Sunday, 26 June 2011

A small box house by Akasaka Shinichiro

interior view
all images courtesy akasaka shinichiro atelier
photographer: koji sakai

more here on DESIGNBOOM, thank you!

towards atrium void on upper level

Saturday, 25 June 2011

How to Become a Famous Architect

from here on STRANGEHARVEST, thank you!

Death to Manifestos. Viva How-Tos!
Becoming a famous architect shouldn't take too long, but don't expect too much. It's not a passport to riches, nor an introduction to high society. But if it's what you want, here's how to do it.
First, pay a visit to any well stocked newsagent. Buy one copy of each design magazine. You will use these to find out what not to do.
Now go to your local remaindered book store. Buy a copy of a design book with lots of pictures in. Not only is the remaindered store cheaper, but it's stock is between ten to fifteen years old. These are the least fashionable and so most shocking of all styles. You will use this to copy your new designs from.
On the way home, choose a name for your cutting edge design firm. Something punchy, arty, and a little stupid should do. There are not too many rules about this but make sure it doesn't include 'urban' or 'studio'. Your name will present an efficient image, suggest an office in a fashionable part of town, and a committed workforce. No one will know that you are really operating out of your bedroom.
Now that you have a name, you need a project. It must be a radical design of a house. It needs a catchy title. Pick a popular word or phrase, then add house to the end of it. If it sounds good, it is good.
Scan in some of the pictures from your new book. Scan in some other pictures you like. Stick them together in the latest version of Photoshop. Play around until you get a nice picture that you can believe in. Check that it dosen't look too much like the pictures in your magazines.
Now it's time to develop your mystique. This is all important, because it is what you are selling. Remember, you won't have to design a building for at least ten years. And in this time you will live off your mystique, so make it good. Mystique is what you say, and the way that you say it.
If you come from continental Europe, great. If you don't, pretend that you do. Mystique should also suggest revolutionary politics and French philosophy. Don't talk about these things directly as it never makes good copy and will only confuse you.
In order to alert the magazines, you must write a press release. This should be full of your mystique, good copy, and have your telephone number on it. Know your audience: Journalists. It's important to remember that design journalists are desperate for anything interesting. This is because architecture is mainly boring. So be interesting. Make outlandish claims; tell them everything they know is wrong; most of all, be prepared to have a radical opinion on anything that may crop up in conversation. They will print it and thank you.
Email your press release to the magazines. The addresses will be in the magazines you bought earlier. No rest yet, because you must now prepare the packs that you will send out. You will be too busy answering the inevitable calls over the next few days, so do it now. The pack should contain your new picture and a radical design statement (see how useful developing that mystique was?).
When the phone starts ringing, you know what to do: Use your cutting edge firms name, your exciting new house title, and your fascinating mystique to full effect. When the phone stops ringing, go to the post office and send your project packs out.

Now it's time to relax. Head on down to a fashionable architects bar (you will recognize it by its converted industrial look, expensive bar snacks, and people with strange glasses on). Enjoy yourself, but remember your mystique! All you need to do now is remember to buy the magazines that you feature in.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Eiffel Tower's Brithday (122 Years that is)

from here on OBVIOUS thank you!
In 2009, at the celebration of Eiffel Tower’s 120th anniversary, all the voices were arisen to exalt the virtues of one of the most famous constructions of the world. But the things weren’t always like this. During many years it evoked hate and narrowly wasn’t pulled down. It didn’t happen because Gustave Eiffel, its creator, was good as a constructor and as a strategist. Know a little bit more about the history of the tower which owns his name.

