urbanus vulgaris

urban life & culture / ideas & insights / innovation & development

Robin Hood Gardens – one of the most hated buildings in UK

by gailiute

“As it faces demolition, the Architectural Review‘s history editor Tom Wilkinson considers the legacy of London’s Robin Hood Gardens– one of east London’s most notable brutalist housing projects. Although consistently voted some of the most hated buildings in the country, Wilkinson delves beyond the style debate to consider the values and intentions which underpinned the building of this controversial estate and others like it.”

– says SustainableCitiesCollective.

 

 

More on the building here.

Ken Livingstone, Fmr. Mayor of London: “How can you keep London viable for ordinary people?”

by jiookrednav

“For this you need two vital things: good transport & affordable houses.”

“The former Mayor of London is the figurehead of Labour’s equality ideal. He is angry about the fact that his city is becoming increasingly unaffordable for large groups of people and is falling in the hands of private companies. He travels Greater London from left to right with the Jubilee Line. From his simple residential neighbourhood Brent, through the financial heart of Canary Wharf, to the revitalization areas of Eastern London. An outspoken guide in a rapidly growing metropolis.”

150216_Ken Livingstone_Fmr Mayor of London

Can anyone imagine not using the legacy of the Olympic Games? One of Ken Livingstone most important decisions was the bid for the Olympics and the successive use of the area for inner-city development. He also shows the importance of design in social housing. In a mixed block with 25% social housing the affluent enter through the front door, the social housing residents live on floors 6 to 15 and enter through a dark alley…

The documentary can be found here.

Cultivating complexity

by gailiute

Beautifully written and worth reading:

“We like to think of cities as human artifacts, but they behave like autonomous organisms, subject to growth and decay, health and renewal, that no single power is in control of. For that reason we rightly call them complex and self regulating entities. We should therefore seek to study them the way natural phenomena are studied. Laws of nature reveal themselves by patterns of change and gradual transformation. A similar approach yields knowledge about properties that are shared by all urban fabrics, large or small, historic or contemporary. Changes in an urban environment are caused by human agents in control of specific parts of it. To study this we do not need to know the agent’s identity, nor its intentions, hopes, and priorities, other than what we can deduct from transformations that we observe. The constants that govern the built environment can be learned by patient and detached observation, more or less in the way a person can learn the rules of the chess game by observing the movement of the pieces on the board. The chess game observer deducts two things: ” (J. Habraken, 2013)

Continue reading.

We really need some big institutional housing programs again. ;)

by jiookrednav

 

 

 

 

And as a dessert a Japanese Gem from the 80’ies:

Today is a great day to publish an insight on creativity.

by jiookrednav

150104_John Cleese on creativity

Well I started to get interested in creativity about thirty years ago, because I went to a conference at Cambridge and I started reading the research and I started comparing it with my own experience and I got very, very interested in it and I also got interested in the fact, that basically once you’ve established one or two principles, that’s all you can say about it, because to sum up something I sometimes take three hours to say:

All creativity comes from the unconscious. If creativity came from logic and intelligence, then all the logical and intelligent people could do it. But they can’t. It all boils down to getting to a playful and relaxed frame of mind. Most of it has to do with relaxation, because unless you’re relaxed you can’t hear the promptings from the unconscious.

Nobody ever had a bright idea when they were attacking a machine-gun-nest. You see what I mean? If you’re occupied with activity -and that is one of the reasons why there’s so little creativity at the moment, because nobody gets any peace any more, because these damn things are ringing all the time, and beep there and you know. You sit down, another e-mail comes in. It’s absolutely poison, because interruptions and anxiety will kill any kind of creativity.

You have to get in an atmosphere where you’re a little bit in a cocoon of you’re own, you close the door or you go sit in the park and you just stay quiet and for 20 minutes nothing happens, because you can only think of the things you ought to be doing: You know, people you forgot to telephone…, so you have to have a little notebook and you write those down and after 20 minutes, the mind starts to calm down, just as it does in meditation, it’s almost an identical process. And then if you start thinking about the subject, not too hard, you don’t want to get tense, play with the thought, and you get little ideas start popping up, but if you’re mind is full of, zoom, zoom beep, beep, you’ll never hear those little ideas, it’ll be drowned out you see what I mean?

This remarkable insight was explained by John Cleese in this interview, starting at about 52 minutes: http://www.npo.nl/college-tour-special-john-cleese/25-12-2014/VPWON_1234760

And here’s some more from Cleese on this blog:

As well as identifying that ideas and breakthroughs percolate in the deep recesses of our brain, Cleese talked about some of the key, practical traits of truly creative people. In doing so he told a story of Brian Bates, a psychology professor at Sussex University. Intrigued by how the creative mind works, Bates chose to study the work practices of architects, because the profession required the combination of two brains in the creation of beautifully groundbreaking yet structurally sound buildings.

“He did a very simple test. He asked various architects to name who, in their opinion, were the most creative architects in the field. He then asked those creative architects to tell him what they do from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. He then went to the uncreative architects—without perhaps explaining that’s why he was talking to them—and asked them the same thing. Then he compared the two. He discovered two differences, and neither was to do with intelligence.”

“The first thing he discovered is that the creative architects knew how to play. They could get immersed in a problem. It was almost childlike, like when a child gets utterly absorbed in a problem. The second thing was that they deferred making decisions as long as they could. This is surprising.”

“If you have a decision to make, what is the single most important question to ask yourself? I believe it’s ‘when does this decision have to be made’? When most of us have a problem that’s a little bit unresolved, we’re a little bit uncomfortable. We want to resolve it. The creative architects had this tolerance for this discomfort we all feel when we leave things unresolved.”

“Why would those two things be importance? The playfulness is because in that moment of childlike play, you’re much more in touch with your unconscious. The second is that when you defer decisions as long as possible, it’s giving your unconscious the maximum amount of time to come up with something.”

Summing it up, he narrows it down to 5 Lessons in this lecture (transcript here). “Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating”:

150104_John Cleese on creativity 02

  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

 

Der Himmel über Berlin, Wings of Desire

by jiookrednav

Alejandro Aravena: My architectural philosophy? Bring the community into the process

by vytasvulgaris

Social-cultural maps

by vytasvulgaris

“Peoplemaps is a project designed to reveal the underlying social connections, groups, and communities within a specific geographical region. The maps we produce, however, are not geographical — rather, they describe the relative orientation of communities in a city or region. Each dot represents a person (or user account), each line represents a relationship, and eachcolor group represents a community of interest. Communities at opposite ends of a map have the least in common. The layout of the map is determined by relationships — they act like springs, bringing people closer together. By arranging the maps in this way, we can determine how people choose to sort themselves, and study the patterns in human arrangement that arise between different cities — and we can also see patterns like segregation and other unhealthy patterns of arrangement.”

http://peoplemaps.org/

Eye catching

by gailiute

nk16_biennale-non-banale_sm

Sometimes I like to stare at nice, eye catching graphics, thinking one day I will start drawing them too :)

Today I stumbled upon this blog:  http://klaustoon.wordpress.com (where I also found this image) and I think it is quite nice work.

Flashback: Some 25 years ago some people had their first banana.

by jiookrednav

titanic-banane

Meet “Zonen-Gaby”  from the Germany Democratic Republic. This year the “Mauerfall” is 25 years ago and I saw this legendary magazine-cover from 1989 in today’s newspaper. ;)

The cover takes a pun at traditional media of the time, that portrayed the new Germans with western consumer goods and western products reducing new found freedom to, well, consumption.

%d bloggers like this: