Monday, October 26, 2009

Music Review: U2 on YouTube

U2 3

Looking from and glued to my laptop's flawless high tech stream of DSL jettisoned podcast last night, U2's Los Angeles concert in Pasadena's Rose Bowl to 96,000 was a spectacular event befitting of all the technology, sponsorship, globalism, slowly cooked glossy leftism in need of the American flag as well as BlackBerry and YouTube.

The long ago sold out tickets of the concert was only part of it. It didn't stop over 7 million and growing views YouTube had in less than few hours.
This concert will definitely will go down to the archives of Rock's web presence. I have already added it to my favorites list symbolized with a heart sign.

It is an impressive show of U2's ascend to critical mass audiences as the group has come long way since their planned chaos on a Los Angeles rooftop in the late eighties.
Joshua Tree has grown big enough to get almost half of the world's Rock and Roll audience to repeat after “I still haven't found what I am looking for.”

The theme: “What time is it in the World?,” is fittingly appropriate to ask in this digitally connected age U2 so well familiar with.

The musical U2 is one of those bands who found their sound early on and it was so pungent and beat was always at full communication with poetics of Irish culture, texture, activist political message, bad boyism and with the directness of their lyrical lines.
Add to that, simple compilation of rock instruments played by the original members flawlessly and in a hypnotic manner.
Add to that, is Bono's fine sand voice equivalent of several instruments all masterfully timed.

“In a little while it'll hurt no more...”

We are talking about a band knowing how to read ballads into their brand of music and if that is not enough, they are calling the commander reading from international space station.
“Space travel turns me on,” says Bono wishing the commander “safe home.”

After that, we land in Rabat, Morocco to watch the sunrise with them. The Band knows its reach.. He repeats, “What time is it in the world?”


Production wise, the stage theatrics and sound were beautiful and intricate. It feeds on the transformative concept as it expands and subtracts visually and conceptually with lights, media and narrations.
A smart marketing idea driven layout, an outer stage itself circles around the center stage connected by bridges allowing full round stadium seating and artist interaction. Over that is the four legged and multi functional creature/spacealienship reminding the all familiar LAX theme restaurant.

These days musical talent is just the part of the show. A band leader must also be the captain of this spaceship with hundreds of people behind the scenes making the enterprise go boldly without glitches.
The production makes the full use of the media architecture.

Even the spontaneous moments look composed with this band and I don't know if this is a requirement from astronomically well paying audience making full use of their cell phones and becoming individual stations, also broadcasting to their friends, families and cyberspace, demanding and getting full blown industry professionalism.
Whoever is behind the scenes here is as important but it is the immediate fans in the stadium and people like me watching it at home, who will politicize and make this concert memorable. Bono thanks us home audience at the end as well.

If you will, the design of the show and its production incorporates anything from website architecture to software architecture to just architecture.
It was fun and engaging.
One of my favorite concert moment was Bono coming back after the first encore (there were two) as the electric space man.


The political U2 is predictable... “Vamonos muchachitas, Hola... Viva Mexico” and the credibility of Bono's track record gets you Archbishop Desmond Tutu on digital screen sending much helpful AIDS medication and unity messages and U2 is powerful enough to send political requests to Iran and Burma via the co-operation of Amnesty International.
Bono doesn't need to be anybody but himself, nevertheless, on stage he describes himself as somewhere between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny de Vito with a touch of Dennis Hopper.
He is a better messenger and U2 is a giant facilitating platform as the brand.

Part of him “wants to riot.”


All this is fine except, we don't know how much of it is going to weld one of the sponsors “Honda” to our stream of conscience to everyday corporate paycheck to corporate paycheck kind of lives which Bono fails to address. This is a dangerous place to fall for otherwise well meaning musicians and well meaning and downloading audiences.
I understand every penny and every action counts if it is saving one life or adding one more better human condition in the world. Bono himself most willingly puts himself into that category, like many other celebrities, impacting goodwill and benevolence.
Yes, part of him wants to riot, but he is surrounded by enough sponsors that he does suppress that part of him. Then he runs into murky seas of contradictions.

