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Rank #11 in Visual Arts category

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Design
Visual Arts

About Buildings + Cities

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #11 in Visual Arts category

Arts
Design
Visual Arts
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A podcast about architecture, buildings and cities, from the distant past to the present day. Plus detours into technology, film, fiction, comics, drawings, and the dimly imagined future. With Luke Jones and George Gingell.

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A podcast about architecture, buildings and cities, from the distant past to the present day. Plus detours into technology, film, fiction, comics, drawings, and the dimly imagined future. With Luke Jones and George Gingell.

iTunes Ratings

140 Ratings
Average Ratings
115
16
5
0
4

Lighthearted and Interesting

By Idodots - Nov 25 2019
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This is the only podcast about architecture theory I have found thus far, so it's great that I actually really enjoy it. If you're very precious about the pillars of architectureal theory like Le Corbusier and you don't want to hear criticism of them then you will probably hate this show. However, if you'd like an accessible discussion of these topics (and others!) then give it a shot! I've been going back and raiding the archives while working on projects.

Great Deep Architecture Talk

By kincaidedward8 - Apr 11 2019
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Probably the least colloquial podcast that I regularly listen to, but in a good way.

iTunes Ratings

140 Ratings
Average Ratings
115
16
5
0
4

Lighthearted and Interesting

By Idodots - Nov 25 2019
Read more
This is the only podcast about architecture theory I have found thus far, so it's great that I actually really enjoy it. If you're very precious about the pillars of architectureal theory like Le Corbusier and you don't want to hear criticism of them then you will probably hate this show. However, if you'd like an accessible discussion of these topics (and others!) then give it a shot! I've been going back and raiding the archives while working on projects.

Great Deep Architecture Talk

By kincaidedward8 - Apr 11 2019
Read more
Probably the least colloquial podcast that I regularly listen to, but in a good way.

Listen to:

Cover image of About Buildings + Cities

About Buildings + Cities

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

A podcast about architecture, buildings and cities, from the distant past to the present day. Plus detours into technology, film, fiction, comics, drawings, and the dimly imagined future. With Luke Jones and George Gingell.

26 – Le Corbusier – 1 – Have Formwork, Will Travel

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We’re taking on the origin story of (for better or worse) the most important architect of the 20th century — Charles-Edouard Jeanneret aka Le Corbusier. His origins — petit bourgeois, Swiss, provincial — can make his eventual rise to world-enveloping notoriety and era-defining influence seem all the more unlikely. We’re digging into his childhood, family, education and travels as a young man before taking on a couple of early projects.

We discuss — 

  • La Chaux de Fonds
  • Charles L’Eplattanier, his teacher
  • Jugendstil & Art Nouveau

Early projects — 

  • Villa Fallet
  • Villas Stotzer & Jacquemet
  • Villa Jeanneret
  • Villa Favre-Jacot

Travels, and meetings with — 

  • Otto Wagner
  • Josef Hoffmann
  • Vienna Secession Building
  • Auguste Perret
  • Rue Franklin Apartments
  • Peter Behrens
  • Mount Athos

And a more detailed look at — 

  • Villa Schwob (including Colin Rowe’s ‘Mannerism and Modern Architecture’)
  • Maison Domino

We've been reading —

  • Nicholas Fox Weber ‘Le Corbusier: A Life’ (2008)
  • Jean-Louis Cohen ‘Le Corbusier: Le Grand’ (2014)
  • Oppositions 15-16 (1980)

Music — 
The final part of Beethoven’s 9th — the Ode to Joy

An excerpt from —  Mahler: Symphony No. 3: iii. Comodo. Scherzando. Ohne Hast from archive.org

Britt Brothers — ‘Alpine Milkman Yodel’ (1933) from archive.org

Thanks for listening!

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Nov 13 2017

1hr 10mins

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48 — OMA 1989 — Going Big

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Rem Koolhaas and the firm he founded with three partners in 1975 — Office of Metropolitan Architects, OMA — are fascinating, critical and provocative presence within the architectural culture of the 1970s and 1980s, riding the wave of the crisis of modernist collapse while positioning themselves outside or against all of the main tendencies in the post-modern.

In this episode we’re focussing on a particular, transitional moment, in which the early ‘paper’ projects start to be replaced by real buildings and large scale competition entries, culminating in three fascinating competition entries from 1989 — the Zeebrugge Sea Terminal, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) and Très Grand Bibliothèque (TBG).

Lee Rosevere ‘Baldachin’ from the album ‘Music for Podcasts 3’ on the Free Music Archive

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.

Feb 11 2019

1hr 17mins

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46 — Robert Venturi's 'Complexity & Contradiction' — Valid Banalities

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For the first AB+C of 2019 we’re tackling one of the seminal texts of the 1960s, and an iconic moment in the stylistic overthrow of the postwar modernist order — Robert Venturi’s ‘Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture’ (1966). It’s a slim, lavishly illustrated volume, which seems lucid and straightforward, but upon closer reading turns out to be much more elusive. What are complexity and contradiction, where are they found, and what are architects supposed to do with them?

On the bonus we’ll be discussing the early projects of Venturi and Rauch.

