Jan 13, 2015

a garden city of today, book by marcus busby


against repetition in architecture by Arnold Wilkins

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      Architecture that respects the statistics of natural scenes is more comfortable for people to look at and there is scientific evidence to support this statement.
      Our visual systems evolved to look at scenes from nature. Natural scenes have a characteristic structure called scale invariance. Imagine a map of the coast. The number of wiggles in the outline of the coast remains the same whatever the scale of the map you are using. If you double the size of the image, it has the same amount of detail. Double it again, and again the detail is the same. That’s scale invariance. The brain has evolved to process images with scale invariance and it can do so very efficiently using only a small number of neurons at any one time. The brain has more difficulty processing stripes (which are such a common feature of modern architecture) because they are not scale invariant. The brain becomes less efficient, and it uses more oxygen. We can measure the oxygen usage with neuroimaging and we find that the patterns of stripes that people find uncomfortable to look at use more oxygen.
      Some people, those who suffer migraine, find the patterns particularly unpleasant, and these people have an abnormally large oxygenation of the brain when they look at them. In fact, the larger the number of symptoms of visual discomfort the greater the oxygenation of the brain.
      So both in terms of the differences between images and the differences between people, images that are unpleasant induce a large oxygenation of the visual cortex of the brain. We can perhaps think of the discomfort as protective or homeostatic, in much the same way as most pain is – it acts to protect the organism. Perhaps the discomfort protects us from too great an oxygen usage. After all, the brain consumes 15-20% of the energy used by the body, so we need to reduce the energy consumption when we can.
      Now we said that stripes are unnatural, and uncomfortable and cannot be processed efficiently by the brain; they use more energy. Stripes are everywhere in the modern urban environment.
      It turns out we can use a computer to predict how uncomfortable images are to look at just by measuring mathematically how much the image departs from scale invariance. We can do this for a wide variety of images. The algorithm is described in a recent paper by Olivier Penacchio and myself and will shortly appear in the journal Vision Research.
      We examined the achitectural design of the exterior of residential buildings and demonstrated mathematically that over the last century design has become progressively more and more striped.
      Why are stripes such a common feature of design?
      Designers like designs that are striking on the eye, perhaps this is one reason why.
      Perhaps it is also because it is simpler and cheaper to build things using repetitive elements. But we need to think again about stripes, and avoid them when we can, making our urban environment visually more like that in nature. This will make design more comfortable on the eye for neurological reasons that we are just now beginning to discover.

    prince charles and comments to his 10 principles of architectural design


    Facing up to the future: Prince Charles on 21st century architecture

    The Prince of Wales sets out ten key principles for sustainable urban growth that values tradition
    I was somewhat surprised to be asked by this magazine to explain why I consider traditional approaches and universal principles so important in the design of buildings and urban environments. It is heartening, I must say, that the magazine is encouraging a ‘Big Rethink’ because designing places according to the human scale and with Nature at the heart of the process has always been my central concern. The reason for that, I think, has too often been misunderstood …

