 a.m. Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the WTC, Mohamen Atta was at the controls;
(6) 9:03 a.m. Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower of the WTC;
(7) 9:43 a.m. Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon in Washington D.C.;
(8) 10:01 a.m. part of the Pentagon collapses;
(9) 10:05 a.m. the South Tower - number 2 collapses: In the flamboyant clouds, formed by the impact of the South Tower with an airplane, the evil of the act was expressed by the winged crouching Gargoyle from Notre Dame de Paris, the Devil of Death.
(10) 10:10 a.m. Flight 93 crashes in a field in Shanksville Pennsylvania;
(11) 10:28 a.m. the North Tower - number 1 collapses;
(12) 5:25 p.m. Tower number 7 of the WTC collapses.
For 55 minutes from 8:15 a.m. until 9:05 it was widely known within the F.A.A. (the Federal Aviation Administration) and sections of the military that four planes had been simultaneously hijacked and taken off course. During this time no one notified the President of the United States. Only at 9:30 a.m. did any Air Force planes scramble to intercept the hijacked planes. By that time, most of the action was over. This means that the National Command Authority waited 80 minutes before reacting to the airborne terror.
Even a cursory numerological examination of this day reveals its spiritual or occult implications. The meanings ascribed to the numbers 1 to 9 belong to the physical side of life. The "compound" numbers 10 to 52 belong to the spiritual side of life:
•11 - the main number for the day is 11. The Twin Towers, #1 (the Sun) and #2 (the Moon, more mental) formed an unmitigated 11 in the New York skyline: 11 is an ominous number to occultists. It gives warning of hidden dangers, trial, and treachery from others. It has a symbol of "a clenched hand" (the sign of Al Qaeda) and means "A Lion Muzzled." Osama means "Lion." In Western astrology Bin Laden's Sun-Sign is Leo. (The only person he can be compared to in recent history is the artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987), who while he was alive had everyone by the throat - another Leo.)
•175 - the number 175 (1+7+5) adds to 13, the number of change of plans, change of place, upheaval and destruction and is symbolized by the picture of a skeleton of death. The destruction of Tower Two of the WTC is perfectly described by 13. As a symbol of power, if wrongly used, it will wreak destruction upon itself.
•77 - the number 77 (7+7) adds to 14, the number of movement, a combination of people and things, and danger from natural forces, such as tempests, water, air, or fire.
•93 - the number 93 (9+3) adds to 12, the number of suffering and anxiety, also it indicates "the sacrifice" or "the victim" and generally foreshadows one being sacrificed for the plans or intrigues of others. As the fourth flight out, it may have been launched as a decoy for the US Air Force to intercept.
•19, the number of onboard terrorists, is symbolized as "the Sun" and "the Prince of Heaven." It is a number promising happiness, success, esteem and honor - what was promised to these members of Al Qaeda.
•Finally, the number 11 refers, of course, to 09/11/2001 and the plan to attack on that day.
According to Christian astrologers, historians and archaeologists, Jesus was born on April 6, 6 B.C.E. But by Islamic calculations, Christ was actually born on September 11, 3 B.C.E. or more properly, Ramadan 11, 3 B.C.E., which is the 9th month of the Islamic year observed as sacred, with fasting daily from dawn to Sunset.
The whole idea of the attacks was to defeat and eliminate the values and goals of the Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian western heritage. On that day the consciousness of the earth was disturbed. A researcher of the Global Consciousness Project, Dean Radin, explains that, "... 37 computers all over the world toss "virtual coins" and the results are usually around 50% heads and 50% tails." Yet, on September 11, the results were skewed in one direction - something which normally happens maybe once in 15 days. Moreover, the skewing continued for an unprecedented number of hours.
Horoscope of the Twin Towers
The horoscopes of the impacts of the airplanes against the Towers reflect the worldwide disturbance in its greatest specificity, to wit: both natal charts are quite similar, being but 18 minutes apart in "birth."
The Sun is in the eleventh house (the House of ideological causes) on the cusp of the twelfth (the House of Karma). The sign of the Sun is Virgo – the work-oriented, pragmatic and painstaking energy always willing to serve; and is square the Moon which is in the sign of Gemini (the Twins) in ninth house (the House of Religion). A Sun square the Moon creates a bitter conflict between the conscious will (the masculine sign) and the unconscious and inherited habit patterns (the feminine Moon).
