Sunday, 31 January 2010


"For 11 years, photographer Masataka Nakano has kept watch for the most impossible of scenes: central Tokyo street scenes inhabited by nobody. These aren’t manipulated composites but rather the result of a dedicated opportunist. There’s something very eerie about these desolate moments and their startling absence of congestion, usually so integral to the portrayal of this environment."

tokyo nobody
masataka nakano's website

55/02: Manufactured architecture in a manufactured landscape

Bob Sheil and sixteen* (makers)

Michael Johansson

TOYS'R'US - Dingy scale 1:1

Packa Pappas Kappsack

Ghost II


Saturday, 30 January 2010

Noriko Ambe

"So to speak, I have been mapping the mysterious land between physical and emotional geography. I want to attain something sublime. The entrance of the way is detail. The detail is the key point of nature, and we are part of nature,"
Noriko Ambe


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

GUARDIAN - Disappearing acts - How to make a watch

Simon Benney, a designer with three royal warrants, and skilled silversmith Alan Evans know what makes a unique timepiece tick

Alan Evans in the workshops of watchmaker and silversmith Simon Benney, near Marlborough, Wilts
Alan Evans in the workshops of watchmaker and silversmith Simon Benney. Photograph: Sam Frost

By watch, of course, we actually mean case; only a few factories in Switzerland and Japan make movements. So of the remarkable silver and platinum timepieces that Simon Benney designs and Alan Evans make, it's just the body, bezel, back and face that are fashioned by hand; the inner workings are bought in.
No more than 10 of Benney's watches leave his Wiltshire workshop in a year, each designed for its wearer and costing £3,000 to £50,000.
Benney, one of the country's leading silversmiths, was taught the art of silversmithing by a celebrated father, Gerald, and has supplied a fair amount of the more recent Windsor family silverware (he holds three royal warrants). He has been making watches since the mid-1990s, attracted by fact that as a designer, "there's actually quite a lot you can do around a watch".
With other pieces, a teapot say, there are some functional parameters you have to observe; it has to pour. "With a watch, you have a degree of liberty; you just have to make sure the case will let the movement work." One Benney design, a sports watch incorporating four miniature shock absorbers to protect the movement, is now patented.
The process starts with a series of meetings at which Benney tries to get a feel for exactly what the client wants – and translate it into something it might be possible to make. He then produces "dozens, maybe hundreds" of sketches and increasingly detailed drawings, refining his concept until it reaches a stage where Evans can have a look at it.
"That's the first hurdle," Benney says. "Alan's perfectly capable of saying: I can't make that."
The watchmaker mollified, the next step is to take the plate of silver and cut it to shape, either on a treadle-operated guillotine or with a piercing saw at the bench.
Evans usually makes up a perfect model for the main body of the watch and has it cast; it comes back as a rough silver cast that needs finishing. The bezel, back and face are made from scratch in the workshop.
Once the body cast has come back, it is sent to the Assay office in London to be hallmarked. After that, the serious work begins. On the silversmith's lathe, the centre of the body is milled out to tolerances of a fraction of a millimetre, the holes are drilled through each part for the screws and threads laid on with a miniature die and tap. Tubes are soldered onto take the 1mm screws that will hold the whole assembly together, and the screws themselves made up.
Once the lathe work is finished, the filing can begin: a lengthy and fraught process – one slip could ruin any of the precision-made components. The case is then polished and buffed using a succession of compounds including Tripoli, a grease-based compound, and rouge, a finer, clay-based substance. It is then sent off to be rhodium-plated.
Meanwhile, Evans will be making the watch face. This is often enamelled in a shade specially formulated to the client's specification. The glass is then inserted, the movement lowered in and a small retaining ring put in place. Finally, often months after the commission, the case will be assembled and screwed together, the strap fitted and the finished watch dispatched.
There are very few people capable of this kind of intensely skilled precision work; silversmithing used to be a big industry in Britain but has dwindled to a shadow of its Victorian and Edwardian self.
"There simply aren't the skilled craftsmen around any more," says Evans, who is past 70, "and youngsters don't seem to be particularly interested in this kind of work."
For Benney, the satisfaction is in producing a unique piece, matched to its wearer.

