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Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Some crytozoological explorations at the Centre for Fortean Zoology (thanks to Moosifer Jones). The big game hunters got us googling for Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, the late curator responsible for identifying the mysterious coelacanth captured off the Eastern Cape in 1938. The local mortuary wouldn't let her preserve the fish, however, and the insides rotted away before they could be saved. The skin was stuffed. Today, the coelacanth - also known as the gombessa - has its very own website. Other living fossils.

Visual Front, a photolog / beautiful stationery and graphic design at passing notes / Alec Eiffel, a French Pixies site. Related, a Steven Appleby bookplate / stick cricket, thanks to rogue semiotics / Fantasy space travel at Bambam131's Bryce Site. Explore the nether reaches of the galaxy from the comfort of your desktop / a daisy / Coudal redesigns. There is a trend here...

Before and after in Atlanta. Comparisons are always interesting. Some more: I, II, III, IV. A pictorial history of the city of Richmond, Indiana. A history of Indianapolis.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004
All about warship camouflage (via consumptive, via incoming signals. As an aside, I’d never noticed the Cryptozoology gallery, myself. The skunk ape picture still scares me). See also 'Art and Camouflage', part of a surprising amount of information about this field online, thanks perhaps to the close link between abstract art and the angular, modernist shapes that were determined to break up the shape of a ship and make it hard to read its heading, and thus stave off torpedoes.

The so-called 'Dazzle' patterns originated in the First World War, developed first by the artist Norman Wilkinson in 1917, while patrolling the English Channel. From ShipCamouflage.com: 'Stated simply, the theory for dazzle design is as follows: take the starboard side, divide roughly into two, and paint the fore part a dark color.'

Another history of nautical camouflage. Although dazzle patterns have striking parallels with early abstraction, Wilkinson's work was relatively conventional. A short biography. A Northern Ireland Landscape. The dazzle shapes weren't just devised by by artists - even naturalists mucked in, like Peter Scott.

All you ever needed to know about warship colour charts (some of those palettes are now distinctly fashionable again…). Dazzle evolved into disruptive pattern, the classic ‘dpm’. See Camouflage uniforms of the world. There are books devoted to the subject of camouflage. These photos of the exhibition Dazzle and Drab, Ocean Liners at War, shows the patterns to good effect.

Best of all is DPM, a gorgeous-looking coffee table book of camouflage, published by Maharishi. This looks great, but is slightly tainted by the feeling that it's deliberately 'cool', and not quaintly fascinating, such as English Heritage's work on the Cold War.

Elsewhere (but sort of related), She Just Wanted to Blend in, a linklog / Hong Kong at Night, via Life in the Present / the Jackson Museum, in homage to the purveyors of very metal guitars, and the golden era of body artwork. A great resource.

The amazing Viaduc de Millau is rising fast - check the 3D videos / The Branding of Polaroid, an insider's view, via Conscientious / old computer brochures and more at The Commodore Billboard (via the recent skinny) / links digested at tripe soup / kottke has redesigned - always good to see something new.

Lightningfield takes an underground walk in Paris / Skirt magazine / I love detailed biographies of bands I’ve never heard of: The Rosehips / an image a day / great photo by Witold Riedel / why not sue Apple? Muddle-headed legislation might make it possible to do just that...


Monday, June 28, 2004
A gallery of children's 'slow down' signs (via boing boing). Related, some British traffic signs of the Thirties, long before the authorities decided to use guilt, rather than typography, as a means of conveying important information. Back in 1952, the late David Kindersley designed the MoT Serif typeface for the UK's road signs, one of design's great what-if's. Instead, the UK's road signs bear the (perfectly decent) 'Transport' sans-serif designed by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert.

Related, street signs in Hampstead Garden Suburb (pdf), some of which use Will Carter and Kindersley's Octavian typeface. Unsurprisingly, modern 'interpretations' of the original style signs leave a lot to be desired. More on HGS. But is consistency always desirable? The set of 1930s signs is one of a collection of 'visual codes' that includes stonemason's marks and more.

