Category Archives: building

The Grinning Smithsons

As their greatest and most heroic project is about to bite the dust after decades of slow demolition by neglect, Alison and Peter Smithson’s remaining body of work increasingly looks like the Cheshire cat’s grin – exactly at the point when they seem to be vanishing they are also achieving a prominence they haven’t enjoyed […]

Reviving Newcastle

It can take a heroic effort to bring an ailing city district back to life but often all it takes to spark it off is one person or one small group. Marcus Westbury‘s efforts to revive Hunter Street, the ailing main street of the Australian industrial city of Newcastle (think rustbelt if you are not […]

We told you so

According to the great Gore Vidal, the sweetest words in the English language are “I told you so!” and here’s where we get to use them. We’ve always argued that in most cases the best building is the building that is already there. In sustainability terms, at least, the reasons for adaptive reuse of existing […]

Don’t be brutal to Robin Hood Gardens

Some suggest that Alison and Peter Smithson were the first examples of starchitecture, as Norman Blogster calls the “more PR than architecture” careers of stylists like Hadid and Liebeskind. But when our reader Kristian Seier challenged us to find something bad to say about the Upper Lawn Pavilion (later known as the Solar Pavilion), their […]

Well I’ll be a seagull!

Thanks to our reader Jeroen Harkes we now know that the “Redneck Mansion” is actually a set for the outdoor Theater het Amsterdam Bos. It seems so obvious in retrospect. It was designed by Catherina Scholten for the 2005 production of Anton Chekhov‘s Ivanov, his early play about a disillusioned young intellectual – surprise surprise […]

Rising in the world

This image under the title Redneck Mansion is racing through the blogosphere faster than headlice through a kindergarten leaving a wake of vicious and patronising comments, as if rednecks had a monopoly on vulgarity. But it strikes us as an imaginative, witty and good fun bit of adaptive reuse, not at all vulgar – and […]

Don’t look down!

A bookcase adaptively reused as a staircase or a staircase adaptively reused as a bookcase? Oh well, taxonomy always was a taxing discipline. You have no doubt already seen these stairs or bookcase in the last week or so – although I can’t remember where I saw them first. But Apartment Therapy is where they […]

Architecture jocks

Respect for layering is a basic heritage principle. Heritage places are the result of a layering of history, of use and change, and it is the values related to this layering which is important. (Pearson & Marshall, 1995, Study of World Heritage Values Convict Places) The principle is so fundamental that it is now a […]

Spiralling out of control

A quick addendum to our last post. You can be sure that archaeological sites all over Iraq are in danger. The Art Newspaper has just reported this, a police barracks being built on a site next to Samarra’s famous spiral minaret. Alastair Northedge, Professeur d’Art et d’Archeologie Islamiques, Universite de Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne) comments From […]

Memento mori

You can always rely on the military to make a right mess of a place. Sometimes it’s incidental, sometimes it’s intentional and often its downright consciously genocidal. The US military in Iraq have probably been responsible for all three categories of mayhem. Unfortunately, their appalling adaptive reuse of the archaeological site of Babylon (Photo labanex) […]