Friday 23 February 2024

10x10 (11. 374)

walden 7: photographer Sebastian Weiss captures the epic nature of an outstanding apartment block in Barcelona 

shootball: January Sixth themed pinball machines and other Republican swag at the Conservative Political Action Conference—see previously 

swimming with sharks: an overview of the hidden terror that’s haunted, informed humanity for millennia  

google blobs: the animated emoji character set that ought to be brought back—via Web Curios 

38°n: a news source on North Korea rex melly: the riches of Mansa Musa of the Mail Empire—adjusting for inflation and other factors, possibly the wealthiest person in history 

shift to socials: Vice Media is folding, laying off hundreds of journalists—via Waxysee more  

pale usher: introducing a blog mini-series on Moby Dick with a curious etymology  

every sperm is sacred: following the ruling in Alabama that grants personhood to frozen embryos—and the subsequent suspension of IVF treatment for fear of legal implications—conservative think tank forming Trump’s policy wants to end recreational sex 

batpole: homes with alternate stairwells—see previously

Saturday 3 February 2024

flakturm iv (11. 317)

Reminiscent of the transformation of the Colossus of Prora into luxury vacation properties, we learned that there has been a similar rehabilitation effort in the works for a decade to crown the one of the landmarks of the past of Hamburg, the air-defence bunker in Heiligengeistfeld in St Pauli (see previously), too difficult to demolish and built as nearly impenetrable, with an extension in the form of a boutique, green hotel with a lush rooftop garden. The accommodations open in April, which includes an in-house memorial and information centre about the indestructible structure’s Nazi past, after a three year delay in construction.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Crocodile Rock (1973)

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus more on Tulipomania

three years ago: more links worth revisiting plus a Bauhaus chessboard

four years ago: Setsubun, the Benelux (1958) plus antique school notebooks from all over the world

five years ago: The Day the Music Died (1959)

Wednesday 20 December 2023

telharmonic hall (11. 197)

To round out the podcasting year, 99% Invisible presents a selection of choice minisodes on a variety of topics ranging from practising architecture without a license, decimalising the clock, ghost kitchens and fascinatingly the primordial streaming service, dial-a-song, subscription-based amenity patented by Thaddeus Cahill in 1897. For a monthly fee, people could listen to an entire electric orchestra over the telephone lines. The massive analogue instrument that synthesised the immersive experience was called the telharmonium—also a product of Cahill’s genius—and was the precursor to the Hammond organ and other electronic keyboards. As popular as the novelty was—including live concerts—by 1907, streaming subscribers turned toward the medium of radio. Much more at the links above.


one year ago: snapshots of war, Harold and Maude plus more shibboleths

two years ago: assorted links to revisit 

three years ago: more links to enjoy, It’s a Wonderful Life, Missus Martin Luther, new plant species discovered, 2020 in review plus human hiberation

four years ago: the Battle of the Bastonge (1944) plus Brexit passes

five years ago: a new edition of Euclid’s Elements, typewriter art plus a reminder that when the service is free, you are the product


Sunday 22 October 2023

11x11 (11. 070)

post-amazon era: monopsonic retailer’s workers’ are writing about the dystopian company to fight back—via Slashdot  

sublet: tech startups are relinquishing office space office space back to their landlords  

stop making sense: negative manifestos, rule-breaking and by defined by what one is not  

deci-lon 10: an outstanding collection of slide rules curated by the analogue computer’s appreciation society—named after their seventeenth century inventor, William Oughtred of Cambridge—via Web Curios  

dancing delicacies: 3-D printed plate and nano technologies promise interactive meals  

primer simposium tecno: a 1981 electronic music concert in Madrid  

piramida: updated plans for the restoration of Tirana’s Brutalist landmark  

destroilet: an automatic combustion plumbing solution popular in the 1960s and 70s 

down in the underground: agencies of the subsurface 

fiver: a new adaptation of Watership Down as a graphic novel 

proposition m: San Francisco passes a punitive tax of vacant housing speculation  

the faanmg index: the blush has worn off Amazon’s rose—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lot’s more to explore there)


one year ago:  brittle egos bristling at Karen’s Garden plus modern sundials

two years ago: the International Meridian Conference of 1884, The Last Picture Show plus an early alternative currency

three years ago: the father of psychophysics, red food dye, another failed doomsday prophecy plus the Humument series

five years ago: the US Gun Control Act of 1968, the WWII bombing of Kassel, the spread of disinformation, anticipatory libraries for other worlds plus RIP to the inventor of the Little Library

