For Sale: Smithsons Levitt House

Initially design by David Levitt with later additions by Alison and Peter Smithson, the house is described as one of finest architect-designed homes in Britain and in a perfect location - overlooking a lake and a 13th century church.

The character of the original design has been maintained, with the accomodation including two bedrooms (one with en-suite), entrance area, reception, kitchen/dining area, larder and plenty of garden, not to mention a separate Smithson-designed summer house/artist's studio and Smithson-designed poured concrete path that leads from the driveway, up the garden and to the front of the house.

In fact, the house is so significant, it even has its own archive at the V&A. £800,000 will get you ownership to this ‘lost Modernist masterpiece’ - a shrewd investment if you have money to invest.

(from Retrotogo)

As their greatest and most heroic project is about to bite the dust after decades of slow demolition by neglect, Alison and Peter Smithson’s remaining body of work increasingly looks like the Cheshire cat’s grin – exactly at the point when they seem to be vanishing they are also achieving a prominence they haven’t enjoyed in decades. Irony just isn’t a strong enough word to describe the situation where two highly influential architects who devoted most of their lives to developing models for social housing will end up being represented by a school, a number of delightful but unrepresentative middle class houses, an office building and finally a shed.

(from Adaptivereuse)


Zones of Exclusion. Unknown Fields Division

Liam Young and Kate Davies, leaders of the Architectural Association’s award winning Unknown Fields Division, have announced a recruitment drive for their new annual nomadic studio which will run for 2 weeks each July. Participants can sign up nowand join them on an extraordinary design research expedition through the unknown fields that lie between nature and technology and collaborate with Volume magazine and Phillips Technologies on the production of an annual publication and touring exhibition. This first year takes them on a cross section through landscapes of obsolete futures from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, through the Ukraine and the oil fields of Azerbaijan to rocket launch pad of Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrone.


UNKNOWN FIELDS is a nomadic studio that will throw open the doors of the AA and set off on an annual expedition to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. You will join the AA’s Unknown Fields Division as each year we navigate a different global cross section and map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures. You will be both visionaries and reporters, part documentarian and part science fiction soothsayers as the otherworldly sites we encounter will afford us a distanced viewpoint from which to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological scenarios.
This year, on the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first manned space flight, we will pack our Geiger counters and space Suits as we chart a course from the atomic to the cosmic to investigate the unknown fields between the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor in the Ukraine and Gagarin’s launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Beginning under the shadows of Nuclear disaster we will survey the irradiated wilderness and bear witness to a sobering apocalyptic vision. Along our way we will tread the edge of the retreating tide of the Aral Sea and mine the ‘black gold’ in the Caspians’s floating oilfields and caviar factories. We will wander through the cotton fields of Kazakhstan and tread the ancient silk road before ending on the shores of the cosmic ocean bathed in the white light of satellites blasting into tomorrow’s sky. In these shifting fields of nature and artifice we will re-examine our preservationist and conservationist attitudes toward the natural world and document a cross-section through a haunting landscape of the ecologically fragile and the technologically obsolete.
Joining us on our travels will be a troupe of collaborators, photographers and filmakers from the worlds of technology, science and fiction including the Phillips Technologies Design Probes research Lab and Archis/Volume magazine.
Together we will form a travelling circus of research visits, field reportage, rolling discussions, and impromptu tutorials. Across our journey The Unknown Fields Division will identify opportunities for tactical intervention and speculative invention that will be chronicled in an annual publication and travelling exhibition. It is a unique opportunity to be a part of an extraordinary research project that will examine the Unknown Fields between cultivation and nature and spin cautionary tales of a new kind of wilderness.

Enlist now before all the positions are filled! Email l.young (at) tomorrowsthoughtstoday.com with any questions.


Critical Futures 3 (brutti, sporchi e chiacchieroni)

