For anyone still happening to pass by here of their own volition, it’s been a little quiet. Blogging is a funny thing. You start off wanting to share anything you touch, then after a certain number of years you become much more selective. And interrogative. That seems to be the case here. The short pithy posts you will find on social media, here I’m now trying to do something more. You’ll see the most of the posts this year are quite long – in fact they took several months to put together – I’m not sure how the likes of Geoff Manuagh et al manage to do them so swiftly, but I seem to take my time.
There are in fact about five or even ten posts simmering away that I have written, and a couple by others. I will get to them eventually. I think they are pretty interesting. It’s perhaps a luxury of a problem – I get too busy at work and my “to do” list gets a lot longer than my arm, and this blog ends up trailing at the end, waiting for some attention. I end up doing paid work that is very similar to what I do here for nowt.
I am thinking of terminating the events section, which takes a lot of time for little response, and making this more of a ‘pure’ blog. Others are now in the fray doing that ‘current events’ stuff more effectively, with salaried people. Not sure where I’ll end up with this, but I’m afraid it ain’t going to stop for a while.
Thought burst over. Hopefully a real post soon.
17.10.13 in random-debris
[image by nkzs]
It’s been a slow start to the year at butterpaper.com. Sorry about that, if you’d noticed. There have been two main reasons.
1. The Butter Paper architecture and web office is about twice as busy as it was a year ago. Given the gloom forecast, I had taken on some enjoyable yet demanding tutoring work at Victoria University this semester. So time for this website has been in short supply.
2. OK this is a long one. The web has changed, again. I have taken a step back to work out what this site can be in the future. Back when this site began in 2000, the backbones were the directories, and its news coverage. It was one of about two websites reporting on Australasian architecture. I would type summaries of print publications, with links where available. This is now known as micro-blogging and there are several hundred others covering the same territory on twitter and facebook. Everyone is a micro-blogger.
I deleted the trade library in 2003 as by that time there were far better-resourced sites in competition. The forum, like many others, started to die off about three years ago as Facebook and Twitter encroached into that territory. I think the quality of online discussion has deteriorated since then, but there ain’t much I can do about it. The events section takes a lot of time to maintain, and there are now several commercial sites doing exactly the same thing, so I’m becoming weary of that too. The choice became: do I continue throwing time into elements and aspects of the site that are becoming obsolete, or do I concentrate on the things that can’t be copied?
I have decided to: – find ways for people to directly add items like events and notices, perhaps through a delicious tag or a login (which is rather tricky using the current software). – do something similar for the architects’ directory, which is way smaller than it should be. – spend the bulk of my time working on longer posts examining the back stories of some of the news items that fly past us at a rate of knots. I like doing that and it can’t be copied. But it does take time, I have had some in the works for months. These will be promoted via twitter and facebook when they go online.
As always, thoughts are most welcome. So they we are… welcome back to Butterpaper v.2012.
[image source stanford.edu]
25.03.12 in random-debris
This post is not sponsored by Monsanto. This blog is currently being sponsored by Melbourne School of Design’s Incubator, if you hadn’t noticed. Please check out their new and very generous competition for relocatable schools.
+ Melbourne Open House is getting close, with media coverage increasing. Grand Designs (Oz) presenter Peter Maddison is the ‘ambassador’. He recommends a visit to the vault in the Land Titles Office,: ‘‘an interwoven three-storey vertical space with narrow walkways and spiral stairs all made from hot riveted steel, solid-slate shelving and bluestone, and is untouched from the 1880s. You can understand the emphasis we place on freehold land ownership when you visit this one.’‘ The Age
+ The HIA has been continuing their anti-carbon tax media barrage now that the cost per tonne has been announced, and are arguing that six star ratings are enough. A tax on carbon will apparently put some families off building new homes. Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute sniffs at this, saying, “What you want to do is convince government that the sky is about to fall and it’s all terrible and they need to give you compensation.” The Age
+ Robert Bevan writes in the Oz about Pin Up, a small gallery in Collingwood featuring architectural installations. He believes it to be the only one in the country. “If there are any rich Australian architecture patrons out there, the time to step forward is now.” And…
“In the absence of a national centre or museum for architecture, Australia’s architectural legacy has neither an archive to safeguard the past nor a national forum for discussing the future… The Australian Institute of Architects, while engaged with the Venice Architecture Biennale, has not made a priority of architecture exhibitions at home.” The Oz#
+ Just in: SLANT Garden Competition
+ If you can understand this, the competition may be interesting. So many typos I left it as it was: “Manifesto Diversism provides a oporttunity for Architects and Designers to contribute to the Diversism 2012 manifesto. advacating an emerging epoch in the field of architecture best descriptive as Diversism. It is a inivtation to contribute to the formation of Diversism in respect to the principles already emcompassed within its framework.” MANIFESTO DIVERSISM
+ If Diversism isn’t your bag, perhaps try Performativity, which promotes better involvement in the building process.