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus — a streaming learning service with video lectures by experts in all sorts of fields. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/BUILDINGS to get a month of free access to thousands of courses.

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.

Jan 14 2019

1hr 55mins

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39 — Catastrophe Curves — Early 90s Computer Architecture

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The 1990s were when computers really entered the mainstream of architecture. The rise of personal computing, with wider access to inexpensive machines, the world wide web, advances in software and hardware, all took place against the background of global political transformation that at the time was theorised as the End of History, the breakup of the Soviet Union, democratisation, and the apparent rise of a single, global, liberal capitalist world order.

But the exploration of CAD, rendering, generative design and CNC manufacture would all be theorised through a pre-existing set of ideas and agendas, drawing heavily on ‘French theory’ — Derrida, (and particularly) Deleuze — and a partially pre-digested blend of complexity mathematics. We find ourselves — among the blobs, deformed surfaces, landscapes and evolutionary forms — in a world of ‘affective singularities’, ‘the Fold’, pliancy, Catastrophe Theory…

We talk technology, key actors, and attempt a glossary of key concepts…

Under discussion — 
— Frank Gehry’s fish sculpture
— Revit / BIM
— The F117 and B2 defense projects
— Peter Eisenman
— John Frazer
— MIT Computer Lab
— the Bilbao Guggenheim
— Cardiff opera house
— Yokohama ferry terminal
— NOX’s Freshwater and Saltwater pavilions
— The Affective
— Catastrophe Theory
— D’Arcy Thompson
— The Fold
— Singularity
— Max Reinhardt Haus
— Phallogocentrism & Helene Cixous

Recordings are from Peter Eisenman’s Lecture ‘Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media’ (1993) (AA archive)[https://www.aaschool.ac.uk//VIDEO/lecture.php?ID=737]

Music —
Lee Rosevere ‘Quizitive’
Lee Rosevere ‘Curiosity’
Lee Rosevere ‘Thoughtful’ all from (Free Music Archive)[freemusicarchive.org]

Clips of —  Awesome 3 ‘Don’t Go’ (1992)
Liquid ‘Sweet Harmony’ (1992)
2 Bad Mice ‘Bombscare’ (1992)
M.A.N.I.C ‘I’m Coming Hardcore’ (Original Mix) (1991)

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

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Jul 17 2018

1hr 31mins

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53 — Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira — 1/3 — Radio School

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Katsuhiro Otomo’s vast magnum opus ‘Akira’ (1982-90) is one of the landmarks of late 20th century science fiction — a story of psychic battles, youth counterculture and technology run out of control — all set in Neo-Tokyo, a vast megastructure in the Tokyo bay.

If you’ve only ever heard of one manga, it’s probably this one. We’ve been reading the definitive black and white version — worth getting hold of if you can.

Actually we didn’t even get to start talking about the book proper because we went on about context too long. We talked a bit about the earlier works ‘Fireball’ and ‘Domu’, the documentary ’God Speed You Black Emperor’, manga as a genre, and a load of other stuff.

The bonus will look at the early work in more detail.

This episode is sponsored by the Article Trade Program and The Great Courses Plus

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.

May 01 2019

57mins

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18 – Junkspace – Rem Koolhaas & the End of Architecture

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A fuzzy empire of blur, a low grade purgatory, a perpetual Jacuzzi with millions of your best friends…

We're discussing Junkspace (2001), Rem Koolhaas's notoriously elliptical wander through the dystopian and formless morass of early 21st retail architecture that seems gradually to be devouring the city, and the world.

In keeping with the essay, the episode is radically unstructured, only barely makes sense, and is held together largely by hyperbole.

We discussed –
– Rem Koolhaas and OMA
– The books SMLXL and Delirious New York
Exodus: The Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture
– Frederic Jameson's review of Junkspace in NLR 21 (2003)
– Jameson's Postmodernism, Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991)
– Walter Benajmin's Passagenwerk or Arcades Project

Music –
'Ruca' and 'Agnes' from the album 'Teal' by Rod Hamilton
and 'Curiosity', 'Quisitive' and 'Biking in the Park' from the album 'Music for Podcasts' by Lee Rosevere; both from the Free Music Archive
Blue Gas 'Shadows From Nowhere' (1984)

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Apr 17 2017

1hr 3mins

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56 — The Reactionaries — 1/2 — Interwar Anxieties

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Come and see us record a live episode at Dulwich Picture Gallery on the 26th June! We'd love to meet you!

Modernist Architecture has always had more than its fair share of critics. In this episode, the first of a two parter, we discuss the reactionary, counter-revolutionary opposition to modernism in Britain during the interwar period. First, comes an examination of the stodgy, flag-waving, imperialist Classicism of the Edwardian era, which Luke thinks includes some of the worst architecture in Britain. One of the perpetrators of that style, Reginald Blomfield, wrote a patriotic screed against the continental, ‘cosmopolitan’ Modern architecture, which he subtly titled ‘Modernismus.’ We also examine Lutyens’ review of ‘Towards a New Architecture,’ a critique of Corbusier’s theory, but also a refutation of modernism as an appropriate style for living in. Lastly we consider the slightly outlandish ‘England and the Octopus’ by the eccentric architect Clough William Ellis, famous for designing the town sized folly of Portmeirion in North Wales. Fruity characters, problematic tropes and anxiety about a declining Empire abound.

