Carfeul with the flashing kids…

28 November, 2007

So I’m sure we’ve all heard about the whole MIT-sues-Gehry-because-their-building-is-leaking shamozzle, but apparently it is a bit of a beat up.


According to none other than Bill Mitchell however: “It was all about insurance, of course, an uninteresting wrangle over how to pay to fix some routine construction problems that inevitably arose in a large, ambitious and complex building.”

Importantly he points out that MIT are happy with the design, because several crusty old and not-so-old curmudgeons have been opportunistically using this incident to get stuck into Gehry’s design and have a big old “I don’t like it” whinge.

There is of course always the possibility that the efflorescence and cracking are the fault of the engineer or contractor. I remember reading that Steven Holl used the construction of the Pratt Institute as a teaching exercise for the archi students there, notably making a point of getting local and Canadian contractors to provide concrete and showing all of the students the difference between them. The local contractor’s concrete was pretty bad, so I wonder if this says something about the quality of construction in the north east USA?

Then again, perhaps it was all due to a badly written contract, shouldn’t responsibility for rectification be sorted out before building goes ahead?? Who knows, but I’m feeling a pull to get back to that box gutter I’m working on…


Tarting up the towers

2 November, 2007

The Victorian Housing Minister, Richard Wynne, yesterday announced competitions to tart up the Footscray commission flats and design new low-to-medium density public housing in Dandenong. The Footscray competition is called Tower Turnaround and the Dandenong competition is called Living Places. They’re approved by the RAIA and the total prize pool is $135 000. Though it isn’t really prize money when you have to work for it, it’s remuneration.

There seems to be a lot of consternation about the ugliness of the towers, people invariably want to knock them down, but even though I don’t disagree about the ugliness, I’m really glad that the Vic Government is going to renovate them instead. Simply because you can house so many people in those tower blocks, and ugly shelter is much better than no shelter. I’m glad too that they’re building more public housing, because everyone is aware of the expense of buying a house, but there are plenty of people who don’t even have the money to rent because rents have gone up so much.

an exercise in mapping

25 October, 2007

The National Public Toilet Map

They even have a newsletter!

DCM in manchester

23 October, 2007

DCM’s long awaited justice centre in manchester opens tomorrow. a review in the Guardian describes the building by the boys from Melbourne as “altogether a remarkable building” and “a radical and exhilarating piece of work”. they sound very excited.

DCM Manchester

looking through the pictures, the first thought that came to me about the building was “it looks like melbourne”. well, der really.

The value of good design

7 September, 2007

Reading in The Age the other day that Bovis Lend Lease has been announced as the new builder for the Royal Children’s Hospital redevelopment. According to the article the architects are Billard Lease and Bates Smart.

Apparently these guys won the tender on the basis of the design, which is nice.