A Thousand Words, a lovely short story by Ted Chung. Via Coudal.

Other interesting films:
Two Wings
The Tale of How
Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn’t seen it)*

* Hans?

Image credits: Graeme Robertson/Guardian.

Álvaro Siza is one of a kind. Not many architects could talk about doing architecture with love and get away with it, but with Siza you know he means it. Carving every gesture with such maturity takes patience and devotion. Seems effortless, but we know better, don’t we? Jonathan Glancey delves into the mind of the greatest living Portuguese architect as he prepares to receive Britain’s top architecture award. Full article on Guardian: Hail Siza.

Unsworn Industries design team created these wonderful Parascopes. They have been installed at three different locations in the city of Malmö, allowing viewers to take a look into the future and see different visions of how these places could be like. The initiative is part of a campaign addressed to the citizens of Malmö, promoting ideas to reduce car traffic in the city. You can see the panoramas for the three sites online: Mobilia, Triangeln and Kungsgatan-Amiralsgatan.
These parascopes are great, of course, but it’s not really the hardware that gets my juices flowing. It’s the intelligent way in which technology was used to promote active citizen participation. The whole thing oozes advanced citizenship, revealing a healthy relationship between city officials and the local community.
Via Below The Clouds (in Swedish, but you can read it in English courtesy of Google).

Here’s a bunch of cool stuff for you to feast on this weekend.

A really cool read on Ivan Krstić’s blog: How Porsche hacked the financial system and made a killing. The Porsche-Volkswagen’s short crunch shenanigans made simple.

Lebbeus Woods, brilliant as usual: Same Difference. The conflict between the globalization of ideas and a growing culture of individual affirmation - and why new urban landscapes are becoming undistinguishable. Read the comments too.

If you’re short on time, this is the link you don't want to miss. Dan Ariely, a professor of behaviour economics at the MIT, talks about the Tendencies of Irrational Behavior. There’s also a ton of stuff to read on his personal website. Via Quinta do Sargaçal, SwissMiss.

The Century Of The Self is a 2002 BBC documentary authored by Adam Curtis. How 20th century political systems have used Freud’s theories to influence and manipulate the general population.

Loud Paper presents an interesting article by Bryan Boyer: The Mediators. Architecture as a vehicle for the transmission of ideas.

A wonderful blog: Paleo-Future. The future as it never was.

This map of Portugal and Spain was printed on a booklet recently published by a leading manufacturer of water fountains. The title is enlightening: «More than 300 fountains in Portugal». If this was a measure of our development, we would be putting Spain to shame.
The company is not to blame, I suppose. But looking at this image I can’t help thinking that here is a fair portrait of how local authorities have been spending tax money in the last decades.
I don’t want to fall into demagoguery but this reminds me of recent news published in Expresso revealing that a third of our historical buildings classified in the Unesco World Heritage list stand in severe state of degradation. Maybe we have our priorities wrong. And maybe, in the end, this map really represents what our cultural heritage is all about.

New links added to the sidebar. Under [Portuguese] architecture: António Ildefonso + André Rocha, Arquitectos Anónimos, Barbini Arquitectos, N2X Arquitectos and Serralvarez Arquitectos (Rui Miguel Serra + Maria Manuel Alvarez). The website of Jorge Sousa Santos has also been remodelled, so I recommend a visit.
Under [architectural] photography: Bitter Bredt, Brigida González, Cristoph Engel and Hiroshi Sugimoto. These links were recommended by Alexandre da Luz Mendes.

Architectural design relies greatly on the assignment of functions into space and structure. The fact that our practice is guided by codes and regulations often encourages the assumption of standards and parameters that favour the reproduction of homogenous solutions. The following projects show that it is possible to think outside the box and incorporate new functions in architecture, inspiring creative design concepts that expand the potential for human appropriation.

Arons & Gelauff Architecten: Dormitory, Enschede – Netherlands (2007)

People are literally climbing up the walls in this dormitory located in the University of Enschede. Built as a gift to the local mountaineering club, the climbing wall is incorporated into the building’s architecture. The new function isn’t merely decorative, shaping its final form as it becomes an influent design theme. Architectural design by Arons & Gelauff Architecten. Full article on Eikongraphia.

