Super Colossal

Akira Yamaguchi

Friday, 11th January 2013 Tweet





Yamaguchi Akira


Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation – Fugitive Structures

Tuesday, 13th November 2012 Tweet

We were recently invited to participate in a competition for the inaugural summer pavilion at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) in Paddington, Sydney. Organised by BVN (moments before they became BVN Donovan Hill… but that’s another story) the brief called for a ‘Fugitive Structure’ in the form of a 20sqm pavilion in the gallery’s ‘zen garden’ that could be used for events, talks, films and so on. It is SCAF’s tilt at the world of the Serpentine/PS1 annual pavilion scene, and hopefully it will become the kind of program that drives a bit of local competition and innovation like its forebears have. The brief was heavily constrained by planning guidelines, presumably in order for the pavilion to not to have to go through a planning approval process, with setbacks from boundaries, heights and footprint limited.

Our proposal was for a pixelated rock in SCAF’s zen garden, a plate steel block with a cork interior which like an artefact from Minecraft, a low res glitchey object, that engages with the graden, raised deck, hedge and sky.

More images are up on the BAT website here.


There were ten architects invited, three shortlisted and the competition was won by Andrew Burns.

Of the ten entries, I know that besides Andrew and ourselves, Scale Archtitects, Tribe Studio, Edwards Moore and Searle Waldron submitted entries. Andrew Burns and Searle x Waldron were two of the shortlisted three. Of these, Andrew Burns, Edwards Moore and Searle x Waldron have put their entries up online.

Yokoyamarama: Travel

Sunday, 11th November 2012 Tweet

Travel is for me, the best of Yokoyama’s books to date; it is tight, focused and is exhaustive in its depiction of its subject matter. Like the engineering stories covered previously, the book is light on plot, in this case: three people catch the train. But plot is not the point, rather the book is a visceral account of travelling at high speeds through the contemporary landscape, from trains station, to open countryside through small towns and eventually arriving in the metropolis. Along the way someone smokes a cigarette, they pass another train, they move through a tunnel and so on. All of this is captured in Yokoyama’s stylised line, isometric buildings and benday dots. Yokoyama’s art is thrilling and totally captivating. The assured lifework, the abstracted figures (although less so than in Yokoyama’s other works; there are no visor heads or beak faces in this one), the absurdist landscapes, and the express depiction of speed. The whole thing moves relentlessly forward like the train that is its setting.

Where the the engineering stories were concerned with the act of terraforming, the construction of a series of radical artificial landscapes with the protagonists acting as observers and occasional participants, in Travel they are passengers, along for the ride.

The following are some scans of the book. (Note the pages are read manga style, right to left.)

…continue reading…

Falls the Shadow

Wednesday, 1st August 2012 Tweet

Falls the Shadow is a new book on the National Gallery of Australia. It is handsomely designed and features a comprehensive survey of the original building including finely reproduced photography of the building and models by Max Dupain and David Moore (among others), and a thorough set of drawings. Happily, the focus is on the original Madigan design - which remains one of the great works of Australian architecture - with the unfortunate recent addition by Andrew Andersons receiving some sharp attention at the close by James Weirick an Laura Harding.


- Botanicus Interacticus is an interactive plant technology demonstrated at this year’s Siggraph. A diode is inserted into the soil of any pot plant turning the plant into a touch sensitive control device.


via @LukeBicevskis

- have you seen the Supernormal series at Domus? It is a fantastic series of in depth studies into everyday design items, like the on screen  graphics in sports broadcasts, and the Facebook Timeline. Dan Hill gives an overview of the rationale behind the series over at City of Sound.

- The Australia House by Andrew Burns has been completed. I’m pretty pumped for this project, Andrew went through uni in the year below me and the confidence and maturity of this project is totally humbling.

Andrew has photos of the pavilion’s first show by Brook Andrews being installed in the pavilion here and here.

- The Sound of Buildings collects sound snippets around Melbourne buildings including, interviews with visitors, the architects, and tour guides.

- Huh - in all my excitement over the possibilities of widely available, cheap 3D printing, I had not thought through the fast that this tech would also enable people to print weapons. It is currently possible to print certain parts of a gun (including the ‘lower receiver’; the part that makes a gun legally a gun) once it is possible to prit metal objects with a high degree of accuracy it will become nearly impossible to enforce gun control. Forbes has more.

-  Related - It has come to this: Random shootings by gunmen in public places in the USA have become so common that the office of the Mayor of Houston has release a PSA video teaching people what to do in the case of an ‘Active Shooter Event’:


- Bunker 599, by Rietveld Landscape:

- Installation of The Last Child  in Waterford by Gottfried Helnwein:

Via But Does it Float.

- Man, I wish I wish I could post every one of these photographs of building services by Meno Aden:

Tubes 10, Meno Aden.

Mashed Potatos

Friday, 27th July 2012 Tweet

Downtown Los Angeles Looking Southwest, Harbor Freeway (110) at Right” Michael Light, 2004.

- Fascinating post on Wired about the plans in 1977 for the repair and reuse of the damaged Skylab space station prior to its reentering earth’s atmosphere in 1979 over Western Australia:

The Skylab 4 crew of Jerry Carr, William Pogue, and Ed Gibson boarded the laboratory on November 16. Carr and Gibson mounted a meteoroid collector on an ATM strut during their spacewalk on 3 February 1974, in the hope that a Space Shuttle crew might retrieve it as early as 1979. When the Skylab 4 crew undocked on 8 February 1974, Skylab was expected to remain aloft until 1983, when atmospheric drag would cause it to fall back to Earth. They left Skylab’s airlock hatch closed but not latched so that it could provide entry for future visitors.

- 7-11 has started installing mashed potato vending machines in their stores.


- Speaking of the future, a long trailer for Cloud Atlas has been released. I loved that book, and it looks like the Wakowskis+Twikner team may have pulled the complex narrative together.

- Palour is a new website concerned with expanding the conversation around women in Australian architecture. It is edited by Justine Clark (ex editor of Architecture Australia) with co-editors Naomi Stead, Karen Burns, Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, Julie Willis, Amanda Roan and Gill Matthewson.

- This is quite an interesting interactive essay on Ico, for my mind, the finest video game produced to date.

- The Defcon 20 Badges. Conference badges with embedded hackable, programmable circuitry, hiding clues and games for conference attendees.

- Lateral Office have relaunched their website. Lateral Office is Lola Sheppard and Mason White, the overworkers behind Bracket, InfraNet Lab, and Pamphlet 30: Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism. I like this installation for Harborfront Gallery in Toronto, where

The internets/tumblr world loves photos of Kubrick on set and at work. This is my current favourite - Stanley Kubrick, in his office checking the fax:

via Paul Thomas Kubrick



Wednesday, 18th July 2012 Tweet

A computer backup results in all 15 minutes of the San Diego 4th of July fireworks being let off in one hit. Image Source


I watched Chronicle on the plane recently (trailer). It was pretty great, the closest thing yet to a live action Domu or Akira, and certainly the most interesting superhero film in a long time. In short, it is a found footage film concerning three teenagers that gain super powers from a mysterious object in the woods and how they deal with these powers. While not terribly unique as a premise, the execution is exuberant and inventive; where most superhero films will have the protagonist solve petty crimes or rescue pets as a kind of training montage prior to the introduction of the villain, the kids in Chronicle have a more MTV/Jackass approach, geeking out on the kewl stuff they can do, pranking people in the supermarket and parking lot. Until the third act, when shit gets real and the film builds to a confrontation where much as in Domu/Akira, surrounding architecture is a surface for hurling people against.


- Formations is the Australian contribution the Venice Architecture Bienale this year. Curated by Anthony Burke, Gerard Reinmuth and Toko Design, the program will present six works by architects with unique or contemporary modes of  practice.  This is the last architecture exhibition that will be held in the current Philip Cox designed pavilion before the new building by DCM is constructed in its place. Burke and Reinmuth discuss how they are taking this swan song as an opportunity to treat the pavilion as a peice of ‘supporting infrastructure’ from which the exhibition will be hung. More on the proposed exhibition here.

This sounds like a bad idea. Broad Sustainable Building is planning to build the world’s tallest tower in 90 days. They do have some experience in rapidly putting together towers from precast components as this video attests, but still:


The Frank Gehry Make it Right house in New Orleans has been completed. I like Gehry in this mode, weirding out on the vernacular, much as he did way back when in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Although, the comments in the Archinect article from local architects point out potential problems the house may have in the regions many hailstorms and heavy rain.

- Domino Pizza delivery infrastructure network from on the east coast of the USA:


Life Without Buildings reviews the new Batman graphic novel Death by Design (written by book designer Chip Kidd and illustrated by Dave Taylor) and details the many architecture references contained within the book.

Even with its the overwrought plot, Death by Design is an entertaining paean to Batman and to architecture that wears its heart firmly on its cape. It really is exciting to see architecture presented as the driving force of a comic book plot instead of just background scenery. The Architecture of Gotham has always been integral to the Batman myth (As I’ve previously noted), and Kidd and Taylor articulate that connection in an exciting and innovative way. Buildings are represented heroically and heroes are revealed to be mere men, struggling against the very city they created.”

- Alex Trevi at Pruned, brings us Giovanni Bologna’s Appennino, a garden colossus, crouched over a lake and in whose belly resides a series of grottoes and fountains.
The Advantage of Size. Architecture Australia discusses office size with six Australian offices.

Mouth operated tools.

Seaside walkway in Havoysund, the extreme north of Norway, by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitektur:

Via Work Hard, Play Hard

- I love this page from The Blonde Woman, by Aidan Koch up at Study Group Comics.