I was lucky enough to be a guest in this house and I could barely contain my excitement but then the house ‘happened to me’ and it instantly calmed my nerves. The house is unbelievable in it’s purity of concept, form & design. Built as a bridge structure it makes reference to one of Glenn Murcutt’s mantras in ‘touching the earth lightly’. It may appear heavy but only the four supporting columns touch the ground with the earth underneath undulating and rolling naturally as if the building has been placed rather then built. I heard Sean speak about the house at a lecture once and he said his client wanted to feel the weather after a long and uncomfortable stint in Singapore air-conditioning so his solution was to make the bedrooms and bathrooms accessed via the elevated external walkway. The house is fully open and connected to the outside yet simultaneously very well secured and private. If you study the house plans and images you will see the extraordinary details and continuation of concept though-out. The house won the AIA Robin Boyd Award in 2006 and it is, in my opinion, probably one of Australia’s greatest houses. Check it out in the dedicated issue of El Croquis 165 along with other works by Sean Godsell Architects. I also invited Sean to speak for the AAA some years ago and he gave an excellent lecture and tour of the RMIT Design Hub, link to that tour here.
Sorry for nerding out here but I think this stuff is important to architects and their practices; I can’t wait for the technology of holograms to catch up to the movies with holograms. Check out these fantastic images from the Star Wars franchise (as a side issue, when did we start calling a movie series a franchise? I am fully aware they are now just cash machines but do we really have to call them a franchise rather than a piece of entertainment… I digress). The original Star Wars hologram scene with R2-D2 & Luke was captivating, even more so when you consider it was 1977. The more recent version pictured above with BB-8 is quite spectacular. I suspect these scenes are easily created as a post production digital effect for the big screen and some of the technology already exists with augmented reality however a fully fledged hologram is yet to appear in reality, I apologise for the terrible pun there but I couldn’t think of any other way to put it. The Star Wars franchise has holograms littered throughout the film with small droid projections, in car / spaceship dash projections, big central meeting tables as pictured below and even little hand-held devices, they’re treated like the norm.
Some conceptual studies that help us convey our ideas to the client. This is a little project for an extension to a small weatherboard beach shack on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria. Only minor alterations are proposed to the existing building with a new sloped wing that hugs the existing structure to add just that little bit more. This new form follows the slope of the land and orients itself to the north for the sun. It also provides the new wing with privacy and a connection to the rear yard. Currently in planning so check back again to watch its progress, look in our projects as it will be updated once completed, follow the link below to see a few more of these images.
READ MORE >
In the genre of Koyaanisqatsi, the Qatsi trilogy, Baraka & Home; a recently released movie ‘The Bomb’ is both scary and excellent. Very topical viewing in the current climate of Little Kim and Donny Small Hands and all of their posturing. You can catch the movie on Netflix, iTunes and a bunch of other outlets. Music by The Acid who are also touring music festivals with live performances. Thanks to Hendo for pointing me to this film.
Congratulations to the Save our Sirius campaigners for their courtroom victory in July of this year. They appealed former Heritage Minister Mark Speakman’s decision not to list the Sirius building on the State Heritage Register, refer to my previous article here. The judgement of the NSW Land and Environment Court (Sydney’s VCAT) stated the minister erred in overstating the financial hardship to the state and also in failing to consider the heritage significance and advice from the state and council’s own heritage advisors.
Unfortunately the State have appealed the decision and have reconfirmed their commitment to sell the site so there is still plenty of work to be done. We hope the new heritage minister will do the right thing and approve the suggested listing, we hope that Property NSW (the social housing dept) will reconsider and look to restore the building, we also hope they return the existing tenants to their homes and that the building is maintained as a working piece of history. I’m proud to have supported this campaign and kudos to architect and AIA NSW chapter president Shaun Carter for initiating this movement, you should be very proud of your achievements so far.
The original woodblock print is pretty well known, called ‘The Great Wave off Kanazawa’ (1834) it was created by the famous Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849 edo period), the NGV currently has a show with over 300 of his works. The great wave is a print therefore apparently very common with approximately 5000 in circulation of varying quality and prices fetching around $150,000. To celebrate that piece I thought I’d post one of my favourite works by Marcel Cousins ‘The Wave’ 2002. This work eluded me when Helen Gory Gallery showed his work some years back, his other works in the series are just as beautiful and very collectable.
Marcel is now represented by This is no Fantasy Gallery in Melbourne, link to them here.
