The ability to walk to an airport should be the new gold standard of accessible urbanism. The Curbed piece is also worth it for ‘Walkable City Rules author Jeff Speck’s urbanist take on the ubiquitous meme’ / Studio Job sets out confidently to break conventional web design / a fictional part of East London is costing £86.7m, presumably because it’s being a) built in Hertfordshire and b) being built for high definition television, a medium where cardboard and MDF no longer cut it. Check out the existing Walford on Google. Movie sets make for intriguingly jarring virtual tourism. Western Town at Paramount Ranch was recently burnt to the ground in the last round of Californian wildfires. The abandoned movie set has also provoked a frisson amongst urban explorers / a triumverate of interactive sites: Stars, a Chrome experiment that puts a galaxy in your browser; Complexity Explorables are ‘interactive explorations of complex systems in biology, physics, mathematics, social sciences, ecology, epidemiology and [more]’; Sandspiel, hours of pixellated fun / La Casa Telematica, high-tech living, 80s-style / Owner who demolished famed San Francisco house must build replica. A rare example of architectural schadenfreude. See also Demolishing Modernism.
Time Lapse of the Sushi Scene in Isle of Dogs / errors on the Tube map at Diamond Geezer. You could do worse than nose around their Flickr sets as well / Germans like the word ‘shitstorm‘ / a fact that’d fit well into ‘52 things I learned in 2018‘ (via Kottke) / Goreyana, a celebration of the work of Edward Gorey / related, Mad Magazine’s recent gut punch, ‘The Ghastlygun Tinies‘.
Fancy a modernist hotel in Žvrynas, Vilnius? From the eccentrically translated blurb: ‘The residence was built in 1980 like a hotel for the top level officials. In this villa, presidents Mikhail Gorbachev, Richard Nixon, Lech Walesa, the Queen of Denmark Margrethe II, a spacewoman Valentina Tereshkova, the head of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Alexy II were staying during visits.’ (via Wowhaus) / Custom Records for a 70’s Toy Record Player (via DB-G). See also Fishure-Price (sic), a company that turns these tiny toys into workable decks (via Mixmag) / the architecture of the uncanny: How Victorian Mansions Became the Default Haunted House. See also Are McMansions the New Haunted Houses? Evaluating a Flawed Argument about Why Some Houses Are Scary (both via MeFi, which includes the unique use of ‘Hollywood sound studio’ as an architectural designation. The answer to the first question is probably nothing more than ‘progress’, and how grand houses became run-down, empty and decaying with social and economic changes. Lost Heritage is a directory of the c2,000 houses ‘lost’ since 1800, most to development. Demolition usually came after a period of long, slow decay. Some of these hulks are still standing: What happened to England’s abandoned mansions? A few years ago you could buy the shell of Appledurcombe House on the Isle of Wight for £6m.
Buster’s Paramount Backlot Plunge, at Silent Locations, a weblog about about Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more). Fascinating detective work, such as this overlaid Google streetview image in Astoria featuring shots from Buster Keaton and W.C. Fields / the Top 50 places to eat in SE London, mapped / 100 Variations, Roula Partheniou / music by 5cps / an Interactive AI Rendered Virtual World / staying with Los Angeles, Woods Bagot’s MORE LA lets you explore the city’s potential for growth through its many, many surface parking lots: if all the lots “in Los Angeles County were developed into residential units … those lots could house between 1.5 to 3 million people.” Some more info / it’s Amsterdam Drone Week / iconic prints, etc., at Sarah Sauvin / Something About Maps, a wonderful blog.
Robin Friend’s new photography monograph, Bastard Countryside, ’15 years worth of exploration within the British landscape, dwelling on what Victor Hugo called the ‘bastard countryside’: “somewhat ugly but bizarre, made up of two different natures”.’ See also the interview at It’s Nice That / rare photographs of Kate Macintosh’s Dawson’s Heights in South London, 1964-72, at the RIBA. See also a visit to Dawson’s Heights, parkour-style / Japanese alley bookends / the art of Unfriending before Facebook / Pipes III by Robert Götzfried. We also like his series Pools (via Diedrica) / queuing for that moment of Instagram self-discovery / the paintings of Hiroshi Furuyoshi / Brooklyn Stereography, a blog about ‘all things stereographic, from classic scopes & stereoviews to historical context & modern analysis’. Recommended / Syntax & Salt Magazine, new fiction / It doesn’t matter if we all die, the late Mark Fisher on The Cure’s ‘Unholy Trinity’ / beautiful travel notebooks by Jose Naranja.
Photography by Pawel Starzec / a drone tour of China’s Mount Fanjingshan / Paint My Name In Black And Gold, a forthcoming book about the Sisters of Mercy (the band, not the order) / staying gothic, things lurk in the shadows of Trevor Henderson’s images / the late Henry Wilson’s spectacular house in Chelsea / old school 8-bit April Fools (both via b3ta) / a spot of futurism: the concept cars of Syd Mead / The Tulip, a ‘mini-me Gherkin’ that can only be seen as a desperate cry for attention. Compare and constrast with Shigeru Ban’s proposed Kentucky Owl Park, representing a notable leap forward in photorealistic visualisations. In contrast, the real world is a disappointment.
