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Monday, June 26, 2006
Many things, not many comments today. Feed your midcentury modern obsession with Eichler for Sale. See also Marin Modern / Snacksby is a really great idea, kind of like cooking with Google but a bit more organised / Crabfu's steam robots / 'the former home of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Guccione, Manhattan, New York' / a piece on Terminal Cheesecake, rather under-represented on the internet / Infocult, tracking the endless trails of info and mis-info that shape the internet / make your own diving bell / a rather beautiful digital clock built from nixie tubes.

The blank panoramas of Jeff Brouws / photography by Thomas Brodin / Ludwig Abache's photographs 'Utopian Modernism in London: A Series of Drifts...', an article by Owen Hatherley (apologies for getting that wrong yesterday). Mr A is also tracking progress on OMA's Serpentine Pavilion / destroy some desks, viral marketing but mildly entertaining / Yutaka Loves London, via Coudal / we like the idea of Khoi Vinh's Blockwriter, a reductivist word processor. More at Vinh's website, Subtraction (via tmn) / the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts / scum vs you suffer / Jane-washing - is this Jacobs' real legacy? / Ave Maria, a Catholic community in Florida.

Off-putting spam header of the day: 'your future, owl-haunted'.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
'ZNO's new toy produces GPS trails of your day's snowboarding, mountainbiking or your teenage daughters movements.' / many, many punk and hardcore videos / acquire Field Tested Reading in pdf form / wear a little brown dress for a year / the computer manipulations of artist Michael Reisch, architecture and landscape / Shanghai Living. See also the work of Michael Wolf / this is why I'm not an architect / 80s video frenzy / Bath's Museum of Costume / wrapped buildings, a flickr set by Phil Gyford / artwork by Ellen Jantzen.

Town chaos as cash thrown in air / a doublestrike on the Guggenheim facade, caught by Kottke as the building is refurbished / speaking of restoration, Love the Festival Hall? As the building slowly emerges from its scaffolding, you are invited to say quite why you love it so / so why replace Trident? Does no-one listen to Katharine Hamnett (Thatcher certainly didn't) / love it: questions not to ask. iconomy gets all the best lines / good list of international design magazines.

Friday, June 16, 2006
Landscape architects as landscapes, the tragic end of Walter Guthrie, a landscape architect killed by a mudslide / NYC London's images of The Sultan's Elephant / Defense Industry Daily, a weblog cataloguing 'military purchasing news for defense procurement managers and contractors'. Fascinating, if creepy, stuff, especially the robots section, which also includes the gun that shoots round corners.

Martha Stewart, the lifestyle guru who can scarcely appear in print without the word 'doyenne' in tow, has launched her new magazine, Blueprint (in-depth look at the mag's fonts). But what does the existing Blueprint magazine think? Also at Archidose, has David Rockwell taken inspiration from Tadao Ando?

Speaking of Ashes, a weblog with photography / we had no idea that SketchUp was now free / hold that Long Awkward Pose (via me-fi / follow up on the earlier post about sinking things on purpose (and also via me-fi), the scuttling of the Oriskany. We're reminded of Far Cry.

Toyota also build mobile homes, don't you know / the concept of qualia / some nsfw imagery at gatsu gatsu, a weblog / The Eyes Have It, a weblog - visual communcations in the healthcare sector, amongst other things / Vivus, a weblog dealing with architecture and design.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Elsewheremapping, a 'blog about mapping in the digital age', although the blog aspect seems a little lacking. In contrast, atlas (t) tackles Berlin odonymy (helpful taxonomy of geographic names: odonymy = the study of street names), coming up with the Berliner Stadtplanarchiv, an interactive collection of maps of the city going back to 1738.

On my desk: workplace detritus (via UnBeige) / we are clandestine, a weblog (in French) / on The Primer, 'a resource for state agency personnel who deal with polygamist groups and individuals' in Utah and Arizona. It includes polygamy slang / a ring tone for young people, high frequency, beyond the range of adult's declining hearing.

It's been a long time since since we visited Lightningfield, and thankfully its take on faded Americana remains as acute and well-observed as ever / flickr's Modernist Houses pool / One Day In New York City, the writers at tmn wax lyrical about their town / File Magazine, 'a collection of unexpected photography'.

