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About Buildings + Cities

About Buildings + Cities

A podcast about architecture, buildings and cities, from the distant past to the present day. Plus detours into technology, film, fiction, comics, drawings, and the dimly imagined future. With Luke Jones and George Gingell.

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65 ? Andrei Tarkovsky ? 3/3 ? Nostalghia and The Sacrifice

In our final episode on Andrei Tarkovsky, we discuss the two films he directed after leaving the Soviet Union: Nostalghia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986). Both films see a continued intensification of the directorial moves that Tarkovsky had been developing for his whole career: from heightened and ecstatic soundtracks to long and suspenseful shots; from close-ups of valuable objects in the mud to underdeveloped and over-emotional female characters. The films both draw heavily on the landscapes of Northern Italy and the island of Gotland in Sweden, which are rendered sublimely beautiful through Tarkovsky's unique blend of painterly compositions and disorientating surrealism. We hope you enjoyed this series on the films of Tarkovsky, next up we will be returning to architecture in the company of the inimitable Zaha Hadid!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2020-03-17
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64 ? Andrei Tarkovsky ? 2/3 ? Stalker

In our second episode on Soviet director and auteur Andrei Tarkovsky we discuss his most well known film and possibly his magnum opus, Stalker (1979). The last film that Tarkovsky made whilst living in the Soviet Union, Stalker is loosely adapted from the novel Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky.

In Stalker, Tarkovsky takes decaying the post-industrial ruinous landscapes and transforms them into the mysterious 'Zone', a land full of hidden rules and invisible threats, that our trio of anguished and existentially angsty protagonists must traverse. Our characters are the Writer and the Professor, guided through the mysterious and dreamlike landscape by the eponymous Stalker. In this episode we discuss the unique artistic and technical feats that make this movie such a cult classic, and some of our quibbles with Tarkovsky's ethic.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2020-02-28
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63 ? Andrei Tarkovsky ? 1/3 ? Setting the Stage

In this first part of our new series on legendary Russian director Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky we discuss his early films: Ivan's Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972) and Mirror (1975). We will also be releasing a Patreon bonus very shortly with discussions of the work Tarkovsky did whilst studying at film school, including The Violin and the Steamroller (1961).

Tarkovsky's work is greatly favoured among architects, despite not being explicitly architectural. His strange dream-like visions conjure up a unique spatial experience, with strange and often confusing materiality that hovers somewhere between a childhood memory and a disturbing nightmare. In this episode we discuss his interest in the paintings of Bruegel, the importance of faith to his work, his overpowering Oedipal complex, his run-ins with the Soviet authorities, and the artificial naturalism of his sets.

Make sure you subscribe to catch our next Tarkovsky episode, where we will be discussing Stalker (1979).

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2020-02-03
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62 ? Leon Battista Alberti ? 2/2 ? Building the Quattrocento

62 ? Leon Battista Alberti ? 2/2 ? Building the Quattrocento

Having discussed his magnum opus, 'De Re Aedificatoria' in the last episode, here we discuss the curious collection of buildings that Alberti designed across Italy over the course of his lifetime. From the hulking and austere white stone of the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini to the carefully proportioned fine marble inlay of the Santa Maria Novella in Florence, these buildings have a unique feeling, that reflects the idiosyncratic interests of Alberti in conjuring the authentic mood of Classical Architecture, within the confines of his rigid understanding of proportion and geometry. These moments of strangeness are heightened by the incomplete nature of much of the work, and his own distance from the construction process, most of which he directed by letter. Make sure you check out the pinned story on our instagram for this episode, where you will find lots of high quality images of the buildings we're discussing.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-12-09
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61 ? Leon Battista Alberti ? 1/2 ? De Re Aedificatoria

In this first episode of a two parter, we tackle the original big beautiful bouncing boy of the High Italian Renaissance, Leon Battista Alberti, and his 1485 blockbuster publication, On the Art of Building in Ten Books. After Vitruvius' original Ten Books, De Re Aedificatoria represents only the second explicitly architectural treatise in the history of Western Architecture. Alberti's work covers everything you'd need to start building and much more, including: sacrificial animal murder; mysterious gases that leak from the ground; how best to control a mob; endless quotations from Classical sources and some ruminations on the nature of beauty. We also discuss the historical context of Renaissance Italy, Florentine class-warfare shenanigans and the many strange and unexpected twists and turns of this enigmatic cornerstone of the canon. In the second episode we will be discussing Alberti's buildings!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-11-05
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60 ? Reyner Banham ? 2/2 ? Design By Choice

In our second and final episode on Reyner Banham, we discuss his pivot to Los Angeles, his love affair with Archigram, his theories of Megastructure, and his later projects on American industrial vernacular ('Concrete Atlantis') and his unpublished book about the High-Tech movement.

After his support of the Smithsons and the 'New Brutalism' Banham was next renowned for supporting and publicising the work of English paper-architecture utopia-envisioners Archigram. We discuss Archigram, their lack of built fabric and the potentials of ecstatic 1960s techno-optimism. Banham's most iconic work is probably his 1972 documentary 'Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles' and we discuss the documentary, Banham's idiosyncratic presenting style, as well as his blind spots around race, class, and the un-freedom of bottomless consumption. You will hear a series of clips from the documentary scattered through the episode. We also reflect on Banham's legacy, the revival of his reputation, and the difficulties of techno-optimism in the face of the climate crisis.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. The next bonus episode will be discussing the ropily-acted Sci-Fi cult classic 'Silent Running' in all its Banham-ite glory.

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2019-10-10
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59 ? Reyner Banham ? 1/2 ? Science for Kicks

As requested by the listeners, part one of a two parter on Reyner Banham!

Banham was an architectural critic, historian, scenester and prophet of the future, with a flair for iconoclastic and pugilistic writing. In this first episode we discuss his background in Norwich and his studies at the Courtauld Institute under Nikolaus Pevsner, where he wrote his PhD on the history of the modern movement. We then consider his involvement with 'The Independent Group' at the Institute of Contemporary Art, his support for the 'New Brutalism' of Alison and Peter Smithson, and his role in British architectural culture.

