Notes from Delerious New York

From the 1850's Manhattan became a mythical laboratory for the invention and testing of a Culture of Congestion. The revolutionary lifestyle was brought about by the simultaneous explosion of human density and an invasion of new technologies. In his book Delirious New York Rem Koolhaas explores the mutant metropolitan culture of Manhattan and the seemingly unrelated episodes of urbanism. Koolhaas declared that the program of "Manhattanism" was so outrageous that in order for it to be realised it could never be openly declared. The untangling of theories, tactics and dissimulations were collectively established on the unconscious realities of the city grid. "On each plot stands an identical base, built from heavy polished stone. To facilitate and provoke speculative activity, these bases - ideological laboratories - are equipped to suspend unwelcome laws, undeniable truths, to create non-existent, physical conditions. From theses solid blocks of granite, each philosophy has the right to expand indefinitely towards the heaven. Some of these blocks present limbs of complete certainty and serenity, others display soft structures of tentative conjectures and hypnotic suggestions."
The grid can further be understood as the subdivision of metropolitan territory into maximum increments of control - an archipelago of "cities within cities". The more each "island" celebrates its own values the more the unity of the city is enforced. It is within this realm that the skyscraper is able to create its own instantaneous "folklore" by separating interior and exterior architecture - such structures can devote their exterior only to formalism and their interiors only to functionalism.
Each parcel of land represented an irreconcilable shameless bombast of forms and each building striving to outdo the other. The metropolis strives to fabricate the world in his image so it wholly and absolutely coincides with his desires. 

Map of Carrington, New York become the hegemony of urban planning in cities around the world.

Love this quote

Architecture as an idea cannot be limited to one-off masterpieces but should create an inspiring fabric of spaces and ways of living, a tapestry of human invention and aspiration. It is possible to imagine a vibrant urban tapestry—a city—with many Zvi Hecker buildings, while it is not possible to imagine the same with the singular buildings of, say, Zaha Hadid. (Lebbeus Woods on Zvi Hecker's architecture)

Aldo van Eyck

"A building is a city, a city a building", Aldo van Eyck. His pavilion in Arnhem's Sonsbeek Park reproduces and contains the concept of the city: the parallel walls form five 'streets' which are interrupted here and there or curve to form a system of 'city squares'. This environment is linear on the outside but filled with motion on the inside.

model for an exhibition pavilion


Presenting a series of smaller projects has proven to be both complicated and time consuming. Further when condensing the projects onto a singular site their positioning felt arbitrary, lacking context and also lost a lot of my initial ideas about creating slow change through an urban fabric of a city.
This is the first iteration of a new idea for my final project I have had. It takes all the same ideas but inverts the design process. Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project focuses on the iron and glass construction of the arcades and their affiliated activities and in doing so he illuminated the vitality of human existence. My idea follows a similar notion by considering the associated external spaces of each building or program and the way they frame the public space. This space then becomes a singular entity or building in itself and creates a new interesting way to consider architecture. This is something definitely lacking in commercially driven architecture and our suburban streets, a complete and utter disregard for the social qualities of building and completely egocentric.



Kin Dza Dza Sketchbook

These images show the process Alex Andreyev uses to create his amazing renderings. He uses pencil drawings which he scans and takes into photoshop. Using multiple layers he builds up the base colours and highlighted tones. Finally patches of light and textures are added to create a sense of realness. 

Highlighted notes from Surrealism: the last snapshot of the european intelligentsia(1929)

Walter Benjamin in his essay The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia considers the transformation of a society, tensioned by a profane struggle for power and domination, as either occurring through decay or explosion. At the time when it broke over its founders as an inspiring dream wave, surrealism seemed the most integral, conclusive and absolute of movements to stimulate change. “Life only seemed worth living where the threshold between waking and sleeping was worn away in everyone as by the steps of multitudinous images flooding back and forth, language only seemed itself where, sound and image, image and sound interpenetrated with automatic precision and such felicity that no chink was left for the penny-in-the-slot called meaning”.
Max Ernst (1891-1976)Collage tiré de Une semaine de bonté.