Monday 9 October 2023

7x7 (11. 047)

haus zum walfisch: explore horror film shooting locations of 1970s and 1980s classics, including Suspiria filmed in a townhouse in Freiburg im Breisgau  

concrete feats: a tour of Italy’s Brutalist architecture  

rapid electric vehicle retrofits: an Australian student wins James Dyson Award for an inexpensive conversion kit to make gas-powered vehicles hybrid 

earthshapes: fantastic geography from pilot Joseph N Portney 

larva convivialis: the miniature dancing skeletons of Roman banquets—via Strange Company 

jungian individuation: the Swiss psychoanalyst on the predictive power of Tarot cards 

tune-on: veteran television producer and director on the revival of his Laugh-In spin-off five decades afterwards  

31 days: a month long celebration of the Spooky Season from Laura E Hall—via Waxy


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, World Postal Day plus to slander one’s good reputation

two years ago: more links to enjoy, happy birthday John Lennon, Karl-Marx-Stadt, drag queen tarot plus a visit to the Osterburg

three years ago: The Watcher in the Woods, more Phantom plus more links worth revisiting

four years ago: major military exercise in Germany planned by US forces plus other European trade colonies in China

five years ago: Trump’s legacy of failed businesses, more on the fight to save an ancient woodland plus moving Tokyo’s historic fish market

Wednesday 20 September 2023

9x9 (11. 010)

: play around for a moment with the Water web toy—via Miss Cellania and the Everlasting Blรถrt  

green new deal: modelled on FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, US president Biden creates a federal jobs training and climate protection force  

won’t someone think of the children: UK passes Online Safety bill—see previously  

piramida: architectural photographer Danica O Kus documents the newly-repurposed monument in the Albanian capital of Tirana

nine-man morris: archeologists discover a board game carved in the ruins of an ancient Polish castle  

qed: a tiny Irish child has a brilliant solution to the trolley problem—see previously  

the mascot of ascot: the magnificent millinery modelled by Gertrude Shilling—via Messy Nessy Chic

once i played a tanpura: electronic music from India from the early 1970s—via Things Magazine  

written on water: physicists using an ionic pen and Brownian motion can draw lines and letters in liquid



one year ago: assorted links to revisit 

two years ago: the Global War on Terrorism declared (2001), photographer Charles Cylde Ebbets plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: St Eustace plus running out of hurricane names

four years ago: an AI names mushrooms,  exploring a local wayside chapel, more links plus Randy Rainbow for the Emmy

five years ago: retro web bumpers, a then-and-now of New Zealand’s government, modern-day occupations plus the board game Careers

Tuesday 29 August 2023

7x7 (10. 970)

pagerank: Google has lost the quarter-century battle over overindexing versus useful search results—via Waxy  

1 346 000/km²: a tour of what was once the most densely populated area in the world, a largely ungoverned Chinese exclave within the territory of Hong Kong—see previously here and here  

corner suite: a visit to a unique corporate headquarters in Czechia with an office in an elevator—see previously 

lunar codex: an archive and time capsule of human creativity launched to the Moon—see also  

motor overflow: sticking out our tongues during complicated manual tasks reveal truths about our brains’ connections—via Damn Interesting  

gone to pasture: an abandoned luxury development in China overtaken by farmers and livestock—via Messy Nessy Chic

cryogenics: Wordpress offers to archive one’s digital estate for a century


one year ago: another MST3K classic plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: the chemical element meitnerium, the founding of Greenland, white-winged doves and saguaro cactuses plus introducing Nirvana (1991) 

three years ago: mystic Manly Palmer Hall, Wuppertal’s Schwebebahn, inventor Otis Frank Boykin, liturgical cheese plus Netflix (1997)

five years ago: Trump lashes out against perceived social media bias against him plus Keith Houston on the history of emoji

Saturday 26 August 2023

vernacular architecture (10. 966)

Midcentury Modern embassies and consulates commissioned by the US State Department between the years 1948 and 1962 at the height of the Cold War were not only outposts of ideology, as an interview with historian David B Peterson for an upcoming retrospective on the architecture of democracy, diplomacy and defence reveals but also host to quite extensive outreach programmes and to project culture and the values of progressive and open societies—though considering American’s own practises of apatheid, it’s a rather hollow image. Numerous star architects and luminaries of the day were involved and most compounds had a publicly accessible area for lectures, libraries and exhibition spaces. The chapter on the embassy of New Delhi designed by Edward Durell Stone (the MoMA, Radio City Music Hall and the Kennedy Centre) looks particularly interesting. More from designboom at the link above.