Central to the development of Banham's project was his obsession with technology and his growing fascination with the potentials of American consumerism and the ways it might change architecture. We conclude with his ecstatic vision of the mechanical pudenda of technological architecture, in his first visits to America and his plastic bag homes.

Here are the key Banham texts we discussed in this episode:

PhD thesis (later to be published as Theory and Design in the First Machine Age)

'School at Hunstanton, Norfolk' Architectural Review, September 1954

'The Machine Aesthetic' Architectural Review, April 1955

'Vehicles of Desire' Art, September 1955

'The New Brutalism' Architectural Review, December 1955

Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, 1960

'The History of the Immediate Future' RIBA Journal, May 1961

'What Architecture of Technology?' Architectural Review, February 1962

'A Clip-On Architecture' Design Quarterly 63, 1965

'A Home is Not a House' Art in America, Vol. 2 1965

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-09-22
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58 ? The Reactionaries ? 3/3 ? The Empire Strikes Back

In our final episode on Reactionaries, we explore the politics and theory that underpinned the reactionary rejection of Modernism in the 70s and 80s. We discuss Prince Charles' architectural interventions and the theories of our future king's favourite architect, Leon Krier (and Krier's problematic fave, Albert Speer). We also dive into the hotbed of Trad theorising, Peterhouse College Cambridge, and its two favourite sons, architectural historian David Watkin and philosopher Roger Scruton. We explore the framing of traditionalist theory against modernist hegemony, and ask if the architectural consensus of the 21st century is a bit more Trad than some advocates would admit.

We also dip our toes into the culture war, and ask questions about the political connotations of architectural style in the age of social media. Is an obsession with style actually holding us back from confronting the real social, economic and political problems that ail the city? Ultimately, we lament the destruction of good architecture of any style, with a poignant reflection on the proposed fate of the Aton Estate in Roehampton

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-08-19
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57 ? The Reactionaries ? 2/3 ? Caesar's Palace without the Fun

In our second episode on Reactionaries, we explore the rejection of modernism by traditionalist architects and theorists in England after the Second World War. Modernism became the hegemonic architectural and urbanist mode in England during this period, and we examine those who rejected the consensus, and sought to continue the retreat into the past, designing architecture that occasionally verges on Caesar's Palace, without any of the fun.

In this episode, we discuss Raymond Erith, the traditionalist architect who restored Number 10 Downing Street in the 1960s. We go on to discuss his pupil, Quinlan Terry, whose Richmond Riverside Development we went to visit and recorded our observations in situ. Their stodgy, and often unsuccessful attempts to revive and reconjure a classical vernacular expresses a political and ideological agenda that we attempt to unpack, and will go on to discuss in our final episode on the Reactionaries.

As always, find images on our social media feeds, and footage from the trip to Richmond in a pinned story on our instagram.

There will be a bonus episode discussing the cult 60s TV Show The Prisoner for Patreon Subscribers.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-08-01
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Conversation 3 ? Dulwich Picture Gallery ? Soane in The Colour Palace

This is the audio from our live panel discussion at Dulwich Picture Gallery, where we were joined by the gallery's assistant curator, Helen Hillyard, and Neba Sere, founder of WUH Architecture and co-director of Black Females in Architecture. The discussion took place in the gallery's summer pavilion, the Colour Palace, which we strongly recommend going to visit.

The Dulwich Picture Gallery was designed by John Soane in the early 19th Century. In this panel we discuss Soane, polychromy, tombs, the architecture of cultural institutions, and the social context of the gallery.

The images from the presentations can be found, with timestamps, on a pinned story on our instagram, so you can follow the images along as you listen. Let us know if you like this feature, and we will incorporate it into other episodes!

Thank you to everyone at the Dulwich Picture Gallery for making this event possible.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-07-27
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56 ? The Reactionaries ? 1/2 ? Interwar Anxieties

Come and see us record a live episode at Dulwich Picture Gallery on the 26th June! We'd love to meet you!

Modernist Architecture has always had more than its fair share of critics. In this episode, the first of a two parter, we discuss the reactionary, counter-revolutionary opposition to modernism in Britain during the interwar period. First, comes an examination of the stodgy, flag-waving, imperialist Classicism of the Edwardian era, which Luke thinks includes some of the worst architecture in Britain. One of the perpetrators of that style, Reginald Blomfield, wrote a patriotic screed against the continental, ?cosmopolitan? Modern architecture, which he subtly titled ?Modernismus.? We also examine Lutyens? review of ?Towards a New Architecture,? a critique of Corbusier?s theory, but also a refutation of modernism as an appropriate style for living in. Lastly we consider the slightly outlandish ?England and the Octopus? by the eccentric architect Clough William Ellis, famous for designing the town sized folly of Portmeirion in North Wales. Fruity characters, problematic tropes and anxiety about a declining Empire abound.

In the bonus episode we will discuss the Evelyn Waugh's 'Decline and Fall.'

This episode is sponsored by The Article Trade Program.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-06-17
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55 ? Katsuhiro Otomo's 'Akira' ? 3/3 ? Good for Health, Bad for Education

In this concluding part of our discussion, we interview Anna Mill, artist of ?Square Eyes? about Akira from the point of view of an illustrator, and also discuss the feature length Akira anime (1988), and the wonderful soundtrack by Geinoh Yamashirogumi.

You can find more about Square Eyes here.

This episode is sponsored by the Article Trade Program

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-05-30
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54 ? Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira ? 2/3 ? Exploding Neo-Tokyo Twice

In the second part of our discussion, we talk through the whole, incredibly epic six-volume manga 'Akira' from start to finish.

Music is from the soundtrack to the film 'Akira' by Geinoh Yamashirogumi.

