3D T.V.

3D television is not the next big thing. Click through to watch these goobers and their silly glasses in action.

Via Devour.

Merlin Mann’s “Cranking” Post

5by5 has a new show called Back to Work and it's really great. The show consists of Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann chatting about writing, being productive, and nerd stuff. It's oddly entertaining.

Before this week's episode, @danbenjamin recommended that I — and all of the show's listeners — first read Merlin's latest post on 43 Folders. I did, and I thought it was really excellent. Merlin Mann pops up on the internet all the time in podcasts and blogs and videos of his talks, so I've known about him for years. But even with all of this past exposure, and the 10+ hours of his ramblings that I've listened to on Back to Work, I had no idea that he was such a great writer. "Cranking" is one of the best things I've read in a long time. It's emotional and rich. You should read it, and Merlin should be very proud.

Swordfish Skeleton

My fancy chef friend mentioned that he and his wife were grilling swordfish tonight, and I told him that he shouldn't because they're chock full of mercury. He thought I was wrong about mercury and swordfish, so I googled it and found that swordfish are in fact chock full of mercury. I also found this amazing picture.

The story isn't important at all; just look at that crazy skeleton.

CHRIS MILK -  Last Day Dream

I've been meaning to put this up for a while. It's one of the best things I've ever seen.

Note that the title is Last Day Dream and not Last Daydream, which is what I called it for a long time.

Reading up on Chris Milk, he's done a lot of music videos for artists such as The Chemical Brothers, Modest Mouse, and Arcade Fire. Check him here.

The Hypothetical Development Organization

If the name isn't descriptive enough, the Hypothetical Development Organization is a group of folks who generate what they call "implausible futures for unpopular places". They'll take an abandoned or under-developed site and come up with an interesting use for it, develop the concept, and deliver with often otherworldly renderings. In many cases, they actually print out Coming Soon! style announcement boards and post them at the existing site.

I like that they make cool images and that they're playful and interested in improving things, but their approach is so close to the way I see things, and the way that I want to practice some day, that I was terribly disappointed when I found out that the designs don't have any teeth. As their name suggests, the designs are always purely hypothetical. There is no pretense about designing buildings for the future; these people design drawings, renderings, and concepts. Now, I don't mean that as a value judgment; I'm not saying what they do is bad. In fact, I don't think it's bad at all. The limited scope allows them to be crazy, which is good, and they generate creative buzz in the areas that they target. And I can understand why they don't even attempt to make real things (other than real ideas...) because it's difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.

What I am saying is that I initially thought that they were a real company that did real stuff, and that I'm disappointed that they're not [they didn't mislead me; I just misunderstood]. Imagine if there was a company that went from place to place doing unsolicited design work for unsuspecting places, and then pitched amazing proposals to the owners/decision makers and helped them make the design happen. I know it's kind of silly, but I think it would be great. One day someday I'll try it out.

Not to keep going back to my own work, this is the approach I took with my graduate thesis (briefly mentioned here). I identified a focus area in downtown Auburn and proposed new uses for all of the abandoned and under-valued sites within it. I wanted to see if I could come up with stuff that I thought was appropriate and had value, and I wanted to experiment with ways of producing descriptive and attractive visuals. The whole exercise was meant to be a run-through of what I hoped to do professionally: design big changes, and sell the ideas. It went okay.

NOT Twice As Tall…

This is an update to a previous post found here. Architizer updated their story with a few caveats. The story came from "anonymous, unofficial sources", and Adrien Smith + Gordon Gill Architects "categorically deny the design featured" on the site and involvement in any "design of a 'mile-high' building". So there you have it. The whole thing is hot air.

Via @gary_hustwit again. [I don’t know where he’s getting “still unconfirmed”.]

Huge Historic Renovation in Auburn

Old Brick Building
I should say first off that by "historic renovation" I mean that someone bought a really old building and they're peeling back all of the layers of history and giving it new life. This project is not a restoration project at all. The new owners are turning this thing into a single family residence, complete with yard and driveway, which I think is great. Check the links to see what the plans are, what progress they've made so far, and to explore the really cool website they made to document it all.

Beyond the fact that it's old and cool and located in Auburn, this building is special to me because of all the time I spent staring at it and drawing it one semester. In a third year studio at Auburn, we spent a lot of time considering the value and character of different materials and how those qualities change with time. One day we went out to the above building as a class and talked about how the different physical pieces of the building were aging. We looked at the bricks, the concrete, the window panes, the mullions and door hardware. For many of us, it was the first time we had ever intentionally studied the way that different materials age; some develop an attractive patina, while others are completely destroyed. Some materials look great after 80 years of rain and sun (this building was built in 1920). Others simply deteriorate.

So what's the difference? Why is it that a 200 year old brick wall can look so beautiful, while so many other materials just look like garbage? [Obviously, lots of reasons, but that's not the point.]

For me, the most resonant question that came out of this discussion was this:

"What if this was porcelain?"

Now I know that this question isn't profound in any way. It's very straightforward, actually. But every once in a while, someone puts something to you in such a way that it resonates, and previously inaccessible understanding strikes you as the purest common sense. That's how this was for me, and I still find myself asking this question all of the time. "Yes, but if it was porcelain..." Light, shadow, texture, acoustics, even time - everything about the way we experience it would be completely different.

SO, my class visited this building, but, as with most good academic lessons, the discussion was followed by an exercise. While onsite, we took photographs and measurements so that we could go back to studio and draw the building in as photorealistic a way as possible. Each portion of the building was assigned to a pair of students. In each pair of students, one drew in black and white (all graphite), while the other drew in full color (colored pencils).

We spent hours and hours and hours shading patches of moss on individual bricks, copying the shadows cast by overhead power lines, and, in my case, replicating the many layers of semi-obscene graffiti. That's part of why I'm talking about this renovation project. The building is special to me and I think it's a funny story. I spent many hours painstakingly recreating something that a drunk idiot threw up on a wall in seconds.

I didn't finish, but the results of my color rendering are below. The trained eye can clearly see the point at which I decided that the deadline was too rapidly approaching, and that I had better abandon my high standards if I had any hope of finishing in time. Alas! to no avail.


If you're interested, you can see the second rendering I did, this one in black and white with a little billboard contraption attached to it. I'm not sure why I thought that was a good idea.

When I see people taking old abandoned buildings and bringing them back to life I get really happy and really jealous. I'm glad that some people value the things that I value, but I wish that they had given all of their money to me so that I could do it instead of them. There are loads of buildings in Atlanta that I want to buy. I even know which ones are for sale and about how much they'd cost me. [Also, remember this one?]

This project in particular, though, makes me want to go back because it's in Auburn. There was a building in Auburn that my roommates and I always talked about taking over and turning into a restaurant or something. It's a two-story infill building right next to the railroad tracks. The wall of the building that faces Toomer's Corner - the intersection where Auburn's downtown meets the University campus - is a full-size pastel painting of a street bicycle, with an old-school type across the top that says "the freewheeler". If we ever took it over, the first order of business would be to repaint that wall, not to cover over it, but to sharpen all of the lines that have faded over the years.

I even included the building in the study area for my graduate thesis. You can't see much of it here, but it's the baby-blue one on the left. Every once in a while someone will recognize it in an interview or something, and most people remember it fondly. Maybe I should start a Kickstarter for the Freewheeler Cafe.


From my friend Phil.