Sunday, 25 February 2007

on the pathological cleanness revolution

isokon lawn road flats

half the way down a mid class street in belsize park rests this magnificent modernist flagship, renovated.
once the residence of the white giants who ran away from germany, manifesting their new civil religion, today this is the cathedral and the relic of a glorious past, left alone in the surrounding of periodic refurbs.
obsessive compulsive disorder
south to the thames
one face
skin and bones
posh present: be rich, feel intellectually slim

conservation architects
by archidose
buy your part in history

Sunday, 18 February 2007



on the robin hood syndrome

robin hood gardens

heroism by peter and allison smithson

mama bear said: 'this place gives me the munchies for KFC'
front elevation
rear elevation

ground level flat

concrete precast ribs

streets in the air sketch

wall on the street pragmatics

mentioned before
more photos
fellow blog

and thank you orna for telling us about it back then.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

on location and centrality

the brunswick center

in some relevance to alexandria rd. yet utterly different, just to the right as one pops out of russell sq. station. unexpectedly the whole depth of this wide and clear open space is revealed.
the high volume of the buildings on both sides set back diagonally to allow more of the sky in. with planning starting in the '60, kahn's salk institute comes to mind, makes a good reference that may have travelled through hodgkinson's head (scales?). same, but without the sea, with london's bloomsbury around.

re-opened recently after a face lifting operation a waitrose was established in the far end of the plaza to mark commercial quality. shops upgraded and cctv lamp-posted, the ground is now prepared for the middle class purchasing power to take over.

thoughts on the not so surprising coherence between late modernism with its clear space and strong messages (MIXED USE!) and upcoming commercial heaven of our time (well, if you live upstairs why not tag yourself with fancy brand accessories from the boutique at street level)

lefebre would have rest his case standing next to the stainless water feature, unable to escape the gazes. all is seen, shown talked and gossiped about, an urban catwalk with some corners heavily influenced by sant'elia's vision of the new city. outer face as dark as the fascio, inner face as illuminated as the smile of the underpaid diary department deputy manager.

big brutalist projects can do just fine when it gets the right real estate value (location, location, location), see prices on corbu's Unite. the east facing flats probably cost a fortune with such a view to the park. an X layout implies of the old st. george gardens burial ground made a public park in 1885. the rest of the squares around (bedford, fitzroy, gordon, mecklenburgh ,woburn) are all old-money private.

Virginia would have had something witty to say about dead Georgians' souls reflecting in the industrial detailed window, smiling to themselves for escaping the horror of self consuming regime on time.

about the project
about the new project
who did the refurb
the developer
more about
some more about
la citta nouva

Sunday, 28 January 2007

on heterotopia's edge

(unfinished, again)
penderyn way

a patch in the fabric, the street branches from a sleepy neighbourhood road, curves like a wall, presenting a driveway and a funny looking landscape solution for a sidewalk bridging the level changes.
the front elevations on both sides turn to the street, creating a sterile clean parking and three trees. what is it that made the planner forget about its surroundings? materiality, scale. tufnell park streets are full of three and four stories big old family houses converted to apartments.
back gardens turn outside. a take off on terrace houses, including the shift in level between every two units, could have been done as prefab.

an ad:

1 reception room, 1 bathroom- weekly rental of £450
A superb three storey, four double bedroom townhouse, newly refurbished to a contemporary style and offering spacious versatile living. Situated off Carleton Road, the property offers convenient access to all local shopping and transport facilities. Ideal for professional sharers or a family. Furnished.

an element

how come it's so cheap?
old (80's?) council houses, now part of them are privetly held after the borough sold to those who could afford it in good conditions.
continouos walk
over looking
shadows hit the face

a series

the secret of this place lies behind the east side gardens. this is outside heterotopia.
holloway prison is just over the fence. an ivy between me and the outlaws.
now it seems to be a double buffer, another layer of prison's wall. no cameras, but with so many windows looking into the street ther's no need of cctv here. controlable space.

with kids playing

back side with rear gardens

plan, long sec, rear elev


Sunday, 21 January 2007

on the relevance of community

(unfinished, and to be re-phrased)
maiden lane

immigrate, run away from this nowhere you grew up in to the big city. get to meet this diverse mass of strangers. with some you might even make friends or enemies, yet most of them will remain anonymous. never meet your neighbours. blank words to a person you won't see again.
did you come here to live in this hypothetical togetherness? did those who were born here, and those before them made friends just for the joy of sitting in eachother's living rooms?

is there still a sense of belonging to a group, wider than your cellular family? is there a red cheeked healthy family left?
there must have been a point to that somewhere in the past. empowering.
neighbourhood, before becoming '
da hood' had that idea of people, given the chance, can save themselves.

bringing us together under the protecting frame of uniformity, we were given a reasonable priced, well detailed yet badly maintained , compact flat in a set out of open spaces. new streets to walk, new plazas to play in. more hard than soft surfaces. got a club (what do you do there?) and a playground. and a strip of lawn for the dogs. i don't socialize with my kind. i aspire for more than that.

everybody has a small dish next on this wall. each and every one is a sattelite circling around channel 4 studios, watching people living together. the streets are empty, other than those hoodies with the amstaff watched by cctv.
the city fabric along agar grove is a lattice work of pockets. segragated communities in the way gates were placed to prevent their inhabitants to escape from where they were positioned.
this is not the city, this is its back brought forward.

by whom
another link
self assessment
self contempt