price is right

bar san remo, downtown mexico city, march 2006

"so that is another rule for the whole nature of architecture; it must actually create new appetites, new hungers - not solve problems; architecture is too slow to solve problems."

cedric price, 2000
vía talking cities



otras geologías 7, 2005
daniel cano vía basurama
merry xmas

candyland was a premature baby of mine
after a few months in the incubator, and just when y'all thought this was dead

expect a comeback
maybe even before 07

vital signs
* * * * * * * * * * ****** ******** ******************* *****



"in societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation."

guy debord, the society of the spectacle




the first issue of pin-up fell into my hands straight from new york
its snazzy its cut&paste its in-your-face sexy
and totally gay

now that's what i call architecture magazine

"architectural entertainment"



@vecindad gráfica

what do you get when you mix primitive and povera and and rent-freeze controls and ajax green and barroque?

mexican pop

vecindades are popular tenements in central city districts in mexico, usually old decaying singular-family aristocratic houses, a couple of hundred years old, that then became squats and now are the ultimate form of "popular housing", where dozens of families take up old bedrooms as their flats. vecindades usually have a central indoor patio that opens directly to the street, making them ideal spaces for shady buisness: drugs, smuggling, storage, contacts, prostitution, etc.

the ultimate block candystore.



via crash

yes, this is the age of the extremes
and the city is the place of extremes

i've noticed that cities are polarized not only in terms of economic or social condition
access to service and culture and information
but also in terms of beauty
cities are crowded with
increasingly beautiful people
increasingly ugly people

i find this depressing



martín churba@cientoporcientodiseño
vía noticiasarquitectura

i am so used now to mistaking my hometown mex/city for streetscenes shot from caracas, bogotá, sao paulo, san salvador, managua

even buenos aires

a new true panamericana

the era of makeshift reuse plastic tent supercities

swallowing informal, which is the new modern (at least for us)


pink flamingo


"The pop culture symbol met its demise after its manufacturer, Union Products, of Leominster, Mass., was socked with a triple economic threat -- increases in costs of electricity and plastic resin combined with loss of financing. Production ended in June, and the plant is scheduled to close Nov. 1, according to president and CEO Dennis Plante. Union Products made 250,000 of its patented plastic pink flamingos a year in addition to other garden products..."

via archnewsnow



waco, texas@boym

"Buildings of Disaster are miniature replicas of famous structures where some tragic or terrible events happened to take place. Some of these buildings may have been prized architectural landmarks, others - non-descript anonymous structures. But disaster changes everything. The images of burning or exploded buildings make a different, populist history of architecture, one based on emotional involvement rather than on scholarly appreciation. In our media-saturated time, the world disasters stand as people's measure of history, and the sites of tragic events often become involuntary tourist destinations..."

signs of the times

they also have the pont d'alma, the superdome, chernobyl and the o.j. simpson car chase...



americana = frontier

william gedney, san francisco, 1966

"The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick, he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe, not simply the development of Germanic germs, any more than the first phenomenon was a case of reversion to the Germanic mark. The fact is, that here is a new product that is American."

frederick j. turner, "the significance of the frontier in american history", 1893



BLESS N°22, 2004: perpetual home motion machines #3. transmitted privacy @domusweb
via dezain
at my income level, life is about perpetual home motion. i can't have the decayed victorian garden of my dreams, but i can try a portable home version. oh wait, its probably even more expensive than a real garden. fuck it. one more thing to fantasize about...

bless: "fuck up every style" (here)


lebbeus woods. sarajevo apartment.

sorry, i've been out. of myself and anything. shitloads of spell-check and next-day deadlines. moving soon. a mess, but still here.

i fell on lebbeus woods through here. quiero más.

i heard about this fabulous matta-clark book published by phaidon. i wonder how expensive it is.

i have to buy my first significant grown-up-life object, like a cornerstone or something.

i want to visit the balkans, especially ljubjana which isn't the balkans and zagreb where they have cute boys.

the days have been so perfect-blue in barcelona that i feel i'm in paris.



mexico city, 2006

failure too should be preserved. as a reminder.



dionisio gonzález@max estrella
jumped from archnews

what is it with people and their haussmaniac ideas of what cityscapes should be. cities aren't meant to be beautiful. not since the xixth-century anyway, not since it became obvious that behind beauty lurked power and control. one thing is beautiful, another is useable, or inspiring, or triggering, or liveable.

toppings 4: diets

jumped from blowdelabarra

i hate diets. i'm such a sweet-tooth.



raymond depardon, pique-nique, 1982
"the desert is private, and only the dunes are nationalized"
(ecrit sur l'image.le désert américain. cahiers du cinéma)

my first real roadtrip. i was five or six years-old. we drove our sedan from san diego to the grand canyon, with a hatchback motor-home riding behind. i wanna do it again.



