mercredi 30 juin 2010

# Israeli military customized Caterpillar D9

This is the most efficient weapon of the Israeli Army against the Palestinians: The Caterpillar D9, customized IDF way in order to be able to operate alone in the West Bank or in Gaza and not fearing the stones threw at it.
This customization is such a "success" that the American army bought a bunch of them back (Caterpillar is a Californian company) from the Israeli Army.
Whether it destroys Palestinian infrastructures or homes (which it does best), pierces Gaza's tunnels anti-blockade that join Egypt, or simply prepare the foundation of new illegal settlements in the West Bank, the D9 is the weapon that fit the best the way the Israeli State oppress the Palestinian People on a daily basis.

If you are interested in studying it more in details or including it in a narrative, you can download a detailed digital 3d file of the bulldozer (see the renderings below).

lundi 28 juin 2010

# The Rolling House by Andrés Jaque Arquitectos

The Rolling House is a project created and "prototyped" by Madrid based office Andrés Jaque Arquitectos. This piece of vertical urban fabric happens to be an assemblage of collective housing where people live for a certain amount of time with a bunch of roommates, thus creating micro-open-communities living together in a apartment.
The following pictures are disturbing for the reason that they immediately make one recalls the sum of voyeur/exhibitionist reality shows displayed on every Western TV channels. However the difference is that there is no outside here. Nobody observes, each of the inhabitant is part of the "community".
It reminds me what Patrick Bouchain and Exyzt had organized for the 2006 Venice Biennale in the French Pavilion: METAVILLA, a cheap and well designed place of life for a creative and reflective community within the architecture Biennale.

Here is the text wrote by Andrés Jaque Arquitectos:

More than 80 million people live sharing houses only within the European Union. Erasmus apartments, fancy houses shared by posh professionals, transnational immigrants slams. Sharing dwelling is a massive and diverse phenomenon, an invisible urbanism, never attracting, so far, architects’ attention, that challenges the way homes have been thought of in the last decades.

The firm Andrés Jaque Architects, has presented the built prototype of a shared house based on more than 100 interviews to people sharing its living space.. The ROLLING HOUSE. A design based on the knowledge contained by a community living, without awareness, like visionary architects thought in the sixties life would come to be like. Home is no longer the sweet, sweet un-political space for peace, but the very centre of public arena. Interior is no longer the place in which things are familiar to us, but the very place in which we face otherness. And home is no longer the place in which desire is been relieve, but the very scene in which we inhabit the space in-between what present is and what we desire it to be.
Andrés Jaque Arquitectos, presented on April 2009, the first prototype of a sharing home: The Rolling House. It’s a design in which converges the accumulated knowledge of a community that, until now, had been forced to use conventional houses for conventional families.

The Rolling House includes four strategic ideas:
1.- Assign to each room mate a intimacy space, which contains:
-A bed, by which the deployment of a screen-stock, it becomes a social space, a lounge in which to receive any visitor.
- A closet for clothes and accessories, designed as a chest that could easily be transported to the new sharing house.
-A sanctuary, like the cork in which we post the pictures that we do not want to forget.
- A greenhouse to take care of something. Because in many cases having something to watch, is the real reason why we have a house.
2. Agroup all the equipments in a junk beach. Where, without any division, in a unique and diaphanous, includes:
-A bath - shower placed over legs. In consequence, after taking a shower, we can use part of this water, after an elemenatal filtration and fat separation process, as irrigation water, a garden pot.
-A repetitive kitchen. Some fridge, some basic kitchens sets, for a house where, at the same time, some cook and others frizz.
-An Intermittent bathroom. With easy open fabric persins, a bath, a sink, a wc, that works as a unit, in a close space, just when its going to be use.
-Here and there furniture. Claiming the obsolescence of modernity. And also the incoherence of the radical today. Every furniture has a history. Those one who doesn’t required specialization would be the easiest to purchase can be reused. The ones that require specialized treatments would have the necessary technological rank. The ones that save and construct memories, would have, during all their life time the company of the Rolling House in the Rolling House. A furniture and technology parliament that looks forward to answer in a symmetric way, today’s complexity.
3.- Sharing Wall: There is no Rolling House lost in the universe. Each one has small gifts that are placed to been offer for the rest of them. If every house shares, at the same time something with the others, then all of them would have everything. In parallel to the Rolling House access hall, a wardrobe wall, contains the equipments the Rolling House shares with its neighbors. A small gym, a library, a stock of board games, a hair dryer and a Finland sauna. Each sharing house is connected with a neighborhood of houses that are united by the desire of having more through sharing.