La critica c’è e non c’è, la critica sono me. I critici? uno è buono, comprensivo, attento... l'altro è teorico, perso nei suoi sogni, l'altro ancora è ossessivo, gli interessa solo un tipo di architetto, l'altro vuole essere di tendenza, vuole la tendenza, vuole tendere a tutti i costi. C’è chi storicizza tutto e tutti, sistematizza, cataloga, organizza, elenca, aggiunge e descrive e resta sempre un passo indietro. Un altro ama le forme esagerate, lo scoop, gli stranieri, lo slancio futurista. Uno invece vuole solo ordine e pulizia, tanta pulizia, e silenzio, e approfondimenti storici. Uno ama le istituzioni e l'altro le odia, uno ama le aziende e l’altro le schifa, uno ama l'architettura ma non la capisce, l'altro pensa che gli architetti sono tutti manovali, un altro ancora vorrebbe occuparsi di letteratura (l'architettura è un ripiego da barboni), uno si diverte e l'altro si annoia, uno magna e l’altro no, e poi ci sono quelli tanto la critica non c'è più, la critica conta e non conta, la critica è informazione, separiamo la critica dall’informazione (come gli inglesi, sì!), la critica serve al business, anzi no, contestualizziamo, non facciamo politica, anzi sì. Si accomodi signore, il critico come lo preferisce, nudo o carenato? black blok, universitario o tutti e due? un blogger full time? un'intelligenza fuggita all’estero? può servire un ex pci riciclato ambientalista? al dente o bello scotto? frollo al punto giusto o giovane e tenero? caldo o freddo? dialettale o nazionale? noioso o noiosissimo? coerente o traditore? apollineo o dionisiaco? partigiano o super partes? affabulatore o taciturno? presenzialista o chiuso nella sua torre d'avorio? salottiero o intransigente? buono o cattivo? raffinato o rude? patinato o maleducato? pulito o sporco?


Low Cost House, by SOA Architectes

100.000 Euro House

Ce projet propose un modèle de maison individuelle conçue pour être assemblé en bande. Les volumes sont le fruit d’un jeux combinatoire entre modules pleins et vides par superposition ou juxtaposition. La structure peut alors s’affirmer en tant que telle, se dévoiler dans les espaces vides ou être totalement revêtue par différents panneaux de remplissage.
À partir de la contrainte d’un axe structurel mono-directionnel, la création des espaces s’inspire de la richesse topographique des jeux de casse-tête en bois.
L’association de ces deux principes permet pour chaque maison d’adopter de multiples orientations et volumétries en jouant sur la longueur de l’élément standard.

Des panneaux de façade, des éléments horizontaux déclinés, permettent aux utilisateurs de personnaliser leurs logements et d’adapter les séparations avec le voisinage en fonction de l’intimité recherchée. Le lotissement pourra alors, au gré des personnalisations, adopter un caractère vernaculaire.

From SOA

Light Space, by Do-Ho Suh

Do-Ho Suh is a korean painter and sculptor. After having a basic art education he continued his studies in the USA. Such "transcultural" experience and loss of touch with parents influenced deeply on Suh's creative works. In his clear, expressive and large-scale works the space and psychology are the main themes. Do-Ho Suh explores thin border between masses, power of numbers and similarity. The explorations often assume urgent social forms. Many of the works consist of multiple repeating elements that represent separate independent objects. (from ONEOFF, Designboom)

the perfect home II (detail), 2003

installation at the gallery lehmann maupin, new york
image courtesy gallery lehmann maupin

‘screen’, 2004
installation at the museum for world culture in gothenburg, sweden
image courtesy gallery lehmann maupin, new york

Psycho Buildings: Artists Take on Architecture

Designer: Ernesto Neto, Do Ho Suh, Mike Nelson & Atelier Bow-Wow
Location: London, UK
Image Credits: Do Ho Suh

A cabin in a loft

A Cabin in a Loft in Brooklyn is a two-bedroom loft in Bushwick, Brooklyn, designed and built by Katz Chiao.

Conceived of as houses within houses, the cabin and treehouse serve as private sleeping cabins, each with its own semi-private garden set off from the shared living space.
The cabins are located in a former textile factory building with exposed brick walls and large windows. Rather than building floor-to-ceiling walls to divide the apartment into two bedrooms, the pitched roof of the cabin and elevated floor of the treehouse maintain the openness and character of the loft while also allowing sunlight to fill the entire space. As a result, living in the space can feel like living outdoors, in a small community of two houses. Windows in the cabin and treehouse ventilate the rooms and offer views to the rest of the apartment. The large entrances to both cabins, set slightly back from the building’s windows, look out to the sky and down the street.
The treehouse is lofted above the ground and houses a study and storage area below. The cabin has a storage space built into the raised floor. A garden and a place to hang clothes occupy the small semi-private area that is formed between the cabin entrance and the windows.
The shared open space of the loft, between the two houses, consists of a living area, kitchen, and large table for eating and working.


