Archive for June, 2005

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

from The Gutter

Which well-known New Urbanists, not hailing from Greater Miami, were overheard making the following less-than PC comments after a ceremony to honor Frank Gehry’s contributions to the cityscape? “What’s next,” the first asked, “a humanitarian award to Osama bin Laden?” The other responded: “We’ll give a painting award to Adolf Hitler!” The prize was intended to entice Gehry to a party at the recent Congress for the New Urbanism, but the architect was not so easily played. He sent an underling to brave the bow-tied throngs.

crowd surfing

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

There’s a bit of a kerfuffle going on in the new-urbanist camp. The CNU has surprised everyone by giving the shiniest of all ‘starchitects’, Frank Gehry (mates with Brad Pitt, appeared in The Simpsons), an award for good urban design for his LA Philharmonic Building.

I haven’t visited the building in question, so I’m poorly placed to get involved, but the ins and outs are being well documented by David Sucher over at City Comforts. Right now, from up here on the fence, I find myself beginning to be drawn (despite my previous Gehry entry) towards the side of the CNU.

For God’s sake, some place in our T6 universe there may be a place for a pure, unadulterated object.

I am concerned that our new urbanist eyes are so colored by what we are trying to project into the built world, that we have stopped feeling or empathizing with others who feel that certain buildings elevate their existence.

That was Stefanos Polyzoides on the Pro-Urb mailing list. Sounds good to me, but what the hell is a T6 universe? Answers on a postcard please. As for the pure, unadulterated object, it sounds like he’s suffering from the same crisis as me when I’m confronted by the likes of Anish Kapoor’s sculptures.

from a previous Kapoor entry:

Note to self: That’s me, that is. I lose site of the art in all the process and technique. This is exactly why my love of Anish Kapoor’s work feels so dirty.

It’s a crisis that could be solved if one were to just let go and stage dive off the moral high ground to be carried along by the hands of all those that are sufficiently at peace with the world to simply say: Because it’s beautiful.

new tribe

Monday, June 20th, 2005

They redesigned the profile page of Here’s me:

First reaction, after about 60 seconds of scrolling/clicking, is that it’s looking pretty good. I might have to start using it again.

Or at the very least return the compliment to all the people I owe testimonials to.

Time to stand and stare

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

Will Alsop on Cedric Price:

Between 1963 and 1971, there was the magazine Architectural Design. AD was about ideas. One or two contributors went on to build their designs, but mainly it was about things that might be done. This was the era of Archigram, the avant-garde design group, and also, most importantly, the critic Reyner Banham. Banham needed Archigram, Price and one or two others because they fed him. Equally, Reyner told them what they were doing.

Magazines today need to include finished projects to attract advertisers, which is very sad because it promotes the idea, particularly among younger architects, that they have to build. This was anathema to Price. He never felt that he had to build, and he didn’t build a great deal. It’s not that he wasn’t interested in building; it’s just that he didn’t want to do anything that didn’t contribute to the ideas and the thoughts he was trying to explore.

Towards the end of his life, Price was more relaxed. The notion of doing nothing, of observing – which so many people have forgotten – is something that I think he understood. On the drawing Surf 90, for instance, he has written: “Time to stand and stare.”

One of the young architects Price influenced was Rem Koolhaas. Koolhaas will take a brief and keep it in terms of diagrams as long as possible. The library being built in Seattle at the moment, which is going to be a magnificent building, is exactly that. Koolhaas has analysed the user’s brief and essentially built the diagram of the analysis. He has taken it in different directions. Certainly, there is a formal expression in Koolhaas’s work you would never find in Price, but there is a huge debt there.

taken from the Guardian (found via

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Friday, June 17th, 2005

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Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

Jack has joined in with a round up of choice picks from Glasgow.

Any more out there?

A handful of men

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

For War of the Worlds fans: I noticed a billboard on the way to work this morning advertising a guest appearance by Jeff Wayne, composer of the 70s musical version, at St. Paul’s Gallery in Birmingham tomorrow night.

It’s currently being re-released as a collector’s edition. Remastered, remixed, DVD etc, etc. A whole bunch of new ways to hear David Essex singing about a brave new world.

Take a look around you at the world we’ve come to know,
Does it seem to be much more than a crazy circus show?
But maybe from the madness something beautiful will grow,
In a brave new world,
With just a handful of men.
We’ll start, we’ll start all over again
All over again,
All over again,
All over again,
All over again.

Which, strangely, doesn’t appear to need the fairer sex to begin repopulating the planet. Just a handful of men? I’d like to see them try.