I’ve posted a couple of projects by Corb and I’ll probably do a few more in the future because he was such a force. Consider the fact that 17 of his projects have been added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Some other fun facts about Corb, upon his death he left behind:
35 sculptures, 52 books, 550 paintings, 6,500 drawings, 32,000 architectural plans and sketches, countless articles and… 64 finished buildings.
The villa, completed in 1931, is located outside Paris in Poissy and is probably the best International Style Modernist building in existence. The building is characterised by it’s minimalism and lack of ornamentation that was common for that time. Most houses built to this day do not even come close to matching many elements of this structure and none are as inventive considering the time. The villa fell into disrepair after the second world war and the French state restored it to become a museum piece and opened it to the public.
It’s interesting how many artists have chosen these projects as the basis for their work, they come up time and time again including Callum Morton and Casa Malaparte and also his work on Farnsworth House. Philip Johnson’s Glass House and Fujiko Kakaya Veil posted here or more recently Yayoi Kusama and her red dots. These buildings are pervasive and it seems that artists are not immune. The image above is from a series of photoshoped artworks by artist Xavier Delory where he superimposed graffiti and degredation which is not that far off the reality of an older image showing the neglected villa. If you are after some more information on Corb, one of my favourite books on him is ‘Le Corbusier: Moments in the Life of a Great Architect’ by Magnum photographer Rene Burri. If you get a hold of a copy you’ll see the last page shows the headstone of both Corb and his wife, a little morbid but it really is stunning.
A while back I posted a short film called Wanderers created by Erik Wernquist, you can check it out here. In that film Erik used recreations of actual NASA imagery depicting the exploratory nature of humans. Set to Carl Sagan’s words from the past:
“Herman Melville in Moby Dick spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote, I love to sail forbidden seas.”
At the time the film did the rounds on the interwebs it seems that it was’t just the public that showed an interest… wholly crap, NASA also noticed. They commissioned Erik to take on another short film to celebrate and promote their work on the Cassini satellite and it’s planned spectacular ending by sending it in to Saturn. The image above is a screen grab from that film, you can check out the full 3min here on Vimeo. Saturn is 1.2 Billion km from earth however Cassini is not the most distant man made object, this title goes to Voyager 1 which is now approximately 18 Billion km from Earth at the edge of our solar system but also about 300 years short of the Oort Cloud. Voyager was launched in 1977 and is expected to stop transmitting in 2025. Cassini was launched in 1997 and will burn up in Sept of this year. I love the work of NASA and all the other international space programs and I hope one day that Australia gets more involved.
Not your typical armchair, designed in 1971 and still sold to this day as a limited edition of 200 pieces in Grass Green or 50 pieces in Nordic Grey. At 1.4m x 1.4m x 950mm high the Pratone by Gufram is a radical piece of art, design and furniture that needs a big home. These are the same designers that brought us the Cactus coat rack and the Capitello, an iconic, ironic and ionic column head arm chair. Available through Living Edge, link to them here.
You might recall my earlier post with Marcel Duchamp’s readymade ‘Fountain’ (1917), link to it here. There he spoke of the alternate to the readymade “A Rembrandt used as an ironing board”. Here we have just that but a meta version with Gladwell’s performance piece ‘Reversed Readymade’ (2014) pictured that features a rider performing BMX type stunts on a mockup of Marcel Duchamp’s readymade ‘Bicycle Wheel’ (1913). The Gladwell work premiered at the inaugural Per4m program at Artissima 21, Turin, Italy. Follow the jump to see some more images of the performance or you can search youtube for the whole piece.
Shaun is currently the highest priced living video artist and also was my very first post on this Journal where Gladwell had a commissioned show at ACMI in Melbourne a number of years ago. Shaun has been a force on the world stage for many years and represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 2009. The Bicycle Wheel (1951) edition number three after lost originals from 1913 was part of Marcel Duchamp’s series including the Fountain & Ladder. He called them “Assisted Readymades.” Duchamp later recalled that the original “Bicycle Wheel was created as a distraction, I enjoyed looking at it, just as I enjoy looking at the flames dancing in a fireplace.”
It’s happening people, a real ‘paperless office’ is getting closer than ever before. I’ve talked about this stuff in some previous posts here and here but day by day those ideas are becoming a reality. I’ve been experimenting with this iOS app called Morpholio Trace since it was released and the advances are progressing at a rapid pace. These steps are not without stumbles but on a whole these apps are great for marking up and sketching details on the fly.