Andrés Jaque Arquitectos' projects on their website including the very beautiful and ingenious Casa en Never Never Land.

dimanche 27 juin 2010

# Prairie House by Herb Greene

This beautiful Prairie House was created by a Bruce Goff's (see previous post) protege, Herb Greene in 1960. Built in a Oklahoma prairie, this architecture appears as a manifest for the American "provincial" architecture like Goff designed or more currently Bart Prince in New Mexico: a vernacular construction that seems to have been created by its own biotope.

vendredi 25 juin 2010

# The Evil Architects Do by Eyal Weizman

"When an architect’s design premeditatedly aims to cause material damage - as part of a largescale policy of organized aggression - a war crime may have been committed."

This article written by Eyal Weizman for Rem Koolhaas' Content is not so new anymore (2003) but unfortunately nothing has changed since then...
In this short essay entitled The Evil Architects Do, Weizman establishes that "architecture and planning intersects with the strategies of contemporary conflicts in ways that the semantics of international law are still ill-equiped to describe."
In fact, architecture has a fundamental role to play in the current warfare -which does not consist anymore in two symmetrical armies fighting in the middle of a field- and the international laws, that once again (see the previous articles) have been made supposedly to be respected by every nations, seem to be not precised enough to really describe the current ways it is now used -as construction or destruction- as a military weapon, especially in Gaza and the West Bank.
The law must therefore be re-written in a much more precised way and architects should face their responsibility in case of being the accomplices of what is being described as a war crime or a crime against humanity.

The following excerpts are what the International Laws stipulates about architecture:

The Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court

Articles referred to above in relation to the transformation of the built environment.
(See the complete statue on:

Crimes Against Humanity

Article 7.2.d
“Deportation or forcible transfer of population” means forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present…

War Crimes

Article 8.2.a.iv
Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;

Article 8.3.b.viii
The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory;

Article 8.3.b.ix
Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives;

# 2012 / Appetite for destruction

I just watched the movie 2012 and I have to say that this film left me puzzled. I don't really want to write to much about the fact that it is one of the rare movie in which the world actually ends (it is more frequent that it is saved at the very last second !) and that the moral of it is absolutely outrageous (rich Westerners celebrating their belonging to the saved elite triggering a genocide by omission...).
What makes me perplexed is the visual fascination that we can have for destruction. In 2001 we were drugged of images of the World Trade Center collapsing without being ever sated watching over and over the same videos of the planes crashing into the towers. What is this appetite for destruction that 2012 develops excessively? Is that a simple fascination for an unusual spectacle or is it more subtle and deeper than that? Wouldn't that be a self-destruction pulse, some self-censored revolutionary pyromaniac envies that pops-out more or less conscientiously?
In order to bring propositions to this question, we might want to allies Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx and Paul Virilio...maybe Slavoj Zizek did explored this problem...

to be continued.

mercredi 23 juin 2010

# The former Ministry of Transportation in Tbilisi

Recently Core.form.ula published a small article about the famous former Ministry of Transportation in Tbilisi (Georgia). Designed in the 70's this building is a good example of the sequel of Soviet Administration Constructivism.

