Super Colossal

A widespread taste for pornography means that nature is alerting us to some threat of extinction.

Monday, 20th June 2011 Tweet

ryu itadani tokyo

Title: J.G. Ballard. Image: Tokyo by Ryu Itadani Toky

SC buddy, Anthony Gill has a new website up and running for his office, Gill Architects are producing some really great work including a number of residential projects and restaurant fitouts. I particularly like the front elevation of their Surry Hills project:

Gill Architects-Surry Hills House

Image: Gill Architects, Photography: Peter Bennets

Also, check out their Paddington House at Australian Design Review.

Steve Jobs presenting plans for a new 12,000 person Apple HQ to the Cupertino City Council. Primarily interesting mainly to see Jobs transplanted off the keynote stage and into the democratic planning process we all have to wrestle our way through. I like the part where one councillor asks Steve what benefit the project will have for the wider city, and Steve’s response is to threaten moving Apple out of town and taking its Cupertino-sustaining tax dollars with it. Then councillor in reply begs Steve for free wifi. Weird. The building itself looks like any other Foster and Partners project, perhaps only bigger. Which is something? Gelatobaby notes how soft the councillors are on Jobs, as well as pointing out that Jobs had given almost the same presentation 5 years ago to the same fawning councillors. Also, as Matt points out:

apple pentagon

Image: Apple’s proposed Campus and the Pentagon. To scale as far as can be known from Google Maps.

Who New, an exhibition at UTS of 12 architecture offices that have graduated out of the offices of Herzog de Meuron, Foster + Partners, and Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Curated by Sydney architects Silvester Fuller.

Urban Islands is on again at Cockatoo Island. Read Geoff’s write up of the 2009 Studio at BLDGBLOG. Inhabitat has pictures of Ney Yorks Highline second stage.

Prisoners in China’s Jixi labour camp have been gold farming in MMORPGs to earn online credit/gold/armour/etc that their guards would then trade for real money, the Guardian tells us. The article goes on to say that there are thought to be 100,000 full time gold farmers in China.

Olafur Eliasson’s wonderful rainbow room, or, ‘Your Rainbow Panorama’ at the ARos in Aarhus, Denmark is complete.

In closing, two short films linking porn and real estate together. First, Richard Phillips’ portrait of Sasha Grey, pornstar, filmed at Lautner’s Chemosphere House:

And secondly, far more crassly, this misogynistic advertisement for an house on the Goldcoast, where a woman in her underware, tied to a chair when asked by emergency services where she is, describes her surroundings in real estate jargon, “its a three level home, contemporary design, open plan living, gourmet kitchen” before being rescued from her attackers by a swat team. This is the endpoint of real estate: (NSFW)

The human beauty we’re talking about here is beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty. Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.

Tuesday, 31st May 2011 Tweet

Not the Rapture

[Image: Batman: Year 100, Paul Pope Title: David Foster Wallace on Roger Federer.]

Pecha Kucha Sydney is on again this Thursday night at Carriageworks. It is the first for 2011, and we have a great lineup including ex-supercolossaler Erin Field, and Hannah Tribe. See the Pecha Kucha website for more info and the Carriageworks site for tickets.

I had a wander through a recently completed house in Rose Bay by buddies and former landlords, Tribe Studio. The house is comprised of a tube with a series of sleeping boxes suspended over the ground floor living area.

House Milner Schmukler, Tribe Studios

House Milner Schmukler, Tribe Studios

House Milner Schmukler, Tribe Studios

Entry. House Milner Schmukler, Tribe Studios. Photo: Brett Boardman

House Milner Schmukler, Tribe Studios

Ground Floor living area with sleeping boxes over. House Milner Schmukler, Tribe Studios. Photo: Brett Boardman

Love: Metric and Calibre. Two new typefaces by NZ type wizard Kwis Sowersby. Leafsnap, an iphone app that will identify trees by photgraphs of their leaves. So far the database covers trees from the Washington DC and New York area, so it will have limited success in Australia for now…

Mark Lee from Johnston Marklee spoke at UTS on Monday night as part of the UTS Public Lecture series. Lots of nice boolean-slice-n-dice houses. I thought the Vault House, occupying a narrow site on a Californian beach was their most interesting project discussed. The overlapping vault forms forming unexpected collisions, overlaps and opportunities on a long narrow site. A list of NYC subway stations that open into building lobbies.

