Thursday, March 30, 2006

last page

This was the installation of the "Sassi" rocks at Rivoli when the show happened. They were floating in a cluster, at the beginning of the long Manica Lunga space. At the end of the space (and the end of the show) there was the reverse piece, a big pile of foam bricks mixed up with some of the Multipli pieces like a big dumb
And this is the last page from the catalogue.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Everyday I blob you less and less

Experimentally fabulous armchair made from a blob of polyurethane foam by Danish designer Gunnar Aagard Andersen, exhibited in MOMA New York 1964.

Gufram for Ever

Part of a transfer sheet distributed by Gufram items from the Multipli collection. I want everything, most of all Capitello.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


This is Eden, by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners. Looks super scary in an unexpectedly organic way, or maybe not. I wonder what it smells like.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Say Hi to Mark

This is MARK, a fantastic architecture magazine from the people who brought us FRAME. Its just the first issue but I love it already. Plus it's designed by Machine, and you can't really go wrong with Machine. To be honest I dont' look at too many architecture magazines because most of the are so full of advertisments for insulation materials or disgustingly minimal bathroom fixtures and boring architecture, but Mark has this "Lets Build Trees" on the cover which I've been doing for such a long time in places like Neen World (there's no trees there so you have to build them yourself) so I was kind of shocked to see that.
MARK's brand new website will launch sometime next week so be sure to check back

BlogMe, RuinMe

OK so this blog is officially ruining me. I'm supposed to be prepaing two lectures for the coming weeks, instead I happen upon a photo and just think, "hmmm let me blog this really quickly", and then before you know it I've re-editing the same post over and over again, because, well, it just HAS to be just so, n'est pas? So anyway, this is one of my absolutely favourite buildings in Athens, Its a branch of the National Bank on Iera Odos and I dont know who the architect is but if you do, I want to know too. I keep saying that I'll go there super early on a sunday morning to photograph it without any cars but alas my nightclubbing days are entirely over and sunday mornings are better spent playing tennis.

I love this Faux-Castle-on-the-Beach too but for entirely different reasons. The bank is pure Architecture wheras as the faux castle is, ummm, well it's architecture too... Ok let me think about this for a while.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Metabolist Concept v.s. Urbs Eterna

Here's some more Metabolist stuff, looks like a skyscraper made out of eyeballs...

Graphic design from the early 1960s by K. Awazu presenting the Metabolist concept of change in housing. High-rise mega-structures support myriad apartment capsules which are modified and replaced according to their own life cycles and the social cycles of demand and fashion.

I decided to re-enact this scenario using some eyeballs.. looks rather less convincing.
But here is the text that explains everything, via the Institute for East Asian Architecture

The Transient City
As Japan rebuilt her devastated cities after 1945 and launched the high-growth economy, the sense of transience resurfaced on a gigantic scale and in a completely secular mode. The Japanese city of today is largely a haphazard, interchangeable mosaic of postage-stamp land parcels that seem rather messy from the viewpoint of classical aesthetics. Yet it is hygienic, efficient and very adaptable to rapid change, and hence an important underpinning of the world's second-largest economy. The Western concept of the City Beautiful or even an Urbs Eterna, centered on the civic square with splendid and hardly changing public institutions, has as its counterpart in Japan the City Vital, flexible and energetic with constant easy access to entertainment and information. While the masses indeed sleep in "rabbit hutches" they work and play in cities that have no equal anywhere for liveliness, visual complexity and social dynamics.
The new Japanese urbanism found its purest theoretical expression in the daring ideas of the Metabolists, a group of young architects, designers and urban planners working in Tokyo in the 1960s. Applying the principles of metabolism and metamorphosis as discovered in the organic world, they reconceived the city as a huge kit of infrastructures and element-structures passing through interrelated cycles of growth, decay, renewal and change (6). Though internationally celebrated, they realized very little of their dreams because of – as we can see now – the super-scaled and autocratic character of their proposals. Ironically, most of their ideas eventually came about in the succeeding vernacular urban architecture of Japan, without the Metabolists' direct influence and despite the mostly monumental structures they themselves later designed and built.

Friday, March 24, 2006


PYRAMID OF TETRA CITY © Buckminster Fuller Institute
Ok so maybe I'm getting carried away with all the Italian titles, but it just happened that I found all these cool Metabolist stuff in italian, and then of course I had it translated in fake english by Google. Here's a selection of Buckminster Fuller, Kiyonori Kikutake and of course Kenzo Tange.

Other entire submarine cities would have had a sporgente pillar outside from the water, with a heliport to the top. Such cities would have been surrounded from great underwater small farms where the man would have cultivated alghe and raised fish. The whale newly would even have become an animal from slaughter house!