Elsewhere. frog purse at disturbing auctions, vs frog birth / the Citroen CX / lamodern association / digital snapshot, using digital imaging to stitch mosaics of motion / lots to do at Ohio Girl, including a photo of the week.

Nathan Coley likes to juxtapose things, especially architecture, addressing context, expectations and, to a certain extent, taste. His Villa Savoye pointedly illustrated the gulf between the machine-age Utopia envisaged by the modernists, and the reality.

Art and design at Commonwealth Stacks / Yet more roadside ephemera at Roadside Advertisements / Ruin-Japan, ruins in Japan / Pure Obscure, music of the 80s / atari artwork / heritage images, including transport (Velam Isetta) / Airline meals (thanks Olli).

Did you know that you're not allowed to link to Sellotape's website? We much prefer it to be a low-tech solution in any case - the need for virtual sellotape isn't clear.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004
A new website devoted to the life and work of Abram Games has just gone live. It's a pity the posters couldn't be slightly larger. See here for some bigger images. Related, advertising and ephemera sale catalogue.

ThrillerUK brings you pulp fiction / the Cuban Missile Crisis in audio files / re-visit the 1000 Journals project - they're still out there, somewhere. Number 526 is the latest to return.

The Musarium, stories, photos and videos from Planet Earth. The site seems slightly neglected, but old galleries are still there. Explore the basements of Grand Central, or read the Bird Hand Book / flash experiments at scrap pile.

David Mach builds sculptures out of tyres and creates detailed collages / 22catcher, a photolog / an absolutely giant photo of Vancouver / The Way we Live, modernism and optimism / building a (very ordinary) house in three and a half hours / The Professor Raymond Lifchez Gift Slide Collection.

No more updates until next Monday, I'm afraid.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Short cuts today. Risky Buildings provides a depressing list of threatened gems of contemporary architecture (it's another crisp hyperkit design, too). Read about the great Wills Factory in Bristol, Preston's magnificent Bus Garage and the Cummins Engine Factory in Darlington, all structures from a lost era of high modernism, before the dawn of the SuperShed, and the realisation that architecture and engineering were, strictly speaking, extra costs that no-one really wanted to pay.

het ORGEL is 'Europe's oldest magazine on Organ Art' / Latin for computer users / old magazines for sale, including Playboy. Related, sex, food and Playboy - rather snappily-titled thesis on 'Masculinity, Domesticity and Food Practices in Playboy, 1953-63' / the Dr Who image archive / vast truck (via gizmodo). Related: Tonka and Tonka catalogues from the 1960s onwards / Music from a 1974 Chevy Commercial, via me-fi.

How to restore your snowglobe, sacred or not.


Monday, June 21, 2004
And we're back. A mixture for Monday.

The Word on the Street, Scottish 'broadsides' - the original tabloids (via James and Annie Page - is this James and Annie's page or James and Annie Page's Page?). These broadsides could often be very tragic indeed / Falling Sky, a weblog / battlecat, a weblog / heavy little objects continues its trek through cupboards and drawers.

Copy, right? gives you a daily download (via Senses Working Overtime). Senses also links to Godfrey's Bookshelf - 'facsimiles of books from the 15th through 19th centuries' If you've ever wanted an introduction to 'Prickesong,' this 1596 Instruction to the Lute is pretty amazing. The notation looks just like contemporary guitar tablature, but my musical knowledge stops around there. More early music at Saul B.Groen.

More downloads. The Fingertips guide is 'an intelligent guide to free and legal music on the web'. The things-mobile is being wired for sound tomorrow (one of those fancy mp3/CD player thingys), so any more music site pointers are welcome. Like Christopher Porter's The Suburbs are Killing Us and the ever-reliable largehearted boy (which provides a non-musical link to Hamlet - the text adventure).

Things like this are fun - the Instant Blitz Copy Fight Project - but does anyone take any notice? Does anyone know any wonks from, say, Sony or UIP? What do they think of this behaviour? Are they silently amused but publically disapproving? (via me-fi, which isn't hugely impressed).

