Mies Gas Station: No Longer Pumping

miesstation.jpg.jpgThat Mies Van Der Rohe gas station in Montreal? No longer in business. It's currently covered in plywood (pictured), and the town is trying to figure out what to do with it. Apparently they don't have Starbucks up there because that would turn the place into a freaking shrine, and take care of renovation and operating costs at the same time.

Via many, starting with Archinect.

Stone Awesome House

brionehouse.jpgThe Brione House, by Markus Wespi Jérôme de Meuron Architects , is for stone lovers. In particular, it's for those who can't get enough of large blocks of orthogonal volumes that give a house just a touch of monasticism. From the exterior, there are hardly any openings, and the sloping ground is minimally touched, giving the blocks the feeling of ruins that one just happens to live in.

Carved out of Arch Daily.

Siza Gets The Gold


Álvaro Siza, one of the best architects in the world and Tropolism favorite, is the first Portuguese architect to receive the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. It's the award given by Britain's Royal Institute of British Architects. The Guardian interviews Siza for the occasion:

From the moment he began building, in the early 1950s, Portugal's most celebrated architect sought to frame views, to reveal landscapes, cityscapes, interiors and the ways through them. His aim was to delight the eye, and to make each creation a place of subtle revelation. Siza, now 75, has never been an architect of big statements and bigger pictures. He is, however, a designer and craftsman of some of the most considered of all modern buildings.

T Is For

Architechnophilia has posted their handy alphabet list of architectural weblogs. T is for us, darn straight it is! A little self love is a good thing.

Museum Of Nature


Urbanarbolismo's musings on Museos de la Naturaleza, how huge ecosystems can be contained and preserved, led me to Ilkka Halso's work. The Finnish artist has a whole website on Museum of Nature: images that visualize huge natural preserves, all encased for future generations. Even though we are partial to the psychedelic images Urbanarbolismo posted, our favorite is Roller Coaster (pictured). Which are of course one of my favorite memes.

Arquiteto ou engenheiro? Que?

More from Brazil!

From a friend in Brazil comes an email loaded with pictures of construction mishaps in Brazil. They range from the puzzling to the hilarious to the overzealous to the treacherous. Click on the slideshow to check out the full gallery. If only New York had so many examples of constructed comedy...

Tropolism Editor On Vision 2020


Tropolism's Editor, Chad Smith (aka me!) was asked to participate in Vision 2020, a set of small questions asked to a large pool of architects about the future of architecture. My answers are found here, and will hopefully be no surprise to regular readers of Tropolism. This will hopefully be the last time you see a picture of me in a post here, I don't like getting too meta.

The Newspaper Went To Rio


The New York Times went to Rio and had a blast! And, there is architecture down there. And not just in Rio. I know, this is kind of like when MoMA discovered that the Spanish were doing something between 1971-1992. But in this case the articles are about great design.

First is a landmark show about Roberto Burle Marx at the Paço Imperial Museum, the powerfully influential painter who happened to do most of his work in landscape architecture. Usually taking second credit to Oscar Niemeyer, Marx is given his due in this show as a brilliant artist who gave modernist landscape design a distinctively Brazilian identity. His work is explored both formally (where his inventiveness is as tireless and arcane as Gio Ponti's) and as it relates to the native plant species and environs of South America.

Second is a house not far from Rio that some rich vacationers renovated. They liked Brazil so much they decided to renovate it into their very own tropical mansion. It's like John Lautner was asked to build with a Kon-Tiki kit of parts. Which is to say it's so over the top almost-modern that we love it.


2min15 paris, sin nombre. from le flâneur on Vimeo.

2mins15 is a new blog of architects and flaneurs posting short videos of their cities (Paris, Valencia, Buenos Aires and Caracas). The results are interesting, and definitely part of the psychogeography collection we have here at dear Tropolism.

Tropolism Books: After The City, This (Is How We Live)

Title: After The City, This (Is How We Live)

Author: Tom Marble

Book Designer: Juliet Bellocq

Publication Date: December 2008

Publisher: RAM Publications and the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design

ISBN: 978-0-9763166-4-0

This book is available through the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design's website. This book is not yet available at Amazon.

Review by John Southern.

In every dream home a heartache
And every step I take
Takes me further from heaven
Is there a heaven?
I’d like to think so

In Every Dream Home a Heartache, By Roxy Music, 1973.

I started out my career in architecture as a designer with a corporate firm in Washington D.C. that specialized in office parks, many of which were located in the rapidly developing Reston/Dulles Corridor of Northern Virginia. The experience, which only lasted 6 months, left me so cynical towards both corporate developers and the architects who serve them that I quit and went to work for another Virginia firm that focused on assisted living.

That however, is another story.

What I learned during my short tenure at that firm was that the development industry has neither an emotional attachment towards the social implications of the built environment, nor does it care for the utopian projections which began with the modern movement- both sentiments that are drilled into architects brains during their first year of design education. Instead, developers have learned to harness what architects typically eschew- society’s fondness for nostalgia and predictability, as well as an ability to conveniently ignore the implications of the environmental damage caused by suburban development.

Enter After The City, This (Is How We Live), a clever, exploratory pamphlet by Los Angeles architect, Tom Marble. Supported by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, After the city, (this is how we live) cloaks itself in the guise of a Hollywood script weaving a story that is both educational as it is entertaining. Marble seeks to unravel the why behind all of those “little boxes on the hillside”, how they got there, and the men who made them. Hollywood has long been infatuated with the suburbs, often portraying them as hotbeds of banal consumption juxtaposed with the prospect of illicit activities which often occur behind the carefully manicured hedgerows and modest facades. However, while many script writers have explored the psychology and sociology behind suburban living, few have sought to uncover the larger processes that gave us the suburbs in the first place.

Click here to read the rest of the book review...

From The 24th Floor

US Airways Airbus A320 in the Hudson River, at Battery Park City, from the 24th Floor of Riverhouse.

Koolhaasian Typeface


Each day in January 2009 the website fwis is posting a new experimental typeface. What caught our attention is Koolhand, a typeface concept inspired by the work of a single architect, in this case Rem Koolhaas. You can download an eps file and check the whole thing out for yourself.

Typed in at Designboom.

Crazy Coney


In what must be the most bizarre, yet most refined, inventive, and weirdly beautiful collection of images yet, the Municipal Art Society has posted a flickr album with a selection of results of their Imagine Coney project. Curbed smartly whittles the results down further for those who can't be bothered to slog through the 36 images in the album. Or favorite is pictured, Historic Path.

The Gambling City


Artist Liu Jianhua's new exhibition in Italy features a model of Shanghai's skyline, in poker chips and dice. The piece is titled Unreal Scene. Coolhunting has all the details.