copy/paste/to-read/ on my mind:

From Mr. Clayton, on being a tourist

(from Columbia Road, sniff)


design and non-design

COPY/PASTE from Architecture Theory since 1968

(More Diana Agrest)

The discursive specificity of architectural codes which are permeable to other cultural codes.

The relative autonomy of levels in a social formation organized in a structured but decentred totality.

Each practice is determined by the effects and interactions of all other instances at one - a set of insides and outsides enfolded in the structural totality.

The interaction of these zones is an exchange of ideological codes, each of which has its own designations of relevance, propriety, regularity, and so forth, but which can transcode, that is, act as a kind of commutation device, moving and sorting among other discourses and levels in the cultural field.

A code is like an ideological prospect, constantly shifting its point of view, constantly being produced, constantly seeking to compare itself to the conceptual possibility of other codes.

Architecture is not confined to its own narrow idiolect of design, but rather transcodes between design and non-design, throwing discursive forces into multiple play.

Design can achieve a certain plurality. Within its necessary enclosure of specificity - its cultivation of its own autonomous techniques and occlusion of other cultural codes - it is unconstrained by an imperative of representation; it can combine multiple networks of self-reflexive meaning and provide various points of access for filtering material from outside. Nevertheless, design classically conceived produces what Roland Barthes called a lisible text, in which the whole range of institutionalised techniques and habits necessary for its legibility - and that make it an integral whole, a traditionally "good" design - limit the plurality of the text. Non-design, in contrast, produces a scriptable text, permeable, fluctuating, giving no indications as as to how it is to be read, demanding that its reading be in effect its rewriting. To maintain the architectural text's plurality, a reading is called for that refuses to make hierarchies, integrations, or syntheses of the heterogeneous constituent codes, that instead simply juxtaposes fragment by fragment - a productive reading, mise-en-sequence

tonight in caracas:

Rafael of Simpl3 is putting this on:


open dalston

A great blog all about Dalston regeneration and community debate, called Open Dalston.

Thanks, Amp!

el Avila

These pictures show what it's like to feel so tiny in such a huge city. Those mountains are 7400 ft high, and the Caribbean coast lies beyond them.

We drove higher up the mountain on the South side to a neighbourhood called "el Hatillo" which is a former colonial place. It was surrounded by thousands of little lanterns, which by day is a barrio neighbourhood that I don't know the name of. The houses are smaller and painted, which hidden pictures in the stone walls. It's the most touristic place here I've seen. Here is a window:

The view of the city from Santa Fe, another neighbourhood on that side, was stunning. The occasional lightning bolts lit up the mountains behind the skyscrapers. It was quite dramatic, a bit like being a bird. The police told us to move after 2 minutes.

The weather continues to be extreme: the heat is too much, the lightning sounds like a building dying. The rainfall yesterday was immense, we couldn't cross the street because it had become a brown river. Apparently it's the worst in 2 years - and the proper start of the rainy season.


imagination and

(Brockley, London)

... the suburb.

the countryside.

coming soon: the city. (I had tickets for that, but forgot. bah!)


Spirits Drifting


the gecekondu: innovative urbanism for the west and global urban poor

That's the title of my dissertation I wrote this year as part of my Interactive Design BA at LCC. It's just won the Design History Society Essay prize.

Here's the pdf if you fancy a read. Let me know what you think! (update: proper version uploaded, mail me if you're intrigued by the appendix as it's detached)

Here are some pictures I took in Sariyer, Istanbul around this time last year.

first thoughts:

I spent 10 hours sitting next to a member of the Venezuelan Olympic team. He had a cool get-up: head to toe in national colours, with matching bum bag. He was the silent, Spanish-speaking type. I think he specialised in martial arts.

Leaving the airport, the first thing that hits me is the heat. The air is thick with heat.

The mountains, blanketed with trees, are so tall that they dissolve into the grey clouds. It's quite beautiful - I used my favourite phrase to communicate this to my driver Luis.

And the colours! I can't really describe them, it wouldn't do them justice.

Nestle is everywhere, even painted onto a mural in a barrio.

The barrios! It's like a book has come alive.

The scale, and the pace, is quite intense. High-rise towers everywhere, vehicles constantly honking, buses with bullet-sized holes in the windows.

I had my first Venezuelan meal after my first meeting in the office (straight off the plane) after being awake for more or less 24 hours. A cachapa - a sweetish corn omelette, filled with a cheese which was like brie but more zangy. The watermelon juice was superb.

Here's two views from our apartment, the building is called "Anclemy". It's nice, feels like Greece inside.



my last night dancing in the continent of europe, woop! fun times ahead.


8 8 8

Serra in the Tuileries this summer:

Maxime told us a great story about the great slabs were made in Germany, rested on the border, and carried into the Grand Palais (image 12 of 23). I can't retell it in the same way. In any case, here are many Serra pictures.


comic book war journalism

Het Gekkenhuis (Oud Liedje, Nieuwe Wijs)
{approx: The Insane Asylum (Old Song, Newly Wise (or 'new tune'?)}
(by Louis Raemaekers; Amsterdam, Senefelder [pub.] 1915)

Great satirical maps of the first world war

Raemaeker, above, challenged the Netherlands' neutrality.

I wonder what Joe Sacco is up to, whether he'd make things like this. He should have a new book out soon, in theory.

are you ready?

(Roy Langstaff, © CERN)

the Large Hadron Collider is.


integrated city making

What I've been doing the past month, is designing a detailed report at Urban Age. About governance, planning and transport within 4 Indian cities (Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore) and comparing them to London, Berlin, New York and Johannesburg. Worth reading I'd say.