Sunday, December 23, 2012

eating milk and honey

This is my mate Sandamali's blog.

Hmmm.... When was the last time I met her? Most probably 15 years ago. I think it was during my uni days (as a student). Being a self confessed lousy writer I have never ever written to her, though I have kept in touch with her through my mate Sujeewa, who as usual keep me updated on everybody who have gone on their separate way to different parts of the world.

Eating Milk with Honey

Thursday, December 6, 2012

oscar niemeyer dies at 104

Brazil is mourning the loss of one of the country's best and brightest creative minds, famed architect Oscar Niemeyer.

A couple of weeks ago the Brasilia architect Oscar Niemeyer passed away at 104. His architecture redefined the Brazilian identity in postwar era. An unabashed modernist and dyed in the wool communist he never took a foot back from his architectural style and his political ideology. As famous as he was, still he had to pay a heavy price for his convictions.

During the military dictatorship of the 1960-70 he he had to live in France on a self imposed exile to avoid the wrath of the military dictatorship. Being the man who provided the identity for the the newly created capital of Brasilia was not good enough for the dictators.

More than his modernist architectural style, it was how he managed to interpret his political ideology through that style that left a deep impact on the common man in Brazil. He designed for his people, most of whom are poorest of the poor in the world.

Can we feel the same about leftist / socialist ideologists or for that matter architects of Sri Lanka?

Obituary @ the Economist
Pictorial Essay @ The Guardian

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

who's pink? pink floyd drummer awarded honorary architecture degree

Mason, Barrett, Gilmour (seated), Waters and Wright
British rock band Pink Floyd famously opined, “We don’t need no education,” and maybe they were right. The band was founded by a group of architecture students—Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright—at the Regent Street Polytechnic, now the University of Westminster, which served as the band’s first rehearsal space and performance venue in the early 1960s. As the band gained popularity, the architecture students left school to focus on their music.

Fifty years later, Westminster has brought the boys back home, awarding drummer Nick Mason an Honorary Doctor of Letters for his contributions to music, officially completing his architecture degree. Head of Music and Interim Dean of the School of Media, Arts, and Design Alan Fisher noted that Mason “helped found Pink Floyd, a band which is internationally renowned for innovation, both musically and in terms of stage design and production, aspects of which were undoubtedly influenced by the band members’ architectural education at the University.”

Mason said of the honor, “Not only did studying architecture teach us some useful stuff, but it also gave us an opportunity to develop and put us in touch with some fantastic mentors and industry contacts that have helped us along the way.” All in all, we’re just bricks in the wall.

house at madinnagoda rd (#63)

Photos: Kolitha Perera
Architect Russel Dandeniya

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Extreme Metaphors: Interviews with J.G. Ballard 1967-2008 (book #28)

Edited by Simon Sellars and Dan O’Hara, the book collects 44 conversations including his first published interview, with George MacBeth in 1967, and one of his last, a 2008 interview with James Naughtie. Other contributors include Eduardo Paolozzi, Jon Savage, Will Self, David Cronenberg, Mark Dery, Richard Kadrey, Iain Sinclair, John Gray, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Toby Litt and Hari Kunzru.

Each interview includes a brief introduction from either Simon Sellars or Dan O’Hara , and the book’s title is taken from a 1984 chat with Thomas Frick, in which Ballard says: 'presumably all obsessions are extreme metaphors waiting to be born. That whole private mythology, in which I believe totally, is a collaboration between one’s conscious mind and those obsessions that, one by one, present themselves as stepping-stones.' Given that, to a certain extent, Ballard gestated his own obsessions in the interview situation before birthing them in his fiction, ‘extreme metaphors’ seemed the perfect title for our collection.

@ Amazon

J. G. Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction. His best-known books are Crash (1973), adapted into a film by David Cronenberg, and the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984), made into a film by Steven Spielberg.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

indian architecture awards 2012

Residential: Single Residence - Ar. Jayadev, Cochin
Project: Rithu, Cochin
Highlights of Project: Integrated indoor-outdoor transition; simple lines; play of colours; ample natural light and ventilation.

Residential: Multi-storey -Ar. Kiran Venkatesh of InFORM Archietcts, Bangalore  
Project: Housing Tower One, Hyderabad
Highlights of Project: Green features; responsible living and social interaction spaces; strong massing and colour scheme;  aesthetic of  building  derived from functional and creative moves  intrinsic to planning rather than as external application of elements.

Public Category: Ar. Manit Rastogi & Ar. Sonali Rastogi of Morphogenesis, New Delhi
Project: City Centre, Siliguri
Highlights of Project: Most significant is the bio-climatological approach; interface between township and city; break-out spaces in the form of landscaped terraces on each floor; indigenous to the city.

Interiors Category: Ar. Tushar V. of Ochre Architects, Bangalore
Project: No. 20, Office Extension
Highlights of Project: Functional planning with break-free geometry; water bodies; innovative and significant interiors.

Landscape-Design Category: Ar. Akash Hingorani of Oasis Designs Inc., New Delhi
Project: Bhairon Marg Urban Landscape, New Delhi.
Highlights of Project: Integrated approach of urban planning that amalgamates the field of Landscape design, transport planning and urban design to bring about a cohesive space that works for the pedestrians as well as vehicles.

Research Category: Ar. Yatin Pandya of Footprints E.A.R.T.H., Ahmedabad
Project: Concepts of Space
Highlights of Project: Unravelling the inherent virtues of traditional Indian Architecture and interpreting them as universal dictums, relevant to reinstate in contemporary times.