Not to worry, in fact his strength comes from those contradictions. Bono as the band's leader has gained respect not for his political views first, but because U2 is a great band and their music is highly profitable. They know how to carry their music and that is the highest level a rock band can ever achieve. The band members Edge, Bono, Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton hugging each other after a stellar performance is a show of that common ground solidarity in itself. After all they are a band and middle school friends from Dublin.

In the light of all going on, “What time is it in the world, where are we going?” seems to be a timely critical question we must ask ourselves.

Powered by that, U2 and this concert exceeds any normative ticket.

OA 10/2009, Los Angeles

YouTube link

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Blast from the Past: MOVE: Sites of Trauma

"On May 13, 1985, police dropped a bomb on a west Philadelphia row house in an attempt to evict members of a radical organization known as MOVE. Eleven people were killed, 61 homes were destroyed, and around 250 people were left homeless.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the MOVE conflict is that it was marked by a concrete, physical spatiality," writes architect Johanna Saleh Dickson in 'Pamphlet Architecture 23: Move: Sites of Trauma'
8 part video documentary of the conflict on YouTube.

Pamphlet Architecture 23 - Move: Sites of Trauma (Paperback)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009


It is now tomorrow. Looking for the rich oil deposits under the sea. Tired? Check into the Hotel Atlantis. Creating productive communities in the Amazons... There is new beauty and strength in the city of tomorrow. Oh yeah...
The voice gets increasingly emotional toward the end...

Thanks Eric Chavkin.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Music Post: Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt

In 1968, during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon. "In 1968 she was invited to a White House luncheon and was asked by Lady Bird Johnson about the Vietnam War. She replied: 'You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.' The remark reportedly caused Mrs. Johnson to burst into tears and led to a derailment in Ms. Kitt's career."

Thursday, August 6, 2009


“Music has been my outlet, my gift to all of the lovers in this world. Through it, my music, I know I will live forever. ”

Michael Jackson lived one of the most extravagant, magnificent, and crafted lives in centuries. What act of design could possibly outshine the combined effect of the star's own intricate life?

While the music and images Michael left us will seal his cultural immortality, we are still obliged to commemorate him. What is the nature of a monument to Michael Jackson? What single place do we choose to remember a person who touched the globe and had aspirations for the moon?

What is the appropriate scale to remember a man who operated on everything possible -from the studied renovation of his own human form to the creation of an architectural-scale wunderkamer at Neverland Ranch? What design proposal can top his own unrealized plans to construct a 50-foot robotic replica of himself that roams the Las Vegas dessert shooting laser beams out of its eyes?

Live Forever challenges you to design a monument to the epic that was Michael Jackson. There are no limits to this open competition. Your monument may be located anywhere you choose and be any scale that you deem appropriate.

Christopher Hawthorne - Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic
Michael Bierut - Pentagram / DesignObserver
Sam Jacobs - Fat / Strange Harvest
Orhan Ayyuce - Archinect Senior Editor
Bryan Boyer - Archinect Senior Editor
Paul Petrunia - Archinect Founder/Publisher
Heather Ring - Archinect Senior Editor

This competition is hosted by and

Friday, July 31, 2009

Art Review; Moss, Kipnis and the Box

By Orhan Ayyuce

I almost didn't go if it wasn't for a business meeting I had near SCI Arc right before the much anticipated gallery installation talk between Eric Owen Moss, architect and school's director and his friend and critic Jeffrey Kipnis about ; architecture related, grid related, art related, poetry related, related over the top and 'what's inside of me' personal installation of aluminum produced cube, precariously hanging from the ceiling above, bondaged with finite, centered circular flat bars, fighting a war against orthographic and infinite grid.

