Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

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Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby smiles » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:50 am

Why can't I put my bed in the kitchen?

Is your experience of a space formed through a priori assumptions of how it should behave or is it developed through your reaction to the space?

Why can we intuit the function of a room from its plan?

Assume you enter a strangers house. No furniture, nothing on the wall, no fixtures, nothing. How long would it take you to determine, with reasonable certainty, the location of the kitchen, the bedroom(s), and the bathroom(s)?

Is this design or is it something else? Is it not simply being-in-the-world, determining how one space reacts to another? How much can this be controlled?
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby Bobbin.Threadbare » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:33 am

I can, and have, and will, put my bed in the kitchen if I want.

I have lived in a caravan, a house, a roof, a hotel (for two years) and now a narrowboat and I think I'm going to like this thread when I get a chance.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby bels » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:37 am

I heard houseboats have a lot of spiders.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby zayg » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:26 am

Isn't a bed in the kitchen more of an interior design scenario? Do we need two threads? Are they both awesome?

The answer to that last question is yes.

Took four years of architecture classes throughout high school with the plans of going to school for architecture. Decided near the end of my senior year that I did not want to do that (probably a good idea), which left me with zero other career prospects at that point yayyyyy. However, I can still swoon over a quality window, criticize your shitty kitchen design (don't worry mine is worse), and remember the time that I referred to a gablet roof as a "pizza hut" roof.

I have a strange affinity for saltbox houses likely due to living in New England. I even enjoy my fair share of brutalism, but government center in Boston can and should be burned.

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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby smiles » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:13 am

I don't mean why shouldn't I put my bed in the kitchen. I mean that the way that we perceive the space and structure of a kitchen, and the way that a kitchen is constructed (spatially) makes it incompatible with being labeled as a bedroom. nothing to do with cabinets or fixtures.

I don't think i'm trying to propose some kind of deep structure architecture but there's something about the following quotations that I don't like. I mean, I think it's assuming something as obvious that shouldn't be assumed.

“the distinctive quality of any man-made place is enclosure, and its character and spatial properties are determined by how it is enclosed.”

“boundaries determine degree of enclosure”

"when an opening is introduced in a centralised enclosure, an axis is created which implies longitudinal movement."

Is this not assuming that enclosure drives our perception of a space without accounting for what we are bringing to the space? If you accept that we move through space perceiving its structure and pathways while simultaneously acting upon it, then why does the nature of the enclosure or the location of its openings determine it character?

Imagine walking into a white cube: as you enter the white cube, the only information you are able to process are the four walls which will give you an approximation of the size of the room. From this, you would theoretically be able to 1) determine the suitability of the room for habitation 2) determine roughly where you would put a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen etc. Not sure if this implies some kind of fundamental intuition of spatial characteristics. Maybe it's just our awareness of our body. 3) determine how to navigate the space. you wouldn't walk along the walls, you would walk to what you determined to be close to the centre and look around.Before entering the room, the opening does not imply an axis. it acts like a funnel turned on its side. Only when you perceive the opening from the interior will an axis appear. If there are multiple openings (to the outside) before entering I would classify them more like vertical planes depending on the light, and when inside, the openings not appear as parts of the room but as extensions of the external space. I mean you would see outside rather than a line between interior and exterior.


brutalism's problem is its scale


edit, help me please odradek
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby wiggly--woo » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:40 am

The idea that a space or place can be defined in terms of boundedness (material or otherwise) is verging on absurd. We can't just look at space as some bounded and neutral or empty container with an essential character within which we carry out a set of embodied practices.

I'll admit that I'm struggling to understand the white cube scenario but, if I'm understanding you correctly, I can agree with the premise that man-made places are not inherently enclosed in some way.

"Space is produced, not just by the configuration of the material things, but by our social relations to them and to eachother. Space is constantly produced and modified. When you walk into an empty square you change, just a little, its nature as a 'space'; we, and material objects, continually and jointly produce space" (Massey & Rose, 2003)

In essence, space is not simply a pre-exsiting plane that we inhabit, but an arena which is produced through social relations. A place, as opposed to a space, is produced when social meanings are attached to a space, or when social meanings are spatially constituted in some way. We can walk into somebody elses house and know the primary function of each room because the spaces within the house have a 'sense of place' which is constructed in relation to other spaces and places that we produce. In other words, we walk into a kitchen and know that it's used for food storage and preparation because the character of that place is constructed in relation to other houses and other kitchens. Putting a bed in the kitchen would mean that room ceases to exist as a kitchen to an outsider because it falls outside the socio-cultural and discursive boundaries of what a kitchen is - it loses the 'sense of place' which makes it a space which can be labelled as a kitchen.

