2008年3月28日 星期五

Last Days of Taipei: Taipei’s story seems to get rewritten, and rewritten, and rewritten.


Last Days of Taipei


AS TAIWAN IS DRAWN INTO CHINA’S ORBIT, THE STORY OF ITS SURPRISING CAPITAL — AT ONCE CHAOTIC AND PEACEFUL, GRITTY AND SUBLIME — IS BEING REWRITTEN YET AGAIN.
BY DOUGLAS MCGRAY

Photographs by Michael Wolf

There is nothing particularly Taiwanese about the Astoria Café. That’s what made it special when Archibald Chien opened the place over a half century ago, on the west side of Taipei, the old downtown. The bakery sold fresh bread and homemade cakes downstairs. Upstairs, Chien served dark, bitter coffee, Italian style. Well, not really Italian. "French,” he told me. "Swiss,” he said, picking up a plate of perfect little cakes. Then he laughed. The coffee, the pastries and the cakes — actually, all Russian. "But we could not call anything Russian.” Just about everything gets political in Taipei. Even dessert.

History in Taiwan’s capital has unfolded like a foreign-affairs soap opera. In the 1500s, mainland Chinese, mostly from Fujian Province, began to move here to farm. But the newcomers clashed with the


Upstairs, Chien served dark, bitter coffee, Italian style. Well, not really Italian. "French,” he told me. "Swiss,” he said, picking up a plate of perfect little cakes. Then he laughed. The coffee, the pastries and the cakes — actually, all Russian. "But we could not call anything Russian.” Just about everything gets political in Taipei. Even dessert.
History in Taiwan’s capital has unfolded like a foreign-affairs soap opera. In the 1500s, mainland Chinese, mostly from Fujian Province, began to move here to farm. But the newcomers clashed with the locals, dozens of tribes with their own languages and cultures. Then, in the 17th century, the Dutch moved in. Then a Chinese faction, hostile to the new Qing dynasty that ruled the mainland, threw them out. Then the Qing army conquered the Chinese in Taiwan and put the island up for sale. When they couldn’t find a buyer, they kept it until 1895, when Japan seized the land — and things got really complicated.
It’s more than history to Chien. He explained that he spoke Taiwanese as a young boy, in the 1930s. (Taiwanese is related to the local tongue of Fujian Province; just how closely related is, you guessed it, political.) But Chien had to give up Taiwanese for Japanese during elementary school — when imperial Japan was trying to scrub the island clean of native and Chinese influences. When China reclaimed Taiwan after World War II, Japanese was banned, so as a young man Chien got to work on the new national language, Mandarin Chinese.

Mandarin Chinese.
Chien founded the Astoria in 1949 with a few Russian guys who had left the Soviet Union. That same year, Communists seized control of mainland China and General Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists fled to Taiwan. They took over Taipei and installed a thuggish government, nearly as hard-line in its anti-Maoism as the Communists in Beijing were anti-bourgeois. Mysterious men started showing up at the cafe, watching Chien’s Russian partners and tracking who came and went — especially the writers.

Business boomed for a while. Taiwan bet early on high-tech manufacturing, and by the 1970s the island was gadget maker to the world. Businessmen would come to the cafe with their portable radios and listen to the stock market report while sipping coffee. Gradually, though, the neighborhood outside, with its narrow avenues, tiled facades and crowds of street vendors, lost its importance as office towers, shopping malls, restaurants and foreign boutiques sprouted from the city’s new glass-and-steel east side. Then came the international hotels with their elegant cafes. Pretty soon, you could get a good cup of coffee and a Western-style pastry anywhere in the city.
The morning I met Chien, except for the two of us and Chien’s daughter, the Astoria Café was empty.

Taipei these days is both cosmopolitan and mellow, thanks to three decades of prosperity that have benefited largely the middle class. (I used to associate the sound of Mandarin with the bumping, every-man-for-himself chaos of China’s big cities — not anymore.) But there are echoes everywhere of the turmoil that shaped the city, and signs of an uncertain future. Which makes now a pretty interesting time to explore.
Chu T’ien-hsin and her sister are a bit like the Brontës of Taiwan. They’re big-time novelists and short-story writers. (Taipei’s dailies publish literary supplements, so highbrow short stories reach an unusually large audience.) I wanted to talk to Chu about her novella "The Old Capital,” which came out in English last year.

We met at Spot-Taipei Film House, a cinema, bookstore and cafe in a white colonial mansion on busy Zhongshan North Road. This was the United States government’s consulate in Taipei until the Carter administration normalized relations with China and left Taiwan. The old house was empty for more than two decades until a few years ago, when Hou Hsiao-hsien, the respected Taiwanese filmmaker, led an effort to transform the place. (He actually showed up at our table to say hello — Chu’s sister, T’ien-wen, writes most of his screenplays.)
Chu has a sweet, round face, inquisitive eyes and perfect posture.

"The Old Capital” was her critical hit here. It tells the story of a Taiwanese woman who returns to Taipei from abroad and struggles to find the city of her youth in a modern, alien place. As the narrator walks around the city, she retreats into her head.

Chu weighs down every memory with details — bus stops, house numbers, songs on the radio, species of flora. "There were chrysanthemums and osmanthus” if your father came from mainland China, she writes of the gardens in her character’s childhood neighborhood, "or hibiscuses and tree orchids (if your father was local Taiwanese) or wisterias and arhat pines (if your ancestors had spoken Japanese).”

"The Old Capital” is crowded with horticulture. I asked Chu why. When the Japanese came, she said, they planted flame trees, cherry trees, azaleas and eucalyptus all around Taipei. Later, the Chinese nationalists chopped many of these down and planted banyan trees and king palms. When locals chafed at the way a small gang of mainlanders ran Taipei, officials began planting native camphor trees. In less than a generation, camphor-lined streets have become the picture of modern Taipei. The stout, twisting laurels grow quickly, like so much else here.

In any boomtown, things vanish and other things take their place. But something more has happened in Taipei. "It’s just one government erasing the history of another,” Chu said. She’s no impartial observer; she feels a deep connection to mainland China, something many here reject, and she’s blunt about it. But she’s definitely right about this: Taipei’s story seems to get rewritten, and rewritten, and rewritten.

"17-Mile Drive"

"霧像霧一樣,白茫茫地擋住了一切。從車窗裡望出去,我們正在有名的「十七哩」上。對開的公路兩側散佈的是殘缺遍地的白沙。寂寞的柏樹只留下淡淡的影子在霧裡。

海上沒有白浪,起伏的海面沒有澎湃,卻多了含蓄;一兩行靜靜的沙鷗,遠遠傳來海豹的吠聲和腥氣。霧幾乎是籠罩了所有,不像寂寞,不是激盪,只是一陣僅能感覺的壓力。....." 趙民德 如夢的夢德里

Monday, February 3rd, 1964


Wikipedia article "17-Mile Drive".