Another harsh aspect is an opposition between Pluto (the Planet of Destruction and Transformation) on the cusp of the third House of Communication, and Saturn (the Planet of Limits) on the cusp of the ninth House of Religion. This opposition indicates serious Karmic problems, the nature of which is oppression and harsh treatment of all concerned. There exists a personal connection with the adverse conditions of mass destiny, thwarted ambitions and endangerment to the safety of thousands. Saturn, as the Grim Reaper, brings misfortune into the lives of the masses. Often the deaths of the principals involved are fated in some peculiar way.
This opposition requires regeneration through hard work and discipline. This regeneration will arrive via the "part of fortune" being in the tenth house (of status and career) in the sign of Cancer, which results in ultra sensitive people concerned with their reputations and standing in the world. The circumstances are most favorable and even "lucky" for all concerned to rise back in honor, assisted by means of large business assets.
Regeneration will also come from Venus in Leo (the sign of risk-taking, the charismatic and show business) in the same house. This indicates that already people who are ardent with fixed affections are entering the scene of Ground Zero. These will be for the most part women who are romantic divas with a keen love of all the arts, outgoing in personality, sunny, affectionate and fond of children. They will induce social and artistic ambition and bestow status and great wealth to this dreadful situation.
But there are still risk-taking dangers to be overcome in the form of Uranus on the cusp of the fifth house, while in the sign of Aquarius in opposition to Venus in the tenth house. This opposition creates an unstable nature in terms of spending money unwisely on the uncommon architecture that could be placed on Ground Zero. Uranus is retrograde, which somewhat negates the evil effect of terrorists, not materially but spiritually. This aspect has already begun to work.
The Number Twenty
Recently the terrorist that remained "outboard" on September 11, Zacaris Moussaoui, has been brought to trial on the charge of murder and of being the "administrator" of the attack on the WTC under Osama Bin Laden the Emir. This brings the number of terrorists involved to an even twenty. The number 20 is called "the Awakening" or "the Judgment" - from 20th major Arcanum of the Tarot. It is symbolized by the figure of a winged angel sounding a trumpet, while on the earth-plane a man and woman stand; rising from a tomb is the figure of a child.
The three together hold their hands in a prayer and constitute the Hermetic Anthropos (the Ubermen Schlich - the Superhuman). It is only the child which incarnates. It means only one third of existence is material. Two thirds form the spiritual component.
The number 20, therefore, has a peculiar interpretation: the awakening of a new purpose, new plans, new ambitions, the call to action for some great purpose, cause or duty. It is not a material number and consequently is a doubtful one as far as worldly success is concerned. If related to future events, it denotes delays and hindrances to one's plans, which can only be conquered through the development of the spiritual side of the nature. This means two things must happen in relation to the site of Ground Zero.
First, the curse that Gaudi placed on site has to be removed, and that can only be accomplished by actually building the Grand Hotel as he described it. Second, New York City and America in general has to heed the spiritual warning that the Al Qaeda sought fit to deliver at such a price to us.
As an example of the current attitude of most culture moguls in the United States, I offer an excerpt of a preview of an Andy Warhol retrospective to be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, written by Carlo McCormick, a contributing editor of Juxtapoz Magazine:
"Andy Warhol, the most suspect yet adored of 20th Century artists, is the ideal surrogate imposter for the best and worst aspects of contemporary art-making through which we can measure the validity of our recent values. With Western pundits predicting the death of irony, superficiality, and everything else that we have glibly celebrated as fabulous or fringe, and with our more harsh critics abroad attacking us for a kind of cultural imperialism that desecrates the divine, puts forth false idols, reeks of hypocrisy and greed, and spreads about the world as some malevolently degenerate decadence, the inevitable evolution of our arts and minds would apparently put our relative appreciation and understanding of Andy Warhol very much in the balance."
McCormick's statement seems, therefore, to be a rather mild assessment of the ever-expanding World KulturKampf in which we are presently embroiled. His words will become prophetic, of course, if the terrorists actually attack the exhibition which is scheduled between May 25 to August 18, 2002.