In the bonus episode we will discuss the Evelyn Waugh's 'Decline and Fall.'

This episode is sponsored by The Article Trade Program.

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.

Jun 17 2019

1hr 27mins

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22 – Chicago Tribune – 1 of 2 – World's Most Beautiful Office Building

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In 1922, to coincide with its 75th birthday, the Chicago Tribune set out to endow the city with ‘the world’s most beautiful office building’. The results of the design competition have been seen in retrospect less as ‘the ultimate in civic expression’ than as an expression of aesthetic and theoretical crisis within architecture. Hugely varied, bizarre, ingenious and occasionally grotesque, the entries provide a window into a discipline in transformation, as well as into the politics of a new American metropolis.

Apologies for some slight issues with the sound.

A book showing all the competition entries has been uploaded to Monoskop — if you download it you will be able to see what we’re talking about…
https://monoskop.org/File:TribuneTowerCompetitionvol1_1980.pdf

We discuss the entries by John Mead Howells & Raymond Hood (plate 1)
Eliel Saarinen (13)
Holabird & Roche (20)
John Wynkoop (90)
Ross & Sloan (84)
Hornbostel & Wood (91)
Daniel Burnham (44)
Jarvis Hunt (118)
William Drummond (134)
Sjostrom & Eklund (190)

Music includes —
Arthur Fields ‘How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paree?’
Jockers Dance Orchestra ‘The Royal Vagabond’
The Columbians ‘Just Like a Rainbow’
Victor Dance Orchestra ‘The Great One Step’
…all from the Free Music Archive and first heard on the excellent Antique Phonograph Music Program

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Aug 10 2017

1hr 2mins

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42 — John Ruskin — Rock Lover

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John Ruskin’s ‘Stones of Venice’ is one of the monuments of architectural theory in the 19th century. But it’s a hard book to get through, or to get inside. It’s incredibly long, and animated by a kind of moralistic passion that feels a little alien, at best quaint, or childish. Part of the reason is that Ruskin was a Victorian — indeed, one of the great formers of Victorian taste.

We were planning to talk about the first part of the book, but in the end we just spent the whole episode trying to get to grips with what that means. Why was he like this?

We’ll read the first two parts in the next episode. Thanks for being patient!

As usual we got a couple of things wrong — Little Nell is actually in ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. Also the number of volumes of ‘modern painters’ isn’t five — there are 7, actually — though often sold as five volumes.

Music — 
Tita Ruffo ‘Visione Veneziana’

Audio includes — the following site recordings from the Radio Aporee project on archive.org
Ksamil, Albanie - Midnight waves / by François-Emmanuel Fodéré (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee2534929390]
17590 Ars-en-Ré, France - Waves wheeling / by Vincent Duseigne (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee4030746036]
river Drava, Loka - dry grass, river flow, stones / by OR poiesis (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee2505729057]
larnichtsberg, swallows, crows and insects / by Frank Schulte (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee1154413596]
Venice, Italy - fish market / by Carlos Santos (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee1646119081]
12230 Nant, France - Nant bells / by Vincent Duseigne (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee3222937026]
Ksamil, Ksamil island, District de Sarandë, Albanie - Waves and waves / by François-Emmanuel Fodéré (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee3014034668]
Bruges, Belgique - Brugge bells / by Vincent Duseigne (link)[https://archive.org/details/aporee3179836523]

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.

Sep 30 2018

1hr 20mins

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40 — '2001 – A Space Odyssey' 1/2 — Pink Upholstery in Cartesian Space

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Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001 a space odyssey is the iconic depiction of space travel, channeling the optimism and excitement of radical advances in space exploration and technology. It’s an uncompromising, utterly singular film, whose vision of a possible future is carried through comprehensively. Its scope and ambition are still basically unequalled. Kubrick is famous for the obsessiveness of his research — in this case bringing in expertise from leading scientists, cutting edge digital pioneers, animators, makers of special effects. As a result, 2001 seems to capture the imagination of a very particular era of technological optimism in the mid 1960s in America and worldwide.

We talk about the film, its amazing worlds and interiors, the Worlds Fairs in Seattle and New York which were a proving ground for many of those involved, as well as passing references to — Chris Marker’s La Jetee
— Charles and Ray Eames
— Xerox PARC
— Superstudio

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. On this episode's bonus — we're talking Osaka Expo and Space habitats.

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Aug 02 2018

1hr 8mins

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03 – How To Run An Efficient Dystopia – Taylorism and Science Fiction Cities

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George & Luke survey three dystopian cities; the glass perfection of Yvegny Zamyatin’s ‘We’, the consumer World State of Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, and the shattered ruin of George Orwell’s ‘1984’. Competing visions of technological progress gone awry, and the real-world ideas that inspired them.

We read:
Yvegeny Zamyatin ‘We’ tr. Clarence Brown (Penguin, 1993)
Aldous Huxley ‘Brave New World’ (1932)
George Orwell ‘1984’ (1948)

Music:
‘Shadows’, ‘Fearweaver’, ‘Bindings’ and ‘Demons’ from the album ‘Phantoms’ by Three Chain Links. From the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org

Aug 24 2016

1hr 34mins

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13 – Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead' – 1 of 2

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This isn't one of those book reviews where you're expected to read the book first – we did it so you don't have to.

Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead' is a 750 page long novel which at times is physically painful to read. It's a supposedly 'philosophical' book in which none of the motivations and actions of the characters make any sense. People have long conversations which are nearly impossible to follow. Rand maunders on about apparently random bits of mise-en-scene for pages. Even if you were going to live for a thousand years, it would still be an outrageous misuse of your time.

In spite of this, it's probably the most successful and influential depiction of an architect in fiction – the indominatable will of one (orange haired) man, Howard Roark, pitted against the entire resources of a corrupt and servile society, determined to try and make him care about other people's well-being.

Millions of people have read (and claimed to enjoy!) it.

We've had a moderately good time making fun of it.

Expect bad language and worse politics throughout.

Features music by Chris Zabriskie –
'Heliograph' from the album 'Divider', 'The Dark Glow of the Mountains', 'I need to start writing things down' and 'We always thought the future would be kind of fun' from the album 'The Dark Glow of Mountains' and 'Cylinder 3' from the album 'Cylinders'. All at the Free Music Archive

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Jan 30 2017

56mins

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37 — Le Corbusier — 8 — Five Points Towards a New Architecture

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We now have a Patreon — you can subscribe to get additional content for every episode.

Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanerret's 'Five Points' (1926) were an attempt to condense the fundamental structural and design principles underlying their new architecture. Drawing on the discoveries made during design and construction of their early villa projects, the points are in a sense the culmination and fulfillment of the original 'Maison Domino' idea of 1914.

The points set the template for the most famous 'Purist' villas of the later 1920s, culminating in the Villas Stein-La Monzie and Savoye, icons of what became the 'International Style.'

This episode started off as a single chat but there was too much so we've split it.

We discuss —  — Villa Church (need photos of spaces)
— Pierre Chenal's film 'L'architecture d'aujourd'hui'
— Five points towards a new architecture
— Villa Meyer
— Villa Ocampo
— Ramps
— Villa Cook

Music — 'Modern Design' Johnny Messner And His Orchestra from archive.org

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

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Jul 01 2018

41mins

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28 – Le Corbusier – 3 – Towards a New Architecture

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A new epoch has begun! Le Corbusier’s ‘discovery’ is that the style of future architecture is to be found new inventions of the machine age — planes, cars, ocean liners. But ‘Towards a New Architecture’ is, at its heart, an argument for a fusion of timeless values and contemporary technology — provocatively encapsulated in its juxtaposition of a sports car and the Parthenon.

We went through the book in order, focussing on the chapters:

  • The Engineer’s Aesthetic
  • Three Reminders to Architects
    - Regulating Lines
  • Eyes Which Do Not See
  • The Pure Creation of the Mind
  • Architecture or Revolution

Mentioning along the way: LC’s early books

  • ‘Etude sur le mouvement d’art décoratif en Allemagne’, ‘Apres Le Cubisme’, ‘L’Art decoratif d’aujourdhui’, ‘La peinture moderne’
  • Adolf Loos
  • Piranesi’s ‘Campo Marzo’
  • The Ecole des Beaux Arts
  • Poché as a heuristic
  • Christopher Alexander’s ‘A Pattern Language’
  • Rob Krier ‘Architectural Design’
  • Greek temples in Athens and Paestum
  • Michelangelo
  • Patrick Schumacher’s ’Autopoiesis of Architecture’
  • at the end I sort of talked rather half-heartedly about Full Luxury Communism

Music is by Lee Rosevere
From the albums ‘Music for Podcasts’ and ‘Music for Podcasts 2’ ‘Musical Mathematics’, ‘Biking in the park’, ‘Featherlight’, ‘Places Unseen’

The outdo is by Mde. Ed. Bolduc ‘J’ai un bouton sur la langue’ archive.org

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Dec 13 2017

1hr 2mins

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34 — Adolf Loos's 'Ornament and Crime' — Bathroom Kink

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Adolf Loos’s essay ‘Ornament and Crime’ (1910) is considered the classic modernist polemic against the frills and folderols of the established arts of the day.

We're in the city of Freud — and the neurotic subtext is very close to the surface.

We discuss a little of Loos’s career as an architectural iconoclast, jersey fanatic, and pervert :-/

Then we go on to a more freeform discussion of ornament in the contemporary, during which we massively contradict ourselves several times.

We discussed — 

  • Freud Nietzsche Hegel Darwin
  • Louis Sullivan
  • Mrs Beeton
  • English Free Building — Hermann Muthesius
  • Peter Behrens
  • Karl Friedrich Schinkel
  • Joseph Maria Olbrich
  • Henry van der Velde
  • Joseph Hoffmann
  • Josephine Baker’s 'Banana Dance'
  • The black granite bathroom at Villa Karma
  • (On the subject of reprehensible characters) Albert Speer

Contemporary ornamenters — 

  • Caruso St John
  • Farshid Moussavi & her book on facades

Music — 

  • Victor Sylvester and his Ballroom Orchestra ‘Vienna, City of my Dreams’
  • The Three Suns ‘Alt Wien’ (1949)
  • Philharmonic Orchestra Berlin ‘Von Wien durch die Welt'
  • Oldbrig's zither trio ‘Wien bliebt Wien’
    All from archive.org

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Apr 10 2018

1hr 5mins

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38 — Le Corbusier — 9 — Villa Stein & Villa Savoye

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We now have a Patreon — you can subscribe to get additional content for every episode.