Fallen Silo

Fallen Silo's narrative revolves around a community that has inhabited a family of derelict grain silos, returning to a pastoral way of life. The multilayered rendering style strives to capture the fragility of these stoic structures. The illustrations took "Best in Show" at KRob 2009 Architectural Illustration Competition.

The gift of Time

Somewhere around 1950 Georges Bataille gave Le Corbusier a copy of his book La Park Maudite, essai d'econmie (The Accursed Share) in which the following passage was marked and underlined by Corb:
This useless consumption is what suits me, once my concern for the morrow is removed. And if i thus consume immoderately, i reveal to my fellow beings that which i am intimately: Consumption is the way in which separate beings communicate. Everything shows through, everything is open and infinite between those who consume intensely. But nothing counts then; violence is released and it breaks forth without limits, as the heat increases.
This passage represents the so called "productive expenditures" or activities which, considered in primitive terms, has no end beyond itself (surrealism and architecture, Tomas Mical). Corbusier noted the word "fusion" which is believed to reference The Poem of the Right Angle,  which he composed over a period of seven years, from 1947-1953. 

Fusion (Red)
Do not overwhelm then he
who wants to take his part of the
risks of life - Let
the metals fuse
tolerate the alchemists who
besides leave you outside
the cause
 All the buildings we design are projected into the future, so it is hard to disregard the morrow and the immoderate disposition of the irresponsible consumer. "But nothing counts then; violence is released and it breaks forth without limits, as the heat increases."

Coal Mines Hunter Valley

Its hard to comprehend the size of these, check the scale. Coal Loaders Kooragang

Kooragang Coal Loaders


Perhaps one of the best photos I have ever stumbled upon. Le Corbusier and Albert Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey, c. 1946. from Lebbeus Wood's Blog.

A game of chance

Torgeir Husevaag is a Norwegian artist who has created this series of work based on the visualisation of data collected during a game of poker. In a way that succumbs to the game of chance each players moves are mapped and illustrated in a way that crystallises the flow of chips and cards in graphic form.

There is only five basic acts in poker; bet, raise, call, check, and fold, but they create a quite complex language, since each of these “words” have the potential to chance meaning according to the context it is implied within... My works based on poker translate these processes into visual imagery; the performances focus in on the group-dynamics, the video and installations use the flow of values, as well as the game-aesthetics as their starting-point (green felt, focused lightning, hands, cards and chips in motion). In my drawings the above-mentioned basic acts of poker (and their consequences) are translated into signs, directions and connections. A language created to describe the use of another language, - that of the game.

Hieronymus Bosch

A great painting I discovered on the Funambulist and also recognised in a movie last night is Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. Apart from the artwork itself it is amazing to think that this piece is over 500 years old. I can highly recommend following this link and exploring the painting in high resolution. The painting is a triptych and is perhaps meant to be read from left to right. The garden of Eden is depicted on the left followed by a scene of excessive indulgence  of earthly delights and then finally damnation.


So Australians have an issue with density...I found these photos when looking through Lebbeus Wood's blog. It is from the Latin American town of Bagota high in the Andes. It has developed from major urban sprawl resulting in a complex web of arterial routes that weave between the conglomeration of houses and the organic shape of the mountain. The complexity and vitality of spaces could be said to exceed that of the actual city centre.



In the Penal Colony

Just read Franz Kafka's In the Penal Colony and found it very powerful, dark and enigmatic. The story focuses on the machine and the associated processes of an outmoded form of justice. Without giving away to much the paradox that occurs between the machine and those who follow its infallible process is an interesting one and perhaps something to be considered when trying to understand our current we live and die by the machine or does the machine set us free.

Zeotrope is a film adaptation that is loosely based on the Kafka's book