Wednesday, June 25, 2008

tick tock...revolution #28

as the annual clock completed one more turn on this life of ours, i am finding that the important things get clearer, and everything else just gets fuzzier...

to mark the occasion and to keep my own spirits up in this profession, I offer an excerpt from last month's metropolis blog interview with brian mackay-lyons [yes...him again]:

M: One of the essayists talked about this idea that you instill in the [ghost lab] participants. He says you encourage “thoughtful play” during these summer retreats.

BML: People who choose a life in architecture want to believe that it’s going to be fun. It’s like being a child all over again. If you go into a life in architecture without a sense of that, then you are really going to be unhappy. Ghost is a way to remind everybody about why they went in to architecture, even if it is a bit utopian or idealized. That’s OK. Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses has its value. I criticized the priesthood of architectural professors, and of course I am one; I’ve been one for twenty-five years. There’s a good side to the priesthood, and that’s to keep the lights on in tough times. To keep the lamp lit. The world can be going to hell in a hand basket, and the economy can be down around your ankles, and the whole thing can look pretty bad. Then it’s even more important to be optimistic.

It’s amazing what you get done in such a short amount of time. I imagine the speed with which you realize these projects contributes to the need for a hierarchy of order.

As I say in the book, teamwork is learned quickly when there’s too much to do. At the Ghost site, if you are a prima donna, you get bypassed. There’s no time for it.

How did your neighbors react to that first Ghost project?

One of the reasons we keep doing this thing is because it reaffirms that society knows what architecture is, and that they actually have an innate curiosity about it. The neighbors are intellectually curious. Some of them have PhDs; others can’t read or write, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s a natural curiosity. They want to see what the young people are doing that year and they come for the party. We start the bagpipes at dusk and they come.

I loved reading about Albert Oxner, an elder in the community who cannot read or write, and the story he tells you about how he and his father first came to shingle their barn. Our culture can tend to value those doctoral degrees, but in truth, what we can learn from a man like Albert about building and its evolution is invaluable.

Especially today when there is so much interest in issues of the environment—as if that is some kind of new fashion, which drives me crazy. There’s a tremendous amount of environmental knowledge that was in the heads of those kinds of people.

for updates on this year's ghost 10, visit pixelwhore's blog: with love and squalor.

view more progress photos on flickr by pixelwhore.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

entrepreneurial blogs + architectural moustaches

we've discovered a new blog that keeps knocking us dead with every new post: archipreneur written by " a 26 year old entrepreneurial-minded architect in the Washington DC area."
it has been added to the sidebar -->

and definitely fitting is that the latest post links to a great architectural firm based in seattle called:

Pb elemental architecture they even do their own structural engineering. and...wait a second...what the hell?! i think if you're a guy that works there, it is a pre-requisite to grow your own version of a fu manchu or moustache...

Sweet gravy...that is just too much awesomeness for one day...

Sounds like this firm was created on all the principles I admire:

-Extremely flexible hours

-Unlimited Vacation [SAY WHAAAT????!!!]

-Economy in Design/Construction

-Physical Models for every project

-Design/Build Delivery

-In-house Structural Engineering

-In-house chef [Breakfast everyday!]

And of course:

-Handlebar Moustaches

if you don't believe me read this:


Friday, June 06, 2008

GHOST: Building An Architectural Vision

blurb taken from the book:

Ghost -- "Architecture is a social art. If the practice of architecture is the art of what you can make happen, then I believe that you are only as good as your bullpen—the builders, the engineers, the artisans, the colleagues, the staff—who collaborate with you; those who become possessed by the same urge to build, by the same belief that we are working on something exceptional together." —Brian MacKay-Lyons

For two weeks each summer, architect Brian MacKay-Lyons uses his family farm on the east coast of Nova Scotia for a special event. Among the stone ruins of a village almost four hundred years old, he assembles a community of architects, professors, and students for a design-build internship and educational initiative called Ghost Research Lab. The two week project—one week of design and one week of construction—rests on the idea that architecture is not only about building but also about the landscape, its history, and the community. Based on the apprenticeship environment of ancient guilds, where architectural knowledge was transferred through direct experience, Ghost redefines the architect as a builder who cultivates and contributes to the quality of the native landscape.

Published to celebrate the event's tenth anniversary, Ghost offers a thorough documentation of the past decade's design-build events including drawings, models, and final photographs of completed structures. Organized chronologically and interwoven with MacKay-Lyons's simple and accessible personal narratives, Ghost also features essays by some of the most eminent figures in architectural criticism, including Christine Macy, Brian Carter, Karl Habermann, Robert Ivy, Kenneth Frampton, Thomas Fisher, Juhani Pallasmaa, Peter Buchanan, and Robert McCarter. In an architectural climate full of trends and egos, Ghost is the rare manifesto that does not preach but rather inspires quietly with simple ideas that unexpectedly unsettle and arouse.

Brian MacKay-Lyons was born and raised in Acadia, Nova Scotia. He is a professor of architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and co-founder of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd. His work is the subject of the 2005 monograph Plain Modern: The Architecture of Brian MacKay-Lyons.

buy it on amazon.

look for us in the liner notes and construction photos...


Thursday, June 05, 2008

car - bus - bike

to start the thoughts of the day, we begin with a photo:

it really comes as no surprise to anyone with half a socio-economic-environmental brain that mass transit has been steadily on the rise in the wake of increasing gas prices. the NYT recently did some legwork in [where else but...] NYC and Boston, but the article's main focus is towards cities less reliant on mass transit including: San Francisco, Oakland, Houston, Charlotte and also in Denver:

Here in Denver... ridership was up 8 percent in the first three months of the year compared with last year, despite a fare increase in January and a slowing economy, which usually means fewer commuters. Several routes on the system have reached capacity, particularly at rush hour, for the first time.

“We are at a tipping point,” said Clarence W. Marsella, chief executive of the Denver Regional Transportation District, referring to gasoline prices.

click thumbnail for larger view

as we look out the window, we can see the neighborhood 7-11 holding fast at the $3.89 per gallon...