Projects like the Villa Stein and Villa Savoye are icons of modernist architecture — among the most famous of all modern buildings — images and symbols of what modern architecture is. Below all the machine age crispness, there's also a certain amount of weird bourgeois sex stuff as well.

This is the second part of the conversation we began in episode 37 — it's best to listen to that one first.

Music — 
'Easy Living' Bob Howard and his Orchestra from archive.org

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

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This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Jul 02 2018

1hr 1min

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29 – Le Corbusier – 4 – At Home He Feels Like A Purist

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For our Christmas episode, we're discussing the early Purist villas!

Knowing the right people, and a relentless programme of self-publicity yielded a steady stream of clients for Le Corbusier in the early 1920s, and allowed him to explore an architectural complement to Purism, most notably in a pair of houses for art-loving ‘batchelors’ — the Ozenfant Studio and Villa La Roche. We found time to discuss (probably with unwarranted levity, sorry) the death of Le Corbusier’s father George, and his troubled marriage to Yvonne Gallis.

Topics include —  - Maison Citrohan
- Villa Ker-ka-re
- Studio Ozenfant

  • Villa La Roche
    - Allusions to the English House and Pliny episodes 01 & 05, and 02 Strawberry Hill (Horace Walpole)
  • The Architectural promenade
    - The Hôtel Particulier
    - CN Ledoux
    - Ryue Nishizawa & SANAA
    - Domesticity, Layered Space and the ‘Buffer Zone’
  • Villa Le Lac in Corseaux
    - The 'involuntary euthanasia' of his father George
    - Luigi Snozzi
  • Yvonne Gallis

Music —

  • Emile Petti and his cosmopolitans — Cocktail Hour at the Savoy Plaza
  • Joseph C Smith’s Orchestra ‘Oh, Frenchy!’
  • Charles Trenet ‘En ecoutant mon cour chanter’
  • Jean Sablon ‘J’attendrai’ all from archive.org

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Dec 23 2017

1hr 5mins

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04 – Barbican Estate – Establishment Brutalism

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Exploring the history and architecture of the inimitable Barbican Estate, the joys of brutalism, concrete, late modernist planning, concealed historical references, getting lost, etc. Includes a couple of short forays into the imagined lives of inhabitants and visitors...

Music includes:
‘Β6’ from the album ‘ΝΕΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΚΟΚΚΑΛΑ’ by Kοκκαλα and ‘Heavy Traffic’ from the album ‘The Happiest Days Of Our Lives’ by Three Chain Links. Both from the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org

Look at pictures on our Google+ page:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/104384327113725304822

Aug 29 2016

1hr 2mins

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47 — Venturi Scott-Brown & Learning From Las Vegas

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We continue our discussion of the theoretical works of Robert Venturi with this episode on ‘Learning from Las Vegas — The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form’ — researched and written with Denise Scott-Brown and Steven Izenour, and published in 1972.

The book, which examines the architecture of the Vegas strip, is the origin of the famous ‘Duck vs Decorated Shed’ comparison, and contains a lot else besides, including denunciations of the cult of Space, praise for the ‘ugly and ordinary,’ a certain amount of ostentatiously-wielded erudition, and so on.

Music:
Al Smith 'Road House' https://archive.org/details/78road-houseal-smith-a-smith-c-carter_gbia0054635a

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus — a streaming learning service with video lectures by experts in all sorts of fields. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/BUILDINGS to get a month of free access to thousands of courses.

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.

Jan 28 2019

1hr 30mins

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33 — Le Corbusier — 7 — Early Mass Housing

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In this episode we explore in two early schemes for mass housing, at Pessac and in Stuttgart.

Among many other things, we talked about —

  • Bourneville
  • New Lanark
    - Arnold circus
    - Bruno taut’s horseshoe estate
    - Pessac
    - Henri Frugès
    - The Weissenhofseidlung
    - Margarete Schutte-Lihotsky
    - Hannes Meyer’s essay ‘The New World’

Music & Interlude — - Harry Ross ‘Get Me an Apartment - Part 1’ from archive.org

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Mar 25 2018

1hr

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62 — Leon Battista Alberti — 2/2 — Building the Quattrocento

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62 — Leon Battista Alberti — 2/2 — Building the Quattrocento

Having discussed his magnum opus, 'De Re Aedificatoria' in the last episode, here we discuss the curious collection of buildings that Alberti designed across Italy over the course of his lifetime. From the hulking and austere white stone of the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini to the carefully proportioned fine marble inlay of the Santa Maria Novella in Florence, these buildings have a unique feeling, that reflects the idiosyncratic interests of Alberti in conjuring the authentic mood of Classical Architecture, within the confines of his rigid understanding of proportion and geometry. These moments of strangeness are heightened by the incomplete nature of much of the work, and his own distance from the construction process, most of which he directed by letter. Make sure you check out the pinned story on our instagram for this episode, where you will find lots of high quality images of the buildings we're discussing.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Dec 09 2019