Dovecote Studio

A project by Haworth Tompkins 
A large north light roof window provides even light for artists, while a small mezzanine platform with a writing desk incorporates a fully opening glazed corner window that gives long views over the marshes towards the sea. The single volume will be used by artists in residence, by musicians as rehearsal or performance space, by staff for meetings or as a temporary exhibition space. 

The creative campus at Snape Maltings was founded by Benjamin Britten in derelict industrial buildings on the Suffolk coast. The Dovecote is part of Haworth Tompkin’s phased extension of the campus for Aldeburgh Music and inhabits the ruins of a dovecote overlooking the marshes. The new form expresses the internal volume of the Victorian structure as a Cor-ten steel ‘lining’, a welded monocoque that was prefabricated and craned into position.

Only the minimum necessary brickwork repairs were carried out to stabilise the existing ruin prior to the new structure being inserted. Decaying existing windows were left alone and vegetation growing over the dovecote was protected to allow it to continue a natural process of ageing and decay. The interior walls and ceiling of the space are lined with spruce plywood to create a timber ‘box’ within the Cor-ten shell.


The Third Memory of a Dog Day Afternoon

See the video here

The Third Memory

The Third Memory

This work retraces John Wojtowicz's famous bank robbery of August 22, 1972, an event that inspired the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino. With a setup that seemed made for TV — Wojtowicz committed the robbery to pay for his lover's gender-reassignment surgery — the resulting news coverage, the first-ever live television broadcast of a crime, even interrupted network transmission of Richard Nixon's speech at the Republican National Convention.
Huyghe's split-screen video projection combines footage from the feature film with commentary by Wojtowicz himself, who reenacts the crime and comments on the movie's veracity. It is contextualized by postrobbery newspaper clippings and a segment from a January 1978 episode of The Jeanne Parr Show, in which the host interviews Wojtowicz (in prison) and his lover. Through this work, Huyghe attempts to deconstruct the ways in which the news media and Hollywood have reshaped even the original participants' recollections of actual events.
Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/109008#ixzz1EcVO5Gyd
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Double Space & Nervo ottico

Pierre Huyghe, Third Memory, 1999.
Double projection, beta digital, 9 minutes 46 seconds.
Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

Third Memory takes as its point of departure a bank robbery committed by John Woytowicz in Brooklyn in 1972; three years later the crime became the subject of Sidney Lumet’s film Dog Day Afternoon, starring Al Pacino. Huyghe tracked down Woytowicz and asked him to retell the story. Using a two-channel video projection, a television interview, and posters, Huyghe builds from a “first memory” of the original crime to a “second memory” with the film’s recreation of that crime, to arrive at a “third memory,” a rich blurring of the documented and the imagined.

Utopia. Traffic Management. By Thomas Demand

Tunnel, by Thomas Demand (1999)

Thomas Demand «Tunnel»

The film presumably shows a fast-paced tracking shot through the tunnel in which Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash. At first the viewer seems to remember seeing these images in the media. But in reality the set is a true to life, cardboard mock-up of architectural details. Under closer inspection, one also realizes that instead of reproducing reality Thomas Demand creates a perfectly-constructed model world. The cleverly-lit cardboard scenery takes up an incident of recent history and, in doing so, mirrors the illusionary features of what appear to be familiar images. The film literally reflects upon the model of our relationship to images from the mass media. In the process, the construction, representation and repetition of reality create a complex weaving of connections. That the accident used as the theme was the result of a hectic, car chase caused by paparazzi lends the work yet another aspect of the reflection of the media. (from UBU)

