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#1 2020-03-31 20:48:48

zero
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2004-04-19
Posts: 1,245
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Design and Designers

jakob wrote #322371:

Design/architecture fans might also like Gary Hustwit’s design films currently streaming one a week for free.

I’ve so far watched Workplace and Objectified. and they have stimulated some of my thoughts and many more about rich and poor, artificial and natural, nature, the planet, power relations and the heart. All good stuff for me, but I’m sure they are no more than brainfarts to you. I’m no designer.

So please: architects, web designers, code designers, content designers and any other designers on this forum, I want to encourage you to discuss design, share your thoughts, inspirations and whatever in this thread. How can design save people’s souls? How can designers save our planet? What is the way forward in the post-corona world?


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#2 2020-04-01 06:43:43

colak
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Re: Design and Designers

One of the reasons I am so much involved with art, is because there are more artists who separated and distanced themselves from the commercial, commodified mainstream, and they concentrate not on site-specific, or object art, but on situation-specific projects which intervene in the political, social, and technological discourse.

Having said that, there are people from the design disciplines whose work and ideas go beyond formalistic exercises. Such as this old text by Christopher Alexander (PDF), but also Teddy Cruz’s investigations (YouTube). You may notice that the outcomes from both, are not necessarily beautiful but they are nevertheless critical, an approach which I find much more politically correct.


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#3 2020-04-01 06:48:35

jakob
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Re: Design and Designers

Then you might like ‚Urbanized‘ (now online) even more as it throws light on the massive inequalities in urban life across the world. The scale of cities magnifies the problems dramatically and the fact that huge numbers of people do not have access to the most basic amenities is made very clear. At the same time it shows how, on the one hand, design is responsible for some of the ills of the modern urban life and, on the other, how design/designers are offering at least some answers to some problems. At the same time, the film also manages to be a hymn to the city and is again beautifully filmed and crafted without (imo) being too slick and with some moments of humour thrown in.


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#4 2020-04-01 09:52:02

zero
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Design and Designers

Many thanks Jakob and Yiannis. I’ve read the Christopher Alexander pdf and it’s fascinating, giving a whole new way of looking at wholes and units and relationships. You’ve both given me plenty to think about and investigate!

I’ve moved about a lot in my life and in the last 18 years it has been within Lancashire not because of wanderlust as it was when I was younger, but cos of accommodation, neighbours and situations leaving me little alternative.

Old folk housing schemes seemed to offer a solution being inexpensive, warm and I’d be mixing with people of a similar age. I’ve lived briefly in two.

Both times I’ve left for the same reasons — people who live there have basically given in, they are preparing for death rather than living for life and the joyful surprises it brings. Reason 2 – thin walls and ceilings with neighbours above, below and at either side. Perhaps that was intended, so people would know they are not alone, but I just found it disrupted my control of my day and night patterns and flexibility. It’s been good to return to old-fashioned terraced housing where I’m presently undisturbed by neighbours and hoping to finally settle — out of the tree scheme and back in the semilattice.


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#5 2020-04-01 10:28:05

jakob
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Re: Design and Designers

zero wrote #322417:

Old folk housing schemes seemed to offer a solution being inexpensive, warm and I’d be mixing with people of a similar age. I’ve lived briefly in two.

Both times I’ve left for the same reasons — people who live there have basically given in, they are preparing for death rather than living for life and the joyful surprises it brings.

Out of interest, what’s the co-housing scene like in GB? i.e. with mixed age groups and/or abilities. In Germany, the scene has been growing for a while in numerous different constellations, but it’s still comparatively low-level and often requires a level of openness from local councils to enable it in the first place, as it usually sits outside the usual property speculation scheme of things. There are some large, high-profile cooperative-run schemes but also many small-scale neighbourhood-oriented schemes that re-create some of the mutual cooperation and assistance that families once offered when they lived close to each other. My office colleagues run the “local chapter” of the national association and I have worked on publications for architecture exhibitions on co-housing before. It’s a fascinating topic.

zero wrote #322417:

Reason 2 – thin walls and ceilings with neighbours above, below and at either side. Perhaps that was intended, so people would know they are not alone, but I just found it disrupted my control of my day and night patterns and flexibility. It’s been good to return to old-fashioned terraced housing where I’m presently undisturbed by neighbours and hoping to finally settle — out of the tree scheme and back in the semilattice.

