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Dallas..."the epicentre of generic"


lockmat

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But really, I'm trying to figure out Pei's response in his comparison of New York/Dallas to Houston. Can yall figure it out? Cuz honestly, I can't figure out how Dallas is like NYC.

A clutch of huge towers and the weirdly Baroque Morton H Meyerson Symphony Center (1989) are among the structures designed by Pei that caused Rem Koolhaas to refer to Dallas as the “epicentre of the generic”. Pei’s defence is typically cool: “In Dallas I was designing for the people, not the place. Many of them had come from New York. It’s not like Houston, an oil city, it’s more like the East Coast. Dallas is really no different from New York.”

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/f75a20c4-2261-11df-a93d-00144feab49a.html

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Glitz and glamour!

Hardly. I've been there enough times to know the truth. So they have a waaaay smaller version of our galleria... and the women there all look alike. Some cute some not. But I've experienced more glitz and glamour in San Fran in 1 day than I've had in the DFW Metro in 14 years. Ugh.

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Hardly. I've been there enough times to know the truth. So they have a waaaay smaller version of our galleria... and the women there all look alike. Some cute some not. But I've experienced more glitz and glamour in San Fran in 1 day than I've had in the DFW Metro in 14 years. Ugh.

Er...OK. Well if I guess there's one thing worse than glitz and glamour, it's trying for glitz and glamour and then failing.

Frankly, I'm not sure if I should be happy that you disliked SF or sad that SF has so much glitz and glamour nowadays.

Edited by N Judah
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It is interesting that so many metrics of demography paint Houston and Dallas in such a similar light...and yet their respective cultures are distinct. I attribute this to the two cities' relative economic strengths. Whereas Dallas' economy is more tied in to finance and high tech industries, Houston's economy is more engineering- and heavy manufacturing-based. In general, we attract and cultivate a different mentality. There aren't too many other cities like Houston, pretty much anywhere...and those that are similar tend to be smaller.

So I do tend to agree with Pei. You shouldn't design for Houston what you'd design for Dallas or NYC. But you should design for Dallas whatever could be sold as being Manhattan-like. Because, as we all know, Dallasites really respond to that...and not just the inexperienced youth of Dallas, but the grown-up children, too.

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For we all know how useful and enlightening it is to stereotype entire cities. :rolleyes:

Believe me, I've never seen two cities as similar as Dallas and Houston, which is probably why some people devote so much effort to magnifying the differences between them.

Topic moved to the Metroplex topic area.

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Topic moved to the Metroplex topic area.

I guess that's ok to move it, but I really wanted to talk about the architectural differences.

Niche's argument is convincing to me. But I still feel like Pei's comment does not say much at all about Houston. I know it's not like Dallas or NYC, but not being like them could be a million other things. I guess the fact that in Dallas he was designing for the people not the place, implies that buildings in Houston are designed for the opposite; the place, not the people. But I'm not sure I know enough architect talk to be able to see or explain the difference.

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But really, I'm trying to figure out Pei's response in his comparison of New York/Dallas to Houston. Can yall figure it out? Cuz honestly, I can't figure out how Dallas is like NYC.

http://www.ft.com/cm...144feab49a.html

My impression:

Houston is like New York used to be, back when 42nd Street had peep shows; Washington Square had bohemians; and artists could still afford SoHo.

Dallas is like New York is - clean and sterile. Generic.. No peep shows. No bohemians. Artists all gentrified away.

I have to agree with Niche, too. Houston demands architecture that's uniquely Houstonian. But if New Yorkers like it, then chances are it's fine for Dallas.

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I guess that's ok to move it, but I really wanted to talk about the architectural differences.

Niche's argument is convincing to me. But I still feel like Pei's comment does not say much at all about Houston. I know it's not like Dallas or NYC, but not being like them could be a million other things. I guess the fact that in Dallas he was designing for the people not the place, implies that buildings in Houston are designed for the opposite; the place, not the people. But I'm not sure I know enough architect talk to be able to see or explain the difference.

I think the differences in the skylines in Houston and Dallas is that in Houston the buildings work together as one cohesive unit much more than in Dallas or New York. When Pei says buildings in Houston are built for the place more than the people. I think that means that the buildings that surround a new tower are considered and help to influence what the final design will look like. When you build for people, then you are only considering the opinions and desires of whoever is paying you to design their building.

