Sep 29, 2010

mapping

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8b5Xc5mdmA&feature=player_embedded

Sep 27, 2010

the archigram archive

The Archigram Archive

[Image: From an "ongoing speculative proposal exploring the implications of cones of vision and their interaction with an existing neoclassical ‘temple’ on the River Thames in Henley, Berkshire," by Archigram/Michael Webb].

As of roughly 16 hours ago, the Archigram Archival Project is finally online and ready to for browsing, courtesy of the University of Westminster: the archive "makes the work of the seminal architectural group Archigram available free online for public viewing and academic study."

The newly launched site includes more than 200 projects; "this comprises projects done by members before they met, the Archigram magazines (grouped together at no. 100), the projects done by Archigram as a group between 1961 and 1974, and some later projects." There are also brief biographies of each participating member of the collaborative group: Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron, and Michael Webb.

[Image: "Proposal for a series of inflatable dwellings as part of an exhibition for the Commonwealth Festival, located in the lodge of Cardiff Castle," by Archigram/Ron Herron].

Even at their most surreal, it feels as if Archigram did, in fact, accurately foresee what the architectural world was coming to. After all, if Chalk & Co. had built the things around us, there would be electricity supplies in the middle of nowhere and drive-in housing amidst the sprawl; for good or for bad, we'd all be playing with gadgets like the Electronic Tomato, that perhaps would not have given the iPhone a run for its money but was a "mobile sensory stimulation device," nonetheless. We might even live together on the outer fringes of "extreme suburbs," constructed like concentric halos around minor airports, such as Peter Cook's "Crater City," an "earth sheltered hotel-type city around central park," or "Hedgerow Village," tiny clusters of houses like North Face tents "hidden in hedgerow strips."

There would be temporary, inflatable additions to whole towns and cities; pyramidal diagrid megastructures squatting over dead neighborhoods like malls; dream cities like Rorschach blots stretched across the sky, toothed and angular Montreal Towers looming in the distance; plug-in universities and capsule homes in a computer-controlled city of automatic switches and micro-pneumatic infrastructure.

At its more bizarre, there would have been things like the Fabergram castle, as if the Teutonic Knights became an over-chimneyed race of factory-builders in an era of cheap LSD, reading Gormenghast in Disneyworld, or this proposal "for technology enabling underwater farming by scuba divers, including chambers, floats and tubes for walking and farm control." After all, Archigram asked, why live in a house at all when you can live in a submarine? Why use airplanes when you can ride a magic carpet constructed from shining looms in a "‘reverse hovercraft’ facility where a body can be held at an adjustable point in space through the use of jets of air"?

[Image: "Speculative proposal showing use of the ‘Popular Pak’, a kit of architectural parts for ‘tuning-up’ existing buildings, applied to an invented suburb," by Archigram/Ron Herron].

It might not be architects who have realized much of this fever dream of the world to come, but that doesn't mean that these ideas have not, in many cases, been constructed. Archigram spoke of instant cities and easily deployed, reconfigurable megastructures—but the people more likely to own and operate such spaces today are Big Box retailers, with their clip-on ornaments, infinitely exchangeable modular shelving, and fleeting themes-of-the-week. Archigram's flexible, just-in-time, climate-controlled interiors are not a sign of impending utopia, in other words, but of the reach of your neighborhood shopping mall—and the people airdropping instant cities into the middle of nowhere today are less likely to be algorithmically trained Rhino enthusiasts from architecture school, but the logistics support teams behind Bechtel and the U.S. military.

Another way of saying this is that Archigram's ideas seem unbuilt—even unbuildable—but those ideas actually lend themselves surprisingly well to the environment in which we now live, full of "extreme suburbs," drive-in everything, KFC-supplied army bases in the middle of foreign deserts, robot bank tellers, and huge, HVAC-dependent wonderlands on the exurban fringe.

The irony, for me, is that Archigram's ideas have, in many ways, actually been constructed—but in most cases it was for the wrong reasons, in the wrong ways, and by the wrong people.

[Image: Proposal "fusing alternative and changing Archigram structures, amenities and facilities with traditional and nostalgic structures," by Archigram/Peter Cook].

