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Daily Archives: March 16th, 2009

Review of the book THE JAPAN GUIDE

“The architecture of the 1980’s in Japan can be characterized by an important shift of emphasis from the previously dominant industrial technology, or ‘hardware,’ toward a highly sophisticated industrial technology, or ‘software.’ As a result, recent designs, while not abandoning the tectonic culture and engineering bravura of earlier modernism, manifest an increased fascination with the ephemeral and phenomenal or, in short, the sensual in architecture.”


“Without J.G. Ballard, none of this would exist. We’re weak on SF history, but we think it fair to say that Ballard was among the first world-class writers (perhaps along with the Soviets) to realize that SF was no longer merely a pulp genre, but had become the only possible vehicle for a mythos of the modern world, that it had replaced the psychological novel as the central artwork of our culture.”

J.G. Ballard, wrote the book Empire of the Sun, which was made into a film by Steven Spielberg.  The book is based on actual events in Ballard’s life.   He spent part of his childhood in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in China. 

His fiction deals with technology and its visceral effects on the human subject.  

Anonymous, Semiotext(e) SF.


This hotel is abandoned, unfinished, due to faulty design and construction.   Could it be the worst building in the world?

” …The DPRK is also one of the world’s most secretive nations. For a North Korean, contact with a foreigner can land one in jail… or worse. But there is one embarrassing secret that is hard for the government to hide, literally. It’s the Ryugyong Hotel in the Potong District of North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang. It’s difficult to hide because it’s a massive, 105-story structure which dominates the city’s skyline. It’s an embarrassment because it’s a complete engineering failure… its empty, dilapidated husk lurks over the capital, mocking the citizens of the proud country.”


This article from the AIA web site, describes the automotibile designer as essentially involved in “packaging” – styling the body in order to persuade the consumer to purchase.   To what extent do architects limit their activity to packaging?


Nic Clear teaches an architectural studio based on the writings of J.G. Ballard.   The work appears to be a kind of apocalyptic vision of the future, based on a collapse or disjunction in the social fabric. 

Here, he demonstrates a 3d light pen.


‘Soon after three o’clock on the afternoon of April 22nd 1973, a 35-year-old architect named Robert Maitland was driving down the high-speed exit lane of the Westway interchange in central London. Six hundred yards from the junction with the newly built spur of the M4 motorway, when the Jaguar had already passed the 70 m.p.h. speed limit, a blow-out collapsed the front nearside tyre.’

J.G. Ballard, Concrete Island.

The book is part of Ballard’s “Urban Disaster Trilogy”, which also includes the book Crash (made into a movie by David Cronenberg), and High-Rise.



A Time Bank is a system for bartering goods and services.   People provide a service and are paid in “time dollars.”  They can trade these time dollars with other members of the Time Bank.   It is self-consciously a “social change movement.”   Perhaps if the traditional economy becomes unstable,  this type of alternative economic model will become much more popular.

An amazing use of hyper-color in a bathroom.    If you live in the SF Bay Area and want a bathroom like this, contact me at , and I will design it for you.  (If you live elsewhere, I will do the job as well, it might cost you some more money in design fee! ) 


A sign of the economic times …..  my understanding is that the city is going to shut it down … bad for the image and all that.  (the chamber of commerce definitely does not approve). 



Forget the house – I want the CAR.