Archive for the 'notes' Category

living the dream

October 14, 2009


Preview of “”


Here, under the cut, is PJ Holden’s list of tips for aspiring professional comic artists. Having read these, it would seem they apply to a number of areas, including architecture. I’d add the following. These are from very early on when I started working and I asked my mentor (who knows who he is, or will when he reads this) what advice he could give me about getting to where he was (a pretty good place). He said:

Marry a rich accountant (admittedly a fairly common piece of advice).

If you don’t draw, thats your funeral.

Always learn the new technology (this is a long running advice thread from him, the latest advice being that is you don’t learn sketchup you are finished (or something similar). See also podium).

Don’t get bogged down in admin (that’s obvious, true, but for architects it’s a minefield).

If you look (and he was talking about architecture) all the successful firms are based on ‘private money’ (this may not be fair or true now, but at the time it appeared to be the case) – do not be too proud to be supported.

Work for a rock and roll band. (He was talking from experience, of course, and the band he was referring to was a very cool 1970’s band). 

 If you can provide for people who are mostly wired, then you can work for, and with, anybody.

He also added, when I asked who I should work for next, that this should be Peter Zumthor. 

Aim high…




October 11, 2009




the eighth circle of hell

update – we are words + pictures

October 10, 2009


Ninja Bunny 2008-11-12-This-was-no-day-out-at-the-beach.gif


New London dates (and one Leeds stall date) are here, illustrated with Philip Spence’s quite lovely 300th Ninja Bunny webcomic strip (and a nice link to more).

Don’t forget to take some money (you may have difficulty choosing):

Saturday 17th October, Girl Germs @ The Camden Head (from 8pm)

Sunday 8th November, Comiket @ The ICA

Thursday 12th November, Are You Zine Friendly? @ The Foundry (from 8pm)

Saturday 21st November, Thought Bubble Comic Convention, Leeds

Who are WAW+P?


Also: Comica

Preview of “Comica | Festival '09”

irving penn r.i.p.

October 7, 2009




The photographer Irving Penn has died at the age of 92.


girl wi g

Girl behind glass (Jean Patchett), New York, 1949
Gelatin silver print. 40 x 38.1 cm. (15 3/4 x 15 in).


Preview of “Irving Penn - Frozen Food (with String Beans), New York, 1977 - Artwork details at artnet”

Frozen food (with String Beans), New York 1977

competition – evil orchid

October 6, 2009


Preview of “A Journey Round My Skull- BLICKFANG - The Eye-Catching Covers of Weimar Berlin”


rotterdam film and architecture festival

October 3, 2009









Rotterdam Architecture and Film Festival.

Click on the images to see the films, including some parkour in the one below, also with Jean Paul Belmondo running around in a tuxedo in Brasilia. As you do.

29.10.2009 – 01.11.2009



bird’s custard

October 3, 2009




To cut to the chase, frozen custard lollies are wonderful. They pretty much sum up that long hot summer of 1976, when the sun shone for months and it seemed like we’d never need to go back to school. There is something endearingly timeless about the powder, a concoction of  what, we don’t know, which, on paper, seem so… wrong. The Custard we know today was invented by an English pharmacist, Mr Bird, for his wife, who was allergic to eggs, in 1837. It is difficult to think of other products of the 19th century that not only remain popular, but are actually still on the market.

In the present day, with plastic cups from Lakeland and microwaves (microwave custard has the skin all the way through) we can perform magic. This magic is, as it has always been, of the weird transformation sort, where a mess of ingredients suddenly become a smooth sweet dream. It isn’t the only magic that can occur, it would seem, what with custard being a handy pacification tool as well as an accompaniment. The graphics may have changed, but the legendary child-pleasing qualities of the yellow gloop remain, bringing the summer of ’76 to us and to our children, at any time.


birds 3


Top ten custard combinations, in no particular order (and it has to be Birds*):

1. Trifle

2. Frozen custard lollies

3. Frozen raspberries, at room temperature, with custard.

4. Apple pie and custard

5. Banana custard

6. Custard tarts (i.e. hot jam tarts with custard)

7. Steamed recycled cupcake pudding and custard

8. Rhubarb and custard

9. Sticky toffee pudding and custard

10. For grown-ups only: Advocaat


little birds

* except for 10.

lifting the lid

October 3, 2009

irish shit

What’s this about?

There’s been a referendum in Ireland, on the Lisbon Treaty.

A no-brainer, then, to vote no? 

Hopefully not. A yes vote is a vote against the sentiments behind this poster.

Obviously, the makers of this image knew just what buttons to push and then they hid all that manipulation inside a picture of something else. In short, they are exploiting aspects of the Irish voter’s thinking, that might best remain unrevealed. Ireland must make up her own mind on this and the world is watching. We are not just watching for the result of the vote, but also for the influence of this campaign.