Utopia. Traffic Management

Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (aka Le Corbusier) published his manifesto for a futurist city in the New York Times on January 3, 1932. The Times framed the article by citing the construction of Radio City as focusing attention on city planning:
“The machine has given us comfort-yes. We have invented the machine, and it should be liberating our minds and our leisure hours. Instead it has harnessed us to itself and plunged us into slavery.”
“…modern architecture can have nothing to do with tradition–the teachings are false, mendacious and mischievous. Traditional architecture has become the enemy of mankind.”
“Nothing of tradition will remain. Everything will be new.”
“New York and Chicago are rather mighty storms, tornadoes, cataclysms. They are so utterly devoid of harmony. When a motor revolves it is harmonious, but if New York were a motor, that motor would not turn and as a machine would astonish even the man who invented it.”
“The foundation of life is the home, in which we should live. This means devoting the same care to one’s body as to one’s work, and providing adequate nourishment for both mind and spirit. The correct way to live is to arrange the twenty-four hours of the day harmoniously. This involves drawing up a definite time-table for our activities and in order to give them full scope, they must have a suitable setting. It is only by entirely new architecture and town planning that we can hope to create such a setting.”
“I propose to consider the dwelling as the primary and fundamental element of the town, and build houses on only 12 percent of the available land, reserving 88 percent for parks and playing fields. This will be the green city, and in it the density of population would be 1,000 souls per hectare [a hectare is 2.47 acres].”
“The density of 1,000 people to the hectare is based on an allotment of 152.8 square feet of dwelling space per person. This is a generous allowance and will give wonderful scope alike to bachelors and larger families. The many different kinds of dwellings needed in the heart of the town will be provided by allowing complete liberty in house planning, but always making full use of the progress in modern technique.”
“…modern technique suggests that the entire facade of the building be made up of double sheets of glass, lightly held together by metal frames. This double wall forms the front of the building, which contains at least twelve undivided floors suitable for habitation. The walls are airtight and have no windows to open. Between these double walls circulates a continuous current of air, controlled both as to speed and temperature. This airjacket neutralizes the effect of the outside temperature, which varies from -43 to +40 degrees centigrade, according to the season, making these airtight apartments completely weatherproof.”
“The types of noise recently introduced by wireless, phonographs and jazz, which have become a veritable nightmare, will be stopped and absorbed by the hermetically sealed double panes of glass.”
“I contend that it is impossible to use the same roads for fast and slow moving traffic…While technology and industry are crowding the city with machines of marvelous speed, capable of sixty miles an hour, by an absurd paradox we are denying ourselves the full advantage of these wonderful acquisitions. We are forced to classify our speeds, therefore, and make a definite distinction between the pedestrian and the vehicle, which should never be allowed to meet. The only solution is to restore to the pedestrian the surface of the city, all the surface, the earth. Put the pedestrian on the ground, giving him a network of avenues running in all directions in the midst of parks and lawns. As the blocks of flats are to be erected on piles standing about sixteen feet above the ground, we can walk wherever we please–which will be something new!
Our automobiles will also run on roads elevated sixteen feet above ground. The spreading system of these “autostrades” will have nothing in common with the cramped network of streets which we use today, for they will be placed ten times further apart. Think of it! Only one-tenth as many motor roads as we have now!
Pedestrians will never be allowed on the “autostrades,” so cars will be able to run at full speed. Only one-way traffic will permitted (sic): crossroads will be dealt with scientifically by adjusting the different levels. Under such conditions motor traffic will become a system of continuous and harmonious speed. Automobiles running at sixty miles an hour will go direct to the door of each house, but the houses will be quite different from those we build today.”
“The green city will be brought about by modern technique. In his sound-proof chamber, within his well-planned building, overlooking his parks, and breathing his pure air, the man of the mechanical age will be at last be able to live. Live-that is to say, earn his living, play his part in the community, and develop in body and mind. In such surroundings he can think, contemplate, study and create, and to create even in the smallest degree is to taste the well-springs of happiness. This is life in its fullest expression.”

Christopher Alexander: A City is not a Tree part 2
Originally published in:
Architectural Forum, Vol 122, No 1, April 1965, pp 58-62 (Part I), Vol 122, No 2, May 1965, pp 58-62 (Part II)
Consider the separation of pedestrians from moving vehicles, a tree concept proposed by Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn and many others. At a very crude level of thought this is obviously a good idea. Yet the urban taxi can function only because pedestrians and vehicles are not strictly separated. The cruising taxi needs a fast stream of traffic so that it can cover a large area to be sure of finding a passenger. The pedestrian needs to be able to hail the taxi from any point in the pedestrian world, and to be able to get out to any part of the pedestrian world to which he wants to go. The system which contains the taxicabs needs to overlap both the fast vehicular traffic system and the system of pedestrian circulation. In Manhattan pedestrians and vehicles do share certain parts of the city, and the necessary overlap is guaranteed. 


Zones of Exclusion: 26 Abandoned Stations by Eric Tabuchi

Eric Tabuchi produce serie di paesaggi dell'abbandono, produzioni involontarie del tempo e della natura in azione su luoghi che all'uomo, almeno momentaneamente, non servono.
Zone di esclusione, frammenti di terzo paesaggio che continuamente nascono e muoiono, luoghi dell'indifferenza melanconica in attesa di metamorfosi.