This is probably why Houston's downtown skyline is far superior aesthetically to Dallas' jumbled up mess of a skyline. The buildings there fight each other and compete for attention much like too many focal points in a bad painting. View the towers in Dallas individually and they hold up much better. But as a group, they do not work for the most part.-IMO

Like Dallas, New York looks a bit junky too, but when you have a skyline that big, you can get away with it. There is no comparing Dallas with New York in any way except the towers were designed for too many individual tastes. Glitz and glamour doesn't enter in to it. Bad taste does tho.

Edited by Coaster
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Maybe he meant that buildings in Dallas are meant to be solely enjoyed by the people who funded them (in the case of the symphony hall, New Yorkers). New Yorkers aren't exactly known to be simpatico to locals when they invade a place.

Edited by N Judah
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In some ways, the look and feel of Dallas mirrors the look and feel of its mind-set. Dallas’s skyline looks like it is trying to be something big, and that reach is mirrored by the many proclamations one hears coming out of the area. You hear a lot of “New York”, “cosmopolitan”, “fashion” and that kind reference. And then there is all that other innuendo that, again, point to a reaching for something bigger, like when the phrase “city” is used by those folks to mentally “annex” some of the surrounding cities, including the annexation of Fort Worth, in order to present an implied increase in the appearance of size. I see that kind of thing a lot too. This, again, is that reaching for something…something it wants to be, but that right now, isn’t. I’m not really sure what to make of all that. Because when you look at New York, and then you look at Dallas, there is divergence in just about everything: size, impact, sheer magnitude, etc. It’s obvious. I mean, New York stands on its own almost like an entire different planet. The closest second is half it’s size, and that city in the west coast looks nothing like New York. But seriously, I like the look of Dallas. In fact, the natural beauty of the rolling hills as you approach its downtown coming from the south is something that is lacking in the more flat parts of Texas. It feels more like Texas in many ways, with its beautiful prairie and rolling hills all around it.

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Natural beauty? Endless, dried up, almost flat Prairies in every direction? I don't think so. The north Texas landscape is as about a boring as it can get. Even the Houston metro has more variety. In Houston you have thick forests to the north, bays and wetlands to the east, beaches to the south, and prairies to the west. The San Jacinto, Trinity, and Brazos rivers surround the Houston metro. Not many hills in these parts, but at least there is a definite change in scenery in SE Texas which is more than can be said of North Texas.

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Not many hills in these parts, but at least there is a definite change in scenery in SE Texas which is more than can be said of North Texas.

I have to disagree with that, first of all because we do have hills. Going north, they start in the vicinity of Conroe and are characteristic of the Willis and Fleming geologic formations.

But I also disagree with your comments about north Texas. Go west from Fort Worth and by Wise County, you find yourself in a landscape that is drier and more arid, somewhat resembling the Hill Country. Go east from Dallas and by Van Zandt County, you find yourself behind the pine curtain...even if their forest canopy isn't quite as thick is it had been historically. Dallas/FW has a total of eleven different geologic formations within its paired-up freeway loops. Houston has barely three within the entire Highway 6 and Highway 146 loop...which is a vastly greater land area. That's not to say that there aren't changes of scenery in our area, just that it's more subtle.

Sources: Texas Water Development Board, Google Earth, and my own driving experiences in both regions

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Your source is lame.

The DFW area is nothing but prairie in all directions. Maybe there are 11 different kinds of prairie, but it all looks like scorched wasteland in the summertime. The geological formations you speak of must be buried underground. In Houston you can drive from a dense pine forest to coastal prairie to a beach in less than an hour. I never said SE Texas didn't have hills. I said "not many hills". There is a difference.

I have lived in DFW for several years. Never saw a pine curtain (whatever that is) and I definitely never saw any beaches, bays or wetlands. Just lots and lots and lots of boring prairies and some dull lakes surrounded by more prairies.

Edited by Coaster
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Making the drive to Dallas this weekend.. and its about as boring as can be once you get past Corsicana.

Boring and flat.

Dead grass.

Ugly Driving Range in Ferris.

More sheer nothingness.

More dead grass.

Prison

The Trinity swamp bridge... ( which actually is quite pleasant with the trees, but its presence helps contribute to the complete lack of civilization until Boom, you're only a mile or two outside downtown. )

Edited by Highway6
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Making the drive to Dallas this weekend.. and its about as boring as can be once you get past Corsicana.

Boring and flat.