1hr 48mins

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61 — Leon Battista Alberti — 1/2 — De Re Aedificatoria

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In this first episode of a two parter, we tackle the original big beautiful bouncing boy of the High Italian Renaissance, Leon Battista Alberti, and his 1485 blockbuster publication, On the Art of Building in Ten Books. After Vitruvius' original Ten Books, De Re Aedificatoria represents only the second explicitly architectural treatise in the history of Western Architecture. Alberti's work covers everything you'd need to start building and much more, including: sacrificial animal murder; mysterious gases that leak from the ground; how best to control a mob; endless quotations from Classical sources and some ruminations on the nature of beauty. We also discuss the historical context of Renaissance Italy, Florentine class-warfare shenanigans and the many strange and unexpected twists and turns of this enigmatic cornerstone of the canon. In the second episode we will be discussing Alberti's buildings!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Nov 05 2019

1hr 39mins

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60 — Reyner Banham — 2/2 — Design By Choice

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In our second and final episode on Reyner Banham, we discuss his pivot to Los Angeles, his love affair with Archigram, his theories of Megastructure, and his later projects on American industrial vernacular ('Concrete Atlantis') and his unpublished book about the High-Tech movement.

After his support of the Smithsons and the 'New Brutalism' Banham was next renowned for supporting and publicising the work of English paper-architecture utopia-envisioners Archigram. We discuss Archigram, their lack of built fabric and the potentials of ecstatic 1960s techno-optimism. Banham's most iconic work is probably his 1972 documentary 'Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles' and we discuss the documentary, Banham's idiosyncratic presenting style, as well as his blind spots around race, class, and the un-freedom of bottomless consumption. You will hear a series of clips from the documentary scattered through the episode. We also reflect on Banham's legacy, the revival of his reputation, and the difficulties of techno-optimism in the face of the climate crisis.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. The next bonus episode will be discussing the ropily-acted Sci-Fi cult classic 'Silent Running' in all its Banham-ite glory.

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Oct 10 2019

1hr 21mins

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59 — Reyner Banham — 1/2 — Science for Kicks

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As requested by the listeners, part one of a two parter on Reyner Banham!

Banham was an architectural critic, historian, scenester and prophet of the future, with a flair for iconoclastic and pugilistic writing. In this first episode we discuss his background in Norwich and his studies at the Courtauld Institute under Nikolaus Pevsner, where he wrote his PhD on the history of the modern movement. We then consider his involvement with 'The Independent Group' at the Institute of Contemporary Art, his support for the 'New Brutalism' of Alison and Peter Smithson, and his role in British architectural culture.

Central to the development of Banham's project was his obsession with technology and his growing fascination with the potentials of American consumerism and the ways it might change architecture. We conclude with his ecstatic vision of the mechanical pudenda of technological architecture, in his first visits to America and his plastic bag homes.

Here are the key Banham texts we discussed in this episode:

PhD thesis (later to be published as Theory and Design in the First Machine Age)

'School at Hunstanton, Norfolk' Architectural Review, September 1954

'The Machine Aesthetic' Architectural Review, April 1955

'Vehicles of Desire' Art, September 1955

'The New Brutalism' Architectural Review, December 1955

Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, 1960

'The History of the Immediate Future' RIBA Journal, May 1961

'What Architecture of Technology?' Architectural Review, February 1962

'A Clip-On Architecture' Design Quarterly 63, 1965

'A Home is Not a House' Art in America, Vol. 2 1965

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Sep 22 2019

1hr 22mins

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58 — The Reactionaries — 3/3 — The Empire Strikes Back

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In our final episode on Reactionaries, we explore the politics and theory that underpinned the reactionary rejection of Modernism in the 70s and 80s. We discuss Prince Charles' architectural interventions and the theories of our future king's favourite architect, Leon Krier (and Krier's problematic fave, Albert Speer). We also dive into the hotbed of Trad theorising, Peterhouse College Cambridge, and its two favourite sons, architectural historian David Watkin and philosopher Roger Scruton. We explore the framing of traditionalist theory against modernist hegemony, and ask if the architectural consensus of the 21st century is a bit more Trad than some advocates would admit.

We also dip our toes into the culture war, and ask questions about the political connotations of architectural style in the age of social media. Is an obsession with style actually holding us back from confronting the real social, economic and political problems that ail the city? Ultimately, we lament the destruction of good architecture of any style, with a poignant reflection on the proposed fate of the Aton Estate in Roehampton

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Aug 19 2019

1hr 21mins

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57 — The Reactionaries — 2/3 — Caesar's Palace without the Fun

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In our second episode on Reactionaries, we explore the rejection of modernism by traditionalist architects and theorists in England after the Second World War. Modernism became the hegemonic architectural and urbanist mode in England during this period, and we examine those who rejected the consensus, and sought to continue the retreat into the past, designing architecture that occasionally verges on Caesar's Palace, without any of the fun.