    I have lost count of the times I have been accused of wanting to turn the clock back to some Golden Age. Nothing could be further from my mind. My concern is the future. We face the terrifying prospect by 2050 of another three billion people on this planet needing to be housed, and architects and urban designers have an enormous role to play in responding to this challenge. We have to work out now how we will create resilient, truly sustainable and human-scale urban environments that are land-efficient, use low-carbon materials and do not depend so completely upon the car. However, for these places to enhance the quality of people’s lives and strengthen the bonds of community, we have to reconnect with those traditional approaches and techniques honed over thousands of years which, only in the 20th century, were seen as ‘old-fashioned’ and of no use in a progressive modern age. It is time to take a more mature view.
    The Prince of Wales at Poundbury in Dorset in December 2001. Built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, Poundbury is the urban extension to Dorchester built on principles of architecture and urban planning as advocated by The Prince of Wales in his book, A Vision of Britain (1989). The development is conceived as a model for humanly scaled and genuinely sustainable urban development
    I say this because those universal principles are expressed in the order of Nature, which can never be ‘old- fashioned’. Nature is only ever of paramount contemporary importance and, although we think we can, we ignore the order of Nature at our peril. It exists for good reason.
    ‘By 2050 another three billion people will need to be housed, and architects and urban designers have an enormous role to play in responding to this challenge’
    Nature’s order is not simple. It is complex, deeply interconnected and innately beautiful − a fact worth pondering. It is curious that we do not have to ‘think’ about finding a rose beautiful; it simply is, and I would suggest this is because we feel an immediate, intuitive resonance with its form and pattern. This is much the same experience when we stand beneath a rose window in a High Gothic cathedral. Those who created such structures in medieval Europe sought to produce physical manifestations of the Divine order of the universe − in short, a model of Heaven on Earth − and to do so they derived their designs from Nature’s geometry which, for all its beauty and diversity, begins with one simple action: the division of a single circle.
    Houses in Coed Darcy, designed using familiar motifs and local materials taken from the British - in this case the Welsh - vernacular tradition
    The circle is an age-old symbol of unity and out of that key relationship between the point and the line comes a multiplicity of shapes and patterns. There is seemingly limitless diversity, but it is directly bound at every turn by its reference to the point at the centre, the origin of the circle. In this way, rose windows are truly original works of art. They are an expression of the origin of things − the creative principle which, in the world’s sacred traditions, is called the Divine. Traditional art and architecture are the product of this perception, symbolising the fact that everything in the manifest world is connected. This is why such patterning is referred to as ‘sacred’ geometry. Not because it creates windows in churches, but because it displays the order which is sacred to all things. Consider the fact that no two snowflakes are ever the same, and yet each is held together by the same sixfold geometry.

    This is why I have placed such importance on the teaching of geometry at my School of Traditional Arts. This ‘spiritual mathematics’, which Plato called one of the universal languages of humanity, is a precise ‘grammar of harmony’ and time and again I have found it communicates directly to people by resonating with their true being.

    It was fascinating, for instance, to hear recently of an event at the British Museum, called ‘Meeting of Minds’, where an audience of high-profile designers and creative directors was introduced to this geometry by one of the staff at my School of Traditional Arts. Many said afterwards that simply using a compass and drawing with a pencil for the first time since they were at school made a remarkable impression, but it was when they were shown the practical side of pattern making that they started to get the point. They learnt how complex, intricate patterns can be constructed from a square derived from a circle. The tutor deliberately allowed them to become confused in this process so that they found no sense in what they were doing until, suddenly, they saw the patterns emerge. It was apparently a breathtaking moment of realisation and, judging from the feedback, many were overwhelmed by what they discovered. One wrote it had been a ‘perception-changing experience’ and reported there had been discussion into the night about the implications of looking at the world in this way. Several asked if the tutor would run similar sessions for their entire studios and one said he now realized why he had always been so moved by a cathedral mentioned in the subsequent talk. ‘I suddenly saw it is all about the numbers, it is all about Nature.’
    A student learning about geometry at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts
    One senior executive from a very well-known corporation said she had realized with some dread that her company’s brand new headquarters, still under construction, were unlikely to work. The original cluster of buildings resembled a series of village centres that had grown organically as the company expanded. But these had been bulldozed away and in their place a vast, open-plan office complex was being constructed which did not have community at the heart of its purpose. She saw that the old arrangement had been key to producing the company’s immensely creative process of development and design. Only one local architect had pointed this out, but his ‘old-fashioned’ idea of creating a new series of interconnected hubs had been overruled by the corporate desire for an ‘iconic’ building that would reflect the company’s success. Time will tell who was right.

