Best of 2008


Here's 10 of my favourite posts from the year from other people's blogs, in no particular order:

Constructivism, Kitsch and Capital: Lloyds - Sit Down Man, You're a bloody tragedy

Owen considers Richard Rogers Lloyds of London building as a piece of secret Constructivist architecture, or how the Thatcherite-modernism of High Tech inadvertenly achieved the same aesthetic outcome as revolutionary Soviet architecture as envisioned by say Chernikov or Leonidov.

The Street at Platform City of Sound

Urban computational thinking, described by Dan Hill in a lyrical narrative, as a roadmap of where mobile technologies, RFIDs, GPS, and ubiquitous computing are taking us, and our urban realms.

What's That Sound? It's Centrifugal Space! - a456

Enrique unearths a great quote from Edward Dimendberg, from "The Will to Motorization: Cinema, Highways, and Modernity" (1995):

"Characteristics of centrifugal space include the decreased significance of metropolitan density and agglomeration and their replacement by dispersed settlements and a shift from urban verticality to the horizontal sprawl of suburbs and larger territorial units. But one might also discern centrifugal space in the redeployment of surveillance mechanisms away from the the body of city dwellers toward the automobile, the proliferation of electronic media, and the collection of traffic statistics as a strategy of control"

This is just the excuse we need to watch some Kraftwerk videos for Trans Europe Express, and Tour de France.

THE GAME - BldgBlog

Written for the Liverpool Biennial International 08, this essay is a great exploration of the schism between urbanism and cities that modern technology creates.

"hovering there in the future possible tense, at the imaginative vanishing point of urban design itself, is the perfect city, sending ripple effects back into the spaces of today—and we can trace the outlines of its utopian arrival in the empty streets and construction sites of the spaces that now surround us."

My back pages: Whatever happened to serendipity? - Speedbird

Adam Greenfield paints a picture of the ways ubiquitous mobile communications may refigure urban environments, but in a city where everything can be known, what happens to the music of chance?

Life Without Buildings Interviews Charlie Kaufman - Life Without Buildings

Great chat with writer/director of Synecdoche: New York, who having made probably the most obviously architectural film of the year, seems bewildered why an architecture writer would want to talk to him.

Folk Football: Landscape, Space and Abstraction - Strange Harvest

Football is abstract urbanism, argues Sam Jacobs.


Soft Sites: Masonville Cove - 765

Great urban and industrial archeology from Fred Scharmen, tracing the history of the Masonville Cove area of Baltimore.

"In this newest process, existing landscapes are reengineered into constructed domains in a kind of habitat gentrification process - the accidentally artificial is scraped away to create a new intentionally artificial overlay. "

The Real Concrete Island? - Ballardian

Mike Bonsall tracks down the real motorway flyover and island used by Ballard as inspiration for Ballard's Concrete Island.

Suicide Urbanism: The City as IED Subtopia

Brian Finoki on architecture as weapon. Imagining civil engineers as Bond villains:

"He would be a sort of neo-Freudian masterbuilder; part Da Vinci, John O’keefe, Cecil Balmond, Lynn Nadel, Bin Laden all fused into a reinvented Karl Stromberg kind of Bond villain. He would be a genius in the art of designing cities for the purposes of their inimitable seduction and collapse. He would be a mythic sorcerer of urban decay, and heading deeper and deeper into an age of hyper-urbanization people would fear natural disasters only half as much as they would his brutal and stylish suicidal urbanism."

Let me know any particular highlights you discovered.