Michael Badu's Comments
Comment on: RIBA Awards winners 2014: Houses
I have loved that Luker House for ages. Now I know the conbtractor! Thanks AJ & Carl!
For the quality of the built environment to be protected, either design quality has to be a real, central and overriding statutory concern or architect's function should be protected. The problem is that only lip-service has been paid to the former option, and so now architect's (me included) don't trust the government to put design quality at the forefront. The problem with the latter option is that the architectural profession isn't seen as being worthy of it and it smacks of protectionism and cartel-ism to non-architects; particularly those who remember the 'quality' of much that was produced at the height of architect's power and influence in the 60's and 70's. A third problem is that the notion f the specialised professional architect is historically incongruous anyway, as Ruskin said:- "I saw that the idea of an independent architectural profession was a mere modern fallacy, the thought of which had never so much as entered the heads of the great nations of earlier times; but that it had always, till lately, been understood, that in order to have a Parthenon, one had to get a preliminary Phidias; and to have a Cathedral of Florence, a preliminary Giotto; and to have even a Saint Peter's at Rome, a preliminary Michael Angelo...."
Yikes! Ellis Woodman writing for the AJ? After the increase in natural disasters and escalating worldwide conflicts this is the final straw. We are surely in the final days of of the apocalypse. I'm heading for my underground bunker in Norfolk!
Comment on: Shades of Tate: Tate Britain by Caruso St John
great write up. I love the use of the TS Eliot quote!
Hi Rory! Happy New Year to you! I guess it does! I think people get ideological about the 'Learning From Las Vegas' lot and don't give them the credit they often deserve for the quality of their built work. As you probably know by now I think built work is the real thing for an architect! M
I think someone should also say (if it hasn't been been said already) that behind the wit was substantial problem solving ability which could be seen in their housing projects. Vey well worked out plans and sections enabled then to get away with 'the wit'. Similarly I always think that the parti of the Sainsbury Wing is very intelligent and efficient. It isn't simply a 'joke'.
Could have gone either way (with the chapel). These did seem to be the best two projects
worthy winner! Really lovely projects! I hope one day i'll be able to afford to stay there for a week or two!
ridiculous, and just so I'm not misinterpreted, I'm an architect but not a member of RIBA. The headline suggested something more substantial was going to happen like making the course 2 years shorter, this just shows how pointless and out of touch RIBA is. The only reason to be a member of RIBA is that most of the public have heard of it, but haven't heard of ARB. I once didn't get an interview for a job at an interior design firm because I wasn't a member of RIBA. I couldn't afford to be (still can't)!
Comment on: Azman unwraps Suffolk beach house refurb
Comment on: Who should be taught in the architectural canon?
"Historiography is valuable - but it is in danger of becoming a means of recycling our insecurities. The understanding of the ‘relativity of knowledge’ should not mean that we abandon the task of identifying the achievements of the past and passing them on with a sense of conviction." "it is the responsibility of teachers to pass on their accumulated knowledge to the next generation, who, being young, will make sense of that understanding for their new world. Arendt argues that all teaching is fundamentally an act of ‘conservation’, not to conserve the past for nostalgic reasons, but because the conservation of the old provides the basis for renewal and innovation." damn straight! We should be embarrassed as a profession that too many practing architects are not able to talk about the architecture of the past with any real knowledge. Our excuse? It doesn't matter because it's really old and we live in modern times now! The trouble is that you can keep applying this principle of the 'superceded canon' suceessively as time passes, to such a degree that nothing learned is perceived as having any real value anymore, and this is exactly where we are as a profession right now. If anything goes, why do you need architects?
looking forward to JTA's red concrete number being published!
All the schemes are lovely! But wasn't Gort Scotts published already?
Comment on: Where are all the critics?
Mr Games. I look forward to your first mission!