This episode is sponsored by the Article Trade Program and The Great Courses Plus

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-05-15
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53 ? Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira ? 1/3 ? Radio School

Katsuhiro Otomo?s vast magnum opus ?Akira? (1982-90) is one of the landmarks of late 20th century science fiction ? a story of psychic battles, youth counterculture and technology run out of control ? all set in Neo-Tokyo, a vast megastructure in the Tokyo bay.

If you?ve only ever heard of one manga, it?s probably this one. We?ve been reading the definitive black and white version ? worth getting hold of if you can.

Actually we didn?t even get to start talking about the book proper because we went on about context too long. We talked a bit about the earlier works ?Fireball? and ?Domu?, the documentary ?God Speed You Black Emperor?, manga as a genre, and a load of other stuff.

The bonus will look at the early work in more detail.

This episode is sponsored by the Article Trade Program and The Great Courses Plus

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-05-01
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52 ? Nicholas Hawksmoor's Churches ? 2/2

We conclude our discussion of the churches of Nicholas Hawksmoor in London, featuring discussion of church politics, 'the primitive church of the early Christians' and wet and windy site recordings from St George in the East, Shadwell (1714-29), Christ Church Spitalfields (1714-29), and St Mary Woolnoth (1716-27).

Sponsored by the Article Trade Program and The Great Courses Plus

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-04-15
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51 ? Nicholas Hawksmoor's Churches ? 1/2

Nicholas Hawksmoor, born in 1661, built six churches in London between 1711 and his death in 1736. Vast, white, monumental and enigmatically detailed, the Hawksmoor churches are a looming and mysterious presence in the architectural consciousness and mythic history of London, somehow both of time and out of it. Bombed, burned, spurned by popular taste before they were even completed, they have nevertheless survived to become objects of fascination, speculation and obsession. Created on the threshold of modernity, they reach back toward an imagined (and distant) past when the Church was young, and the worship was pure.
We?ve recorded a series of observations of the churches on site, and attempted to locate them in the world of early 18th century England.
On a forthcoming bonus we?ll be exploring the fictional Hawksmoor ? as time-magician, cabbalist, summoner of Egyptian gods and more. Our editor Matt Loyd Roberts has joined us for this one ? 

Music is by Ketsa 'Rain stops play' from the Free Music Archive Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-03-25
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50 ? 19th c Machine Utopias ? 2/2 ? Looking Backwards

The second part of our discussion of the utopias and dystopias of the late 19th century 'machine age'.

Including a discussion of Edward Bellamy's 'Looking Backwards: 2000-1887' (once incredibly famous and now almost unknown), William Morris's 'News From Nowhere: Or, and Epoch of Rest' and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'Moving the Mountain.'

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-03-11
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49 ? 19th c. Machine Utopias 1/2 ? Darwin Among the Machines

We start a two-part discussion of the utopias and dystopias of the late 19th century 'machine age,' when new technology seemed to be remaking the world, and society along with it.

What sort of world would the machines bring? In this episode we discuss Samuel Butler's novel 'Erewhon' and the extraordinary speculation on machine life that it contains. We also talk about Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 'Vril' ? to which it was initally (erroneously) thought to be a sequel ? and Nikolai Chernyshevsky's 'What is to be done'.

Music ? Chris Zabriskie 'Is that you or are you you?' from the Free Music Archive.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-02-26
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48 ? OMA 1989 ? Going Big

Rem Koolhaas and the firm he founded with three partners in 1975 ? Office of Metropolitan Architects, OMA ? are fascinating, critical and provocative presence within the architectural culture of the 1970s and 1980s, riding the wave of the crisis of modernist collapse while positioning themselves outside or against all of the main tendencies in the post-modern.

In this episode we?re focussing on a particular, transitional moment, in which the early ?paper? projects start to be replaced by real buildings and large scale competition entries, culminating in three fascinating competition entries from 1989 ? the Zeebrugge Sea Terminal, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) and Très Grand Bibliothèque (TBG).

Lee Rosevere ?Baldachin? from the album ?Music for Podcasts 3? on the Free Music Archive

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-02-11
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47 ? Venturi Scott-Brown & Learning From Las Vegas

We continue our discussion of the theoretical works of Robert Venturi with this episode on ?Learning from Las Vegas ? The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form? ? researched and written with Denise Scott-Brown and Steven Izenour, and published in 1972.

The book, which examines the architecture of the Vegas strip, is the origin of the famous ?Duck vs Decorated Shed? comparison, and contains a lot else besides, including denunciations of the cult of Space, praise for the ?ugly and ordinary,? a certain amount of ostentatiously-wielded erudition, and so on.

Music: Al Smith 'Road House' https://archive.org/details/78road-houseal-smith-a-smith-c-carter_gbia0054635a

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus ? a streaming learning service with video lectures by experts in all sorts of fields. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/BUILDINGS to get a month of free access to thousands of courses.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-01-28
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46 ? Robert Venturi's 'Complexity & Contradiction' ? Valid Banalities

For the first AB+C of 2019 we?re tackling one of the seminal texts of the 1960s, and an iconic moment in the stylistic overthrow of the postwar modernist order ? Robert Venturi?s ?Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture? (1966). It?s a slim, lavishly illustrated volume, which seems lucid and straightforward, but upon closer reading turns out to be much more elusive. What are complexity and contradiction, where are they found, and what are architects supposed to do with them?

On the bonus we?ll be discussing the early projects of Venturi and Rauch.

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus ? a streaming learning service with video lectures by experts in all sorts of fields. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/BUILDINGS to get a month of free access to thousands of courses.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2019-01-14
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Bonus Unlocked ? 44.5 ? Italian Architecture Under Fascism

We're a bit late with the first episode of the new year, so I'm releasing our bonus conversation on Italian fascist architecture to tide you over until then. If you want more material like this, there's a link to the Patreon below.

We talk about the architecture of the Italian fascist period. Some of it is pretty good, unfortunately. Some of it is very weird indeed.

We cover a lot ground, including ? Gino Coppedè, Giovanni Muzio, Antoni Sant?Elia, Mario Chiattone, Giuseppe Terragni , Fortunato Depero, Marcello Piacentini, Armando Brasini and more.

