I’ve been a fan of Geoff Manaugh’s BLDGBLOG for a years – his intelligent look at the world from a very particular architectural perspective makes it one of those blogs that leaves you feeling a little bit smarter after every visit. His post Nakatomi Space , which reappraises Die Hard as one of the all time great films about architecture, radically altered the way I read films and buildings.Read More
As both a professional photographer and resident of the Barbican Estate resident, Anton Rodriguez has combined his passions to make the excellent Residents: Inside the Iconic Barbican Estate. The book explores the interiors and inhabitants of 22 flats; a sun-drenched blend of iconic modernist furniture and personal stories. There's also an essay by Katie Treggiden, looking at the history of the site and exploring why there is such an interest in peeking behind those curtains. It's a wonderful book about a wonderful place – probably the closest you'll get to actually living their yourself.
Our obsession with all things brutal shows no signs of abating. Of course, this means that apartments in places like the the Barbican Estate or Balfron Tower are now pretty much unattainable for us regular humans. There is one very small way you can get onto the brutal property ladder though: Zupagrafika's Brutal London. With words by John Grindrod and pictures by Peter Chadwick, it comes with nine kits for you to build your own little concrete/cardboard wonders and a bit of history of each building. It's a bit silly and all really rather wonderful.
I found this print of a 1983 Andrew Murray painting on eBay ages ago. It's been sat in a drawer waiting for a decent patch of wall and a frame, but in the meantime I thought I'd share it on here. The caption reads "Barbican Centre, City of London. An interior view looking towards the the Sculpture for Light (by Michael J. Santry) and the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre". It's wonderful – so much life and colour within that familiar vast space, like an illustration from Miroslav Sasek's This Is Brutality (oh if only that was a real thing). I'm not really familiar with Murray's work, but I did find another 1980s Barbican painting by him the other day, which is equally lovely – I wonder if there are more there … ?
Drab. Depressing. Repulsive. Eyesore. Embarrassment. Soulless. Put it out of its misery. Tear it down. Tear it all down. York's Stonebow House puts up with a lot of abuse.Read More
A lament for one of York's wonderful, unloved modern ruins.Read More
Just to be a great big cliché, I bought an issue of Monocle to accompany me on a flight recently. Amongst all the unintentionally ridiculous articles (in their "things to improve your life" section, one of the suggestions was "buy your own island"), one piece really grabbed my attention: Life in the round, Hugo Macdonald's profile of Chicago's Marina City.
The 1964 building complex, with its iconic corn cob towers, was designed by Bertrand Goldberg to be a self-contained town – full of residential and commercial units (and a blues club), it's possible to live there and rarely set foot outside. This sort of 20th century architectural/urban planning idealism fascinates me – reading about this reminds me of the thinking behind the Barbican in London. You just can't beat a good concrete citadel.
Macdonald's piece, accompanied by David Robert Elliot's stunning photography, looks at the people who live there and the variety of ways the apartments have been remodelled over the years. Of course, Monocle being Monocle, you can't actually read the article unless you're a subscriber. There is however a book, Marina City: Bertrand Goldberg's Urban Vision, that looks rather good (and would be right at home next to David Heathcote's Barbican: Penthouse Over the City).
And so the obsession begins: Marina City goes straight to the top of my places-to-live wishlist. Just above that private island.
I'm rather excited about the new location for the Design Museum. The former Commonwealth Institute building is stunning (who couldn't love that original hyperbolic paraboloid roof structure?), plus it's on Kensington High Street, so only a short walk from Whole Foods and the Roof Gardens. Looks like a proper good day out to me! Roll on 2014.
More details and pics at Creative Review.