    I have no doubt this will seem a very esoteric argument to some architects working on the front line in the ‘real world’, but what I am describing here is an approach to design based upon the crystalline analysis of the working of Nature. ‘Putting the human being at the centre of the design process’ goes beyond seeing people as pedestrians. As traditional thinking teaches, basing designs on the timeless universal principles expressed by Nature’s order enables the full scope of our humanity to be fulfilled, on the physical, communal, cultural and spiritual levels.

    What has concerned me about the design and planning of so many modern built environments during the greater part of the 20th century is that these four interconnecting levels have been completely abandoned and ignored, to the extent that their rediscovery is seen as an exciting revelation. Emphasis has been placed purely on the functional with no integrated understanding of how the order of Nature informs the well-being of people. Hence, towns have been systematically broken down into zones with shopping and commercial zones sitting separately from the housing zones they serve, many of which look exactly the same, being made of the same industrialized materials wherever in the country they are built. And, with business parks and leisure centres built on urban fringes, the entire system only functions because of the car. The opportunities for fragmentation and isolation are everywhere.
    The serene harmony of compositions such as that of the Taj Mahal is achieved by a carefully calibrated system of geometrical relationships illustrated here by Paul Marchant, Director of Education at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts
    This is why my Foundation for Building Community places such importance upon ‘the street’ and the need for them to be laid out in a legible, interconnected network with the pedestrian at the heart of the design process. The aim is for walkable, legible urban centres where mixed-income housing, shops, business premises and leisure facilities fit together. This creates surprise and variety in a mix that is unified by an underlying coherence. The use of local materials is critical, as is a masterplan that is based upon a region’s distinctive traditional architectural ‘signature’. In this way a development does not just follow the dictates of fashion which, by definition, can often appear worn-out and less than appropriate over time. Instead it seeks to create a settlement with a local identity and a strong sense of place; one that engenders integrated communities where people can enjoy a sense of shared pride in where they live.

    In order to do this, the masterplan must accord to 10 important geometric principles (see below). This approach does not deny the benefits and convenience that our modern technology brings. Far from it, the aim is to mix the best of the old with the best of the new. All I am suggesting is that the new alone is not enough. We have to be mindful of the long-term consequences of what we construct in the public realm and, in its design, reclaim our humanity and our connection with Nature, both of which, because of the corporate rather than human way in which our urban spaces have been designed, have come under increasing threat. To counter this, I believe we have to revisit the learning that for so long has been embedded in traditional approaches to design, simply because they are so rooted in our own connection with Nature’s patterns and processes. As we face so many critical challenges in the years ahead, these approaches are crying out to be brought back to the forefront of contemporary practice.


    Developments must respect the land. They should not be intrusive; they should be designed to fit within the landscape they occupy.


    Architecture is a language. We have to abide by the grammatical ground rules, otherwise dissonance and confusion abound. This is why a building code can be so valuable.


    Scale is also key. Not only should buildings relate to human proportions, they should correspond to the scale of the other buildings and elements around them. Too many of our towns have been spoiled by casually placed, oversized buildings of little distinction that carry no civic meaning.


    Harmony − the playing together of all parts. The look of each building should be in tune with its neighbours, which does not mean creating uniformity. Richness comes from diversity, as Nature demonstrates, but there must be coherence, which is often achieved by attention to details like the style of door cases, balconies, cornices and railings.


    The creation of well-designed enclosures. Rather than clusters of separate houses set at jagged angles, spaces that are bounded and enclosed by buildings are not only more visually satisfying, they encourage walking and feel safer.


    Materials also matter. In the UK, as elsewhere, we have become dependent upon bland, standardized building materials. There is much too much concrete, plastic cladding, aluminium, glass and steel employed, which lends a place no distinctive character. For buildings to look as if they belong, we need to draw on local building materials and regional traditional styles.


    Signs, lights and utilities. They can be easily overused. We should also bury as many wires as possible and limit signage. A lesson learned from Poundbury is that it is possible to rid the street of nearly all road signs by using ‘events’ like a bend, square or tree every 60-80 metres, which cause drivers to slow down naturally.


