Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Post Holiday Vacation Work

Supposedly I returned from "vacation" last week, and supposely now I'm "working". It just takes so much time just existing, and updating blogs and myspace profiles and other profiles that I shouldnt be updating and checking up my favourite blogs. Then there is work and deadlines and just tons of administrivia. No time left to even get started on Half Life Episode 1 which has been sitting on my hard drive for a month now, and I havent even clicked it. Still, I was browsing the news section of the MARK magazine website and happened upon a link of a recostruction of FLW's Falingwater using the Half Life engine, which had been re-posted in City of Sound, a really cool architecture blog. The from there I went to Cities in Games in the Digitally Distributed Environments blog and a mention of City 17 (HL2). So much great information and no time to see it, I keep wondering where is my other half life.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sound Mirrors

The Athanasius Kircher Society revisits England's sound mirrors: wartime acoustic reflectors used to amplify the sounds of distant Nazi aircraft. For a bit more on the sadly derelict structures, see earlier on BLDGBLOG – or visit The Sound Mirrors Project
via the always cool BLDGBLOG

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Curious Water-Related Structure

Sunday morning going slow, and I'm listening to the radio, or rather riding my bike around. As I'm already nostalgic about the island vacation thing (so last week), I rode all over the coast around here, and happened upon this curious little building that looks like it could have been a water processing place;

A room with upsidedown columns and water tanks?

A wall of concrete fragments stuck in a web of metal?

with a roof for strange rock ceremonies?

Still the view is fabulous and people swim around there even though this is quite close to Athens.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Anafi Rocks

Anafi has the second largest rock of the mediterranean, after Gibraltar. On it are two Christian Orthodox monasteries, one accesible by road and the other by hours of walking on the super scary rock. Needless to say we skipped the scary one and had a look at the first, which rests where the rock meets the mountain. The view from the eastern edge of the island is awesome, and my friend Nikko told me that it's possible to access these beaches and even spend the night. He also did the scary route years ago, before Anafi was popular with tourists such as myself. Anyway, the Monastery is built on top of an ancient greek temple of sorts, as a lot of the Byzantine era churches were. In fact the christians were responsible for the major destruction of the ancinet greek heritage.

The Byzantine and the Greek together make for a real interesting archaological landscape, further mixed up by island shacks for animals and people: Total 18th century beauty, I felt part of the Grand Tour indeed.

Island Metabolism

Cant' seem to be able to stop posting these days, probable because I'm finally at an internet connection and also seeing tons of beauty around. Everything seems to be about island architecture, and funny enough the Greek Pavilion at this years' Venice Biennale will be about the Aegean, and even though I'm not at all involved with that, it will be interesting to see what its all about. Right now we're in Paros staying with Eleni and Joanna, and on the way to the so-called gay beach Laggeri (more on this later) we passed by this amazing hotel. Another cosmic coincidence: The Hotel was designed by their dad Makis Kostikas in 1967. It is a rare deviation from the vernacular modernism as established by Aris Konstandinidis, who designed most of the hotels of the period and reigned the island tourist landscape as head architect of the Ministry of Tourism. The Hippocampus Hotel is a kind of Metabolist Greek Island thing, which hints at a possible direction the islands could have gone into: Treated as the supernatural lunar landscape that they really are, and given a heavy dose of Science Fiction Architecture.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Greek Island Surrealism

The fast and furious construction of the Greek islands sometimes leads to funny happy accidents, buildings that could be intersting, and in an ideal world, intentional.
A Jules Verne monster on a hot white roof; A stair that leads to nowhere; A wannabe-muslim christian church poured right out of the ice-cream machine; a post-modern roofie gone a bit weird, and weirder, and a little white nightmare suffering from the recent trend of buildings spotted with stones (?)