In any case, what was it about Archigram that promised on-demand self-transformation in an urban strobe of flashing lights but then got so easily realized as a kind of down-market Times Square? How did Archigram simply become the plug-in units of discount retail—or the Fun Palaces of forty years ago downgraded to Barnes & Noble outlets in the suburbs? How did the Walking City become Bremer Walls and Forward Operating Bases, where the Instant City meets Camp Bondsteel?

Archigram predicted a modular future propelled by cheap fuel, petrodollars, and a billion easy tons of unrecycled plastic—but, beneath that seamless gleam of artificial surfacing and extraterrestrial color combinations was a fizzy-lifting drink of human ideas—as many ideas as you could think of, sometimes imperfectly illustrated but illustrated nonetheless, and, thus, now canonical—all of it wrapped up in a dossier of new forms of planetary civilization. Archigram wasn't just out on the prowl for better escalators or to make our buildings look like giant orchids and Venus Flytraps, where today's avant-bust software formalism has unfortunately so far been mired; it wasn't just bigger bank towers and the Burj Dubai. Instead, Archigram suggested, we could all act differently if we had the right spaces in which to meet, love, and live, and what matters to me less here is whether or not they were right, or even if they were the only people saying such things (they weren't)—what matters to me is the idea that architecture can reframe and inspire whole new anthropologies, new ways of being human on earth, new chances to do something more fun tomorrow (and later today). Architecture can reshape how we inhabit continents, the planet, and the solar system at large. Whether or not you even want inflatable attics, flying carpets, and underwater eel farms, the overwhelming impulse here is that if you don't like the world you've been dropped into, then you should build the one you want.

In any case, the entire Archigram Archival Project is worth a look; even treated simply as an historical resource, its presence corrects what had been a sorely missing feature of online architecture culture: we can now finally link to, and see, Archigram's work.

(Note: Part of the latter half of this post includes some re-edited bits from a comment I posted several months ago).

mobile cinema

Vintage Mobile Cinema from bldblog

[Image: The Vintage Mobile Cinema].

This is great: a fully restored mobile cinema that's been traveling the rural roads of Devon, England, since the beginning of the summer.

"A rare 1967 mobile cinema is being restored in North Devon," the North Devon Gazette reported last year, "and will visit schools and communities across the county next year, showing historic films unseen for many years, including old footage of the area."

[Image: One of the originally commissioned vans].

Seven of these vans were originally commissioned by the UK's Ministry of Technology; this one, a Bedford SB3, "is the only one of the original mobile cinemas to have survived. It was rescued by a previous owner after sitting in a field for 14 years."

The ensuing restoration was performed by local Devonian Oliver Halls and a group of his friends.

[Images: Mobile cinemas commissioned by the UK Ministry of Technology].

If you're in England now and hoping to check out a screening, you'll find a schedule here, along with brief descriptions of some of the featured films.

It should not be a surprise to learn that the van has also got a Facebook page.

[Images: The Vintage Mobile Cinema].

The interior itself is the cinema, meanwhile; you actually sit inside the van and watch films from the comfort of one of its 22 upholstered seats. The equipment, as listed by the blog Home Cinema Choice, includes:
    Onkyo TX-NR807 receiver Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray player Mordaunt Short Aviano 6 floorstander speakers Mordaunt Short Alumni 9 subwoofer speaker Mordaunt Short Alumni 5 center speaker Mordaunt Short Alumni 3 surround speakers (x4) Epson EH-TW3500 LCD projector
The seats themselves date from the 1930s.

[Image: Inside the Vintage Mobile Cinema].

As you can see on the van's Facebook page, the renovation process was both extensive and very impressive—the vehicle went from a genuine wreck to road-ready. It took more than just a quick coat of paint.

[Images: The van, awaiting renovation].

Here are some shots of other vans from the original commission, as archived by the Vintage Mobile Cinema project. These have all since disappeared, presumably sold and scrapped, pushing the whole lineage nearly to extinction. Or perhaps another one will pop up someday, found in an old barn somewhere out in Cornwall.

[Images: Vintage photos of the original cinema van series].

It's such a cool vehicle, and an amazing project: bringing films to places where public cinema might not normally reach.

