About Buildings + Cities
Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture
7 months ago

*Preview* — 77.5 — Patrick Keiller Bonus Episode

This is a preview of a bonus episode we published on Patreon as part of our series of WG Sebald's 'Austerlitz', subscribe to our Patreon to subscribe and get access to our back catalogue of bonus episodes.

In this bonus episode we talked about the films of Patrick Keiller, specifically 'London' (1994) and 'Robinson in Space' (1997), a pair of meticulously observed polemical psycho-geographies, exploring the derangements and idiosyncrasies of Britain in the Long 90s. Like in the work of Sebald, a narrator stands in for Keiller, and relates to us the strange beliefs and worldview of his interlocutor, Robinson. Keiller's exploration is laboured with literary accretions, wry observations about the decline and fall of Great Britain, and more than a little righteous anger.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
7 months ago

78 — WG Sebald's 'Austerlitz' — 2/2 — Locked Rooms

Our second episode on WG Sebald's 2001 novel 'Austerlitz', encountering strangely preserved rooms, nightmarish dream landscapes, gigantesque 19th century fantasies, and a mix of psychoanalysis, Perrault's Bibliothèque Nationale, Liverpool Street Station and Casanova.

Watch Sebald giving a reading of Austerlitz and listen to an interview with him on KCRW.

This episode is sponsored by Blue Crow Media, who gorgeous architectural maps. Use the offer code aboutbuildings at checkout to get 10% off.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
8 months ago

77 — WG Sebald's 'Austerlitz' — 1/2 — In the Nocturama

In our first episode of 2021 we discussed 'Austerlitz', the final novel by W.G. Sebald. It's the story, at the most basic level, of an architectural historian, Jacques Austerlitz, who in middle age begins to rediscover his own submerged history. It's a novel driven by architectural spaces, which are mysterious containers of both individual and collective memory and history. Austeritz's own memories of his childhood escape from Nazi-occupied Prague, his lost parents, and the bloody history of Europe itself are gradually revealed in the images and landscapes that he encounters.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Our sponsor for this episode is Blue Crow Media, who produce gorgeous architectural maps of different cities, including Pyongyang, Tbilisi and New York. Use the offer code aboutbuildings for 10% off your next purchase.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
9 months ago

*Preview* — 76.5 — Robert Moses Bonus Episode

This is a preview from our latest Patreon Bonus Episode – subscribe to our Patreon for just $3 a month to listen to the whole episode! Thank you to everyone who supported the show this year, we couldn't have done it without you, and we can't wait to discuss more architectural history in 2021.

Our final episode for 2020 is here and our last episode on Jane Jacobs. We're discussing Robert Moses, the megalomaniacal titan of New York planning who wielded enormous political power and bent the metropolis to his will, orchestrating a symphony of demolitions, highways, expressways and grands projets which changed the face of the city forever.

'You can draw any kind of picture you want on a clean slate and indulge your every whim in the wilderness in laying out a New Delhi, Canberra, or Brasilia, but when you operate in an overbuilt metropolis, you have to hack your way with a meat ax.'

He was also a spiteful bully, a racist, an egomaniac and a very difficult man, yet he maintained his authority and his power for almost 3 decades before a precipitous fall in the 1960s, when public and political opinion turned against him for good. He embodied everything that Jane Jacobs despised about urban planning, but his life and work have much to tell us about the mid-century city.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
10 months ago

76 — Jane Jacobs — 2/2 — Unslumming and Gentrification

Our second episode on Jane Jacobs' canonical work, 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities'. In this second half we further discuss her vision for the ideal city, based on her experiences in Greenwich Village in the 1950s. We focus on her ideas around 'unslumming', her alternative model of gentle and community-led gentrification which offered an alternative to the mass-demolition of deprived neighbourhoods advocated by planners during this period. We talk about the ethics and politics of gentrification and Jane's blindspot for certain pernicious effects of market economics, and her proposals for economic health. We also discuss her approach to the car in the city, which will feel very familiar to anyone concerned with transportation and urbanism today. Subscribe to our Patreon for a bonus episode coming soon on Jane's campaigns against Robert Moses and the Lower Manhattan Expressway.

Our sponsor for this episode is Blue Crow Media, who produce gorgeous architectural maps of different cities, including Pyongyang, Tbilisi and New York. Use the offer code aboutbuildings for 10% off your next purchase!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
10 months ago

75 — Jane Jacobs — 1/2 — Eyes on the Street

The first episode in a two-part series on Jane Jacobs, a profoundly influential writer, thinker and campaigner on issues of urbanism, whose magnum opus 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities' (1961) forms the backbone of our discussion. In it, Jacobs lays out an idealised vision of tight-knit, dense communities, inspired by her time living in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. It is a vision of an interconnected, urban way of life dominated by local small-scale agents: families, independent businesses and community ties from which emerge vitality, security and comfort in densely populated streets of tenements with wide sidewalks and endless lines of sight across the bustling public spaces.

