Material Girl.

12 November, 2007

Went to lunch the other day with my girlfriend who writes for one of Australia’s national daily newspapers with a readership of around 800,000. She told me of her frustration in trying to get an interview with Cassy No-undies. Well at least Cassy admits to not wearing underwear (is this why she got the job off Sam?) which is more than I can say for a lot of male architects. I mean can you imagine what kind of undies Tom Kovac or Godawfullsell wear? And what about Allen Powell (is he still alive?)? I can just see him lolling about in a leopard skin g-string. Of course, down at Hassel’s South Park boxer shorts are all the rage. Me…well I prefer my male architects to keep it simple….anyway I digress so back to the Rhinogoss: After repeated calls to Cassies’ gorgeous male “assistants” not much really happened and my friend was increasingly frustrated and about to give up. All she wanted was to interview Cassy about her work and to promote architecture in general in a national daily. It really upset my friend because as she says “when Cassie was an unknown and starving RMIT graduate (and a not a very good one at that) she was as nice as platypusserypie and all over me to get published.” Amazingly, a few weeks later my journogirlfriend got an email from Cassy stating that she would only do the interview if she could be paid for it. So at what rate does Cassy charge herself out as? Unbelievably, her asking rate is $500 an hour. That’s a lot of lingerie even if you don’t wear undies. It makes me think that there is a lesson here for other woman of negligible talent ( I mean really…lets face facts that platypussery at Healesville is truly awfull..I mean whats the thing about oversized steel members ) is too just have oodles of girly charm, premium price your services and forget to wear your undies at the RAIA awards nights.

Of course the real moral of this sad story of material greed is to return phone calls to people who were generous enough to help you out when you didn’t have a job in the office.


Pholiota for sale

31 October, 2007

The Griffin’s own house in Eaglemont is for sale (from $770k).

According to the blurb, the 1922 house has an ‘Art Deco’ addition. I think someone might want to send the copywriter a book on historical styles because somehow I don’t think angled blonde timber panels are a  particularly deco  feature. It isn’t a great extension in my opinion, don’t think it pays enough attention to the Burra Charter, specifically “22.2 New work should be readily identifiable as such”, which really is a very good recommendation.

aus mod houses

23 October, 2007

there’s a new book coming out next month 50/60/70: Iconic Australian Houses which looks pretty damn good, great photos and plans.

possibly the best thing about it though is that it isn’t seemingly aimed at the standard audience, i.e., it isn’t preaching to the choir (us). it is written by the editor of one of those cushion chucker style interior/design magazines, which contain most of the architectural knowledge that the australian general public will ever be exposed to. which i think says more about architects than the general public really.

also, it is published by murdoch books so it will get out to more than 3 bookshops.

as wonderful as books like Houses for the 21st Century are, they’re unlikely to reach a wide audience, which is something that i think 50/60/70 may well be able to do. and in doing so might be able to introduce a whole lot more people to the wonderfulness that was Modern domestic architecture in australia.


11 September, 2007

The nominations for the 2007 Stirling Prize are out, there’s a nice little gallery at The Guardian.

The token ‘blobby’ building up for nomination seems to be like a lot of other blobby buildings in that it kind of doesn’t look like a building but like a discreet scaleless object, something I think a lot of the big modernists buildings do too (Farnsworth house is a good example).

On the Farnsworth house, according to the wonderful Rory on The Architects this evening, Brad Pitt is shooting a Japanese jeans ad there and donating part of his fee to help fix the place up a bit.

Boyd’s Latchford house for sale

21 August, 2007

Flicking through the local rag, I found out that there is another Robin Boyd house for sale, in Balwyn North, his 1954 Latchford house. There are some alright photos there, although it is odd to read about a Boyd house described in real estate agent speak, they really do use a lot of random superlatives.

But having just driven through Balwyn North recently I was struck by the apparent contrast of housing then compared to housing now, I didn’t see any new buildings that look like they’ve been individually designed by an architect. The majority are mass built display homes, decorated boxes with hipped roofs and variations that indicate their style: doric columns means it is georgian, deep eaves means it is Frank Lloyd Wright. I actually saw one called the ‘Urbane’. I was tempted to scribble ‘sub’ in front of it.

But as witty as that pun may or may not be, I don’t have anything against the suburbs, hell I’ve lived in them for most of my life. But I wonder why it seems that domestic architecture in Melbourne in the 1950’s was seen as accessible and appropriate for the suburbs, whereas now it seems like everyone is building display homes? What happened?

In the 1950’s places like Balwyn and Ivanhoe would have been outer suburbs, the equivalent of Caroline Springs or Aurora perhaps. Places that now have practically no involvement by architects.

Perhaps I’m being a bit romantic or sentimental, but there seem to be a lot more good older houses than good new houses. I realise that a lot of the not so good older houses have been knocked down, fallen down or have been made over, but there seem to be enough not so good 1950’s houses around still to provide a reasonable comparison to the good ones. I wonder why architecture seemed accessible in the 1950’s and it doesn’t now? Are architects doing something wrong? Or are developers just doing something right?