Archives for category: design



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Australia is a nation of fringe dwellers. Our population centres famously cling to the perimeter of the landmass; a critical pattern in our urban condition. However, in the ensuing decades several iconic models of coastal inhabitation will be all but extinct as the pressures of population growth, rising sea levels and geopolitical transformations actively reshape the East coast of Australia. Occupying primary real estate between the Pacific Highway and the coastline in a number of coastal centres, caravan parks are an idyllic reminder of Australian life, reflecting utopian low-cost communities on sites of extremely high land value. Blending the romanticism of a nomadic life with the resilience that has previously guaranteed their survival, the parks have a certain cultural traction that has seen large-scale development surround them, without impacting on their centrality or longevity. Clinging to some of the lowest-lying real estate in Australia, the caravan park is situated at the frontline that will increasingly divide the desire for coastal inhabitation from the environmentally turbulent edges of the Australian landmass.

As an architectural paradigm, the caravan both critiques and embodies this futurist quandary: nomadic and technological at the same time as they are fixed and historical…What is the legacy that they leave behind?


It seems there are a lot of trajectories that are overlapping at the moment as I make my way through the world. Inception has made it worse. I have always liked the Pig City Farm project by MVRDV. I also find some of their thinking about urban farming quite amusing. Animals and architecture have always had an uneasy alliance.Possibly it goes back to the primal scene in first year, where we designed a doghouse in week one.

Anyway, after seeing Inception I started thinking about Sigfried Giedeon again, and his writing about space and time which I have had to look at recently. However it drew me to his more obscure work about mechanisation and agriculture and, in particular, some half remembered images of pigs, whose world shifts momentarily from vertical to horizontal. In some ways it resembles the scene in Inception where a dream world is created independently by an “architect” independent of the person who is experiencing the dream. It must feel something like this for the pig as the horizontal abruptly becomes vertical, through this ingenious apparatus.

Maybe, it is the same quarter revolution that is described in Orwell’s Animal Farm, where pigs take control under the banner of “all men are enemies, and all animals are comrades!!”. The seed of an idea, buried in a psyche…Minor shifts have major reverberations…the architecture of power… more inception references…pigs in space. A little tenuous. Time for another poll:


Fascinating film on the weekend…Hubertus Siegert’s Berlin Babylon (2001) accompanied by an enigmatic film score by Einstürzende Neubauten. Apart from stirring the memories of my recent return from said stadt, this document is a visual tour de force – a remarkable, frank and honest insight into the realities of architecture, construction and politics, warts and all.

Some personal synopsis?

That Dutch master, Rem Koolhaas, knows how to work a crowd. Respect.

The discussions and machinations regarding the fate of the Palast der Republik?

The tragic observations prophesising it’s doom are poignant, especially considering it’s short lived reincarnated flowering as the artistic Volkspalast – apparently now to be replaced with a reconstruction of the Prussian Stadtschloß…hmmmmm. Best summed up for me with this photograph I took of some graffiti from winter 2008 near the end of the demolition process.

Ultimately, this film reminded me of why I love the at times torturous profession of architecture. She is a battlefield and at times a mountain to climb, but man, that view from the top…

Like Berlin herself…a beautiful thing to watch.

For an informative post DDR adaptive use of the Palast see:

video link on fate of Palast and Volkspalast:


we were tricked into this by the engineer… a window, facing north-west; an existing wall that housed it…

We proposed a simple system. The engineer said it wouldn’t work. So we proposed a complex system. The engineer said it would…

It’s not really a window. It is kind of the edge of one. It seems to cut the sun out. I don’t mind the geometry. Like Nietzsche says: “the wittiest authors provoke the least perceptible smile” (HA, 182).

Check out our rendering of the window here: