Archive for November, 2006


Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Bloody. Hell.

from the Coroflot survey via Archidose.

urban cottage

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Found via campodf’s flickr photos / via The Art of Where / via thingsmagazine … some great looking ‘urban cottages’ by Alvarez Morris to be built in Denver.
Warm, rich, charming, progressive, versatile – I’d love to see the internal plan. Although in the UK there’d be some Secured by Design concerns about the slightly secluded position of the front door.

knowing when to be

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Changing a tyre in the pouring rain is not a good way to start the day. Buying yourself a new book, swiftly followed by good coffee and cheescake is the only way to improve your mood. In fact I can’t think of a better way to improve your mood in any given situation than the book-coffee-cheesecake maneuver.

Spurred on by the recent completion of Swann’s Way, I swaggered through the book shop and reached, without fear, for Don Quixote. The first line to receive a pencil mark however, is from the introduction by Harold Bloom, rather than Cervantes himself.

After a lengthy explanation of the comparisons between Don Quixote and Hamlet:

I would rather be Falstaff or Sancho than a version of Hamlet or Don Quixote, because growing old and ill teaches you that being matters more than knowing.

A statement that’s difficult to dispute whilst the taste of cheescake remains on your tongue. And yet…and yet, surely the development of knowing allows a more tangible appreciation of being? Or does my formal recognition/classification of the book-coffee-cheesecake maneuver turn it’s magical healing qualities into little more than text, caffeine and mascarpone cheese?

More on Don Quixote here: Radio 4’s In Our Time.

More on cheescake here: Spoon the mix into the ring.

I spent the afternoon talking to a carpenter about religion and football and fell into what Dawkins calls the I’m an atheist but- trap. That aside, whether you have faith in perfect circles or imperfect footballs, or the belief that former is the abstraction of all the latter, or the latter is the inescapable reality of the idealistic former; what matters is the taste of the pie at half time. It’s all about knowing when to be.

Librarything’s Unsuggester service proposes The New Interpreter’s Bible to me as the alternative to Don Quixote.

Buddhists 2.0

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Last night I dreamt I was abducted by gang of Buddhists. They found me via Google. I was taken to a shanty town of poorly built concrete block houses containing roughly hewn wooden tables and meditation spaces themed like the Crystal Maze. At the end of the tables were flat screen monitors built into the wall. They were into Web 2.0. I was shown some around some of the meditation areas.

…And this group are building a meditation space to feel like a kitchen. The subtle noise of the condensing gas boiler in the cupboard helps them maintain a discrete control over their physical awareness before emptying their minds…

It was then that I realised who I had to blame.

I formed an allegiance with another Buddhist who, like me, just wanted to be left to learn to let go on her own. We made a dash for it in a Rover 214. It took two attempts.

Shared Architext

Friday, November 10th, 2006

Stuck for suggestions for Christmas gifts? Here’s the current list of most commonly shared books between members of the group I started on a little while ago:

  • The most beautiful house in the world by Witold Rybczynski
  • The poetics of space by Gaston Bachelard
  • The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping / Harvard Design… by Jeffrey Inaba
  • Why buildings stand up : the strength of architecture by Mario Salvadori
  • The death and life of great American cities by Jane Jacobs
  • The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch
  • Site planning by Kevin Lynch
  • An atlas of rare city maps: comparative urban design, 1830-1… by Melville Campbell Branch
  • The timeless way of building by Christopher Alexander
  • Great streets by Allan B. Jacobs

I have no Rybczynski, but do have some Bachelard and I’m currently proposing a trade on the group forum.

pin head

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

A sketch that will make me pause to think every time I include a figure on a drawing from now on:

Stolen from:

I (architect) draw people like the one on the left because… 1) it’s all about the body in space, 2) hands are always in pockets where they can’t do any damage, 3) heads – and therefore eyes and sight lines – are tightly controlled, and 4) I learnt it at school copying examples handed down from the previous generation.

You (interaction designer) draw people like the one on the right because … [answers on a postcard to the usual address please]

vision on

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

Thursday hyperlinked:

Listened to podcast called Photography 2.0 – disappointingly but predictably flickr-centric – would have appreciated some recognition of the work that’s been done over the years by (even back in the day when flickr was still spelt with an e) to further the discussion about citizen journalism – especially as I flagged it in the comments and they discussed the impact of the London bombings – some great arguments however from Fred Ritchin about quality over quantity and the predominance of the self in the million images a day being uploaded to flickr – attended Housing Forum conference – heard Regional Director talk about how we need to deliver 30% more housing with only 15% more cash – if we move any faster I’m seriously worried about quality being stuffed by quantity – look closely if you buy a new house in the UK over the next few years – also heard Left Bank Two by Wayne Hill which took us all back to Take Hart – impossible to remember Tony without Morph – arrived back at my desk to find a mailshot in my inbox from the London Architecture Diary pointing me to a furniture company called Morph – they sell recycled and restored furniture – site chokes in firefox though – find a link in Alfie’s blog in my blogline subscriptions to the latest collaboration – live photos from the invasion of Didcot power station by Greenpeace – still delivering citizen journalism.