The Death of Post-Modernism
The final irony of 09/11/2001 - the crashing down paroxysmal irony - hopefully the last major irony of the 21st Century is, of course, the death of Post-Modernism. Both the beginning and the end of Post-Modernism involved the destruction of buildings that had been designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project and the World Trade Center. The Pruitt-Igoe was blown up per the order of H.U.D (the Department of Housing and Urban Development formed in 1965) in 1972 before Congress pulled H.U.D's teeth in 1980. The reasons given were a crime rate higher than other housing developments, very long corridors, a sense of social anonymity, lack of controlled semi-private space, so that the elderly and infirm could be protected from roving gangs of thugs, but most of all because the fashion of the project was at variance with the lifestyle of the inhabitants.
The buildings had been rendered in "recherché moderne," typical of the fag end of the style dictated by the CIAM (Congres Internationaux D' Architecture Moderne) which was dissolved in 1959. The CIAM was fanatical about promoting the planning dogmata of functionalism, standardization and rationalization, whether or not the client wanted them. In this case "the clients" were government supported and more used to the style of "Arte Povera."
And, of course, the destruction of the World Trade Center occurred as the result of another type of fanaticism delivered to its "clients" by Al Qaeda. The difference between the time symmetric zealots was that while the CIAM introduced its partisanship before the architectural fact, Al Qaeda displayed theirs 27 years after.
Dateline: Wednesday, 12 September 2001 and on the Future: Although it got off to a very bad start, this is the first day of the Bauharoque period. It is the third phase of Modernism, sometimes called Post-Postmodernism, Trans-Modernism, or Neo-Modernism. The word Bauharoque is composed, first, of Bauhaus, the German for "building house." It was a design school founded under the leadership of the Architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969) at Weimer from 1919 until it was closed by the Nazis in 1933. Influenced by the mysticism of the Symbolists and 19th Century American Utopian Democratic communities, its aim was to create a "style" that would end all attempts at style.
Lemma: By trying to fuse all the arts together under the primacy of architecture, and linking to the doctrines of "constructivism" and "neo-plasticism" (which looked to traditional Japanese architecture for guidance), the Bauhaus came as close at it could toward the modern world of industry, producing an imagery that was felt at its time to subsume and move on from what the Shaker communities, that began in 1774 in the United States, had accomplished. The Shakers took a hard-boiled, comprehensive vision of the practical, the rational and the functional and applied it dynamically to every part of their secular life. What was left over became their negative Zen-like concept of the spirit, which they declared as the essence and reenactment of the primordial beginnings of Christianity.
Because they eschewed all traditional Christian images and any other symbols in their villages, even to simple crosses seen high up on Protestant Churches, the Shakers provided a glimpse of our contemporary secular world in mid-19th Century beyond what the Quakers did (the sect from which the Shakers derived). Those sects that were in turn influenced by the Shakers such as the Mormons (founded 1830) and the Jehovah's Witnesses (founded 1872) could never achieve their degree of Apollonian restraint for which the Shakers became famous. The Bauhaus School thought it had and soon was the touchstone of Heroic Modernism.
What was missing from the Bauhaus was the Dionysian element made famous by the Shakers (and the reason for their disparaging nickname for a religion formally named the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing). They did a dance of the spirit complete with singing, loud shouts, screams of ecstasy and Glossolalia (speaking in languages one does not consciously know). The stomping around was often so violent that it would have embarrassed, I am sure, even the Nihilist Friedrich Nietzshce (1844-1900) who advocated the Dionysian over the Apollonian in his terrorist philosophy.
Apparently Gropius paid too much attention to the Polemics of Austro-Hungarian Architect, Adolf Loos (1870-1933), who 1908 wrote "Ornament und Verbrechen" (Ornament and Crime). After a visit to Chicago in 1893 where he met Louis Sullivan (1856-1924) and Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959) (who was still working for Sullivan at that time), Loos claimed things like lack of ornament was a sign of spiritual strength, and traditional ornamental systems belonged to the aristocracy with no place in modern Bourgeois society. He characterized the desire to ornament as the result of primitive and chthonic urges to do things like tattooing your body or making erotic cave paintings. He considered these activities as appropriate for savages, but degenerate and criminal in modern society.