Music is Ottorino Respighi ? Serenata per piccola orchestra

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2019-01-04
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45 ? John Ruskin & the 19th century ? Living Too Late

We finally get onto the last book of Stones of Venice, and its reverberations through the long second half of the 19th century. Young Ruskinians, EL Godwin, William Burges, William Morris and so on.

Music ? Vivaldi concerto for two horns, strings and continuo in F major RV 539 pt I The Fall ? Living too late

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2018-12-16
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44 ? Giovanni Michelucci ? Late Style

Giovanni Michelucci was born in 1891, and lived through nine-tenths of the 20th century, through all its terrifying and perplexing twists and dislocations. Throughout his career, his work manages to express an idiosyncratic and critical relationship to the spirit of the age. Over fifty at the end of the war, and sacked from his university job in the late 1950s for being too old, he would go on to produce his best and most daring work in the 60s and 70s.

We discuss Michelucci and Italy, fascism, post-war, and late style.

Apologies for the quality of Luke?s audio ?

On the bonus, we take a longer look at the ideological tensions within Mussolini-era architecture, Giovanni Muzio, Giuseppe Terragni, and many others.

Music ?
Rossini ?Le Cenerentola? Blackway ? New Life

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2018-11-27
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Shoetopia! ? by Stories from the Eastern West

A collaboration between About Buildings + Cities and Stories from the Eastern West (@sftewpodcast) ? a cool podcast telling little-known stories from Central & Eastern Europe.

We discuss Tomas Bata's modernist shoe-factory Utopia in Zlin, Moravia, his project to create an orderly (and suitably hierarchical) paradise for loyal, productive, clean-living workers, and the spread of his model all over Europe ? even as far as Essex!

Thanks a lot to Wojciech and Adam for coming to interview us.

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2018-11-22
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Conversation 2.2 ? Adam Caruso ? Second Thoughts

This is the audio from our ?In Conversation? with Adam Caruso, held at Nottingham Contemporary on October the 4th.

You can (and probably should, if you want to know what?s going on) download the slides from the presentation here ? https://tinyurl.com/y7gab672

We didn?t get through the whole slideshow, but we?ll talk about what we missed on the second part.

Thanks a lot to Sam, Mercè et al at Nottingham Contemporary?!

And to you, listener, for listening.

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2018-11-12
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Conversation 2.1 ? Adam Caruso ? On the night

This is the audio from our ?In Conversation? with Adam Caruso, held at Nottingham Contemporary on October the 4th.

You can (and probably should, if you want to know what?s going on) download the slides from the presentation here ? https://tinyurl.com/y7gab672

We didn?t get through the whole slideshow, but we?ll talk about what we missed on the second part.

Thanks a lot to Sam, Mercè et al at Nottingham Contemporary?!

And to you, listener, for listening.

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2018-11-12
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43 ? John Ruskin's 'Stones of Venice' ? Shafts!

We discuss the first two volumes of 'Stones of Venice' ? the interminable first and dream-like second. Shafts, archivolts, more shafts, rotten and sun-whitened vegetation, encrustation, palaces (Gothic and Byzantine), melancholy ruins, the sound of distant seabirds, and lapis luzuli and gold aplenty.

Thanks for listening ? we're gearing up for a productive autumn I hope.

Audio includes ? the following site recordings from the Radio Aporee project on archive.org ?Zadar, Sea Organ - Sea Organ? by Doro-Koeln (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee807023343] ?In a plane before the flight, 31700 Blagnac, France - Before the flight !? by clairesauvaget (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee3459939770] ?in the airplane - approaching tokio airport? by Frank Schulte (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee75389283] ?cargo train terminal, Ljubljana - train arrives and stops? by udo noll (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee1534717883] ?West Wittering, UK - ships foghorn ... brent geese ?? by david m (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee34620_39791]

Plus music ?  Chris Zabriskie ?Cylinder Nine? from the album ?Cylinders? on the (Free Music Archive)[freemusicarchive.org] Waves of the sea ? Royal Servian Tamburiza from (archive.org)[https://archive.org/details/78waves-of-the-searoyal-servian-tamburitza-orch-savski-volovi_gbia0018162b]

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2018-10-30
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42 ? John Ruskin ? Rock Lover

John Ruskin?s ?Stones of Venice? is one of the monuments of architectural theory in the 19th century. But it?s a hard book to get through, or to get inside. It?s incredibly long, and animated by a kind of moralistic passion that feels a little alien, at best quaint, or childish. Part of the reason is that Ruskin was a Victorian ? indeed, one of the great formers of Victorian taste.

We were planning to talk about the first part of the book, but in the end we just spent the whole episode trying to get to grips with what that means. Why was he like this?

We?ll read the first two parts in the next episode. Thanks for being patient!

As usual we got a couple of things wrong ? Little Nell is actually in ?The Old Curiosity Shop?. Also the number of volumes of ?modern painters? isn?t five ? there are 7, actually ? though often sold as five volumes.

Music ?  Tita Ruffo ?Visione Veneziana?

Audio includes ? the following site recordings from the Radio Aporee project on archive.org Ksamil, Albanie - Midnight waves / by François-Emmanuel Fodéré (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee2534929390] 17590 Ars-en-Ré, France - Waves wheeling / by Vincent Duseigne (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee4030746036] river Drava, Loka - dry grass, river flow, stones / by OR poiesis (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee2505729057] larnichtsberg, swallows, crows and insects / by Frank Schulte (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee1154413596] Venice, Italy - fish market / by Carlos Santos (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee1646119081] 12230 Nant, France - Nant bells / by Vincent Duseigne (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee3222937026] Ksamil, Ksamil island, District de Sarandë, Albanie - Waves and waves / by François-Emmanuel Fodéré (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee3014034668] Bruges, Belgique - Brugge bells / by Vincent Duseigne (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee3179836523]

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2018-09-30
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Conversation 1 ? Fred Scharmen ? Zero-G Carnival

A short post-script to the Space Age episodes ? we talked to Fred Scharmen about the mid 1970s NASA Space Settlements design study.

