The Scoop on 5D – Appended

In the first weekend of October, a multi-disciplinary talent base will gather to explore the intersection of architecture and design with media and emerging technologies. This is 5D: The Future of Immersive Design. The first in what will become an annual conference.

The panels feature an eclectic array of speakers, from directors (Gore Verbinski, Joseph Kosinski) to famed production designers (Alex McDowell, Rick Carter), studio executives (John Tarnoff, Anne White), academics (Scott Fisher, Qingyun Ma), architects (Greg Lynn, Tino Schaedler), scientists (John Underkoffler, Dr. Jerry Schubel), game designers (Jordan Weisman, Doug Church) and more.

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Posted in Events | 1 Comment

Fringe Architecture

This past Tuesday, Fox launched its first new drama series of the season, Fringe. The latest endeavor from Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams in collaboration with his former Alias cohorts, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

At the vanguard of fringe science is the corporation, Massive Dynamic. Its unique office interior recognizable as the Daniel Libeskind designed Lee-Chin Crystal, extension to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Albeit here the angular facades are laced with stock ticker and motivational propaganda displays, integrated into the architecture so seamlessly that the source projection is entirely invisible.

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Posted in Architecture, Future, TV

Djemaa El Fna

At the heart of Marrakech’s Medina resides Djemaa El Fna. A massive marketplace home to snake charmers, Barbary macaque handlers and endless stalls overflowing with oranges.

Motorcycles and donkey carts weave their way through dense crowds where sellers have staked out their territory. Offering everything from traditional medicines to a train like elliptical toy set, featuring George Bush atop a tank pursuing a mining cart bound Osama Bin Laden… Or is Bin Laden chasing Bush?

As the sun begins to set, rows of food stalls are quickly erected offering local tastes amidst an energetic setting where stall servers compete to usher in passer-bys.

Djemaa El Fna, a Square like no other.


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Posted in Photography

A Watershed World

Floods or their imminent threat plagued the world last month from southern China to areas surrounding the Mississippi. While their effect on the natural landscape maybe temporary, 2004’s catastrophic Tsunami resulted in permanent coastal changes. With an accelerating increase in rising ocean levels, we can expect earth’s landscape to change more dramatically. At current rates, the Maldives will vanish before century’s end.

In popular media, engineering and architecture don’t offer salvation. Flooded urban landscapes provide a dramatic backdrop where those that survive… adapt. A watershed London serves as backdrop in FreakAngels, “a free, weekly, ongoing comic written by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, Desolation Jones) and illustrated by Paul Duffield”. FreakAngels opens with a startling pane featuring London’s disintegrating Houses of Parliament engulfed by water (Top Image). Elevated water levels have startling transformative effects on architecture. Witnessing the Richard Rogers designed Millennium (O2) Dome jutting out of the water in episode thirteen brings forth fascinating possibilities; one character declares “I could have turned it into a great big solar still”.

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Posted in Architecture, Future | 1 Comment

Modernist Architecture Captured

Two giants of modernist architecture have their works captured in noteworthy books.

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Posted in Architecture, Books | 1 Comment

The Color of Speed Racer

Once upon a time the kaleidoscopic menagerie of colors in Speed Racer were more grounded.

The Wachowski Brothers latest directorial effort following The Matrix is an overload on the senses, with live action colors “further ramped up digitally in post production.” Green, purple, yellow, orange and red emblazen the sets as outlined in two Los Angeles Times features, A Futuristic, Midcentury Movie Set for ‘Speed Racer’ and A ‘Speed Racer’ Time Warp.

Concept Artist Peter Popken offers an alternative conceptual route never taken via his blog.

Posted in Film

Santa Monica’s ‘Graffiti Building’

Three distinct art forms converge on the corner of Broadway and Cloverfield Boulevard in Santa Monica. A building clad in graffiti since 1991, by famed graffiti writers Slick, Risk, Den and Severe, now houses the digital artists of editorial studio Rock Paper Scissors and visual effects boutique a52. The latter perhaps best remembered for their avant-garde title design work on HBO’s Carnivale, and Rome.

The building’s interior, once home to Producer Andrew Vajna’s (Rambo:First Blood, Terminator 2, Total Recall) Cinergi Pictures (Die Hard with a Vengeance, Judge Dredd, Nixon), has been redesigned by architect Bruce Bolander for Rock Paper Scissors/a52 owners Angus Wall and Linda Carlson. After fifteen years in West Hollywood, they decided to head west and set-up shop in the digital artist hub, Santa Monica.

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Posted in Architecture A Year of Articles

Last month’s debilitating hack overshadowed the one year anniversary of Plans to celebrate this milestone have been oft delayed due to my continued presence in Morocco working on next Summer’s Prince of Persia film. Further compounded by the need to correct browser specific format issues stemming from the hack and subsequent backend upgrade.

So to commemorate, a compilation of features from the past year, culled from’s database of approximately one hundred and fifty articles.

Ocean Arcologies | An area of particular fascination since childhood, Ocean Arcologies equally captured the imagination of’s readership. Read by over ten thousand unique visitors within a month of the article’s publication and linked by over a dozen blogs.

The issue of ocean arcologies as potential city-states was recently a topic on Geoff Manaugh’s superlative BLDGBLOG. This following an article in Wired about “a small team of Silicon Valley millionaires who hope to develop a permanent, quasi-sovereign nation floating in international waters.”
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Posted in Special Feature

IKEA to Sell Cars


Considering the proliferation of sub compact low cost cars in fast growth countries, exemplified by TATA’s venture to create a car costing a mere two and half thousand dollars, this joke is that much more ingenious.

Thanks to Penn for sending this. Author unknown.

Posted in Advertising, Automotive | 1 Comment

The White City


En route to Marrakech I finally began turning the pages of Erik Larson’s factual based bestseller, Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America.

From Marrakech, the Pink City, to the White City… Eric Larson’s opus captures Chicago circa 1890’s during the building of an empire. An inside look at the nation’s leading architects developing the 1893 World’s Fair in record time amidst a turmoil marred process. While nearby a handsome doctor created his own fortune at the expense of others through swindling, murder and devious architecture.

The architecture of the World’s Fairs exuded grandeur and scale, eliciting awe and highlighting the march of progress whilst celebrating the accomplishments and ingenuity of humanity. The Chicago World’s Fair, a.k.a. the World’s Columbian Exposition, was no different. While spearheaded by Chicago based Burnham & Root, numerous architectural luminaries participated from Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles McKim to Richard Morris Hunt and Sophia Hayden Bennett, the first American woman to receive an architecture degree. It became known as the White City for its abundant use of white stucco and electrically lit promenades courtesy Tesla and Westinghouse.

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Posted in Architecture, Books, Events