Wednesday, 9 November 2022

cathedral of the pope (10. 286)

While outside of Vatican City proper, the archbasilica and other properties of the Holy See are accorded extraterritorial status within Italy pursuant to the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the Major Papal, Patriarchal and Roman Archbasilica Cathedral of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran, Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World (Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris ac Sanctorum Ioannis Baptistae et Ioannis Evangelistae ad Lateranum) is fรชted on this day on the anniversary of its dedication in a tradition dating back to at least the twelfth century. The oldest public Christian church in the Western world, St John in Lateran, Emperor Constantine I donated the edifice to Pope Sylvester I (previously a palace for the empress) in 324, and in addition to many works of art, papal tombs also house the Scala Sancta, the Holy Steps, relics that comprised the staircase of the praetorium of Pontius Pilate and sanctified with the footsteps of Jesus, retrieved by Constantine’s mother Helen. In a tradition going back to sixteenth century and the reign of Henry IV of France, Emmanuel Macron is ex officio the first and only canon of the archbasilica.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

obligatory dining turret (10. 274)

McMansion Hell (previously) revisits the suburbs of Washington, DC—Silver Spring, Potomac, Maryland and environs—to offer us a prospectus of properties that confound architectural cohesion and defy good taste with some of these choice homes on offer. Much more horrid, surreal estate from just beyond the Beltway at the links above.

Wednesday, 12 October 2022

7x7 (10. 216)

negroni sbagliato: your guide to the new hot adult beverage  

naked eye: a gallery of some of the best images of microscopic photography from the past year 

aunt jess: a celebration of the life and career of Dame Angela Lansbury—see previously  

little big world: a tilt-shift tour of Mรผnchen and Oktoberfest

if pigs could fly: iconic Battersea Power Station reopens to the public as a luxury property development–via Things Magazine

mutual of omaha: superlative wildlife photography  

ss23: backless menswear suits seem to be here to stay

Sunday, 9 October 2022

7x7 (10. 206)

soundscape: calls for submissions for Wikipedia’s sonic logo  

parametric design: letting AI run wild to reimagine the future of architecture  

cactus buddy and friends: adult Happy Meals are causing chaos, workers beg customers to stop 

solidarity: Marge Simpson cutting her iconic hair graffitied on the Iranian Consulate in Milano  

shinkansen: a classic 99% Invisible explores how three very different bird species informed the bullet train’s redesign 

kill the wabbit: try to name these escapingly familiar works of classical music—see also  

obituaries: the swiftness of Wikipedia’s deaditors is astounding

Saturday, 1 October 2022

castillo del diablo (10. 184)

While visiting Rosarito in Baja California, friend of the blog, Fancy Notions, stumbled upon a most usual six-storey beach house bedecked with gargoyles and monstrous statuary and crammed to the brim with antiques that is yet uncompleted obsession of a real estate developer called Tony Wells. This Gothic residence chocked full of period furnishings, coffins and chandeliers has become quite the draw for tourists and there are plans to convert property into a museum, relenting to the throngs of visitors who wanted a peek inside. Much more at the link above.

Friday, 30 September 2022

7x7 (10. 180)

ron’s house: a bid to save an immersive, eccentrically decorated apartment—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump  

hermetic students of the golden dawn: an honest-to-goodness magic duel between William Butler Yeats and Aleister Crowley—via Boing Boing  

there’s a hole in my head where the rain gets in: medieval wound man, a medical diagram meant to assist surgeons of yore—see also  

it’s been zero days since the last catastrophic hurricane: more stats from Neal Agarwal (previously)  

self-paced: an AI powered language learning tool—via Web Curios  

photosculpture: a century before 3D printers, there was the rotoscoping technique M Franรงois Willรจme  

mid-management mezzanine: a tour of the S.C. Johnson Wax Headquarters building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Sunday, 25 September 2022

muography (10. 168)

BLDGBLOG’s Geoff Manaugh, contributing correspondent for the Financial Times, introduces use to the physics of the elementary particle called the muon (ฮผ), how like the more elusive and slippery neutrino penetrates temple and turnpike alike (and even volcanos or exploring ruins) and gives civil engineers a new inspection tool to assess the internal state of infrastructure, a sort of structural x-ray, to help triage, prioritise repair and upgrades and identify imminent failures. 