Text by Jon Henley thank you!

Monday, 25 January 2010

GSK Contemporary, Earth: Art of a changing world

GSK Contemporary, Earth: Art of a changing world is the second annual contemporary art season at 6 Burlington Gardens. The exhibition presents new and recent work from more than 30 leading international contemporary artists, including commissions and new works from the best emerging talent.

Ends 31 January 2010

Camper Bike

Innovation has found its way into the realm of mobile housing. Designer and painter Kevin Cyr has created a functioning structural piece of art that considers “habitats and housing; recycling and ecology; exploration and mobility” in his design of Camper Bike. A condensed version of a camper built for trucks, this redesign can be pulled with a pedal-powered bike.
Found on DAVIDSON CREATORS thank you!

camper bikebike inevntion
bike with a camper

The Fordson Snow Machine

Great Soundtrack from 1929

The Garden Museum, London

The Garden Museum explores and celebrates British gardens and gardening through its collection, temporary exhibitions, events, symposia and garden.
Whether you are an enthusiastic amateur gardener, more of a specialist or someone with a passion for museums, history even architecture the Museum has something for you.
Situated on the South Bank of the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament, the Museum has a spectacular home in the former St Mary-at-Lambeth parish Church, which itself its steeped in history and has some interesting stories to tell.
For example, the tomb of the John Tradescants, gardeners to Charles I and adventurous plant hunters, can be found in the Museum Garden. They introduced many of the flowers, shrubs and trees we grow today. The centrepiece of the garden is a 17th century style knot garden that is planted with the plants that the Tradescants grew, and offers year-round interest to the visitor as well as a calm oasis away from the hustle and bustle of London.
There is plenty for comtemporary gardeners too. Our potting Shed offers practical seasonal gardening advice in an imaginative setting, and the Museum is a focal point for garden-related events and activities. A programme of events, talks, children’s activities and plant fairs runs throughout the year.
The Shop offers a range of perfect presents for those who love gardens and The Garden café serves delicious freshly-made vegetarian food: “there cannot be a prettier outside table in Central London” Giles Coren, The Times.

LINK to the Garden Museum

The Self-Consuming Barbecue Pavilion by Caroline O'Donnell

In a fantastic hybrid of edible architecture and temporary summer pavilion, architect Caroline O’Donnell has proposed Bloodline, a free-standing, self-consuming grilling shelter.

IMAGE: Sectional model through the preparation bench, Bloodline pavilion. All images courtesy Caroline O’Donnell except where otherwise noted; her project is supported by the Akademie Schloss Solitude.
Bloodline is the outcome of O’Donnell’s 2007 fellowship and residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude, a grant-making and residency institution housed in the late-Baroque “Solitude Castle” near Stuttgart in southern Germany.
Karl Eugen, Duke of Württemburg, built Schloss Solitude in 1763 as a private pleasure house – a cross between a party castle, summer retreat, and hunting lodge. Solitude was intended to be more intimate and less formal than his royal palace at Ludwigsburg, like the Trianons were to Versailles.

IMAGE: Akademie Schloss Solitude, via Wikimedia.
Among the prerequisites for an eighteenth-century aristocrat to achieve relaxation were a natural setting and, perhaps more importantly, minimal interaction with the servant classes. However, since domestic service was still required (aristocratic relaxation did not encompass preparing, serving, and cleaning up after meals, for example), palace architects had to resort to an extremely elaborate set of spatial tricks and distortions to make the servers as invisible as possible. The original design for the Petit Trianon even included a mechanism for raising and lowering the dining table through the floor so that it could be set and cleared out of sight.
According to O’Donnell, “The guides at Schloss Solitude could not understand why I wanted to see the service spaces, and tried to convince me that they were not interesting. I kept telling them in bad German that I was an architect and therefore interested in uninteresting spaces, but that seemed to cause more confusion.”