Patterns at Spacebloom, via sylloge / Digital Equipment Corporation owns a large chunk of Assabet Mills in Massachusetts. Here are some old DEC systems. Related, antique radios and literature / the big white house is for sale / the Masquito M80 is an ultra-compact helicopter from Belgium. Another 'affordable helicopter', the A/W 95.

Fancy interiors from 1974 (via Coudal, and many others). It’s easy to be rude about this kind of thing, but in truth I like a lot of these. But would I have done a few years ago? Hard to tell... (matching your house to your car still goes on – witness Ross Lovegrove’s Audi A2, kept behind a glass screen in the sitting room, or the Seth Stein-designed house in London that featured a car lift in the sitting room).

A gallery of vintage motor racing imagery / stock car crashes / US concrete 'would cover Ohio' / photos from the US Army / how does a photocopier work? / overshadowed, photos from NY / the Egypt Archive / Label, an Italian style magazine / the rejection collection / Indo Rock, including the fabled 9-string Fender Jazzmaster / typgraphic illustration / baby names in Canada.

IDFuel, design culture updates, including an article on the collections of Ron Popeil and an inspiration weblog / wall paintings by Reinhard Kleist / found photos, pulled from P2P software. Might not be - actually, definitely not - safe for work / the dice collector demonstrates how many shapes you can find in dice design / digital refueler, links and more.


Thursday, June 17, 2004
WestEast magazine, via Jean Snow, a Tokyo weblog / I.M.A.J.O.U.R, daily pictures from France / illustration by Kirsten Ulve / Fatoe, another baroque, stylish illustration site / music (for robots), a place to check out new music before you buy, with electic selections and recommendations / avant music news.

Jeremyville sells toys for adults (not that kind). More cartoon creations and at the Airside Shop, including great t-shirts and posters / Fwak, a comics weblog. Speaking of cartoonish things, this is horrid. Go to the boombox museum to see how it should be done / a journey by Fergus the photographer.

retired B-52s / A Tail-Sitter Unmanned Air Vehicle: Flight Simulation / the cartoonist in the olden days. This site also cleared up the meaning of the word Raumpatrouille - it's a a German sci-fi series which started in 1966. The sets look way more spectacular than Star Trek / joystiq, a new weblog-style video game news round-up site from the people who bring you engadget/.

Axel Hinnen takes nice photos. Wish they were bigger / the churchmouse, exploring Britain's ecclesiastical architecture and culture, including cast iron grave markers (via ramage) / Julian Cope reviews Sleep's Dopesmoker, the longest riff of all time? / maproom points to the maproom, where you can find many cartographical gems. Comparative river sizes / paintings by Kelly Reemtsen (via Life in the Present).

The Truth about Cars - hard-hitting auto journalism. Will try and check this more regularly / day 18: from marble arch to a big pile of wood. This is exactly the kind of thing I'd love to do on my imaginary sabbatical.

The US Food and Drug Administration has a museum, complete with case studies like this: The Case of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich / I love it when people post essays online: The Bauhaus, modernism & domestic architecture.

Updates will be irregular (i.e. there won't be any) until Monday, probably.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Grist Magazine (which promises 'gloom and doom with a sense of humour') offers a story by Dan Oko on the Tehri Dam in India, soon to turn the Bhagirathi River into a lake. Many have slammed the dam as an environmental catastrophe. More on sunken villages, the legacy of hydro-electric power.

Miserable Melodies, 'recorded with good intentions... and bad results' / Pitchformula, how to create music for critics, together with a list of critical words, and how they're rated / Incorrect Music / monsters of the deep: broken type in conversation with the recently usurped giant squid / gunfu, a moblog from the frontline / Leaf:let, nice flash.

Project Jellybean, a VW-shaped computer / the creepy-looking Cindy Smart (related Wired article). Equip Cindy with sharp teeth and she'd be perfect for the Killer Doll Attack scene in Barbarella) / useful info for artists at the Artlaw Archive / coincidences, a weblog.

