Veritus Et Venustas

Diatribe of a 'recovering architect'

| June 10, 2004

John Montague Massengale's weblog will take you on a global tour of traditional urban architecture and historic preservation, and then let you rest in the shade under a giant oak tree to digest it all. Visit Veritus Et Venustas (Truth and Beauty) and check out the Big Apple at the turn of the last century, modern Charleston, SC on a rainy day, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas' awe-inspiring public library in Seattle, or small-town Waterford, VA overcome by late afternoon shadows. Then follow his links abroad for a stroll down the Ile de la Cit? in Paris, a conference on architectural vision in Bologna this fall or a Spaziergang in Dresden's nearly reconstructed city market.

Massengale works out of an office on the green in historic Bedford Village, 35 miles north of claustrophobic New York City, so he understands the importance of a landscape -- whether urban or rural -- that lets you breathe. He co-authored a history of architecture and urbanism in the Progessive Era called New York 1900, Metropolitan Architecture and Urbanism 1890-1915, along with Robert A.M. Stern. Massengale also penned The Anglo-American Suburb, an introduction to the history of suburbia before sprawl. He is a founding member of the Congress for the New Urbanism and, this may surprise you, calls Santa Fe, NM, 'the most beautiful city of the 20th century.'

But his blog posts aren't limited to architecture. Anything that makes you say 'Wow' could find its way here. Check out the new Honda commercial in the U.K., featuring a simple domino-like chain reaction started by a mere bolt that eventually sends a shiny new car off the assembly line, its engine humming and its stereo pumping out tunes. The film took 606 takes and cost $6 million, though it didn't utilize a single computer graphic or digital trick.
-- Jacob Wheeler

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