1. 'Ordinary Things'

    It has been a while since I last posted…to which I can only apologise for. However I lay the blame at the doorstep of my Part 2 course, which I have just finished at the University of Liverpool. It has been a fantastic two years and I certainly will miss everyone from the experience.

    As I now move on to new pastures, where I start a new job soon - I thought it best to start thinking architecturally, so to get into the mind frame of starting to work. And so I came across this fantastic scheme by Alison Brooks Architects, called Be Housing in Essex, which you can see a video here.

    Be Housing, Alison Brooks Architects

    It was a project that came to my attention many months ago, where I simply remembered the project for it’s ‘funky’ roof line but as I recently came across this video, I have come to appreciate why it has been nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize. 

    Accordia, Fielden Clegg Bradley (Main Architects)

    It reminds me very much of Accordia in Cambridge, where it shares a similar trait. But it may be of no real surprise that one of the architects of that project was indeed Alison Brooks. Be Housing, seems to build on what was achieved at Accordia and I feel has created a more playful scheme with a sense of maturity, which I feel Accordia is a bit too mature, and dare I say - boring in some cases. It is clear to see however from the interviews with the residents, that it has been very successful.

    I would like to end on a small statement which Keith Bradley points out in a video about Accordia, where he says, we as architects, should be paying more attention to the ‘ordinary things’ rather than just the ‘one offs’ that some architects crave for, to get the attention they seek.

    It is a valid point and as such, Accordia being awarded the Stirling Prize back in 2008 and now with Alison Brooks’ Be Housing being nominated in 2013, shows I think, new thinking and appreciation for the more ‘ordinary’ projects. Perhaps it is time that people realise what a sense of subtlety and a careful eye for detail, can do wonders for a community.

    (Please note, I do not hold the copyright of any of the images to this article)


  2. The Trials and Tribulations of Job Hunting

    So…it’s been officially been two weeks since I sent my first application off and I must say, I do rather feel like Oliver Twist:

    "…please sir, can I have a job?"

    However, as many fellow jobseekers will be feeling, I really cannot be bothered to send another application off…not very reassuring when its only been two weeks…

    One of the things I did recently was to update my image, and thus my new logo has made its way to the website and to my CV. As I was redoing my CV, I found lots of help all over the internet but never so much advice for portfolios…

    So I went on a hunt and came across a practice called ’Andfold Studio’.  They are a design agency based in Leicester (a particular favourite of their work is ‘See New Art) and they had a very interesting article on their blog titled ‘A Guide for Graduates’, where it covers:

    • Your Portfolio
    • Self Initiated Work
    • Interviews
    • CV
    • Work Experience

    It is a short article and I certainly found it helpful. So, tasked with some new advice and with word on the grapevine that supposedly the market is picking up very very slowly…I shall be hitting the job sites!


  3. New Year + New Job Hunt = New Logo

    With my final year of my full-time education finishing in a few months and presented with the challenge of finding my first ‘proper’ job, where I aim to stay for a few years, I thought it was time to refresh my image.

    This was my previous logo that I used for a few years. At the time I liked it a lot and in some cases I do still. It has a simple palette of colours and a traditional serif font that is easy to read and understand. However with the prospect of embarking on a new stage in my life, I wanted to change my image and communicate the ideas that I have developed over the past two years. 

    Simplicity and Modern design has certainly been a true passion of mine in recent years. I am constantly reading Minimally Minimal, where Andrew Kim’s philosophy of design is truly a breath of fresh air and certainly encourages the reader of his blog to think critically - a notion many architecture students are familiar with. Another website that has really helped me recently is the Behance network. A great collective of designers resides within this online community. Some of the work shown on the site, is as ex-Apple VP Scott Forstall seemed to use on a number of occasions, ‘blow-away’ - which doesn’t really make for good english but does describe the quality of work.

    Using these sources, I thought I would take the simple concept for a logo of using my name. Utilising a modern sans-serif font, the simple idea of using a single line for each letter, contrasting colours of black and white, I have created a logo which I feel shows who I am and who I want to be. Clear and simple.

    Now all I have to do is find a job…

  4. If you fancy a cheeky video about an abnormally sized cat, who inherits the suffix of ‘zilla’…look no further!

  5. It is a bit late but let me firstly wish everyone a belated Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great holiday season.