全羅南道詩人故鄉的春天》光州

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特別市(Teukbyeol-si、トゥクピョルシ)
1:서울特別市(ソウルとくべつし)
広域市(Gwangyeok-si、クァンヨクシ)
2:釜山広域市(プサンこういきし)
3:大邱広域市(テグこういきし)
4:仁川広域市(インチョンこういきし)
5:光州広域市(クァンジュこういきし)
6:大田広域市(テジョンこういきし)
7:蔚山広域市(ウルサンこういきし)
道(Do、ト)
8:京畿道(キョンギどう)
9:江原道(カンウォンどう)
10:忠清北道(チュンチョンブクどう)
11:忠清南道(チュンチョンナムどう)
12:全羅北道(チョルラブクどう)
13:全羅南道(チョルラナムどう)
14:慶尚北道(キョンサンブクどう)
15:慶尚南道(キョンサンナムどう)
特別自治道(Teukbyeol-jachido、トゥクピョルヂャチド)
16:済州特別自治道(チェジュとくべつじちどう)

姉妹都市

全羅南道詩人故鄉的春天》光州(下上)


前記

李騰淵教授,有一年到加州大學來研究,因為他曾經在台灣輔仁大學留學,相見下自有一番親切,並相約有機會到光州看看,跟他的研究生做個講演。去年四月底被 邀到釜山大學講演,既然到了釜山,講完了就順理成章到光州去。釜山、光州之間有一段距離,但並沒有直接的火車,釜山金惠俊教授和光州李教授兩面都好客,決 定釜山由高慧琳同學送我們半程,光州由李教授半途接力,好讓我們沿途欣賞欣賞風景,這樣的主人這樣的安排在西方幾乎不會碰見。

1

從釜山到光州的高速公路上,意外的驚喜是,兩旁都種滿了紫藤,包括開路時有時要切開山丘留下的路牆上也都種滿。現在是春天,一路是兩袖伸開歡迎我們的濃淡有致的紫花,真箇是醒神,真箇是看盡紫藤不知倦,不知遠。

漫山漫谷新綠透青,透明的青,從去年的舊綠中爆放出來,說新陳代謝,還不如說新的生命推壓舊的生命而衝出。活潑潑的生機從河的兩岸騰起,殘軀老骨彷彿受到春的呼喚而欲躍。倚欄望入浮雲杳靄,竟有蕭然出塵之意。

晉州城是中途,沿河向城中行進,河兩岸都是只有紅花不見葉的杜鵑和不同顏色的花籃;兩岸都是遊步道,這必然是悠閑文化的重鎮,典雅的設施,高級絲絹的產 地,淨雅的街道與房舍的中心是一個古城。黑瓦白牆,古拙雄偉,估計收藏豐富。因為要趕路,今天便只好錯過。此時,古城外,河中心,適時出現一艘烏篷的帆 影,緩緩馳向空濛的遠方,引人思入遠古的歷史,遙遠的故鄉。來接的李教授,不久就到達,寒暄數語就回到高速公路繼續前行。

仍舊是紫藤引路,仍舊是透青透綠騰躍的春山的挑逗。但見一路農田不見蔬菜的種植,而是一片一片長條長條的紫雲英和映山紅。李教授知道我們的來意,走了一段 便轉入山谷小路,我也趁機問他為什麼不見大片蔬菜的種植,他說是面臨農業經濟轉型的關係,他有點激動地說,譬如世界市場上的竹子手工業品,以前都是光州輸 出的,所以到處都是美麗的竹林,但現在大都被砍掉,因為已經被中國大陸廉價竹子手工業打垮了。我們心中一跳,想到台灣農村的命運,我記憶中一望無際的甘蔗 園早已消失,桃竹一帶農家的禾田已經荒廢轉型為消閑農莊,雖然說少了稻田多了花卉,農村的消失也就是親密社群的沒落;從北到南,醜陋的亂建的洋房把美麗的 農村割切得七零八落,現在走在光州的山谷小路,卻看到不少漂亮的農村,完全沒有受到工業世界城市的汙染與蠶食,是如此乾淨和諧的聚落,包括到處可見大槐樹 下的休憩亭,我期待看見一個紗袖清飄,倚亭把著菸桿,聽來自遠古琴聲一樣的流泉,聽雲絲絲的移動。是黃昏早到了嗎?幾乎不見人影,農舍靜靜隱坐在山坳裡, 彷彿在沉睡。一路青翠夾道,乍見楓紅,春天的楓紅,楓青,楓黃,與山花,田疇連綿展現的杜鵑爭豔,有水杉初綠茸茸的樹隧道,當然也有韓國出名的銀杏,此時 嫩葉初發分外迷人。我們隨著彎路,出谷入谷,出山入山,出村入村,有時沿河,有時沿湖,遠山一個一個攀升疊影,有無盡快意。引道者李教授突然說,「我不知 道這條臨時改變主意的小路會來到我的農舍。」農舍,田園,我們當然要看,農舍位於一溫泉區,目前雖見荒蕪,但也有淵明意,就戲稱他為李淵明。

在光州湖邊吃韓式蒸雞,環境好極了,除了紅調的杜鵑群,一個大湖引向迷濛,有日月潭的架勢,此時日影跳躍在水中,靜靜的舞動。可能是周日,沒有其他的遊 人,寂靜無人,只有我們,整個感覺雅致無比。韓傳統盤足式或跪坐式,矮竹桌室外室內都有,竹林前也有平滑的大石錯落有致的安放,兩人可以坐飲細嚼,石桌一 般都在紫藤棚下,此時都已開花,湖風吹來,甚為涼快。我們來得晚了點,空氣已有涼意,就在室內倚窗看湖,仍然不俗。

2

今天由同學崔小姐開車再看光州山村,她先開一段高速,基本上是李教授昨天沒有開的一段,出谷入谷,仍然是萬綠爭寵,山山相迎,紅杜鵑遍山,好大一片,似加 州 iceplant的動人。在山邊,花葉大而浮紅遍野;谷田裡仍然以紫雲英、映山紅為主,被點綴著紅黃透青的丘陵挽抱著;路旁間以紫藤花油菜花和晚開的複瓣 櫻花以及棗紅赭色而黃而青的楓葉夾道。啊,都是顏色的逐舞,迴山逐溪,逐河,逐湖的轉折中韻動如樂音,谷寂無人,行車不多,尤其是在和順附近離開快車道以 後,基本上在眾山的內裡轉出轉入,彷彿不是向著一個目標,而是在自然(或者說在山)的內裡盤桓摸索,谷谷彷彿相似,谷谷彷彿都不一樣,就是這樣的從容不 迫,才可以進入自然變化微細的動律裡,微細變化裡的透青透紅,微細的柳暗花明又一谷,我們遙看眾翠競生的祥和。主人說,你們閉目養神,到了會通知你們。慈 美說,怕漏了美好景色。主人客人都興奮。

不久到了住岩湖,好乾淨俐落的湖景,觀景台是傳統的韓國亭子,此外別無其他人為的設施。無船,無屋,無人,彷彿是處女湖,一片玉藍靜靜在那裡,環湖皆山, 用最柔細的春綠衛護著,我們把呼吸慢下來,幾乎想冥思在閣上,聽山音從湖的寂靜中升起。從容不迫,大概是遊光州山景的極致,細柔而入神,莫過住岩湖此刻。 說柔說細說慢,要時間寂止,要不分晝夜的柔細寂止,要在萬化萬動的這些山山谷谷,溪河湖泊前,完全停下來進入那律動裡。但我們沒有超越這種時間的能力,我 們仍然被時間催逼,我們又離開,又進入出山入山出谷入谷的馳行。

轉了一個山彎,一下子躍入古代的支石墓群的園林,支石墓是史前時期石墓的一種,英語叫Dolmen。利用大石支撐平石成墓室,大者如 Stonehenge,小者如掘地砌石,最後蓋以大石,形形色色,有一種以石護體的神祕信仰。這些石頭建構遍布歐非亞大陸,而在亞洲,幾乎全部集中在韓 國,有三萬餘座,具有中國、韓國、日本支石墓的特色,是研究古代生活形態很好的戶外博物館。事實上,園內建構支石墓的博物館,墓中史前器皿的收藏和世界各 地支石墓群建築的介紹和圖示都非常有教育價值。但對我們來說,散落如棋的石墓,就是戶外的雕塑群,配合著古代的簡潔素樸的一二茅草屋,與其說這是墓地,不 如說是一個遊園,如此安詳,布置得如此灑脫閑逸。事實上今天來園的一些家庭,衣著素雅,靜靜的在那裡野餐,沒有哄鬧,沒有紙屑亂丟,一片有教養的遊園的文 靜。對,是文靜的園配合著文靜有雅興的遊人,好一片活潑潑的生活畫。