Modern Library Dust Jackets and their Designers/Illustrators / hydrants of the Mojave Desert / the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris University, Big Rapids, Michigan / Medicine and Madison Avenue, advertising and medicine.

Forget Magazine / meet the bugs at Cricket Magazine / the photography of Gisèle Didi / ki~2, the photography of Georgy Kishtoo.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004
The United Nations Environment Programme is having a photographic competition. Past winners / Lightningfield spies Fort Boyard, once home to a lamentable English reality TV gameshow thing / sparse, elegant, unsettling pencil drawings (via the cabinet of busted wonders). See also animations / bar code art, via the London-based hyperreal and supercool weblog.

Places From Worcester's Past, local history in Worcester, Massachusetts / Hammacher Schlemmer, a cabinet of mail order wonders - things you didn't know you needed / The American People - just what are they up to? This site keeps track / Netdiver, one for the sidebar.

What happens when plastic toys get bored of each other / naked fact or fiction..? / City of Sound on the cover art for the Beastie Boys' The Five Boroughs. When I first saw it, I thought of Steven Wiltshire, which led to this interesting page on Children's Art.

How to draw an unbuilt ship (via tmn). Another cutaway. How to dispose of a body (disturbingly thorough) / illustration at Once upon a forest / the Habanero homepage, all about peppers / The Apollo Prophecies considered at Giornale Nuovo. Sounds fascinating, the tale of the lunar discovery of 'a lost Edwardian expedition that may or may not be real.' / Magazine Art, 'a free visual database of magazine cover art from the 19th and early 20th centuries', via Bifurcated Rivets. French Humor.

k.i.s.s of the panopticon - "cultural theory for the rest of us!". Handy guide to theory, from Baudrillard to Cheers ('Bars designed to look like... Cheers have sprung up all over the country, most poignantly in airports, our most anonymous of locales. Here, noone will know your name, but you can always buy a drink or a souvenir sweatshirt').

Today there's the kind of dizzyingly flat blue sky that my camera thinks is a mosaic of speckles and flecks. Maybe it’s right. Stare hard into the blue and it dances around, unwilling to sit still for a second.

Breaking news. In the last ten minutes, Yahoo! Mail just upped my storage from 100MB to two gigabytes. Golly... I guess gmail has got them running scared.


Monday, June 14, 2004
3AM Magazine, and the related Joe Bloggs weblog / the Second Norwich Pop Underground Convention sounds like fun / Secret Stars, a band with a penchant for vintage electronica / The Red Saunders Research Association, music in post-war Chicago / Drummergirl, for women who drum.

Some art. The Homeless Museum / The Garden of Earthly Delights, eighteen artists create a series of installations in South London’s Brockwell Park next month / Gods Becoming Men, a suitably muscular exhibition to co-incide with the Olympics / we are mainly....

Design, architecture and more at Sensory Impact (Thanks, Adnan). We especially liked these amazing drinks packages / automobilia at the Willys Overland Knight Registry, all about the company who ensured their place in history by developing the Willy's Jeep / Nissan design / Toyota design / Bookbinding, a tutorial.


Friday, June 11, 2004
Sometimes you put together a whole bunch of links but forget the mental glue that bound them together. Today is one of those days.

Fredric Jameson writes (at length) about Koolhaas's Project on the City series in the New Left Review and how traditional urbanism is, apparently, at a 'dead end'. Koolhaas himself, who doesn't actually write the books in question (he oversees and edits them), is described as 'certain versions of the deity, nowhere and everywhere all at once', a bit like the urban interventions the books chronicle; the architecture of an increasingly hectic everyday.