IMAGE: The secret service spaces at Ludwigsburg (left) and Schloss Solitude (right).
What she found, eventually, were a series of awkward and cramped service cupboards and passages, filling in the spaces around the formal, symmetrical rooms. They are the negative space of pure classical order; the banished evidence of domestic effort and bodily needs.
Interestingly, O’Donnell noticed that at Karl Eugen’s main palace, Ludwigsburg Castle, the formal rooms are arranged around the edge, concealing a rabbit warren of service spaces in the interior.
Meanwhile at Solitude, the reverse is true: the cupboards, closets, and service passages are banished to the edge, with the result that seven of the fourteen windows on the perfectly symmetrical south façade actually open onto these deformed, hidden spaces.

IMAGE: The south-facing façade of Schloss Solitude, in which seven of its windows actually open onto service spaces, rather than public rooms, via.

IMAGE: The negative spaces into which domestic functions were banished at Schloss Solitude (left); many were used as fire-spaces (right).
Among the domestic functions concealed in this way was fire maintenance: tiny fire-spaces were used for storing firewood and also enabled servants to stoke open fires while remaining behind the scenes.
O’Donnell explained that when she finally gained access to a fire-space, she noticed “the effects of this small-scale and contorted space on the body,” but she was most fascinated “by this idea of the fire-space as a window, through which the stooping servant had a rare window into the lives of his masters” – and, in some ways, a more complete or privileged understanding of the space of the palace as a whole.

IMAGE: Bloodline elevation drawings, showing the stacked grillholz cuboid exterior concealing the irregular interior.
So, back to the barbecue pavilion: O’Donnell’s Bloodline proposal would use 360 bags of grillholz (German barbecue wood sticks) as the cladding – enough for a summer season, or ninety barbecues at four bags per cook-out. As July fades into August, and then into September, the pavilion will gradually be dismantled: the architecture’s fiery function will lead it to literally consume itself from the outside in. This is an incredibly poetic literalisation of the shelter’s function: architecture parlante at its finest.
The pavilion also plays on O’Donnell’s initial fascination with Solitude’s squished fire-spaces. Bloodline begins the summer as a perfect, platonic cube, but gradually grills itself down to an awkwardly shaped frame that mirrors a section through the original fire-space. In other words, through use, the mini-barbecue palace will reveal its contorted, service-space origins – a slow, season-long process of revelation.

IMAGE: The pavilion will begin the summer as a platonic cube, before being eroded through repeated barbecuing to reveal its hidden fire-space form.
Like Solitude’s original fire-spaces, which servants had to bend down and crawl to enter, the Bloodline barbecue pavilion is only designed to fit one person. And, as in the originals, that one person – the servant or barbecuer-in-chief, depending on how you look at these things – has a unique, more omniscient view.
Ludwigsburg and Solitude castles are linked by Solitudeallee, each palace is also aligned on its own axis of symmetry. When O’Donnell looked at these lines in satellite view, it became clear that there was a third axis, emerging from the forest, which was missing a castle.
Ingeniously, O’Donnell’s proposed site for Bloodline means that our barbecuing hero, standing in front of the grill-window on the southwest-facing side of the pavilion, is the only person in their party who can see that they are actually inside the missing third castle.

IMAGE: Plotting the axes and intersections of Ludwigsburg and Solitude: O’Donnell explained that “only the forest is missing a castle.”
In other words, while their friends and family relax in the grounds outside the pavilion, eating sausages they haven’t had to prepare, “only the servant (or grill-master) will know the truth,” explains O’Donnell, “although they can sneak others in, to share the secret.”

IMAGE: Renderings of Bloodline, showing the grill-window and entrance.

IMAGE: The interior of the Bloodline barbecue pavilion, looking out towards the grill-window’s privileged view.
In terms of grilling experience, the barbecue pavilion that becomes a secret, personal castle seems second to none. “After that, the sausages are not my responsibility,” O’Donnell told me. “There are however custom spaces built into the pavilion on the west side for a fire-extinguisher and a fire-blanket, as well as a big vent on the east side that aligns with the prevailing wind and uses the stack-effect to ventilate the space naturally.”
A couple of thoughts immediately come to mind here: firstly, that this is the perfect Father’s Day gift. After all, doesn’t every red-blooded male secretly crave his own barbecue castle: a private space of solitude, unspoken power, and burger perfection? Lowe’s or Homebase could even stock build-your-own kits, for an extra DIY frisson.