城牆完整的樂安民俗村比較好看的是大量的茅草屋,民俗村也已經商業化了,尤其是入門處,盡是庸俗化的紀念品店(不少還是「中國製」的呢)和食物店,倒是有一處蓬勃的菜花黃半淹茅草屋的美景,甚為動人。

看仙岩寺,依指標上山,但又下山,又出村,再上山,好像要人看盡附近的谷村才慢慢進入。到了。還要走很長的泥石路,此時已經下午四點多,大部分遊人已經下 山,我們依著長長沿溪淙淙水聲而上,走了起碼半小時,仍未見廟影,幸好透著陽光夾道的樹葉濃密,還能讓我們不去想腳累,及至到了曹溪禪廟,號稱六朝古廟云 云,和尚講解不清。和尚熱心嚮導,也說不出什麼驚人的玄理,無非說禪宗兩派,最差勁的是和尚六根不清淨,忽然舉起五指,講什麼大拇指富貴,末指無法比等 等,我實在忍不住,就把在釜山梵魚寺看到的四句禪機遮破他:

摩訶大法王

無短亦無長

本來非皂白

隨處見青黃

希望他有所悟。此時廟後大叢大叢不同紅色全花無葉的杜鵑層層推進,正好把和尚的愚昧消解,此時身旁兩棵櫻花因風瓣瓣翻飛,為黑瓦平添帶情的絕美。我們再不聽和尚的語障,全神投入喜悅湧溢的花叢裡。 






2008年3月25日 星期二

Joseph Conrad 歐盟各國在台辦事處

因為知道"華沙(波蘭)貿易辦事處 "將舉辦"康拉德150周年紀念影像展"

Joseph Conrad (born Teodor Józef Konrad Nałęcz-Korzeniowski, 3 December 18573 August 1924) was a Polish-born novelist who spent most of his adult life in Britain.

He is regarded as one of the greatest English novelists, which is even more notable because he did not learn to speak English well until he was in his 20s (albeit always with a Polish accent).

Conrad is recognized as a master prose stylist. Some of his works have a strain of romanticism, but more importantly he is recognized as an important forerunner of Modernist literature.

Wikipedia article "Joseph Conrad".


歐盟各國在台辦事處
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奧地利觀光處 Austrian Tourism Office
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比利時台北辦事處 Belgian Office, Taipei
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捷克經濟文化辦事處 Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei
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tel: 2722-5100
fax: 2722-1270
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丹麥商務辦事處 Danish Trade Organizations' Taipei Office
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tel: 2718-2101
fax: 2718-2141
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芬蘭商務辦事處 Finland Trade Center, Taipei
台北市110基隆路一段333號15樓1505室
tel: 2722-0764
fax: 2725-1517
e-mail: taipei@finpro.fi

法國在台協會 French Institute in Taipei
台北市105敦化北路205號10樓1003室
tel: 3518-5151
fax: 3518-5190
e-mail: ift@transend.com.tw

德國在台協會 German Institute
台北市105民生東路三段2號4樓
tel: 2501-6188
fax: 2501-6139
e-mail: info@taip.diplo.de

匈牙利貿易辦事處 Hungarian Trade Office
104台北市大直敬業1路97號3樓
tel: 8501-1200
fax: 8501-1161
e-mail: hutroff@ms24.hinet.net

愛爾蘭投資貿易促進會 The Institute for Trade and Investment of Ireland
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tel: 2725-1691
fax: 2725-1653
e-mail: ititpe@ms8.hinet.net

義大利經濟貿易文化推廣辦事處 Italian Economic, Trade & Cultural Promotion Office
台北市110基隆路一段333號18樓1808室
tel: 2345-0320
fax: 2757-6260
e-mail: info@italy.org.tw

荷蘭貿易暨投資辦事處 Netherlands Trade and Investment Office
台北市105民生東路三段133號5樓B室
tel: 2713-5760
fax: 2713-0194
e-mail: ntio@ntio.org.tw

斯洛伐克經濟文化辦事處 Slovak Economic and Cultural Office
台北市110基隆路1段333號2410室
tel: 8780-3231
fax: 2723-5096
e-mail: seco_taipei@hotmail.com

西班牙商務辦事處 Spanish Chamber of Commerce
台北市105民生東路三段49號10樓B1室
tel: 2518-4905
fax: 2518-4891
e-mail: taiwan@mcx.es

瑞典貿易委員會台北辦事處 Swedish Trade Council, Taipei Office
台北市110基隆路一段333號11樓1101室
tel: 2757-6573
fax: 2757-6723
e-mail: taiwan@swedish.trade.se

華沙(波蘭)貿易辦事處 Warsaw Trade Office
台北市110基隆路一段333號20樓2006室
tel: 2757-6140
fax: 2757-6086
e-mail: wtotsw@ms62.hinet.net

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  • Therefore, this list does not serve as an endorsement or warranty by the Commission services of :

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2008年3月23日 星期日

香港下町的生活 眠る茶餐廳

downtown , uptown ,下町


香港下町的生活 眠る茶餐廳

LangAndrew2008/03/23
香港人の生活に欠かせない食堂兼喫茶店、茶餐廳(チャーチャンテン)。閉店後は、蚊捕りランプが光るだけだ。ここで眠ると、夢の中も蚊の音でうるさいのだろうか。
中国 街 NA

香港下町的生活 眠る茶餐廳 |
=2007年7月29日、香港島・中環(セントラル)で

2008年3月19日 星期三

西門町:黑與白之間(王文娟)

Tekkon Kinkreet by Michael Arias


黑與白之間

◎王文娟/攝影

松 本大洋漫畫改編的同名動畫《惡童當街》中,兩個外號叫「貓」的流浪少年小黑與小白,以守護他們活動的地盤(一個城市的舊街區「寶町」)為名,先後與入侵的 成人暴力集團「鼠」和「蛇」進行殘酷的生死格鬥。彷彿熟極了此城的作息、結構,甚至呼吸,少年們在腔腸般繁複的巷道、肌理蔓亂的街廓間追逐、騰躍、戲耍, 驅動高樓上的象頭人身魔尊報時鐘嚇阻對手,跨過一節節疾駛中車輛的頂蓋,彷彿活在一個無重力、無限制的幻影之境。寶町有如神話怪獸,隨著少年修長細瘦的雙 腿踢跳而甦醒起舞,馴服於他們的黑白魔法。

大城市的故事,在七彩炫目的糖衣下,總少不了一章黑暗與光明、罪惡與救贖的辯證,共譜黑鍵與白鍵的對位賦格。城市的性格是冷血的、嚴酷的、弱肉強食的,它 總是張開血盆大口等著將無能的失敗者吞噬到地獄,萬劫不復。《悲慘世界》的乞兒為了生存只好偷拐搶騙;《萬惡城市》的哀樂男女,則挾著重型衝鋒槍和鮮血墮 入永夜般的暴力深淵。他們也許偶然抬頭望天,渴望救贖、脫離砍殺循環的片刻清明,創造出城市有天使守護的耳語。溫德斯的大天使們,面帶慈悲地傾聽自殺者、 嗑藥者、流浪者、遭遺棄背叛者的心聲,卻無能為力;而班雅明的老天使,則面朝過去,抵抗城市挾帶毀滅的進步之風。天使是陷落的光,白魔法節節敗退。

