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


contradictory as it may seem
don't we all
(as individuals)
struggle with being
autonomous and temporary?



as i was saying, back to lakebed-state...

*slideshow, reforma


not kansas

toto, i've a feeling we're not in kansas anymore...

*slideshow, reforma

no, it ain't no puppet show, no disaster relief area, no summer fiesta, no squat, no ambulantes. this is the sit-in for "democracy", the "permanent assembly" lead by the leftist (reported) looser of last month's presidential elections, andrés manuel lópez obrador. his party controls the city (mayor, local authorities, local police and the local parliament), and even though he himself decreed laws prohibiting the closure of major roads and avenues in the city for purposes of demonstratrions, rallies or strikes, now he has decided to set permanent camp on the main avenue (reforma) of the city, as well as other city-center streets and the main plaza (zocalo) until the (autonomous) electoral tribunal calls for a total recount of votes (or an anulment in case he looses the recount as well...) so this is what they meant with ciudad de la esperanza!

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