Comment on: It's time to question the classic Corb backstory
Interesting article, however Corb goes on about the Parthenon so much in 'Vers Une' that it's difficult to accept this revisionist hypothesis. Corb clearly admired the 'Sphinx-like' mosques of 'Stamboul' and his sketches showed his analytical appreciation of them. Fundamentally Corb was the opposite of architect like Hadid and Zumthor (much as I love them) who say they are inspired only by themselves. Corb was more like Siza who said 'to know architecture, is to know the work of other architects. Therein lies his greatness. This could apply to Palladio and Sinan too, who knew each other's work. Sometimes as architects we lack the ability to say 'this is not in line with my philosophy, but it's really good; therefore my philosophy is wrong!'
Comment on: Cypriot common ground
Sounds like a good project! Good article
It's true that Wolf Prix made some valid points and that David Chipperfield doesn't come out of this as well as he might, because he takes the criticism (much of it directed at the modern incarnation of the biennale itself) too personally. It's also seems that Prix has a problem with Chipperfield’s architecture, perhaps deeming it too corporate-friendly and bland and that his opinions in this regard rumble 'not-so-deep' beneath the surface of his press release. What Chipperfield would no doubt have pointed out (had he not allowed himself to feel so personally affronted) was that Prix himself highlighted the essential ridiculousness of his position by mentioning architecture and Pussy Riot in the same sentence. It's anachronistic to imagine that architects have (or ever really had) the power to influence politics through built form. Shouldn't the Jenks Prize winner have realised by now that one of the fundamental lessons of Post Modernism has been the peripheral nature of much of what architects do to society? One suspects that Chipperfield understands this, indeed Patrik Schumacher was quite heavily attacked recently for making a similar point. To imagine that architecture which has it's roots in fulfilling quite boring but fundamental human requirements can have the same effect as punk rock, which (if you go back far enough) has it's roots in the protest songs sung on American slave plantations, is silly. These are points that could have been discussed by our 'responsible-media' had it not been so concerned with saving face. As architects we have to realise that our failure to get the ‘basics’ right has led to our increasing marginalisation, those basics being the design of beautiful, durable, meaningful buildings. Unfortunately nearly 100 years after Le Corbusier et al, we have to admit that we are still struggling with these simple aims and in typically straight-laced fashion Chipperfield’s ‘Common Ground’ seems to address this.
This could be incredible!!! Don't be put off by the fact that it looks like a building e've seen before. The marble could be...really great!!! Looking forward to this.
@Rory. True! Lol! As I said Grundtvig still pretty damn good though! P.S is my mug in the post?
I do love this, but is it really better than this sort of thing http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs065.snc6/167577_524645844830_146901148_30930528_1229163_n.jpg discuss!
Comment on: A history of mosques in Britain
Interesting article. The fact that the only modernist mosque that was built was soon torn down say a lot about the inadequacies of modernism. The comment on the last mosque is interesting, treating the importing of foriegn architects and architectural culture in a positive light as a furtherenhancement of 'successful' multculturalism. As a Muslim convert myself, I know that Islam is not an Arab or Pakistani religion but claims and puports to be a universal religion. This universality was expressed much better in the early years of Islam when the faith was exported to places like China which adopted it whilst retaining their own culture. For us in the UK the question remains, what does British Islam look like? This article could have addressed that question, but the author seems happy with the current state of affairs whereby Islam remains a pastiche 'curiosity' however full and logical. HAving said that, it is possible to go too far in the other direction. The fate of the modern cardiff mosque shows that in developing a language for a new culture, you have to take people with you. The proposed Mangera Yvars Mosque was a step too far along the path of 'modernity' in my view.
Comment on: Alvaro Siza in Machu Picchu
I thought Santiago de compostela WAS 'clad' in stone rather than built from it. Important article though.
Comment on: Everyone's a critic
I disagree entirely. The opinion / response that matters to architects is that of their clients and public. Aside from being our eyes and ears in the buildings we are never likely to visit, professional critics, I would argue- to be contorversial for a moment, are of no benfit to architects. Architectural criticsm is a parrallel discipline, one that is not altruistic at all (its £4.95 an issue), has it's own artistic parameters and professional standards and may even have aims which ultimatley differ from those of the architect. so there :)
If the construction industry in the UK has progessively reorganised itself to cope without architects, does it not follow that UK architectural education, in general, has failed?