Even cooler, if you're a filmmaker, you can actually see your work screened inside this thing:
    We are looking for independent film-makers work at the moment, to screen aboard the Vintage Mobile Cinema as we tour different events across the country. This is an opportunity for film-makers to have their work screened in a unique environment; a one-of-a-kind 1967 Mobile Cinema, the last survivor from a fleet of seven. The vehicle is completely unique, featuring a retro-futuristic perspex dome above the cab, and it causes heads to turn whereever it goes!
While the call-for-films specifically referred to a festival that occurred at the end of August, it seems you still have a chance; there's contact info, in case you want to inquire.

[Image: Graphics for the cinema van].

All in all, the renovation looks superb and this particular example of flexible infrastructure—the cinema gone mobile—is an inspiring one. Perhaps this might even qualify as a soft system, in the context of Bracket 2.

permssions to build, legally

from building blog thanks

 

The Permission We Already Have

[Image: Courtesy of David Knight and Finn Williams].

David Knight and Finn Williams have been investigating what they call "minor development" in the field of architecture and urban planning for several years now, and their discoveries are absolutely fascinating. Last year they published a book called SUB-PLAN: A Guide to Permitted Development, exploring the world of building extensions, temporary structures, outdoor spaces, and other minor acts of home construction that fly beneath the radar of official town planning.

"How far does planning control what we build? And what can we build without planning?" the authors ask. "SUB-PLAN explores the legal possibilities of building outside the limits of legislation."
    The UK planning system has been swamped by minor applications for household extensions and outbuildings that cause a backlog of bureaucracy and dominate the limited resources of local planning authorities. On 1 October 2008 the government introduced changes to the General Permitted Development Order 2 to reduce the number of minor applications by expanding the definition of what can be built without planning permission.
But, they add, "are the implications of minor development more significant than planners imagine?"

[Images: Courtesy of David Knight and Finn Williams].

Knight and Williams will be participating in a public conversation next week in London, sponsored by the Architecture Foundation; called Permitted Development, it will be an example of what we might call legislative forensics, looking into the law books—and the urban planning guidelines—to see what architectural possibilities already exist in the present day for residents to explore.

In that previous sentence, I almost wrote "for residents and homeowners to explore"—but I wonder if you really need to be a homeowner to take advantage of these unpublicized zones of building permission? Is simply being a citizen enough, or must you own property to participate in the realm of minor architecture? Or is there even an unacknowledged world of building practices legally open to construction by non-citizens—by people who, legally speaking, reside nowhere?

In the intersection between architecture and permission, what spaces are possible and who has the right to realize them? What are the possibilities for
architectural insurrection—or, at the very least, aesthetic experimentation?

[Image: An awesome glimpse of "the permission we already have," courtesy of SUB-PLAN by David Knight and Finn Williams; view larger].

In Sweden, for instance, there is a type of small garden shed known as the friggebod, named after Birgit Friggebo, Sweden's former housing minister. "The term is a wordplay based on the common term bod: (tool) shed; shack," Wiktionary explains. "The friggebod reform implied that anyone could build a shed of maximum 10 square meters on their premises without obtaining a construction permit from the municipality. In Sweden, the reform became a widely popular symbol of liberalization. From the onset of 2008, the area was increased to 15 square meters."

These autonomous planning zones, so to speak, open up architectural production to non-architects in a possibly quite radical way. So how do we take advantage of them?

[Images: Another mind-bending example of "the permission we already have," courtesy of SUB-PLAN by David Knight and Finn Williams].

Next week's event in London bills itself as follows:
    Though apparently at the humble end of the planning system, recent changes to Permitted Development rights are a treasure trove of architectural potential. The new breed of lean-tos, loft conversions, sheds and summerhouses they allow could have far-reaching and surprising consequences for UK towns and countryside. Finn Williams and David Knight will present recent projects which explore and exploit Permitted Development rules.
I'd love to hear how this goes, in case anyone there can report back. To be honest, I think this type of research is both jaw-dropping and urgently needed elsewhere. What unknown architectural permissions exist for the residents of Manhattan, LA, Beijing, São Paulo...?