Two architectural exhibitions: Sylvia Grace Borda's East Kilbride: Scotland's First New Town, a flash-based historic tour around the much-maligned town, celebrating its architectural quirkiness and trying to lay to rest the myth that all New Towns were bleak, badly-designed and doomed from the off. The photography is very much from the 'New Blank Urbanism' school, i.e. romantic modern emptiness, spaces that revel in the absence of visible humanity, yet reveal human traces through inexorable traces of ageing and decay. See also Jason Oddy's Newtopia at this week's Architecture Week, 'a photographic snapshot of the architecture of the Glasgow New Towns of East Kilbride and Cumbernauld.'

Urban Konsumterror: 'late capitalismís constant demand that we always consume more'. So who better to illustrate this constant consumption than Architectural Pac-Man, a metaphor for 'the use of signature architecture to draw in tourist dollars'.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Global news round-up. International refuse on St Kilda, 'including a Brazilian mustard container, Japanese washing up liquid bottle and Canadian oil drum' / vaguely related: a Texan diving mecca, populated by rusty old theme park rides and lorries. We seem to remember a similar thing is happening in Dubai, only with the hidden bonus of daily hauls of gold bullion to be found by lucky divers. Perhaps somewhere like The World (where, rumour has it, islands that correspond to down-at-heel real world locations aren't doing quite so well).

Thames Town is a suburb of Shanghai, designed by Atkins (see local site) in the manner of a Home Counties market town, with oak panelling and mock Tudor style throughout. Apparently 'the developers are considering buying up old red letter boxes and telephone kiosks to finish off the development.' The same developers are also creating other themed suburbs, including 'Barcelona Town' and 'Anting German New Town,' which is near the city's Volkswagen factory and part of International Automobile City, all designed by the firm of Albert Speer und Partner. See also Maruyama Shakespeare Country Park in Chiba, Japan (photographed by Sue Barr), and designed by the UK-based firm of Julian Bicknell Associates.

'Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism.' Just what is the most 'meta' online aggregator? 'We now are reading what a collectivity algorithm derives from what other collectivity algorithms derived from what collectives chose from what a population of mostly amateur writers wrote anonymously.' And a discussion.

Transformer Houses, picked up by me-fi, although it's rather unfair to say that 'BLDBLOG is the new /., boingboing, nytimes, whatever. Great stuff, no doubt... but remarkably familiar.' That said, there is a certain familiarity about the subject matter of many weblogs, a desire to chronicle and catalogue a physical other that, without the internet, would remain an hinterland of the imagination. BLDBLOG is especially adept at dusting down the architectural and cultural remnants of past and future civilisations, sifting through the ruined foundations of grand schemes and technologies

Photos of abandoned asylums by Chris Payne / an index of English and Welsh Lunatic Asylums and Mental Hospitals, 'Based on a comprehensive survey in 1844, and extended to other asylums', including the '1832 Madhouse Act and the Metropolitan Commission in Lunacy from 1832' / Dreams and Nightmares of the African Astronauts, fantasies about space exploration created by local artisans in Burkina Faso.

A list of Helsinki Restaurants, courtesy Chris at Anti-Mega, who also makes a call for slow building. The Empire State Building went up at a floor a day, and it was beautifully decorated, so it's not all about speed. Mind you, a link to Owen Jones' Grammar of Ornament is not to be sniffed at.

Talking of pareidolia, check out Mary in a pebble (thanks Costas, who found the pebble) / 1960's Family Slides / live stats from BBC news / the hanging garage, mid century modern meets auto advertising, courtesy of architects Marmol Radziner / what good books are online?

A new look for Design Observer, which finally adds a 'designed' feel to a website that has established itself as one of the prime centres of educated debate about the design industry on the web / Paris and Banlieu, a photoset tackling the rather banal post-modern housing that crept up to the edges of Paris in the 1970s and 80s / could Wayne Hemingway be the Jane Jacobs of Suburbia?

This query was helpful, but didn't prepare us for 2,000 spam messages in a single hour this morning. Filters are your friend.

Monday, June 12, 2006
Is London's skyline a 'tragic parody of development control'? Airspace, a new exhibition, hopes to present the architects' and developers' side of the story, presenting a series of panoramas and asking us, the public, to vote on which they like best. What about a city without tall buildings? Or one where tall buildings are clustered together? Or one where planning controls are pretty much abandoned altogether? These are interesting images, but ultimately unhelpful. The virtual city is segueing inexorably into the physical one, a transition lubricated by money and little else.