Zones of Exclusion: 100 Abandoned Houses by Kevin Bauman

Kévin Bauman s'est affairé à la vaste zone urbaine de Détroit et environs, à la recherche de pavillons abandonnés. Si sa série s'appelle 100 Abandonned Houses, la région en dénombrerai aujourd'hui pas moins de 12000 : la population est en très net déclin depuis ces dernières années, passant de 2 millions d'habitants à moins de 800.000. (BUNNKR)


Domusweb Reading Room

Milano, 16 febbraio 2011. I titoli recensiti nella Reading Room di Domusweb disegnano un approccio molto specifico. 
In ordine di evidenza, troviamo Other Space Odysseys, Atlas of the Conflict, L’assalto, La mappa dell’impero, Architettura Low Tech Low Cost, Al Manakh2: Gulf Continued, Ecological Urbanism. 
La prima sensazione è che l’interesse preminente non sia più per l’architettura, almeno intesa come design degli edifici, ma per le ricognizioni su terre libere dove si mescolano e si incrociano dati, memorie, linguaggi e punti di vista diversi. 
C’è un surrealismo della critica contemporanea che usa lo straniamento, lo spiazzamento, l’effetto sorpresa come mezzi per catturare l’attenzione ma anche, almeno si spera, come dispositivi rivelatori. 
E c’è una doppia volontà di mettere a nudo, e nello stesso tempo di rivestire, la realtà con un racconto che porta sempre elementi di finzione e che ha ritmi, temi e linguaggi tipicamente narrativi. Probabilmente, il primo dato è la fine della funzione informativa. 
Nell’era di internet, il libro ha senso soltanto come rielaborazione di temi svincolati dalla stretta attualità e il suo discorso si deve sviluppare su un livello che si deve percepire come diverso, superiore, rispetto alla scrittura istantanea della rete.
Naturalmente, in questo aspetto c’è una contraddizione perché molti blog sviluppano proprio quello stesso tipo di rappresentazione metaforica che ritroviamo in questi libri. 
Una critica transgenica dove l’indice di ibridazione è un valore determinante. 
Cultura alta e bassa si mescolano: fantascienza ed erotismo (Clarke e Sade), supereroi e psicoanalisi, giornalismo e letteratura fantastica. 
Su questo background delirante si innesta una componente che sta crescendo sempre più e che è la geopolitica. Da una parte si intende che non c’è discorso politico senza la sua antropologia, d’altra parte il conflitto tra civiltà continua a essere un tema centrale che dà spessore a ogni approfondimento culturale.
(Alessandro Rocca)
La storia del conflitto israelo-palestinese attraverso carte e grafici che visualizzano le trasformazioni dell'area
Uscito per Libria, l'ultimo libro di Giacinto Cerviere rilegge i fatti dell'11 settembre per mettere alla luce il ruolo che ha avuto l'architettura nell'attacco alle Torri Gemelle
Il continente nordamericano raccontato attraverso grandi mappe tematiche a colori
Testo alternativo Immagine
Esempi progettuali in cui "invenzioni e strategie" permettono di ottenere il più con il meno, quando è necessario ridurre i costi della produzione
La maggior parte delle attenzioni occidentali per il Golfo si concentrano su Dubai, forse perché le sue realtà (o surrealtà) architettoniche sono diventate soggetto di titoli di giornale e di fieri attacchi. Questo libro si occupa dell'intera regione del Golfo
La tesi proposta da Anthony Vidler in La deformazione dello spazio sostiene come la città moderna, popolata di forme architettoniche disturbanti, abbia impresso allo spazio liscio una torsione verso la problematicità
Il volume è dedicato a un progetto curato da Nico Dockx, Rirkrit Tiravanija e Anton Vidokle, e raccoglie le discussioni avvenute nel nuovo spazio di E-flux a New York e nel Beursschouwburg di Bruxelles
Il saggio ha l'ambizione primaria di restituire la topografia politica di un territorio del tutto particolare, la Cisgiordania, quel territorio ridotto dove "i più esplosivi ingredienti del nostro tempo, tutte le moderne utopie e le fedi antiche sono contenute simultaneamente e istantaneamente, ribollendo l'una a fianco all'altra senza protezioni"
Nel corso dei decenni successivi alla Seconda guerra mondiale, la "perdita dell'innocenza" che ha colpito la scienza con l'esplosione della prima bomba atomica è divenuta un luogo comune ma, mentre essa stava maturando, ben pochi ne ebbero sentore, anche fra gli addetti ai lavori

STUDIO-X - Global Network Initiative

GSAPP online