一次夜間的漫遊,我無意間在西門町發現一座巨大的廣告看板,一位天使造型的女孩蹲跪著,在虔誠地祈禱著什麼。她被下方各色燈牆烘托,襯著黑幕的天,更加凸 顯身上紗衣和翅膀的白。若說要預演台北版的街頭故事,我心目中最理想的舞台首推西門町。自小,長輩們便諄諄告誡,那裡三教九流,是遊民、吸毒者、詐騙犯、 流鶯、大小混混、怪伯伯、被不法集團操控的乞丐團、渾身髒臭掛著詭異笑臉的失智者等的流連之地,他們是追趕不上城市發展史的遺民,只能在時間皺褶的暗影中 窺探、伺機出手劫色劫財。這其中有浮誇、有事實,更像渲染過的傳說或放大恐懼的想像,但我以為這便是城市黑魔法的豔異迷人之處吧:街頭供給他們生活,而他 們則回吐一口微溫的人氣,依循某種不足為外人道的人情義理,讓街景綻放奇花異草。

《惡童》的視覺風格,一貫用廣角或俯角呈現寶町,使得天更加寬,而地更加窄。那些立足地面日日忙於營生的小店,取材自顏色氾濫、造型複雜低矮東南亞民居風 格,反倒因空間擁擠而萃取出更濃縮精純的影像魔力。只不過,以「蛇」象徵的新興商業勢力,卻妄想一手遮天,以人造光海取代天光,奉自己為新世代的神祇,手 段卻更為暴力。

回到現實的西門町。彷彿向被遺忘歲月反撲的整建計畫行之有年,街道拓寬燈光明亮,時尚騷趣店櫃進駐,大型國際影展年年舉辦,黑暗的獸暫時退回巷內更深處, 偶爾能見細微的觸鬚,以名片、傳單、簡訊、印有手機號碼的隨手貼,向路人發出邀約的暗號。一時好奇心起,我想看清楚天使女孩祈求的願望是什麼,「我迫不及 待下次的見面。」她裸露的肩背散發夢幻微光,在等待一個愛情的奇蹟,不過前提是必須消費得起左下角的黑色迷你手機。在商業之前,黑與白皆退位,扁平為慾望 的符碼。不知為何,對於這種新型魔法,我卻分外感覺興味索然……

Longyearbyen, Norway,

我的朋友Brooks在高雄社區大學實驗社會人士的英文教育:成績似乎很可觀:

從紐約時報看天下

http://blog.xuite.net/brooks5150/nyt

這篇向他致敬致謝:


Brooks: "大家好:最近因為大選的關係,空氣中瀰漫著詭譎、緊張的氣氛,加上今天早上台北開始大雷雨,昨天的陽光急遽被陰霾的天空遮蔽,實在很不舒服。今天的紐約時 報第一版剛好有一篇談挪威今年的第一道陽光的文章,看到挪威人為了迎接這道好久不見的陽光,開始準備開 party的景象,心情就比較舒展。所以我們這星期就來閱讀這篇 A Speck of Sunlight Is a Town's Annual Alarm Clock by Elisabeth Rosenthal. 這個標題用 a speck of sunlight 來形容這道陽光,實在很傳神。而且挪威人因為 a speck of sunlight 就那麼興奮,也是住在亞熱帶地區的人很難想像的。希望大家讀了這篇報導之後,也會有好心情。

To 麗茹

home 有很多意思,在這裡較接近 a place where one likes to be; restful or congenial place. 這裡的意思是:這個時候,這個城鎮不僅是礦工休憩的地方,也是大學、興盛的旅遊業活動的理想地方。這裡有個 as well as,不知大家是否還記得,A as well as B,意思是不僅B還有A。這句話的意思就是,不僅適合礦工也適合大學和旅遊業。

這個城市看起來很有意思,再過一兩個星期,這個城市就會進入到永晝(perpetual day)的日子,一天24小時,都會看到太陽高掛在天空中央。現在這段期間,可能是天氣最宜人的時候。

這 個城市叫做 Longyearbyen,Longyear是發現這個城市的那位美國人的名字,他叫 John Longyear,byen是挪威語「城市」的意思。明年這個時候,大家不妨計畫到這裡走走,體驗一下「永夜」和「永晝」是什麼個滋味。聽說這裡的風景也 非常迷人,有種冷峻的感覺。"

http://blog.xuite.net/brooks5150/nyt/16252392#message_header




Longyearbyen Journal

A Speck of Sunlight Is a Town’s Yearly Alarm Clock

Dean C. K. Cox for The International Herald Tribune

Longyearbyen, Norway, which calls itself the world’s northernmost town, is in total darkness from mid-November through January.


Published: March 3, 2008

LONGYEARBYEN, Norway — This week, this remote Arctic settlement — which bills itself as the northernmost town in the world — is buzzing with excitement and expectation. It is not because a polar bear was spotted in the adjacent valley last week. (It was deemed well fed, and officials decided to let it lumber on toward the coast instead of shooting it as a matter of public safety.)

Skip to next paragraph
The New York Times

Longyearbyen is about 600 miles from the North Pole.

The 2,000 inhabitants of Longyearbyen, on an island 600 miles from the North Pole, are eagerly awaiting another visitor, whose arrival is just around the corner. From experience, they know this guest will warm the air and make the town’s now filmy colors come alive — the white of the snow; the deep blue of the water; the red, yellow and green of the wooden homes, banks, restaurants, schools and the post office.

On March 8, the sun will rise again in Longyearbyen, the first time since October. While most of the world takes light and shadows for granted, for residents here, after months of perpetual darkness, the prospect of sunlight is a very big deal.

Elke Morgner and Allison Bailey, two graduate students at the research institute here, were hacking through ice six miles outside of Longyearbyen this week to take measurements from the underlying tundra when they saw a sliver of sunlight peek around a mountain. Despite temperatures of 4 below (-40 with wind chill), they put down their tools and stared.

As they worked, the shaft of light grew to fill a large swath of the valley. On their way home, they made a beeline with their snowmobiles for the light. And there it was, between two mountains: the sun.

“Look at it!” they shouted in unison. “Look at it!” The scientists hugged, did little jigs in the snow, and then stood motionless, awe-struck. Back on campus in town, advance reports about the solar spotting filtered in, and other students headed off on snowmobiles to check it out.

“How did it look?” a student asked, as others clustered around a returnee peeling off his outer clothes in the lobby of the institute, University Studies in Svalbard, named for the island.

“Beautiful,” he said. Then he thought for a moment and added, “Bright!”

Longyearbyen, originally a coal mining town named for the American who founded it a century ago, is in total darkness from mid-November through January. During the first part of November and in February, when the sun is well below the horizon, daytime is only indirect light, a brief period of bluish twilight.

But now, with the sun climbing closer to the horizon, each day is 20 minutes longer than the day before, and noticeably brighter. On Saturday, direct sunlight, with shadows and warmth, will arrive, starting with an actual sunrise.

For a few weeks after that, residents will enjoy the diurnal alternation of light and darkness that is usual elsewhere. By the end of March, the transformation will be complete: from April through September, there will be perpetual day in this town, now home to the university and a thriving tourist industry, as well as miners.

The arrival of daylight is like a yearly rebirth, transforming lives and routines. While people do not actually hibernate, residents say they tire easily in the dark winter. Graduate students take naps at their desks.