An integral part of the visual concept, the exhibition incorporated a boxing ring or some other theatrics influenced seating arrangement, demanding your focused attention to the work uber alles. If you were sitting in the gallery, you were either an actor or an audience, a part of the performance piece that was half there half was not. And like me, if you were watching the whole set up from up above, you were the overflow looking at the work from an eye level, sort of up close and personal way.Down below, the uncompromised wooden chairs similar to those depicted in the rendering were full.The conversation started with few anecdotes and talk show jokes to get the people relaxed.

Predictably, the territory of art and architecture challenged as the first conceptually 'serious' issue. I have seen that before and done it myself. That is usually and rightfully a typical argument of architect produced installations when dressed as art in a gallery for not art but for architecture.
Under the 8'x8' cube bondaged with circular ribbons:“What's inside the cube and what you don't see, what this work is about,” answered the author to a question that could be summarized as, “what is this?” Yes, and no surprise to me at that point, it was declared “art.”The audience was asked to go 'inside the box' and find out for themselves.

Sure, I will go see what is inside "The Center of The Universe” by Bruce Nauman in University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque, but do I want to know what the 4'x8' aluminum sheets are screwed to? And bother to know the lyrics of the bondage song? Perhaps I would, but rendering of the bigger scheme of things at the gallery entrance hardly left any curiosity in this reviewer's mind.

Obviously and as stated by the architect that was what resided in the box. Like the attendees, I knew.Yes, most art is autobiographical but architects are architects. We have buildings. It is less interesting when it is both ways. And sometimes that goes for artists declaring their work architecture with no convincing text or function.
In fact, for me, the territory of art and architecture is not that casual and easy. There is precedent.
As for the grid discussion in art, I will stick to Rosalind Krauss' “Grids” essay I read many *Octobers ago. Recommended to all interested in art via grid related way...

Getting back to the gallery talk, the rest of the apologies of courage and bravery to inspire the students etc., did not make the free fall of the cube any less harmless or any more meaningful.
There was even a Jenny Holzer comparing / compensating attempt at one point when I said “oh no.”

And as if by default, this crowd's go-to guy Peter Eisenman with his 'easier piece' was the anchor at one point, even in his physical absence. He was still ruling maybe because the audience could see what's inside his box, I was pondering on the freeway, driving home.

However, credit does go to always vulnerable Mr. Moss for fearless and semi stable homecoming. Courageous, yes. Exposed, yes. Mediocre as art, yes.

Jeffrey Kipnis, the interviewer, the conversational theorist, an insider, is cynical, yet so sweet...

“Architecture needs an enemy,” says Eric Moss, but does art need a friend?

*"Grids" from October #9, Summer 1979 pp. 9-22 MIT Press.

The article was originally published at

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Photo; OA, 07/09 (poster; collection of the author)

This post is based on a Nam Henderson titled news item in Archinect, about “Transitory Objects,” the latest exhibit at Vienna’s influential Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Gallery.

There is an element of 'a safe' resolve in these pieces. Not inspiring but merely scratching the surface as plastic art.
Lynn's ideas are still the most exciting here, but he is looking more and more like the road show with this circle.
You can only hold on the rope too long without the building important buildings that revolutionize the production, use and economy as well as the way of living. No, Zaha won't be able to save too many people either. She is all in for herself and there is only so much room.

A gallery is a tired place for it after all these years.

In architecture, modernists, post modernists and others too, produced belt buckles, dinnerware, walls and curves, but they were producing the real buildings as well, in real time, live.
Some of blob work caught on fire but didn't transfer as good. Soon, I predict, there will be less press interest in it.

There is something to be said about blobs' strong appearance not too long ago and relatively fast disappearance in last few years.

A lot of the building ideas produced here are unbuildable, most are software driven work and they don't provide much useful info on immediate issues on hand and on the ground.
After 'we get it' that a lot can be done with computers as far as configuring the endless curves, we realize structures of the plastic minds (no pun) match the depictions of fluid pencil and stream of imagineering.