In this episode, we discuss Raymond Erith, the traditionalist architect who restored Number 10 Downing Street in the 1960s. We go on to discuss his pupil, Quinlan Terry, whose Richmond Riverside Development we went to visit and recorded our observations in situ. Their stodgy, and often unsuccessful attempts to revive and reconjure a classical vernacular expresses a political and ideological agenda that we attempt to unpack, and will go on to discuss in our final episode on the Reactionaries.

As always, find images on our social media feeds, and footage from the trip to Richmond in a pinned story on our instagram.

There will be a bonus episode discussing the cult 60s TV Show The Prisoner for Patreon Subscribers.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Aug 01 2019

1hr 23mins

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Conversation 3 — Dulwich Picture Gallery — Soane in The Colour Palace

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This is the audio from our live panel discussion at Dulwich Picture Gallery, where we were joined by the gallery's assistant curator, Helen Hillyard, and Neba Sere, founder of WUH Architecture and co-director of Black Females in Architecture. The discussion took place in the gallery's summer pavilion, the Colour Palace, which we strongly recommend going to visit.

The Dulwich Picture Gallery was designed by John Soane in the early 19th Century. In this panel we discuss Soane, polychromy, tombs, the architecture of cultural institutions, and the social context of the gallery.

The images from the presentations can be found, with timestamps, on a pinned story on our instagram, so you can follow the images along as you listen. Let us know if you like this feature, and we will incorporate it into other episodes!

Thank you to everyone at the Dulwich Picture Gallery for making this event possible.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Jul 27 2019

1hr 11mins

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56 — The Reactionaries — 1/2 — Interwar Anxieties

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Come and see us record a live episode at Dulwich Picture Gallery on the 26th June! We'd love to meet you!

Modernist Architecture has always had more than its fair share of critics. In this episode, the first of a two parter, we discuss the reactionary, counter-revolutionary opposition to modernism in Britain during the interwar period. First, comes an examination of the stodgy, flag-waving, imperialist Classicism of the Edwardian era, which Luke thinks includes some of the worst architecture in Britain. One of the perpetrators of that style, Reginald Blomfield, wrote a patriotic screed against the continental, ‘cosmopolitan’ Modern architecture, which he subtly titled ‘Modernismus.’ We also examine Lutyens’ review of ‘Towards a New Architecture,’ a critique of Corbusier’s theory, but also a refutation of modernism as an appropriate style for living in. Lastly we consider the slightly outlandish ‘England and the Octopus’ by the eccentric architect Clough William Ellis, famous for designing the town sized folly of Portmeirion in North Wales. Fruity characters, problematic tropes and anxiety about a declining Empire abound.

In the bonus episode we will discuss the Evelyn Waugh's 'Decline and Fall.'

This episode is sponsored by The Article Trade Program.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Jun 17 2019

1hr 27mins

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55 — Katsuhiro Otomo's 'Akira' — 3/3 — Good for Health, Bad for Education

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In this concluding part of our discussion, we interview Anna Mill, artist of ‘Square Eyes’ about Akira from the point of view of an illustrator, and also discuss the feature length Akira anime (1988), and the wonderful soundtrack by Geinoh Yamashirogumi.

You can find more about Square Eyes here.

This episode is sponsored by the Article Trade Program

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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May 30 2019

1hr 8mins

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54 — Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira — 2/3 — Exploding Neo-Tokyo Twice

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In the second part of our discussion, we talk through the whole, incredibly epic six-volume manga 'Akira' from start to finish.

Music is from the soundtrack to the film 'Akira' by Geinoh Yamashirogumi.

This episode is sponsored by the Article Trade Program and The Great Courses Plus

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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May 15 2019

1hr 10mins

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53 — Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira — 1/3 — Radio School

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Katsuhiro Otomo’s vast magnum opus ‘Akira’ (1982-90) is one of the landmarks of late 20th century science fiction — a story of psychic battles, youth counterculture and technology run out of control — all set in Neo-Tokyo, a vast megastructure in the Tokyo bay.

If you’ve only ever heard of one manga, it’s probably this one. We’ve been reading the definitive black and white version — worth getting hold of if you can.

Actually we didn’t even get to start talking about the book proper because we went on about context too long. We talked a bit about the earlier works ‘Fireball’ and ‘Domu’, the documentary ’God Speed You Black Emperor’, manga as a genre, and a load of other stuff.

The bonus will look at the early work in more detail.

This episode is sponsored by the Article Trade Program and The Great Courses Plus

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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May 01 2019

57mins

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52 — Nicholas Hawksmoor's Churches — 2/2

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We conclude our discussion of the churches of Nicholas Hawksmoor in London, featuring discussion of church politics, 'the primitive church of the early Christians' and wet and windy site recordings from St George in the East, Shadwell (1714-29), Christ Church Spitalfields (1714-29), and St Mary Woolnoth (1716-27).

