Gingerbread Farnsworth


Looking for a way to help out the flood-damaged Farnsworth house? And satisfy your weekly dose of Miesian Delusions? Buy a cake! The gingerbread Farnsworth is by April Reed Cake Design in New York City; 15% of its $4,320 USD cost will go to the restoration.

Via the ever tasty materialicious.

Artists Subway, With Trees


The Starn Brothers, every 1989 college student's favorite artists, are back! They are finishing up construction on a large installation in the South Ferry Station of the New York City Subway called See It Split, See It Change. Their focus on unnerving closeups of nature has not changed, nor has their geeky obsession with new materials. In this case a curved, fused glass printing technique that will last a century and took a year to develop. We're gonna be the first ones there.

Mirrored Summerhouse


This little magical summer house was built in England in 2005 by architects Ullmayer Sylvester. It's got a very DIY interior, and the exterior is the perfect, minimalist folded mirror. The house is further accentuated by being inside such a great landscape: a thin lot with lots of decking and flowers and ornamental grasses. It also looks like it didn't cost a fortune, like anyone could have one. If they have a little slice of pretty England to built it in.

Manhattan Street Corners


Between March and November 2006, Richard Howe photographed every street corner in Manhattan. Yes, he took pictures of all four corners too. The images are powerful because of the close cropping of the buildings on that corner: you get a generous panorama of the bank or deli on the corner (or, being 2006, construction scaffolding) and not much else.

There are roughly 11,000 street corners in Manhattan. The New-Yorke Historical Society is going to include them in their collection. As Howe alludes to in the text on his page, it is interested to see what he defines as corners. Is a corner a street intersection? For instance, where Broadway collides with 5th Avenue, just above the Flatiron Building (and now a pop-up park), there appear to be multiple pictures of the same corner, due to how he is defining corners. Hopefully they will all appear in a room together with some sort of map to document the process. However they are displayed, they are a powerful record of our messy, disruptive city life, systematically organized.

Via Materialicious.

The Space Of Unite


In a side room of the installation of Zaha Hadid's stalactites, at Sonnabend Gallery, was a room of Beate Gutschow's photographs. Artnet has a handy little gallery of the images. They are like deserted movie sets of Corbusier-influenced superbuildings. My favorite is S#26, a large panorama of the entire place.

The Trippy Florescent Light Sculptures of Yuichi Higashionna


Yuichi Higashionna is a Japanese artist whose most eye-catching work are florescent light fixture sculptures. They are almost like creatures, or armatures of the kind you'd find on the set of Twelve Monkeys. There are several photo galleries floating around, including this great one about his March show at Designboom. Also check out the interview with Shift earlier this year.

Tropolism Books: Bunker Archeology

Title: Bunker Archeology

Author: Paul Virilio

Publication Date: January 12, 2009

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

ISBN: 9781568980157


Paul Virilio an architect of theory (which is the opposite of a theorist for architects). He organizes theory, making it useful. There is no better reminder of this than Bunker Archeology, his 1975 masterwork, which has been out of print since 1994. The book has been reprinted by Princeton Architectural Press.

Revisiting this volume was not the trip down memory lane I thought it would be. Instead, the writing and photographs, like the Second World War Nazi bunkers that are its subject, stand as raw reminders than most everything we discuss in architectural design theory is irrelevant to anything but the present. Death, war, infrastructure, and the eclipsing destruction made possible by 20th century technologies are all things Hitler and the Allies made perfect possible use of, and these are the complete context of our current times. The phones and bombs and radio programs have improved, but their highest best use were already conceived by the actors in that War. The most important actor of course is Albert Speer, architect, whose position in the Third Reich allowed him to conceive and execute total war. Virilio's telling of this leaves me feeling that we are living out someone else's future.

The essays have a raw power that matches those of the photographs, making them undateable except by the closest scrutiny. It is a useful scrutiny, one that needs revisiting by architects, if we are to write our own future.

This book is available for purchase from Amazon.

Prospect New Orleans: Way Better Than Miami


Tired of the same, overblown art frenzies this time of year? Then forget Miami. Or at least get a new leg on your ticket. The place to be is New Orleans, about as un-Miami as you can get these days. Yet not so far! Their new biennale of art is called Prospect.1 and it's based on a premise brilliantly conducive to good art. It's set in a city where the pressures of money have not completely pushed art out of the magnificent spaces within its borders. It is set in a city with more artists per capita than any other United States city. It's set in a city that is not very large, yet is still blissfully full-on urban.