You can read his essay at Places Journal where you can also see a selection of Rick Guidice and Don Davis?s illustrations.

We?ll have a new full episode out very soon ? 

Luke's graphic novel is here

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2018-09-16
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41 ? '2001 ? A Space Odyssey' 2/2 ? Live on BBC 12

The second part of our discussion of '2001 ? A Space Odyssey'.

At a certain point quite early on we started referring to the Monolith as 'the Obelisk' and neither of us noticed. Oh well.

Thanks for listening and let us know your thoughts.

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2018-08-23
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40 ? '2001 ? A Space Odyssey' 1/2 ? Pink Upholstery in Cartesian Space

Stanley Kubrick?s 1968 film 2001 a space odyssey is the iconic depiction of space travel, channeling the optimism and excitement of radical advances in space exploration and technology. It?s an uncompromising, utterly singular film, whose vision of a possible future is carried through comprehensively. Its scope and ambition are still basically unequalled. Kubrick is famous for the obsessiveness of his research ? in this case bringing in expertise from leading scientists, cutting edge digital pioneers, animators, makers of special effects. As a result, 2001 seems to capture the imagination of a very particular era of technological optimism in the mid 1960s in America and worldwide.

We talk about the film, its amazing worlds and interiors, the Worlds Fairs in Seattle and New York which were a proving ground for many of those involved, as well as passing references to ? Chris Marker?s La Jetee
? Charles and Ray Eames
? Xerox PARC
? Superstudio

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. On this episode's bonus ? we're talking Osaka Expo and Space habitats.

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2018-08-02
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39 ? Catastrophe Curves ? Early 90s Computer Architecture

The 1990s were when computers really entered the mainstream of architecture. The rise of personal computing, with wider access to inexpensive machines, the world wide web, advances in software and hardware, all took place against the background of global political transformation that at the time was theorised as the End of History, the breakup of the Soviet Union, democratisation, and the apparent rise of a single, global, liberal capitalist world order.

But the exploration of CAD, rendering, generative design and CNC manufacture would all be theorised through a pre-existing set of ideas and agendas, drawing heavily on ?French theory? ? Derrida, (and particularly) Deleuze ? and a partially pre-digested blend of complexity mathematics. We find ourselves ? among the blobs, deformed surfaces, landscapes and evolutionary forms ? in a world of ?affective singularities?, ?the Fold?, pliancy, Catastrophe Theory?

We talk technology, key actors, and attempt a glossary of key concepts?

Under discussion ? 
? Frank Gehry?s fish sculpture
? Revit / BIM
? The F117 and B2 defense projects
? Peter Eisenman
? John Frazer
? MIT Computer Lab
? the Bilbao Guggenheim
? Cardiff opera house
? Yokohama ferry terminal
? NOX?s Freshwater and Saltwater pavilions
? The Affective
? Catastrophe Theory
? D?Arcy Thompson
? The Fold
? Singularity
? Max Reinhardt Haus
? Phallogocentrism & Helene Cixous

Recordings are from Peter Eisenman?s Lecture ?Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media? (1993) (AA archive)[https://www.aaschool.ac.uk//VIDEO/lecture.php?ID=737]

Music ?
Lee Rosevere ?Quizitive?
Lee Rosevere ?Curiosity?
Lee Rosevere ?Thoughtful? all from (Free Music Archive)[freemusicarchive.org]

Clips of ?  Awesome 3 ?Don?t Go? (1992)
Liquid ?Sweet Harmony? (1992)
2 Bad Mice ?Bombscare? (1992)
M.A.N.I.C ?I?m Coming Hardcore? (Original Mix) (1991)

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2018-07-17
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38 ? Le Corbusier ? 9 ? Villa Stein & Villa Savoye

We now have a Patreon ? you can subscribe to get additional content for every episode.

Projects like the Villa Stein and Villa Savoye are icons of modernist architecture ? among the most famous of all modern buildings ? images and symbols of what modern architecture is. Below all the machine age crispness, there's also a certain amount of weird bourgeois sex stuff as well.

This is the second part of the conversation we began in episode 37 ? it's best to listen to that one first.

Music ?  'Easy Living' Bob Howard and his Orchestra from archive.org

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2018-07-02
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37 ? Le Corbusier ? 8 ? Five Points Towards a New Architecture

We now have a Patreon ? you can subscribe to get additional content for every episode.

Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanerret's 'Five Points' (1926) were an attempt to condense the fundamental structural and design principles underlying their new architecture. Drawing on the discoveries made during design and construction of their early villa projects, the points are in a sense the culmination and fulfillment of the original 'Maison Domino' idea of 1914.

The points set the template for the most famous 'Purist' villas of the later 1920s, culminating in the Villas Stein-La Monzie and Savoye, icons of what became the 'International Style.'

This episode started off as a single chat but there was too much so we've split it.

We discuss ?  ? Villa Church (need photos of spaces)
? Pierre Chenal's film 'L'architecture d'aujourd'hui'
? Five points towards a new architecture
? Villa Meyer
? Villa Ocampo
? Ramps
? Villa Cook

Music ? 'Modern Design' Johnny Messner And His Orchestra from archive.org

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2018-07-01
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36 ?  Bernard Rudofsky & 'Architecture Without Architects'

We?re launching a Patreon ? you can subscribe to get additional content for every episode.

Bernard Rudofsky?s exhibition Architecture Without Architects at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1964 ? and the fantastically successful book which followed it, have become an iconic polemic in support of the architectural ?vernacular?. Ever-keen to play up his own iconoclastic distance from mainstream of architectural thought, Rudofsky would later claim that the idea was, at the time he proposed it, ?simply not respectable.? In hindsight though, the exhibition actually fits very clearly within a broader ?return? to an image of architecture?s pre-industrial roots among the postwar avant gardes all over the world.

