vendredi 31 juillet 2009

# Paper City : Urban Utopias in The Royal Academy

Today starts in London an exhibition called Paper City: Urban Utopias collecting a selection of extraordinary drawings, collages and photomontages that have been produced for Blueprint as part of their back-page ‘Paper City’ commissions over the past three years.

Architects, designers, artists and illustrators including James Wines, Steven Appleby and Ian Ritchie RA articulate their ideas about the city, suggesting imaginative possibilities for the future.

The exhibition also includes new commissions from Peter Cook RA, Chris Orr RA, Marc Atkins, Javier Mariscal and RA Schools students Inez de Coo and Rachael Champion.

# Man on wire / James Marsh meets Philippe Petit

I recently watched James Marsh's documentary called Man on wire about funambulist Philippe Petit and his team's success of crossing illegaly the two towers of the World Trade Centre on August 7th 1974. Their plan was as accurate as bank robbers and they eventually succeed to allow Petit walking 45 minutes in a 5cm wide world between the twin towers. The documentary shows as well his crossing of the two towers of Notre Dame de Paris and those from the Sydney bridge.
There are a lot of real shots either from the towers construction or from Petit's preparation and dance on wire. All those images are obviously even more charged with emotivity since september 11st has touched the western inconscience.
I already posted one small article a year and half ago here with some more pictures and it also reminds me of the two posts I did about Zarathoustra's tightrope's walker (here in French, here in English).

samedi 25 juillet 2009

# SEA /// Jacques Rougerie

An obvious reference linking architecture and the sea comes from Jacques Rougerie's work since the beginning of the 70's. Rougerie did invent a lot of boats, submarines and subaquatic villages and farms and keep creating some of them nowadays. He works on a barge on the Seine in Paris and owns an amphibian car to link his passion to his working environment...

vendredi 24 juillet 2009

# INDIA /// Durga Puja's pandals

At the end of september will be celebrated as every year, Durga Puja all over India. This festival celebrating the goddess Durga is particularly important in West Bengal and more specifically in Kolkata (Calcutta). During six days, some temporary structures called Pandals are being built with mostly bamboos and fabric to host all the celebrations. It means that for one week, the city is getting transformed and might be out of control for a short while of urban creation freedom.

mercredi 22 juillet 2009

# CHANDIGARH /// Assembly

Last but not least, here is the Panjab and Harraynah Assembly which host the two regional parliaments (Chandigarh is the only Indian city being capital of two provinces). Inside is accessible but pictures are not allowed...

mardi 21 juillet 2009

# CHANDIGARH /// High Court

Second Corbu's Capitole complex building in Chandigarh is the High Court which includes a beautiful ramp giving an access to the different building's storey. Use of color here is quite daring I have to say !

lundi 20 juillet 2009

# CHANDIGARH /// Secretariat

Chandigarh's Secretariat is one of the three administrative buildings Le Corbusier designed in the 50's for Penjab and Harraynah provinces' Capitole. Despite its massive and austere aspect, the roof is amusing to see since it has been appropriated by plants and soldiers' laundry. On the two sides of the buildings (it is so long, we can assume there are only two sides !), two monumental ramps have been constructed and allow one to access any storey.

# SEA /// Atlantikwall

Atlantikwall/ mur de l'Atlantique/ Atlantic wall was the german sea side protection from allied attack from 1941 to 1945.( more here )

Following I'll show you some of the amazing concrete bunkers/blochaus that have been built by the german Army to protect the coast from Norway to France.
Today most of this buildings are crumbling into parts, or sinking in the beach sand...
-I made a special SEA thematic selection with only sinking bunkers.

More here, here and here
The best book ever about those bunkers is famous Bunker archeology of Paul Virilio.

the map of the Atlantic wall

samedi 18 juillet 2009

# CHANDIGARH /// Corbu vs Nek Chand

Chandigarh is a huge machine to live where every scales have been included in the control of life of its inhabitants. This control may be philanthropic but its denial of impromptus events to happen makes it being more a machine to die (slowly). Actually this control have probably even escape from Corbu's hand since his great esplanade between Panjab and Haryanna's Assembly and Chandigarh's High Court is abandoned and cut in two parts by barbells and military check points.
However, within the city and closeby the Capitole complex, there is a little resisting territory to this control called the Rock Garden. Initiated by an hyperactive mad guy (my favorite artists !) called Nek Chand in 1957, this maze garden is built with a lot of recycled products casted into concrete which eventually creates Alice's wonderland or Oz Wizards's kingdom where thousand of trash statues are living.