torre eiffel's anniversary
On March 31, 2009, the Eiffel Tower's inauguration completed 120 years. The event was the highlight of the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle -- when the centenary of the French Revolution was celebrated. Along the XIX century, the universal expositions were the main advertising vehicle of the Occidental industrialized society, the shopwindows for the advanced technology where each country showed their most recent products. To the French people, it was also a special date and, with their traditional delusion of grandeur, they were keen to make the whole world repair on them. As a starting point, these things could justify the construction of the iron giant in the middle of the heart of Paris -- but the things weren't that simple...
Gustave Eiffel was, at that time, a well succeeding builder. He had important works all around the world: bridges and viaducts in France, several railway bridges in Portugal and Spain, the structure which supported the Statue of Liberty, in New York, the Panama channel flood-gates and the less known portable bridges which cross many rivers until our days, particularly in South America. The reputation and the solid financial of the company were highly decisive on choosing his project for the Exposition Universelle. The most curious things is that Eiffel wasn't interested on the idea since the beginning.
torre eiffel's anniversary
The idea was lifting up a more-than-1000-feet-high construction, analogous to something about 300 meters -- an enterprise at the size of the French national pride. But the principal technicians of the company needed to elaborate the first viability analysis to make Eiffel perceive that he finally could become the author of the highest building of the world. It's fair to know that the tower project own to him as much as to the engineers Emile Nougier and Maurice Koechlin and to the architect Stephen Sauvestre, names frequently forgotten by the History.
Hereafter, the hardest task wouldn't be the technique, but the politics: it's about convincing the authorities. He used all the company reputation and promoted a wide campaign to convince the Parisian administration about the advantages that such work could bring. After a lot of insistence and many financial investments, he reached his aim and saw the French flag raised 300 meter high -- but the problems had just started.
A movement of art and culture personalities was soon raised, claiming the pure demolition of the tower, a thing they considered an attack to the good taste. And they failed, as the taxes charged to the tower visitants resulted on huge amounts of money that the municipality wasn't willing to abdicate. Later, when the 20 years concession of the plot had finished, the critic figured out a new opportunity to demand its demolition. And Eiffel used again his influence and persuasion and convinced the authorities that Paris had a great need for a communication tower, for a meteorological cabinet and for a aerodynamic studies' school. Then, he could keep his work standing still.
torre eiffel's anniversary
Gustave Eiffel (on the left) with Adolphe Salles at the spiral staircase which links the highest platform to the tower peak
But don't think that these arguments came from no reasons. Eiffel was open-minded. He dedicated himself to the winds study and even published many works about aerodynamics which brought important contributions to this incipient science then. He conceived an airplane and a wind tunnel where the French prototypes were testified during many years. A project for a tunnel over the English Channel, from 1890, is a less known work.
It's an irony that Eiffel passed the following years without projecting, as he had always done, but avoiding the breakdown of his tower. Paris and the world won a magnificent tower, that's right, but who knows the many others fantastic constructions that the unique person was able to conceive and lift up? He died on 1923, when he was 89 years old.
torre eiffel's anniversary
torre eiffel's anniversary

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

CSM book launch this Thursday

Central Saint Martins Architecture EXHIBITION and BOOK LAUNCH this Thursday 23rd June at the Gopher Hole beneath Cafe El Paso on 350-354 OLD STREET.

Don’t be brutal to Robin Hood Gardens - VIA ADAPRIVEREUSE

link to original post, thank you!

solar pavilion
Some suggest that Alison and Peter Smithson were the first examples of starchitecture, as Norman Blogster calls the “more PR than architecture” careers of stylists like Hadid and Liebeskind. But when our reader Kristian Seier challenged us to find something bad to say about the Upper Lawn Pavilion (later known as the Solar Pavilion), their holiday house built in the early 1960s, we realised we’d simply forgotten that it existed.
solar pavilion
Which is inexcusable because not only is it one of the most admirable of the 20th century’s many glass box houses, it is also a rare example of adaptive reuse by great modernist architects whose attitude we admire even when we find their large projects unlovable.
Writing about the restoration of the Solar Pavilion, Jane Withers in The Observer tells us:
The Smithsons bought the property in 1958, part of a group of farm buildings including a stone cottage that had been served with a demolition order. Instead of razing the existing building, the new two-storey pavilion is superimposed on parts of the old structure. The old stone doesn’t just give texture to the new building – it also makes us look at the past with fresh eyes, as old parts are found in surprising places. A massive chimney wall – once the end wall of the cottage – now cuts through the upper and lower living spaces. The outdoor terrace was once inside the old house, so that a cottage window is now set in the garden wall to playful and slightly surreal effect.
The remains of the original cottage not only provide a framework to anchor the new wood and glass structure, they also root the new building in the local history. It is a wonderful illustration of the Smithsons’ ‘as found’ theory, where instead of the earlier modernist pursuit of gleaming newness, the architects reuse and reinvent the existing….
The startling aspect of Solar Pavilion is its utter basicness.
A few years earlier, in 1956, for the seminal pop art exhibition This is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, the Smithsons contributed Patio and Pavilion, a shed made of second-hand wood and a corrugated plastic roof. They intended it to be read as a symbolic habitat embracing what they considered basic human needs – a piece of ground, a view of the sky, privacy, the presence of nature. Solar Pavilion embodies such thinking about the fundamentals that nourish not just man’s physical but also spiritual needs.
“Reuse and reinvent the existing’? Doesn’t that sound like the perfect description of what we are on about?
solar pavilion
Ioana Marinescu)

