As I get older, I find myself more and more interested in architecture. Not in an entirely serious way; websites and blogs about buildings and their design are often just something I like to look at while I'm eating toast. The thing is, to get into the viral stream of things, there often has to be something eye-popping, which means you're often presented with the unusual or exotic or improbable.
This is from a post on Architecture Linked of what's called Sky Garden House, designed by a firm in Singapore. The hook for the post is how the design makes use of natural elements and incorporates grass, shrubs and living things into the overall package.
After you click on this link, you'll see that the look of the house really depends on the angle where the picture is taken.
What's inside is pretty cool: check out the staircases here.
I buy a new copy of the U.K.-based magazine Monocle whenever I see it. It's not cheap - 10 bucks per copy, and even more to subscribe (it's one of the few magazines not to subsidize subscriptions in order to drive up numbers for advertisers) - but it's worth it. Each issue is filled with things I didn't know, some of the writing is the best anywhere, and the photos and art direction are top-shelf. I also enjoy the fact that Monocle loves being a high-end magazine: it uses multiple types of paper stock in the same issue, even though that attention to detail is, sadly, becoming a bit of a relic. It has its tics; it gets as passionate about luxury goods, boutique hotels and fashion as it does about, say, defence contracting, technological change and airports. All in all, Monocle is often about designing things well.
This a long windup to say that the March issue, which only just arrived in town, has a spread on St. John's on it, written by Ann Marie Gardner (who has the somewhat haughty job title of "Bureau Chief Americas" on the masthead).
As profiles by visiting journalists go, it's a very decent read, with plenty of photos and sidebars that fit well into some of Monocle's passions, especially for handmade products, ingenuity and what the magazine recently celebrates as the "cosy" qualities of life. It also includes a recurring feature of "fixes," or things they'd implement to improve St. John's. A sample:
Newly constructed buildings don't do justice to the landscape. Bring in some good regional (or international if necessary) architects who are sensitive to the island's vernacular architecture.
Parking downtown is a problem, so what about bike paths? It's a myth that the temperatures are much colder than New York and the cold shouldn't stop people cycling anyway - look at Copenhagen.
To read the piece, you'll have to buy the magazine. (It's worth it.) The website has the article, but it's only available to subscribers.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe continues to have a profound effect on architecture, design and how we live, whether we know his name and how to pronounce it. We can thank Mies for not only one of the best, shortest aphorisms of all time - less is more - but also for that chestnut, "God is in the details." I found this T-shirt here, on a site that features T-shirts all about architecture. For a bit more on Mies, click on the excerpt from a 2003 BBC documentary below.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.