Fortunately for the world Gaudi's reading was often confined to the works of Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-Le-Duc (1814-1879), the French architect and rationalist who promoted the Gothic revival in France. In fact, while eschewing the puritanical edge and image of what became the International Style, which emerged just before World War One, Gaudi nevertheless did not abandon its essential rationality, even when as a major force in the Renaixensa (the Renaissance of Catalan Patriotism) he expressed Barcelona's Islamic and Gothic heritage through riotously polychrome biomorphic forms. This makes Gaudi the last authentic practitioner of the Baroque in the 20th Century.
The Baroque (the second half of the term Bauharoque) was a name coined by 19th Century art historians for the prevailing style in Western European art from about 1580 to the early 18th Century. The implication being that this art was at base capricious and flowery. Today the Baroque has come to mean much more; above all it was a revolt against Mannerism and its sense of neurotic disquiet and its over intellectualism. As an historical parallel the Bauharoque is a revolt against Post-Modernism for similar reasons, as Mannerism was eventually discharged.
Because the Baroque was based on a classical or rational sensibility using romantic forms, it was accused of elitism and emotional coldness. Its prime directive was, of course, to serve the spiritual impulses of the Counter-Reformation by creating religious archetypes which would be accessible to the masses. The formal structures of the Baroque were aimed at producing a synthesis of architecture, sculpture and painting, which would allow a greater impact than separate presentations.
These structures were of dynamic movements and theatrical effects quite similar to what, 225 years later, the Bauhaus would attempt to put into practice. In terms of architecture, the Baroque employed convex and concave flowing curves in plan, elevation and section, optical illusions, interpenetrating ellipses in plans that were often extensions of centralized complicated geometries and relationships between volumes of different shapes and sizes, emphatic overstatement, daring colors, exaggerated modeling and much symbolic rhetoric.
In painting, the Baroque emphasized a biting and exuberant naturalism depicting the passions of the soul all leading to a transcendental view of reality, as expressed by infinite space, everlasting time and blinding light.
To me, Gaudi is the archetypal proto-Bauharoque artist-architect and should not be confined culturally and stylistically to Art Nouveau, a style of architecture and the decorative arts that flourished in Europe and the United States from about 1888 to 1914 (the beginning of World War One). Anyone who has seen Gaudi's work for real, and not just in reproduction, knows instantly that they are witnessing a poetry of functionalism and a perfect engineering taken directly from nature and not some "femme-fleur" tendrils as surface décor.
Gaudi's buildings are literal sculptures that one can inhabit and not simply imposed, unresponsive forms that can be hollowed out or subdivided internally in some mundane manner. Often what passes for sculptural architecture is fancy "roofatecture" hovering over banal space divisions and trite detailing, like a flamboyant proscenium that inadvertently exposes its own backstage.
Gaudi's Grand Hotel on Ground Zero
Gaudi's Gothic sensibility elicited the very best of the creativity of his colleagues and subordinates. He carried on the medieval guild system of art working. Everyone regardless of their level of talent became involved in some part of a serious art project. This is exactly what would take place in bringing Gaudi's hotel to fruition.
Although there have been many proposals as to how to memorialize Ground Zero in New York City, so far the ones that have gotten through the various bureaucratic screenings have been those that exhibit the "proper" degree of ephemerality (according to the city's abundant supply of politicians and culture mavens), such as "the Towers of Light" a project by the team of Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda, both artists, and John Bennett and Gustavo Bonevardi, architects developed, which called for twin rectangular arrangements of powerful lights pointed skyward from a pair of large barges anchored in the Hudson River next to Ground Zero. It was scheduled for 28 nights, one for each year of the existence of the Twin Towers, early in November of 2001, but illumination was delayed until April of 2002 to coincide with a sixth month memorial of 09/11/2001.
When I saw the maquette for the project for the first time I was struck by the uncanny resemblance to what the Architect Albert Speer (1905-1981) staged at Nuremberg for Adolf Hitler (1889-1945). At Nazi party rallies in the early 1930's. Speer used many searchlights aimed upward into the night sky to suggest "Cathedrals of Light." They were combined with massed flags and blocky forms for buildings.
