Monday, 2 March 2020


A Edinburgh firm called Kenoteq in collaboration with the city’s university is taking on the dirty business of construction by reclaiming materials that would otherwise end up in landfills and reconstituting the building blocks (see previously) without firing them in a kiln—making the process even more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Moreover the basic units can be created in situ from the salvaged material—saving on pollution caused by transportation.


Saturday, 4 January 2020

opus isodomum

Our gratitude once again to Present /&/ Correct for expanding our brick-and-mortar (see also) repertoire with this mediative volume by Melissa Price that looks at some of the chief stylistic and structural organising and coordinating principles behind this construction method, brick-bonding.
The most common types being Flemish, Monk, and Sussex it follows the notion that courses (the horizontal layers) should not be uniform straight across and changes the orientation of the masonry according to a set pattern for better load-bearing and aesthetic qualities. From the builder’s perspective, the brick has six positions depending how they’re turned and facing edge: stretcher, shiner, header, rowlock, soldier and sailor, which in tied and trusted patterns strengthen the ties with rows above and below.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

course and wythe

One of the more viable indigenous, constructed scripts (see also here and here), the Atlas of Endangered Alphabets profiles the Mandombe system of writing, revealed to its author by a venerated Congolese religious leader in a dream, recognising the sacred serpentine turns along the familiar backdrop of a brick wall.
Inspired, glyphs were developed whose pronunciation and inflection was determined on direction and orientation and is suited for the national languages of the country, with more efforts underway to transcribe neighbouring languages into Mandombe, and is taught in parochial schools affiliated with the church that conceived it in the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola as well as in France and Belgium.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

opus latericium

Material science students in Cape Town have developed a process that forms a durable, pliable building substance out of urea, sand and a strain of bacteria that metabolises urine into calcium carbonate that cements the loose sand to fit a given mould.
Not only would construction sites draw in and sequester atmospheric carbon during the growing phase, reinforcing the sands with limestone matrices, the reaction that produces the bricks, pillars and cobblestones happens at ambient temperature and doesn’t need to be fired in a kiln—another potentially huge benefit as the cement and concrete industry contributes a huge volume of greenhouse gases.

Friday, 31 August 2018

type 57

Last week, we were taken for a test drive in a porcelain Bugatti called L’Or Blanc (White Gold) and now we are given a demonstration of another fully-functional Bugatti model—a Chiron supercar—that was almost entirely built from LEGO Technics pieces, over a million assembled by hand.
The car is a legacy brand first founded by Ettore Bugatti in the city of Molsheim in 1909 that produced a line of high performance luxury and racing automobiles through the 1950s when the company went bankrupt and the factory acquisitioned for the aviation industry. Bugatti saw a comeback in the 1990s when the name and distinctive chassis style saw a revival, with Volkswagen engineering the Chiron, two-seated sports car, which was revealed for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016. See footage of both cars in action at the links above.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018


never just a car: a supercut of automotive movie cameos

blue state: an exhibit in Los Angles structured around colour examines the many ways of casting shade

india pale ale: find out what which beer you’re partial to says about you, via the ever-brilliant Nag on the Lake

le bรฉton brรปt: with greyscale Lego bricks, a man and his son create miniature Brutalists architecture, via Present /&/ Correct

paleo-futures: 1926 interview with Nikola Tesla predicting our fraught relationship with our gadgets

midsweden 365: secret tunnels excavated in the granite mountains near the town of Gรคllรถ repurposed as a underground, year-round skiing range

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

toy building brick

A couple days ago, the world marked International LEGO Day, inscribed on the calendar on the date when Godtfred Kirk Christiansen filed the American patent application for his product sixty years ago. GK Christiansen was the third son of the inventor and founder Ole Kirk Christiansen who began making wooden toys in his workshop in Billund, Denmark in 1932—before moving to plastic as a medium—and was the managing director of the company from 1950 to 1995. The company’s name and line of construction toys is from the Danish words leg godt—“play well.”

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

brick and mortar

Via the Daily Dot, we discover that Lego- compatible adhesive tape is on offer for pre-order and will be ready to ship sometime this summer, having far surpassed their original fund-raising goal multiple times over. Brilliantly any surface can be made Lego-friendly, enhancing building possibilities and seems to us a far better alternative to modifying and replacing components than some boring old 3D printer. Founded in 1934 in Denmark, the company’s name is a play on the Danish phrase leg godt—“play well.”

Sunday, 7 February 2016

seven points of articulation

Via the superb Dangerous Minds comes a look at the creations of one Etsy artisan, Glinda the Geek, and her adorable and necessary contribution to the universe of LEGO minfigs with the addition of characters from the British comedies The Young Ones and Absolutely Fabulous (plus many more at the artist’s stand).
I think that branching out is always laudable as sometimes I find the whole mainstream franchise a little grating as it seems to be only capitalising on some other popular movement and the tie-ins usually mean that one can only every play-out one very specific adventure (although the standard-issue repertoire of building-blocks can create pretty inspired tableaux as well)—as opposed to Sigmund Freud’s consulting-couch, also on offer from Glinda the Geek.

Monday, 17 December 2012

wappenschmied or great seal

While researching something else entirely (and I hope they never manage to work up a deliver system that can filter out all things tangential and only present exactly what one was looking for), I can across this really neat, abstract—modern totem for the City of Frankfurt am Main in use during the years of the Weimar Republic between World War I and II. The constitutional convention of 1919 took up the standard of the city that had hosted the last attempt, some sixty years prior, in deference to those efforts to first unite the German peoples under a constitutional monarchy.
Those seminarians were overcome by war and political intrigues but the task was one worth repeating and the Reichsadler (not empire but rather the word suggests realms) of Frankfurt is reflected in the contemporary seal of the federal government and seen on government buildings. Frankfurt modified its symbols and coat-of-arms to distinguish itself from the central government, and while the vexillology passed down does look quite dignified and officious, this sort-lived alternative offers an interesting statement on anachronism, seeming almost tiki inspired and with the talons of a Lego minifig.