 

Thursday, 15 September 2022

7x7 (10. 136)

ernie-vilg: Baidu enters text-to-image generating AI—reinforces government censorship  

kusugibashi: a rebuilt bridge washed away in 2018 combines traditional carpentry (see also) with computational design technology  

naysayer: exocentric verb-noun compound agents 

if you give a bot a cookie: pop ups are ruining the internet experience—see also—outside of walled gardens, via Digg  

we’re making earth our only shareholder: founder of Patagonia gives his billion-dollar company away to combat the climate emergency 

bademaschinen: floating saunas for Oslo harbor—see also   

nervous laughter: researchers hope to deliver more natural human-robot conversations

Monday, 5 September 2022

7x7 (10. 110)

ch-ch-ch-chia: University of Virginia research team 3D prints living walls and roofs  

the road to rhรปn: more interactive LOTR maps to explore—see previously  

defenestration: accident-prone energy executives  

doctor doolittle: translating non-human animal vocalisations into language with artificial intelligence 

the hunt for the golden walnut brain of ronald reagan: an adventure from John Hoare (previously)—via Things Magazine  

lady woman: a sample track from Boris Midney’s reimagining of 1979 “Evita” as a disco opera 

reefer madness: researchers make an advance in the race to save Caribbean coral, whose health also affects hurricane intensity

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

7x7 (10.082)

the traffic cone preservation society: a venerable and conserved web artefact—see also—via Weird Universe  

red light, green light: authorities in China are not changing traffic-control scheme despite rumours to the contrary 

harmonices mundi: listening to Johannes Kepler’s music of the spheres—see previously  

wagahai wa neku de aru: selected sayings about cats and dogs in Japan  

45°, 90°, 180°: after more than half a century, Michael Heizer’s lost desert city is complete  

perfect impasto: ongoing research into Rembrandt’s Night Watch—see previously  

happy belated blogoversary: Miss Cellania turns twenty-two

Saturday, 6 August 2022

6x6 (10. 043)

blue plaque special: a curation of the City of London’s Blue Plaque scheme—via Nag on the Lake (see also)  

harry potter and the chamber of narcissism: McMansion Hell (previously) show a yassified property in the Atlanta suburbs  

warwolf: a closer look at Edward I’s siege machine—via Strange Company 

i² = -1: the fundamental realness of imaginary numbers 

pferd is the word: some AI-generated horse-hybrids from Janelle Shane (previously)  

delft on a shelf: a house on Fournier Street with some animated tiles

Saturday, 30 July 2022

7x7 (10. 025)

spectacular vernacular: 99% Invisible celebrates milestone episodes with an exploration of vintage architectural styles, via Pasa Bon!  

conlang: fluency in Esperanto—see previously  

122 CE: a colourful gate house installed at Hadrian’s Wall 

the electric lucifer: the musical stylings of Bruce Haack 

civic duty: a resonant “I Voted” sticker for Ulster County, New York

isochrone: an interactive map illustrates how far one can travel from any European train station in under five hours 

la maison sculptรฉe: Jacques Lucas’ hand-sculpted home in Rennes

Thursday, 14 July 2022

7x7

nag on the lake: a new viewing platform with spectacular views of the Falls  

smart brevity: the prevalence of bulletin-point journalism 

light cycle: the lost TRON (previously) arcade documents—via Things Magazine  

true colours: Metropolitan Museum of Art presents statues from Antiquity with their original paint jobs—see previously 

granite & rainbow: the book jackets of Virginia Woolf

restored to its polynesian/craftsman/medieval-colonial revival/queen anne glory: an architectural doppelgรคnger of the Little House  

bonne fรชte nationale: images from Bastille Day from over a century ago 

sluicehuis: a cantilever housing bloc in Amsterdam’s IJburg district

Monday, 11 July 2022

band shell

Situated in a natural amphitheare in a shaded canyon just below the Hollywood Hills—a popular picnicking spot called “Daisy Dell” that also saw a number of outdoor performances and pageants, the Hollywood Bowl was officially opened on this day in 1922 with a concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Alfred Hertz, playing the overture from Richard Wagner’s Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen (after the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel of the same name—the author best known for his coinage of stock phrases like “the great unwashed masses,” “dweller on the threshold” and the opening “it was a dark and stormy night”), movements from Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, a selection of Hungarian Dances from Brahms, a suite from Peer Gynt and the overture from William Tell—regular theme tune fare from the perspective of this centenary. The distinctive arched proscenium—later remodelled due to acoustic problems—was first added in 1926.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

8x8

el vehรญculo compartido: personal aerial shots by photographer Alex Cartagena in pickup truck beds reveal the hidden lives of day labourers off-duty  

skate expectations: concrete sculptural parks by Amir Zaki—via Present /&/ Correct 

rosรฉwave: a playlist from NPR to invoke relaxed summer afternoon vibes

press key when ready: the 1985 British children’s sci-fi series The Whizz 

i am your atypical neighbour: in an exhibit, Her Window, artist Dayu Ouyang broadcasts bold statements from her bedroom’s view  

hot slot: the escapingly small feasibility that Jeff Goldblum could have uploaded a computer virus to alien technology and win Independence Day plus other dei ex machinis  

friend-shoring: reprioritising globalisation and a metallic NATO to ensure critical rare-earths supply chains are kept viable  

a rising tide lifts all boats: laid out in a grid meant to resemble brain coral from above and protected by the sinking atoll, the Maldives is building an ingenious floating city that will rise with the oceans as perhaps a model for other threatened communities