Anyone who has seen the work of German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (1902- ) especially "The Triumph of the Will," which recorded the megalomaniacal tableaux of Speer, and displayed the charismatic appeal of Hitler, would have to agree that vertical light seeking the darkness of outer space has an undeniable visual poetry. But it is the poetry of the unfettered ego, or at least, in this case the ghost of the ego that built the Twin Towers.
Al Qaeda brought down the World Trade Center by pitting ego against ego plus a sneak attack. To continue in this symbolic vein means that the United States has been reduced in its expression to the level of the terrorists.
"The Towers of Light" Project was actually one of more than 50 exhibits that were displayed in a reactive exhibition presented from 17 January to 16 February 2002 at the Max Protetch gallery in New York City's Chelsea section. Viewing the proposals on the internet right now, the immediate reaction to "A New World Trade Center: Design Proposals" of most people is to echo the sentiments of architect Robert ("don't call me Post-Modern") Venturi (1925- ) – "the restrained aesthetic of doing nothing at all."
Most of the proposals seem surprisingly naive but this may have been the result of the haste with which this exhibition was concocted. From the Sixth of April until early June 2002 it was at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. And, of course, the one glaring omission from the "Design Proposals" was the possibility of erecting Gaudi's hotel on Ground Zero, its intended site for 1908.
As time goes by, the significant design issues will begin to emerge. Already Rudolph Giuliani, who was the Mayor of New York City during 9/11, has said of a memorial to the victims, that it should be "soaring, monumental, beautiful." He later stated that whatever is placed on Ground Zero must be ready to last at least one hundred years and not act as spatial inhibitor above Ground Zero.
Architect Peter Eisenman (1932- ) to my mind said it all about setting the stage for building something on Ground Zero: "I purposely didn't go into the Max Protetch Show. I couldn't ask the questions that needed to be asked. Whatever goes up has to be a public icon, whether it makes an impact from the water or the air or the ground. It has to be some sort of public acknowledgement. It can't be another set of buildings that just blends in."
There are many reasons why Gaudi's Grand Hotel should be built. Just a few of them are:
(1) Structual Strength. Gaudi's Grand Hotel is a structural ideal of Memento Mori (a Reminder of Death). Its own history is the death of an architectural ideal in 1908 which resulted in a deadly curse. Generically, an ideal is that which unites artistically in a single form all the excellencies found in nature in different individual forms of the same type or belonging to the same category. "The ideal," therefore, aims to be more perfect than anything that can be observed in nature and, thereby, proceeds from the artist's own vision of perfection, which is also a vision of death.
What Gaudi wanted was to utilize the catenary paraboloid (a surface all of whose intersections by planes yield either parabolas and ellipses, or parabolas and hyperbolas). Because the form is catenary in reverse (instead of resisting loads in complete tension) the form causes all its material to resist loads in complete compression.
The catenary, in its ideal form, is a curve assumed by a cord of uniform density and cross-section that is perfectly flexible but not capable of being stretched and that hangs freely from two fixed points. When a catenary surface occurs in nature in living membranes, for instance, it is subject to ever-changing wave fronts of energy which forms its matrix of strain, growth and repair. When the catenary is "frozen" in space, all of its material resists gravity. Being frozen in space also means frozen in time and, therefore, as ideal and changeless as death.
Since the structure of Gaudi's Grand Hotel is hollow and generally conical, its internal surface stresses are twisting shear stresses. This torsion is composed of a force couple (the applied torque and resisting torque). The hodograph of this stress pattern is the same as that which appears in all ordinary univalve seashells - the logarithmic spiral - the path of which the biologist Sir D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1860-1948) stated: "... is characteristic, not of that of living tissues, but of the dead. And for the same reason it will always or nearly always be accompanied, and adorned, by a pattern formed of "lines of growth," the lasting record of successive stages of form and magnitude."
Seashells are composed of aggregates of calcium carbonate, which is also used in making lime and portland cement. Gaudi planned to build the Grand Hotel of reinforced concrete in ringed sections. This process is as close as one can get to producing gigantic seashells. One of the fundamental structural principles of the seashell is to resist lateral thrusts of large creatures with large teeth. Or in the case of skyscrapers, the lateral forces of airplanes or guided missiles. Can we assume that Gaudi anticipated this far into the future?
