Jan 27 2008

“Brutalist Jaunt”

A photo-essay.

Apart from his academic work, Robinson hardly ever leaves the flat except to go to the supermarket

For him, shopping is an experience of overwhelming poignancy

- Patrick Keiller, London

Jan 26 2008

One Of God’s Prototypes

To paraphrase HST: “too weird to live, too rare to die”.


Nicholas van Hoogstraten, 62, is no stranger to controversy and his list of previous convictions includes ordering a grenade attack on the home of a business associate, a Jewish clergyman who he claimed owed him money. For that he spent four years in Wormwood Scrubs in the 1960s, but he would later face much more serious charges.

Mr Van Hoogstraten also hit the headlines during an ugly spat with ramblers over a public footpath through the grounds of the enormous mansion near Uckfield in East Sussex.

Called Hamilton Palace, after Bermuda’s capital, it is neo-classical, with a copper dome. It was estimated to have cost around £40m and was reportedly the most expensive private house built in Britain for a century.

It is bigger than Buckingham Palace and has a 600ft art gallery and a mausoleum designed to hold Mr van Hoogstraten’s body for 5,000 years. The mausoleum’s walls are three feet thick because he said he wanted to “make the building last for ever”.

Monstrous man, and yet the world is altogether more interesting.

Jan 25 2008

Anti-Wind Farm Campaigner

This annoys me.

Plans to build one of Europe’s biggest wind farms on the Isle of Lewis are set to be turned down, BBC Scotland understands. The BBC’s Gaelic news service, Radio nan Gaidheal, has learned that Scottish Government ministers are “minded to refuse” the 181 turbine scheme. More than 5,000 letters of objection to the proposals were received by the Scottish Government.

It is believed environmental concerns are behind the decision.

Yeah, because there were no environmental concerns about the cost of not building these things. How much more coal and oil gets burned because this plan doesn’t go through? How many more fossil-fuel barons get fatter because people were worried about “visual impact” and busy roads.

We need energy. There’s no way back: we have to go with progress, embrace it. Slam on the anchors and we crash. There’s no return route to some idealised pastoralist Eden. We don’t want to die of pollution, and so we have to find ways of generating clean energy. Yet whenever I see a positive proposal for how to do this, I see moaning and complaining from a huge range of malcontents. Middle class Not In My Back Yards, Greenist zealots who would rather we all did with out those inessentials like light and warmth.

I’m inclined to think that Anti Wind Farm campaigners are essentially selfish buggers who can’t appreciate the aesthetics of a good windmill, and that anti-nuclear campaigners are sadly deluded hippies with no real wish for people to live happy lives in the real world. We need clean energy, people. Climb down from those towers and start helping us fix it.

Oct 3 2007

Sci-fi Real Estate

BLDGBLOG has an interview with my favourite architect, Lebbeus Woods

“There’s a kind of lack of discourse about these larger issues. People are hunkered down, looking for jobs, trying to get a building. It’s a low point. I don’t think it will stay that way. I don’t think that architects themselves will allow that. After all, it’s architects who create the field of architecture; it’s not society, it’s not clients, it’s not governments. I mean, we architects are the ones who define what the field is about, right?”

Sep 4 2007

Under Glasgow

Check out Mr Pearson’s awesome photos from a deserted station beneath Glasgow botanical gardens.

Aug 26 2007

Single Hauz

I should like to own this modernist billboard/treehouse, Single Hauz.

Via Bldgblog, which contains a number of other recent posts about houses on water.

Aug 10 2007

Trailer Park Modernists

It’s been a while since I posted any fun buildings, so take a look at the plans for this prefab house.

Ideal if you happen to own a vast tract of savannah.

May 25 2007

Land Of The AutoBurger

Some of my favourite places in the world are motorway services in the UK. I like that they have no romance to them. They are simply for taking a piss, having a terrible cup of tea, and maybe playing Sega Rally. The physiological essentials of life.

(I also like that some dabble with function-free futurist architecture, such as the weird hexagonal faux traffic-control tower up at the top of the M6 near Lancaster, and I occasionally wonder if someone could get digs living above their grubby, truncated shopping malls – but that’s sort of irrelevant.)

I was, more relevantly, delighted to discover this Motorway services information and review website.

I particularly like that they have a gallery:

May 11 2007

Neo-Ruins, Tokyo

Wired News links to the work of Hisaharu Motoda who (presumably after his time spent photographing abandoned island-city Gunkajima) has rendered a series of photographs of Tokyo as a post-apocalyptic cityscape.

In his Neo-Ruins series Motoda depicts a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where familiar landscapes in the central districts of Ginza, Shibuya, and Asakusa are reduced to ruins and the streets eerily devoid of humans. The weeds that have sprouted from the fissures in the ground seem to be the only living organisms. “In Neo-Ruins I wanted to capture both a sense of the world′s past and of the world’s future,” he explains.

May 9 2007

On Fire

I love this image of the fires in LA:

Photo by: Dave Bullock / eecue