or something.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby smiles » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:24 pm

Yeah I don't want to say there's an essential element to any kind of space. that doesn't make sense. and of course a place is determined/identified by its relationship with social expectations or past experience. I'm not trying to argue some fundamental blueprint mumbo jumbo haha. I want to look at how people inhabit or react to places that attempt to control how we perceive their space. Like how people are expected to move inside a train station, or how I knew that my room was a bedroom even before my bed was in there and it was a blank cube with a row of windows. Still trying to work through all this philosophical stuff. I'm quite new to it, as you can tell.

When Norberg-Shulz says “the distinctive quality of any man-made place is enclosure,” I think he means that we identify and construct structures as separated from outside by some means of enclosure. Not a place as in a location with a specific cultural meaning (a burial ground with no markings perhaps, which is understood as a 'place' by people who have this knowledge). The "“its character and spatial properties are determined by how it is enclosed” bit refers to the how of its structure, like using posts, or walls, or glass and their arrangement into a shape. What I think he's assuming is that the space remains somehow constant independent from our perception of it. I would have rather he said that "our perception of the spatial properties and the structure determine its characteristics and enclosure." of course the physical dimensions don't change, but it's impossible to perceive the full extent of a structure/space without filtering it through our relationship to it. as you said, enclosure does not have to have material boundaries.


I'm more interested in how the structure of a space is altered according to someones perception. like the flow of movement as in the white cube. Or when you enter an empty subway car. if you look down the centre, the poles will divide the space into two zones and stretch it out. but when you sit down, the space appears segmented. or if its crowded, and you're short, you can't feel any extension of space beyond your own body. Our relationship to the space determines how we perceive it and its characteristics.

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or with your kitchen. when we see the counter top and and cabinets we know its used for food storage and preparation because of past experience. because thats what was intended when someone designed the kitchen. To make sure everyone perceives it as a kitchen. They wouldn't hide the counters in the wall or something. when you enter a kitchen, your perception determines the space it takes up to perform its duty as a kitchen. In an open plan, the dining room doesnt continue to be the kitchen even though there's no wall separating the two. If you don't have a dining room and the table is in the kitchen, then you will identify the space as both dining room and kitchen. I suspect that when looking at the kitchen from the living room you will still be able to locate the line where it become the kitchen. But on a plan of the kitchen, it would not be easy to draw that boundary.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby smiles » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:34 pm

i dunno. i'm like 85% sure i'm talking a bunch of shit, but on the other hand i might be on the right track to question something that other people are assuming. or at least get a more nuanced view of it. need to read more...
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby klonopin » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:59 pm

@smiles
I just spent an hour writing a long response to your points but, when i hit submit, care-tags logged me out and deleted it instead and now I actually have to do schoolwork. :???: If anyone's interested, I'll write it out again tomorrow.
Anyway, if you're looking for more reading on the production/experience of space, I'd suggest turning away from strictly architectural theory and toward more general studies of urban planning/ ethnographies of the urban experience. I think your hesitance with some of Norburg-Schulz's arguments is absolutely on point and, moreover, that the problems in his argument are a product of disciplinary biases against the public sphere and toward a primarily physical conception of space within architectural theory.

Here's some totally unsolicited canonical readings on urban experience:

Spoiler:
My favorite analysis is Michel de Certeau's "Walking in the City" chapter from his "Practices of Everyday Life"

http://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/t ... cerpts.pdf

Honestly I don't really understand Henri Lefebvre but some of my friends absolutely swear by him, so his book on the production of space is probably worth checking out:

http://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/t ... rpts-1.pdf

If you don't like the French (I don't blame you), Kevin Lynch's "The Image of the City" is a distinctly American take on these issues. I could only find an excerpt online, but I highly, highly recommend checking the whole book out from your public or university library.

http://italianstudies.nd.edu/assets/68866/lynch.pdf
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby mother » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:57 pm

I'm an undergrad student studying architecture, I'm in my 3.5 year now. Hopefully my answers make sense.

