Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Taebeom Kim's Gastronomic Garden.

I took this from a feature on pruned following a Vertical Studio at the AA that probed the question ' can extremes of programmatic effectiveness blend with the fragility of human habitat?'. All the examples led their way into the task by way of industrial food production (I linked to Soonil Kim's London Vineyard a bit ago) and this is by no means the most ambitious of the proposals, nor is it the most site-specific, but it's interesting to see how the similarities, however superficial between this and the issues that emerge when dealing with the motorway as an established environment. (as far as I can gather the resemblance is just incidental, and Kim just designed it in such a way that it resembles a road)
You can see in the image above all the millions of things going on, the vague 'contemplation' (gah!) walkways along with the routes for recycling, probably, encased in concrete.
The most interesting thing I took from this actually was the commentary of pruned itself;
In any case, to our own delight, this vagueness allowed us to easily recast the project as a proposal to adaptively reuse some of the complexly braided highway intersections in the U.S., many of which twist and turn in the middle of the city. By some implausible circumstances, perhaps now made at least imaginable with the financial crisis and, despite the current respite, the still looming post-oil era, patterns of habitation and mobility have rendered them obsolete. Empty of cars, they can now be colonized by eager gardeners who have been on waiting lists for allotments for years. In the middle of each cloverleaf would be waste recycling towers and “meditation” domes. Instead of ribbons of concrete, you have ribbons of vegetables.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

There's no physical context to this, and it's a very un-technical project but one I thought was quite interesting for its obvious parallels with my own. I'm always a bit suspicious of urban farming utopias that go on about how insanely fun it's going to be for everyone to join in with the farming but I like how they made a design for an individual, then 100 people, then a community of 1000.  I think it's a valuable exercise in equating the ideal of self sufficiency with the spatial demands of all the energy production, accommodation, bla.
some notes (from dezeen)
"Oogst 1000 Wonderland combines a farm, restaurant, hotel and amusement park for 1,000 visitors a day. All food for the restaurant comes from the central structure and directly adjacent fields. Oogst 1000 combines fun with usefulness. One can see this amusement park as a huge people processor, people enter with an empty belly and leave with a full belly, and this without taking or adding anything from the earth, and having fun all along the proces. (sic...also, stop saying 'fun' so much. humbug.)
The hotel guests are the farmers, when you work, you can stay for free. And the concept displays some sharp edges, such as the abatoire right below the restaurant. 
Everything is linked by high-end agricultural technologies such as a bioreactor, a heat management system, CO2 recycling etc… the whole forming an as self-sustainable possible system." 

Oogst 1000 Wonderland by Tjep. from Dezeen on Vimeo.

I'd like to see some visuals that are a bit more convincing and less flat, populated with moving figures. Or alternatively something a bit more wholeheartedly silly and immersive that sells this idea of a community all living together in a mental episode of Kill it Cook it Eat it.

yeh, like that.

Friday, 5 November 2010


THOMAS LIBERTINY- 'unbearable lightness'
God what an embarrassing title. He also did those really sweetly fascinating honeycomb vases made by bees which I can't find a good photo of* that made me very jealous when I first read about them. The bee-flower-vase thing is also so neatly poetic that it's almost a bit smug. 
Unfortunately I still can't just nick ideas that I find in Icon four years ago but the idea of the honeycomb being this very graphically strong element and the product of each individual's life cycle being used to a completely human, deliberate end could be interesting. What made it that colour?  the different types of pollen? The wax maintains the smell of the pollen used to make it. lovely.

* oh wait there we go

 Taken from found super 8 footage, October. My flatmate found this box with reels of amazing amateur documentary footage in a BIN! There's an equally beautiful film about the south pole but in all the excitement we broke it. 

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

 Photography project on public space, Fête Foraine in Versailles car park.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


linking is lazy 
current thoughts- could use the topography created by the A186 as it exists now to suggest a form for the new development, like it's been extruded upwards and the space filled with whatever this urban farm entails.
what needs to be transported? products, waste, people. Could colonise the space above so that the ground below could be for free range chickens, crops and public parkland/allotments?
anyway all the projects in the London Yields project have got some really seductive images. Look I'm Tony Barber! god I love seductive imagery and my socks don't match ever.

Monday, 25 October 2010


Reference for my future self- Olivier Darné's 'Banque de Miel' project in which he sets up urban beehives at different points around Paris (including porte de montreuil) to register their pollination patterns and relate this to human activity. On a formal note, I've been thinking a lot about the idea of the motorway as a 'conveyor belt' in the production line of the meat and eggs, about it being sort of rucked up into troughs and peaks that could accommodate the different buildings. Could possibly create this kind of continuous surface or at least visually coherent language using the reference of a beehive? they do look pretty awesome from the inside. Can't tell if this is a silly idea or not.
here is a nice picture of a bee hive. 