IMAGE: (left) Inside Bloodline (the server has clearly sneaked in a few friends); (right) Stacked grillholz will form the façade and the barbecue fuel. The wood sticks’ colour even matches the ochre putty exterior of Schloss Solitude.
I’m also reminded, via a link that was (coincidentally?) sent to me separately by Caroline O’Donnell, of Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham’s theory that cooking is the root cause of human civilisation. His basic idea is that the discovery of cooking allowed us to unlock many more calories in food, which gave us more energy for less effort, which in turn resulted in a massive increase in brain size in Homo sapiens (as compared to our primate ancestors).

IMAGE: Stages of consumption. At the end, all that will remain is the ash bench (bottom right), which O’Donnell plans to leave on site once the summer is over, “as a clue to the missing castle.”
That expanded brain of course led, eventually, to the flowering of the Baroque, in which rococo pleasure palaces were cleverly designed to hide any evidence of cooking facilities. O’Donnell’s pavilion gives cooking its due once again, as over the course of the summer Solitude’s missing third palace is revealed to be a a functional fire-space, rather than the abstracted perfection of a symmetrical cube. Barbecuing German day-trippers will thus be paying inadvertent homage to the role of fire in human civilisation.

IMAGE: Some of O’Donnell’s incredibly complex cut files for fabrication.
Caroline O’Donnell is working with Akademie Schloss Solitude to secure funding for the pavilion: the hope is to install it during the summer of 2011. My thanks are due to her for an incredibly interesting conversation, and also to Nathan Friedman, who has been working on Bloodline with O’Donnell for the past few months.

Thank you ediblegeography

Palmwood House by Undercurrent Architects, Australia

The following text and images are courtesy Undercurrent Architects for their Leaf House in Sydney, Australia. The firm's Palmwood House in London was featured previously on my weekly page. Photographs below are by Hugh Rutherford and Simon Lekias.


Leaf House is building that allows users to be inside and in-the-garden at the same time. Located on an escarpment overlooking the Pacific Ocean, between rugged native bush and manicured garden, the building is a self contained cottage forming part of a private residence, consisting of a canopy roof over a stone podium and glass enclosed deck.


The site is viewed and experienced in the round; from all sides, above and below. The building design is therefore unique from every aspect, constantly changing as it is moved in and around.


From the house above, the building nestles within the tree line; a series of draped copper roofs reflecting the silhouette of a nearby headland & blending with surrounding foliage. The roof is shaped to minimize bulk while maximizing internal volume, a diffuse layering of curved steel panels combining roof with wall. The roof is articulated to provide visual interest from above, reflecting the stepped terracing of the terrain and softening the form and scale of the building. The building outline is further broken up by corrugated surfaces shifting geometry between layers, referencing background ocean patterns.


At garden level, the terrain unfolds below the canopy roof and is shaped as it passes through the building. Traverse views are formed connecting different parts of the garden, blending the interior with the landscape around it. The roof cascades in line with the hill, focusing views towards the beach and forming deep awnings for solar control. Gaps between roof layers open up, permitting light and views to filtrate the interior.


Three retaining terraces define the podium base: an upper level entry, a partially submerged main deck and an excavated lower level. On the main deck level, the interior is open to the garden. An enclosure of molded glass forms an undulating wall, softening views and reflections especially when illuminated at night. Daylight filters through the porous roof canopy into open plan living, kitchen and dining areas, bordered by a balcony and sun deck.


Structural support for the roof is a woven and interdependent system of curved beams and columns, working in conjunction with the stressed-skin roof panels. The structure resonates with the energy of garden growth, bringing a sense of sponginess to underline the porous nature of the roof. Towards the ocean, the structure is bunched into a single load point, releasing panoramic views and freeing the perimeter. Uphill, it is stabilized by a spread of six inclined columns, driven to ground like heavy rain. Entry at the upper level provides an elevated perspective within the canopy space.


The lower level is excavated into the terrain, partially protruding from the hill to capture light and views. It acts a thermal sink counterbalancing the more exposed upper levels, and contains introspective rooms such as library, bedroom and private living area. A stair void carries light and air into underground areas.


