About Buildings + Cities
Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture
1 year 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.

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1 year 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!

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1 year 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.

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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.

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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'.

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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.

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<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" />

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1 year ago

70 — Christopher Alexander — 1/2 —Notes on the Synthesis of Form

This is the first episode of a new series on Design Theorist, Architect, Mathematician and Computation Fan, Christopher Alexander. Alexander studied Mathematics at Cambridge University in the 1950s, then undertook the first ever PhD in Architecture at Harvard, where he applied newly emerging ideas of computational analysis to questions of design. The results of this combination are bizarre, often illogical, undeniably of there time, but also lay the foundations for much subsequent interaction between design and computation, including the Parametricism that we discussed in our last series on Zaha Hadid. In this first episode we mainly discuss his 1964 work Notes on the Synthesis of Form, which was based on his PhD thesis. Make sure to subscribe to catch the next episode, where we will discuss his 1977 work with Ishikawa and Silverstein, Pattern Language.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

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2 years ago

69 — Zaha Hadid — 4/4 — The Parametric Years

In this final episode on Zaha Hadid we discuss a small fraction of the huge number of projects that ZHA produced from the early noughties up to Zaha's untimely death in 2016. We attempt to reflect on Zaha's legacy as a designer, try to understand what concepts defined her design process, from Parametricism to pure sculptural form. There are so many projects from this period that we could have talked about, so we focus on discussing the most

Projects discussed: Maxxi Museum in Rome, Ordrupgaard Museum Extension in Denmark, Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, the Kartal Masterplan proposed for Istanbul, Bergisel Ski Jump and the Nordpark railway stations in Innbruck, the London Aquatic Centre built for the 2012 Olympics, the Library at the University of Economics in Vienna, Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, the SOHO projects in Beijing and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Saudi Arabia.

Pictures of all these projects will be on our pinned instagram story titled 'Zaha 4'.

The site recording at the London Aquatics Centre will be published in full on our Patreon, which you can access for just $3 a month.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

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We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

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2 years ago

68 — Zaha Hadid — 3/4 — Vitra to Cardiff

The third part of our ongoing series on Zaha Hadid! In this episode we discuss the early buildings of the practice, including IBA housing in Berlin, Vitra Fire Station, Spittelau Viaduct Housing, and the unbuilt competition winning design for the Cardiff Opera House. As always, make sure you check out our pinned instagram story to see pictures of all of the projects we discuss. Thanks for listening!

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!

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We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

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2 years ago

Bonus Unlocked — 48.5 — OMA — Bigness

UNLOCKED PATREON BONUS

This unlocked bonus episode comes from our Patreon feed, where we post extra content and bonus discussions with every episode of the podcast. This bonus follows on from Episode 48, discussing the early projects of OMA and the theory of BIGNESS developed by Rem Koolhaas. If you want to access many hours of bonus material like this, you can subscribe to our Patreon for just $3 a month at www.patreon.com/about_buildings.

Our series on Zaha Hadid will continue next week.

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…