Now, the wheels are turning again. Inger Marie Hegvik, who has worked at the airport for 15 years, said that she sleeps two to three hours more in the dark months, and that her energy has risen dramatically in recent days.

“It is excellent,” she said, shopping for wine at the Coop, a local store. “Everything becomes easier.” To celebrate the sun’s arrival, her office has planned a party at a mountain cabin this weekend. At night this week, men in the Kroa pub and restaurant were singing, unusual for them.

On Friday, at the Royal Kindergarten (one of three preschools here), a dozen or so children who have lived in darkness for the winter were busily painting and cutting out paper suns that are now affixed to the school’s snowy windows.

They are learning a song for a festival that will bring together all the town’s students next week: “The sun is good. The sun is great. The sun is warm. It browns the body. The sun shines every morning on me.” The day the sun arrives is a public holiday.

Suddenly, people will be driving their cars and scooters in light rather than darkness. They can see their kids when they run on ahead. They can hike up the glacier.

The return of the sun also means the return of warmth to this frigid land, although that concept is relative. Summer temperatures average only 43 degrees. The record high is 64.

But for many longtime inhabitants there is a sense of regret this time of year, as well. Like a rainy weekend, the perpetual night in Longyearbyen’s winter can be a time of contemplation.

“Winter is so nice, you have all these things you want to do,” said Birgit Brekken, who moved here as a nurse 30 years ago and now works in a boutique that is getting its first trickle of tourists. “You write long letters instead of making a phone call. It’s a time when you can slow down and read.”

Now, those unfinished projects will have to wait until next year. “Suddenly it is late February,” she said, “and the sun is coming back, and you have to get busy again.”

Winter Park

2002年初,高先生信上開始提到梅卿夫人身體不適,後來發現是白血病,延至2003年7月過世,安息在佛州他們所住的冬之園(Winter Park)。

Winter Park美國數處
PHILIP CROSBY 在此創業
Wikipedia article "Winter Park, Florida".

Leipzig

Wikipedia article "Leipzig".

萊比錫 (德語:Leipzig; 索布語:Lipzk) 是德國薩克森州最大的城市,德國東部的第二大城市。位於薩克森萊比錫盆地中心。它的古稱是LipsiaLipzk,來源於斯拉夫語Липа,意思是「酸橙樹」或「椴樹」。歌德稱它為「小巴黎」。

1015年的一個文件中,第一次提到「萊比錫城堡」的名字。1165年這裡建立了一個市場。這個日期現在被認為城市的建城日,以後每年都要舉行兩次大的商業性集會;1268頒發的特許狀,使萊比錫集市更加規範化,成為博覽會的雛形。

1409年萊比錫大學成立,萊比錫開始了成為出版業中心的的發展歷程,此後又成為1912年建立的德國國家圖書館的所在地。從1497年起萊比錫被允許開展博覽會。1507年神聖羅馬帝國皇帝馬克西米連一世下詔,規定萊比錫周圍15德里的範圍內享有集市優先權。從此萊比錫的貿易集市地位日益突出,最終發展成今日世界聞名的博覽會之城。萊比錫圖書博覽會是世界最大的圖書交易及博覽會之一。約翰·塞巴斯蒂安·巴赫1723年1750年在萊比錫的聖托馬斯教堂工作。

1813年,萊比錫成為拿破崙戰爭中著名的萊比錫戰役(又稱「民族戰役」)的主戰場,拿破崙的軍隊被普魯士奧地利俄國的聯軍擊敗。為紀念這次戰役100周年, 德國於1913年建立了「民族之戰紀念碑」(de:Völkerschlachtdenkmal)。

音乐厅(Gewandhaus),毁于第二次世界大战
音樂廳(Gewandhaus),毀於第二次世界大戰

萊比錫曾經是德國第一條長途鐵路的終點站,該鐵路建於1838年,從萊比錫到薩克森首府德累斯頓),萊比錫後來成為中歐鐵路運中的重要樞紐。萊比錫車站的建築也享有聲譽,現在已成為歐洲最大的客運車站。

1863年斐迪南·拉薩爾在萊比錫成立了德國的第一個工人政黨——全德工人聯合會(Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein)。1920年代法本化學康采恩在萊比錫附近的洛伊納(de:Leuna)建立了龐大的化學及石油工業綜合體。第二次世界大戰期間,萊比錫遭到盟軍的猛烈轟炸,1945年4月20日被美軍第60步兵師佔領。

1952年1990年,萊比錫是德意志民主共和國萊比錫專區的首府。1989年爆發了針對昂納克政權大規模的群眾抗議活動。德國統一後,萊比錫發展十分迅速,現在居民已超過五十萬。

萊比錫是申請主辦2012年奧運會的城市之一,但是沒有通過第一輪選拔。


Book Fair | 13.03.2008

Leipzig Celebrates Long Literary History

Home to one of the world's oldest book fairs, and a famous German creative writing program, the city of Leipzig is slowly returning to its literary glory.

Leipzig hosted its first book fair in the 17th century and has earned itself a name as one of Europe's premier ink-smudged cities. Now, nearly 400 years later, the city once again plays host to the Leipzig Book Fair, held this year from March 13-16, 2008.

"Before the Second World War, Leipzig was known as the headquarters of the German book trade," said Sabine Knopf, author of the book, "Der Leipziger Gutenbergweg" ("Leipzig's Gutenberg Path"), which traces the city's literary history.

With its very own "Graphics Quarter" neighborhood, Knopf explained, the city served as a model for English publishers and booksellers in the 1920s, providing an organizational pattern that's spread throughout the world. By 1930, the city with 230,000 residents had 436 publishers, 277 printers, and 69 bookstores. One in 10 residents worked in the book industry.

The city hall of Leipzig, a symbol of 19th century architecture.Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: City Hall remains a symbol of Leipzig's grand past

All that changed once the Third Reich rose to power. Many Jewish-owned publishing houses were closed. The Graphics Quarter was destroyed during World War II bombing raids, burning along with it more than a million books. The city that had influenced publishing around the world no longer had a book trade of its own.

Struggling to re-establish itself

After the war ended, Leipzig struggled to return to its publishing heritage.

"Many publishing houses didn't receive licenses after 1945," said Knopf. "Publishers either moved away, closed, or were ousted."

Still, not all was lost. The renowned German creative writing program "Deutsches Literaturinstitut" -- known in the former East Germany as the Johannes R. Becher Institut -- was founded in Leipzig in 1955. The city's publishing industry likewise slowly began to re-emerge under communist rule.

Though German reunification saw many publishing houses close, Leipzig has since worked diligently to regain some of its former glory and to establish itself as a home for new literature. Training programs for booksellers were formed and small publishers began to develop in the city. Young authors moved there as students of the Deutsches Literaturinstitut.

The Leipzig Book Fair, reorganized in 1991 after a decades-long hiatus, also contributed to the renaissance. While focusing primarily on making German and central and eastern European literature accessible to the public, the book fair also seeks to highlight the city's literary traditions while giving back to the community.

Leipzig Reads

Teenage women reading books on the floor of the Leipzig Book Fair.Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The Leipzig Book Fair appeals to old and young alike


One of the ways the book fair gives back is by concurrently running the literary festival "Leipzig Reads." Alongside the more than 2,300 exhibitions from 36 countries set up at the fairgrounds, the separate festival features 1,900 author readings in 300 locations throughout the city. From traditional spots like cafes and bookstores to more unusual locales, including a crematorium, "Leipzig Reads" showcases local offerings while connecting writers with their reading public.

"Leipzig has restored its literary character while dealing with difficult economic conditions," said Oliver Zille, head of the Leipzig Book Fair. "Without a doubt, these four days of the annual festival can help the city and the entire publishing sector."