Tuesday 15 August 2023

die bauhausausstellung von 1923 (10. 945)

Opening on this day in Weimar and running for the next six weeks, the exhibition was the first public presentation of the art and architecture movement founded in 1919, and advertised in around one-hundred train stations with Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus logo (the event delayed due individual presenting workshops wanting to prefect their items in accordance with the shift from handwork to industrial production and the poster stickered over), attracting around fifteen-thousand visitors. The first week included lectures by Walter Gropius and Wassily Kandinsky, ballets and concert performances and a procession with lanterns and fireworks. Installations included a model home, ceramics and various painting and building designs by contemporary figures such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. Occurring during the height of the Great Depression, the exhibition became of symbol of the culture war simmering in Germany with praise and enthusiasm on one side for the school’s creative and educational goals and roundly rejected by conservative leaning critics who felt strengthened in their position by the relative financial failure.

Saturday 27 May 2023

mรคusebunker (10. 768)

So called because of the Brutalist (Nachkriegsmodern-Stil) structure’s resemblance to war-era defensive bulwarks, the facility designed by architects Gerd and Magdalena Hรคnska in 1971 for the Frei Universitรคt of Berlin for animal research (Zentrale Tierlaboratorien, received with controversy at the time for such a grandiose concrete pyramid being built for the purpose of animal testing) and later for microbiology, pathology and experimental human medicine by the city’s Charitรฉ research hospital, vacant since 2020, has happily been spared planned demolition and been declared a historic monument for preservation. Owning to a vigorous campaign to conserve this icon, bastion of 1970s and others, an exploratory committee has been formed to find possible uses for this structure. More photos from organiser Felix Torkar and SOSBrutalism at the link above.

Thursday 4 May 2023

flatiron (10. 717)

Although the iconic and photogenic building constructed in 1902 and towered over by neighbouring skyscrapers never stopped captivating the public, the drama and controversary of its recent sale at auction has brought the Flatiron Building, prised out of an triangle of unused real estate, known as “Burnham’s Folly” in it early year, has brought this twenty-two storey structure back into the headlines. Learn more about the Beaux-Arts building conceived as a vertical neo-Renaissance style palazzo through all its owners and iterations in the video below—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links.

Wednesday 22 March 2023

8x8 (10. 628)

springfield, usa: a map of places in America with the same names with a locus of which locality most likely meant—via Kottke  

koล›ciรณล‚: modern and Brutalist churches of Poland  

panspermia: researchers studying samples from the Ryugu asteroid find traces of a RNA component, supporting theories that the building blocks of biology were incubated in space 

before karen, there was nellie oleson: the propagandising of homesteading in Little House on the Prairie  

gemรผths- und augen-ergรถtzung: the microscopic illustrations of Martin Frobenius Ledermรผller  

reliable sources: Microsoft and Google’s chatbots are using each other as professional references, calling into question the ecosystem of the internet’s information 

quo vadis: a monastic brotherhood outside St Stephan’s in Vienna has set up a tattoo parlour—see also  

bracket: a more relatable March Madness

Wednesday 4 August 2021


westward ho: a publication that captured Southern California’s aesthetic with the help from Milton Glaser and others 

strangers on a plane: the all-star cast of the first in the disaster franchise Airport 1970see previously  

tilt-shift: Little Big World explores the Erzgebirge—see also 

flowers of ukraine: a Brutalist greenhouse in Kiev that escaped the wrecking ball—via Things Magazine  

backwards compatible: a look at the development of plug-and-play technologies and its very forward-looking, consequential decisions 

going up: the explosive innovations investment in a space elevator (see previously) could bring about—via Kottke’s Quick Links 

gimme some starlight: the original lyrics to Thriller before being workshopped 

all signs point east: a branding and tourism campaign aims to inspire discovery, wonder and frolic

