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.

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.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019


villa göth: six introductory videos on the architectural style of Brutalism (previously)

underdogs: a funny Apple advertisement manages to cover its entire suite of devices

murder she drew: an interview with talented, veteran courtroom artist (see also) Marilyn Church, via Boing Boing

no conclusion: Trump is now vacillating on releasing the Mueller Report to the public

xarabank: Malta’s unique and colourful fleet of buses recently retired make a comeback fully electrified 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

brutalist brussels

Renown for his portfolio of works that includes a pavilion on the flora and fauna of the Congo created for the venue’s 1958 l’Exposition universelle (the one the Atomium was built for) and the city’s cinema museum, Belgian-Polish architect Constantin Brodzki also designed an iconic headquarters for Cimenteries CBR (acquired by HeidelbergCement in 1999) in 1967—comprising seven hundred fifty-six prefabricated oval concrete modules that give it its distinctive faรงade. Abandoned for some time, the historic building has been restored and conserved—retaining many of the original elements and built-in furniture units—and is reopening as a multistorey coworking and conference space. The revival is being called Office Boitsfort/Bosvoorde, after the Brussels municipality, and you can see more at Curbed at the link above.

Thursday, 6 December 2018


betamax xmas: we get reintroduced to a nostalgic, internet classic—via Waxy

optician sans: a sleek free font from ANTI Hamar and Fรกbio Duarte Martins

i heard you on the wireless back in ‘sixty-two: a whole universe of pre-MTV music videos

premiรจre arabesque: guitarist Kyle Schaefer arranges and performs Claude Debussy’s early masterpiece in progressive rock style

modernistmas: an updated gallery (previously) of Brutalist and Post Modernism gingerbread houses for the holidays 

Thursday, 29 November 2018


snow globes: a new holiday tradition to us—sending Street View Christmas cards

ammartaggio: a for the nonce Italian Word of the Day in tribute to the InSight touchdown

appellation d’origine contrรดlรฉe: a detail world atlas to explore gustatory landscapes in detail—via Pasa Bon!

condominium: a library straddling the US-Canadian border has become a venue for emotional family reunions for those (we all are) affected by the Trump administration’s immigration policies—via Super Punch 

orden mexicana del รกguila azteca: the Mexican government presents Trump’s son-in-law with its highest honour reserved for foreign dignitaries

jantar mantar: an incredible eighteenth century Indian astronomical observatory whose architecture previsions Brutalism 

Tuesday, 26 June 2018


Listed as a historic and protected building since 2000, the Brutalist-style Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul of the Bristol ward of Clifton has just undergone a major refurbishment to restore it to its original 1970 vision by architect RJ Weeks in collaboration with the Vatican. See a whole gallery of images of this geometric marvel and learn more at the link above.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

little birdhouse in your soul

Nag on the Lake acquaints us with Frankfurter clock-maker Guido Zimmermann who showcases his talents in a series of custom traditional cuckoo chimes housed in Brutalist, Plattenbau architecture—as a commentary on social housing gentrified and priced out of the range of its intended resident. His cuckcoo blocks also reference the original conceit of the clocks, not stowed away as a souvenir, were symbolic in themselves as a middle-class (spieรŸbรผrgerlich) signal of success. View a video of the whole range of his designs at the links above.