Industrial Category: Ar. Sunil Patil of SPA, Pune
Project: Fratelli Wines, Akluj
Highlight of Project: Soul of this building are intricately designed spaces, which interact with each other in such a manner that the visitor can feel the process of wine making. Landscape as key microclimate modifier. Simple no-nonsense approach.

Heritage Buildings: Ar. Pankaj & Ar. Pranoti Modi, Ahmedabad
Project: Restoration, Rehabilitation & Retrofit - LIMBDI
Highlights of Project: Sensitivity hand-in-glove with dynamism – an ideal approach to heritage architecture.

Urban Infrastructure: Ar. Sourabh Gupta of Archohm, Noida
Project: Vadodara Bharuch Toll Plaza
Highlights of Project: Reinterpreting urban infrastructure typology through dramatic visual experience and functional optimization.

Images and information from India Art & Design & Architizer

Monday, October 22, 2012

lance amstrong stripped of 7 tour de france titles

Lance Edward Armstrong (born Lance Edward Gunderson, September 18, 1971) is an American former professional road racing cyclist. He was world champion in 1993. Later in his career, Armstrong competed in endurance competitions, including marathon running, marathon mountain bike racing, triathlon and Ironman competitions.

He is best known for his performances in the Tour de France but in June 2012 the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charged Armstrong with having used illicit performance enhancing drugs,[4] and in August they announced a lifetime ban from competition as well as the stripping of all titles. On October 22, 2012, the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the sports governing body, accepted USADA's verdict and confirmed both the lifetime ban and the stripping of all titles since August 1998.[5] These included the Tour de France titles for the years 1999 to 2005.

Link 1
Link 2
Also plagiarism leads to hungarian president's fall

Why this news item is here in this blog? Because I am a big fan of the Tour de France!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

would have had, had had, have had

  1. Mourinho has been given a two-match touchline ban and WOULD HAVE HAD to sit in the stands with a minder anyway.

    Here we are talking about the "future in the past".

    At the time the speaker is talking, Mourhino had already received the ban (past). He knew then that for the next match (future, when he got the ban) he would have to sit in the stands.

    Two weeks ago Mourhino got a ban. (past) Two weeks ago (past) he knew that in one week's time, (future) he would have to sit on the bench

  2. I realized I'D HAD it in my pocket all along.

    This is the past perfect form of "have". We use this when we are talking about the past and want to refer to a time in the past which was even earlier.

    So - "I realised" - past simple of 'realise' - (a short event which I now finished.)

    "I had had it" - the thing was in my pocket even before I realised that it was there.

    We could demonstrate this by putting times in, to give you an idea of the time line:

    "At 4 pm I realised that I had put the thing in my pocket at 2 pm." I am telling you about something that happened at 4 pm (I realised), and the thing that I realised had happened even earlier, at 2 pm (I had had it ...)

  3. I HAVE HAD the opportunity to interact with teachers" This is the simple perfect continuous (progressive), and we use it to speak about a finished action in the past, which is connecetd to the present.

    This is connected with the present, because presumably the speaker learned a lot about teachers, and he still has that knowledge:

    In the past I have had French lessons (past) and I can speak some French (present.)
Why? Dunno, just thought that the explanation was very nice

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CD is 30 years old

Sony announced the CDP-101, the world's first Compact Disc player, on October 1st, 1982. When the CD came out, it was like something from another planet.

In 1982, no one except computer nerds had computers. It wasn't until the late 1980s that hard drives were seen commonly, and then they were only 10 megabytes, an astounding number. By 1985, computers still only used 5-1/4" floppies, which held only 720 kilobytes if you had the HD ones. Microfloppies, the 3.5" kind with two sides, were crazy stuff when Apple first used them on a computer in 1987. They were small, tough, and held an amazing 1.44 megabytes. Even until about 1992, only engineers had computers at work.

The CD in 1982? It held an unfathomable 650 Megabytes, or as much as 65 hard drives would be able to hold three years in the future! Even in 1985, no one could afford a 10 MB hard drive. I worked in defense in 1985, and we did our calculations on computers with dual 5.25" floppies; no hard drive. That's why hard drives are called the C: drive; the A: and B: drives are your two floppies: one for the program, one for your data.

Anyway, CDs were always laser rocket science. It wasn't until about the year 2000 that anyone could afford a CD burner.

A piece of wood signed by Ohsone was used to show his engineers the size they were to aim for with the D-50.
"We're going to commercialize a CD player of this size," said Ohsone, head of the General Audio Division (of Sony) while showing his staff a piece of wood which was 13.4 cm across and about 4 cm thick. This was about the same size as four CD cases stacked one on top of another. He added, "I don't care how you do it, or whether you decide to put cicadas or grasshoppers in it, but just make this produce sound." Everyone laughed.


Friday, September 28, 2012

future practice: conversations from the edge of architecture (book #27)

Designers around the world are carving out opportunities for new kinds of engagement, new kinds of collaboration, new kinds of design outcomes, and new kinds of practice; overturning the inherited assumptions of the design professions. Seventeen conversations with practitioners from the fields of architecture, policy, activism, design, education, research, history, community engagement and more, each representing an emergent role for designers to occupy. Whether the "civic entrepreneur," the "double agent," or the "strategic designer," this book offers a diverse spectrum of approaches to design, each offering a potential future for architectural practice.

Read the complete Forward to the book

Check out at

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

street art in colombo

Is this the first time serious street art is happening in Colombo? This looks like the 'Diyawanna' water front. Anybody who has actually seen this?