Dead grass.

Ugly Driving Range in Ferris.

More sheer nothingness.

More dead grass.

Prison

The Trinity swamp bridge... ( which actually is quite pleasant with the trees, but its presence helps contribute to the complete lack of civilization until Boom, you're only a mile or two outside downtown. )

Jeez, if that's how normal people size up the geography of a city, can you imagine what people from San Antonio think of us?

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Who cares what San Antonian's think. They don't even have beaches. HA! Nice big hills tho.

At least when SA'ers drive in on 10 they don't have to wait until they are 1 mile west of downtown to get a sense that they're in the big city. 1 mile south of DT Dallas on I-45 doesn't look much different than being 100 miles south of DT Dallas.

Edited by Coaster
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Jeez, if that's how normal people size up the geography of a city, can you imagine what people from San Antonio think of us?

I'm normal.. and yes.. that is how I size up the final approach to Dallas on 45 - Flat, dead grass, no civilization = Desolate.

I'm not sizing up the city or their geography as a whole. I'm sure all cities have their good and bad approaches. I much prefer the 45 approach into Houston over the 10 approach.

If you don't agree and like this particular Dallas approach.. cool. I'm sure there are plenty others that agree with me though.

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This Dallas vs Houston stuff is ridiculous...

Sadly, the whole point was to figure out how he was describing Houston. But to do that, I need a reference point, and had no idea how Dallas and New York were similar. Ah well, I should known better.

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  • 1 year later...

Making the drive to Dallas this weekend.. and its about as boring as can be once you get past Corsicana.

Boring and flat.

Dead grass.

Ugly Driving Range in Ferris.

More sheer nothingness.

More dead grass.

Prison

The Trinity swamp bridge... ( which actually is quite pleasant with the trees, but its presence helps contribute to the complete lack of civilization until Boom, you're only a mile or two outside downtown. )

I concur, the bad/ugly/godforsaken part of the trip really seems to end/begin once you get to Corsicana.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Agreed, it's the epicentre of generic and let's just leave it at that.

Here is the full text in which Koolhaas made the statement (epicenter of generic). 1970's was 40 years ago.

"Koolhaas also had comments on Dallas architecture, pointing out that his first visits in the 1970's convinced him that the city was "the epicenter of what is generic." Strangely, it almost seemed a backhanded compliment. He now (unlike then) admires the Dallas World Trade Center and thinks that the "restraint" shown by buildings in our fair city might actually be a good thing."

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This Dallas vs Houston stuff is ridiculous...

I'm from West Texas (Big Spring) and agree with your comment. I would like to support your comment. The comments I read are sickening.

I don't have a pony in this race but after reviewing the various websites I just do not see any comments on the Dallas forums that are negative on Houston. BUT I do see many from Houston posters knocking Dallas. Why?

The Dallas people to me seem very focused on their own problems and making improvements. They don't seem to be interested in insulting or belittling other towns. I respect that about Dallas.

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They must have changed since I lived there.

However, please note that you are commenting on a thread over a year old. If you knew the posters, you'd see that these spats generally start up when a Dallas posters comes on the forum spreading it a little thick about Dallas. Houstonians, being who we are, tend to stick up for our little burg when out-of-towners insult it. Hilarity usually ensues.

It's all in good fun, really. Being from Big Spring (nothing personal, but Sweetwater is more urban), you may not understand that bragging rights is part of living in a big city. You might also notice that once the Dallas kids went back home, hardly anyone posts on the Dallas topics anymore.

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They must have changed since I lived there.

However, please note that you are commenting on a thread over a year old. If you knew the posters, you'd see that these spats generally start up when a Dallas posters comes on the forum spreading it a little thick about Dallas. Houstonians, being who we are, tend to stick up for our little burg when out-of-towners insult it. Hilarity usually ensues.

It's all in good fun, really. Being from Big Spring (nothing personal, but Sweetwater is more urban), you may not understand that bragging rights is part of living in a big city. You might also notice that once the Dallas kids went back home, hardly anyone posts on the Dallas topics anymore.

"Sweetwater is more urban." True.

I am now retired and living on Lake Chapala Mexico. Before grad school my last job was in Big Spring (Big Spring State Hospital)which was great fortune in my mind as I found it to be a truly splendid place. Big Spring state hospital is truly a first rate facility. The beauty of West Texas is something that I will always be grateful.I wanted to be closer to Big Bend and that is what originally brought me to Big Spring.

