World architecture... what's happening generally....


Postby shimon » Mon Sep 29, 2003 6:28 pm

Anyone see Will Alsop presenting 'Supercities' on Friday night?

He was basically pointing out that - like it or not - Motorways are developing into...uh...kind of 'Supercities' - long narrow strips, but inhabited by millions of people.

And he has a point - apparently 15.5 million people live with 20 miles of the M62, and it can take less time to drive from Hull to Liverpool (the length of the M62) that to drive across London.

And he put forward some suggections for making the most of that: banning cars from motorways; building towers in the countryside that barely touch the ground (think Alsop classic stilts here); making Ikeas nicer; and making sure that the Fourth Grace is as iconic as possible.

I think it made more sense the way he told it ;) Either way it was a nice vehicle for showing some good contemporary architecture.

Still, how were your feelings about it? There's two more episodes, btw, Fridays at 8 or 8:30 - i forget which...
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Postby theginjaninja » Sun Jan 04, 2004 11:50 pm

sounds very corb..

although I haven't seen the full details of it all.
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Postby space_invader » Wed Jan 07, 2004 12:55 pm

well, I saw these programmes and thought, 'yeah, great, some passionate, contraversial architectural ideas being presented on prime-time tv' - although I was not so convinced by Alsop's argument.

I thought it particularly amusing when he met with some village locals in the second episode and tried to explain why his motorway-city idea would be a pleasant environment: he was stuck for words and couldn't combat their logical questions.

But I'm actually heartened to see someone with bombast attempt to reclaim the 'eccentric, willfull sensitive genius' crown for the profession: it's been mired in a sludge of reasonableness and for too bloody long.

As for his idea, to a certain extent you could say that the south coast supercity already exists (which, in fairness he inferred himself). I was down in Brighton for Christmas and found a continuous strip of activity no matter which direction out of the town I drove in.

Ultimately though, I'm still bemused at architects who see the car as THE generator for new architectural thinking. It seems such an old, clunky, fossilised idea to persist with.

I'd say the mobile phone has revised our notions of space 'n time in a far more radical and contemporary manner.

That being the case, Alsop's shows served as a interesting diversion but one that led to a dead end.

(tho I did dig his 'drawing on the windcreen' habit - very British.)
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Postby FIN » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:24 pm

is it on tonight again?
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Postby space_invader » Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:30 pm

nah - finished weeks ago.

but I don't see why polemics like this can't be bashed out every month: budget requirements are minimal: all you need is an architect who knows how to present themselves well and talk clearly......

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