    The pedestrian must be at the centre of the design process. Streets must be reclaimed from the car.


    Density. Space is at a premium, but we do not have to resort to high-rise tower blocks which alienate and isolate. I believe there are far more communal benefits from terraces and the mansion block. You only have to consider the charm and beauty of a place like Kensington and Chelsea in London to see what I mean. It is often forgotten that this borough is the most densely populated one in London.


    Flexibility. Rigid, conventional planning and rules of road engineering render all the above instantly null and void, but I have found it is possible to build flexibility into schemes and I am pleased to say that many of the innovations we have tried out in the past 20 years are now reflected in national engineering guidance, such as The Manual For Streets

    Dec 18, 2014

    michael wihart work

    Michael Wihart – Soft Architectural Machines

    Ruairi Glynn
    • On January 18, 2008
    • http://www.ruairiglynn.co.uk
    Michael Wihart explored how ecologies of small machines made of nanotechnological and biotechnological elements might be able to swarm together to create architectural space and developed notions of how these spaces might reconfigure over time. Here’s some images of his work and some thoughts of his on the issues he raises.
    “The decadence and redundancy of the integrity of architectural thinking needs to be constantly questioned in order to reveal if architecture can be a source for the sentimental titillation. The embarrassing meanders of architecture into the challenge of the feasibility must be extended into the poetry of spatial mediation. the process of designing can no longer be solely functional and operational. The creation of an architecture which is embedded in the mythical knowledge of the future enables us to extend the sentiment of in-habitation into the realm of co-existence.”
    “Certainly this vision can be engaged to fulfil the concupiscence of a few heroic models but the question if this architecture can establish a casing of affirmative cultural emergence which is the source and site for the engagement of individuals with the fate of their co-habitants, is a different one. Architecture therefore stands for the manifestation of the ambivalence of the transience and the after-effect of the notion of co-existence. But when architects by themselves abandon and forget to realise fantasies which have always already been lost in the dawn of the socialisation, where then will we find the sites for the staging of our sentiments?”

    michael wihart work

    Nov 5, 2014

    bruce mau manifesto


    Bruce Mau
    1. Allow events to change you. You have to  be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.
    2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.
    3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.
    4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.
    5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.
    6. Capture accidents. The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.
    7. Study. A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.
    8. Drift. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.
    9. Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.
    10. Everyone is a leader. Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.
    11. Harvest ideas. Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.
    12. Keep moving. The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.
    13. Slow down. Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.
    14. Don’t be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.
    15. Ask stupid questions. Growth is fuelled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.
    16. Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.
    17. ____________________. Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.
    18. Stay up late. Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.
    19. Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.
    20. Be careful to take risks. Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.
    21. Repeat yourself. If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.
    22. Make your own tools. Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.
    23. Stand on someone’s shoulders. You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.
    24. Avoid software. The problem with software is that everyone has it.
    25. Don’t clean your desk. You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.
    26. Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.
    27. Read only left–hand pages. Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our ‘noodle’.
    28. Make new words. Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.
    29. Think with your mind. Forget technology. Creativity is not device–dependent.
    30. Organization = Liberty. Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between ‘creatives’ and ‘suits’ is what Leonard Cohen calls a “charming artifact of the past.”
    31. Don’t borrow money. Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.
    32. Listen carefully. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.
    33. Take field trips. The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object–oriented, real–time, computer graphic–simulated environment.
    34. Make mistakes faster. This isn’t my idea—I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.
    35. Imitate. Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.
    36. Scat. When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else… but not words.
    37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.
    38. Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old–tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.
    39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms. Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces—what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.” Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference—the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals—but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.
    40. Avoid fields. Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.
    41. Laugh. People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.
    42. Remember. Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.
    43. Power to the people. Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.

