Image: cityscape from Wong Kar Wai's beautiful 2046 (2004).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Forget Urbanism....

... I want to run away and live here... a planned "luxury house" in Kokopo, Papua New Ginea. Wow.
(Be sure to click through all the images.)

Photo via World Architecture News.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bikeopolis: Eat more cake, ride more bike.

It's Bike Month in Toronto. First, here's a quick link to an article on Torontoist about the city's first-ever bicycle parking station, which opens today. Considered in relation to yesterday's heated council debates over more Toronto bike lanes (or, as the plan's gas-loving detractors put it, the city's "war on cars"), we find citizens of TO to be pretty preoccupied with bicyc-ular issues this week. And that is certainly a good thing!

And speaking of bicycles and good things, today is the start of the 2009 Tour de Dufflet.... Pastry-loving pedal-pushers can cycle to any of the three Dufflet pastry locations (787 Queen St. W., 2638 Yonge St., or 1917 Queen. St. E.) to register for the "Tour." They then then must hit the other two Dufflet locations to have their passport stamped, all on the same day. They will be rewarded with treats at every location, and be entered in a grand prize draw. (Admittedly, I'm not sure what the grand prize is, but even if it's a Dufflet cupcake, it'd be good to win.) The tour goes until June 25.

Lastly, if this post inspires anyone to cycle it up in TO, here is a link to the city's various maps showing trails, bike lanes, etc.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stop, Collaborate and Blossom?

Just a quick peek at some street-art interventions by American artist Mark Jenkins: plain ol' urban street signs turned into flowers. Yes, sometimes it's just that simple.

On the more conceptual side, Jenkins was also responsible for "The Last Graffiti Artist" which builds a little murder mystery into the the act of painting a gorgeous street mural.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Excision - The Anti-Photographic Art of Richard Galpin

Just made an amazing find via Life Without Buildings: artist Richard Galpin destroys photographs in a way that is not only beautiful, but also shockingly revealing about both the geometric chaos of the urban scene and the inextricable two-dimensionality of the photographic medium.

Galpin takes a scalpel to a large-scale photograph of a (typically) urban scene, excising clutter and exposing the fundamental geometric configurations that lie in the abstracted plane. In essence, he takes a two-dimensional representation of an urban space and somehow makes it even more two-dimensional, reducing it to an assemblage of shapes without even the impression of dimension, other than that which is to be suggested by the angular configurations that function in the same spatial/representational manner as an M.C. Escher rendering.

Click here for a time-lapse video (no sound, BYOSoundtrack) of his painstaking working method.

So, a question: in "tidying up" the landscapes in this manner, or distilling them down to component patterns, Galpin simultaneously makes them more orderly but also more disorienting. What might that suggest for our relationship to order, or simplicity, versus depth and detail when it comes to the urban landscape?

(Image: "Cluster XXX Angelosopolis" via

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm Reading....

Tel Aviv: Mythography of a City by Maoz Azaryahu (2007, Syracuse University Press). I can't really tell you why... yet. I'll tell you how it is as I go, however.

What are you reading?

Buildings as Distorted Mirror...

... of their own assembly.

(Twisted, Machiavellian laugh inserted here.)

Image "Cranes Deconstructed" by Ned Lyttleton, via, BlogTO.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

As usual, behind and thieving...

LOTS going on, so this blog has been malnourished.

A little aesthetic inspiration has come my way from Wordle, via BLDGBLOG. Here, for your (possible) aesthetic enjoyment, is a Wordle word cloud rendering of this very blog...

I've not had much experience with tagging, tag clouds, etc., but a tool this gorgeous offers a fascinating re-visioning of intellectual obsession. Funny thing though: while "city" is, aptly, the most prominent word in my writing and thus, by extension, the largest in the cloud, I've been hunting but still don't see "exorbitant" here anywhere....

As an aside, I'm also playing around with running specific chapters of the dissertation through the Wordle machine... looking forward to seeing how the clusters line up...