The bollard art or ‘bollart’ was starting to happen but not fast enough. So I went out there with some friends and painted some myself. I did the Giant Die in white with black dots and no, the opposing sides do not all add up to seven, remember this was a clandestine operation in the dead of night with some risk of arrest so we had to move quickly. You’ll also see the blocks have a number of existing holes including 2x forklift holes on two of the sides and 2x ring pull holes on the top so I placed the dots as best as possible to suit these holes. We picked one of the best spots in the city; directly in front of the NGV atrium and opposite Melbourne’s famous graffiti filled Hosier Lane, couldn’t be better. Follow the jump to see some action shots taken by my sister Evelyn Rose and niece Mia Rose.
Many thanks to the team work of artist Carla O’Brien and her friend Eloise. We also did a giant rubix cube and a number of scrabble pieces that all looked great. Glad I went out there and did it, I’m still looking forward to see some other ideas.
Most people will know the Basilica i Temple Exiatori de la Sagrada Familia (or the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Family) in Barcelona, Spain. Originally designed in 1883 by Francisco Paula de Villa then re-designed in the Gothic and Art Nouveau style by Antoni Gaudi. He then worked on this project until his death in 1926 at age 73 with less than a quarter of the project constructed. The mid point was reached in 2010 and completion is anticipated for 2026. Gaudi was walking the streets viewing buildings and was struck by a tram, he looked so disheveled at the time and had no ID so he was thought to be homeless, a lack of care by the public and authorities lead to his unfortunate death. He was later identified and given a fitting public funeral. Recently some renders have been circulating showing the final product, worth a search. The image above is one of the less often shared views showing the vaults. I believe this was part of a series that formed the book Heavenly Vaults by David Stephenson, if not then it is certainly in that ilk.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) and one of his early ‘readymade’ artworks called Fountain (1917). Duchamp famously quipped “the alternative to this concept is ‘reverse readymade’ where an existing work of art would be used as an ordinary object “A Rembrandt used as an ironing board”, imagine. Some contemporary artists of our time that reference this readymade notion include Ai WeiWei and the Ming Vase photo collection where he drops a priceless vase (not so ordinary) and captures the moment of destruction. Andy Warhol and his Tomato Soup Cans (1962) or the Brillo Boxes (1964). Australian artist Sean Gladwell recreated Duchamp’s famous Bicycle Wheel (1913) and used it in his own performance piece. They call it Reverse Ready Made but really when you think about he is using the wheel like an ordinary object which happens to be a famous art work that is a readymade ordinary object so figure that one out for me.
Getting back to Fountain above, this was first exhibited in 1917 which happens to be 100 years ago, hard to comprehend. Originally rejected by the Society of Independent Artists in New York City the work was then exhibited elsewhere to much fan-fare, the original was subsequently lost however 8 replicas were created with some association to Duchamp. In 1999 edition number 5 reached a record price of $1.7M at Sotheby’s, the remaining five are in gallery collections, one in private hands and the whereabout of the remaining piece is unknown. Apparently there are some arty types out there who try and piss in these whenever they are put on show, pretty gross and not the sort of performance art that I’m keen on seeing.
Anti-terror bollards have the Melbourne public crying fowl but I see hundreds of five sided canvases ready for the picking. Here is one idea, over to the Melbourne graffiti scene, your move. I can’t wait to see some others.
*UPDATE: This concept was put into action, check out the result in another post here.
The Americas Cup trophy is the oldest perpetual sports prize in history, competition has traditionally occurred around every four years with the USA holding the cup for the majority of that time. We all know Australia were the first to snatch it away with Ben Lexcen’s winged keel, a win by design and the sciences. Bob Hawke famously said the day after “any boss who sacks anyone today for not turning up is a bum”. Good luck to New Zealand in their campaign and better luck next time to the UK team in becoming the challenger and hopefully taking the cup back home.
*UPDATE: Well done to the Kiwi’s for taking the cup home after winning 8 races to 1. I’m looking forward to visiting NZ soon to see the cup and possibly the next series of races. Sounds like there may be some huge design changes afoot.
I must admit that I like a bit of tech. This is the Bjarke Ingels designed Friday lock, a collaboration between Friday Labs and BIG Ideas. Basically it’s a battery operated automated lock that can be retrofitted to the inside of most doors. The external face remains as is with a key however the inside snib is swapped out for this unit. When you get close to the door with your mobile phone the door lock opens up providing access. When you leave; the door locks behind you and it can also provide temporary access to guests, cleaners, workmen etc remotely. If either your phone or lock battery die then you revert to using a key, simple. Many will say why bother but I say why not. Any of these things that modernise a home are a good thing. Its fine for our cars to be modernised so why not our homes.