Architecture Without Architects definition of vernacular architecture is (typically) idiosyncratic. It contains more or less everything outside the canon of architectural history, and free from entanglement in industrial supply chains. There are 3000-year-old rock dwellings, bamboo houses under construction. The images in the catalogue are carefully paired ? the hollowed-out tufa pinnacles of Göreme in Turkey above a village of Apulian trulli ? each one an ingenious conical pile of stones around a pitched circular chamber ? mountains above and below. But what matters is that these houses, towns, and structures, the anonymous creations of these isolated and anonymous designers are presented, in the clarifying light of black and white photography, as a window into a world outside the prison of modernity ? organic, communally unified and bizarrely and daringly creative.

We?re talking about Architecture Without Architects within the context of Rudofsky?s polymathic, crankish, sarcastic and wholly inimitable vision and career.

Music ?  Eddie Dunstedter ? ?Dancing Tambourine (Pandereta)? Dick McDonough and his Orchestra ? ?My Cabin of Dreams? from archive.org Athenian Mandolin Quartet ? ?Cacliz March? Chris Zabriskie ? ?The Dark Glow of Mountains? From the Free Music Archive

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2018-06-13
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35 ? 'Playtime' & 'Mon Oncle' ? Modern life in Tativille

Jacques Tati's 'Mon Oncle' (1957) and 'Playtime' (1967) playfully dramatise the clash between old and new in the fast-changing cities of post-war France. Nostalgia, alienation, the absurdity of modern life and work, play, rhythm, rebellion and the curious affordances of materials and everyday items... serious fun, with silly noises.

Hope you're all enjoying the summer weather and speak soon!

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2018-05-07
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34 ? Adolf Loos's 'Ornament and Crime' ? Bathroom Kink

Adolf Loos?s essay ?Ornament and Crime? (1910) is considered the classic modernist polemic against the frills and folderols of the established arts of the day.

We're in the city of Freud ? and the neurotic subtext is very close to the surface.

We discuss a little of Loos?s career as an architectural iconoclast, jersey fanatic, and pervert :-/

Then we go on to a more freeform discussion of ornament in the contemporary, during which we massively contradict ourselves several times.

We discussed ? 

Freud Nietzsche Hegel Darwin Louis Sullivan Mrs Beeton English Free Building ? Hermann Muthesius Peter Behrens Karl Friedrich Schinkel Joseph Maria Olbrich Henry van der Velde Joseph Hoffmann Josephine Baker?s 'Banana Dance' The black granite bathroom at Villa Karma (On the subject of reprehensible characters) Albert Speer

Contemporary ornamenters ? 

Caruso St John Farshid Moussavi & her book on facades

Music ? 

Victor Sylvester and his Ballroom Orchestra ?Vienna, City of my Dreams? The Three Suns ?Alt Wien? (1949) Philharmonic Orchestra Berlin ?Von Wien durch die Welt' Oldbrig's zither trio ?Wien bliebt Wien?
All from archive.org

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2018-04-10
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33 ? Le Corbusier ? 7 ? Early Mass Housing

In this episode we explore in two early schemes for mass housing, at Pessac and in Stuttgart.

Among many other things, we talked about ?

Bourneville New Lanark
- Arnold circus
- Bruno taut?s horseshoe estate
- Pessac
- Henri Frugès
- The Weissenhofseidlung
- Margarete Schutte-Lihotsky
- Hannes Meyer?s essay ?The New World?

Music & Interlude ? - Harry Ross ?Get Me an Apartment - Part 1? from archive.org

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2018-03-25
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32 ? Le Corbusier ? 6 ? Urbanism ? Let's Demolish Paris (Again)

The concluding part of our discussion of ?Urbanism? (1925) ? we look at the proposals for a Contemporary City for Three Million (1923), and the notorious Plan Voisin (1925). For Le Corbusier?s detractors, these are really the crimes of the century. We did our best to think of something nice to say about them.

Music ?
Dave Gabriel ?Midst of their morning chimes?
Oneohtrix Point Never ?Nobody Here?

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2018-03-05
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31 ? Le Corbusier ? 5 ? Urbanism ? Of Men & Asses

The first of a two part episode exploring Le Corbusier?s infamous and much-derided urban proposals, exhibited in the Esprit Nouveau Pavilion in 1925. In this part, we?re conducting a close reading of ?Urbanism? (sometimes known as ?The City of Tomorrow and its Planning?).

We mostly stayed on topic but there are allusions to

Camillo Sitte Augustus Welby Pugin?s ?Comparisons?

Music ?

Glass Boy ?WELP? Lovira ?All Things Considered? Loyalty Freak Music ?Once More With You? and ?Waiting TTTT? Three Chain Links ?Heavy Traffic? All from the Free Music Archive

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2018-02-13
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30 ? Franz Kafka's America

Franz Kafka?s first, and least-finished, novel is an imaginary journey around the USA (a country he never visited). Written in 1912, it?s a fantasy of America at a time when seemed, to Europeans at least, to be the most futuristic (and mysterious) place on Earth.

Kafka?s fascination with machinery, technology and engineering is on display in ?Amerika?, in which the young Karl Rossmann finds himself cut adrift in a land of glass elevators, miles-long traffic jams, endless hotels, filled with delirious extremes of luxury, poverty and inventiveness.

The edition we read is the current Penguin translation by Michael Hoffman.

We made brief reference to Joseph Roth, and to Neuromancer?s ?Villa Straylight?.

Thanks for listening and Happy New Year!

Music:

David Rose and his Orchestra / Anton Dvorak ?Humoresque? (1946) archive.org Felix Arndt / Anton Dvorak ?Humoresque? (1917) at archive.org Dvorak, Casals, Szell, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra ?Cello Concerto? I / II (1937) archive.org Dvorak, Szell, Cleveland Orchestra ?Slavonic Dances? 2, 4 & 5 (1947) archive.org Efrem Zimbalist; Sam Chotzinoff; Zimbalist ?Hebrew Melody and Dance? (1912) archive.org Riccardo Martin; Dvorak; Victor Orchestra ?Als die alte Mutter? (1910) archive.org Ukrainska Orchestra Pawla Humeniuka ?Kozak-Trepak? from the Free Music Archive Jack Perry & the Light Crust Doughboys ?Oklahoma Waltz? (1947) youtube

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2018-01-14
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29 ? Le Corbusier ? 4 ? At Home He Feels Like A Purist

For our Christmas episode, we're discussing the early Purist villas!