The Grumpy Old Bookman ruminates on books and book-selling and all things in between, with copious links (including one to PostSecret, which we'd heard of but never actually visited. They're all very confessional and sad) / seen before? The Invisible Library, via That's How it Happened, also touched upon by rogue semiotics.

Vincent at the Supermarket, a flickr set spotted by Swiss Miss / photos from the 60s by Billy Elmore, via me-fi projects / the work of Linda Ganjian / Rotational on the Rings of Saturn / Lost Theories is exactly that: theories on what on earth is going on in 'Lost' / NEWSgrist, which links to an interview with Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, amongst other things.

Louder, louder, louder!, on sonic weaponry / vaguely related, is that why would anyone would want to support this? / an example of pareidolia, see the flickr pool / trawl through the Salvo Fair / Objekt International/ a rant against Gehry, an increasingly common action / Vantan, a weblog / From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Videogames, a 'definitive history of the longstanding relationship between games and military culture.'

Thursday, June 08, 2006
Random themes that are all somehow linked. They came from outer space, Tom Dyckhoff on Future City: Experiment and Utopia in Architecture 1956-2006 at the Barbican, and the work of Constant Nieuwenhuys in particular: 'New Babylon was a city not of sin but of pleasure. Constant imagined a future in which humans, freed into permanent leisure by technology, would endlessly have fun.'

How endless would the fun be? In 'Among the Transhumanists: Cyborgs, self-mutilators, and the future of our race', Slate William Saletan looks at the subculture of body alteration. This is aworld away from the one-man in-joke that is Kevin Warwick, perhaps the best-known exponent of cyber-enhancement in the UK. This is far more serious stuff, delving into arcana like 'the self-demand amputation community' and the even rockier ethical path of living forever: Aubrey de Grey, immortalist, 'also floated the creepy idea that overpopulation might not become a problem because once we're immortal, we might realize children are no fun'. A world of endless fun yet without any children implies some confusion ahead.

'The Land of Milk and Bunny: What Peter Rabbit can teach businesses about going global', over at Grist Magazine. Beatrix Potter is huge in Japan, which gobbles up a sizeable chunk of the $500m spent each year on Peter Rabbit branded goods. Unfortunately the article is a mangled collection of platitudes that relate to so-called 'sustainable branding'; e.g. 'think multi-local,' and worry about the impact of Japanese tourists on Cumbria / Purse Lip Square Jaw on the Internet of Things.

We have contributed to this year's Field-Tested Books, the annual round-up of reading at Coudal, complete with limited-edition poster. Leonard Pierce on Balllard's Crash is particularly fine. See also our latest letter from London, London sprawling. Thanks to Pitchaya for suggesting a link with the Elephant Hotel, the palatial pachyderm of Coney Island. If only urban elephants wasn't the name of an NYC Republican group, it would be a fine phrase to describe objects that are strangely out of place in the city environment. We're back to the notion of spectacle, central plank in the theories of the Situationist International, the group that counted Constant Nieuwenhuys among its founder members. And what became of the hotel? It burnt down in 1896, perhaps as a result of the 'searchlights flashed erratically from her eyes'. It was a close relative, also built by James V. Lafferty, of Lucy the Elephant, now a famed favourite destination in Margate, Atlantic City. Lafferty also inspired the Moulin Rouge Elephant.

Other things. 'In 2006, is it now OK for a Jew to buy a VW?'/ a rogue's gallery published, somewhat oddly, by the British Transport Police (via Andy Farnsworth's Tripe Soup). The BTP History Archives is an interesting browse: was Jack the Ripper a Railway Policeman? / Ample Sanity, a weblog / Epitonic, influential music site, redesigns and relaunches.

ePerimetron (via The Map Room), a quarterly web journal 'on science and technologies affined to history of cartography and maps' / A Brief History of the Vacuum Cleaner (via incoming signals) / The Eyes Have It, a weblog / images, objects and opinions at Bouphonia, a weblog / Enter Whining, a weblog / mapping the billionaires (via lpc).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The history of the telescope and the binocular, in texts and historical images, including post-war manufacturing in Japan (photo shows lenses being ground) / a digital facsimile of Ulysses, the original 1922 edition (via the cartoonist).