Before retirement I spent time in New York, San Francisco, other places. I was born and raised in Abilene as a youth. The "good fun" the "hilarity" is an excuse for childish behavior. A little respect for others would be asked sir.

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Well, I defend murderers and rapists for a living. If a little childishness in poking fun at my former neighbors in Dallas helps me keep my sanity, I'd ask that you indulge my childishness. This is an internet forum, after all, not a hospital or a courtroom. No lives are at stake here, merely a few egos from time to time.

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Well, I defend murderers and rapists for a living. If a little childishness in poking fun at my former neighbors in Dallas helps me keep my sanity, I'd ask that you indulge my childishness. This is an internet forum, after all, not a hospital or a courtroom. No lives are at stake here, merely a few egos from time to time.

Sir I do respect your frankness.

Is is too much to show respect and courtesy for strangers? There was a time when people did it.

People deserve respect. It is our way.

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Actually, respect is earned, not deserved. And, I fail to see the disrespect in posting my opinion of a city, or a building within that city, or the policies of the city government, or the developers, or its transit agency, or any number of other topics I have opined on, just because it differs from others. But, having spent my whole life in the South, I understand where your comment is based. It is commonly seen as respectful to not say things that disagree with the other speaker. Not only do I disagree with this definition of respect, I find it harmful. It is difficult to know your opponents when they only shower you with platitudes and statements of agreement. I much prefer the unvarnished opinions of others, even...or especially...when they differ from my own.

You noted that you never see Dallas forums containing negative comments about Houston. I noted that these dustups genrally occur when Dallas posters come to the Houston forum looking to start a spat. You do not see it on the Dallas forums because we rarely go to those forums. By looking at the instigator of the spats, I think you would find that if any disrepect is being shown, it is by the Dallas posters toward Houstonians, not the other way around. However, I still do not find the Dallas posters bragging on their town's supposed superiority over Houston to be disrespect, nor do I find the responses to be such. I simply find them to be bored posters looking for spirited debate. That is easiest done on a forum by posting a controversial opinion, such as, 'Dallas has something that Houston doesn't'. Again, since no lives hang in the balance, and the future of the free world is not at stake, I find it harmless. Your opinion may differ, as do the moderators, who find it necessary from time to time to shut things down...as apparently happened in this thread in March 2010.

By the way, welcome to the forum. I hope you can get past the rivalry between two of Texas' biggest cities, and give some of your insights from living in at least two places I've never lived, Big Spring and Mexico. Oh, and I've never been to Sweetwater, either. ;)

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Actually, respect is earned, not deserved. And, I fail to see the disrespect in posting my opinion of a city, or a building within that city, or the policies of the city government, or the developers, or its transit agency, or any number of other topics I have opined on, just because it differs from others. But, having spent my whole life in the South, I understand where your comment is based. It is commonly seen as respectful to not say things that disagree with the other speaker. Not only do I disagree with this definition of respect, I find it harmful. It is difficult to know your opponents when they only shower you with platitudes and statements of agreement. I much prefer the unvarnished opinions of others, even...or especially...when they differ from my own.

You noted that you never see Dallas forums containing negative comments about Houston. I noted that these dustups genrally occur when Dallas posters come to the Houston forum looking to start a spat. You do not see it on the Dallas forums because we rarely go to those forums. By looking at the instigator of the spats, I think you would find that if any disrepect is being shown, it is by the Dallas posters toward Houstonians, not the other way around. However, I still do not find the Dallas posters bragging on their town's supposed superiority over Houston to be disrespect, nor do I find the responses to be such. I simply find them to be bored posters looking for spirited debate. That is easiest done on a forum by posting a controversial opinion, such as, 'Dallas has something that Houston doesn't'. Again, since no lives hang in the balance, and the future of the free world is not at stake, I find it harmless. Your opinion may differ, as do the moderators, who find it necessary from time to time to shut things down...as apparently happened in this thread in March 2010.

By the way, welcome to the forum. I hope you can get past the rivalry between two of Texas' biggest cities, and give some of your insights from living in at least two places I've never lived, Big Spring and Mexico. Oh, and I've never been to Sweetwater, either. ;)

Thank you for your kind welcome to the Houston Architecture forum. Despite the below I admire and appreciate your kind words.

This website is not a place I would inhabit again. I am a architecture fan amd thought this website would be an interseting, objective site. It was not. Please separate my words from you and this website.

