Archive for March, 2004

Venturi, Scott-Brown and Walt

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

A sample from the excellent article in Metropolis Magazine by Robert Venturi, discussing Disney’s Pop Century resort. The full article is here.

But let us remember that throughout the history of architecture and urbanism, iconography has always dominated the scene, instructing and persuading us with its religious and civic content in ways no different from today?s vigorous (and despised) commercial iconography. Let us acknowledge the validity of those signs as a flourishing element within that vital, generic American scene, as well as within the great tradition of architecture and urbanism! Let us today transfer the murals from the inside to the outside of the buildings! Let us not be limited by the intimidations of taste and a Modernist revival that promotes decadent/dramatique abstract expressionism and industrial rocaille for the postindustrial age. Let us be stimulated by the vigor of iconography appropriate for our information/electronic age!


Thursday, March 18th, 2004

More than 50 students, from Fine Art and Architecture at the University of Newcastle and Newcastle College, formed two groups of builders who constructed and de-constructed two identical shells of House simultaneously for 22 hours. The shells were built out of bricks and mortar up to first floor level and juxtaposed with each other in rotational symmetry. The project was synchronized so that the construction and de-construction was choreographed sequentially: the opposite segments of the shells slowly moved around each other until House was completed.


Thursday, March 18th, 2004

Free concert, March 30th, at the MAC in Birmingham. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Dare you miss it?

Purists: prepare to do battle. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain challenge the complex world with their simplicity and prove that both anything can be played on the uke, and that the uke can play anything. Their latest CD, The Secret of Life, is a tour de force of all music from the early baroque period onwards; held together with a common instrument and a lot of laughs.

source –

Send an e-mail to to apply for the tickets. Their web site is

Poetic promenade

Thursday, March 18th, 2004

This morning, a hard won Google discovery finally delivered the information I needed about a landscaping project called Yoga Promenade by Team Zoo architects from Japan.
The images confirmed what we expected and will be useful inspiration for a project we’re currently working on that will include some sustainable drainage proposals. However, the pleasure of exercising my Google muscles, was as nothing compared to the results of the Babel translation.

Business celebration promenade

The road which is done exciting

From the business celebration station the road which faces to the fine arts museum.
It sets up on the middle of the road, the wound fullest capacity!
That? Cripes? The coming – it is lovely! !
with feeling, as for me large excitation (laughing).
In any case pleasant
The it does the love of design side and the does and with feels,
In addition looking at that, you feel that it is dear.
To every nook and cranny the space which is loved.
If originally “it calculates and is exhausted”
How, word is used, it is probably will be however,
I would like to say being able to meet, like this, is.

In the people who design this,
It increased with interest beforehand.
For the design the feeling,
It is enormous and “me likes and” being to be, it does.
Making those whose native consciousness is strong mainly the,
“Consciousness of senses is made to awaken” the person.
Me, senses very important ones
As, having caught,
Keeps making the feeling important,
Thinking that it is the human original living, the.
In the space of this one concerning really,
By mistake there is no my feeling and -!
The being able to think, the delightful.

When above this it makes small, the with special care honey the space to understand, it becomes harsh because,
This picture and the picture under tried enlarging.

There being a waterway, there being a bridge, in the road tile hundred one neck.
“You are disgusted to the various bench of gargoyle design and the like, bet? “Bench of shape.
Design of raccoon dog. Respectively there is a unique name, however it seems, as for here we would like to designate selfishly!

Business celebration promenade
“Elephant design group + planned technical laboratory”
Completion: 1986 April

It seems that Elephant Design Group is the fantastic translation of Team Zoo/Atelier Zo. You can see the original here.


Monday, March 15th, 2004

Still not quite getting the Chinese Dumplings right. Last time I ended up making the dough too thick around the pork and it didn’t cook through properly. Next time I’m going to try a different dough recipe that doesn’t use oil or egg. Found this one at a different site:

Jiaozi dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • up to 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 300 grams fresh Chinese (Napa) cabbage
  • 1/2 lb ground meat (pork or beef)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground white pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 green onion, minced
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 TB sesame oil

404 WMD

Thursday, March 11th, 2004

Just been passed this via a friend, via Radio 2, and I’ve passed it on to

Head over to Google and type in ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ and then press the ‘I feel lucky’ button.

Some interesting links to some books and DVDs over at Amazon and an astute business move at the bottom – a link to WMD t-shirts over at


Tuesday, March 9th, 2004

Q: Where can we explore the complex to make things clear?


The University of Central England has excelled itself once more. Not only does the latest advert look as bad as all the previous ones, it barely even makes sense the first time you read it. The colour balance is wrong, the composition is clumsy and the typography is abismal.

Even from 10 feet away, on the lower level of the tram, I can tell exactly what the problem is. It’s not the poor sucker who designed it, it’s the marketing department of UCE Inc. A few years ago, Tris, Tom and I were asked to design a new poster for the School of Housing. We were given a set of rules that were not be broken: the image must be x number of millimetres from top and y from the bottom, the text must be z points tall and Frutiger etc. We tried to bend rather than break, blurred the boundaries here and there, adjusted it to make it work. Initially the client was happy, but when it was passed up the line for approval it came straight back with the instruction to change it. You can see the results in our gallery.

The irony is that the cheeky monkey twins featured in the advert (who look as confused as I am) are from the Fine Art school and could probably do a better job with a few potato prints.

Dont forget the route, Ginger

Monday, March 8th, 2004

Saturday night’s visitors, Simon and Gemma, got to sample my cullinary skills. Inspired by the comical name for the new wine bar on Ludgate Hill in Birmingham – ‘Mongolian and Motown’ – I decided to try the Mongolian Beef recipe submitted to everything2:


  • 1 lb fillet or sirloin steak
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil/vegetable oil
  • 2 dried red chillies, halved lengthways
  • 4 sping onions, shredded finely
  • 2 large fresh red chillies, de-seeded and shredded finely
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 1.5 tablespoons of Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil salt
  • chopped spring onions (two bunches should be enough)

For the marinade

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 0.5 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour

Marinade the beef, brown it in a wok and then put to one side. Fry the chillis and shredded onions, add the meat and remaining ingredients. Keep the chopped spring onions to add when complete. Don’t make my mistake and forget the ginger root.

Added this to rice and made some Chinese style dumplings for starters. These are a doddle (minced pork, cabbage, soy sauce – wrapped in dough and deep fried) but my dough could do with some practice.

Later, after I’d saved my laptop from a cloud of steam pouring from the microwave, I sent a message to the author of the recipe over at everything2. Got a reply suggesting we try ohagi, but by then we had already polished off a tub of ice cream.

Ig Nobel tour dates

Sunday, March 7th, 2004

Coming to Birmingham on the 20th March, to be held at Millennium Point. There will apparently be guest appearances by members of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists. Could be worth the entrance fee just for that.

Weetabix Club no longer exists

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004

Found in an old box and posted here for posterity (with additional hyperlinks) before I consign it to the waste basket. The date is the 7th November 1988…

Dear Robert,

Thank you for your letter regarding the Weetabix Club.

Since we started the Club in 1983, it has grown so quickly that it is now very, very hard to keep a record of our members and where thery live.

In view of this, we are sorry but we have to tell you that the Weetabix Club no longer exists.

You will still see the Weetabix characters on current Weetabix packs, television and in the children’s comics.

Watch out for them as they continue fighting and beating the titchy breakfasts.

Yours sincerely,

A.D.Lee – Sales Promotion and Development Manager