Sarah Pickering photographs explosions, via coudal / all about Old Kew Gardens / the website of Justin Broadrick, mastermind behind Jesu / useful colour rules of thumb / 'an insight into how the choice of music changes our view of the urban environment / a good point: why doesn't Soviet propoganda imagery 'repulse us the way Nazi propaganda does?' (via kottke).

London in 1666, a Google Earth overlay / Jeff Milner's Backmasking Site. Fun with flash and hidden messages (via daily jive). Appropriate, perhaps, for the National Day of Slayer / the surname profiler - where do your relatives live?

The sounds of space: you can listen again to a piece on this morning's Today programme (0745am) about the noises picked up in the depths of the universe. Related, 'Pioneer spacecraft data saved.' Bizarrely, thirty years of mission data was under threat as the agency wasn't up to looking after the 'old 7- and 9-track magnetic tapes'. Apparently there's something called the Pioneer Anomaly that needs further study: 'the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft are not where they are supposed to be.'

A colossal collection of photographer links at Gosh Photographic, a website run by Dave Callanan, John Callanan, Clare Smith and John Hodgett. Hodgett's images of the M6 Toll Road under construction are rather beautiful, if depressing.

Lachrymatory, the Tear Bottle information website, via deblogatory. In Roman times, 'the more anguish and tears produced, the more important and valued the deceased person was perceived to be' / photographs at mikule / Make no sound, a weblog / William Shakespeare, cliche generator.

Monday, June 05, 2006
The urban imagery of George Orwell (via Caterina). In pre-WWII Europe, Orwell found Barcelona to be far more vital than London, which was a 'shabby and dirty' place that was eventually to be sullied by ugly war memorials and devastation. We dug out the image of future London from the controversial 1954 teleplay of 1984., which, despite its rather high-tech undertones, aptly conveys Orwell's vision of the city as a rather stony, authoritarian place, with awkward totalitarian architecture staked out across public spaces to oversee everyone.

Other things. The photography of Kevin Cooley / something slant, a linklog, includes pointers to the Manzanar Free Press ('published by internees of the wartime Manzanar Relocation Camp' for Japanese-Americans), and Abandoned Naples.

The four Gasometers in Vienna (thanks Paul), converted to housing and offices by Jean Nouvel (A), Coop Himmelblau (B), Manfred Wehdorn (C) and Wilhelm Hozbauer (D). A similar thing is happening to the gasometers at London's Kings Cross, skeletal remains of industry that are being dismantled, moved, and rebuilt, all the while surrounded by the vast Argent King's Cross development. But has there ever been a more redundant piece of architecture than a disused gasometer? Great monuments of industrial architecture they may be, but they fail to work as coherent pieces of cityscape, becoming objects for the sake of objects.

Livejournal images, spewed out and hence possibly not safe for work / what's that bug? / Christopher Clark's mind the gap / drawings of Imperial Russian Predreadnoughts. This wasn't a term we were previously familiar with.

The Story of the Fall (via indie mp3), a weblog, with mp3s, that tracks the band's story, track by track / Russian Posters, many / save the Type Museum / London's Ferrier Estate is apparently a "hellhole", a condemned structure inhabited by a final few die-hard tenants while services and infrastructure are slowly run down before eventual demolition. the local council hopes, rebirth / many things found by Martin Klasch / George Petty's Ridgid Tools Calendars / random things is apparently over.

Seen before, but constantly being added to: Reel Streets, London (and UK) film locations. There's also a weblog / join the London Scavenger Hunt / whatever happened to virtual reality? / Ballardian sets sail to Tinian Island / need a tank bike? You need the new Sachs Report, up now.

Friday, June 02, 2006
London Leben, a German weblog with photos of the city, including recent architecture, seen before and rediscovered via this great Japanese collection of photography sites, which includes a digest collection of flickr sets, so you don't have to search for them (e.g. city of lost refrigerators, computer history museum, 19th Century Circus and Magic Posters, window seats, jet set ruins and the airplane graveyard, to name but a few).

Do architects make good musicians? Building Design have solicited a collection of demos for the Architecture Rocks party during the London Architecture Biennale, so you can judge for yourself / images of Rio / Colin Gregory Palmer's photos of London / what are the mysterious Toynbee Tiles? (via me-fi). See also the less mysterious space invader tiles / thanks for all the help with this question.

Critical Spatial Practice, a weblog / Circular Saw Blunders in 3-D (via bb) / Theodore Gray has made a Wooden Periodic Table. It is rather amazing.