“It’s about grabbing those territories back that have systematically been given away by our profession over the past 30 years… For us, that is the core of performance-based design. Think about what the buildings do, how they work, how they’re put together. What are the politics behind it? What’s the finance behind it? What’s the technology behind it? How’s it going to engage a city?” Gregg Pasquarelli, SHoP Architects New Yorker
For the past week I’ve been snooping around Auckland. The weather was appalling, but from what I could see from under my umbrella…
+ the Queens Wharf cloud is nearing completion. This is what was built after it was decided that the Queens Wharf competition winner was not affordable or appropriate. It is an $8M tent that will apparently be shipped down to Christchurch after the Rugby World Cup.
+ Within 40 minutes I had walked through the sites of three upended competitions, all of which I had been silly enough to enter. Before Queens Wharf was the Matiatia Bay competition on Waiheke Island, where the brief was to cater to the rapid growth in the number of ferry commuters, who were parking all over the road and in ditches to avoid a daily fee. That was all too hard though, and instead they have widened the road. After Queens Wharf I fought my way through the carpark that is Te Wero Island to see what had become of the new twisting traffic bridge, won by DCM. At some point that design was ditched and replaced by a rather less radically hinged pedestrian bridge. Oh well, you can’t win them all… or in this case any.
+ Against this backdrop of failed competitions, The Auckland Architecture Association recently wrote a response to the Auckland Unleashed draft strategic plan, which amongst other things advocated, “Competition based procurement for all public work with a frame of reference being strongly based on designed outcomes and / or peer recognition rather than building type and experience focus.” AAA PDF AUCKLAND PLAN
+ The Auckland Plan is an interesting read. Auckland is trying to increase its ‘liveability’ score to remain ‘globally competitive’, but like many other middle-sized 20th Century cities, it has a big problem with cars, clogged roads, and ageing infrastructure. 300,000 or so new houses are needed by 2030 but the city is already too spread out, and the complicated geography of the isthmus prevents much further growth within cooee of the city. Public transport is having a hard time keeping up. There has been a lot of effort on this front but it has mainly been restricted to the city south of the harbour bridge, where old rail lines have been boosted. The rapidly extending North Shore urban area is still without rail. Tricky.
+ Speaking of cars, and the desire to quietly eradicate them from our suffering cities, Richard Florida wrote last week in the Atlantic that getting people out of cars is not simply a matter of increasing density or living closer in, though both are important. Research by the University of Maine also reveals that average temperature, rainfall, and occupation play a big part. It helps if you are a ‘creative’ living in an old house in a cold climate where it doesn’t rain a lot. Most houses built in the U.S. between 2000 and 2006 is, “negatively associated with the percentage of people who bike, walk or take public transit to work.” [ via planetizen ]
+ More stats from the U.S. back up recent local articles suggesting that new peripheral single detached housing is becoming less suitable to the needs of the population. “Non-family households” are fast catching up with family households and their needs are quite different. CNBC [ also via the ever watchful planetizen ]
+ To finish the Auckland trip, I journeyed up the hill (by taxi) to check how the photography went at a recently completed reno in Grey Lynn. No photos yet so I snapped a few between the rainstorms.
18.07.11 in random-debris
NZ award entries should go in before August 3rd. Awards Site
Sustainable Cites has posted the results of a Christchurch workshop: Christchurch regeneration: Resarch and science-based insights (in that pesky word docx format).
Heritage Victoria wants your opinion on what you think of them! Survey open till 26/8
“If you want to get stuff done, shut the door and you won’t be bothered.”
There are a host of things to go to at the Victorian State of Design . July 20th to 31st. They also have Design TV, an example of which follows.