Sponsored by the Article Trade Program and The Great Courses Plus

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Apr 15 2019

1hr 39mins

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51 — Nicholas Hawksmoor's Churches — 1/2

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Nicholas Hawksmoor, born in 1661, built six churches in London between 1711 and his death in 1736. Vast, white, monumental and enigmatically detailed, the Hawksmoor churches are a looming and mysterious presence in the architectural consciousness and mythic history of London, somehow both of time and out of it. Bombed, burned, spurned by popular taste before they were even completed, they have nevertheless survived to become objects of fascination, speculation and obsession. Created on the threshold of modernity, they reach back toward an imagined (and distant) past when the Church was young, and the worship was pure.
We’ve recorded a series of observations of the churches on site, and attempted to locate them in the world of early 18th century England.
On a forthcoming bonus we’ll be exploring the fictional Hawksmoor — as time-magician, cabbalist, summoner of Egyptian gods and more. Our editor Matt Loyd Roberts has joined us for this one — 

Music is by Ketsa 'Rain stops play' from the Free Music Archive Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Mar 25 2019

56mins

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50 — 19th c Machine Utopias — 2/2 — Looking Backwards

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The second part of our discussion of the utopias and dystopias of the late 19th century 'machine age'.

Including a discussion of Edward Bellamy's 'Looking Backwards: 2000-1887' (once incredibly famous and now almost unknown), William Morris's 'News From Nowhere: Or, and Epoch of Rest' and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'Moving the Mountain.'

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Mar 11 2019

1hr 27mins

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49 — 19th c. Machine Utopias 1/2 — Darwin Among the Machines

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We start a two-part discussion of the utopias and dystopias of the late 19th century 'machine age,' when new technology seemed to be remaking the world, and society along with it.

What sort of world would the machines bring? In this episode we discuss Samuel Butler's novel 'Erewhon' and the extraordinary speculation on machine life that it contains. We also talk about Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 'Vril' — to which it was initally (erroneously) thought to be a sequel — and Nikolai Chernyshevsky's 'What is to be done'.

Music — Chris Zabriskie 'Is that you or are you you?' from the Free Music Archive.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Feb 26 2019

1hr 12mins

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48 — OMA 1989 — Going Big

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Rem Koolhaas and the firm he founded with three partners in 1975 — Office of Metropolitan Architects, OMA — are fascinating, critical and provocative presence within the architectural culture of the 1970s and 1980s, riding the wave of the crisis of modernist collapse while positioning themselves outside or against all of the main tendencies in the post-modern.

In this episode we’re focussing on a particular, transitional moment, in which the early ‘paper’ projects start to be replaced by real buildings and large scale competition entries, culminating in three fascinating competition entries from 1989 — the Zeebrugge Sea Terminal, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) and Très Grand Bibliothèque (TBG).

Lee Rosevere ‘Baldachin’ from the album ‘Music for Podcasts 3’ on the Free Music Archive

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Feb 11 2019

1hr 17mins

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47 — Venturi Scott-Brown & Learning From Las Vegas

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We continue our discussion of the theoretical works of Robert Venturi with this episode on ‘Learning from Las Vegas — The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form’ — researched and written with Denise Scott-Brown and Steven Izenour, and published in 1972.

The book, which examines the architecture of the Vegas strip, is the origin of the famous ‘Duck vs Decorated Shed’ comparison, and contains a lot else besides, including denunciations of the cult of Space, praise for the ‘ugly and ordinary,’ a certain amount of ostentatiously-wielded erudition, and so on.

Music:
Al Smith 'Road House' https://archive.org/details/78road-houseal-smith-a-smith-c-carter_gbia0054635a

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus — a streaming learning service with video lectures by experts in all sorts of fields. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/BUILDINGS to get a month of free access to thousands of courses.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Jan 28 2019

1hr 30mins

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46 — Robert Venturi's 'Complexity & Contradiction' — Valid Banalities

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For the first AB+C of 2019 we’re tackling one of the seminal texts of the 1960s, and an iconic moment in the stylistic overthrow of the postwar modernist order — Robert Venturi’s ‘Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture’ (1966). It’s a slim, lavishly illustrated volume, which seems lucid and straightforward, but upon closer reading turns out to be much more elusive. What are complexity and contradiction, where are they found, and what are architects supposed to do with them?

On the bonus we’ll be discussing the early projects of Venturi and Rauch.

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus — a streaming learning service with video lectures by experts in all sorts of fields. Go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/BUILDINGS to get a month of free access to thousands of courses.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Jan 14 2019

1hr 55mins

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Bonus Unlocked — 44.5 — Italian Architecture Under Fascism

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We're a bit late with the first episode of the new year, so I'm releasing our bonus conversation on Italian fascist architecture to tide you over until then. If you want more material like this, there's a link to the Patreon below.

We talk about the architecture of the Italian fascist period. Some of it is pretty good, unfortunately. Some of it is very weird indeed.

We cover a lot ground, including — Gino Coppedè, Giovanni Muzio, Antoni Sant’Elia, Mario Chiattone, Giuseppe Terragni , Fortunato Depero, Marcello Piacentini, Armando Brasini and more.

Music is Ottorino Respighi — Serenata per piccola orchestra

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Jan 04 2019

48mins

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45 — John Ruskin & the 19th century — Living Too Late

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We finally get onto the last book of Stones of Venice, and its reverberations through the long second half of the 19th century.
Young Ruskinians, EL Godwin, William Burges, William Morris and so on.

Music —
Vivaldi concerto for two horns, strings and continuo in F major RV 539 pt I
The Fall — Living too late

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Dec 16 2018

1hr 23mins

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