What future DIY architectures have yet to arise around us—and when will we set about constructing them? : The Planning Permission We Already Have

A Traffic Jam is a Collection of Rooms

From bldgblog thanks

 

A Traffic Jam is a Collection of Rooms

[Images: The micro-culture of the motorway; images courtesy of the Associated Press/Wall Street Journal].

It was hard to miss the story last month that a 62-mile long traffic jam had formed in China, becoming a near-permanent feature of that nation's roadway system. It lasted nine full days, in a state of almost perfect gridlock. NPR reported that drivers simply turned off their cars and slept for 8 hours at a time.

A temporary micro-culture of the motorway soon emerged: "Villagers along Highway 110 took advantage of the jam," the Wall Street Journal reported, "selling drivers packets of instant noodles from roadside stands and, when traffic was at a standstill, moving between trucks and cars to hawk their wares. Truck drivers, when they weren't complaining about the vendors overcharging for the food, kept busy playing card games."

[Images: The traffic jam as scene from Dante; images courtesy of the Associated Press/Wall Street Journal].

But what if another such traffic jam were to form again? Where role might there be for architecture? Clip-on awnings, zip-up tent walls, velcro-connected halls and corridors spanning car-to-car and truck door to truck door, even crawlable tunnels for kids, with mobile parks on flatbed trucks, whole canopies held down by duct tape, antennas repurposed as anchors for tarps and makeshift roofs. Outdoor cinemas are formed. Social cliques develop.

The spatial infrastructure of the permanent traffic jam kicks in: guerrilla, unfoldable, pack-into-a-backpack-able, made from lightweight materials—ripstop fabrics and military-grade rope—a city takes shape on the highway, with every car, bus, truck, and motorcycle a luxury room or repurposed piece of home furniture.

[Image: Courtesy of Newscom and the Christian Science Monitor].

Lock this in place a few years and give it a postcode. Children are born there. Like Dan Hill's quip that "There are 500000 people airborne at any one time. A drifting airborne city, the size of Helsinki, a few meters tall, threaded around [the] globe," this city-on-the-road would be named, memorialized, revisited. New highways would simply thread around it, abandoning the vehicles to their stationary fate as their tires drain of air and engines stall forever.

Generations later, the fact that, down in the mud and dust beneath your metropolis, you can find abandoned frames and chassis from the city's founding traffic jam, will be impossible to believe—a run-of-the-mill urban legend. Archaeologists will argue over the best sites to excavate to find truck doors and ancient oil spills down there in the formerly mobile foundations of the city.

Even David Greene of Archigram once wrote that "a traffic jam is a collection of rooms."

[Image: From Archigram].

"We also know that a traffic jam is a collection of rooms," Greene wrote in a short text called "Gardener's notebook," and "so is a car park—they are really instantly formed and constantly changing communities. A drive-in restaurant ceases to exist when the cars are gone (except for cooking hardware). A motorized environment is a collection of service points."

On the level of architecture, then, what could we do to prepare for the impending return of the near-permanent Chinese traffic jam? What prosthetic walls, floors, ceilings, and corridors—what new families of clip-on architectural forms—could we explore?

Traffic Walls™—an instant city brought to you by North Face and the GA Tech School of Architecture. Easily deployed. Houses up to 10,000 people. Machine-washable.

Sep 25, 2010

antechamber for observing and measuring hydrology

graffiti research lab

http://graffitiresearchlab.com/projects/fuck-offf/

mobile broadcasting unit

graffitiresearchlab.com

gordon matta clark

http://poesiaciudadlab.blogspot.com/2009/10/gordon-matta-clark-conical-intersect.html

mike nelson

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson, The Cannibal (parody, critical consumption and institutional), 2008
Mike Nelson, To the Memory of H.P. Lovecraft, 1999, 2008.