This year's book fair and book festival take place from March 13-16, 2008.

2008年3月15日 星期六

奧林匹亞

Inside Europe | 15.03.2008 | 07:05

The Tibetans take their cause to Ancient Olympia

Tibetans have taken part in protests around the world as part of a global campaign to highlight their struggle for freedom from Chinese rule.

In Greece, the home of the Olympics, police and security officials broke up a demonstration by Tibetans, who were protesting that their athletes are banned from this summer's Beijing Olympic Games. The Tibetans attempted to light a symbolic torch, but were manhandled away from the archeological site at Ancient Olympia in Southern Greece. As Malcolm Brabant reports from Ancient Olympia, officials from the Chinese Embassy in Athens were working closely with the Greek security officials.

奧林匹亞希臘語Ολυμπία)是希臘南部平原的一個城市,位於伯羅奔尼撒的西北。它是古代厄利斯用以祭拜宙斯宗教中心,又是古代奧林匹克運動會的遺址。其中由菲迪亞斯所作的奧林匹亞宙斯神像世界七大奇跡之一。

早在希臘青銅時代中期在後來奧林匹亞的阿爾提斯就已經有一個居民點。邁錫尼文明時期當地卻只留下了少數遺跡,而在奧林匹亞西邊的一個高地上則有一個重要的居民點。前10世紀或者前9世紀里奧林匹亞成為一個聖地,其最重要的大型建築是在前4世紀成形的。426年拜占庭皇帝狄奧多西二世下令禁止在奧林匹亞從事聖事來克服古老宗教的影響,推廣基督教。



English

2008年3月5日 星期三

隨處見青黃:釜山梵魚寺╱葉維廉

隨處見青黃:釜山梵魚寺

一 個偶然的機會,在威海,認識了釜山的金惠俊教授。另一個時間的偶合,在我們決定到台灣休假的同一天,金教授寄了一大把他近年寫的關於香港文學的文章來,我 們來往了幾封電郵,就決定在台北做完講演後到釜山跟他的學生做個講演。釜山,我只有一些聯想:南方。高山環抱的商業港。很多外島。像香港?

「看過去是五個島嶼,還是六個?是六個,潮漲了,就變成五個……霧來,島嶼彷彿流失,霧去,六個,七個,十數個隱約升起……是那樣的迷人。」在那裡,什麼 時候讀到一個韓國詩人的書寫,已不復記憶,這時挑引著。五六島,隱約,是音樂的跳動,不是死板的量度,所以迷人。我們不知會不會相遇,我們只有死板的時 間,昨晚半夜到,今天連演講也就只有一天,我們不知會不會相遇。早晨醒來,有這樣的湧動。

高慧琳同學來接,說演講在十點半,爭取演講前去參觀金井山麓的梵魚寺。入山,夾道松樹,參以櫸樹,和蓊鬱的山櫻,好清爽的空氣;微寒,因為是清晨,人稀山 空,風鈴鳴顫,滲滿了山山谷谷,寺院更幽更寂;風鈴彷彿配合著輕輕流過的山溪激石的水聲,音樂似的寂靜若有若無地觸著我們的肌膚,引導我們冥思入那靈動微 顫的山寂裡。一些疏落初開的杜鵑花,吐納著細微的花香,意外地發現一二株遲開的櫻花,此時在一角垂紫搖曳而不招展;風鈴間響,木魚聲,微弱的晨誦,從剝落 的寺檐波浪似的奔來。清脆的陽光如是引領我們思入靜義,入門到主廟沿路結滿了淡紅的燈籠,為即將來臨的佛誕日作準備。可以想像到時山山谷谷都是人都是哄 鬧,我們是何其幸運啊,這樣的安詳我們可以細細感染那刻刻生長轉化的自然大法。彷彿約定似的,主殿上不經意地讓我們與梵魚寺立寺的禪機相遇:

摩訶大法王

無短亦無長

本來非皂白

隨處見青黃

最顯淺最深奧的道、佛、法都在這裡。只有當我們被鎖死在由主觀情見所構成的分類的時候,才有長短、皂白那種死板量度之分,以色澤言之,何止萬種,就白色就 已經不知多少層次,如果你去油漆店買白漆,你就知道白的種類之多,而這些分類其實還是粗略的,所以說,萬物萬象,萬姿,萬色, 萬音,人只是萬象中之一體,是有限的,不應視為萬物的主宰者,更不應視為宇宙萬象秩序/意義的賦給者。要重現物我無礙、自由興發的原真狀態,首先要了悟到 人在萬物運作中原有的位置,人既然只是萬千存在物之一,我們沒有理由給人以特權去類分、分解天機。「鳧脛雖短,續之則憂;鶴脛雖長,斷之則悲」。物各具其 性,各得其所。青山自青山,白雲自白雲,青山不可以責白雲之為白,白雲不可以責青山之為青,更何況白青各自的色譜裡還有數不盡的層次,一如美國的道禪大師 契奇說,所謂「靜/寂」,不是「聲/音」的反面,而是數不盡的細微的顫響,只要你超越你刻意量度的心,你我都可以聽見。不信?請抬頭,陽光下,金井山不是 隨處見青黃嗎?春天新綠的透青透黃,自暗綠暗藍的山樹群爭相湧現,淡綠,黃綠,草綠,藍綠,紫綠,松青,松綠,松藍……如是延綿入深山遠谷,等待著畫家如 梵谷,莫內,一筆一筆,一張一張,畫完又畫,同一棵樹,樹樹異色,同一個山,山山異顏。讓我們越過語言的框限,漫入大青大綠、大青大黃的橫入太空的瀟灑 裡。

2008年3月2日 星期日

Overnight With Frank Lloyd Wright

Cultured Traveler | Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

Overnight With Frank Lloyd Wright

Chris Ramirez for The New York Times

The Duncan House is one of several houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that visitors can rent. It was moved from Illinois to its present site about 35 miles from Pittsburgh.


Published: March 2, 2008

THE Duncan House in Acme, Pa., crowns a gentle rise off a secluded country road. Long and low, it shouts out its horizontality with stripes of red-painted wood against soft yellow siding. A wide stone chimney signals the fireplace that Frank Lloyd Wright considered the proper center of any family home.

Walk in the front door and down three wide, shallow steps into the cathedral-ceilinged living room, and light and space explode. Oblique angles are everywhere, subtly repeating themselves; so are wood, stone and glass. Beyond French doors, a terrace with the same red concrete floor as the living room’s flows out so naturally into the landscape of trees, boulders and lichen that even on the snowy weekend last month when my husband and I were there, it seemed that indoors and outdoors were one.

We were inside the work of the master. Like any Frank Lloyd Wright house, this one was immediately recognizable.

And briefly, it was ours. The Duncan House is a vacation rental, one of half a dozen Wright houses where paying guests can move in for a weekend or a few days and pretend to be home.

A Frank Lloyd Wright house is like a Japanese garden. No matter where inside it you stand, or which way you turn, the view before your eyes has been planned — and planned to be harmonious and beautiful. To absorb it and try to understand how it was done, you need to move and pause and double back and look around again, stand and sit and maybe lie on the couch. But the usual way to see a Wright house is on a 45-minute or hour-and-a-half guided tour. As a result, Wright admirers have learned to live with frustration.

Staying over, with time and privacy, we chipped away at ours. Over two days and nights, we dined in the glow of concealed overhead lights, read in a cozy nook under triangular windows, lay in bed in the morning watching gray treetops sway. We padded over concrete floors heated by hot water pipes below. Looking at details and structure, we tried to tease out the mechanics behind the overall effect of effortless serenity.