Biodiversité à Montreuil

Saturday, 23 October 2010


I'd always assumed that they'd be crap because they're nearly a century old ( I'm always shocked by how badly the Gremlins trilogy has aged) but I've been getting really into Buster Keaton films of late. I really love how his face is so inscrutable throughout but the comedy comes from how he's got this ridiculously acrobatic body, and the choreography of both the actors and all the little devices that appear in the domestic scenes is just completely perfect. Also I love that you know that at some point everything's going to go horribly wrong so every action has me rubbing my palms together gleefully until the HILARIOUS CONSEQUENCE. 

LANDGRAB CITY- Shenzhen,China

I thought this project was really pertinent to my research. as well as reminding me of the limits of the scope of urban farm production. I don't want to make it really utopian, it has to be grounded as far as possible in fact.
It's more of an urban art installation than an architectural proposition, but it does make a serious point about the spatial requirements of food provision

it's split into areas for potatoes, carrots, oranges, cabbages, orange trees and cereal crops (soy, barley, maize and rapeseed), and the size of the plots is directly drawn from the predicted requirements for each food stuff for the city of Shenzhen in 2027. (when China's predicted to supersede the USA as the world's leading economy.) This is given a relatable scale by the inclusion of the anticipated 2027 footprint of Shenzhen in photograph form, occupying a 30m2 plot, or 4% of the entire field. 
So incredibly, this means that the actual footprint area:required food production area is operating on a 1:24 ratio. Insaaane.
Also for the duration, the whole thing was planted and tended to by this one man Mr Yang, which is an image i like a whole lot. 

Workshop at L'atelier de Grand Paris, Palais de Tokyo

Now it's over, some notes on the week long workshop at the Palais de Tokyo.
because the palais de tokyo- Ensa-V collaboration was born out of the 'Grand Paris' project (in which Architects offered up urban strategy regarding the current density, satellite settlements and global significance of Paris) Monday started with this really fascinating lecture given by Bertrand Lemoine on urban development from the earliest settlements to the walled city, and how now the loose relationship between settlement and commercial patterns has been enabled by the transport system of concentric circles crossed by radiating lines of metro and railway.

My group started talking about the role of the aural presence of the motorway in Montreuil but then this quite quickly ran into the idea of 'replacing' this gap with something...noisy. Anyway long story short now we're working with the idea of an urban farm which locates all the stages of chicken farming, as in
 crops-egg incubation/packaging-free range areas-abbatoir-supermarket, and all this would be served by a 'tram' system transporting the human workforce and visitors as well as the material products. 

To me this seems a really reductive solution to the much more interesting notion of how to make spatial propositions related to sound-to replace it with something that whilst obviously making noise, isn't anything like the continuous, homogenous species of sound that's associated with a working motorway. Also to be honest I think the idea of designating particular areas/building types in an integrated urban environment as 'sound' or 'silence' is a complete nonsense-they're not discrete, insulated cells. Actually now I think about it a bit more this diagram (literally, there was a powerpoint) is almost hilariously simplistic, and the resultant proposal bears the most tenuous relationship to it ever. Though this is probably a good thing given how weak it is. I really need to improve my french so I can express my dissent better in groups, or when we start our own projects I'm really not going to be able to bring myself to base my design on something I think is so incredibly undeveloped that it's not worth mentioning.

Anyway despite all this, I like that it's not quite as virtuously politically correct as a lot of university briefs, and I do think there's a lot of interesting potential in the idea of the technical workings of an urban farm and agricultural autonomy of a town. Rather than the obvious idea of strengthening links to Paris proper with transport or whatever, to aim for something of tangible benefit that can be a bit further reaching than the site itself. Right now the motorway is the largest open space in the whole suburb, but spread throughout there's a lot of 'green space' that could be seen as potential extensions to the general idea.
Ideas to Pursue
-Look into urban-sound theory a bit so I can actually know what I'm talking about 
-John Cage (duh)
-Beekeeping, bees' role in the ecological cycle of the proposal.
-Diagramming systems of composting, crop distribution, the concrete spatial requirements of chicken rearing, slaughtering and packaging.
-examples of urban farms
-possible means of energy generation on site- wind? solar? 
-what is the actual growing season for the required crops? can this be extended with greenhouses (edible schoolyard)
-extent of public participation. Obviously some areas are more visitor friendly than others (the abbatoir not so much) but part of the ethos to me is the recognition of the processes and mechanics that are involved in commercial meat production. Also I need to design a single building with a degree of spatial complexity- visitors centre? educational something whatever maybe who knows. something to look into.
-if i can't satisfy myself that there's sufficient linkage between the 'sound replacement' thing and what I actually want to accomplish, which I probably can't, i'm going to abandon it entirely. Not the project, the attempt to make a laboured connection between the two.
-the motorway as a 'conveyor belt' the analogy between the production line and the transport to the capital is quite a strong and clear one. It's also much more intuitive than anything else I have.