Saturday, 25 June 2022

8x8

morning chorus: a suspended hotel suite in Sรกpmi cladded with three-hundred fifty birdhouses 

meanwhile margaret atwood says hold my beer: teach and student, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, spar over which dystopian vision is more plausible  

don’t say g*y: Disney introduces its first openly closeted cast of characters  

makeup and monobrow: a quick survey of the female eyebrow in art 

border and backsplash: the mosaic tile museum of Gifu—over ten-thousands exemplars, many rescued from buildings slated for demolition 

i had hoped that god would work one of his signature miracles and spare me from is also signature “horrible pain in childbirth” curse: the Virgin Mary reclaims her nativity narrative  

stonk-and-go: the US Securities and Exchange Commission weighs sweeping change to curtail meme-driven trades  

a doghouse for eddie: charmingly, Frank Lloyd Wright (previously) builds a home for a canine and his human companion

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

5x5

amelia bedelia: reading suggestions for adults informed by one’s favourite children’s literature  

the suwaล‚ki gap: Lithuania blocks some supply trains that transit its territory to the Russian exclave Kaliningrad  

mall rats: a huge collection of 1990s consumer aesthetics 

fluxburgh: a selection of offerings gamifying architecture  

children’s television workshop: a lost, pulled episode of Sesame Street with the neighbourhood terrorised by Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West—via Super Punch

Saturday, 4 June 2022

7x7

2slgbtqia+: a calendar of Native American and First Nations’ Pride events—the 2S is for “Two-Spirits”  

about the damn end: DJ Cummerbund (previously) mixes Lizzo and Linkin Park—via Waxy  

sacred modernity: McGregor Smith explores Europe’s superlative post-war churches—via Things magazine

why ernest saves christmas: wholly machine-generated articles on any number of topics—the logorrhoea of infinite neural networks producing infinite copy, via Web Curios  

signature sound: a 1957 musical horoscope album (see also here and here) orchestrated by Hal Mooney  

the endangered california bumbletrout: court declares bees are fish to afford them better defence under the state’s species protection act  

night of a thousand judys: a tribute concert for charity on what would have been Garland’s one-hundredth birthday

Friday, 3 June 2022

bergpark wilhelmshรถhe

H and I had visited the sprawling landscaped park outside of Kassel some time ago but neglected to blog about it here, so we were happy to have the occasion to revisit and share impressions of the Baroque giardino all’italiana built for Landgraf Karl I von Hessen beginning in 1696 on the anniversary of the presentation of the water elements (Wasserspiele) by Giovanni Francisco Guerniero in 1714, switching on the cascades and waterfalls for the first time. The landgrave had met the architect in Rome whilst on a Grand Tour and engaged him to realise his grand plans for the largest garden on the continent, and though making a solid first impression which delighted his patron, Guerniero fled back to Italy once it became clear that planning errors and cost-overruns meant that the project could not be finished. Atop a pyramid, atop on octagon, is a copper statue of Hercules, surveying the watercourse. Successive occupants of the palace expanded and contributed to the character of the park over the years, adopting new styles and eventually veering away from the French formal style to more of an English garden and it was finally completed after a century and a half of construction. Open to the public, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.

Monday, 30 May 2022

let us discard all these things and unite as one people

Dedicated on this day (the then fixed date for the Memorial Day federal holiday, also known as Decoration Day) in 1922 at the western terminus of the National Mall in Washington, DC, the Beaux-Arts neoclassical temple by architect Henry Bacon and featuring colossal marble statue of the United States sixteenth president by Daniel Chester French and executed by the Piccirilli family, the Lincoln Memorial has always been a draw to visitors and since its early days throughout the past century has been a symbolic focus for race relations and social justice in America. Planning begun in 1910 to erect a suitable monument to the individual whose administration and sacrifice helped preserve the union and ended chattel slavery as a government sanctioned institution and many felt that the Doric temple was too ostentatious for an individual of humble character and championed a log cabin shrine though Paris’ proposal ultimately passed. Chief Justice William Howard Taft (who had been appointed president of the memorial’s planning commission during his term as president of the United States), president Warren G Harding and Robert Todd Lincoln, the statesman’s eldest son, officially opened the venue with a delegation of prominent Black politicians of the day, including Mississippi congressional representative Perry Howard, journalist and editor Emmett Jay Scott and real estate businessman Whitefield McKinlay, invited—only to discover that they were cordoned off in a segregated section guarded by a contingent of marines. Its reputation as a sacred and aspirational place has since been established, with one of the first instances being Eleanor Roosevelt offering the venue in 1939 to contralto Marian Anderson when the Daughters of the American Revolution refused her to perform to an integrated audience at Constitution Hall.