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Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Analagous Spaces, a conference looking at the parallels between architectural space and theoretical space - the structuring of knowledge, if you like. Presentations included 'From Civic Space to Virtual Space: The Past and Future of Early Public Library Buildings in Britain' (pdf). There's also Koos Bosma's 'In Search of DataSpace' (warning, 13mb pdf), which posits that the relationship between the physical world and the world of data is no longer clear cut: 'The analogous space is denoted as a city of bits and bytes, an analogous urban, wireless space that communicates via satellites. Generally this space is visualised by means of metaphors. The best known is the Electronic Highway, with a junction to another metaphor, the Digital City, which is situated under a dark DataCloud. But metaphors are not very helpful, they are soon worn out.' Rather than the linear grid of the city, the interlinked relationship between data encourages a new, random DataSpace, a digital city of nodes and links.

Sonja Hnilica gave a presentation on memory and planning, describing how the remnants of cities past left imprinted on the urban landscape. In History or Fairytale? (pdf), she invokes the work of Camillo Sitte, the Austrian architect whose 'City Planning According to Artistic Principles', published first in 1889 eschewed the formalism of the block plan - by then finding favour in the New World - and also the relatively sterile grand designs of the City Beautiful Movement. Instead, Sitte favoured the dense and the layered, the adhoc appearance of 'urban rooms' in the medieval city as it swallowed up what went before, although he noted that inevitably there was an 'innate conflict between the picturesque and the practical'. In this sense, the 'metaphor of urban space [is] as a memory' of what went before, an idea that displeased the modernists no end, in particular Le Corbusier - an architect who, as others have noted, 'hated streets.'

See also Naoya Hatakeyama's Untitled/Osaka Diptych. The ultimate solution for Osaka Stadium was Namba Parks, designed by Jerde, reinventing the space left over by the stadium as a 'green oasis'. Below, Piazza del Anfiteatro, Lucca (left) versus Namba Parks, Osaka (right) - both links go to respective Google map pages.



Vaguely related to the shape of data, cities and lives lived: does a surfeit of personal data mean the end of privacy? Anecdotally, it seems the younger generation - those for whom the internet is as natural as breathing - are less concerned with their inevitable digital trail, seeing it as part of their lives, as impossible to erase as footprints and also the means by which people engage and commune / another set of mental images: "I think most men carry around a secret library full of films they've shot of every woman they ever met. Crude little sequences strung together that help us imagine what life might be like with a particular person - buying a car, going to Disneyland, standing around in Sears while she checks the price on bath towels. Despite popular belief, guys don't mentally undress every woman they meet; they simply thread them up and run them through the imaginary film projector in their heads to see what comes of it." (Neil LaBute, from "Look at Her" in Seconds of Pleasure).

*

Other things. Pica + Pixel, a design blog / Eightfish, photography by Justin Guariglia / all about Distill magazine at via magCulture, a new publication which seems to be doing what a weblog does, except in print - collate, curate and re-present. Via the comments, Permanent Food magazine, an Italian equivalent: 'Every issue is an amusing, sometimes shocking and ironic selection of images, literally ripped out of other periodicals from around the world. The instant before an airplane crashes on a pic-nic field, a stolen frame of a skinhead rally, a girl throwing up with a finger stuck in her throat or a Raymond Pettibon drawing are just a small selection of the images you could probably stumble into while skimming one of the latest issues'.

Osteria L'Intrepido di Milano, a nice little place in Milan (via Fooled Again via tmn). The response / Buck Macabre, a weblog / another concept caravan, by Niels Caris (via Muuuz ) / Tiina Itkonen's photography series Ultima Thule at the Michael Hoppen Gallery / Songsterr, an 'online tab player' (via largehearted boy).

Jimmy Stamp has a comprehensive post about New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, Three Years Later. Vaguely related, Kosmograd on the largely bungled Eco-town saga, the struggle for bucolia ??? and the complex shadings of brown- versus green-field that tend to overshadow the debate about the need for more houses TKTKT / to accompany the new exhibition 'Modern Times: untold story of modernism in Australia', City of Sound presents a collaborative map of Modernism in Australia, 180 'buildings and structures, located pretty exactly, and many with links and images'. More to come apparently (check the CoS link for details of the collaborators).

a short history of anatomical maps / a brief history of female robots, both at design boom / Build Blog, design and architecture / photographs of Wiltshire / Matrixsynth, everything to do with synthesizers. See also the peerless Music Thing / a handy shopping list of military aircraft prices / drive big (and very big) diggers with Bagger Simulator 2008 (via rps) / Juxtaposed Tatlin, the endearing aesthetic legacy of the unbuilt.

The world's tallest finished building has just opened, albeit 142m shorter than the world's tallest incomplete building / Architectural Styles of Contemporary Universities / The Archdruid Report, 'Druid perspectives on nature, culture, and the future of industrial society'. Turns out that in this context 'Druidry' really does refer to the 'traditional British Druid practice that explores the Sun Path of seasonal celebration, the Moon Path of meditation, and the Earth Path of living in harmony with nature as tools for crafting an earth-honoring life here and now'. Perhaps it's unsurprising that Druidry should pay a keen interest in the Coming of Deindustrial Society.

On the left above, a new apartment complex by Sou Fujimoto, currently nearing completion in Tokyo. On the right, Herzog + de Meuron's forthcoming VitraHaus at the Vitra campus in Germany.

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