Architecture and Economics

While organizations as occupy and documentaries like inside job point at bankers as the reason for our current economic crisis, the guys from Barclays Capital have now found the solution: let’s blame tall buildings! Their recently published skyscraper-index (pdf) shows the link between the construction of the world’s tallest building and an approaching financial crisis. The report -written in the 42th floor of a Hong Kong office building- states that skyscrapers are not only the ultimate symbol of capitalism, welfare and power, but also a monument of hubris and megalomania. The development of the world’s highest building, so they say,… Read More

Now that this Christmas thing is finally over, it’s time for serious business again: censorship. Meet Larissa Sansour, a Jerusalem-born artist with a passion, who found herself on the shortlist for the 2011 Elysee Museum Prize – which is sponsored by the crocophiles at Lacoste. Sansour was commissioned  to produce an artwork and she came up with a series of photographs depicting Nation Estate: a fictional high rise estate in Jerusalem which would house the whole Palestinian nation/state/people. Great. Right? Not really apparently – according to the reptilo-people at least. Lacoste considered her artwork to be ‘too pro-Palestinian’ and told the… Read More

Dear students and other attendees of the Blame the Architect lecture series, Unfortunately, the tuesday 20th December lecture is cancelled. Next and last lecture Tuesday 10th January, 10.45-12.45, Berlagezaal 1 Program: “Racaille!” The Banlieue riots, France 2005 -part II “Broken city” The 2011 UK riots Conclusions  Assignment description Happy holidays and see you all in 2012!

Yes, it does look like a pixelated explosion. And no, there is no such thing as bad publicity – but perhaps only as long as your designs don’t resemble a disintegrating World Trade Center. Because when that happens, Keith Olbermann is going to name you worst person of the day (Bill O’Reilly came in third), your apology is going to be featured in the Dutch News, and commenters on Archinect and Dezeen are going to conclude the link with 9/11 is farfetched and ridiculous but the design is ugly anyway. Meanwhile, some guy at GizMag is unfazed by all the… Read More

Has the hunger for freedom and democracy of the late seventies and eighties in Barcelona abdicated in favor of the omnipresent unquestionable western neoliberal city model? Or are the catalan urban planners still feisty? Rebels or private lobbyists? What is the Barcelona Model? Was it over after the ’92 Olympics that “put the city on the map” or is it still operative today? Was it an instant-success short term formula or does it have more layering, deeper fingers on the the shaping of the city? For better or for worse? Josep Maria Montaner (alert: in order to understand Spanish wikipedia articles… Read More

„Architecten willen heel graag de samenleving vormgeven. Dat had ik ook.” Fascinerend: Fleur Agema (hier 24 uur opgesloten in een ruimte met Wilfried de Jong), kamerlid voor de PVV en secondant van Geert Wilders, genoot een architectonische opleiding. Op de Academie van Bouwkunst te Amsterdam. Ze werkte een tijdje bij een ontwerpbureau (waar lijkt onduidelijk, en wij doen uiteraard niet aan speculatie), maar een zenuwaandoening dwong haar een carrièrestap te maken: de ontwerpster werd politica. Mevrouw Agema studeerde af met een ontwerp voor een gevangenis (pas op:, dus wellicht niet geheel ongekleurd). Een gevangenis met een zeer precies georkestreerd leer- en… Read More

For those who are in London this Friday, like to get up early and enjoy discussing urban violence, the NLA is hosting the perfect breakfast talk. Wouter Vanstiphout will be there giving an introductory lecture. Attendance is free – but you do need to register.

Let’s do some more reflective reading! The Evening Standard had Kieran Long interview professor Wouter Vanstiphout – in a rather comprehensible fashion. What now for the regeneration of London? Ellis Woodman and The Guardian’s Dave Hill have a go at Vanstiphout’s article on (which has a whole section devoted to the riots on its front page). While not adding much to the debate in terms of word count, Hill does put things in a more ‘British’ framework –  sparking a more than decent  24-reply discussion (definitely for internet standards); the obligatory call for riot police with bayonets is in there somewhere too…. Read More

London has had an interesting music scene for the past three million years – but what better time to check up on current affairs in underground music land than right after the city has been partially burnt down by rioters? Thank God for the Guardian. Do read the comments, as well.

With the police studying grainy CCTV riot footage, it seems the violence that swept London and a number of other UK cities the past days has finally quieted down. Thank God. Time for reflection, careful analysis of causes and events – and perhaps a tiny bit of finger-pointing. Wouter Vanstiphout has joined the discussion using the medium of the magazine: has published an article by him, and the current issue of Australian Design Review features  and interview by Rory Hyde. Grim stuff, mostly. For those who don’t like reading (or Vanstiphout) that much, the Telegraph keeps track of the aftermath of… Read More