(2) Permanent Memorial. Gaudi's Grand Hotel, because of its basic imprinting with the forms of death, would be the most appropriate structure as a memorial for the thousands of people who died at Ground Zero, another type of Memento Mori at the personal, social and emotional levels.
The center catenary paraboloid in Gaudi's design for the hotel is devoted to celebratory and memorial functions from the Space Tower Observatory to the great exhibition hall, 375 feet high (as high as the towers of Gaudi's masterpiece, "The Sagrada Familia) down through the large theater and lecture hall, down, down through the six enormous restaurants which symbolize the five continents of the Earth: Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe, and America, until finally the lobby space at the footprint of the building, the extent of which fits directly over Ground Zero.
Since the lobby is 400'-0" in diameter and 150'-0" high, it would provide a lavish indoor burial ground for the hotel, complete with circumferential glazing and spectacular imagery of the universe obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope, holographic and virtual reality films of the attack on the World Trade Center; natural daylight could be delivered through the inside of the building by means of tubes that are mirrored on their interiors and curved as cylinders, spheres, and paraboloids. Also light rays are transferred without light loss by means of opti-thermal-imagers.
The other lobby areas surrounding the center area are so extensive that they can accommodate any number of visitors either to Ground Zero or the ten ancillary hotels that cluster around the main shaft.
(3) Celebration of New York City. While Gaudi's Grand Hotel would act as a permanent memorial for all those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks, it would be paradoxically a celebration of the life for which New York City is famous. In the great exhibition space, Gaudi had planned to have enough space in this hall for gigantic statues of the Presidents, with enough pedestals remaining to take America into the Third Millennium. Much of this space could be devoted also to separate memorials for disaster victims, which would highlight the nature of the lives they led rather than just an indication of their existence.
In terms of the physical details, Gaudi had planned that his Grand Hotel would have the most lavish of surfacing materials used both for the interior and the exterior. On a base of structural reinforced concrete first would be placed heat resistant tiles (the kind used to surface rocketships for reentry into the earth's atmosphere), something obviously needed in the present, would be placed alabaster tiles, giving the exterior a pearlescent luster, along with different colored marbles and carved granite at the base of the cluster of towers. Beyond that, the structure would be surfaced with bits of debris (in this case from Ground Zero) terra cotta sculptures, minerals and fragments of colored glass.
The interior beyond the heat resistant tiles would have stained glass windows, sculptured surfaces of plaster, terra cotta, various woods, and historically formulaic interiors and elaborately modeled stucco. This slow-setting plaster known from antiquity was made of very fine sand, pulverized white carrara marble, gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate), alabaster-dust and water, often with other additions, such as coloring provided by mixing in metallic oxides. Stucco was sometimes mixed with gum dissolved in lukewarm water. When the stucco was perfectly dry it was rubbed and polished.
(4) Social and Cultural Concerns. The major cultural issues concerning the design of a memorial for Ground Zero have emerged as:
* First, the general populace across the United States, and New York City in particular, wish to keep Ground Zero just as it is with no modifications for at least the next 100 years. Some prominent architects have underscored this decision;
* Second, the artistic and design communities of New York City are determined to create a physical memorial for Ground Zero. Other designers from the national and international venues echo these sentiments;
* Third, there is a need for a designer with whom everyone across the country can relate, whether or not they are from the professional design community or laymen;
* Fourth, also the selected designer must be of such a nature that he or she will not succumb to the temptation to indulge in the ego-mongering that most successful design professionals are subject to, thanks to the ubiquity of the media. Using the commission of a memorial to such an august historical event as Ground Zero as a chance for self-promotion would be totally counter to the spirit of the seriousness of the situation;
* Fifth, most everyone who has thought about it agrees that any structure used as the Ground Zero Memorial must not be used for any world trade commercial activities. From the start, the World Trade Center failed to fulfill its stated mission as being the business nexus for world trade. As time went on, more and more of its rentable space went to small computer based industries that would have been better served as rural cottage enterprises.
(5) Vision and Collective Involvement. It is my belief, therefore, that the Grand Hotel for New York City by Antonio Gaudi y Cornet, designed 94 years ago but never built at that time, if built today at and above the Ground Zero site will be able to meet the challenges of these and other issues regarding the memorialization of this national tragedy.
