Avoid Ghetto App

There is no such thing as bad publicity, right? Well Microsoft will probably disagree. Their recently registered patent for a new GPS feature was nicknamed the ‘avoid ghetto app’. This new software for smartphones and other portable GPS devices is intentionally meant to help travelers avoiding bad weather, tough terrain and unsafe neighborhoods. It uses a combination of information from maps, weather reports, crime statistics and demographics to determine the most effective route to their final destination. Sounds harmless and even useful, but Steve Ballmer (Here in Nova Collegetour) and friends are now being accused of potential racism and reinforcing stereotypical… Read More

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

Damn the Masters Plan!

If you happen to be in Luxembourg on February 3rd, you should definitely visit the conference on Architecture, European Urbanisation and Globalisation at the University of Luxembourg. Wouter Vanstiphout will give a lecture titled Damn the Masters Plan!: Riots, Plans and Politics in Western Cities”. Do I have to explain more? The conference is open to public and free of charge, however reservation is required: march@uni.lu For those who don’t speak Luxembourgish: The conference will be in English

Lecture Series Video

Dear students of the Blame the Architect lecture series, This is what you should do to get your grade. Make a Youtube video of 5 to 10 minutes, describing an urban riot that could happen in a place you know. Incorporate the themes presented in the lecture series and project them on a fictional situation, giving special attention to the role of architecture and urban planning. Use images, texts, maps, diagrams, drawings, numbers or just use your hands. Be creative! Like the Danish. If you need more inspiration click Here, Here, Here and Here. Still completely lost? Follow the Roadmap… Read More

Blame the Architect update

Tomorrow 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 Hope to see you all tomorrow!

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

More background stuff on riots – this week we speak French. It’s  October 2005, when suddenly a wave of violence and unrest sweeps the modernist suburbs of France. A story of two boys, a tragic accident, thousands of burning cars and a hardline politician who would become president very soon. Two movies, two articles, and some music this week. The very first thing you should do is watch La Haine: a moving, amazing, and apparently extremely realistic depiction of life in France’s ghetto’s. Nice soundtrack, too. The movie can be watched on YouTube – in non-subtitled ghetto-French, which supposedly is quite… Read More

It’s procrastinate-o-clock again! This time, the most glamorous riot of them all: the Rodney King riots. Los Angeles, 1992. Lots of anger. Lots of guns. Lots of helicopters and cameras. And gangster rap. Ah, Los Angeles. Design as Politics loves it, admittedly because Reyner Banham does too. His book about the city is amazing, but this is even better: watching Banham himself cruise through town for about an hour is indeed an hour well spent. But that’s enough reality for now: more than anything Los Angeles is a place of myth and media and fiction. The city of course stars in… Read More