The poster is visually very strong and has been quite cleverly designed, but it leaves a bad smell.

Note at 15.00, 03.09.2009 :

News received that Ireland voted Yes for EU reform and No to being manipulated.

the ragbag

October 2, 2009



Click on the images to see the stories: Nabokov mapping Joyce, the last good meal on the Titanic, and so on.

Enter the world of Raynor’s Ragbag. That’s him at the end, apparently.








emerson rag





Preview of “the ragbag - well sirs, i don’t want to make a point of posting...”

uh oh

October 2, 2009


Preview of “Image- Will Alsop and Peter Morrison - Building Design”


Here on the left is Will Alsop, who has just joined the architecture firm RMJM. The other guy is Peter Morrison, who heads RMJM (one of the worlds largest architecture firms). More on him below. Thats Will’s work on the wall, a surprisingly recessive choice for him, but perfect for this ‘not scaring off the clients’ type press release photo.

This post will all look a bit insular to architects (and not all of them either), but thats far from how it really is. There is a premonition here for all architects and also, perhaps more optimistically, for everyone else (as long as their position is/ their drawings are strong enough to survive the process).

In short, big architecture companies are buying up what they consider to be art talent (and I don’t even mean architecture talent). This gives an edge in a crowded market, some credibility and generally chimes with the general mood of things. 

Will is first and foremost an artist and if somebody paid him to be that all day, paid his creative team (thats assistants and one or two architects, possibly) and took his troublesome business off his hands, then he’ll be happy as Larry. 

The problem lies with the separation of the design and the delivery aspects of the work. Handing the birth of the architecture over to the apparent non-designers, whilst maintaining the early concept work within an elite team is a worrying move. Whilst this may be very exciting for artists who can now perhaps get a bit more involved, it’s quite worrying for architects who may increasingly find themselves getting cut out of the design process, and being reduced to being technicians.

In reality, the person or team who draw the drawings  actually designs the building. This is because the concept art, (if it has not been made very specifically to represent the building) might not be visually similar to what the client actually wants (and the people who have to provide what the client wants are the people who actually draw the end product). If there is a mismatch between the concept artwork and the actual client expectations and if the architects are are any less good designers than the originators of the concept (and there is absolutely no guarantee here that they will be as good), then there is going to be a less good end product. 

There is a place for art and sculpture in architecture (and vice versa) and that to an extent is what this blog is about. I’m really happy for Will and I love him. There is just something about the look on the Morrison’s face in the photo that worries me.

In March 2008 he went on the record saying:

At RMJM, while we have many great architects, we believe that no single architect is bigger than the collective process we embrace.” 

And much more.

Uh oh.

RMJM had a stormy (quote: BD) relationship with Enrique Miralles and there is more evidence of a certain lack of respect for so-called ‘starchitects’. One would assume that Will would be aware of this, but he is still taking the money, so it’s hard to see what’s going on.

Great photoshopping of the fag out of Will’s hand, by the way. Did they really have to do that? Everyone knows Will smokes and drinks, so why start trying to make him look all clean cut now?

Watch out, Will. You may not be as in control of your images as you think you are.


kafka/ nabokov

September 30, 2009

Preview of “nabokov_on_kafka-723818.jpg 526×784 pixels”

The front page of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, with corrections and annotations made by Vladimir Nabokov.

a door opens

September 26, 2009

We live in different worlds simultaneously, all with space to be explored, and with an architecture. The physical world, with people, geography, architecture, is one such world. This is the world we all live in and where I spend most of my working time as an architect, making stuff. That stuff: the ideas, visions, drawings, models, buildings, product, all comes from somewhere. More often than not it comes from ‘what came before’, or ‘history’, or ‘context’ or ‘what we can do’. All this is perfectly valid (or for others to argue over), but there has to be more to architecture and the design process, than this, and there is.

We bring our dreams to the design but we, as architects, do not have a monopoly on dreams. We may not be (in fact I’m sure we are not) the best or most practised dreamers. 

So, what of these other worlds? 

This blog sets out to document explorations in some of the places which are generally considered other to architecture: films, books, exhibitions, comics, graphic novels, webpages, and so on, where there are new dreams being made and old dreams waiting to be given new life. There will also be a look at the boundaries: places and spaces that might be part of the dream world or that might be real, paper architecture, strange narratives, odd fragments. There will be lots of information, links, loose ends and questions. The view will be subjective, taste-driven and probably scattered with off-topic material. There might even be architecture. There are no apologies here: this is a wander, not a march. There will be no explanations of where this will end up, or why things are important. All this will be entirely subjective and there will be gaps, big ones. This is a scrapbook of fragments, a diary, a paintbox, a collection, a sub-text, a space syntax, a space in text. 

A look at what lies just beyond Architecture’s edges. 

Maybe, one day this blog will grow up to be an atlas. Until then, it is just the document of a journey.