Architecture is about the lack of stability and how to address it. Architecture is about the void and how to cross it. Architecture is about inhospitability and how to live within it.
Lebbeus Woods would have had it no other way, and—as students, writers, poets, novelists, filmmakers, or mere thinkers—neither should we. - Geoff Manaugh about Lebbeus Woods who passed away Yesterday
Ärsta Church by Johan Celsing Architects. Simple Beauty. With loadbearing brick the structure of the building is the same as it’s materials. A rare feature these days, speaking of an honesty of detailing and materiality.
There are three categories of things: Fragile things that break, like the financial system; robust things that don’t break easily but don’t improve, like the Brooklyn Bridge; and my new category, antifragile things that gain strength from stressors and get stronger from failure, like evolution. The fundamental problem in foreign policy is that people shoot for stability rather than antifragility. -Nassim Nicholas Taleb
A series of twitters from Dan lead me to the article and quote above. Only wondering about whether applying antifragile ideas to human built systems is a good idea given that Evolution the example stated above is the epitome of death, violence and extinction. Am eagerly awaiting his new book Antifragile to hear how things might fail well.
A great article in Domus about Architectural publishing.
The digital revolution has spawned a new generation of small, agile and hyperactive publishers who, over the last decade, have profoundly transformed how architecture and design are broadcast, both in print and online.
I remember having a disagreement about what blogging and the internet meant to Architectural publishers with a no longer writing blogger a few years back. He thought basically that there would be no Architectural journals at all and a lot less published work full stop. I was extremely sceptical. For sure the landscape will change drastically but TV didn’t kill Radio and the Internet won’t kill the book or the journal. This article shows that a new very interesting scene is emerging, and I think personally there will be a lot more to change in this space over the next few years, again from the Domus article,
What one finds today, therefore, is not that online formats seek to replace or supersede printed formats. Instead, the poly-vocal, movable and interactive capacity that is most amplified in online production is actually part of a wider change affecting both print publishing and architectural production itself.
I’m not going to write a long review but just a brief overview of this book with a few online references for following up by myself and anyone else interested.
Pompeii starts with the falling pumice stone on the city of Pompeii on the 25th August 79CE. What book on Pompeii could start in any other way than to take you via the people trapped, and forced to witness forever to us this human tragedy 2000 years ago? Their frozen bodies at once connect us to this city in a way the buried city buildings never will. But after the introduction Mary Beard leaves the statues of the dead respectfully behind to give anyone interested a run down on the city, and what it can and can’t tell us.
Miss Beard has a good way of writing, she can summarise complicated points well and make them easily digestible, and she tries not to get too carried away, but let the actual evidence contain her assumptions.
It’s wonderful to follow the speculation forinstance about the possible one way road system or try to imagine the stench of the street / open sewer system of the town. How many people could read? How many citizens and slaves? How did the local elections work? The architecture, paintings, everything is gone over in the search for information about Pompeii and the Roman world, and through it I found myself building up a much more detailed picture than I previously had before.
The sections on making a visit and further reading make this book more than a vivid capturing of the city into the first book you should read if you are going to visit the city.
Mary Beard since writing this has produced with the BBC quite a few films including one on Pompeii, it’s below with a few other links.
The Kamppi Chapel of Silence by K2S Architects sits newly built on the corner of Narinkka square outside the Kamppi shopping center. It is the newest, busiest and usually liveliest square and thoroughfare in the city, and until now remorselessly commercial. Meant as a place of contemplation it is a single room made of alder wood planks.
The first time I went I really liked the chapel from the inside, the outside shape I loved but wondered whether the cladding was a little too orange and wondered why the building was not bisymmetrical, the back bow of the building is flatter than the front and I thought this was a little odd.
However passing it by a few times since I have decided I love the shape from all angles and the orange should both weather better in time and do better in the dark winter to come. Definitely one to visit.
A few years back I wrote about Nicola Tesla and his Wardenclyffe Tower building. That site is now for sale and Matthew Inman is trying to raise the money to buy the site and to start a museum dedicated to Tesla. If there is one thing you need to do today that is donate to this fund!
Update: As of a few days ago they reached their target to buy the site but there are still some days to go and they need all the money they can get to get the museum up and running. (via)
The temporary pavilion erected as a hub for Helsinki’s World Design Capital activities is a lovely way to engage people in the design life of the city. The building sits in the car park between the design and architecture museums which sit back to back facing away from each other. It complements them well and brings them, under a canopy, together.
Cafe and space for lectures, films, performances take up most of the space with a reading corner overflow. There are no walls to speak of only curtains and visiting on a beautiful sunny hot summer day I liked the way the spaces bleed out to the street. Maybe a pavilion here as a center for design related activities in the city could become an annual or biannual thing as the museums themselves don’t have good gathering spaces and this provides a very public realm with great flexibility.
The building is birch ply, steel plates and polycarbonate roofing. It succeeds well in providing a spacious and dynamic feeling space.
See my other photos of the pavilion on flickr.
The design team:
Markus Heinonen, Architecture Department
Marko Hämäläinen, Structures
Pyry Kantonen, Architecture Department
Janne Kivelä, Architecture Department
Wilhelmiina Kosonen, Interior Design Department
Inka Saini, Interior Design Department
Pekka Heikkinen,Ransu Helenius, Risto Huttunen, Mikko Paakkanen, Karola Sahi
A great day for science
The Higgs boson appears in a theory first fleshed out in 1964 by Peter Higgs at Edinburgh University and five other physicists. Finding the particle proves there is an energy field that fills the vacuum of the observable universe. It plays the crucial role of giving mass to certain subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter. (via)
Jonathan Speirs was a great lighting designer, definitely the most famous and certainly one of the best. I had the pleasure of working with him and his team on a project in Edinburgh and he impressed with his no fuss professionalism. He died a few weeks ago and will leave a great hole in his profession and beyond. His office has made a visual tribute.
Recently for the first time I went to visit a Futuro building. The Futuro is a prefabricated plastic flying saucer shaped house designed by Matti Suuronen in 1968 for use as a ski lodge. It wasn’t that successful at the time maybe only 60 being manufactured until it was canceled in 1973 in the face of the world oil crisis. However since then the Futuro has developed a status not just in Finnish design circles but globally and online.
Kirjava Keskiaika is a beautiful finnish website which opens up for anyone the oldest and most precious books existing in Finland, download the text in pdf format. Also the books and other medieval treasures are mapped and a short written history of the object given.
There were 530 entries in the Helsinki Central Library Competition (via). Proposals will be shown in the Autumn and final winning proposal next summer.
The City Board Voted on Wednesday to reject the Guggenheim Helsinki proposal by 8 votes to 7. But there will be new elections and a new board by the autumn. (via)
If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right. Henry Ford