The NYT on the current exhibition, ‘Cronocaos’, by Koolhaas on at the New Museum in NYC:

Mr. Koolhaas’s vision is even more apocalyptic. A skilled provocateur, he paints a picture of an army of well-meaning but clueless preservationists who, in their zeal to protect the world’s architectural legacies, end up debasing them by creating tasteful scenery for docile consumers while airbrushing out the most difficult chapters of history. The result, he argues, is a new form of historical amnesia, one that, perversely, only further alienates us from the past.

Jilted Bride. #notkatemiddleton

whitney museum extension renzo piano

Above: Work has started on the Renzo Piano Whitney extension project. The Australian tells us that “rather than a traditional turning of the sod with a silver spade, the museum hired members of the Streb Extreme Action Company to dive through glass, and be covered in dirt.” Nice.

The Weather Ring is an architecture ‘zine based out of Perth. Also - Archizines, collating architecture zines.

The second episode of Stuart Harrison and Simon Knott’s ‘Good, Bad or Ugly’. This time focussing on Federation Square and more spaghetti western face-offs.

Please in My Backyard. As a way of delivinering a community what it wants, rather than what it is given, Bryan Boyer asks “what would happen if you took the Kickstarter strategy and applied it to the city. How could we de-risk new shops, restaurants, cafes, services, institutions, and even government outposts by aggregating commitment in advance of capital investment?”.

Möbius Ship:

Möbius ship

[Image: ‘Möbius Ship’, Tim Hawkinson]

The Sun Was a Hammer

Wednesday, 18th May 2011 Tweet

moebius dune storyboards

[Image: Storyboards Moebius for the aborted Jadorowsky Dune project. Title: David Foster Wallace, ‘Infinite Jest’]

Funny how things come around. A couple of years ago I put a post up on here tracking each of the ocean pools along Sydney’s coastline. It was a series of screenshots from google earth assembled north to south.

A few weeks ago Luis Cajellas and Sebastian Mejia from Paisajes Emergentes were in Australia to speak at the national conference, where they showed among other (awesome (seriously, some great stuff in their portfolio))projects, including their recently completed complex of pools in Medellin, Colombia. Chatting with Luis after their talk he spoke about how the blogpost on Sydney’s ocean pools came right at the time they were working on the competition. They had seen a link from Pruned to the post and that the pools in Sydney were in their mind when they were des

So when Luis was up in Sydney after the conference we spent a day touring some of the pools. Luis seemed a little obsessed with the things, extending his stay in Sydney so he could see them all, Pokemon style.

Luis Cajellas at Palm Beach

Luis going native, hunting pools.


Dan in Finland. Sad to see he and his family leaving Sydney, but excited to see what comes of his new digs at Sitra.


Steven Holl in Colombia

I like the folding, twisting concrete in this project for the Schools of Law and Economic Sciences at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá by Steven Holl. Via Archinect.

A page from Batman:The Dark Knight Returns sold at auction for USD$448,125.00 last week. It is a pretty iconic piece of American superhero art I guess, but I never really saw the attraction of splash page images like this. The beauty of comics lies in the sequential nature of the medium and splash pages end up being posters when taken out of the context of the book.

Some competitions: There is an open EOI for a shortlisted competition for Brisbane Airport, the first competition being run by Andrew Mackenzie’s (ex-Architecture Review editor) new competition-tank City Lab. Also! Would you like to curate the next Australian Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale?

WOAH. A documentary on the aborted Jadorowsky and Moebius adaptation of ‘Dune’ is showing at Cannes this year. Bitcoins - untraceable, unhackable, untaxable online currency. This article (by Jason Calicanis, so you know, it is typically sensationalist) goes into further detail on the technology and usage of this unlisted, growing, currency market. The evolution of lids.

nottingham cave

Image: Nottingham’s caves. The Nottingham Cave Survey.

City of Holes, where we learn about the laser scanning of the sandstone cave system below Nottingham. Related, a trailer for Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary on the paintings in the Chauvet cave in southern France. I guess he is too far along now for anyone to be seriously surprised by his choice in subject matter, but even so, a 3D documentary on cave paintings is a sublime choice for a followup to a remake of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans. By all accounts it is superb.

This is too many crabs.