But don't take my word for it. Roberta Smith did a great piece on it for the New York Times a month ago. She notes that the artworks are scattered, not centralized, so they're always being looked at in their context, and the trip to see them creates a powerful exploration of New Orleans at the same time. And more interesting, Tropolism friend John D'Addario is the official installation photographer, and his flickr set of the installations is priceless. Pictures are of one of our favorites, Nari Ward’s “Diamond Gym," filled with weightlifting machines. Time to txt your travel agent.


More Miesian Delusions


Again with the Newsletter: last week I referenced some Miesian Delusions I came across the last few weeks. Another one opens tomorrow in Barcelona: SAANA is taking their bendy-glass-reflection-space to Mies's Barcelona Pavilion with a temporary installation. They have installed a semi-transparent acrylic curtain spiral. The curtain lets the visitor continue to visually see Mies's original space, but adds a layer of reflection and circulation that did not exist before. It's of the appropriate subtlety for the already-perfect Pavilion. We can't wait to see actual installation pictures.

Alerted by Designboom, who have more renderings.

Useless Furniture


Joe Velluto Studio, based in Vicenza, has a new exhibition called "Useless Is More". Now that our shopping frenzy of the last 7 years is finally over, we can get back to making art again. Joe Velluto does this by creating pieces that are recognizable as real furniture or design objects, except that they are, well, useless. They are approachable and designless like something from a yard sale or Ikea, and then they turn on you. And, of course, there is no way or reason to purchase them. It's a breath of fresh air.

Via Designboom.

Lee Walton, Baseball's Cartographer


I told you before, Tropolism loves sports. Today is baseball's cartographer, Lee Walton, whose next solo show of drawings are notations of specific baseball games. The end result captures vectors of unknown origin in beautifully detailed and layered maps. He isn't limited to baseball, or sports for that matter. What they all have in common is they are beautiful.

Via sub-studio design blog.

Furniture Friday: Microcoasts


As seen everywhere on the internets (I don't care, I love them anyway) are the Microcoasts by Vicente Guallart. Like a semi-permanent beach chair they make what would normally be an uncomfortable shore into a great place to spend the day. Being between Barcelona and Valencia isn't half bad, either. We need a new category for this one: "Exterior Design".

Tropolism Films: Bodega Down Bronx


Today is a screening of the new film Bodega Down Bronx. From the Center for Urban Pedagogy's announcement: "This past year, students from New Settlement's Bronx Helpers and CUP teaching artist Jonathan Bogarin investigated bodegas in the Bronx. The group interviewed bodegueros, visited their suppliers, and met with congressional representatives, health professionals, and alternative Bronx food establishments. They made a documentary to pass along what they learned." Watch the trailer here.

The screening is at 5:30 at CUNY Law School Auditorium, 65-21 Main Street, Flushing, Queens, NY.

Continuous City


The Builder's Association, the artists collective responsible for several on-stage media theater works over the last decade, is coming back to BAM. You may remember their last show, Super Vision, which was as thrilling technically as it was a tad undercooked theatrically. It was like live blockbuster movie, but with a plot that revolved around how our lives, so fully enmeshed in technology, so easily discoverable through how our personal information is networked, was vaguely unsettling. Not full-on Kafkaesque Modern disaffection, but a cloudy resignation. That project was a collaboration with New York City architectural renderhouse dbox (warning: full screen browser resizing ahead).

Builder's is back at BAM November 18th with Continuous City. This time it's even more collaborative: you can post your own video to the project.

Pretty Pictures: Resampled Space


BLDGBLOG is back in fine form with a survey of the work of artist Filip Dujardin, who manipulates images to create his architectural fantasies. Yet these images are sublime because they amplify the weight and grunge of the existing industrial photograph material from which they are born. It is that they are plausible which gives them power.

Furniture Friday: Gehry's Swoopy Bench


Speaking of swoopy bench-like sculptures, Frank Gehry has done one for the World Company building in Tokyo, just in time for Tokyo Design Festival. It's worth comparing his to Zaha Hadid's. Formally they are similar: complex curves that you can sit on. They sit in a space, but aspire to some kind of kinetic reflection of their present surroundings. But the materials are very different. Gehry's piece could be made by basket weavers; Hadid's requires a lot of bondo and an apprenticeship in auto body repair. I like them both, but Gehry's piece is a reminder that the build manifestation of complex forms is not always seamless shiny material.

As seen at Core77.

Furniture Friday: Richard Prince's Furniture Show


Richard Prince's latest show at Gallerie Patrick Seguin, in Paris, shows off an interest in furnishings, including his new "Nurse Hat Chair". The other pieces in the show are from his collection, and are arranged in a way to display his rare book collection. As a work of editing and collecting--and by that I mean as an extension of Prince's paintings and photography--it's a fascinating set.

As seen at DesignBoom, where they also have more pictures of the show.

Pretty Pictures: Drafting #1