samedi 19 juin 2010

# Numen's Tape Installations

Numen is a Vienna based office that created four different installations exclusively with tape. They appropriate a site, find some attachment nodes and create a penetrable cocoon for their visitors. Those Tape Installations have been produced for two different sites in Vienna, one in Belgrade, and recently one for Berlin's former airport Tempelhof.

vendredi 18 juin 2010

# The Concentration City by James Graham Ballard

"The surgeon hesitated before opening the door. "Look," he began to explain sympathetically, "you can't get out of time, can you? Subjectively it's a plastic dimension, but whatever you do to yourself you'll never be able to stop that clock"- he pointed to the one on the desk-"or make it run backward. In exactly the same way you can't get out of the City."
"The analogy doesn't hold," M. said. He gestured at the walls around them and the lights in the streets outside. "All this was built by us. The question nobody can answer is: what was here before we built it?"
"It's always been here," the surgeon said. "Not these particular bricks and girders, but others before them. You accept that time has no beginning and no end. The City is as old as time and continuous with it."
"The first bricks were laid by someone," M. insisted. "There was the Foundation."
"A myth. Only the scientists believe in that, and even they don't try to make too much of it. Most of them privately admit that the Foundation Stone is nothing more than a superstition. We pay it lip service out of convenience, and because it gives us a sense of tradition. Obviously there can't have been a first brick. If there was, how can you explain who laid it, and even more difficult, where they came from?"
"There must be free space somewhere," M. said doggedly. "The City must have bounds."
"Why?" the surgeon asked. "It can't be floating in the middle of nowhere. Or is that what you're trying to believe?"
M. sank back limply. "No"
The surgeon watched M silently for a few minutes and paced back to the desk. "This peculiar fixation of yours puzzles me. You're caught between what the psychiatrists call paradoxical faces. I suppose you haven't misinterpreted something you've heard about the Wall?"
M. looked up. "Which wall?"
The surgeon nodded to himself. "Some advanced opinion maintains that there's a wall around the City, through which it's impossible to penetrate. I don't pretend to understand the theory myself. It's far too abstract and sophisticated. Anyway I suspect they've confused this Wall with the bricked-up black areas you passed through on the Sleeper. I prefer the accepted view that the City stretches out in all direction without limits.""

The Concentration City (1957). James Graham Ballard. The Complete Short Stories

mardi 15 juin 2010

# Pay & Sit: the privatized future as design

It looks like a satire but it is apparently not. Fabian Brunsing, a student participating to an interface/design competition proposed this private bench that needs 0.5 euros (70 cents) in order to have its spikes lifted down and thus to host bodies.
This very straight forward design is the logical sequel of what is already being created today, sly designs of non appropriation of the public space (see previous post about Survival Group).
It also makes me think of Philip K. Dick's Ubik that dramatizes an absolute privatized pay-fee environment (house doors, fridges, TV etc.)...

Thanks Ethel

PAY & SIT: the private bench (HD) from Fabian Brunsing on Vimeo.

lundi 14 juin 2010

# Richard Galpin's peeled photographs

Richard Galpin is an English artist that creates his work by peeling existing photographs using exclusively a scalpel and thus producing new visual landscapes.

vendredi 11 juin 2010

# The poetry of Chicago's emergency staircases

I've been visiting the beautiful city of Chicago recently and I've been particularly impressed by the beauty of those tall buildings' emergency staircases. No one seems to have been really thought trough or designed and that's maybe why their delicateness and their infinite ascension triggers the imagination...

jeudi 10 juin 2010

# Expansion and other works by Antony Gormley

Antony Gormley (see previous post with his spatial installations) is an English artist who investigates the body and the space that envelops it. His work Expansion is particularly interesting for its process of production: the artist body is first casted and reproduced, then expanded to spheres of space in contact with the body.

The official website is extremely well documented with the ensemble of sculptures and drawings created by Gormley since 1973.

Expansion (1989-1993)

Other works