The Duncan House opened for rental last June, after being moved in pieces to its present site about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh from Illinois, where it was in imminent danger of becoming a teardown. Since then, it has been rented nearly every weekend and much of the time in between; reservations should be made far in advance. Most of the other rentable Wrights — all in the Midwest — have been open only a few years longer and are also regularly booked.

The rental arrangements thrill architecture buffs (more than one comment in the Duncan House guest book speaks of “a lifelong dream” fulfilled) and defray costs for owners, which include both families who have inherited Wright houses and nonprofit corporations like the one that runs the Duncan House. Don’t look for a rental at one of the marquee Wright creations like Fallingwater, the famous home over a waterfall, or the other priceless don’t-touch, don’t-linger house museums. The rentable Wrights are all Usonians, smaller, simpler and designed toward the end of Wright’s career for the middle class. They may not be as eye-popping and marvelous as the houses where he spent more time, and the owners spent a lot more money, but Wright was an egalitarian who believed every client was entitled to a beautiful structure. You can start anywhere with his work — at any building, from any time in his career, with any mix of history and details — and still get the picture of what all the shouting’s about.

The Duncan House is one of 11 modest Usonians that were prefabricated by a Wisconsin builder, Marshall Erdman, and constructed on lots chosen by the buyers. (New York City’s only Frank Lloyd Wright house, still on its original site on Staten Island and still a private home, is another of the 11.) Donald Duncan, an electrical engineer, and his artistically inclined wife, Elizabeth, bought their Wright prefab after she read an article about the project in the December 1956 issue of House & Home magazine.

After Mr. Duncan died at age 95 in 2002, the house fell derelict. It was dismantled in 2004, moved in four trailers to Pennsylvania, and eventually put back together, from thousands of numbered pieces, at Polymath Park, a 125-acre tract of woodland owned by a young local builder, Tom Papinchak. He still owns the land under the house and is chairman of the nonprofit corporation that runs and maintains it.

Many visitors use the house to anchor a weekend of Wright immersion. Fifteen miles away, in another peaceful woods, is Fallingwater, the most famous of all Wright houses. Also nearby is Kentuck Knob, a stone-and-cypress hexagon, with a balcony ending in a stone prow, designed by Wright for a local ice cream magnate. The current owner, a British lord, not only lets the public traipse through, but also displays collectibles from Claes Oldenburg sculptures to bullets from Custer’s Last Stand.

For Wright aficionados, it’s a perfect confluence: the masterwork, the quirky house with an unconventional owner, and the Usonian to come home to.

On one level, staying in the Duncan House was a trip back to the 50s. We tried out the period furniture — an Eames chair, a Formica kitchen set — and examined the Duncans’ original Osterizer blender and suitcase-sized Grundig radio, which must have been one of the first with push buttons. But what I found more striking, especially in contrast with memories of other houses from that era, was how much Wright’s designs seem not so much of their time as outside of time.

In a 50s house where I once lived, a cathedral ceiling rose forbiddingly upward, and I remember standing on my ex-husband’s shoulders, as he walked gingerly below, to take down nylon curtains some misguided soul had hung over its clerestory windows. Why did that ceiling feel too high for the room, while this one, with a peak perhaps even higher, felt so perfectly, almost unobtrusively, in scale?

Another house, a family home in Florida, had implanted the idea that carports are ugly. How did the one at this house (and Wright invented the carport, I learned from a book I’d brought along) function so gracefully as part of a harmonious structure?

With a whole weekend in the house, there was time to lie down on the couch, stare at the stones in the fireplace wall, and think about all of that.

SLEEPING UNDER WRIGHT'S ROOF

Duncan House, Acme, Pa.; (877) 833-7829; www.polymathpark.com; $385 a night; two-night minimum.

Louis Penfield House, Willoughby, Ohio; penfieldhouse1@sbcglobal.net; www.penfieldhouse.com; $275; two-night minimum.

Haynes House, Fort Wayne, Ind.; (203) 644-2729; www.hayneshousellc.com; $275 a night, with a two-night minimum.

Seth Peterson Cottage, Lake Delton, Wis.; (608) 254-6551; www.sethpeterson.org; $225 to $275.

Bernard Schwartz House, Two Rivers, Wis.; (651) 231-5303; www.theschwartzhouse.com; $295 to $350.

Muirhead Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast, Hampshire, Ill.; (847) 464-5224; www.muirheadfarmhouse.com; $135 to $155 for the master suite.

2008年3月1日 星期六

The Office as Architectural Touchstone" Saarinen".

The Office as Architectural Touchstone

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

IMMACULATE LINES The facade of I.B.M.’s research center in Yorktown Heights, designed by Eero Saarinen, is transparent at night and reflective by day.

Wikipedia article "Eero Saarinen".


Published: March 2, 2008

IT will be either one of the most challenging fixer-uppers in the history of modern architecture or one of the most significant tear-downs.

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In any case, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs in Holmdel, N.J., is for sale. A decade ago, as many as 6,500 people worked in the low-slung complex, whose pioneering mirrored-glass facade reflects a gleaming three-legged water tower that looks like a giant Bell Laboratories transistor and pond-speckled landscapes where waterfowl outnumber humans.

Today, it is empty but for a few caretakers. On a winter day, its vast atriums shudder with the sound of wind buffeting the sawtooth skylights. The only things moving along the miles of corridors are shadows.

And a prospective owner — probably more attracted by a contiguous 473-acre parcel near the Garden State Parkway in Monmouth County than by a vast, unwieldy monument — could demolish every bit of it.

Designed in 1957 for Bell Laboratories, part of the former Bell System, by the architectural giant Eero Saarinen and the landscape firm Sasaki, Walker & Associates, the complex no longer suits today’s much smaller Bell Labs or its corporate parent, Alcatel-Lucent.

The property is on the market, but it is hard to imagine finding a new occupant for a structure custom-built two generations ago for physical lab work by a giant monopoly that no longer exists. The main building, with 1.675 million square feet of space, is organized into four pavilions set among atriums and linked by sky bridges. The perimeter circulation pattern leaves few offices with their own windows. Concrete walls divide many spaces.

While the fate of the Holmdel building is the most compelling preservation drama of the moment, it is not the only suburban corporate campus confronting 21st-century realities.

Mr. Saarinen’s research center for I.B.M. in Yorktown Heights, and Edward Durell Stone’s PepsiCo World Headquarters in Purchase, both in Westchester County, are among those that have been immaculately kept by their corporate occupants. But Union Carbide’s former headquarters in Danbury, Conn., has been in a state of flux almost since it opened. Others, like the General Foods headquarters in White Plains, have shed their original use and identity. I.B.M. kept its headquarters in Armonk, but in a newer and much smaller building.

“The less-centralized business model that I.B.M. has moved to can be done without the massive physical headquarters of past business eras,” said Fred P. McNeese, director of I.B.M.’s corporate media relations. “There is also a different way of working, caused by advances in technology, that provides persons the ability to work remotely, doing the things that would have required them to come into a headquarters building in the past.”

How much longer can any of these postwar corporate centers — perfect embodiments of a moment in history when cities began to feel pestilential, when suburban flight grew easier on the interstates and when faith in America’s corporate power was unshakable — maintain the architecture and landscaping that made them such landmarks?

Docomomo, an international advocacy organization (the acronym stands for the “documentation and conservation” of the “modern movement”), is working with preservation and architectural groups in New Jersey on a plan for reusing Bell Labs.