Tezuka Architects: Fuji Kindergarten, Tachikawa - Japan (2007)

This kindergarten in Fuji is immediately surprising for its halo-shaped form. The ring elevates from the central courtyard and becomes an accessible communal platform. The rooftop becomes a functional play area, encouraging exploration and interaction. Architectural design by Tezuka Architects and Kashiwa Sato. Full article on Judit Bellostes blog with many links and references. There is also a very cool video of this building available on Monocle.

PLOT (BIG + JDS): Maritime Youth House, Copenhagen – Denmark (2004)

The Maritime Youth House is both a sailing club and a youth centre. The final design transcends the basic functional program, generating a dynamic platform that serves as a living outdoor space. It’s a wonderfully subversive solution, coming together both as a building and a public space. Architectural design by PLOT (BIG + JDS). Full article on Arch Daily with lots of pictures and technical drawings.

Pink walls and chandeliers don't feel right. We've had enough of frivolity: Philippe Starck, Sir Terence Conran and Kirstie Allsopp talk about design in times of crisis. Starck pushes for democratic ecology. Mr. Conran advises to invest in wine – sounds wise to me. Then they tell you to go buy stuff.

The sun is always shining in the world of architectural photography, states Michiel van Raaij on Eikongraphia. Geoff Manaugh speculates even further, wondering if buildings are “meant to look good, and photograph well, only in summer?” Which reminded me of Fernando Guerra’s account for View Pictures, describing his rainy experience documenting Álvaro Siza’s Anyang Pavilion in South Korea.

When we travel to the other side of the world, we cannot postpone a session due to poor weather or insufficient conditions. We have to create the images with no excuses. During the summer of 2006, I went to Anyang to photograph the small pavilion built on an open square carved into the mountain, and I was greeted by a week of incessant rain. It was one of my first projects for the studio and I could not and did not wish to make excuses for an incomplete or insufficient piece of work. Filled with anxiety, I did what I had to do: I took pictures...
And it was worth it: The rain became part of the session, providing an unusual atmosphere. The fog ended up hiding some of the less interesting buildings nearby, and the gushing water created cascades that I have not seen since during recent visits to the building. (…)

Image credits: Fernando Guerra.

I had no intention of celebrating 5 years of blogging with such a strange and unannounced departure. As someone said, blog birthdays are soooo 2004 anyway. But a series of circumstances kept me away from writing and it wasn’t just the flu. Most of all, I needed some breathing space to put certain things into perspective.
2008 was an unusual year for my blog. For several months I’ve had the highest number of visitors ever registered in my blogging history. Some posts were quite successful and repeatedly referenced out on the web. And still, looking back, I can’t help feeling that it has lost some of its tone. Browsing back I often miss my own voice, and although I don’t want to do a blog about “me” I think that a personal blog is all about sustaining a particular voice in the global arena. About expressing your own take on life. Those are the blogs I like to read and most definitely the kind I want to write as well. So I think I need to refresh things a little bit. My agenda for 2009 is plain and simple: to blog with more personality and, if possible, with a bit more style.
I’m also starting to feel that the Blogger platform is becoming too narrow for what I’d like to do. So I will possibly be moving to a different domain in the near future. I know I’ve talked about it before and didn’t deliver, but this time I’m strongly considering a change and have both the tools and the know how to do it the way I want to. Don’t worry, I’ll be keeping you all posted on every step of the way.
A new year is upon us and it’s time to put things into motion with new ideas and some old ones as well. Things that have been stacking up in the drafts section and will now be brought to life.
A few months ago I’ve presented a series of generic posts about school architecture – in Portuguese only, sorry about that. Now I intend to publish a series of projects of new and renovated schools, recently built here in Portugal as part of a wide public plan to improve the built environment of our teaching institutions. There are some interesting lessons to be learned from these contemporary interventions. School design is being impacted by new ideas towards flexibility and a more communitarian appropriation of space. These experiences are important not only for their individual value but as part a wider process for the advancement of patterns and typologies and the establishment of better architectural practices in such an important area.
I hope you all enjoy this new year of blogging activity and would like to thank you for your continued interest and support. Enjoy!