Why can't I put my bed in the kitchen?
Kitchens are usually not very large spaces, A Kitchen that is too big would be one that is poorly designed because you shouldn't have to reach very far to get what you need to make food. A bed wouldn't simply fit in a well designed kitchen.

Is your experience of a space formed through a priori assumptions of how it should behave or is it developed through your reaction to the space?
A bit of both, spaces are form through a norm of what should be surrounding it, what you'd want near. If you wanted to create a reaction towards a space you'd just make the first thing you see, or the last. then blow it up.

Why can we intuit the function of a room from its plan?
Sometimes, its just what work best. You don't want a bathroom directly facing the dining room. You wouldn't want a garage next to your bedroom. Rooms and spaces are defined by functionality as well as for aesthetically pleasing reasons.

Assume you enter a strangers house. No furniture, nothing on the wall, no fixtures, nothing. How long would it take you to determine, with reasonable certainty, the location of the kitchen, the bedroom(s), and the bathroom(s)?
Depends on the house size, i'd say 5 minutes.

Is this design or is it something else? Is it not simply being-in-the-world, determining how one space reacts to another? How much can this be controlled?
It's about how we as humans feel about having certain spaces in certain areas, it's certainly in relation to design but more so in our feeling towards a more relate-able environment.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby wiggly--woo » Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:25 pm

What constitutes a room? What constitutes a building?

Albert Speer, the chief architect for the Third Reich, claimed that his favourite (completed) work was the ‘Cathedral of Light’ (or lichtdom). But the lichtdom doesn’t really fit with conventional notions of what a building is. It doesn’t have a roof, nor does it have any walls, just an arrangement of 130 anti-aircraft searchlights at 12 metre intervals, all aimed skyward to create what looked like a series of Grecian-style columns.

“Both solemn and beautiful... like being in a cathedral of ice.”
- Sir Neville Henderson, British Ambassador

View from the outside
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View from the inside
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“Speer's talent was above all a theatrical talent, and it was this that most fundamentally endeared him to Hitler” - Barbra Lane, Art Historian

“Other countries will think we're swimming in searchlights."
– Adolf Hitler

Anyone with any interest in architecture should check out Albert Speer. He built some interesting stuff, but some of the plans he put together that were never seen to completion (due to the war effort and the Nazi party's eventual collapse) were utterly mad.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby Iliam » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:41 am

smiles wrote:Why can't I put my bed in the kitchen?

Is your experience of a space formed through a priori assumptions of how it should behave or is it developed through your reaction to the space?

Why can we intuit the function of a room from its plan?

Is this design or is it something else? Is it not simply being-in-the-world, determining how one space reacts to another? How much can this be controlled?


smiles wrote:I don't mean why shouldn't I put my bed in the kitchen. I mean that the way that we perceive the space and structure of a kitchen, and the way that a kitchen is constructed (spatially) makes it incompatible with being labeled as a bedroom. nothing to do with cabinets or fixtures.


Michel Foucault wrote: Previously, the art of building corresponded to the need to make power, divinity and might manifest. The palace and the church were the great architectural forms... Then late in the eighteenth century, new problems emerge: it becomes a question of using the disposition of space for economic-poltical ends.

A specific type of architecture takes shape. Phillppe Ariès has written some things which seem important to me, regarding the fact that the house remains until the eighteenth century an undifferentiated space. There are rooms: one sleeps, eats, receives visitors in them, it doesn't matter which. Then gradually space becomes specified and functional. We see this illustrated with the building of the cités ouvières, between the 1830s and 1870s. The working-class family is to be fixed; by assigning it a living space with a room that serves as kitchen and dining-room, a room for the parents which the place of procreation, and a room for the children, one prescribes a form of morality for the family. Sometimes, in the more favourable cases, you have a boys' and a girls' room. A whole history remains to be written of spaces - which would at the same time be the history of powers (both of these terms in the plural) - from the great strategies of geopolitics to the little tactics of the habitat, institutional architecture from the classroom to the design of hospitals... The development [of the problem of space] must be extended, by no longer just saying that space predetermines a history which in turn reworks and sediments itself in it. Anchorage in a space is an economico-poltical form which needs to be studied in detail. - "The Eye of Power" in Power/ Knowledge.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby smiles » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:24 am

@iliam wow, wish I had read that by foucault earlier. I did my writing sample for school applications on something very similar.