Indeed it is a loss that strong ideas ending up as decorative objects, lobby art, glue gunned together for the structural stability and sold by the unit count.

I could also ask "where do we go from here?" but it already feels like we have arrived.

Also see;
'Every home should have a Greg Lynn blobwall' by Bruce Sterling for Wired Magazine

Picturesque Life: View Property #1

Photo; OA 07/09

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baroness Margaret Ford: "SIZE MATTERS!"

The plans for the 2012 Olympic Stadium in London keeps changing. Seemingly progressive and original plan of resizable stadium might be a victim to conservative and corporate mind of Margaret Ford, a Baroness who is now in charge of the Olympic Legacy Team, an organization responsible for figuring out post Olympic use of the venue.
One of her main goal is to make stadium's size of 80,000 spectators permanent.
The Olympic Stadium was designed around the idea that it can be retracted to size of 25,000 spectators after the Olympics, reducing the impact on the environment by that much and still remain as an intimate but large enough sports venue, also making a statement on the Olympic extravaganza we are accustomed to expect in recent decades and in the face of increasing poverty rates around the Globe.

BD online

News at Archinect

L's Operation Morphine

Dear L, Get Well Soon...

KATARXIS Moment: Peter Eisenman and Leon Krier, on dishwashing...

Leon Krier and Peter Eisenman fistfight in Heaven, 1982

There are always these short interviews that I long to master some day...

Copy pasted from here.

This page is reserved for polemics, debates and interviews. This first issue presents a virtual debate with statements by influential architects and intellectuals on the issue of classicism. Based on real and virtual quotes, the debate is fictitiously edited by KATARXIS

Peter Eisenmann: " There are only perfect ideas in the classical ideology. However today, where the elements of cosmology are no longer the same, we cannot return to a classical system. "

Leon Krier: " Our goal as artists and architects consists in understanding that universal system and that universal order which allow us to produce artistical artefacts, in the same way in which nature is creating individual beings. This is what makes classicism: It represents the fundamental system which allows us to create objects of timeless beauty. "

Peter Eisenman: " Classicism encompasses the idea of perfection as it can be encountered in Nature. As I said already, it is not possible anymore today to represent this classical concept of perfection -of harmony between Man and Nature, because this ideal state has been destroyed by forces generated by mankind. One cannot continue to use classical means of representation, because, what they represent, does not exist anymore.

Leon Krier: " It is absurd to prohibit good architecture because we live in terrible times. "

Peter Eisenmann: " Leon, come on, you cannot build this way anymore today! "

Leon Krier: " You can't, but I can! "


Saturday, May 30, 2009


pavillion city

The Pavillions of national show-offs are being built. Most European countries show their interest in rather architecturally 'provocative' ways.
UK Pavillion looks like an 'ass' (human butt.)

See them here... EXPO 2010 Shanghai, China

Sunday, May 24, 2009

OMA: Cornell's New Architecture School


After delays, doubts and economic difficulties and 'put on hold' close calls, Cornell University Board approves moving forward on Milstein Hall. The future building for Cornell's Architecture Dept., and as designed by OMA, under Rem Koolhaas' lead. There are many stories and past coverage on how the School got there and the selection of the project. One thing is sure, it will be a new type of architecture school that goes beyond the examples of such, among its rivals. Cornell University finally integrating the craft, politics, public participation, and perhaps a new placement of ‘architecture school.’
The project doubles up on Mies' National Museum in Berlin, Germany. First, it makes itself a room among the existing buildings and creates a pedestrian friendly web of a building inside. Once you are in, the proposed building functions with both permanent and the transportive spaces, via its placement and connections. This is all speculative but expected...