    New Year resolutions are always great to make, and are probably also very annoying, due to the fact that we always never seem to be able to keep them. However the one thing I have learnt through an arduous christmas period of dissertation writing, is that we need to take a little bit of time to get away from the world of work. So I think I am going to make three new year resolutions:

    1. Blog a little more about the world of architecture and design
    2. Write a bit more on my story more regularly
    3. Lastly I think I would like to read. I miss reading and I have just got into a book called Dwarves by Markus Heitz, which is a fascinating story about a tale of a Dwarf (never would have guessed it would you?)

    As I am in a mood of architectural theory, where I am currently working on my dissertation, here’s a little bit of light hearted fun of learning the alphabet with the help of 26 architects.

    Happy New Year guys! Hope 2013 is a great year for you all!

  6. The world and certainly architecture is evolving, this much we know. We also know much about the boom that has happened in Dubai, and all the furore of construction and ambition it has brought with it, which we can say has somewhat subdued in the past year, curbing the plethora of skyscrapers and ridiculous designs that have come out of this investment of time and money, to create what many would call an ‘architectural zoo’. 

    China has, I think fair to say, taken over Dubai in its ambition and investment into development, where vast amounts of land is being developed for its ever growing population and its hungry economic growth. Some designs have graced the Chinese skyline, some quite honestly blotch the horizon. In an economy and a country that simply wants to build and build, sometimes it is nice to see something that is small, delicate, and dare I say serene. 

    This project, The Design Republic Commune, by Neri & Hu, which contains their flagship store, Design Republic, is a more delicate intervention into existing urban infrastructure, dealing with constraints of existing design and building to create something that brings people together. 

    Perhaps one could say that this is a perfect example of how China and perhaps other countries such as Dubai, can develop their own character and identity without necessarily making it a competition of who can shout the loudest…

  7. I have been working on a new design project at university, where the whole year has been working together to create a masterplan. One of the groups showed this video during a review recently and I thought I would share with you…

    …here’s a hint…

    …it’s about sharing…

    Source: The Amazings

  8. I’ve just been on a small holiday recently and will make a blog of my time in Copenhagen and Malmo in the near future…however here is a little video that I came across today whilst logging onto Facebook.

    Facebook has its critics, its lovers and haters. Some people feel obliged to join, others feel the need to use it and some clearly love the experience. In an age of advertising, it is generally a case of promoting what the product can do, and no one in my personal opinion does it better than apple, by keeping the adverts simple and making us drool with temptation with what they are presenting to us. However you get another sort of group who talk about their product in an indirect way, using similes and metaphors, creating a rapport with the viewer, telling a story. 

    Whether you like facebook or not, this is a really great little advert, that shows us how much our lives depend on connections, how much we want connections and how we cherish them.

    The things that connect us…

  9. I came across this via a friend of mine recently and it’s one of the most artistic and truly fascinating short documentary films I’ve seen recently. It really makes me want to buy a bike and join them!

  10. If we look at the world around us, much has changed over the many years and much will change in the years to come. We have seen settlements grow into villages, villages into towns, towns into cities and cities into these mega-cities that we can associate with such places like New York (U.S.A), Shanghai (China) and Mexico City (Mexico).

    We have seen the architecture of this world change and no doubt can say in this day and age that good architecture can really help a community. But what happens when you throw economics into it? What happens when markets change? What happens to something that is started and never finished? This is an increasingly prevalent problem that we face across the globe at the moment. We see many projects started with the greatest of intents yet not finished due to some financial problem. 

    In collaboration with design critic Justin McGuirk, who writes a column for The Guardian and Urban-Think Tank, architectural photographer Iwaan Baan won a Golden Lion for the best installation at the Venice Architecture Biennale

    Iwaan Baan talks in a fascinating video about how 3,000 people in Caracas, Venezuela, have built homes between the bare skeleton structure of the unfinished Torre David skyscraper. It really is an interesting story of how people have come together to create a community and how they have helped create architecture in their own way. Perhaps if we put our notions of the pristine and finished article of a building to one side, maybe we can open ourselves up to seeing other solutions that within this instance could help solve the problem of slums.

    This is truly in the words of Iwaan Baan, ‘architecture without architects’