Lest one forgets, Jameson coined the term postmodernism, using it to describe such buildings as the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles (by John Portman Associates), a structure so impenetrable that he complained it was near impossible to navigate - a 'spatial mutation'. Rather than a mere hotel, the Bonaventure became a symbol of the great, and ever-increasing, complexity of the modern world. Yet Koolhaas puzzles Jameson, with his paradoxical ability to relentlessly recycle imagery and generate new forms, not to mention his apparent (and usually cynical) mania for dystopias - 'Junkspaces'. Ironically, Jameson opened our eyes to the moebius strip-like quality of malls and endless consumption, a strip which Koolhaas and his acolytes are happy to travel. Jameson, however, now wants out.

Other things. Buy Michael Mandiberg's time (only $20/hour). Previously, you could buy Mandiberg's stuff, but it's either all gone or he's stopped selling it. At around the same time, Michael Landy performed 'Breakdown,' whereby he fed his worldly possessions into a crusher (in the inauspicious surroundings of the former C&A store on Oxford Street). Landy's piece involved destroying other artists' work in his possession - a kind of personal Momart fire ('We aim to repay your trust', they say, inappropriately, on their site). Related: did this move cost him the Turner Prize? (scroll down). You can see Landy's new installation, 'Semi-detached,' at the Tate Britain.

Crimes of Persuasion, the low-down on con artists. Good to see that the speaker scam, the only one of these we've nearly fallen for, is a global thing. Actually, the only reason I spent so long listening to the scammers is that I thought they were going to give me the speakers, not try and sell them... They weren't amused / Refresh Reload, graphical goodness / Microsoft's XNA is a games development tool. This means nothing to us, but there's a big movie download on that page of two Saleen sports cars driving into each - the future of video games graphics?

Blogging Baby, should be useful / Zoe's World / Smoke: a London Peculiar - issue 3 out now / African Imagery (via milton / the Marx and Engels Internet Archive / Orwell Today / Ironminds, a weblog with a musical slant / what the Swiss are getting up to / Stigmata: In Imitation of Christ (not to be confused with this Imitation of Christ), an article on the origins of saintly stigmata.


Thursday, June 10, 2004
The work of Albert Chubac is on display at Nice's Mamac (a strangely 1970s-esque building that was in fact built in the late 80s. More pictures here) / move over Angel of the North, Thomas Heatherwick's 'B of the Bang' will soon be the largest public sculpture in Britain. Follow the construction weblog. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a gallery of worst case scenarios at Cyburbia, the 'urban planning portal'.

From Abba-to-Zappa.com, test your musical knowledge courtesy of slick caricatures (designed by the folk at Flip Flop Flyin') / more fresh-stroke-ephemeral products at HerHouse / Tak, 'now people can relax like birds', says designers Tjepkema Studio. See also their Next Bling Thing, a 'cathedral of shopping.' Entertaining stuff.

The photography of Ruth Hallensleben / the Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat, an early Sims-style game / Banubula, excellent musings on art, comics and more / The Elements of Style / Double-Tongued, a 'growing dictionary of old and new words.'

The tagline for new website Ingenious is 'seeing things differently', so we wholeheartedly approve. The site is a collaborative venture between the Science Museum, the National Railway Museum and the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, a portal for 30,000 images in various categories (communications, for example). As part of the ongoing digitisation of absolutely everything it's a worthy start, but 30,000 must be just a drop in the ocean for these three institutions.

Hotlinks is a new accumulative links blog, albeit one backed up by serious technology created by web developer types (not an increasingly creaky blogger template). By the way, does anyone have any recommendations for weblog/website software? At some stage in the next six months, we're going to redesign, so any tips, recommendations, warnings, etc., are all welcome.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Hardplace, tales and images from life in detention (via provenance unknown). Audio diaries and floorplans - worked up from sketches - of American detention centres, with all areas outside the immediate experience of the detainee blurred and guessed at. These spaces all appear to be embedded within buildings, almost as if there is no exterior to them at all.

Elsewhere. Gadgets for the modern urban lifestyle (i.e. things you don't really need) at apartment therapy / Shine Gallery want to sell you retro objects, like this Hollywood Finger Cigarette Ring display, the ultimate smoker's accessory / buy a Jeep / Soviet aviation and space collectibles, the place to go for Ekranoplan models.