This website seems to me to be populated with immmature and highly distructive individuals. Houston is a place of great pride for all us Texans and in my mind I have great affection for it. Been there many times.

You commented on the frequency of Dallas posters creating issues. Forgive me if I trust my "lying eyes". This website does not appear to be a realistic website to me.

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I'm from West Texas (Big Spring) and agree with your comment. I would like to support your comment. The comments I read are sickening.

I don't have a pony in this race but after reviewing the various websites I just do not see any comments on the Dallas forums that are negative on Houston. BUT I do see many from Houston posters knocking Dallas. Why?

The Dallas people to me seem very focused on their own problems and making improvements. They don't seem to be interested in insulting or belittling other towns. I respect that about Dallas.

LMAO, that's what you think. It goes both ways, easily. Having recently moved to DFW from Houston, they talk as bad about Houston, as Houstonians talked bad about them.

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They must have changed since I lived there.

However, please note that you are commenting on a thread over a year old. If you knew the posters, you'd see that these spats generally start up when a Dallas posters comes on the forum spreading it a little thick about Dallas. Houstonians, being who we are, tend to stick up for our little burg when out-of-towners insult it. Hilarity usually ensues.

It's all in good fun, really. Being from Big Spring (nothing personal, but Sweetwater is more urban), you may not understand that bragging rights is part of living in a big city. You might also notice that once the Dallas kids went back home, hardly anyone posts on the Dallas topics anymore.

You and TheNiche are soooooooo predictable. Always looking for an opportunity to dig at Dallas. . . .and if one doesn't exist, you'll create one. Rowdy was dead on! Penis Envy X 10. LOL

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You and TheNiche are soooooooo predictable. Always looking for an opportunity to dig at Dallas. . . .and if one doesn't exist, you'll create one. Rowdy was dead on! Penis Envy X 10. LOL

I also made this comment...

I noted that these dustups genrally occur when Dallas posters come to the Houston forum looking to start a spat. You do not see it on the Dallas forums because we rarely go to those forums.

And right on que, you rushed to a thread that hasn't been commented on in over a year to attempt to stir up crap. Looks like I was the one who was dead on. But, so as not to encourage the pissants, this is my last post on this topic.

Hey, why don't you go to the huge party going on at Victory? I hear it's going gangbusters with all the upscale bars and eateries!

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I also made this comment...

And right on que, you rushed to a thread that hasn't been commented on in over a year to attempt to stir up crap. Looks like I was the one who was dead on. But, so as not to encourage the pissants, this is my last post on this topic.

Hey, why don't you go to the huge party going on at Victory? I hear it's going gangbusters with all the upscale bars and eateries!

Some readers (including myself) are just now reading. Continue to belittle others and their towns sir. There is nothing positive or beneficial in your words.

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dallas is the epicenter of penis envy. You have proven that to us time and time again.

As an outsider to Houston or Dallas it is difficult for me to see your point of view. From an outsiders point of view it is extremely difficult to see Dallas as more than a place where the natives struggle with their problems. They seem very humble, modest and sincere to we outside.

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it is extremely difficult to see Dallas as more than a place where the natives struggle with their problems. They seem very humble, modest and sincere to we outside.

I almost wet my pants after this read. Really good stuff.

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I call troll. Guy has 7 posts...all negative and insulting, while asking for respect, then tops it off by calling Dallas humble, modest and sincere? Dallas residents themselves brag that they are not modest or humble. Sorry, Rowdy. You get nuttin' from me. :lol:

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You and TheNiche are soooooooo predictable. Always looking for an opportunity to dig at Dallas. . . .and if one doesn't exist, you'll create one. Rowdy was dead on! Penis Envy X 10. LOL

Houston has taken itself from nothing to a being global city. It is to the credit of it's people that this has happened.

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I call troll. Guy has 7 posts...all negative and insulting, while asking for respect, then tops it off by calling Dallas humble, modest and sincere? Dallas residents themselves brag that they are not modest or humble. Sorry, Rowdy. You get nuttin' from me. :lol:

Sir, you are gentleman and anyone would be a fool not to accept you at your word. I admire what you stand for.

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Sir, you are gentleman and anyone would be a fool not to accept you at your word. I admire what you stand for.

Is my sarcasim clear enough for you? The comments I see on Houston Architecture Forum about Dallas seem pathetic in my eyes.

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