Over-caffeinated, Under-employed, and Bored to Death

It all seems so simple in retrospect. I wanted a cup of coffee, I got a cup of coffee. But obtaining this particular cup would’ve been much more difficult five years ago – and nearly impossible ten years back. This wasn’t just any coffee (and cucumber sandwich [1]), this was a very specific coffee. Actually, let me rephrase that – a very specific coffee shop.
Continue reading “Over-caffeinated, Under-employed, and Bored to Death”

“What good is your modern architecture if it can’t repair a broken heart?!?”

Somehow I missed Mister Glasses the first time in made its way around the architectural blogsphere. Mister Glasses is the continuing tale of a has-been Modernist looking for retribution with the help of his new crack-team of architectural archetypes. While there are plenty of inside jokes for architects (“Your new high school will be regarded as a machine…a machine for learning“), I think the stylish production design, deadpan humor, and over-the-top melodrama will also appeal to non-architects – and that’s something I strive for here on Life Without Buildings as well. So enjoy episdode 2 (above), and be sure to check out the other episodes!

I’m Not A House But I Play One On Television

[images via S.A.R.A.H.’s Twitpic]

In an cross-disciplinary exploration of Architecture, television, journalism, and new media, S.A.R.A.H (Self Actuated Residential Automated Habitat), the self-aware home of Sheriff Jack Carter in the SciFi television network series Eureka, was recently “twitterviewed” by NotCot. That’s right — the house was interviewed. Built from the remains of a bomb shelter and a military artificial intelligence program, S.A.R.A.H, like everything in Eureka—an idyllic North Western town where the world’s greatest minds are hidden away—was designed to be The Home Of The Future, and as such, has full control over the home’s atmosphere, appliances, and MEP systems…and a personality. During the course of the interview, S.A.R.A.H revealed her plans, entry section (see above) and concept rendering. It’s a rare behind-the-scense glimpse at the amount of thought and work that go into television set design. The full “twitterview” and more behind-the-scenes photos can be seen at NotCot. A few more images after the jump. Continue reading “I’m Not A House But I Play One On Television”

TV Series Fringe Displaces Daniel Libeskind

[screenshot of Fringe via fringepedia (already? really?)]

Last night saw the official premiere of J.J. Abrams’ new series, Fringe (which was completely awesome by the way), but any architectural savvy television viewers who saw a “sneak peak” —authorized or otherwise—may have been surprised to see the work of a very familiar architect displaced from Toronto to New York City. The mysterious uber-corporation in Fringe, Massive Dynamic, had apparently built their headquarters right down the street from the Empire State Building in a structure that, as originally included in the pilot episode, can’t be mistaken for anything other than a Daniel Libeskind-inspired design. But it’s more than just inspired! It’s an exact replica of Libeskind’s Royal Ontario Museum.

The fake-company has also used the building in their fake-website logo. Life Without Buildings fully endorses the fictional use of unbuilt architecture but come on Mr. Abrams! The pilot for your new TV show cost $10,000,000. Did you really need to copy an existing building? We know how well that worked out for Terry Gilliam. There are no unbuilt projects in the annals of Contemporary Architecture (assuming Contemporary Architecture has annals) that could have been used? Although it was probably a wise move to replace the recognizable structure with a more generic building in the final cut, for that kind of money maybe Fringe could’ve hired someone to…oh, I don’t know…come up with an original design! An aspiring young architecture firm, perhaps?

Television shows and movies should start holding architecture competitions inviting young firms to design fictional buildings. Can someone in LA start working on that please?

&#183 Unbuilt Works Find Life in Art [Life Without Buildings]
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Truck Commercial Architecture pt 2

Truck commercials and football go together like…well, truck commercials and football. Therefore, it was no surprise to see a few more choice examples of my favorite new absurb architectural ephemera, “Truck Commercial Architecture,” during Superbowl Sunday. First up is the truck centrifuge, where a truck (For you car guys, I believe it’s a “red one”) is swung around by its bumper in a monumental industrial centrifuge:

Both completely sublime and completely ridiculous, it’s like these car companies have hired Etienne Boullee to art-direct their commercials. Notice how it says “closed centrifuge” at the bottom of the screen? This is no “dramatized testing demonstration” like the truck coliseum in last week’s post. This is real. And this truck has some serious bumpers.

Next up, in a Nissan Testing Facility hidden away in some deep underground bunker (probably below the desert), two giant robot arms shake the hell out of a couple of trucks.

Although I know it’s probably too good to be true, I’m hoping this one’s real because the idea of Nissan building an enormous underground chamber for the explicit purpose of holding two giant robot arms completely amazes me and fills me with hope. I’ve had enough of commercial storefronts and residential remodels; its time to design some Nissan testing facilities or Gundam prototype bunkers, dammit.

&#183 Truck Commercial Architecture pt 1 [Life Without Buildings]