Phantasmagoria, a weblog from the United Arab Emirates with excellent images. Via Massless / a collection of London Underground tube station maps (which we've linked to before, I'm sure) / Scott Snibbe's motion sketch / remembering the blitz at the Museum of London / Nüshu, a secret written language used only by women in China's Hunan Province.

Golly, Geoff Badner eats a lot.

Posting is intermittent this week, as backlogs clobber us.


Tuesday, June 08, 2004
A few quick links.

Live performances at Punkcast - with an eclectic range of artists / flash and photography by Simon John Roberts / The Others play a gig on the tube (via, appropriately, London Underground tube diary).

Vintage guitar catalogs (via Coudal) / Archinect explores the new Millbank Millennium Pier by Marks Barfield Architects.

Russian Avant Garde art / visual links at amberglow's weblog / maps by artists, via life in the present. Also, this remarkable photo by Jacques Henri Lartigue.

Brotron, tools for (a dangerous) future (via inflight correction) / Vitrolite, glass of the past / Come here, Laura, those lesbian pulp links, collected.

A very tacky bit of branding / Fodors have a weblog, travel-oriented of course / heavy little objects, a weblog / tripe soup, a weblog.


Monday, June 07, 2004
It was the 20th anniversary of Prince Charles's controversial speech about contemporary British architecture last week ('a monstrous carbuncle', etc.). The debate is still raising hackles, especially amongst those who consider the issues the Prince campaigned for - essenially pro New Urbanism and anti big-statement modernism - to still be very much at the forefront of contemporary practice. Some images of Poundbury, the Prince's model community. The debate continues here. It's certainly brought a few interesting blogs to our attention: Panchromatica and No.2 self.

Lightningfield visits Deyrolle, a very strange Parisian shop / a 'condensed' history of the ceramic tile / Pierre Chareau's Maison de Verre / a ban on subway photography? / The Taxi Project, looks like it never really got off the ground. The experimental taxis are fun, though / the video game museum / Nemesis the Warlock, a comic character from the past. More at ABC Warriors, a site devoted to 2000AD

Worth1000 does dream houses. Mostly, it's all about the landscape... funny how many people use the Taj Mahal as a basis for their fantasy. A real fantasy retreat: Spitbank Fort / Around World's Architecture / slightly cheeky view of Daniel Libeskind’s inbox. The work of the one and only Ian Martin.

Glubibulga, a great visual weblog (via Plep) / Girlwonder, a weblog / foe romeo, a weblog / the isociety, a collaborative weblog / a collection of links to mp3 blogs / songs that sample Blade Runner (via kottke). 'Do you like our owl?' is a good name for something / digital mosaics of america (via Merzhase).

The Vauxhall Society has a nice chunk on the famous Pleasure Gardens. It seems amazing that all the buildings and formal planting associated with the gardens should have just been swept away with not a trace remaining. The gardens contained a statue of John Milton, amongst other things. Vaguely related. Lost London Theatres.

Random things. I think catfunt is one of my favourite sites, for sheer scathing economy / KesselsKramer, one of Amsterdam's leading creativity agencies, plays around with 'the amateur look' / the driftwood assemblages of John Dahlsen (via information junk). Reminiscent of the work of Joseph Cornell.

Blindingnervepain is relieved a bit by the matchbox version of the Alfa Romeo Carabo, which pointed us to Bertone's excellent site, especially the concept car section / Bizarre VW Golf/Porsche 928 hybrid.


Friday, June 04, 2004
Fantastic scrapbooks at Fulltable (via, naturally, the cartoonist, who has an unerring eye for this kind of thing). Endlessly clickable, with scanned magazines to browse as well. See Le Jeudi de la Jeunesse, from 1913/14.

We really like the idea of this site: meta-efficient, which 'continuously reviews meta-efficient products and techniques'. Another person concerned with ultimate efficiency: the Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, via City of Sound.