Fifth Estate has typed out the full list of last week’s NSW awards winners. 5th Estate
The State Library of Victoria’s photograph collection is a wonderful thing, but restricted for most of us to gazing at tiny images on their website. You can see many of the orginals at “As modern as tomorrow”, at the SLV until February 2012. Included are snaps by Sievers, Strizic, and Helmut Newtown. SLV
A tiny but tall apartment tower is to be built on the corner of Little Lonsdale Street and Russell Street in Melbourne’s CBD. Rejected by council for plot ratio and wind reasons, the proposal was approved at VCAT for being bold and effective. Except on a windy day. The Age
This week’s chat over a cup of tea: Glancey discusses the new Serpentine Gallery with Mr Zumthor, on site and on film. Guardian
George Monbiot, also at the Guardian, casts an eye at new world planning, and is appalled. “In countries such as Australia, the US, Canada, Spain and Italy, weak planning has ensured that the distinction between town and countryside is blurred. Here you can find the worst of both worlds: a wildly unsustainable, disaggregated urban nightmare, in which infrastructure is stretched across sprawling suburbs, people have no choice but to drive, and anonymous dormitory estates seem perfectly designed to generate alienation and anomie.” Monbiot
Monbiot seems to have set off a debate at the West Australian today. Max Hipkins, ex City of Perth planning director: “What such “experts” as George Monbiot forget is that Perth is a modern city, developed largely in the era of the motor car….” He then goes on to praise suburban gardens for “keeping down urban heat” and so lowering demand for air-conditioning. That’s a new one. LINK. In another article in the series, Prof. Richard Weller is sounding pessimistic about containing Perth’s growth. “I personally think we’re going to see much more sprawl than you will infill because of the NIMBY factor.. It’s just going to kill it, it’s too hard.” LINK
Feel like sending some money to an exhibition in Sydney for the Japanese earthquake? From what I can tell, you’ll be supporting the construction of a whole lot of shelters by this bunch: Nouvel, Cox, PTW, FKA, FJMT, TZG, LAVA, Rice Daubney, Sou Fujimoto, Terunobu Fujimori. Emergency Shelter Exhibition
Lastly, a city in revolt. In Sana’a, Yemen, the streets of the university district have steadily filled with thousands of tents over the last five months, as the political stand off continues. Der Spiegel reckons, “the tent city includes pharmacies and a makeshift hospital, four daily newspapers, auditoriums, a garden and hastily constructed cement memorials for the martyrs.” Der Spiegel
05.07.11 in random-debris
It’s been another busy week about the land, and in my office. And I’m way behind. So here are a few bits and bobs that I have accumulated. If you want to see what is accumulating, the facebook page is where a lot of it seems to land. Post something there yourself).
Berlin documentary on SBS Australia This takes us behind closed doors in one complicated city.
Nestle workers need more sun 42% of the Sydney office workers at Nestle found to be vitamin D deficient.
Victorian Urban Design Charter Yes, apparently we have one. It has been around since the start of last year.
Six Flags Just to get an image into this post, here is a quite special little tour of an abandoned amusement park in New Orleans, on the eve of its demolition. It was vacated after Hurricane Katrina. The spooky tune by godspeed you! black emperor helps to complete one eerie picture.
Whare Māori A comprehensive look at Māori architecture, in five half hour parts. Thank You Māori Television and Rau Hoskins!
Melbourne Open House List was released a few days ago.
The Age lunches with Victorian State Government Architect Geoffrey London They have dumplings. On houses: “The old Victorian terrace house was terrifically adaptable as a type; it seems there needs to be a contemporary version of that. A lot of contemporary houses are walls around functions, whereas the old terrace houses were simply a series of rooms.”
FOA DOA Foreign Office Architects is no more. The directors have gone their separate ways, with almost identical websites.
AJ Writing Prize Closes at the end of the month. You need to be under 36 for this one. Presumably if you are over 36 you’re already well-known and successful…
Grattan Institute report Apparently there are some huge gaps in the market – not enough apartments and semi-detached houses are being built.
A competition please Openhaus have a petition going asking that the mooted new Venice Biennale pavilion for Australia be subject to an open competition. Simon Mordant, commissioner for 2013, says, “We’re not looking to build something architecturally outstanding but something that works for the artists.”
And lastly for tonight, earthquakes.
Picturing ‘Home-for-All’ “is an appeal launched by Toyo Ito, Riken Yamamoto, Hiroshi Naito, Kengo Kuma and Kazuyo Sejima to the international community of designers in order to stress the importance of the architecture for emergency and rescue.”
Red Zone Christchurch was recently divided into four coloured zones. The 5000 houses in the red zone are to be purchased by the government and demolished, as the land under them is no longer suitable for building. Then there’s the Orange ‘hold’ zone, where they’re waiting and seeing.
26.06.11 in random-debris
It makes sense that the Vicco GA would define his role as a broker.
by info on 28 June 11 ·#
@ info, condemned man’s last meal?
by greenhaus on 28 June 11 ·#
Under that checked shirt beats a heart of sol……
by dug on 28 June 11 ·#
Nice touch from the reporter revealing GA as condescending fuddy duddy.
Even nicer touch from photographer rearranging the dishes to cover the mess being made on the table cloth.
by info on 30 June 11 ·#
by dug on 30 June 11 ·#
@ dug. But different food stain.
by info on 30 June 11 ·#
@dug. You’re a racist
by leehon on 2 July 11 ·#
@ leehon. ….and all racists are critics.
by dug on 3 July 11 ·#
I keep forgetting to say – Butterpaper is on Facebook now too. So you can see what’s new on this site by going to that site and liking the butterpaper page. Madly frustrating to do as each post has a 420 character limit.