edible schoolyard (2009) Work Architecture Company LINK
(the greenhouse is a moveable structure that slides back over the 'school' to extend the growing season in colder months. Aesthetically I find the project a bit too 'funky' but it's along similar lines, if a smaller scale to our project, especially in its urban context)

"The design is a series of interlinked sustainable systems that produce energy and heat, collect rainwater, process compost and sort waste with an off-grid infrastructure.
At the heart of the project is the Kitchen Classroom, where up to thirty students can prepare and enjoy meals together. The kitchen’s butterfly-shaped roof channels rain water for reclamation. Connected to one side is the Mobile Greenhouse, extending the growing season by covering 1600sf of soil in the colder months and sliding away in the spring, over the Kitchen Classroom. On the other side is the Systems Wall: a series of spaces that include a cistern, space for composting and waste-sorting, solar batteries, dishwashing facilities, a tool shed and a chicken coop."

handy handy very handy indeed. got to make me one of these babies.

this video is an excerpt from the foodprint nyc event put on by edible geography, the guy's talking about food systems as (architecturally) being widely ignored for the purposes of urban planning and political organisation. welllll interesting.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


The final copies of Un Cadavre's album! I'm really pleased with the way they turned out, even though the erroneous dash has reared it's ugly head in the credits. 
Anyway here is the finished article on my kitchen table in Glasgow.

(orr if you so wish you could BUY IT on the respective websites of rough trade and amazon)


3Km of A186 in Montreuil, dividing it into Haut-Montreuil and Bas-Montreuil. (is this true? it seems awfully convenient. I just checked and it is, both true and convenient.)
The A186 itself has been approved for demolition and seems to be really maligned in all the press covering both the recent event La Voi(x)e est Ouverte (sep 09) in which the inhabitants of Montreuil are described as storming the motorway and having a well good time eating, drinking and all that, and also in the accounts of the plans for a €2 billion 'Eco-Quartier' (Housing, schools, leisure amenities) development across the site, alongside the planned tramway. So that sorts out the traffic displacement issues then, sort of. 
Also it's vilified by always being presented in polar opposition to this really optimistic,
hopeful language used in descriptions of the Eco Quartier, and when it is mentioned by name it's often indirectly in terms of la fracture causée par la A186. The demolition is described as reabsorption, and seems to be generally considered a joyful reclamation of an an outmoded relic, a blight on the physical and sociological landscape.
The idea behind this project is that this mode of thinking is an overly reductive approach and solution to a perceived problem, and that rather than being just a relic the A186 stands as testament to a time when instead it was a monument to the power of the car and the road as a dynamic symbol of a....changing....era this sounds so lame. How else to write such a thing. The conclusion I was slowly moving towards though is that culturally and to a point historically, the existing structure of the motorway retains value, and constitutes a part of the urban landscape that apart from anything else represents a huge amount of human endeavour and capital outlay so to use it is a much richer proposition.
It's a project that demands the reconciliation of a lot of
strands, macro and micro and that will necessarily proceed in a really non-linear way so to begin with in groups we're making short films tomorrow that begin to define an area of investigation. Something about the journey definitely, in a car and on foot, but also I think there's something in the idea of examining and drawing comparisons between the points of intersection between the A186 and the pre-existing roads, I want to look at how the monolithic structure can be made into something more permeable, and these points suggest themselves as being in that respect, if not significant now, as good a point as any to depart from. We'll see.
From that-making a film. collect information on the journey, take lots of photos in sequence and footage. Identify the moments of transition, if there are m/any, could suggest different territories. I'm looking forward to getting there and for something to occur to me so that I can communicate it very slowly in French with loads of grammatical and pronunciation errors. 
TO LOOK INTO- proliferation of artist in Montreuil
les murs de pêches as cultural artefacts
festivals held in Montreuil
Historical context of motorway being built- maybe something interesting in intent that could be restored in a way that's more contemporarily relevant.


On a marché sur l'autoroute ! from Njaylarage on Vimeo.
An internet box for me to fill with internet knowledge and (principally) videos pertaining to Architecture that I find whilst actually looking for animals carrying out amusing tasks and/or in human clothes. Hilarious.
What does this look like
It's a bit small.
I wanted to call this Table and Chair but that was taken. Twenty six is my lucky number as well as being my Birthday, and these two facts are not completely unrelated.