Blablablarchitecture is going on air! Joe Public will be talking buildings once a week on Chicken Town Radio! The ideas include getting the everyman (the local butcher, the Hackney fashion bike shop retailer, the kiwi fascist coffee connoisseurs, the London Pearly Kings and Queens singing to raise money….) and the everyday to talk, or sound off, about the built environment and user occupation. What does building mean? If buildings could talk what would they say? Heck, we will probably start with the roots of blablablarchitecture and open with Mister Ed, the 50’s American sitcom of a talking horse who only spoke to his owner, an architect. The discourse of architecture is fantastically dense yet inappropriately opaque, so perhaps blablablarchitecture on Chicken Town Radio can break it all down…
There is an Antipodean precursor to architectural criticism as talk-back radio: check the dulcet Aussie drawl of: Radio Architects on Melbourne’s finest Triple R.
And beyond radio, “Living Architectures is a series of films that seeks to develop a way of looking at architecture which turns away from the current trend of idealising the representation of our architectural heritage. Through these films, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine put into question the fascination with the picture, which covers up the buildings with preconceived ideas of perfection, virtuosity and infallibility, in order to demonstrate the vitality, fragility and vulnerable beauty of architecture as recounted and witnessed by people who actually live in, use or maintain the spaces they have selected. Thus, their intention is to talk about architecture, or rather to let architecture talk to us, from an «inner» point of view, both personal and subjective.” The first project of the Living Architectures series was Rem Koolhaas’ Maison à Bordeaux from 1998. The film lets the viewer enter into the house’s daily intimacy through the stories and daily chores of Guadalupe Acedo, the housekeeper, and the other people who look after the building. Pungent, funny and touching.”
Folly (architecture): a whimsical or extravagant structure, built to serve as a conversation piece, lend interest to a view, commemorate a person or event. A temporary pavilion in 2014 for the Diamond Jubilee which was in 2012 is certainly a temporal extravagance. Yet regardless, an structure commissioned today has an unwritten desire to bring in the punters, the photos. Archi-tourism results in event souvenirs. Last weekend I was in Rome where you can buy an assortment of Fontana Trevi Fotos, Colosseum trinkets… I didn’t see a Pantheon panattone but hey! Whilst bling buildings do not have a monopoly on architectural commodification (icon jewellery), all those single follies should still give a meaningful ring to their existence! Could a bouncy castle win the Stirling Prize?
As a local stakeholder has just pointed out, there was a precedent for the earlier configuration of the Shoreditch Station development which elevated the existing station from the ground to crown the new development. And that is Professor Zhang Lin’s rooftop apartment which rocks. Prof Lin has spent six years shifting rocks and rubble to the roof to create this mountaintop penthouse with its rocky mountain garden, complete with rubble and shrubbery. According to the Daily Mail, local residents have described him as a ‘menace’ after cracks and leaks appeared throughout the apartment block and repute Prof. Lin did not have planning permission for the ‘extension’… For project roles: go to Shoreditch Station Planning Permission Rigmaroles!
What Freetown might lack in high street shopping, it makes up for in street couture. The streets are teeming with some of the most resourceful, brave and outrageous fashion decisions ever made. In a country so commonly associated with civil war and blood diamonds… Jo Dunlop, an Australian, felt inspired to show a different side to Sierra Leone and reveal an unlikely fashion hotspot. We hope that the FreeTown built environment follows suit. For our FreeTown Housing project: go to 141sie_Fashion Architecture Race!
As we survey the silicon (sillycom?) scenery outside our Old Street roundabout office window, one can spy ‘Pod‘. Good food apparently. Back in architectural wonderland, a ‘pod’ in recessionary times has the same currency as ‘blob’ did in a more opulent era. Still we are happy for the opportunity to use the experimentation divest in housing to reappraise the pod. As a family of new objects that reverberate against the old context within which they are placed.