The Bumps Levelled Off. The Plane Descended. There’s That Big Wide Light. Jesus, L.A. Looked Good.

Thursday, 12th May 2011 Tweet


[Image: If We Don’t Remember Me Title: James, Ellroy, ‘Bloods a Rover’]

Okay. Let’s see if I can get this thing started up again. A couple of things by way of housekeeping. This blog has been quite for the last six months or so while I have restructured the office and made some changes to how things are running here. More on that in the near future hopefully. For the moment, I am going to do a post-a-week aggregating links and things, many of which have been sitting starred in google reader for half a year waiting for some love, so a lot of these links may be old in internet years, but will be no less interesting of course.

72 Hour Melbourne is a design competition in which ten teams will have three days (72hrs!) to design and construct a temporary thing in Melbourne’s Docklands. Put together OUTR. Speaking of affirmative action, I sat in on reviews for Rory Hyde’s Unsolicited Architecture studio at Sydney University a couple of weeks back. There were some great projects, the best of which were the guerilla style, micro-interventions by a few of the teams, showing a bit of wit and some balls going a long way. There were a couple of great videos by some of the teams, so I will track them down and post them when I can.


Image: Rory Hyde at Sydney University

Rory also gave a lecture at the University of Sydney where he laid out the structure for his research into potential futures for design practice, expanding on his blog post of the same title (which if you have not read, do so now) and presented the preliminary results of interviews with people practicing design thinking outside of the traditional model of architectural practice. People like as Marcus Westbury of Renew Newcastle fame, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, and Steve Ashton the less visible director of ARM and the designer of their contracts. Fascinating stuff and already generating a great deal of discussion.

A proposal to crowdfund putting the monolith from 2001:A Space Odyssey on the moon using Kickstarter as a funding model. Related—I wrote a short article on the moon and the monolith for Volume Mag’s Moon issue which I probably should post up here at some point.

Stuart Harrison and Simon Knott of RRR’s The Architects, have a new television series starting up. ‘Good, Bad, or Ugly’ will be eight 5-10 minute episodes that will air during Art Nation on ABC1, Tuesdays at 9:30pm. Otherwise they will be available to view on the ABC’s iView service. I have been a long time supporter of RRR’s The Architects, and have high hopes for this venture into moving pictures.

Paul Keating has resigned from his position as Chair of the Barangaroo Design Excellence Panel leading to the newly elected NSW State Government to start talking about potential revisions to the controversial harbourside project. Keating stepped down after being asked not to continue making derogatory remarks about members of the local community. He had called the 10,000 signatories of a petition calling for an inquiry into the project “sandal-wearing, muesli-chewing, bike-riding pedestrians”. If only Sydney had so many cyclists! Meanwhile, Butterpaper notes that over on the Barangaroo webpage, this news has gone unnoticed, while their news section is promoting the projects appearance on ‘The Biggest Loser’. Prescient.

lacoste and stevenson gorgeous-links

Unrelated: Lacoste + Stevenson’s entry for the Proposition 2025 Competition

Buddies Lacoste+Stevenson have staged an exhibition for their winning scheme for the UTS Tower podium. It is up at the UTS Kensington St Warehouse until May 16th. Go check it out. It is a great project and UTS needs to man up and get the project up and running.

I like this drawing of future gridlock by Brandon Graham from his upcoming comic Multiple Warheads:

brandon graham - multiple warheads

Bin Laden hideout round up: Sam Jacobs finds the ‘mansion’ moments later in the Google Sketchup Warehouse, the Washington Post has a more detailed model, complete with highlighted overlays of kill zones, and later the architect of the building, named as ‘Bill’, learns via Archinect, that a concept design of his had been used by concrete contractors in Islamabad to hide the world’s most wanted man.

Inception remade in the finder window.

Next week yo.


Friday, 26th November 2010 Tweet

Thrilling Wonder Stories II

Friday, 26th November 2010 Tweet


Thrilling Wonder Stories, the symposium of speculative architectures curated by Liam Young and Geoff Manaugh, is having a second outing later today/tomorrow at the AA. Like the first iteration of the event, the day will be packed with game designers, comic book creators, authors and other enthusiasts of the speculative.

The whole thing will be streamed live, (conveniently between midnight and 7am saturday morning here in Sydney; set your alarm!) at the AA website and liveblogged at Thrilling Wonder Stories.