At this point and ideally, there is an architecture school, bursting with energy, audience and live wired connections to the world. The school as the active block of in between space, connecting Sibley and Rand Halls. And making The Foundry, the building housing the sculptors, not only come alive but almost put a timely and effective stop to cantilever's gallant move in danger of becoming little too much. I give architects a big point for playing the arithmetic when it comes to the Foundry.
Building's ability to inject such 'circulatory' function indeed surpasses the National Museum's one ended loop and organize the building inside as both permanent school program and the transient people mover, giving the dean of the university to walk over the architecture school and watch the students without their knowledge and perhaps be more informed about what they do.
This is all open architectural broadcasting from the department.
What more an architecture could ask for? Integrate with everything else.
If successfully completed, the Milstein Hall might be programmatically most integrated project. Both physically and conceptually concerning architectural education. Sort of a wake up call to other schools to open up and emerge in a literal sense.
The days of reclusive architecture school is being changed with a space that is the conceptual equivalent of a live public news broadcasting like TV station as a storefront show, once under one of the now sadly gone WTC Towers.

What more, at the end, we will also see a tongue in cheek love bite for the National Museum that Rem Koolhaas has been talking about for a while. Making a building from the buildings of his own, which in turn buildings from other buildings, putting the pieces of floating ideas of several buildings together and pulling all in . Here is your intelligent building and proposition to recalibrate the academic environment of architecture and the public face of the architect in the making.

This is an ultimate manifestation and sure way to increase the volume from the new platform for architecture. This is an opportunity to show architecture is relevant, socially connected, worthwhile, participatory and beneficial to welfare of the public. If there will be any fine-tuning left, this interaction between the public and the architecture should be further blurred. In that regard, one can only wish the premise of the design fulfilled. Starting with the construction of the Milstein Hall, the new set of conditions for architectural education must also start. After the project has built, its effectiveness will be depending on the inventive leadership, curriculum, and the efforts of faculty and the students.

This building will add more value for the Dept. The OMA takes Cornell? Dutch?
This much should be obvious.


images from Milstein Hall website

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NNDB = Tracking Everybody

Obama's Bankers

New meaning of surveillance is tracking the well connected people... Who sits on the Board of Directors and for whom he is donating money? Has the owner of Men's Wearhouse George Zimmer aka "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it," been to rehab? How many times? How intricate is Barbara Walters' web of business and friends?
Is there a connection between Henry Kissinger and postmodern architect Frank O. Gehry?
How Obama is connected to the international banking scene?
Is there a triangle between Barack Hussein, Michelle and Hillary?
Who else the Flamboyant Scientologist Tom Cruise is talking to?
Was Jacques Lacan white, catholic and straight?
What are you doing in the Bushes?
Try Brad Pitt's connections, only 1/3 of them! The ten nodes of Mick Jagger. Romance and Brigitte Bardot? Sure 7 out of 9 "voulez-vous danser avec moi?"

Funeral: Diana, Princess of Wales. OA, mapper

Frank Lloyd Wright was a member of 'America First Committee,' a Grassroots antiwar organization founded in 1939 at Yale. Over the next two years, the AFC grew to a membership of 800,000. The group dissolved soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This was all shortly after early modernist master Louis Sullivan's sexual orientation disputed..!
Literature? Sure here is the world of sex and drugs and letters;
William S. Burroughs slept with Allen Ginsberg, who, in turn, slept with Jack Kerouac and earlier Jack slept with Gore Vidal.

dt copyDonald Trump's buddy language... OA, mapper

More to gaze and find out... Post your own reconnaissance...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Las Vegas, Rem Koolhaas, Dubai and a Winner, as lights were dimmed before...

First Prize: Dubai Frame by Fernando Donis (Netherlands)Photos via Bustler

Claes Oldenburg and Coosja van Bruggen's’s Flashlight sculpture in UNLV campus is one of the best critiques ever installed as a sculpture in that city . Their carefully placed giant flashlight indeed is on and from close up one can see its dim radiation of light as well as what the the famous strip radiates beyond, not so dim, and restive like the sculpture, but more get up and go and play. It is a summary on scale, consumption, pop, and a very appropriate commentary for a city as a commercial development, busting out visible energy as if there is tomorrow if you keep playing and spending. When noise of Las Vegas Strip thrives and shines on the nightlife, the lights are dim at the University...