Comment on: UK riots: tell us your stories
I was born, raised and live in Croydon
Comment on: Riots updated: Sennett, Rykwert, Till, de Botton, Tavernor and more on why Britain is burning
There is an underlying malaise to which W J R Curtis alludes and which Charles Holland talks about in depth on a recent blog (his point about the violence done to society by the financial system rendering the recent violence on the streets as insignificant is particularly pertinent). As distasteful as it is to hear 'yoofs' talk about how 'no -one will give them anything, so they have decided to take it', one has to wonder when Higher Education now seems only for the rich, and when the industrial base of the country has been completely eroded (so that those who don't go to uni can only really look forward to a career in Salisbury's or McDonald's), what do the young really have to look forward to? In terms of architecture, buildings have been commandeered by those with no-voice, becoming burning reminders the problems in society that both the Starbucks frequenting left and the Fox hunting right choose to ignore in their own way. The burning of the Reeves Furniture store in Croydon (a building I've known all my life) was disgraceful but the shock it has caused has generated this current wave of soul searching (a wave that the government and opposition tried very hard to smother before it got going). One wonders how much politicians and us as citizens are complicit in the burning of that historic iconic building? In the 7th century, the 2nd Calif of Islam, Umar had a thief brought before him, he was reminded that the punishment for theft in Islam is the severing of a hand. Umar asked the thief why he had stolen, to which he received the reply 'I and my family are starving'. Umar then declared, 'then let the hand of the Calif be cut off for failing to do his duty and provide for his people'.
Comment on: Obituary: Sam Potts (1978 to 2011)
What a shocking, heartbreaking tragedy. My heart goes out to his family
I think the concept of an 'modern urban palazzo is a good one, recalling a similar concept executed by a famous Spanish Architect which has been very influential lately. I think there's a bit too much going on though for my liking, but I'd love to be proved wrong! Anyway, it's great to see an architect like Lynch getting a chance like this. I really hope it all comes together. Good luck to Lynch Architects
Can't believe I forgot W J R Curtis. Probably my favourite living writer. 'Modern Architecture Since 1900' a classic, and his writing on the contemporary situation is always illuminating.
I think that Berman is trying to focus on writing that enhances architectural production rather than that which may open up new avenues of scholastic inquiry. I think all practitioners feel that if we are writing beautifully but building badly, then we've achieved nothing. In the end, it's all about the buildings. I think that's the contention and I find it hard to disagree.
I agree with this last comment. Some writers have this enviable way of employing expressions and conjouring images through words; but at times this is done at the expense of a genuinely edifying piece of writing. Those that can strike a balance are to be envied. Also, writing is a way of expressing things that others can't see, such as buildings that you will probably never visit, therefore that ability to conjure imagery that makes you feel that you are there is very important I feel. Witht he exception of Scott and Banham, I've read all the guys mentioned, and was taught be Blundell-Jones. Frampton is a great scholar with unparalleled insights, but my word is he a heavy read! You've left out my favourite. Ruskin, then there's Wolflinn , but now we're getting into art. I think the same rules apply though.
Another great project from this guy. I love the Persian minature drawing which I think is breaktaking and a breath of fresh air. A genuinely brilliant architect.
Innovation, entreprenuerism, cultural revolution, change....a lot of words which usually mean not very much. This is a well written and informative article giving a view about the potential beneifts of Localism, benefits the author frames in the afore mentioned buzz words. Words / phrases framed in a negative light by the author are led by..'cold financial appraisal'. I think the author (reinforcing a stereotype about architects) has lost touch with reality and is trying to build utopia during a recession. Cold financial apprasial is what we need now more than ever! Also, even if utopia were affordable I strongly disagree with the author's vision of it. The author characterises the further fragmentation and atomisation of the built environment that could potentially result from Localism as a good thing. If there is a role for architects to play in this new era of Localism, it is as expert consutlants who have to educate and make the case for sensible, sustainable, coherent development for the benefit of all to the ordinary folk who have been given this new power, rather than as mercenary opportunists submitting to their every self interested whim (whic is an argument for architects being once again employed directly by local government). This course of action threatens to further marginalise the 'England' that Tony Benn identified as the last colony of the British Empire; an England which is the last Bastiaon of the disnfranchised white working classes who have withdrawn from all engagement feeling that they have been betrayed by the government and are not as practised or adept at lobbying for their 'rights' as their immigrant counterparts who were (seemingly) favoured during the height of multiculturalism (as is so eloquently illustrated by your photographs). More needs to be done to re-engage the white working classes than washing ones hands of it all like Pontius Pilate to save money and calling it 'Localism' And I say all this as a Black British born and educated Muslim convert registered architect, who is married to a woman who wears a hijab (before anyone thinks this is Peter Philips). I'm also surprised that the author, as an architect, has failed to mention the most important buzz word that any architect worth their salt should always be pushing for. Quality. I don't think the word is mentioned even once throughout the piece which says a lot.
