Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Have we forgotten our curiosity?

Watching my Dad and my dog walking around in the snow made me think of something.
My Dad, trying to defrost his car, was focused on getting to work on time, walking back and forth in an attempt to overcome this snowy environment.
My dog went crazy, running around this new white landscape, trying to understand all the new smells and what had caused this transformation in his garden.
Have we forgotten to take time to explore? To find pleasure in our new environment? When I was a kid, the second the first snowflake hit the ground I'd be bouncing around with excitement ready to play in the new terrain. Perhaps we should learn to consider our existing environment and appreciate it for wat it is rather than making our primary response to neutralise.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


I've been doing research for my 3rd year dissertation lately, it's going slowly. I still haven't choosen a topic but I'm trying not to worry, hopefully something will jump at me before it's too late.

Anyway whilst reasearching I cam accross an article in Icon magaizne (Issue 075 Sept. 2009), it's on a house in paris by the architect R&Sie(n) and they have come up with a completely alternative approach to environmental design. To briefly summerise the design uses glass beakers to cultivate bacteria which can be used to aid nitrogen fixation in plants.

Many hours later I was struck with a though, we harvest light and heat energy from the sun, kinetic energy from the wind, the sea and dams, but, to my knowledge, there is no device to capture energy in the form of sound. I'm not a physicist so perhaps this is imposible? But as an architecture student I am aware of materials which can absorb sounds and disperse them. With the enormous levels of acoustic pollution in our cities could we capture this waste energy and recycle it as a power source? Could we charge a phone by using it? Or power a radio by singing along? (Power boost for hitting the right note!) It's likely audio vibrations are to small to be a useful power source, but the concept of a room full of bells, vibrating, almost silently, has evoked a wonderful image in my mind.

Sunday, 11 January 2009


I've recently become interested in book binding, I made two little notebooks using rubbish I collected over Christmas. The cardboard packaging of electronics has been repurposed as a sturdy book cover and for the pages I have recycled paper shopping bags, left over card (I did my own Christmas cards and made a few extra), envelopes, tissue packing, newspaper, and other paper scraps, I even recycled a bag handle as a sewn in bookmark. Sadly nobody bought me anything with thread so I had to use my own but I really like the idea of making a 100% recycled, 100% free notebook and I hope to find a way to do this soon.

The binding process was surprisingly straightforward, the main difficulty was making sure all the holes in the pages lined up. Admittedly not all the pages are competely usable as they contain images or large black lettering but of those I selected images I found inspiring or where the reverse was blank so at least 50% of that leaf could be written on.
The whole process was amazingly theraputic and I had a lot of fun making them, I also think it is fascinating that a few hours ago these books were just trash and by sewing they have become useful again. I love that some of the paper was already recycled and I'm intrigued by what these notebooks could be made into when they have served their purpose.

The small notebook: 64 pages, corregated card cover from a MP3 player box, pages from 6 paper shopping bags, 3 envelopes, 2 sheets of tissue paper, 1 page of graph paper, 1 left over Christmas card and several other paper scraps and the bookmark from a bag handle.
The large notebook: 40 pages, corregated card cover from TV packaging, 1 leftover Christmas card and a recycled bag, pages from 5 paper bags, the last 3 pages of a graph paper fileblock, 2 old photocopies, 1 newspaper cutting, 1 envelope, 1 sheet of card from packaging and various other paper scraps.
Every book tells a story, even if it doesnt have any words yet.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


"For some reason the moment I saw this place I knew I could work here. I am very influenced by places - by the atmosphere of a room."
Francis Bacon
(Above Image: Self Portrait by Francis Bacon)

I was visiting his studio in the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin yesterday, He talks of the ordered chaos of the space. Materials are scattered everywhere, unfinished works lie in the corner and the walls have been used as a pallet. It's amazing. He also says his works come from his subconcious (which oddly relates to a book I was reading literally 3 hours before!), how he starts without knowing what he will paint. I find this idea fascinating, the character in the book is a poet and said that he writes 15,000 words a day by a method of going into a trance and just writing mindlessly. I wonder if any architects use(d) this method?

Friday, 26 December 2008

Understanding Again

"SUCCESS is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host 5
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear 10
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear."

Emily Dickinson 1830 - 1886

We only fully appreciate what we want but don't have.


How Much information do we need to give to communicate effectively? Do more words always mean more clarity? On a conceptual level less is more, one word can be reflective of a hundred ideas. But without other words how do we know which ideas are key? How do we stop others applying their own ideas instead of those intended? Should we try?

[Above image- Parc De La Villette by Bernard Tschumi]

Monday, 8 December 2008

Big Bang

Sometimes it feels like there isn't enough detail, others there is so much it is difficult to understand what is going on. I'm stuck with both and really want to reach the place inbetween where everything makes sense. Sometimes I hate Architecture, sometimes I love it, sometimes I wish I could just hand my construction assignments to an engineer.


MVRDV staircases - Beautiful