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industries

Business - YES

Taken from a really, really exceptional article about Coudal, if this line doesn't make you want to walk away from everything and spend all of your time making cool things, then nothing will.

"Well, do we wanna build up this whole thing again and go chase business that we don't want and get into pitches and win or not win business based on the whims of people who are stupider than we are? Or is there another way?"


This statement summarizes the way I hope to practice architecture one day, and it's the way that I think every architect should practice.

Unqualified blanket statement: All exceptional architects should also be developers. If we know cities and design and love them both well, then shouldn't we be the most fecund builders in the world? Yes, we should. I plan to write about this more at length soon. Stay tuned.

Via Joshua Blankenship.

Arcade Fire Won a Grammy

They heard me singing and they told me to stop:
"Quite these pretentious things and just punch the clock."
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
can we ever get away from the sprawl?

Living in the sprawl,
dead shopping malls rise
like mountains beyond mountains,
and there's no end in site.
I need the darkness;
someone please cut the lights.


Lyrics from The Suburbs track #15, "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)", winner of the Grammy for Album of the Year (2011). I've been listening to and enjoying Arcade Fire since college. I'm pleasantly surprised they won, and I love that I can tag a post about them with #urbanism.

Braddock, Pennsylvania and Urban Pioneering

"On Wood Street, Jack Samuel, the 25-year-old straight-edge vegan punk rocker and Levi's model, was hanging out in one of the two houses he and the six other members of the Some Ideas Collective bought last year. The group wanted an inexpensive "live-work" space where they could play music, write and work on bikes. They bought a house for $6,000 from a filmmaker who was moving on. It was run-down, but for kids whose goal was to "make life cheap enough" so they could "binge work and then be free," it was just fine.

"My goal is to build for myself a life that meets my needs most effectively," Samuel explained last summer. "So that means the lowest possible overhead costs day to day [...]"


This quote is from an interesting article that you should probably read. It's about a small town with a radical governor who's been trying to cultivate some sort of indie, organic mecca to revitalize the town.

It's a great(ish) idea and not necessarily original, but what's great about the article is that it has a lot to say about the people who are actually there struggling to make it work.

Also, I love the idea of "binge working".

Via Epicenter.

Craig Mod on Books in the Age of the iPad

Excellent and thoughtful consideration of the relationship between content and its container (books, periodicals, digital devices, etc.) and the future of ink and paper books in light of new technology. This post is a bit old now, but I was reviewing some old bookmark links (via Instapaper, which I love) and I remembered my favorite part about this article. Not only am I a bit of a book junkie - like him, I love what he calls the "sexy-as-hell tactility of those little ink and paper bricks" - I'm also a designer, and in the realm of brick and mortar. At the end of his article, he predicts the future of book making, and I was struck by the strong correlation between his views on books and my views on buildings and cities. His words:

"I propose the following to be considered whenever we think of printing a book:

The Books We Make embrace their physicality — working in concert with the content to illuminate the narrative.
The Books We Make are confident in form and usage of material.
The Books We Make exploit the advantages of print.
The Books We Make are built to last. (Fig. 9a, 9b)

The result of this is:

The Books We Make will feel whole and solid in the hands.
The Books We Make will smell like now forgotten, far away libraries.
The Books We Make will be something of which even our children — who have fully embraced all things digital — will understand the worth.
The Books We Make will always remind people that the printed book can be a sculpture for thoughts and ideas.

Anything less than this will be stepped over and promptly forgotten in the digital march forward.

Goodbye disposable books.

Hello new canvases."


Think about real places versus digital places. This same battle is raging everywhere you look. Think Barnes & Noble vs. Amazon, CD Warehouse (remember?) vs. iTunes, Blockbuster vs. Netflix, etc. The list is long (SEE ALSO). In light of new technology, brick and mortar places seem to have a diminishing value. When everyone is highly mobile and communication to anywhere in the world is effortless and instant, it leaves little incentive to invest in an actual place, whether it's a city, town, or neighborhood.

I respect what Mr. Mod is saying about books: when we no longer need to make them, we will choose to make them and their design will communicate their value. In the same way, in an age in which we no longer need to build great cities or great buildings, I hope that when the rare opportunity to make a great place or to build something that will last comes along we'll be able as a society to rally around the cause and pour in the money and talent and great energy required to do so.

I would love to be able to say "Goodbye disposable buildings" or, even better, "Goodbye disposable cities" but I don't know if or when it's going to happen.

SEE ALSO: All through college I wrote papers about extreme cases of digitized experiences nullifying the need for real spaces. One of the best examples I found was a drive-thru viewing before a funeral in California. Mourners had to wait in line, not to see the body of their dearly departed, but to see a live video feed of the dearly departed, and all from the detached comfort of their car. Who needs a funeral home, right? Who needs a space crafted to offer comfort and solace and warmth and shelter to the grieving? I suppose the only people who need such spaces are probably too busy to ignore the time saving advantages of a drive through.

You should probably look at all of Craig Mod’s stuff. It’s all good, and this especially is beautiful to read and to look at.

Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts

I watched this the other day. I'm not crazy about his work, but he's certainly interesting, and this movie is excellent. Watch it. My favorites quotes from the film are below.

On waking in the middle of the night with sudden inspiration:

"It's happened. I try to resist it. I resent it, actually. I'd rather it came in the morning when I'm ready to go to work. But there have been times when I'll say "Oookay..." and I'll go downstairs and I write it down but I do it rarely."


On critics, self-validation, and his creative breakthrough:


"I had the ability to write music that was so radical that I could be mistaken for an idiot. And I was often at first, and I still am to this day. And yet it absolutely didn't bother me."


A quote from the director of Koyaanisqatsi. He would talk like this (on Philip Glass):


"He has created a musical language that is the acoustic door to the unknown, something possessed of an enormous complexity in its simplicity like an ever ascending score that never reached to the heavens."


Then he quotes someone called "Eisenstein".


When I watched this, I only knew Philip Glass as the composer for Koyaanisqatsi. Turns out, I've heard and appreciated his work in The Truman Show, The Illusionist, Secret Window, and Undertow. Also, "Einstein on the Beach" isn't just a Counting Crows song (check it). Who knew?

Everything’s Amazing & Nobody’s Happy



Yesterday I posted a response to some iPad linkbait from Paul Thurrott (my post here), and I'm happy to report that what could have been a purely negative experience has actually produced a lot of good. Not only did his post occasion my first ever submittal to Literally, A Weblog, but it also led me to Jonathan Forsythe's Moderately Offensive Commentary where I found this excellent video. Apparently it's been around for over a year and no one bothered to tell me about it.

It's funny because it's true. I wrote about some of these ideas a while ago and linked back to Josh Blankenship who talks about these issues all the time. He's actually at it again today with "Stands < Scrimmage Line".

But back to the video: be thankful, be patient, and maybe try to contribute to the world every once in a while. There's nothing less becoming than our ridiculous modern sense of entitlement.

via Jonathan Forsythe

Clients from Hell

Great place to kill a couple of hours. I hope some of these are made up; they're just that sad.