    Dec 22, 2013

    Derek Pirozzi United States Polar Umbrella Buoyant Skyscraper Protects and Regenerates the Polar Ice Caps

    During the last decades of global warming, the polar ice caps have experienced a severe rise in temperature causing the northern and southern ice shelves to become thin, fractured, and melt into the ocean. Rebuilding the arctic layers is the primary objective of this proposal which cools down the Earth’s surface by reducing heat gain in vulnerable arctic regions.
    The Polar Umbrella’s buoyant super-structure becomes a statement for the prevention of future depletion of our protective arctic region. Through its desalinization and power facilities, this arctic skyscraper becomes a floating metropolis equipped with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) research laboratories, renewable power stations, dormitory-style housing units, eco-tourist attractions, and ecological habitats for wildlife. A series of these structures would be strategically located in the most affected areas.
    Salt water is used to produce a renewable source of energy through an osmotic (salinity gradient power) power facility housed within the building’s core. In addition, the structure’s immense canopy allows for the reduction of heat gain on the arctic surface while harvesting solar energy. The umbrella’s thermal skin boasts a series of modules that are composed of a polyethylene piping system that pumps brackish water. Finally, the Polar Umbrella also regenerates the ice caps using harvest chambers that freeze the ocean water.

    Dec 18, 2013

    A Photographic Tour Of Earth's Most Bizarre And Beautiful Creatures

    Did you know that the most familiar categories of animals, like mammals, birds, and amphibians, account for just 4% of the roughly 1.5 million species on our planet? Animal Earth: The Amazing Diversity of Living Creatures, a new book by zoologist Ross Piper, focuses on that oft-forgotten 96% of species. In 540 full-color photographs, Piper documents the bizarre and beautiful creatures that inhabit our world but are often too tiny or obscure for us humans to see.
    "The sea may as well be another planet, we know so little about it. It is home to a mind-boggling array of bizarre creatures," Piper tells Co.Design. From zombie worms and Christmas tree worms to whirligig beetles and sea angels, the creatures pictured in this volume are stranger and more exquisite than anything Dr. Seuss or Miyazaki or Terry Gilliam has yet invented. "Many animals look utterly alien, but, fundamentally, they are the same as you an I, just variations on a theme," Piper says.
    There’s a toxic sea slug that resembles a cluster of fried eggs with purple horns. The eyes of whirligig beetles are divided into two, enabling them to see above and below the water simultaneously. Some varieties of the "Priapulids," or "penis worms," lie hidden in the sediment with spiny tentacles poking discreetly above the surface, which then snatch small prey animals to capture them. And the translucent sea angel is actually not so angelic: it has retractable tentacles and chitinous hooks for grasping its prey. Evolution is a designer with a twisted sense of humor.
    "My own fascination with animals began with insects. They're the most diverse creatures on the planet--so far just over 1 million species have been identified and there are millions more species out there waiting to be discovered and described," Piper says. "We've only just scratched the surface of understanding the natural world and I hope this book inspires other people to take a better look at our planet and its amazing inhabitants."
    The patterns, colors, and shapes found in the animal kingdom have influenced designers and artists for time immemorial, from Anton Gaudi’s seashell and skeleton-inspired architectural structures to Monet’s water lilies. The photographs here provide a fount of inspiration for both the creatively and scientifically inclined. Published by Thames and Hudson,Animal Earth is available for $45 here.

    Dec 13, 2013

    letter by annie choi

    Once, a long time ago in the days of yore, I had a friend who was studying architecture to become, presumably, an architect.

    This friend introduced me to other friends, who were also studying architecture. Then these friends had other friends who were architects - real architects doing real architecture like designing luxury condos that look a lot like glass dildos. And these real architects knew other real architects and now the only people I know are architects. And they all design glass dildos that I will never work or live in and serve only to obstruct my view of New Jersey.

    Do not get me wrong, architects. I like you as a person. I think you are nice, smell good most of the time, and I like your glasses. You have crazy hair, and if you are lucky, most of it is on your head. But I do not care about architecture. It is true. This is what I do care about:

    * burritos
    * hedgehogs
    * coffee

    As you can see, architecture is not on the list. I believe that architecture falls somewhere between toenail fungus and invasive colonoscopy in the list of things that interest me.