The project entailed design and building roles as methods were improvised to achieve high technical complexity within cost constraints. Complex steel and glass forms were produced from standardized templates: glass being formed from 1 mold, flipped rotated and inverted to get apparent variations from a repetitive shape; roof panels derived from 2 templates with variable edges; beams to a series of set radii. Steel fabrication used industrial boat building methods with broad tolerances, so the structure was rapid to make, albeit with a rougher, handmade quality rather than sharp precision normally associated with building steel. This limited site work to rapid assembly of big parts, controlling costs and contractual works so that tasks were managed by a small team.

thank you DAILY DOSE

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Historic Films of Marseille

British Pathe Archive



Thursday, 21 January 2010

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Unité d'habitation, Le Corbusier, Marseille

Unité d'habitation (Cité Radieuse)
280 boulevard Michelet
13008 Marseille

Le Corbusier 1947-1952
The Marseille unité d'habitation brings together Le Corbusier's vision for communal living with the needs and realities of post-war France. Up to 1600 people live in a single-slab 'vertical village', complete with an internal shopping street halfway up, a recreation ground and children's' nursery on the roof, and a generous surrounding area of park land made possible by the density of the accommodation in the slab itself.

The Unité introduced the world to raw concrete - béton brut - with its texture defined by the wooden planks shaping it when it was poured. This unwitting prototype for the New Brutalism to follow came from necessity: not only was there insufficient steel in post-war France for a steel construction, but there was insufficient skilled labor for consistent, precise construction. Le Corbusier made a virtue of this necessity: 
'...I have decided to make beauty by contrast. I will find its complement and establish a play between crudity and finesse, between the dull and the intense, between precision and accident. I will make people think and reflect, this is the reason for the violent, clamorous, triumphant polychromy of the facades.'
Most of Le Corbusier's 'five points of architecture' from the 1920s and the Villa Savoye are alive and well in the Unité: the strong pilotis creating circulation space beneath, the free facades now loud with a carefully orchestrated pattern of single- and double-height balconies generated from fifteen different types of apartment, and the roof terrace reclaiming the lost land beneath the building for recreation. 

The plan is no longer completely free: the partition walls between the apartments are load-bearing, freeing the facades, and providing strong sound-proofing between apartments - part of the building's success in combining privacy with communal living. But between these walls, the free plan has taken on a new dimension, to become a 'free volume'. In an ingenious use of space, two-story apartments interlock, so that an entrance corridor and elevator stop are required only at every third level. 
On one side of the corridor you may enter an apartment's lower level, taking up one side of the building, and climb the stairs within the apartment to a double-aspect floor of bedrooms above; on the other side of the corridor you may enter the neighboring apartment's upper level, and descend to the double-aspect floor below. As a result, apartments typically combine bright, double-height sitting rooms on one level, with long, narrow bedrooms on the other.
The Unité has been much copied, usually without regard for its careful proportions based on Le Corbusier's 'Modulor Man', its individual, bright and deceptively spacious apartments, or the garden space created above, beneath and around it as the reward for the space efficiency within. But, as William Curtis comments,
'it is really too facile to blame the banality of imitations upon the prototypes that they imitate: by this logic one ought also to blame Palladio for every mock-classical suburban house using fake columns and pediments.'

thank you Simon Glynn 2001!

10.000 pageloads

last night we reached 10.000 pageloads since october.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

White noise machine by Yuri Suzuki

The japanese designer Yuri Suzuki has recently completed a sound installation project in Delhi. The machine calculates the quantity of the street noise and then generate the same amount of 'white noise'.
The 'white noise machine' is currently looking for a new home. Do you want to own this white noise machine. Yuri Suzuki is looking for someone to 'pick it up' from India.


Friday, 8 January 2010

Fujitsubo by Archvision Hirotani Studio

This building in Tokyo is called Fujitsubo (barnacle) and was designed by Archivision Hirotani Studio. The facade and roof is completely covered with copper sheets. The light from the 3 skylights can reach the basement through 3 glass panels in each floor. At the moment the building is used by a beauty parlour.

found here: today and tomorrow

link to architect