Gaudi died 76 years ago. His ego is not at stake, but his reputation is. Gaudi's reputation has been growing steadily since his death from that of an architectural oddity to one of the masters of architecture in the modern world. Eventually his work will be seen less as the marginalia of "Art Nouveau" and more as the anticipation of the physically alive technology that the inhabitants of earth will need in its quest to penetrate and live successfully on and in other planets and outer space. By then Gaudi will be hailed as the greatest architect of Modernism.
Hotels in the strictest sense are not commercial ventures, they are part of the "theater of life" and, as such, are often revived after they failed as businesses, because of the joy and urban history they have engendered. Consider the history of the Waldorf Astoria. In Gaudi's case, his New York Hotel has the potential for a double history, first as an unbuilt project, and second as a built work. Also it would not be a pastiche if built, but would be an actual new work.
Gaudi's Gothic sensibility elicited the very best of the creativity of his colleagues and subordinates. He carried on the medieval guild system of art working. Everyone regardless of their level of talent became involved in some part of a serious art project. This is exactly what would take place in bringing Gaudi's hotel to fruition. The design and artistic team would be almost self selected with people dropping out when they discover that they cannot perform as they claimed.
The basic fear about the hotel may be that there is no architect alive now with talent enough to match Gaudi's vision. But that is not the problem. Gaudi's vision is what will carry the day and inform the participants as to how to go about building it. The difficult part will be gathering the collective will to do it. P
Paul Laffoley may be reached at Boston Visionary Cell, 36 Bromfield Street, Suite 200, Boston, MA 02110, (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Artwork and bibliography: www.kentgallery.com, info at: http://www.dilettantepress.com/. See Gaudi's architectural design for his "American Hotel" at http://www.op.net/~jmeltzer/Gaudi/hotel.html. For info on the '2002 Year of Gaudi' festivities in Reus Spain see http://www.reusgaudi2002.org/.
Books on Gaudi (directly)
La Vision Artistique Et Religieuse De Gaudi, 1969, Robert Des Charnes and Clovis Pre'vost, Edita S. A. Lausanne and Dorset Press N.Y.C.
Antoni Gaudi Y Cornet – A life Devoted to Architecture, Rainer Zerbst, Rikuyo – SHA Publishing, Inc. Tokyo, Japan 1985
Gaudi, Gijs Van Hensbergen, 2001, Harper Collins Publishers Inc. New York City
Antonio Gaudi: Master Architect, Juan Bassegoda Nonell, 2000, Abbeville Publishing Group N.Y.C.
Gaudi, Henry Russell Hitchcock, 1957, Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C.
Modern Architecture Since 1900 (Third Edition), 1996, William J.R. Curtis, Prentice-Hall, Inc. New Jersey
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture, 1991, Dennis Sharp (Ed.), Whitney Library of Design
The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms, 1984, Edward Lucie-Smith, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London
A Dictionary of Architecture, 1999, James Stevens Curl, Oxford University Press
On Growth and Form, 1916-1941, D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, Cambridge at the University Press
Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future, 1984, Joseph J. Corn and Brian Horrigan, Summit Books, New York City
1939: The Lost World of the Fair, 1995, David Gelernter, Free Press
Extreme Islam the: Anti-American Propaganda of Muslim Fundamentalism, 2001, Adam Parfrey (Ed.), Feral House
Civilization Under Attack: September 11, 2001 and Beyond an Astrological Perspective, 2001, Stephanie J. Clement, PH.D (Ed.), Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul Minnesota
The Taliban: War and Religion in Afghanistan, 2002, Peter Marsden, Zed Books, Ltd, London, N.Y.C.
Bin Laden: The Man who Declared War on America, 1999, Yossef Bodansky, Random House, Inc.
Nexus, New Times, Vol. 9, No. 1, January- February 2002 , Nexus Magazine Pty, Ltd. Australia
Architecture, November 2001 Vol 90 No. 11.
Art in America, November 2001, Brant Art Publications, N.Y.C.
Art in America, March 2002
Juxtapoz, March/April 2002
Art News, April 2002
Juxtapoz, May/June 2002