    Perhaps if you didn't talk about it so much, I would be more interested. When you point to a glass cylinder and say proudly, hey my office designed that, I giggle and say it looks like a bong. You turn your head in disgust and shame. You think, obviously she does not understand. What does she know? She is just a writer. She is no architect. She respects vowels, not glass cocks. And then you say now I am designing a lifestyle center, and I ask what is that, and you say it is a place that offers goods and services and retail opportunities and I say you mean like a mall and you say no. It is a lifestyle center. I say it sounds like a mall. I am from the Valley, bitch. I know malls.

    Architects, I will not lie, you confuse me. You work sixty, eighty hours a week and yet you are always poor. Why aren't you buying me a drink? Where is your bounty of riches? Maybe you spent it on merlot. Maybe you spent it on hookers and blow. I cannot be sure. It is a mystery. I will leave that to the scientists to figure out.

    Architects love to discuss how much sleep they have gotten. One will say how he was at the studio until five in the morning, only to return again two hours later. Then another will say, oh that is nothing. I haven't slept in a week. And then another will say, guess what, I have never slept ever. My dear architects, the measure of how hard you've worked and how much you've accomplished is not related to the number of hours you have not slept. Have you heard of Rem Koolhaas? He is a famous architect. I know this because you tell me he is a famous architect. I hear that Rem Koolhaas is always sleeping. He is, I presume, sleeping right now. And I hear he gets shit done. And I also hear that in a stunning move, he is making a building that looks not like a glass cock, but like a concrete vagina. When you sleep more, you get vagina. You can all take a lesson from Rem Koolhaas.

    Life is hard for me, please understand. Architects are an important part of my existence. They call me at eleven at night and say they just got off work, am I hungry? Listen, it is practically midnight. I ate hours ago. So long ago that, in fact, I am hungry again. So yes, I will go. Then I will go and there will be other architects talking about AutoCAD shortcuts and something about electric panels and can you believe that is all I did today, what a drag. I look around the table at the poor, tired, and hungry, and think to myself, I have but only one bullet left in the gun. Who will I choose?

    I have a friend who is a doctor. He gives me drugs. I enjoy them. I have a friend who is a lawyer. He helped me sue my landlord. My architect friends have given me nothing. No drugs, no medical advice, and they don’t know how to spell subpoena. One architect friend figured out that my apartment was one hundred and eighty seven square feet. That was nice. Thanks for that.

    I suppose one could ask what someone like me brings to architects like yourselves. I bring cheer. I yell at architects when they start talking about architecture. I force them to discuss far more interesting topics, like turkey eggs. Why do we eat chicken eggs, but not turkey eggs? They are bigger. And people really like turkey. See? I am not afraid to ask the tough questions.

    So, dear architects, I will stick around, for only a little while. I hope that one day some of you will become doctors and lawyers or will figure out my taxes. And we will laugh at the days when you spent the entire evening talking about some European you've never met who designed a building you will never see because you are too busy working on something that will never get built. But even if that day doesn't arrive, give me a call anyway, I am free.

    Yours truly,
    Annie Choi

    Shooting the vaults of heaven: Breathtaking panoramic pictures of the exquisite ceilings of churches across the globe

    Shooting the vaults of heaven: Breathtaking panoramic pictures of the exquisite ceilings of churches across the globe  