At the Great Exhibition of 1851, Amongst the silks and jewels and all manner of outlandish machinery, there were also some exhibits of a more philanthropic nature. At the time, London was super overcrowded, something like half a million people came to London in the ten years before the exhibition, about half of whom were working class and had to get by in crowded slums with overflowing sewage and a prevalence for diseases like cholera. Anyway, there were some people who tried to fix the problem (mostly by tearing down the slums and building developments with much less capacity, therefore not doing anything at all. or by cleaning out the sewage). One of the organisations was called "The Society for Improving the Conditions of the Labouring Classes" annoyingly long, believe me. Their strategy was to build 'model houses' and rent them out at a relatively low cost. These houses were constructed to a much higher standard than most of the speculative builders cared to try. They also used more advanced tech like hollow bricks (supposed to be cheaper and provide ventilation) and indoor toilets (yay!). The basic idea was to provide a model for how labouring class dwellings should be constructed and funded and also 'model' how the labouring class should live and behave. Anyway, because Prince Albert was sponsoring them, he gave them permission to build a nice model dwelling at the Exhibition of 1851 to convince people how nice the houses were and people should invest in building more of them.

They looked like this:

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plan

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anyway the part where it gets to what foucault is talking about. The guy who designed it, Henry Roberts, clearly wanted to control basically every aspect of the occupants lives while they were in the dwelling. Victorians were wary of helping out the poor because they were worried they would become dependent on the system (sound familiar?) so they mostly wanted to 'encourage' the poor to improve their lot by just working harder and not being such drunks all the time and committing incest and being generally filthy. Because that's the reason everyone had such shit lives. The model dwelling had glazed brick walls so that everything could be hosed down easily, the Kitchen was set up in a way that it could only be used in one way, there were three bedrooms to separate children of different sexes. Basically, the house defined all the spaces inside the dwelling and forced the occupants to use it in a specific way.



~~~~~~~~~~

That's basically what I was trying to express before but it got all muddled up.

Now I'm more interested in doing a phenomenological and navigational analysis of a space and combining it with mapping techniques, hopefully using software, to track how people move in a place and to see how the environment and the restrictions of the surrounding architecture affect movement and perception of space. Like how the program restricts pathways or how people fight against the program. or if its an open plan, how to people end up moving. Both as a general trend and also how their perception of the space will change (see subway example above). Or in HK, a large amount of pedestrian traffic takes place in elevated walkways, which allow pedestrians to understand the broader urban plan and also invokes a sense of layered movement and energy. I mean as youre walking you can perceive the flow of cars/buses and the flow of people crossing over each other. and of course when youre walking and there are a series of barriers you move around them and part of the program dissapears from your perception because you aren't using it anymore.

It's really hard to talk about and much easier to diagram and document so that's what I'm working on now.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby ramseames » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:34 pm

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB100014240 ... 2437027392

Dunno if you've seen this or the book it's taking a sample from but part of what they talk about concerns tracking and plotting the space people use in their home.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby maj » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:09 pm

City fortresses



V cyberpoonk
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby Syeknom » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:54 am

A poetic vision of Paris’ crumbling suburban high rises

Some stunning examples of brutalism here.

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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby bels » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:02 am

If that were london those would be getting well gentrified. Are the french not into Brutalism or what? Are they in bad areas? (aka out of town) or what?
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby stappard_ » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:33 am

My layman's view is that some estates are too large to be gentrified, even if the architecture is en vogue.

London has the Aylesbury estate

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and the brandon estate, for example

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which are in areas that have seen a lot of gentrification around the edges but neither have been taken over like the trellick tower or rowley way which are isolated in areas that are now very nice.

i tried to lead a one-man gentrification of the brandon estate a few years ago but moved out on account of it being completely awful

Not sure if this thinking applies to Paris though
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby bels » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:40 am

Not sure if it's just me being me but those estates don't really look as gorgeous as some of the paris ones.

I get your concept though. If the place is too big how you gonna gentrify it. Better to just sit in hampstead and write letters to the twentieth century society about preserving our nation's treasures even though they're unbearable to live in.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby stappard_ » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:42 am

Definitely a fair point but nothing in London looks as gorgeous as anything in Paris (apart from illiam obvs), so i guess its all relative
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby sknss » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:10 am

these estates are all in bad surburban areas tbh

