"Before heaven and earth were born, Solitary and silent, Stands alone and unchanging, Pervading all things without limit. It is like the mother of all things under heaven, But I don't know its name - Better call it TAO, Better call it great." (Lao Tzu)

Friday, August 05, 2016


God has sent showers upon the abandoned places of those we loved.
He has woven upon them a striped many-coloured garment of flowers, and raised among them a flower like a star.
How many girls like images trailed their garments among such flowers, when life was fresh and time was at our service.....
How happy we were, those days that have passed, days of pleasure, when we lived with those who had black flowing hair and white shoulders...
Now say to Destiny whose favours have vanished - favours I have lamented as the nights have passed - how faintly its breeze has touched me in my evening.
But for him who walks in the night the stars still shine; greetings to you, Cordoba, with love and longing.

 Ibn Zaydun (1003-1071) Andalusia

(How beautiful. A 1000 years ago and yet it provokes tears)

My Living Room.

Sort of

Sunday, March 06, 2016


Something unformed and complete
Before heaven and earth were born,
Solitary and silent,
Stands alone and unchanging,
Pervading all things without limit.
It is like the mother of all things under heaven,
But I don't know its name -

Better call it TAO
Better call it great.

Lao-Tsu (3rd/4th century) 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Whatever you wanted to know about design and civilization and were afaid to ask:

Here it is.

The interactive stuff is right here on this blog. Click a button and there you are: Rome, Bagdad, Berlin.........

Thursday, November 05, 2015

architecture as language

Reminder: All architects are involved in the creation of a new style. Their interactions with all other architects create the new. The heroes are there but their job is to identify the trends and produce models and examples of such. And so it goes on.......

Click on the image to access album.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Railway grass

Burnt rust on the tracks and the summer haze of hot breeze on metal junk roots and coal black burns across this dry field where crackling gravel crunch sounds split the silence formed by distant voices

 Through this heavy scene the twig animal creeps to sniff the steel roots all barren and red then scuttles to its hobo shade of cardboard and split glass sparkle in the noon glare

Invincible sun blurs all the contrasts and melts the day of trains that do not come and will not again

Friday, July 31, 2015

Architecture as Fragmentation

Architecture, Involution and Schizophrenia

By Alex Brown

The disintegration of the Modern consensus and the rise of Post Modern and post-post Modern with its plethora of styles and fashions does require some explanation. The idea that there is no such meta-narrative which could explain such events is of course utterly wrong and denies the possibility of an historical explanation. Apparently, things just happen. Yeah, right.

As usual the question is why. Why would such a dominant and powerful style such as Modern collapse into a set of distinct sub-styles, regionalism, deconstructivism, neo-modernism and so on? Why would the architectural languge fragment into such a chaos of styles as we now have? Lets think.

When a particular style of architecture becomes dominant the question arises about where does it go from there. In other words, how does the  combination and recombination for forms generated by the mass of architects out of this great hegemonic style produce anything new. One need only look at the dominance of the Modern Movement from the 30s to the 60s and its eventual  disintegration in the 1970s into the 'postmodern Movement' noted as a diversity of stylistic options. Again, the study of history does not offer explanations for such a stylistic diversification other than the surely now discredited 'heroic', efforts of a few special architects who seem to change history. History only offers descriptions never explanations. The disintegration of a dominant style can be read in several ways but in this paper it is associated with the disintegration of a coherent consciousness into a cluster of fragments. Again, the issue is to examine the systemic level of architecture rather than the historical effects in order to understand the evolution of styles; their rise and disintegration. At the systemic level of architecture what is it that inevitably causes the destruction of the dominant style and its fragmentation into a number of sub-styles as in the PostModern era? In this paper this disintegration is examined by comparing it with the dissolution of an individual's self into a schizoid group of fragments. In both cases an environment impacts a dominant system and requires it to respond more authentically to the new reality. That can only mean the dissolution of the dominant style. 

Comparing individual psychology with that of a major system may seem strange and arbitrary but consider: they are both the products of communication and exchange within a gigantic network. Are we therefore just meaningless cyphers in such a great system? Nope. We are the system.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Architecture as Language!architecture-as-language/ccjl

Can we cut out the utterly subjective hero-based, individualistic understanding of architectural creation and realize what this creative design enterprise really is.

Who invented language? Who invented architecture? NO one! It is a thoroughly collective effort. Statement after individual statement derived from a common vocabulary and grammar which evolved out of precedent and history. Selection and combination of elements within an accepted grammatical frame that is the design process and that is how we select and combine the phrases we use. Do we feel restricted, limited by this system? No, we don't. Have a look at the millions of books in libraries and consider that they are the product of this systemic and collective discipline.

Of course if you want complete and individual freedom to create your own vocabulary, grammar and language, you are entirely free to do so. Unfortunately no one will understand a single syllable of what you say.

Read this

Thursday, July 23, 2015


By Richard Brautigan

I like to think (and the sooner the better!)
Of a cybernetic meadow
Where mammals and computers live together in mutually programmed harmony
Like pure water
Touching clear sky

I like to think (right now please!)
Of a cybernetic forest filled with pines and electronics
Where deer stroll peacefully past computers
As if they were flowers
With spinning blossoms

I like to think (it has to be)
Of a cybernetic ecology where we are free of our labors
And joined back to nature,
Returned to our mammal brothers and sisters
And all watched over by machines of loving grace.