Friday, 30 January 2009

Off west

We're off to Calgary for 2 weeks to work on our 2 ongoing projects there.
We'll be looking at the detail design for the Laycock Park proposals with Westhoof Engineering and the City.
We'll also be spending some time within UEP to develop our understanding of their different projects and approaches and present the first development of the Visual Language project

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

A narrative Atlas

Researching into the Visual Language project for Calgary, we found Dennis Wood's Dancing and singing: A Narrative Atlas of Boylan Heights in the blog Making Maps: DIY Cartography.
The atlas contains "place-inspired maps, including maps of night, crime, fences, graffiti, textures, autumn leaves, routes, the underground, lines overhead, stars, and jack-o-lanterns".

Lines overhead map

Jack-o-lantern Map

Underground Map

Dennis Wood described the origin of this Atlas: "I thought I might help my students learn something about how to read the landscape by focusing hard on a small piece of it". This way of looking at the aspects of the place that usually pass unnoticed reminds me a lot of Georges Perec Tentative d'épuisement d'un lieu Parisien: "Mon propos [...] a été de décrire le reste : ce que l'on ne note généralement pas, ce qui ne se remarque pas, ce qui n'a pas d'importance : ce qui se passe quand il ne se passe rien." (My aim was to describe all the rest: the things that we usually don't write down, what's not noticeable, what's unimportant, what's happening when nothing is happening.)
Georges Perec, Tentative d'épuisement d'un lieu Parisien, 1975 (Forgive the bad translation)
He also described this approach in a previous text:
«How to speak of these ‘common things’, or rather how to track them, how to drive them out, tear them from the gangue in which they were glued, how to give them a meaning, a language: let them finally speak of what there is, of what we are.
Maybe it’s a matter of creating our own anthropology: one that would talk of us, one that would look for what we for so long pillage from others. Not anymore the exotic, but the endotic.
Interrogate what seems so natural that we forgot its origin. To find again some surprise.»
Georges Perec, L'Infra-ordinaire, 1973

The Dennis Wood Atlas seems to be a balance between Perec's literary approach and a scientist's one.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


We are currently developing an in-depth proposal for a project in Morecambe and last week we spent three days visiting the place and meeting relevant people.
One of the most spectacular place we went to was the Winter Gardens, a grandiose XIX Century building now half gutted and waiting on more funding for restoration. The mix of decayed grandeur, traces and memories, and building site atmosphere turn this building into a very special experience.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Art and Architecture Journal

Our article written for Art & Architecture Journal has just been published in issue 66/67
The Percent for Art Syndrome

We wished to explore the reasons and methods commissioners have for working with artists in the public realm, and by looking back at some of our own experiences, try to define what makes for the most fruitful process for artists to be engaged in.


After 12 month of no updates on our previous website, we finally put the new one on line today. Simpler than the previous one, it should work better and we'll be updating it more often (honest):