natsuko seki @ crushed

we have this new italian flatmate. she might be a little country and a little crazy and a little bitchy, but she's a sweet-little atomic ant. and she sometimes looks like vampira. and she offered to remove my backhair.

this morning she sent me some of her favorite stuff on the net. i'm so happy. it looks like this will be a pretty good day after all.

i just needed my hardy breakfast.



public toilet, tijuana, mexico

when i was young and full of hope i was sort of obssesed with those dreamcity lists that came out in fancy lifestyle and travel magazines. mine was never on it. i can't remember when, but i started looking straight in the other direction. now i have my very own list of (bad)dream cities.

it starts with tijuana.



monticello #3, 2001

my recent posts are devoid of color. is it a subconcious strategy? its the times, the times. its the season. fall was always darker. its the sad, concrete state of affairs. still there is room for eloquence.

eloquence can shake and stir just as well.

take james casabere. now context makes his work even more gripping. pale, drowning, muted landmarks...

if that's not enough, add his spanking one-hell-of-a-studio by david adjaye.

like the old 80s pop-tarts add
so cool they're hot




24620: the fugitive house

i hate to brag, but... one of my top 3 seminars at metropolis was kyong park's "europe lost and found". the very basic argument was: detroit as a paradigm of urban development for european cities. not as an example to follow, but an eerie mirror-ball vision of possible futures. kyong was all cool. his political critique fell on the obvious at times, but i thought his projects and overall perspectives were true eye-openers, veil-removers.




usually i refuse going to madrid. not so much because of the classic barcelona-madrid feud. i really don't give a shit about which is the true top city in spain. or if cataluña is really spain. not even because i really really love barcelona and i can't get away from it. its just i have to negate madrid because my boyfriend has a fixation with it. he lived there. he idolizes it and idealizes it. he says madrid is as beautiful as paris. and his ex's are all in madrid, all his leftovers from when he was young and tight and much more active sexually (probably all over). so madrid makes me uncomfortable not only because of its overwhelmingly catholic and institutional and dominant middle-class ambience, but more because of its tight-jeaned, tight-ass, thick-eyebrowed, hypermodern haircut, grungy fags. or the police who wear tights for a uniform in the winter.

still, i feel, this year i'll have to make a sacrifice. there's a gordon matta-clark exhibit at the reina sofía. so i guess i'll just have to suck up my jalousie, as a tiny personal ode to the one and only true anarchitect, and go.



house of the century, angleton, texas, 1971-1973
ant farm

it seems we're ready for wack once more. lots of people out their are doing whack: childish, inflatable, under...
what have we learned? what failed back then? what should we do different?

can whack make a difference?

more on ant farm



chinese girl
@ vladimir tretchikoff, king of kitsch
via the guardian

how did things start to ¡POP!?

entry on the ¡POP! research agenda
tags: camp, exotica



more ¡POP! from a couple of young german-nutty-types (aren't they all) recently featured in wallpaper's list of 25 young architects

"nutz (meaning 'use' in german) is the essence of using, making use of, re-using and 'what use it is'. Use is not only function but rather functions being created by using. for us, use is re-using something. we see re-using as enabling the use of structures that have lost their original function. many of our projects deal with the re-using (umnutzen) of space. the user consumes nutz. nutz is far more complex than function. architecture needs nutz. nutz makes form intelligent. a special degree of nutz is hacking. a hacker uses a thing or structure for something else than it is usually used for... the use of »alienated« materials and buildings could be a hack, too."

@ peanutz



"The tragedy of architecture is that, deep-down, many architects that could be good, correct professionals insist on being geniuses."

felix claus @ el_pais
via noticias_arquitectura



@ bidoun

the catch of the day
das ist ¡POP!


@ kevin_vanbraak's
via inhabitat

i'm all for
sweet little germs
plauging us
out of dullness

***superjolie, n'est pas?***



eyeing the new cabinet (p. 40), i came across a quote by john fante, which resumes my aesthetic and moral conditioning. it goes:

"failure is more beautiful than success."

i love fante. he makes me want to be in l.a.
so does chandler. so does p.k.dick. so do billy wilder and sam fuller. and isherwood and auden. and schöenberg. and mike davis.

it also reminds me of another quote a friend sent me some time ago, by another fante-type last-city beatnick-post-apocalypse:

"the more crap you believe, the better off you are."

charles bukowski



@ mamish's

just one question to the architects:

what are you waiting for?



juvencio bermúdez, rabbit

**there's no place like the third-world**



untitled (collage)
london, 2005

i wonder why we're so afraid of architectural sameness. what's so bad about outside drab? outside drab drives people crazy. makes them act. take architectural matter into their own hands. drives them to imprint, to mark, to mess up. it also drives people to the interior. architecture now is obsessed with difference, usually limited to facade. much like mass-customization. is this difference? shouldn't architecture be a base? a template? blankspace?



trauma discotheque
rafael salanova, 1977

how come no one told me i live in a city-in-space?