Subterranean Cinema, lost classics, subversive films, including Mad Magazine's take on A Clockwork Orange, wittily entitled A Crockwork Lemon, and 'Golden Turkey' films (a term popularised, I believe, by conservative commentator and critic Michael Medved, who subsequently lost his sense of humour and wrote Hollywood vs America). Re-visit such legendary classics as "Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?", which I'm willing to wager you haven't seen.

Excellent photo essays at AK47.tv, a new web photography magazine. Via, of course, conscientious / spooky black and white photos at madpages, via imon, which contains design links and more. More design news and links at Crossmind.

Stereo Sanctity, the weblog of a fanzine. Their description of Jools Holland as 'That Strange Furtive Little Man' is spot on. Another fanzine, robots & electronic brains.

Random snippets. For daredevils only, the World Stunt Awards. Thrill to categories like 'Best Fire Work' and 'Best Overall Stunt by a Woman'. Sadly, there are no movie clips. But lots of nice animated flames, though / the Monkey Shakespeare Simulator (via daily jive) / LAT photographic archive, historical motorsport imagery.


Thursday, June 03, 2004
The Transport Archive, page upon page of history and imagery relating to the UK's transport heritage. Explore a virtual Concorde cockpit, bombers, condemned housing stock for new station buildings, as well as transport-related maps. We never knew about the tunnels beneath Lords Cricket Ground, constructed for the 'London Extension' of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire railway. Check this map and compare it to the current street plan: Marylebone Station sits on top of what was once Harewood Square and half of Blandford Square, and the elegant residential roads to the north are now a large housing estate. Vaguely related, NASA's Cities Project.

Elsewhere. The photography of Marlene Neumann - especially the landscapes / the woodcuts of Michael Wolgemut / LiveModern!, a resource for those interested in modernist housing. Compare and contrast with these 'modern design' Stock Plans. Alternatively, you could always chose the Fisher Price A-Frame / Tim Parsons makes elegant products.

The very best bits of freeware, via Sachs / Japanese woodblock prints via the excellent inflight correction / see a cheery simulator of nuclear winter at the atomic archive. Related, a Civil Defence Leaflet from 1958.

8-Track heaven via irregular orbit / OMA’s new public library in Seattle / a history of the Workhouse / the frog that learned to fly (not to mention the levitating strawberry).


Wednesday, June 02, 2004
On architecture, missed opportunities, and design despotism. The story of how Tallahassee 'really blew it' back in 1956 by turning down Walter Gropius's design for a performing arts centre. Gropius walked away from the proposed site and took his designs to a different place: Iraq. Revised and revisited (although the similarities are probably somewhat over-played), elements of the Tallahassee scheme surfaced in his scheme for the Al Jadriyah Campus of the University of Baghdad, started in 1961.

There was something of a mini architectural renaissance in Iraq in the 50s and 60s. As well as Frank Lloyd Wright's speculative plans for Baghdad, Gio Ponti's Ministry of Planning (behind the smoke, and in this image by the Baghdad Blogger) and the Saddam Hussein Gymnasium by Le Corbusier, built in 1981, long after the architect's death, More on Gropius in Baghdad (in German. All original links via the RIBA's excellent RIBAworld newsletter). Some more mid-century Iraqi architecture. A WSJ piece on the Frank Lloyd Wright scheme.

More information can be found in this article republished on the Iraqi American Chamber of Commerce website, entitled When Iraq Looked West, which explores the relationship between the country and international modernism. Written by Nicolai Ouroussoff, the LA Times's architecture critic, it traces Iraqi modernism's rise and fall. Following the 1958 coup that toppled King Faisal, the new, revolutionary Iraq shifted its attitudes towards modern architecture, perceiving it as a means of making grandiose egalitarian gestures, rather than as a symbol of international cultural ubiquity and, to a certain extent, American imperialism.