Knowing the right people, and a relentless programme of self-publicity yielded a steady stream of clients for Le Corbusier in the early 1920s, and allowed him to explore an architectural complement to Purism, most notably in a pair of houses for art-loving ?batchelors? ? the Ozenfant Studio and Villa La Roche. We found time to discuss (probably with unwarranted levity, sorry) the death of Le Corbusier?s father George, and his troubled marriage to Yvonne Gallis.

Topics include ?  - Maison Citrohan
- Villa Ker-ka-re
- Studio Ozenfant

Villa La Roche
- Allusions to the English House and Pliny episodes 01 & 05, and 02 Strawberry Hill (Horace Walpole) The Architectural promenade
- The Hôtel Particulier
- CN Ledoux
- Ryue Nishizawa & SANAA
- Domesticity, Layered Space and the ?Buffer Zone? Villa Le Lac in Corseaux
- The 'involuntary euthanasia' of his father George
- Luigi Snozzi Yvonne Gallis

Music ?

Emile Petti and his cosmopolitans ? Cocktail Hour at the Savoy Plaza Joseph C Smith?s Orchestra ?Oh, Frenchy!? Charles Trenet ?En ecoutant mon cour chanter? Jean Sablon ?J?attendrai? all from archive.org

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2017-12-23
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28 ? Le Corbusier ? 3 ? Towards a New Architecture

A new epoch has begun! Le Corbusier?s ?discovery? is that the style of future architecture is to be found new inventions of the machine age ? planes, cars, ocean liners. But ?Towards a New Architecture? is, at its heart, an argument for a fusion of timeless values and contemporary technology ? provocatively encapsulated in its juxtaposition of a sports car and the Parthenon.

We went through the book in order, focussing on the chapters:

The Engineer?s Aesthetic Three Reminders to Architects
- Regulating Lines Eyes Which Do Not See The Pure Creation of the Mind Architecture or Revolution

Mentioning along the way: LC?s early books

?Etude sur le mouvement d?art décoratif en Allemagne?, ?Apres Le Cubisme?, ?L?Art decoratif d?aujourdhui?, ?La peinture moderne? Adolf Loos Piranesi?s ?Campo Marzo? The Ecole des Beaux Arts Poché as a heuristic Christopher Alexander?s ?A Pattern Language? Rob Krier ?Architectural Design? Greek temples in Athens and Paestum Michelangelo Patrick Schumacher?s ?Autopoiesis of Architecture? at the end I sort of talked rather half-heartedly about Full Luxury Communism

Music is by Lee Rosevere
From the albums ?Music for Podcasts? and ?Music for Podcasts 2? ?Musical Mathematics?, ?Biking in the park?, ?Featherlight?, ?Places Unseen?

The outdo is by Mde. Ed. Bolduc ?J?ai un bouton sur la langue? archive.org

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2017-12-13
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27 ? Le Corbusier ? 2 ? Oyster and Breezeblock Years

We?re in Paris, 1917, where Charles-Edouard Jeanneret is making friends, thinking about sex (and writing enormous letters about it), designing the occasional mechanised abattoir / concrete garden terrace, going bankrupt, trying to sell concrete blocks to postwar society, inventing a new style of painting, launching a highly costly art magazine, and (finally!) acquiring the name under which he would become famous ? Le Corbusier!

One of us had a very creaky chair in this episode. Also we were drinking again. Apologies for both.

We discussed ? 

The breeze block plant at Alfortville Societe d'Applications du Beton Arme a Slaughterhouse at Challuy, near Nevers (for no good reason) Upton Sinclair?s ?The Jungle? (1906)
- Unbuilt project for a dam a Water Tower in Podensac
- his meeting and collaboration with Amedée Ozenfant
- Purism as a style in Art ? the Tate has a good definition
- Fernand Léger
- L?Esprit Nouveau Pierre Jeanneret

We?ve been reading ? 

Nicholas Fox Weber ?Le Corbusier: A Life? (2008) Jean-Louis Cohen ?Le Corbusier: Le Grand? (2014) Oppositions 15-16 (1980) Catherine de Smet ?Le Corbusier: Architect of Books? (2004)

Music ?
Charles Trenet ?Le Retour des Saisons? archive.org
Victor Marching Bank ?French Reel? (1918) archive.org
Jean Sablon ?Sur Les Quais de Vieux Paris? (1941) archive.org
Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra ?The Last Time I Saw Paris? (1940) archive.org

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2017-11-27
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26 ? Le Corbusier ? 1 ? Have Formwork, Will Travel

We?re taking on the origin story of (for better or worse) the most important architect of the 20th century ? Charles-Edouard Jeanneret aka Le Corbusier. His origins ? petit bourgeois, Swiss, provincial ? can make his eventual rise to world-enveloping notoriety and era-defining influence seem all the more unlikely. We?re digging into his childhood, family, education and travels as a young man before taking on a couple of early projects.

We discuss ? 

La Chaux de Fonds Charles L?Eplattanier, his teacher Jugendstil & Art Nouveau

Early projects ? 

Villa Fallet Villas Stotzer & Jacquemet Villa Jeanneret Villa Favre-Jacot

Travels, and meetings with ? 

Otto Wagner Josef Hoffmann Vienna Secession Building Auguste Perret Rue Franklin Apartments Peter Behrens Mount Athos

And a more detailed look at ? 

Villa Schwob (including Colin Rowe?s ?Mannerism and Modern Architecture?) Maison Domino

We've been reading ?