Comment on: How to build a new age of beauty
Agree whole-hearedly. But just how do we achieve it when money is tight? Fine (and truthful) words are all very well but we architects have to deal with reality - which most of the time is of the economic variety - a reality that no doubt the architects of the Tricorn Centre wrestled with. The fact is that architects can only build what scoiety at any given time allows them too. All we can do is be every ready to rise to the occasion when it arrives. For quite a lot of us the occassion indeed never does arrive.
Comment on: Love it or hate it, Zaha pushes the boundaries
I think it's unfair to accuse Zaha's win of promoting the commodification of architecture (in the orginal Frampton-esque meaning of the term). She won because of the scale of the ambition of this particular work (as compared to the Neus) and (whatever the judges say) because she had been nominated 3 times before. Zaha has been remarkably consistent over decades. Certain architects who can only dream of receiving the commissions that she does always accuse her of somehow being in league with the dark forces of the world. Is she any different to Michelangelo working for the Medici? No. The fact is that architects have been 'used' for hundreds of years. Lets see if those architects who always seem to talk and write more than they build can remain as consistent should they ever receive commissions of a similar size.
Comment on: Maxxi by Zaha Hadid Architects
I really like this. If the Stirling is really about archtecture and not about sending messages, this should win!
Don't like any of them
Comment on: Thornton Heath Library, Croydon, by FAT
I hesitate to comment too much before I actually visit the place (since I can quite easily, and in fact walked past it not so long ago thinking, 'that looks like a FAT building), but I'm inclined to agree with the above comment. I do think more should be said about the interior and the furniture design which I think (from the photo's) looks really great. The new furniture works really well with the refurbished 19th century interior, not the usual blanf minimalist stuff, but characterful and well judged. Perhaps FAT's work is better suited to interiors (which is something most architects are very poor at)?
It's all about branding. It's about the image on the brochure, fee income from students (perhaps international ones - Steven Holl more of a pull than.....er....Nord & McAlslan?).
I was going to say that this was a pretty lucid defense of the pretty much indefensible, but the end of the article seemed to trail off a bit. Is it really sensible to say that only parametricism could have produced workable solutions to the Nordpark project? I think that there are a number of problems with the premise of this article. Patrik seems to be suggesting that Modernism was a style that we got bored of when in fact it was a style whose limitations began to be understood (cold bridging, leaky rooves, aesthetic poverty in the eyes of lay-people. Modernism was also not really a style; it was an attempt to get to grips with the technological and economic fall out from the industrial revolution. If Parametircsm is a 'proper' (epochal in Patrik's words) style rather than a transitional one (like PoMo or Decon) then it has to be borne of a similar urgent necessity to the one that gave rise to Modernism in my humble opinion. Now I'm no tree hugging eco-warrior, but global warming,as well as the scarcity of fuel and materials is the only 'thing' going in my opinion that compares, in terms of urgency and universality, to the industrial revolution which spawned Modernsim (which is neat because the Industrial Revolution and the Sustainability question are two sides of a very big coin). If we accept that this is indeed the case, then we have to look at the likes of BedZED, the works of people like Baumschlager Eberle, Konrad Frey, The Vales and other Sustainability pioneers as the real harbingers of an epochal style. Parametricsm then turns out to be just another style (and I really like the Nordpark scheme actually) best suited to the high end 'Formula 1' type of market. In fact I think that Zaha Hadid should design the next F1 racing venue if they haven't done so already because that seems to me to be a magnificent fit