Archive for June, 2009

Property Porn

“Porno is the unconsciousness of culture, the libido of humanity.” (unknown)
A comment from one of our contributors, ‘Helen’, suggested that we explore the proposal of Property Porn. Very well, Helen, we’ll see what we can come up with. Innuendo, for a start, I guess. But first a choice quote or two (seeing as we may be restricted in a choice of images):

My reaction to porno films is as follows; After the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw; After the first twenty minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live. (Erica Jong).

But are we even using the right word? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 30th June 2009
Under: Comment | 16 Comments »

Video of the Week XX: Architectural history 101

Architectural history for the young at heart …

Posted on 30th June 2009
Under: Video of the Week | 1 Comment »

Ever Near a Fairy-Land

The Architecture Centre pays hommage to the passing of the King (of Pop) pity he wasn’t also a king of architecture. As the Architect’s Journal yesterday said: the ranch was a disneyfied mashup of Queen Anne Style and New England vernacular. Not that I’ve got anything against mash-ups, Charles Jencks & Terry Farrell made them de rigueur for a bit.

Bringing to mind other celeb extravaganzas, such as Graceland (Mark Campbell wrote a rather brilliant essay featuring toe nail clippings in ‘The Pander’ which seems to have disappeared, if anyone has a copy, could you pass it on?), as often discussed is the great work of Brad Pitt (at least he knows how to hire the right help), and not to forget our very own Peter Jackson’s neu-Gothic pile.

Can this be summed up by those concise words: ‘too much money not enough style’?

Posted on 28th June 2009
Under: Comment, News, RANTING | 9 Comments »

bete comme un vrai architecte?

So where have the loquacious architects gone? Have architects become, like the tradition of French painters, dumb… ‘bete’ also suggesting ‘beast’, an animal without speech. It is true isn’t it? If you think of the Athfields and Walkers, not to mention the Fowlers and Waldens, architects used to be rampant orators, at times difficult to shut-up. But now liabilities seem to overwhelm opinions, and the debates of architecture are limited to polite gripes about who won what at the NZIA Awards, and less polite snipes on the amount of time things take to get through council.

In a recent Listener, Ranganui Walker declared that if you weren’t thinking politically, you may as well be dead intellectually. ‘Politics’ can be a broad term. On the one hand, there is a ‘politic’ in how loudly you complain about the NZIA Awards. But on the other, there is a ‘politic’ which engages society in the setting of values and standards. Deidre Brown’s recent talk to launch ‘Maori Architecture: from fale to whare and beyond’, discussed the immanent Treaty of Waitangi Claim Wai 262, which sets out to repair damage caused by the Crown’s failure to protect mātauranga Māori (Māori traditional knowledge). This covers ‘flora and fauna’ ie. genetic material which might be lost to ‘bio-prospecting’, but also Maori intellectual property.

Apart from my personal belief that mechanisms like Toi Iho branding are destined to be conservative and produce an historicised definition of Maori art/design/architecture, the protection of Maori intellectual property is important – Robbie Williams’s tattoo leaps to mind for a start. But Brown’s point, more interestingly for architecture, suggested the extent to which Maori building/construction knowledge has been eroded by building codes. These codes fail to acknowledge in fact they exclude the option of using customary techniques and materials. Te Puea’s project for Maori housing of the 1930’s is an example of lost a opportunity.

But this loss is not just in Maori tikanga. How many other forms of identifiably ‘kiwi’ architecture make reference to vernacular architectural traditions (perhaps a bit shoddy, but tradition none the less!!)? How many students are inspired to study architecture because of a family history of DIY? How much of an architecture student’s understanding of construction and materials comes from completing some of their own DIY?

…. and why don’t there seem to be any architects being vocal about this sort of loss?

Posted on 25th June 2009
Under: HISTORY, RANTING | 2 Comments »

Video of the Week XIX: lunchtime!!

Despite its architectural intent this how to “Architect’s Fish and Chips” may put you off fish’n’chips forever – or perhaps gourmet cooking them…

Posted on 23rd June 2009
Under: Video of the Week | 2 Comments »

Ferris Beuller’s Day Off

Iconic moments from the tail end of the eighties haunt me still: one of them the propensity for high hair and giant shoulderpads, another being the film Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. Although I never saw it at the cinema, I’ve watched it countless times since on video, cheering along with the crowd to “Save Ferris”, but also to sneak a glimpse of the priceless Ferrari shooting backwards out of the pristine modernist construction of his friend Cameron’s rich dad’s garage. If you haven’t seen it yet – then go and rent the movie now. Stay with it – you’ll hate the sacharine start – and if you, like me, fall in love with the car, the house, the plotline – then help is at hand at least for one of those.

The house, and the iconic garage, have just been for sale, and in doing so the world Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 22nd June 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Barbie Architecture: yep it’s pink

A casual comment about architect costumes at the last Arch Centre committee meeting made me wonder what the most fashionable fashion victim of all time: Barbie – might be able to offer to the subject of architects and architecture. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 18th June 2009
Under: Comment | 9 Comments »