i like this estate http://astudejaoublie.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/creteil-les-choux-dalhia-epis-de-mais.html
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby Dobwin » Sat Oct 31, 2015 2:20 pm

Saw Habitat 67 when I was in Montreal a few weeks ago. Amazing.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby SexTagsMania » Sat Oct 31, 2015 2:49 pm

:cool: can't help but think it would take me at least 6 months to remember how to find my apartment though. Imagine getting in from a night out on the piss!
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby bels » Sun Dec 27, 2015 6:42 pm

Feeling sad and moody re birmingham arcitecture ( As well as the central library they're knocking down another great brutalist buidling but I don't know what it was called) so was reading this artic:

http://www.failedarchitecture.com/parad ... brutalism/

Reminded me I meant to post here that I got into a conversation on a night out with a teacher, we were talking about urban planning and I was running my normal spiel about increased density being the only way out (especially in toilet towns like Cambridge) and instead of agreeing with me she said

"What about our schools and hospitals? If you increase the density how will they cope? They can barely cope now"

I tried to say that there are plenty of dense places globally that have somehow managed to have functional public services but she didn't seem convinced.

Anyone have any thoughts? How can landfill towns like Cambridge scale up density without overloading already stressed public services?
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby wiggly--woo » Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:45 am

"What about our schools and hospitals? If you increase the density how will they cope? They can barely cope now"

literally never even heard that as an argument. I mean, there are always pressures on services regardless of density, hence they can 'barely cope' now within the existing urban form. but at least with higher density people can actually access schools and hospitals and whatever without having to buy a car (which many cant afford to do) and pollute the environment and so on.

Feeling sad and moody re birmingham arcitecture ( As well as the central library they're knocking down another great brutalist buidling but I don't know what it was called) so was reading this artic:

its such a shame they knocked paradise forum down. I met someone from a company who do a lot of regeneration work in brum and they were saying how it was the 'right building in the wrong place' which I sort of agree with but still think it was too good to be knocked down. for a city with a shit reputation its got some decent architecture but its all being pushed aside to make way for the architectural viagra like the new library, john lewis street station and millennium point-less in eastside. I have come round to liking the mirrored bits on the outside of the station though to be fair.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby bels » Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:50 am

The mirrored bits would be fucking sick if a HACKER took over the video screen and put a massive Soul-Edge style daemonic eyeball in it and had it twitch around horrifically.

I guess w/r/t density she meant that if you just put a load more housing in the center of town then the hospital that was there will be even more rekt. Ofc if you just redevelop so you have the same amount of people but in a denser space there is no such problem.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby maj » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:23 am

was outside the bullring in december, was a bit misty and v dark, bare people shopping and that fuck off massive electro billboard on top of jd was cutting through it all.

never felt so cyberpunk in my life. still distopian vibes to be had in brum
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby rublev » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:30 am

I thought increasing populations and the effect on capacity / capability of services was a regularly trotted out paradigm? certainly the idea that a rise in a population will stretch services that don't have the resources to match isn't new. more children means, unless you want to experiment with ridiculous class sizes, more teaching facilities etc, and we already know the statistics for the teaching profession... it's the same with health service re; staff / patient ratio. while a bit different, the recognised ticking time bomb for the NHS is the rise in the proportion of the elderly in our population over the next 50 - 100 years, and how it will cripple (no pun intended) capacity.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby bels » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:31 am

maj wrote:was outside the bullring in december, was a bit misty and v dark, bare people shopping and that fuck off massive electro billboard on top of jd was cutting through it all.

never felt so cyberpunk in my life. still distopian vibes to be had in brum


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Took this insta of that same billboard.
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Re: Being-in-the-world [architecture thread]

Postby wiggly--woo » Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:49 am

rublev wrote:I thought increasing populations and the effect on capacity / capability of services was a regularly trotted out paradigm? certainly the idea that a rise in a population will stretch services that don't have the resources to match isn't new.


aye bigger population means bigger stress on services (if services aren't upgraded to same proportion as population growth) but I wouldn't want to speculate either way about the role of increasing population density on services. One of the big problems with service capacities is that they're virtually impossible to ever get right because the moment you increase your service capacities you end up with more demand. So if you have a large area in a city with an under-provision of school places, you can go in and expand the existing schools or build new ones or whatever, but generally speaking school places still up being under-provided for because families with kids elsewhere in the city see all the investment in school facilities and decide to go there themselves to get in on the action.

Birmingham is inherently dystopian though. Nothing says "consumers digging their own mass graves" better than the bullring in December. I blame the bull.
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