Looks like this eh:
12.05.11 in random-debris
Sorry it has been a bit quiet recently. Apart from being a bit flat out, my web host has been causing me some quite expensive grief. Upshot is that I am shifting the entire website and database to another web host. From now on, any new comments to the forum or this page may not appear on the new site.
All should be back to normal very soon, with some new features almost ready to turn on.
Cancel that! Got half the site moved across and ran out of time, so everything is as it was..
23.02.11 in random-debris
27/12: Parts of the site will appear weirdly for about an hour while the main software is updated to Textpattern v4.3.0. Done.
25/12: It’s that time of year. The site will be getting some minor nips and tucks to better suit it to bigger screens, tiny screens, and bigger videos. So some areas may look more broken than usual, as when I tweak one area, something else inevitably gets affected. Code clean time!
27.12.10 in random-debris
Things may be looking a little American around here this week – I am digging up some stuff for a friend visiting there soon. Back to normal transmission soon.
And yes, it is well past time for a new background image, so here is the Seagram Building. Yes it is in New York too.
I said a few months back there was to be a major site redesign to celebrate 10 years of the site. It has been done, but unexpected events have delayed the switchover. So it will probably celebrate 11 years instead.
21.09.10 in random-debris
Two of the most prolific users of the Butterpaper forums have requested that they be terminated, in response to a warning notice I posted. I have banned the accounts for Hairdresser and Luke.
Just so y’all know.
15.05.10 in random-debris
suck marxican eggs HD and Luke.
They’ll be back albeit under a different guise.
by Anti-Narcissist on 16 May 10 ·#
hope not – lookin forward to u fillin in the dead space
by sod on 20 May 10 ·#
I always wanted to get a haircut with HD. I reckon, it would have been an interesting 20 minutes. However, his forum contributions were a difficult read: so opaque. Ultimately I reckon I got 80% of the in-jokes and off-form spellling. Sometimes the clarity, barb and humour were worth the effort. HD sometimes burst through the puffery.See also cabbie for his take no prisoners refreshing take on architectural discourse.
by Neville Kenyon on 22 May 10 ·#
you want me to drag andi thru sod’s dead space ?
lucky the gps got fixed on thrusday…
by cabbie on 22 May 10 ·#
I am informed that the hairdresser is missing presumed drowned.
An empty tinny has been found dragging its anchor in Moreton Bay containing a fishing rod, a half slab of XXXX Gold and a small monogrammed leather pouch holding a vintage electric shaver and cut throat razor. The keys to a 1966 Holden were found stuck to the underside of the crafts seat with chewing gum during a police examination at Manly Yacht Club dock facilities. The vehicle has not yet been located.
by info on 23 May 10 ·#
nothing in the funeral notices today…
by cabbie on 24 May 10 ·#
what’s gonna happen to the half slab of cockie’s piss left behind…?
by cabbie on 24 May 10 ·#
The site is undergoing a restyling at the moment. It will probably be a bit quiet on this page until the relaunch (end of the month he says hopefully). I am also writing an article that is a bit bigger than normal, which takes time (I don’t know how that BLDGBLOG guy Geoff Manaugh manages to do them so quickly..).
12.04.10 in random-debris
In answer to your to-the-point gmail of this morning (“DO YOU CARRY WEBER AND DO YOU TAKE CREDIT CARDS..”). Yes we’d love to take your credit card, just send it in. While we don’t carry weber, I do have a portable barbeque that I carried all the way to Edinburgh Gardens on Australia Day. I can’t remember the brand. I hope that helps.
15.03.10 in random-debris
Another live music venue fails / falls. A few years after the Punters Club’s deluxification into a.. cheap pizza bar, Collingwood’s Tote Hotel is to follow.
Tinnitus and Carlton Draught will get even harder to find.
The culprit is new Liquor Licensing “high risk” fees which lump late night pubs into the nightclubs category, according to the Tote’s licensee.
14.01.10 in random-debris
sad , but..—-the tote was just a preserved corpse from an era that died at minimum a decade ago. rolands dead – its all in the past. rest in peace.
by hairdresser on 15 January 10 ·#
the zombies push on….
by cabbie on 19 January 10 ·#
I’ve just updated the site software and a lot of things aren’t looking right at the minute. Hope it isn’t a long night fixing code…
A couple of hours later… cripes, it’s amazing how a few omitted double quote marks can break a site. Should be mostly back now – if anyone spots a page looking a bit strange please let me know by commenting here or through the contact link in the menu.
17.07.09 in random-debris
I haven’t really taken much notice of car design since I built up a large collection of Matchbox cars and Daily Mail car annuals in the ’70s. My favorite was a Pininfarina – I can’t find a pic but here’s one of their concept cars from the 1970 Geneva Motor Show to give you an idea.
So I was suprised to be struck tonight by the front view of Iranian Emil Baddal’s concept Lamborgini – no more puffed up prototypes – angles are back!
26.06.09 in random-debris