Isozaki, "Metabolist" Group scheme for a modern city, 1963


What's great with this period of projects is how fantastically wrong they were about the ways people like to live, and how beautifully these futuristic buildings become old and dated. You can just imagine the graffiti, the drug micro communities and crime scenes forming once these buildings are abandoned by their first stylish owneres etc etc. It's video game heaven all over again.

via the utterly weird

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Manfredi Nicoletti: L'Architettura delle Caverne

My friend Adelina von Furstenberg gave me this amazing book because she knew my slight cave obssesion. I can look at caves forever, it's one of my top 10 architectural typologies, and this book has some of the best caves around: from the amazing 1970's subway station in Stockholm, made to look like a pop artificial cave with supergraphics, to troglodyte housing in Kappadocia, to the interior of a rock-carved church in Yerevan.

Monday, March 20, 2006

L'ARCA March issue

Italian Architecture magazine L'ARCA features Neen World on the cover, + a 12 page on yours truly with a superb introduction by Maurizio Vogliazzo. Apart from Neen World the piece also features Hotel Blue Wave, Car Building, and Animated.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Architektoniki Archive

When I was at Columbia years and years ago, I discovered the complete "Architektoniki" volumes at Avery Library. Architektoniki was an ultra sophisticated architecture magazine published in Greece for a couple of years in the late 60's. In the mid-90's I used to spend hours and hours leafing through the issues and xeroxing everything that caught my fancy. Looking back on it, I think I would propably xerox the same pages today too.

Proulx Rulez

On this mornings' Herald Tribune (yes I read the morning paper on paper!) I read about Annie Proulx rant on the Oscar that didnt go to Brokeback Mountain but to some other movie that I havent watched. Annie brilliantly lets loose on everything LA, Oscars, trash and red carpet. And why do they call it "the red carpet"? If it comes in a roll its called carpeting. La moquette rouge anyone?.

Concrete Beach

This is Foreign Office Architects' Coastal Park that is part of the Forum 2004 area in Barcelona. A landscape of pixelated dunes, it is made of a single module, a concrete petal that makes the place look as if it could have been underwater too. The park features fantastic restrooms with petal-sliding doors, something the gay boys in Barcelona seem to greatly appreciate, since the whole park is super cruisy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Morning Beach

This morning I woke up in Patras around 6:15 and I decided to take a walk along the beach before breakfast, since my class doesnt even start before 10. Two cute dogs came along. The beach is kind of abandoned left-over space and really not more than 2 m wide at places. The light was amazing.

The Road to Nowhere

Of course I love Gawker for all its bitchy-gossipy-fascinatingly-idiotic-trivia-but-in-a-new-york-kind-of-way, but Gawker Stalker really takes the bisquit, assuming there is one to take. Gawker Stalker is the celebrity mapquest, the yahoo maps a la perez hilton, the via !hello but even worse. You can post all the celebrity sightings you want and nobody will even think of fact checking because nobody really cares.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More Green Buildings : Emilio Ambasz

I remembered all about Emilio Ambasz when I saw his hugely influential CASA DE RETIRO ESPIRITUAL at the new MOMA in New York. I love this office building too, for all its' 80's Mirror+ Grass over-the-topness, and its' description as a Symbolically Decisive Building
Fukuoka, Japan, was in need of a new government office building and the only available site was a large two-block park that also happened to be the last remaining green space in the city center. Ambasz was awarded the commission for successfully achieving reconciliation between these two opposing aims: maintaining the green space of the existing park while providing the city of Fukuoka with a multi-use, symbolically decisive building. Under the building's fourteen one-story terraces lie more than one million square feet of space, containing an exhibition hall, museum, 2000-seat proscenium theater, conference facilities, 600,000 square feet of government and private offices, as well as large underground parking and retail spaces.
location: Fukuoka, Japan
client: Dai-ichi Seimei Insurance
cost: $380.0M
area: 1,000,000 sq ft


Ok so this is almost a backwards smooth segway here: I've always meant to post something on the Palais Omnisport Paris Bercy since its one of my favourite 80's buildings. POPB as it is know is by ANPAR (Michel Andrault, Pierre Parat) and was finished in 1983. Looks like a set of pyramids sinking into a sea of gazon, with frothing fabulous space-frames over them. Perfect for a video game shoot-out or a Tobias Bernstrup performance.

More R&Sie(n) : Bangok Dust Buster

This is a design for a contemporary art museum by Francois Roche and co. Its a building that acquires its' shape by acquiring dust. Apparently Bangkok is full of silvery grey exhaust fume dust, and with an aluminum wire envelop and a electrostatics system the dust collects around the programmatic volumes creating this fantastic fuzzy ghost.