Espace critique
Critical space

jarod charzewski

from http://territoiredessens.blogspot.com/ thanks

Jarod Charzewski

Jarod Charzewski, Scrap
Jarod Charzewski, Scrap

matej kren

from http://territoiredessens.blogspot.com/2010/08/matej-kren.html thanks

Matej Kren

Matej Kren, Scanner
Matej Kren, Scanner
Matej Kren, Scanner
Matej Kren, Book Cell
Matej Kren, Book Cell

festival-de-jardins-de-metis

from http://territoiredessens.blogspot.com/2010/07/visite-au-festival-de-jardins-de-metis.html thanks

Visite au Festival de jardins de Métis

Le jardin de bâtons bleus, Claude Cormier
Le jardin de bâtons bleus, Claude Cormier

Seedling, Mateo Pinto, Carolina Cisneros, Victoria Marshall
Every garden needs a shed and a lawn!, Deborah Nagan
Every garden needs a shed and a lawn!, Deborah Nagan
Every garden needs a shed and a lawn!, Deborah Nagan
Every garden needs a shed and a lawn!, Deborah Nagan
Bascule : les ondées oratoires, Cédule 40 Julien Boily, Étienne Boulanger, Sonia Boudreau, Noémie Payant-Hébert
Bascule : les ondées oratoires, Cédule 40 Julien Boily, Étienne Boulanger, Sonia Boudreau, Noémie Payant-Hébert

Bascule : les ondées oratoires, Cédule 40 Julien Boily, Étienne Boulanger, Sonia Boudreau, Noémie Payant-Hébert

HaHa!, spmb (Eduardo Aquino et Karen Shanski), Ralph Glor, Matt Baker, Martin Gagnon
HaHa!, spmb (Eduardo Aquino et Karen Shanski), Ralph Glor, Matt Baker, Martin Gagnon
Bois de biais : Ces jours-ci je suis fière de mon petit paradis, Atelier le balto Marc Pouzol, Véronique Faucheur et Marc Vatinel
Bois de biais : Ces jours-ci je suis fière de mon petit paradis, Atelier le balto Marc Pouzol, Véronique Faucheur et Marc Vatinel
Bois de biais : Ces jours-ci je suis fière de mon petit paradis, Atelier le balto Marc Pouzol, Véronique Faucheur et Marc Vatinel
Dymaxion Sleep, Jane Hutton & Adrian Blackwell
Dymaxion Sleep, Jane Hutton & Adrian Blackwell
Dymaxion Sleep, Jane Hutton & Adrian Blackwell
Round Up (d’après Monet) / Double serpent, Legge-Lewis-Legge Andrea Legge, Murray Legge, Deborah Lewis
Round Up (d’après Monet) / Double serpent, Legge-Lewis-Legge Andrea Legge, Murray Legge, Deborah Lewis
Fractal Garden, Legge-Lewis-Legge Andrea Legge, Murray Legge, Deborah Lewis
Fractal Garden, Legge-Lewis-Legge Andrea Legge, Murray Legge, Deborah Lewis
Violence of the Garden (LAND USE OBSERVATORY), TOPOTEK 1 Martin Rein-Cano, Lorenz Dexler (image Jardin de Métis)
Violence of the Garden (LAND USE OBSERVATORY), TOPOTEK 1 Martin Rein-Cano, Lorenz Dexler
Pommes de parterre, Angela Iarocci, Claire Ironside, David Ross
Pommes de parterre, Angela Iarocci, Claire Ironside, David Ross

Pommes de parterre, Angela Iarocci, Claire Ironside, David Ross

Jardin de la connaissance, Thilo Folkerts - Rodney Latourelle
Jardin de la connaissance, Thilo Folkerts - Rodney Latourelle
Jardin de la connaissance, Thilo Folkerts - Rodney Latourelle Jardin de la connaissance, Thilo Folkerts - Rodney Latourelle (image Jardin de Métis)
Réflexions suspendues, Francesca Moretti, Federico Brancalion, Rodolfo Roncella, Mirando Di Prinzio
Réflexions suspendues, Francesca Moretti, Federico Brancalion, Rodolfo Roncella, Mirando Di Prinzio
Veil Garden, Studio Bryan Hanes - DIGSAU (image Jardin de Métis)
Tree Stands, relais Landschaftsarchitekten Gero Heck, Marianne Mommsen
Réflexions colorées, Hal Ingberg
forest.SQUARE.sky., Suresh Perera
Tiny Taxonomy, Rosetta Sarah Elkin