Friday 28 May 2021


We enjoyed exploring the gallery of the visual essay about the endangered Brutalist monuments and buildings of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi (previously here and here) including a quite arresting 1976 of the city’s vocational college bas-relief (nicknamed the Soviet Batman) that fronted one of the main thoroughfares that was slowly and unceremoniously scavenged for scrap metal and now is no more and
the better looked after and protected Chronicle of Georgia (แƒกแƒแƒฅแƒแƒ แƒ—แƒ•แƒ”แƒšแƒแƒก แƒฅแƒ แƒแƒœแƒ˜แƒ™แƒ”แƒ‘แƒ˜, not to be confused with this other set of pillars), the post-and-lentil colossal structure depicting the culture, history and heroes of Georgia above and Gospel stories and various hagiographies below. Created by Zurab Tsereteli in 1985, a few panels have yet to be completed, the complex commemorates Georgia’s embarking on its fourth millennia and should inspire preservation of all architectural treasures.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

capsule house k

Though familiar with his iconic Nakagin capsule hotel in Tokyo, which was also happily conserved and revitalised, until learning about efforts to save Kisho Kurokawa’s (้ป’ๅท ็ด€็ซ ) retreat in the woods of Karuizawa completed in 1974 we had not appreciated the philosophy behind the movement called Metabolism (ๆ–ฐ้™ณไปฃ่ฌ, shinchintaisha—a literal translation of the biological process of a more poetic concept of the exchange of energy between the interior and exterior world) that attempts to harmonize skyscrapers and other monumental architecture and civil engineering with organic growth, embracing the principles of sustainability, human-clustering, modularity, mobility and transience. Learn more at the links above.

Monday 29 March 2021

casa sperimentale

Though ostensibly informed by the Brutalist movement, this experimental vacation home, a concrete treehouse in the seaside town of Fregene outside of Rome, was meant as a statement about organic architecture and a statement of co-existence. Also known as Casa Albero, it was built by a family of architects, Uga de Plaisant and her husband Giuseppe Perugini with the assistance of their son over the course of seven years in the late 1960s, the structure has been abandoned and fallen into ruin, tragically. Explored by a group of urban spelunkers, here’s a short drone fly-through of the property. Hopefully this extra attention will inspire someone to save it. Much more at Things Magazine.

Saturday 6 March 2021


di grattacielo con le bretelle: Milan’s Brutalist Torre Velasca  

sixty songs in three and ½ minutes: the Hood Internet (previously) presents 1995  

razor banks: the rather macabre antique bathroom wall slots to dispose of dull blades in the voids between walls 

through the looking glass: vis-ร -vis the above, a tenant finds hidden rooms behind her medicine cabinet in her New York City apartment—via Super Punch  

superior mirage: walker in Cornwall spots a ship floating aloft 

in your bubble: contemplating quarantine in the Bolwonigen globes of ‘s-Hertogenbosch—see previously

Saturday 30 January 2021


Some property-scouting from Things Magazine directs our attention to the estate agents who have recently placed a MidCentury Modern vacation village on the market. This ensemble of chalets with amenities are part of a campground on the Italo-Swiss border outside of the community of Cremenaga with seventeen of the twenty-seven units (plus communal buildings and facilities) designed by renowned Zรผrich lecturer and architect Justus Dahinden (*1925 - †2020), whose other works include some iconic, Brutalist concrete sacred buildings, a ziggurat-inspired clinic and numerous community centres, multi-purpose halls and holiday resorts. Much more to explore at the links above. 

Wednesday 25 November 2020

dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration

Conservationists and connoisseurs of Brutalist architecture have found allies in Star Wars fandom—whether or not the iconic outline of the Hรดtel du Lac of Tunis directly informed the sandcrawler of the Jawas on Tatooine (some sources disagree, saying that Ralph McQuarrie had come up with the mobile fortress well before location scouting) to help preserve the historic structure from perhaps imminent destruction. Scenes of the first instalment of the saga were in any case filmed in the deserts of Tunisia, the name and ancillary building style of the moisture farm after the governorate of Tatouine, Tiแนญแนญawin, โตœโต‰โตŸโตŸโดฐโตกโต‰โต. The presently abandoned (closed to guests since the early 2000s) and in a severe state of disrepair structure was built in the early 1970s and designed by Italian architect and painter Raffaele Contigiani (*1920 – †2008) as an inverted ziggurat and those room windows have their blinds strategically drawn to spell out Non ร  la demolition (ู„ุง ู„ู„ู‡ุฏู…) in Arabic.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

bรฉton brut

Beginning with an overture on aesthetic differences immortalised in in the 007 franchise, 99% Invisible (both in written form and as a podcast) presents an excellent and comprehensive look at the landmarks of Brutalist architecture.
Aside from the distinct pleasure of revisiting a selection of these sometimes reviled yet unrivalled masterpieces of formalism that often courted condemnation as fallout shelters, urban blight or Soviet-era slab with a guided tour—sadly prompted by the premature loss of two architects synonymous with the vernacular—rather than the utopian and optimistic impulse the construction medium brought. Much more to explore at the link above.