Scratch that. I wouldn’t like to see that at all.

links: Jeff Wayne’s site and


Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

I’ve e-mailed the guy who’s built this project, but no reply yet. I’ve noticed that like the entry I mention above, he also carries a reference to the writing of Marcos Novak. It seems it is Novak who we should both be thanking.

“derived from the particulars of the real world, from data and processes of the virtual world, or from numerous techniques of capturing the real and casting it into virtual, motion capture for instance. Since time is a feature of the model, if the model is fed time-based data, the form becomes animate, the architecture liquid.”

I should have mentioned that I found this via the always fascinating We Make Money Not Art.

Architecture Week around Birmingham

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

Dan has already covered London, so I’d better have a go at Birmingham and the West Midlands. Here’s a few items from the Architecture Week itinerary that I think will be worth a visit. The sections in italics are extra notes I’ve added about some of the events.

In Conversation with David Adjaye and Hew Locke (June 18)

In Conversation: Architect David Adjaye will discuss architecture and the visual arts with exhibiting artists Hew Locke and Richard Woods.

Venue: The New Art Gallery Week
Gallery Square

notes: took some pictures of the Hew Locke installation last weekend – see entry immediately before this one

Drawing : City : Futures (June 18)

Unity House: an 18 storey derelict office block due to be demolished, provides a unique opportunity to facilitate a drawing workshop and temporary exhibition on the hoardings around it. It will bring together professional artists, architects, communities & local authority.

Venue: Tonetine Square
Stoke-on-Trent City Centre (Hanley)

Vivid Launches its New Space (June 17,18,19,20,21,22)

Vivid launches its new space with a programme of work including international and UK artists Steina Vasulka, Nina Katchadourian, Ivan and Heather Morison, Adele Prince, Calum Stirling, Layla Curtis, Kate Pemberton and John Hammersley.

Venue: Vivid
140 Heath Mill Lane
B9 4AR

notes: I’ve mentioned Kate Pemberton’s work here before – see entry on

The Bells of St Martin’s – Finale Event (June 26)

Come and hear the iconic bells of St Martin’s in the Bullring, Birmingham ringing out a new composition by the US sound artist Bill Fontana and walk through the Eastside regeneration area, to listen afresh and gain a new understanding of its’ distinctive acoustic landscape.

Venue: Locations in Eastside


Artbox/ Foot Prints InTheSnow / Rick Myers (June 17-26)

An ongoing personal project charting the artist’s thought processes and creative connections. Rick Myers presents a collection of limited edition posters, screenprints and paper sculptures housed in a portable wooden museum. This event forms part of the Artbox 2005, The Mailbox art programme.

Venue: The Mailbox
Wharfside St
B1 1XL

The Mailbox Final Phase Design Competition (June 17-26)

The Mailbox have conducted a design competition for their final phase with six leading architects. The designs will be displayed throughout AW in The Mailbox. The architects are Marks Barfield, Ken Shuttleworth’s MAKE, Associated Architects, D5, Glenn Howells Architects and Kinetic.

Venue: The Mailbox
Wharfside Street
B1 1RP

notes: looking forward to seeing how the new kids on the block, Kinetic, square up to the establishment – either way, I hope a Birmingham practice get it rather than Barfield or MAKE

WAG New Galleries and Working with Listed Buildings (June 22)

A talk by Niall Phillips, of Niall Phillips Architects Ltd, Bristol on their work on developing the new triangular galleries for the Pop Art Collection and touring exhibitions at WAG, and their work on listed buildings.

Venue: Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Lichfield Street

notes: this baby’s on-site right now, although sadly Simon Patterson’s art installation for it has been removed from the project. I mentioned this project here way back when I first started this blog. If you want to see more of Patterson, he’s at the Ikon gallery until the 17th.

Birmingham School of Architecture & Landscape End of Year Show (June 21,22,23)

This exhibition showcases the best work from across our architecture and landscape degree and postgraduate courses.

Venue: 4 Brindleyplace
Brindleyplace, off Broad Street
B1 2JF

notes: I shall be there to support the school in its recovery from the last few months of turmoil – come along and buy me a drink.

From Westside to Eastside – an Architecture Week Walk (June 17-26)

A self-guided architectural walk from Brindley Place to Millennium Point. Promoted through widely distributed postcards. Also available on – Tours

Venue: Birmingham City Centre

notes: Route laid out by friend and ex-tutor Joe Holyoak – he’s the guy who asked Amanda Levete why Selfridges is the shape it is – see my entry entitled ‘that building’ for the answer.