The Inexplicable Interior of Boats

I'm wondering Who designs these boats and what the idea is? In the Greek summer you end up spending tons of times in these things, especially if you island hop.
The look is casino interiors combined with a strange machine aesthetic, they try to look like they're not on the water. Sometimes they're interesting, sometimes boring and sometimes they look better upside-down.

Abstract Lesbian Dynamic and the Post-Past

Sitting on the beach, reading and listening to the waves. Just finished reading Banana Yoshimoto's amazing Asleep, three stories of women who lose themselves inside Bananas' abstract lesbian dynamic with the usual suspects: sleep, ghosts, dead people and lovers going from apartments to offices to deserted coffee shops and playgrounds at dawn. Now onto Paul Austers' Brooklyn Follies where one of the characters says ominously that after the Past there is the Post Past, the Later, the Now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Scary Santorini

Santorini is one of those greek islands that have become so polular its actually scary. The whole island is built up in a totally random and uncaring way, full of buildings that are actually garbage. The view towards the volacano is of course fantastic blah blah blah, and funnily enough the most beautifull spot on the island is a garbage dump with a spactacular view. Part of the dump is used as a moto-cross training track and there seems to be an abandoned factory on the side. The slopes towards the dump look like giant earthwoks, sort of like Michael Heizers' Double Negative in Grand Canyon but with a fabulous view of the Aegean. The vernacular architecture is a kind of tubular-dome thing which I think was originally derived from the excavated houses that were easy to build inside the lava. Now they just copy the tubular dome in concrete, in a kind of pre-fabricated architecture that is cast in place but pre-designed. Some good examples of this exist in the National Bank complex in the main city, a relic from the 60's when Greece invented it's own brand of vernacular modernism otherwise know as critical regionalism. If I wasnt on vacation and in a crappy little internet cafe, I'd write tons more on this, but this funny photo of a too-thin-to-inhabit tubular domino will have to say the rest.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Multiple Myconos

My last post got totally lost. I was in the Geneva airport and I bought some internet time (why isnt it free Geneva?) and I was preparing a post about nothing inparticular and then the plane started boarding and my pics were still uploading and then I just had to prioritise. The next morning at 7AM we left for Myconos and been here since. Myconos is a greek island famous for being a famous greek island. It used to be super beautiful, and if you squint you can see traces of that beauty, though most of the island is very constructed. The main consensus is that everybody tries to recreate a kind of island/village architecture with very mixed results. It is most interesting in rich peoples' homes because they use rough materials like huge wodden boards au naturel but then to make it look expensive, everything is totally manicured and basically all varnished with a transparent coat of euros. The result is pure Disneyland, full of extremely artificial looking nature. The rest of the island is full of half finished concrete mini-dominos' that become boring when finished. Still the light and the sea is very pretty blah blah blah and also I got a cold and that's why I'm posting.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Post That Got Lost

Back to civilization and to my trusted laptop. Here's the post that got lost when I had to make a choice between blogging and flying 3 weeks ago in Geneva

Fat House, Bad Christmas and an Ominous Light
I'm sitting n the Geneva airport and I think I just payed CHF5 for half an hour of internet and then found a free network. Why oh why dont they just make internet free forever? everywhere? c'mon people...
Anyway, I noticed a 2blog-random folder on the desktop, must have been going through photos as usual.
Erwin Wurms' amazing Fat House from an exhibition somewhere,

A poor christmas decoration
and an ominous looking light at a generic expo center in whateverville.

Yeah yeah yeah

Cheated Hearts is totally my favorite yeah yeah yeahs song and in this video you get to see tons of people did their best Karen-o impression and ended up replasing her on the video.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hazy Horizon

I missed a lot of really great Golden Mirror buildings on the way from the airport. I've seen these tons of times but yesterday they looked extra good, and I had my camera in the trunk of the taxi because I'm too lazy to carry anything. There were some hazy horizons after that, and a nice skylight this morning.

Circular Geneva

I'm back in Geneva after quite some time, and I had totally forgotten how crisp is the light and how many things are circular.