Oldenburg/van Bruggen, Flashlight, UNLV Campus 1981. Image from

Here is a quote from Claes Oldenburg from the website.

The first treatment of the subject was a tower-like open construction which could be climbed by stairs inside to a platform where lights would be directed up into the sky. The proposal was approved May, 1979, but fabrication was put on hold when Coosje developed strong doubts about the concept during the summer that followed, finding this lighthouse version of the Flashlight too mechanical in appearance and the light shining up into the sky too clichèd and reminiscent of authoritarian spectacle. Moreover, she felt the design did not reflect the overwhelming, mysterious presence of Nature all around. Coosje proposed a more original approach: making an analogy to the monumentalization of tiny plant forms in Karl Blossfeldt’s Urformen der Kunst, she compared the flashlight to a cactus which led to a very different formulation of its appearance, creating a daylight identity which had been neglected in the lighthouse approach.

Enter ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award.

The International, open, single stage, public, anonymous, preliminary design competition
for the conception of a tall emblem structure, to promote the new face of Dubai.

Perhaps unknowingly, the jury selected the best project (i am talking about the published ones) and there is a huge outcry coming from losers of the 900 strong participants. Some seeking apology, re-appropriations, recognition and and flat out denounecement of the Winner.
This is absurd, blinded and really naive.
What the runner uppers reflect are no more than derivative iterations of boring public spectacles, banal light shows and Disneyland like entertainment.

sunset dubai
What designer night frame is the second place winner suggesting,

light dub
or what about the flying colors of Benetton the tie place represents,

scorebd dub
another third place tie with a floating score board perhaps broadcasting the time lost by not purchasing a condominium in half price in Dubai?

lightshow dub
As far as the another tie ‘the Mirage” is concerned, I wonder if it was pitched to some other destination first and anyway, whatever. Changing colors and textures where you kiss your partner and say ‘welcome to Dubai?’

Unlike the few complaints on the discussion part of the Bustler article on the Competition, I think the winner, clearly reflects upon series of undefined tears about the feelings of dealings on Dubai. The winning entry not only puts Dubai in its place of framed kitch but also disarms everything else. Not unlike OMA's famous diagram of decorated and simply mundane hi-rise apartments shown in their analysis of Dubai skyline.

dubai skyline

I think the winner spent enough time on realizing the drawing and design proposal. The losers can’t get it because it shows that what they been trying to further embrace etc.., Dubai, is already a spectacle as of now and will always remain so. Too bad for people, who are trying to make a winningest of the all the spectacles and being totally moralistic about their expensive labor, and unrewarded renderings, after all, beautifully passed by a one liner in a Delirious New York way... A one liner about 'all liners.'

Go home, look in the mirror and tell us you have done nothing critical, but further drank on the sweet desert milk. Hoping to canquer Dubai, yet being framed.
Go home and don’t look onto Dubai close because you can’t take it. Your colleagues created a city that is better from a distant frame, look but don't touch, Twisted Towers re-framed... The expat firms that Dubai built.

The winner is like the wheel and there is no point of rediscovering. The rest tries and ends up as cake decoration.
If Rem Koolhaas ever twisted someone's arm for the prize winner, he did it brilliantly. You'll thank him later...

Addendum: After seeing the other non winning entries at Bustler, my initial view stands solidified.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009



Due to popular demand, I continue to document buildings where the supreme attention was paid to the detailing and curb appeal. These buildings are designed to give an impression of grandeur, class distinction and definitely set your business place apart from the riff-raff-rickety offices everywhere.

Various detailing of the components

valley entrance

valley int.
Lobby elegance

valley int. corridor
Everything is up to building codes too

Saturday, April 25, 2009