“The efforts for the meaningful preservation of suburban office complexes are not any different from any other building type that is a product of a particular period,” said Theodore H. M. Prudon, the president of Docomomo U.S. and an architect himself. “But when first encountered, the reaction is often that this is impossible.”

Mr. Prudon said a “broad public-private partnership” was needed when original owners were no longer “able or willing to preserve the project because of changed demographics, financial or business circumstances.”

Precisely because of those changes, solitary corporate campuses are regarded as “an evolutionary dead end” by Robert D. Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit planning group concerned with New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. “They don’t provide the adaptable, flexible space that companies need,” he said.

“They’re great architecture, but they act as a kind of straitjacket.”

There is, for example, the matter of surroundings. It can be lovely to look out your window to a peaceful stand of woods, but you may tire of emerging from work into a neighborhood where “night life” means owls. Then there is the matter of access. Few corporate campuses are close to public transportation.

“Driving a long distance to a sylvan location is less appealing than it used to be,” Mr. Yaro said.

In the tumultuous wake of World War II, the stand-alone corporate center in a verdant setting seemed like the wave of the future. The prospect of World War III loomed large enough that when the General Foods Corporation announced it was trading Park Avenue for Westchester Avenue in 1951, it took pains to say that “the possibility of an atomic attack on New York was not a factor.”

(General Foods was eventually merged into Kraft Foods. Its White Plains building was vacated in 1997. Under the Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation — and with some architectural flourishes by Philip Johnson — it has been recreated as a multitenant complex called 333 Westchester Avenue.)

In 1957, the International Business Machines Corporation commissioned Mr. Saarinen to design a research center in Yorktown Heights for some 1,500 scientists. What resulted in 1960 was a gently curving three-story, 766,655-square-foot building. Its facade was a 1,090-foot-long glass arc that reflected its verdant setting by day and seemed part of it by night, when its interior fieldstone walls glowed visibly through the curtain wall. Labs and offices were in the core and were largely windowless.

It “set the standard by which all subsequent corporate campuses and suburban corporate office buildings would be measured,” said the encyclopedic “New York 1960: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Second World War and the Bicentennial,” by Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David Fishman (Monacelli Press, 1995).

As I.B.M.’s research center neared completion, the company prepared for an even bolder move: transferring its corporate headquarters from Madison Avenue to the Wenga Farm in Armonk.

For this project, I.B.M. chose Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the pre-eminent corporate architectural firm of the day. The glass curtain wall of the 403,000-square-foot building was recessed deeply within its concrete slabs and columns. The monolithic front hid two great courtyards filled with sculptures by Isamu Noguchi.

The building opened in 1964. An entrance pavilion by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners was added in 1985. About 1,500 I.B.M. employees, mainly in global finance and worldwide sales and distribution, now work there. Roughly 650 employees are in the current headquarters, about a quarter of a mile away on the 420-acre campus. This 255,000-square-foot zigzag was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and opened in 1997 under the chairmanship of Louis V. Gerstner Jr.

A year after I.B.M. moved up to Armonk, PepsiCo decided to move its headquarters from Park Avenue. It bought the Blind Brook Polo Club in Purchase and commissioned Mr. Stone as its architect.

Mr. Stone led one of the earlier waves of reaction against the stark modernity of Mr. Saarinen and Mr. Bunshaft. His was a more romantic vision. PepsiCo headquarters consists of seven virtually freestanding buildings linked at their corners, each one an inverted ziggurat in which the floor above cantilevers over the one below. Concrete predominates, some of it inscribed by receding squares within squares.

The complex opened in 1970. In the 1990s, it was expanded and renovated by Gwathmey Siegel. But its real distinction lies in a 112-acre landscape — designed by Edward Durell Stone Jr., followed by Russell Page and François Goffinet — that serves as a kind of jewel setting for nearly 50 works of art by Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Mr. Noguchi, Claes Oldenburg and others. Known as the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens (after the PepsiCo chairman and chief executive who moved the company to Westchester), the grounds are open to the public.

PepsiCo can now lay claim to one of the longer uninterrupted stands of any big suburban corporate headquarters.

By contrast, one of the shorter tenures was that of the Union Carbide Corporation in its enormous Danbury headquarters, which opened in 1983. Paul Goldberger, then the architecture critic of The New York Times, said that the 1.25-million-square-foot structure looked “less like a building than a sprawling metallic beast,” with 15 satellite pavilions emerging on either side of a central parking garage to meet the surrounding woods, held off the ground by hundreds of slender columns.

In 1986, the shrinking Union Carbide entered into a 20-year sales-leaseback agreement on its headquarters with the Sunbelt Management Company of Delray Beach, Fla. Carbide became a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company in 2001. Dow quit the building entirely in 2006.

Now renamed the Corporate Center, the Danbury complex is 65 percent leased. The building was bought last year for $80.1 million by Grubb & Ellis. A renovation is planned of public spaces, currently done up in a décor that might charitably be described as Late Disco.

The architects for Union Carbide, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates, also completed Bell Labs, as successors to Mr. Saarinen’s practice.

“Alcatel-Lucent is a very different company from the company that built Holmdel,” said Mary Ward, a spokeswoman. “That company was a regulated monopoly with, at one time, some one million employees and the charge to provide communications services anywhere, anytime.” Alcatel-Lucent, she said, is a much smaller company.

Current zoning on the site permits only office and laboratory uses, Ms. Ward said. She said the complex was not covered by landmark designation and that Alcatel-Lucent would not impose any preservation conditions on buyers.

I.B.M. has taken a diametrically different approach to its Saarinen building, named after Thomas J. Watson Jr., the chairman at the time of its construction.

“It has always seemed to me that many scientists in the research field are like university professors — tweedy, pipe-smoking men,” Mr. Saarinen was quoted as saying. “In contrast to the efficient laboratories, we wanted to provide them a more relaxed, ‘tweedy,’ outdoors sort of environment.” The landscaping was designed by Sasaki, Walker & Associates.

Randomly coursed fieldstone walls on one side of the curving hallways and the thinnest possible glass curtain wall on the other almost erased the boundary between inside and out. Although the glass has since been replaced, the effect is still stunning.

Audiences in the 230-seat auditorium are still embraced by stone walls and teak-rib paneling. Diners in the 588-seat cafeteria still sit at two-tone butcher-block tables. Readers in the library can still curl up in monklike solitude within polygonal book-lined nooks.

The common areas of the building are maintained with scrupulous fidelity. Though closed to the public, the interiors would be familiar to anyone beguiled by the midcentury modernism that Design Within Reach has popularized in recent years.

Original “Womb” chairs and “Pedestal” tables dot the library. Meeting areas have glove-soft Eames office chairs. Even more astonishing is the original Saarinen furniture, probably designed by Florence Knoll, that still sits in the restroom vestibules.

In one of the few concessions to contemporary life, inset circular ashtrays have been removed from the legless cantilevered hallway benches. (Mr. Saarinen detested the “slum of legs” that made for an “ugly, unrestful world.”)

And though I.B.M. has changed greatly during the intervening years, 1,512 employees still work at Yorktown Heights.

bastion

“As perhaps the last great bastion of U.S. industrial research, I.B.M. believes Saarinen’s ingenious plan provides an efficient and flexible arrangement accommodating a large number of offices and laboratories while ensuring privacy and ease of communication,” said Michael Loughran, the communications manager for I.B.M. Research.

“Within the confines of its stone walls,” he continued, “I.B.M. conducts state-of-the-art research in materials, physical sciences, mathematical sciences, systems, services and applications. Although it is nearly 48 years old, this building ages gracefully.”

Wikipedia article "Eero Saarinen".





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