Friday, August 24, 2007

ghost lab 9: "beulah"

2006 ghost lab 8 studio with "full metal jacket"

third times' a charm blogger gamma rae has a recent post showing some images of the newly completed ghost lab 9 project in nova scotia.

Monday, August 13, 2007

virtual suburbanization

the new york times has done an interesting piece on the emigration of the business class, and technology's ability for more people to work from a "location-neutral" office. in the last decade, colorado mountain towns have seen the most increase in home values along with the population increase.

“You are seeing a transformation of rural communities,” said
Jonathan Schechter, executive director of the Charture Institute in Jackson, Wyo., a nonprofit organization that studies small recreational towns. Into quiet resort spots the migrants have come, laptops on their knees: fund managers from New York, software developers from California, consultants, proofreaders, engineers, inventors. “The same processes that led to the suburbanization of the
United States after World War II,” Mr. Schechter said, “are now producing a virtual suburbanization in places like Jackson or Steamboat Springs.

there is a broad running joke amongst the people here that "no one is ever from colorado...they are all transplants..." ourselves included. the line between tourist and local is often blurred so much that the distinction is impossible. how does this affect communities? politics for one.

“...[routt] county tipped Democratic in the last election. You see the tension in the City Council. It went from being pro-business-and-development to more conservationist.” He added, “Twelve years ago, not everyone you met had a Ph.D. or was from New York. There are still a lot of locals here, but that aspect is changing.”

income is another factor. the emigrants form new york or california bring their own business with them, but not necessarily to the towns they inhabit [global business vs. local economics]. the local industries are service and tourist oriented [ski resorts, restaurants, golf courses], with other local industries being mining, drilling, quarries, ranching, and wild life conservation. the potential hazard with this situation becomes apparent through community participation. the idea of the home office is obviously not new, but the home office with a ski slope as a back yard brings a relatively new demographic to more mountain towns. not only are these people transplanting their business and families, but also their ideals of living [suburbanization]. the most remote towns geographically risk being the most exclusive towns on a sociological level[think gated community where the gate is a mountain range]. this has already become prevalent in towns like aspen, where the service industry employees have been pushed to nearby sprawl towns such as snowmass, due to the expense of living / housing in town. this creates a commute for most workers.

"...In Steamboat Springs, a pawn shop and loan store amid the expensive restaurants on the main drag illustrates the growing inequality in a region that produces few middle-income jobs. Each day 1,500 workers commute to Routt County from neighboring Moffat County, an hour away. Meanwhile, the airport, once filled with tourists, caters to people in business suits."

the fact that more people are moving here seems to indicate a desire for a slower, more relaxed quality of life compared to the urban rush encountered in manhattan or downtown l.a. can we have both inclusive communities and location-nuetral business? it seems like a bid for utopia, but the main ingredient here is technology. most people travel to the rockies to be removed from the presence of laptops, email and cell phones. but the recent proliferation has made even the most remote places have a global connection. once it was a way of life to live isolated in the frontier, returning to civilization for water, whiskey and maybe a bath. now we seek adventure in that isolation, dipping our toes into places outside the range of wi-fi, only to return to the invisible isolation of our communites.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

q & a with brian mackay-lyons

cathleen mcguigan did a piece on the ghost lab host brian mackay-lyons in a july issue of newsweek. mackay-lyon's [other] book, plain modern, is an exploration in regionalist modernism, or as mcguigan puts it: "renewed modernism". brian emphasizes the distinction between this type of modernism and the one of the 1950's by addressing context, urbanism and landscape in the north american way.

“Starchitects” are doing more overgrown coffee-table ornaments all over the world, and it’s just making that worse—you know, just dropping something in Dubai and then flying home..."

one of our favorite excerpts is a quip about fellow canadian architect frank gehry:

"...Gehry—funny, you know he’s a Canadian guy, too. [Gehry was raised in Toronto.] I think it’s important to respect your elders in any civilized society, and I think he’s just one of those people who’s off the radar—he’s a genius, I think he’s an absolute genius and I don’t like his work..."

as some of you may recall, we spent a fortnight on the coast of nova scotia last year designing and building a studio space know as "ghost 8". by this time, there should be number 9, and hopefully those images will surface soon. here is an image of last summer's ghost 8:

Monday, August 06, 2007

video-tecture on archinect

video-tecture--one of the latest features on archinect-- spotlights some of the more prolific music video works by contemporary bands including the likes of radiohead, mogwai, feist, roksopp, david byrne, brian eno and many others. the feature focuses on the portrayal of landscape and architecture in music video format to illustrate some unique "spatial experiments".

by now most of you have seen the rap video in zumthor's therme vals, but we thought this one stood out of the crowd [pictured above]:

and while not music videos, two clips from the films, 28 days later and vanilla sky [respectively] could be an additional study of spatial experiments in film with music. these two clips contain similar themes of isolation and despair, although two very different atmospheres are created simply by the tone of the accompanying musical pieces.

while jim appears to be completely distraught in a deserted london, signs of a recent massacre are even more haunting as he discovers them through leftover artifacts of the violence. eventually he is discovered by the perpetrators and as the music climbs, jim is chased away from the open public square into the more claustrophobic side streets, escaping what seemed to be a certain grisly demise. the music plays to a more direct fear of an apocalyptic future through the atmospheric feedback in the guitars, manic drumming and relentless staccato notes from the cello-a deeper sound to convey dread.

mint royale - from rusholme with love [w/ intro by radiohead - everything in it's right place]

the latter clip follows david, a wealthy new yorker, as he wakes up to the digitally laced dream-like tune from radiohead. we witness his routine of getting ready for the day; there is no dialogue, no voice narration, which leaves the viewer anxious for some sort of conversation-a reassurance that this is real. to his disbelief upon arriving at times square, he gets out of the car and surveys the landscape only to find he is the only one left in new york. the music fades in with a more playful techno dance number as he begins to flee the scene, hoping to out run his loneliness. the camera turns it's gaze toward the billboards whizzing past from the protagonist's dizzying point of view, only to abruptly cut after a whirlwind shot of david screaming above the phantom ambient voices he cannot find. the scene is more fun than scary and the alien of an eastern techno pop song relieves the anxious viewer and displaces one into a scene of extreme fantasy.

by these two differing scenarios, could one imply that music creates space/place? on film it is almost certain-but what about in our everyday lives?

after all-it was quoted somewhere that architecture is like frozen music...


Friday, August 03, 2007

get the ink on

located on south broadway in denver, we found a custom t-shirt shop [think tatoo parlor, but on your threads] called indy ink. they also have some great designs for sweater jackets too.