A depressing piece about architecture’s burgeoning relationship with instant social media gratification: Snapping point: how the world’s leading architects fell under the Instagram spell. The stuff about Assemble’s studio wall ultimately becoming an iphone case is extraordinary / other things: Lego set 80101-1 is a Chinese exclusive, the Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner / Seattle skyline timelapse / embroidered art by Michelle Kingdom / paintings by Clara Adolphs / Other Aberdeen, an abandoned weblog / a found box of glass plate negatives / The Arborealists, a group of artists who specialise in creating works featuring trees / sort of related, Streetview Portraits (via this isn’t happiness).
Rachael Smith illustrates regularly on Empathize This, ‘a place where people can tell their own stories about how prejudice and hardship affect their lives’ / music by The Expert Sleepers / Ott Art, a tumblr about art / Cocoons, photographs by Peter Steinhauer (via the Guardian) / an instagram from Japan, wakuneco, alarmingly realistic cat portraits / Space Exploration, much goodness to be found, like this Soviet Zero-Gravity Chess set from Soyuz 9. Marc Newson will probably buy the lot / pair your viewing with this song: Helena Hauff – c45p, by Keyser Söze / the new age of ‘imaginary facts‘. There are depressing parallels with wrongheaded beliefs like flat eartherism; the dark side of making stuff up for fun and/or profit.
More things to turn your head and ears / some music by Casual Nun / contemporary cubism by Anna Ostoya / the walk above the vineyards, KEEO design / Persuasive Cartography, maps that change our perception of places / a link-filled MeFi post about Towards a Concrete Utopia, the MoMA show about Brutalist Architecture in Yugoslavia from 1948–1980. There’s a lot to unpick in Brutalism’s blend of nostalgia, romanticism, even fragments of Ostalgie / From the Murky Depths, news from London / music: Scheme / the Microlino, a retromod electric car / Huck is a magazine about fashion / a studio tour with Lee Ranaldo / We Can Have Beautiful Public Housing.
Frivolous things: Mikutap / fun to revisit: Medieval Fantasy City Generator / Cassette Tapes are back, but then Bandcamp aficionados know the analogue feeling / totalitarian rides square up: China’s Hongqi L5 versus the Russian Aurus Senat. No word on what the North Koreans are driving / Ace Linguist, a website about language / art by Hiroshi Sato / music by Gnod.
NASA’s Legacy Gallery from activities at the Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center (now the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center) / this next one is really not related at all, promise: Pseudoarchaeology and the Racism Behind Ancient Aliens (via MeFi). At least we got this epic piece of music / meanwhile, as the UK government implodes in a slow motion car crash, Sam Jacob points out that “the beautiful buildings commission is just a front for the continuing attack on progressive ideas,” spearheaded by the ‘Alf Garnett of architecture‘, Roger Scruton, who is rolling up his sleeves, straightening out the vellum, sharpening his quill and getting set to jettison modernism (‘M’s big and small) in a headlong rush back to the past. At least with the classical orders you knew your place, right? / fire, of course, cares not if it’s a McMansion or a Case Study knock-off: California’s wildfires are as big as 16 Manhattans. The death toll is still rising / step away from today’s woes by sampling 30 Years of American Anxieties instead.
Grim but essential: Everyday Plastic: ‘The UK throws away over 295 billion pieces of plastic every year’ (via the Guardian) / Darkest London, a weblog about history and the past / Concrete jungle: How Italy’s modern ruins became art. A piece written eight years before the Genoa tragedy / Westminster Council to ban super size new homes / K-Punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher / the unseen colour photography of Vivian Maier.
Trafalgar pyramid? A look at an alternative London, a strangely steampunk arrangement of future visions / Tree House in Glass by Broissin Architects / Microkorg tape loop jam / Wargames and the end of the world: the disastrous feedback loop of the Soviet intelligence system / Guide to Computing, a visual history of computing 1945-1979, photographs by James Ball (via Kottke).
The Miniature Calendar / dense drawings by Sandow Birk / Tapas, a collection of short videos by Bonella Holloway containing ‘filmed actions edited according to their soundscape and rhythm’ / making a Lego automaton / all the Saturn V launches together / illustration by Nathan Hackett / drawings by Zoe Barker / the Madsonian Museum of Industrial Design / a collection of Brutalist Websites / paintings by Aurélien Pescher / Overexposed, an online installation about a post-war plane crash.
Another deep dive into digital mapping by Justin O’Beirne, this time looking at new developments in Apple Maps (via Kottke). It’s the usual extremely thorough dive into map comparisons for accuracy, style and detail, with the strong caveat that however much Apple tries, it’s disavowal of deep data collection (and refusal to let maps.apple.com be anything other than a holding page), it might be working on the right strategy for a world in which places, not maps, are more important: ‘Over the last two years, Google has gradually been turning it inside out, from a road map to a place map’. In the proposed world of autonomous cars and deliveries and all that jazz, pinpoint accuracy matters more than ever. Also from the piece, ‘it took Google’s Street View vehicles eight years to drive 99% of the U.S.’ / sort of related, the New York City Municipal Archives Collections, 900,000 images (including photos and maps) of the city. There is an equivalent wealth of imagery of London but it’s hard to discern whether or not it’s been digitised yet. The Survey of London are bereft of pictures. Databases like Britain from Above don’t offer the street level detail that exists, tucked away in archive boxes somewhere / see also Lost Hospitals of London / A Searchable Database of Japanese Woodcut Prints (also via Kottke).