The fact that the architects who built in Baghdad were European - Corb, Gropius, Ponti - certainly helped, while the work of local modernists like Rifat Chadirji successfully fused modern materials with the local vernacular, occasionally tipping the aesthetic balance towards a middle eastern post-modernism (like the work of Mohamed Makiya, since exiled like so many of the creative classes). The piece also cites two iconic modernist houses in the city by the Syrian-born architect Badri Kadah (this is the only Google reference to Kadah), one of which was apparently the birthplace of Zaha Hadid.

It's unlikely that Iraq will ever again equate the very visible modernity of contemporary architecture with social and economic progress. Even in the West, modernism's progressive qualities have been largely subsumed by the desire for instant statements; the building as an acquisition, not an investment. The reconstruction of the country is far more likely to be characterised by pre-fabrication on a massive scale, the kind of systems building that has been perfected by companies like Halliburton (dab hands at useful structures like prisons). After all, nothing says economic modernity like the ability to throw up a building in a matter of months, aesthetic qualities be damned.

Elsewhere, but staying related. Alentours, a visual record of the suburbs of Bordeaux. See especially the photos of Le Corbusier's Cité Frugès in Pessac. An 'ideal suburb' of worker housing, it may be looking good now, but was subject to infamous alterations by the residents after it was completed, challenging the orthodox view that 'architect knows best.' Much of the housing has subsequently been restored, ironically making it a fashionable place to live for creative types, far removed from the original intentions (thanks to Benoît at notreville). Related, another socially progressive building reborn as fashion statement: Hyperkit have visited Corb's Unité d'Habitation in Marseille.

Other things. A working model of Concorde / you can download the whole of George A. Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead at archive.org / accidental art and found photos at bighappyfunhouse, the very best kind of website. There's a very astute eye at work here / related to the above, the prison industry in the Appalachians, all about Halliburton's Red Onion Supermax at Digress Magazine.

For space race-crazy couriers: Soyuz bags / matchbox cars of the 1970s (via idle type via the ultimate insult, who illustrates the site with a Citroen SM ambulance. Now that I would like to see) / tanks from WWI / beating the purple bully, Barney gets his just desserts.

Listen to your hard drive dying (via engadget) - something we’d have done well to pay attention to a couple of weeks ago / EggBaconChipsandBeans, Russell Davies's essential guide to London's greasy spoons. See also Classic Cafes and Café Ideal.

Traces of Fire (via Joshua's del.icio.us), 'the last great adventure in wildlife biotelemetry, Urban Habitat Research.' Ten cigarette lighters, fitted with transmitter similar to the ones strapped to scientifically-interesting wildlife, were dropped off around Limerick and their journeys traced. See also GPS drawing.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004
One of those days when coherence is just around the corner but always out of reach. So randomness prevails. What makes a house a home? Designing Domesticity: Decorating the American Home Since 1876, via Art for Housewives / when the alignments are right, Manhattan becomes Stonehenge, or Manhattanenge / freakgirl, a weblog / responsive face, via sasapong! / bits of Mercedes / Brands of the World via scuffletown.

How to make a football from old plastic bags in Burundi (thanks, Bob) / travels of a red couch / Everyone Who's Anyone in Adult Trade Publishing / flux and mutability, a photography weblog / a tragedy in the Hinterbruehl Grotto , an underground grotto formed by a mining disaster and subsequently used to manufacture Heinkels during WWII - the real secret weapons of the Luftwaffe, presumably.

Locks and Safes, complete with the Gazetteer of Lock and Key Makers / mystery radios, part of a site devoted to U.S. Clandestine Radio Equipment / could be Banksy, but maybe not... / threepm, a weblog. Lovely pictures of empty Canada / the manipulated architectural photographs of Josef Schulz, via Conscientious / a Database of Wonders, starfields, UFOs, and more.

Art and architecture at notreville.net / Rochdale College: organised anarchy, the story of Canada's first university housing co-op and its descent into infamous drug den. Found via Salgood Sam, whose father featured in Dream Tower, a film about the building. There are fascinating insights into his father's friendship with David Cronenberg in an earlier post. The tower was named after Rochdale, Lancashire (birthplace of Lisa Stansfield).