Nicholas Fox Weber ?Le Corbusier: A Life? (2008) Jean-Louis Cohen ?Le Corbusier: Le Grand? (2014) Oppositions 15-16 (1980)

Music ? 
The final part of Beethoven?s 9th ? the Ode to Joy

An excerpt from ?  Mahler: Symphony No. 3: iii. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast from archive.org

Britt Brothers ? ?Alpine Milkman Yodel? (1933) from archive.org

Thanks for listening!

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2017-11-13
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25 ? Palace of the Soviets ? Wedding Cake Stalinism

First announced in 1931, the project for the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow evolved into a staggeringly vast and bizarre proposal which stalled during WWII when only the foundations had been completed. A 400m tall neoclassical fantasy topped with a vast statue of Lenin; the Palace would probably, if completed, have still been the tallest building in the world in the year 2000. Forming a counterpart of sorts to our discussion of the Chicago Tribune ? the Palace is another worldwide competition of the interwar period in which the battle over architectural style and ideology played out in the process of selection and development, as the old 1920s avant grade felt the ground shift under them and the ideology of Stalinist architecture began to solidify.

A couple of helpful listener corrections (here)[https://www.instagram.com/p/BbUxAq2FLaj/] (and here)[https://www.instagram.com/p/BbUxB0vlmnJ/]

We discussed ? Joze Pleçnik Edwin Lutyens (neither in the competition)

Russian Avant-gardists ? Ivan Leonidov Konstantin Melnikov Mosei Ginzburg

The League of Nations Competition entries of Le Corbusier & Hannes Meyer

Foreign modernists in Russia Ernst May

And the entries of ?  Le Corbusier Walter Gropius Erich Mendehlson Hans Pölzig Auguste Perret

The winners ?  Boris Iofan Vladimir Shchuko Hector Hamilton

Plus the later designs of ? Ilya Golosov?s Vladimir Shchuko and Vladimir Gelfreikh Alabian, Kochar and Mordvinov?s Simbirtsev

Alexander Brodsky?s Reminiscences

Anatole Kopp ?Foreign architects in the Soviet Union during the first two five-year plans? Sonia Hoisington ?Even Higher: The Evolution of the Palace of the Soviets?

Music ?  ?A1? from the album ???? ???????? ???????? by K??????, from the Free Music Archive ?Bolshevik Leaves Home? (1918) by D. Vasilev-Buglay, Demyan Bedniy Soviet National Anthem, Stalin version

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2017-10-30
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24.5 ? Blade Runner 2049

Don?t listen if you haven?t seen the movie yet!

We discuss Denis Villeneuve?s Blade Runner 2049. It?s pretty formless and we forgot the names of most of the characters, actors, significant plot entities. You?ll get who we?re talking about it you?ve seen it.

We refer in passing to ?  Moebius & Jodorowsky ?The Incal? Vladimir Nabokov ?Pale Fire? Robert Louis Stevenson ?Treasure Island?

Outro ?  Dharma ? Plastic Doll (1982)

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2017-10-23
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24 ? Blade Runner ? Do You Like Our Owl?

As a postscript to our discussion of Cyberpunk in episodes 20-21, and vaguely looking ahead to the release of the upcoming sequel, we talked about Ridley Scott?s 1982 film ?Blade Runner?.

We were really winging it on the research for this one and as a result it marks a high point for getting key facts completely wrong, including ? the name of a key character (see if you can guess which one!), various attributions of ethnicity, dates, names, places, the ending of the book on which it?s based, and a bunch of other things. Oh well. I edited out what I could? some moments deserve to be lost in time & without any tears being shed over it?

Things we mentioned ?  Nicholas Røeg Peter Sloterdijk's book ?Terror from the Air' Dashiel Hammet?s ?The Thin Man? Akira Kurosawa ?Stray Dog? (again) Some great photos of the model shop for the film Caravaggio ?The Calling of St Matthew? Antony Burgess ?A Clockwork Orange? Richard Jeffries ?After London? Yvegeny Zamyatin ?We? (discussed in episode 3)  T.S. Eliot ?The Wasteland' Johannes Vermeer Wilhelm Hammerschoi Jan van Eyck ?The Arnolfini Portrait? Vernon Shetley, Alissa Ferguson ?Reflections in a Silver Eye: Lens and Mirror in ?Blade Runner?, in Science Fiction Studies Mar 2001, Vol 28 Issue 1 Michel Haneke ?Caché?

Music and sound effects are from the film.

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2017-09-16
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23 ? Chicago Tribune ? 2 of 2 ? Honourable Mentions

We conclude our discussion of the 1922 Chicago Tribune competition, going through a few of the less favoured entries, and discussing how it?s been seen and understood in the years since. Apologies for some clipping on the audio ? we?ve tried to edit most of it out but some is still left.

As before, you can see all the entries in this book

We discuss the entries of ? Walter Gropius (197) Adolf Loos (196) Paul Gerhardt (159 & 160) Saverio Dioguardi (248) Vittorio Pino (252) Alfred Fellheimer & Steward Wagner (158) ? the big pyramid Emile Pohle & Adolf Ott (200) ? the bridge Walter Fischer (221) Bruno & Max Taut (231, 229) Gerhardt Schröder (228) Fritz Sackermann (225) Anonymous (281) 

Plus anonymous entries by ?  Hans Scharoun Wassili Luckhardt

Manfredo Tafuri?s 'The Disenchanted Mountain' ? published in ?The American City? (Cambridge, MIT Press, 1979)

Ludwig Hilberseimer?s unentered design

Hugh Feriss?s Envelope Drawings

Pier Vittorio Aureli?s ?The Barest Form in which Architecture Can Exist?

The book of ?Late Entries? can be found here

Diana Agrest ?Architectural Anagrams? in Oppositions 11

Music includes Collins and Harlan ?The International Rag? King Olivers Creole Jazz Band ?Just Gone? ?both from the Free Music Archive and first heard on the excellent Antique Phonograph Music Program

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2017-09-02
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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