The home page, or rather the top quarter of the home page screen has 'Metropolis' on the left, 'portfolio/office' on the right. Below is a horizontal strip of thumbnails. Click on one and, below appears a big image and a brief description. A little grid of squares below the main image suggests that there are more to see. And so there are. You naturally want to know more.
Click on 'Office' on the top line. Oh, no, you heart sinks at the addition to the headings: 'Philosophy'. I won't recite what's there on the grounds that it's misguidedly 'poetic' and difficult to understand. Still, it's also very brief.
Click on 'Contact' and there is the Capetown address. Following the excellent Web design rule: 'even less is more', I'd forget the poetic philosophy and also make the contact details a constant element. And then the site would be tight and just about perfect.
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1 September 2008Sutherland Lyall
Ay-architects... Look this lower case stuff was en vogue years ago. But modern wordprocessors almost always uppercase the first word in a sentence - as has happened in the previous sentence. You are on a hiding to nothing however cool it looks. Still, you might point out that urls are case in-sensitive and So? Whatever when you type in the site name up comes 'ay-architects' and the four section headings 'Studio', 'Projects', 'News' and 'Contact' (in upper and lower case). Cool you think – plain black on white, no dark grey tiny type on slightly lighter background. Actually it's grey on white but it's at a perfectly readable size for a change. Click on 'Studio' and then, heart sinking because you know that 'Profile' is the new 'Philosophy', click 'Profile'. Now here's a clever thing. The text types out like tickertape. Though ordinarily your eyes would glaze over at words like 'cross-fertilisation' and 'diversity' and 'interaction', there you are glued to the unravelling text avid for the next sentence. All the rest of the text on the site does this – and boy, does it work. In search of febrile amusement you go back to see the unravelling again only to find the whole text firmly fixed. Still it's Don't Make Me Think plus a bit of fun. Like the other two, great.
23 June 2008Sutherland Lyall
You can't not look at a site called Popular Architecture . I'm fairly certain it's a blog because of the simple and effective two column layout – images in the big one on the left, text in the narrow one on the right. There are short cuts directly to projects – via big thumbnails at the beginning. But the rest of the site is one very long page. So not very sophisticated and because or should it be despite that, almost a Don't-Make-Me-Think site. You have to wait a bit at the beginning for everything to load up but when it has you're in a good frame of mind because it's all interesting. So you almost forget the earlier half minute or so of sucking teeth and drumming on the space bar. But hang on. This is a lot of stuff for a graduate of all of eight years. As a colleague points out, the big buildings are actually OMA's. Casey Mack, the site's proprietor, was project architect for them. Hmmm. You're not sure whether to grump disappointedly at this blatant plumping up of the Mack oeuvre complet or to simply admire his chutzpah.
21 November 2014Kieran Gallagher
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6 May 2009Adrian Hornsby
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia’s 25 million residents are in desperate need of affordable housing and non-oil jobs – a massive demand that work-hungry architects are gagging to supply. A special report by Adrian Hornsby
7 February 2008Sutherland Lyall
I've been told to lighten up about architectural websites so I thought I'd set out my stall about some basic criteria for website criticism.
22 September 2008Sutherland Lyall
A respected correspondent, grumpy with my recent severe view of the Venturi Scott-Brown website, urged me to take a look at the Branson Coates Architecture site. I think it was s a bit of a test. At first I imagined the home page was a badly photographed band set waiting for the drummer to walk on, but on mature reflection it seems to be a restaurant interior shot from the street. Move your cursor anywhere and up comes a semi-transparent block with red type explaining that this is 'one of London's original studios.' Can't argue with that. Then you notice the irregular, somewhat Will Alsopesque shapes across the top which, when clicked, develop titles above plus some big white scribbles below. You click on, say, Projects, and a new screen appears with a fine network of lines and four big circles representing 'architecture', 'objects', 'city', and 'insides'. And then you click on the sub-topics and off you go. To get back to the home page you have, as far as I could work it out, to re-type the website url. There was a great deal more of the practice's terrific stuff to see on this great ramble of a site but the effort was exhausting. Definitely not Don't Make Me Think. But maybe this is a site for pleasurable meandering and not intended to hook clients. And it's certainly not at all like the site of the pair who should have been Royal Gold Medallists long, long ago.
7 July 2008Sutherland Lyall
Oddly enough I found the Snohetta site in a specialist web-design magazine. It's not often you find architectural sites discussed in such places. The comment drools, 'It's hard to know whether this URL captivates you for the site design or merely the jaw-dropping architectural achievements.' Steady on there, I said to myself. The latter may certainly be true but the former encomium is a tad less obvious. The site starts out with a white grid over a pale blue merging into grey background while two black bars indicate the loading up of something, probably the images. A plan of a desert-style building emerges from the evanescent background. Very elegant you say to yourself. And then, when you move the mouse,labels appear, the lower ones in shades of an unpleasant yellow ochre. You move the cursor over them and they start sliding. Aaargh the dreaded slidies. You finally manage to click on King Abdul Centre for Knowledge and Culture and up comes, not the centre, but a row of big thumbnails starting off with a smiley photo with the caption that Architect Kjetil Troedal has just got a CRNOO (a bit like an CBE) . Oh, there at number three is the King Abdul jobbie after all and then the fireworks for the Oslo opera opening and then an edge of the next one. But you can't move any thing. Enough. Don't Make Me Think Such Bewildered Thoughts...
3 November 2008Sutherland Lyall
Ever susceptible to flattery and offers of cheese I was still a tad cautious when Tom Holbrook of 5th Studio emailed with news of the practice's new site
18 August 2008Sutherland Lyall
I was looking for Architecture in Helsinki. Yes I know they are an Australian band currently touring the world, clinging on to the coat tails of that word 'architecture' and apparently doing very well from it. What I got instead was what looked a bit like the beginning of a movie reel with those flashing countdowns, but which turned out to be flashing variations in scale and orientation on the letters ALA. Gotta look at this, I say and as I click randomly a little voice tells me that what follows will be the usual stuff. But no. Nothing happens. Then I notice the three words 'Projects', 'Office' and 'News' under the modest 'ALA' in the top left corner. Doofus. Clicking 'Projects' produces a column of tiny thumbnails with standard details spread out across the appropriate line. Click on one and it blows up to occupy much of the screen with plain descriptive text below and the possibility of seeing more images. Which, given the quality of the work, you certainly want to. Is this the archetypal Don't Make Me Think site? Very probably.
27 March 2008Sutherland Lyall
Kenzo Tange, Kisho Kurokawa and Arata Isozaki are the three godfathers who dominated the Japanese architectural mafia and whose names fell so expertly from the lips of architects all over the world even when they weren't too sure about the precise spelling.