Jacobs' work was a rejection of many sacred cows of modernist planning, espoused by architects and bureaucrats alike: questions of density, scale, urban grain, transportation and space. Jacobs felt that their efforts rarely supported the vitality and energy she found so alluring in the tenements of Greenwich Village.

Subscribe to our Patreon for a discussion of one of the infrastructure projects Jacobs campaigned against: Robert Moses and the Lower Manhattan Expressway.

Also, we just reached 1 million listens on this feed! Thank you so much for all your support, we couldn't have done it without you. Remember to tell a friend, and give the show a review if you enjoyed it.

Our sponsor for this episode is Blue Crow Media, who produce gorgeous architectural maps of different cities, including Pyongyang, Tbilisi and New York. Use the offer code aboutbuildings for 10% off your next purchase!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
11 months ago

74 — Monasteries — 3/3 — Fourier, Narkomfin, La Tourette

The final episode in our series on the deep history of the monastery. Modernity has arrived and monasticism is living a strange afterlife. First, we discuss the early 19th century Utopian Socialism of Charles Fourier, whose Phalanstère take the framework of the monastery and repurpose it to build community whose purpose is not the Opus Dei, but to ensure that all its members live fulfilling and happy lives. Next come the Constructivist communities of the early Soviet Union, where monastic communal living is weaponised as a tool to smash traditional bourgeois lifestyles and mould the next generation. Lastly we return to the the sunny hills of southern France, where Le Corbusier brought together his late-career love of sculptural concrete with the religious revival in postwar France to build the greatest monastery of the 20th century, La Tourette.

Our final episode of this series, on Romanticism and the Monastery, will be out on our Patreon feed next week.

Make sure you visit our instagram and view the pinned stories on 'Monasteries' for all the images from this series. Our next series on Jane Jacobs will begin next month.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
1 year ago

73 — Monasteries — 2/3 — The Apostolic Life

In our second episode on Monasteries we're talking about Carthusians, millenarian religiosity, the co-option of radicalism by the mainstream, baroque splendour, Slow TV, retirement bungalows and whether Jesus owned the shirt on his back. In this episode we attempt to delve into the way that monastery buildings facilitate true Monastic obedience, and the way that different typologies of monastic domesticity might reflect different priorities in their orders. We also question how the Church harnessed the radical and dangerous power of popular religiosity by co-opting some movements into the status quo, such as the Franciscan Order, whilst burning countless Cathars and Waldensians as heretics.

For more on these themes, catch our latest bonus episode on Umberto Eco's 'The Name of the Rose'. Another Patreon Bonus on Dominican heretic Tommaso Campanella's psychedelic and monkish Utopia 'The City of the Sun' will be out very soon.

You can watch the documentary we mention about a Carthusian Monastery 'Into Great Silence' on YouTube

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
1 year ago

72 — Monasteries — 1/3 — Cluniacs and Cistercians

In this new 3 part series we’re trying something a little bit different, we’re going to try and think about the monastery from deep time up to the present day. The monastery is an almost unique architectural typology; in its continuity, the specificity of the brief and its legacy and afterlife. In this first episode we discuss the origins of the monastery, and the conflict that arises between differing visions of monastic life in 11-12th century France. What role should architecture, art, sculptural decoration, gold, marble and jewels play in the life of a monk sworn to poverty? How can the architecture and style of monasteries give voice to the ideologies of the monastic orders that live in them? We will be thinking about the afterlife of monasteries in the fervent imagination of modernism in later episodes.

Make sure you visit our pinned instagram story to see images of the amazing buildings we are discussing.

This episode is sponsored by Blue Crow Media, who publish lushly designed architectural maps of cities all over the world, from brutalist Sydney to Art Deco New York. Use the offer code aboutbuildings to get 10% off if you buy before the end of August.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. For this episode we will very shortly be releasing a Patreon bonus on Umberto Eco's post-modern genre mashup 'The Name of the Rose'.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…
1 year ago

71 — Christopher Alexander — 2/2 — Pattern Language

In our second episode on Christopher Alexander, we discuss 'A Pattern Language', the book he wrote with Murray Silverstein and Sara Ishikawa, published in 1977. The text proposes a list of patterns, derived from experience, imagination and vernacular traditions, from the scale of the city to the balcony and the flowerbed. The text has been influential on many professions, from architects to computer programmers, and its blend of universal claims, spatial analysis, political idiosyncrasy and design logic makes it a unique and intriguing piece of theory. We then discuss some of Alexander's buildings, which we admittedly have not been to visit, but generally we find them to be somewhat wanting!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. Check out our most recent bonus on the debate between Christopher Alexander and Peter Eisenman at Harvard in 1982.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

Follow us on twitter // instagram // facebook

We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

<img alt="Picture of Alexander's Sala House" src="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EcyqtGiWkAEMrgH?format=jpg&name=900x900" title="Sala House" />

<img src="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EcyqtGiWkAEMrgH?format=jpg&name=900x900" alt="Sala House" title="Sala House" width="900" height="900" />

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…