During the restoration in 2003 Sergison Bates had to add a kitchen and heating – apparently man’s physical needs did not extend to heating, stoves (they cooked on a fire outside) or beds (they slept on mattresses on the floor upstairs), a lifestyle Allison Smithson described as “camping in the landscape”.
solar pavilion
Ioana Marinescu)

She documented their trips to the house in her solipsistic book AS in DS (ie Alison Smithson in her Citroen DS). Wendy, who hates camping, is horrified by this while I find it incredibly admirable, it appeals to some deep spiritual need of mine. Or maybe I’m just a jaded dilettante and so were they, but I don’t think so. The point is that unlike the starchitects they were never about style, they were about solutions to problems of living.
And that led to their theory of “streets in the air”, based on their opposition to modernist planning that carved cities up into quarantined functional areas.
As younger members of CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) and, by 1956, as founding members of Team 10, they were at the heart of the debate on the future course of modern architecture, demonstrating a broad concern in the social environment and advocating for buildings that were specific to their location and purpose. Rather than the CIAM understanding that cities should be zoned into specific areas for living, working, leisure, and transport, the Smithsons argued in favor of mixed use within the same area. They conceived mid-rise housing as ‘streets in the air’ to encourage sentiments of belonging and neighborliness, rather than isolated slab-like towers. They believed these goals could be achieved at differing levels of human association: house, street, district and city. (Harvard University Library Smithson Archive)
Unfortunately, when they tried to put it into practice the result was Robin Hood Gardens.
robin hood gardens

Doomed from the start by a bad location, poor construction and dysfunctional welfare tenants, the streets in the air only facilitated criminal activity. The project turned into a high profile disaster and their careers crashed.
robin hood gardens

But looking back on it, the theory still seems sound.
And now Robin Hood Gardens is threatened with demolition. If it goes, their only remaining major projects will be Hunstanton School and the Economist Plaza.
Robin Hood Gardens looks shabby but so do Zaha Hadid’s buildings already,
robin hood gardens

that’s what happens to buildings if you don’t maintain them.
Since Erno Goldfinger’s equally dysfunctional Trellick Tower has now become a fairly desirable residence could a similar outcome be possible with Robin Hood Gardens? The current residents love it even if it is noisy, run down
robin hood gardens

and generally intimidating in its grimness. It’s a potentially divisive question even in this household on the other side of the world, Wendy says knock it down, I say no. And since I’m writing this and she’s not, I’ll commend BD’s on-line petition to you where you can sign up with your fellow luminaries to petition for its listing and preservation.
And just remember this quote, at CIAM’s 1953 Congress the Smithsons wrote:
“Belonging’ is a basic emotional need – its associations are of the simplest order. From ‘belonging’ – identity – comes the enriching sense of neighbourliness. The short narrow street of the slum succeeds where spacious redevelopment frequently fails.”

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Constantin Brancusi - Artist

from here on MONDOBLOG thank you!

I've always loved the period shots of his
crazy sick amazing studio.

You can of course still see 
relocated to 

He always looked so crabby too.
Which I liked.

Don't mess with Constantin!

Is that 
"Princess X"
in the back or are you just glad to see me?

There are too many sculptures to
name all of them in this post.
"Cup 1" 
is awesome!
Let's not forget it is 1914....
I mean come on,
Fuck all y'all!
You go Constany!

The light, the space,
it kind of defines the
dream studio.

"Endless Column"

"Plato",  Mademoiselle Pogany",
and "Golden Bird"



"Exotic Plant"

This is the reconstructed studio
at the Pompidu.

"The Kiss", "The Chief",
and "The Sorceress"

"Cock" with versions of "Large Cock"

"King of Kings"
(And 4 versions of "Large Cock")
Jesus, am I gonna get some disappointed people when they click
on this Google image....!

This is the studio right after his death in 1957.

Constantin Brancusi
(Is that a smile I see?)

Brancusi chopping away at an "Endless Column".

I love this shot....

Brancusi at work in the studio,
with some terrific shadows.


"Bird in Space"
I could tell a boring story about when I was an 
art student and was invited to a party the
Cliff Dwellers Club
and as we headed up the stairs
there was a bronze "Bird in Space"
towering over us as we headed up to the terrace.
They sold it I think.

"Self Portrait in the Studio"

Come on!
I wonder what the rent was in 1925?

More versions of "Large Cock".
(I will never get tired of typing that!)
I think this is a repeat photo,
but come on, 
who gets tired of 
"Large Cock"?

"Brancusi and Romanian Friend"
I KNOW he is smiling here!

"View of Studio"
There's a small black "Cock" on the mantle!

What a long post.
Time for a nap huh Constany?