    St Marys Poland
    Iglesia DSanfrancisco Mexico City
    View from below: Craning your neck up to admire the ornate roofs of churches and cathedrals can be back-breaking work. But one photographer has made the experience a whole lot easier by creating panoramic shots showcasing the rich religious architecture across the world
    Santa Domingo Church Bolivia
    Santiago Abierto Potosi
    Sister Church of St Joseph Poland
    Richard Silver, from Brooklyn, New York, has travelled around the world taking photos since he gave up his job as a stockbroker and pursued his hobby full-time. From left: Santa Domingo Church, Bolivia, Santiago Abierto Potosi and Sister Church of St Joseph, Poland
    He has become an expert creating the awe-inspiring photos which features houses of worship including place such as New York, Mexico City, Budapest, Krakow, Cape Town and Goa.
    Mr Silver told MailOnline that he first came up with the idea after being inspired by buildings in his home city. 
    'The first time I photographed a church using my Vertical Panorama technique was in New York City,' he says.
    'New York is filled with a number of iconic buildings to photograph but I decided to walk into and look at its local churches. When traveling the world I always walk into and seek out the churches when I am there, why not do it at home? 
    Divina Providencia Mexico City
    St Vincent De Paul California
    He has become an expert creating the awe-inspiring photos which features places of worship in places including New York, Mexico City, Budapest, Krakow, Cape Town and Goa. Left, Divina Providencia, Mexico City and right, St Vincent De Paul California
    Cathedral of the Holy Name Mumbai
    Hallgrímskirkja Iceland
    St. Catejan Goa India
    Mr Silver told MailOnline that he first came up with the idea after being inspired by buildings in his home city.  Cathedral of the Holy Name, Mumbai, Hallgrímskirkja, Iceland and St. Catejan, Goa, India
    Vertical Panorama technique
    Augustiner Church Vienna
    To create them he ensures that he finds the right spot to capture the building in all its glory for the 180 degree shot. Right: Augustiner Church Vienna
    'Being fascinated with the amount of work taken to decorate the ceilings of a church I came up with the notion to try and capture the ceiling photographically. It took me a few tries to figure out mechanically how to take the shots but now I have it down to a science.'
    To create them Mr Silver ensures that he finds the right spot to capture the building in all its glory for the 180 degree shot. 
    It takes between six and 10 photographs to complete the masterpiece, which he expertly blends together in his studio using Photoshop. 
    A programme called Lightroom allows him to bring out the vivid colours and detail of the stained glass windows. 
    Mr Silver, who is not religious, often has to battle churchgoers and tourists in his quest to make sure the photos are not packed full of people. 
    He says his favourite place to photograph was the Serbian Orthodox church in New York. 
    'I pass by this amazing church almost every day and it is only open on Sunday's for worship,' he explained.
    'The friar actually opened up the church just for me to photograph during the week. I felt honored to be able to photograph such a wonderful piece of architecture. I ended up printing the photos out for him to keep in his office.' 
    Mr Silver views the project as ongoing saying: 'There are cities I have been to already that I wish I would have figured this method of photographing out before I went. I am looking to go back to Rome and London and shoot there as the churches are so colorful and exquisitely decorated. My goal is to do a book of my work.'
    Visit Mr Silver's website at www.richardsilverphoto.com
    Vertical Basilica of Bom Jesus Goa India
    Vertical St Thomas Mumbai India
    Vertical St Thomas Mumbai India
    Mr Silver says his favourite place to photograph was the Serbian Orthodox church in New York. From left: Vertical Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa India, Vertical St Thomas Mumbai India,  and Cathedral of Christ the King Johannesburg
    Church of the Transfiguration Krakow
    St Mathias Budapest
    Mr Silver, who is not religious, often has to battle churchgoers and tourists in his quest to make sure the photos are not packed full of people.  Left:  Church of the Transfiguration Krakow and right, St Mathias, Budapest
    Dominican Church Krakow
    Vertical Panorama technique
    Franciszkanska Church Krakow

    Mr Silver views the project as ongoing saying: I am looking to go back to Rome and London and shoot there as the churches are so colorful and exquisitely decorated.  Dominican Church Krakow, left, and Franciszkanska Church right, Krakow

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513848/Breathtaking-panoramic-pictures-exquisite-church-ceilings.html#ixzz2nLg7xCjR
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