forum building
herzog&de_meuron, 2004

i feel it. a sense of impending doom (not really). the demise of the starchitect is near.

i had my first experience with starchitecture back in 1999 (sorry, coming from the third-world i was kind of a late arrival). berlin. the brand new reichstag. foster. postdamer platz wasn't finished yet. the piano booth was still up, the cranes were still all over and the city was taken by tubes to transport material.

i fell in love with berlin. i was 18, alone for the first time in my life, in a strange (i mean really strange) country. it was fabulous.

i thought my peak experience in berlin would have to be the reichstag. that's what all the brochures said. so the first night i went. it was octuber. raining. the city was empty outside. it was all very film-set. i think the dome was brand-new back then. i climed to the top. it was unlike anything i had never seen before. i was so impressed. there weren't any buildings like this back home, no even close.

i walked up the spiral. i saw the city there in front of me, alone, wet, blinking. i was so corny (give me a break, i was a teenager). in my recycled paper notebook i jotted stuff down about how fantastic the built metaphors were (i.e. transparency of the dome and looking down onto the parliament = democracy and transparency, etc.). i was overwhelmed with this hypermodern architecture. i couldn't believe postdamer platz. it was all so enthusiastic. it made you forget about everything that had happened and just feel glad and grateful it was done with and excited about all the things to come.

it didn't last long.

the days went by and the sparkling city gave way to its ghosts. there were the bombed skeleton building in the old jewish quarter. the pieces of crumbling wall on the east-side gallery. the four-story thrift shops on karl marx alle. the empty indoor courtyards in rotten buildings.

A few months later I saw wender’s wings of desire. i saw the old man sitting on an old couch on the shattered postdamer platz. i felt cheated.

since then I made my choice. i fell in love with the disappearing berlin. and with my ruinous mexico city. with moscow. with tijuana. All these places that thrive not despite of, but rather because of permanent disaster.

i wonder what will become of the others, the sparkling spaces, after they crash. will it be war? will it be depression? will it be the greenhouse effect? will it be pandemia? who knows. what will dubai look like then? or the brand new generic chinese cities. what fascinates me about boom towns is that eventually they bust. will it be like blade runner? will it be like detroit? will it be like beirut? will they survive? Who knows.

who will be the starchitects then?


toppings 3: lost&found

at last
the (alleged) picture of james dean naked in a tree
now found

via: boys_around_the_world (attention: more nudity)


call me chicken, but to me things are getting pretty scary

a take on the bachoco (major poultry company in mexico) marketing campaigns, the plucked dead chicken represents the federal electoral institute (IFE, the autonoums organism in charge of elections in mexico). from the creative collective genius behind el sendero del peje, the "way of the peje", a blog supporting the reported looser -leftist, chronical malcontent, former mayor of mexico city: andrés manuel lópez obrador- in last month's presidential elections.


barcelona is citybrand par excellence. we had a course on it. the boom came (as everyone will tell you over and over again) from th 1992 olympics, and since development here has been sparked by "events" -from local fiestas to the Fórum. hailed by many for its success in terms of architecture, planning and urban development. what the city has been terribly succesfull at doing, though, is at selling itself. last winter paris was empty and barcelona was full. everyone wants to come. i hate it.

i don't mean i hate the city. i simply hate this city-facade.

i'm searching for something more. for something like a core.

summer is over here and rufus says: can't escape these velvet drapes


shake n' bake

i'm so pissed-off i wasn't home this summer
i've been talking about it
the "camp-out-for-democracy" chaos
the hail-storm/flood
and now the earthquake!


once you pop you can't stop
its been 8 months since i got my first
vintage cuttler&gross gafas
i still haven't recovered from the 200-pound (sterling) blow
but i already have my eyes on another pair

i think i'm back to shopping as solace and cop-out


* driscoll reid, untitled, 2006
@ the wurst

question: how significant, challenging and good is it to rely on introducing oddity as a means of shaking landscapes and consciences?



poll: how efficient is our contemporary architecture/infrasctructure in terms of dealing with crisis and disruption?


toppings 2 : danse

i wish i may
i wish i might
get my hands on
a dansette



* Nicolò Piacentino, V'In Santo, Diesel_Wall 2006, Milano

poll:what do you say? yes or no?


* "artvertising" on the facade of the sandberg institute building

ok, ok, cities can brand themselves. become brands. whatever. what is this, a 4 year-old hype? citybranding is over, done, happening, spreading, changing, cloaking, choking. next! we have to be on the tip. we have to budge. one-step-ahead. the problem now, i think, is coming up with strategies for unbranding. and i DON'T mean naomi klein.


* @ bureaucrash


(let's do it)

the falling in love machine

and i thought i was the only one into summerlove*...



nafta super-highway
oh, and its pastel-coloured
kind of like
the same year nafta was signed the first piece of border-wall was built, with scraps from the vietnam and gulf wars
cute, huh?

hound dog