Friday, 25 October 2013

A Space For Living (Part One)

 I wanted to return to thinking about work this week, and the habitats we live in :

A Space For Living : Grafik Farm 2013
  This, of course, could be the view from my window high above the street. 'But', I find myself thinking, 'how did they get the 'A Space For Living' to hang in the air like that? Wow!

So who made this? This...out there? No, not the lettering - it is not actually hanging around down there...I mean the city.

Architects, architects! The world will shout at you...architects, design structures and the infrastructure that facilitiate our lives. The spaces where we work, factories, offices, shops, schools, or live, detached, semi-detached, flats, town houses, hospitals ( which is a cross-over, of course, with work and live), and play, cinemas, bowling alleys, soccer stadiums ( again a cross-over with work and play), museums.

Men and women like Frank Lloyd Wright ( immortalised in the Simon and Garfunkel song So Long Frank Lloyd Wright ), Le Corbusier (Paris, whose real name was Charles-Eduoard Jeanneret Gris - hasn't got quite the same ring to it), Charles Rennie McIntosh, the contemporary and very fashionable Zaha Hadid, the futuristic Frank Gehry (a Canadian-American architect who built Bilbao's Guggenheim museum) and Peter De Maria of Southern California.

In 2006, New Jersey-born De Maria designed a two storey home from shipping containers. Describing his materials as the 'messengers of consumerism', De Maria worked in recycling mode to deliver an ecologically sound and economical alternative to modern housing. Famed for his 2007 'masterpiece', the two storey Redondo Beach House, De Maria told Dwell magazine in February 2009 :
"Some people assume that yet-to-be-invented high-tech materials and systems will be the saviors of our construction industry. New technology can be great, but some of the answers to our building challenges are right in front of us. We need to look more closely at existing materials and systems from commercial construction and other industries and ask how they might be adapted, adjusted, or recycled to meet our domestic architecture needs. It’s less glamorous than creating renderings of new home designs, but we need to look at how to design efficient processes that leverage the economies of scale inherent in existing industrial components and systems." (Dwell magazine February 2009)

I must admit to being fascinated by the mere concept of living in a box, albeit an oblong shipping container (s).

I would think, however, it might also be scary! Imagine sitting watching Eastenders or Housewives of New York, mug of coffee on the arm of the armchair while your home is being lifted onto a cargo ship bound for Panama?!

'Must be windy out there tonight Mildred'. You might call out, the coffee spilling over the side of your mug as you and your home swing between harbourside and cargohold, then, and unbeknown to you, the swaying movement is toppling your wife out of the bedroom window...'Mildred? Mildred?'



But, of course, it is not only architects who build houses, bridges, roads and bring large metropolitan connurbations to life. Not only architects who build cities and bring designs for living to life.

A whole army of different workpeople are involved in the assembly and maintenance of cities. So, as well as architects, cities are put together by town planners, civil engineers, construction workers, crane operators, road workers laying down the blacktop, sewage engineers and a whole band of specialist employees often working as part of huge teams on large ongoing projects, bricklayers, joiners, plasterers, plant machinery operatives and maintenance crews.

Huge metropolitan areas need and employ people who design, re-design, engineer and re-engineer buildings and infrastructure. People who can design and build houses, offices, factories, transport systems, roads, bridges and tunnels, and maintain them as well when they experience wear and tear problems or begin to crumble or fall apart with age.

So, cities need people who design, build and maintain structures, residential homes, office blocks, schools, hospitals, shops, shopping malls, train stations, bus stations, airports. In addition urban areas need people who build, engineer and maintain telecommunications networks so that we can use our landline telephones, cell phones, laptops, desktops, tablets, fax machines and people who build, engineer and maintain our sanitary and sewerage systems, pumping stations and waste management systems. Not to forget the guys and girls who identify materials and supplies and those who operate transport to deliver.

Together, this workforce, generate and maintain the infrastructure that allows us to live and work and play within the borders of huge metropolitan areas.

I have written this in two parts and released early - because I am now about to go travelling for the next week or so and plan to release part two next Sunday - This is a mash up of a section I have prepared for Rush Hour.

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