In Germany, the ratio of home ownership to rental is (or was) almost inverse to that in GB. Terraced houses are also less common while buildings with multiple rented apartments more usual (not necessarily big housing blocks but simply buildings on a street with a one or more apartments per floor*), so people in general are culturally more used to living in close quarters with their neighbours. Most of the typical “Altbauten” (old buildings) do not fulfil current sound transmission/insulation standards so you get accustomed to hearing your neighbours to some degree. BTW: I’m not saying either is better or worse, just different culturally.

*I remember some of the first language classes I had where the examples were: “I live at Street Name 54, on the first floor, left-hand side”. In English lessons, you’d say: “I live at 21 XYZ Street”. By the same token, the notion of a letterbox (in the door) is practically unknown here. Most houses have a row/battery of letterboxes in the entrance somewhere.


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#6 2020-04-01 12:39:41

zero
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From: Lancashire
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Re: Design and Designers

jakob wrote #322419:

Out of interest, what’s the co-housing scene like in GB? i.e. with mixed age groups and/or abilities.

There used to be council houses owned by the local council and rented by the less affluent or more disadvantaged people. Families lived in these houses with gardens. With a change of government, many of these were bought by their tenants and I think nowadays many have been sold privately. They are usually well-built semi-detached and nowadays have often become “good areas” to live. Non-profit social housing organisations have taken over from councils and they’ve also taken over blocks of flats (many 3-storey and many multi-storey tower blocks). There would be singles living in these as well as families. Some would attract wealthier people who would go on to buy them. Most I think are still rented by poorer people and are often depressing. Many tower blocks have been demolished and replaced by a more modern kind of terraced house with poor sound and heat insulation. Heat insulation has usually been upgraded since they were built. All age groups and abilities live in these, but those with better jobs will almost always move elsewhere. I’m not sure if it is the equivalent of your co-housing, perhaps we don’t have that over here.

All those have their own front doors and letter boxes. The sheltered housing for independent over-55s that I lived in shared a main front door but still have letter boxes on each flat’s front door. They used to have staff organising events, cleaning and contacting residents daily to check on their well-being. But these have been reduced to one person checking out a number of schemes once a week. They used to group Asians together and people from one area of town together and Eastern Europeans together (not officially but using their discretion) to provide some community and identity cohesion, but this too is disappearing as cost-cutting has led to “sheltered” accommodation being open to anyone who is willing to live there. The security and communal aspect has deteriorated so much that they really have become quite undesirable. Drunks (and probably junkies) are now moving in alongside old folk and people with mental or physical problems who need carers. Quite a change from “independent over-55s” of about 5 years ago! That might be labelled co-housing, but I’m sure it’s not what you understand by the term.

Interesting that you should mention sound transmission regulations. Nobody seems interested. Any regulations are very poor. I’ve often lived in accommodation where you can almost hear the conversations of next-door neighbours and certainly hear the detail when they raise their voices. I know of several housing schemes built right next to main roads, roundabouts or crossroads, replacing what was built there before cars had been invented. Talk about pollution! And people buy these places!


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#7 2020-04-01 16:06:06

colak
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Re: Design and Designers

zero wrote #322422:

There used to be council houses owned by the local council and rented by the less affluent or more disadvantaged people. Families lived in these houses with gardens. With a change of government, many of these were bought by their tenants and I think nowadays many have been sold privately.

That started during the Thatcher years right?

Interesting that you should mention sound transmission regulations. Nobody seems interested. Any regulations are very poor. I’ve often lived in accommodation where you can almost hear the conversations of next-door neighbours and certainly hear the detail when they raise their voices.

The big secret is that it is expensive to sound insulate. It requires precise detailing of all openings and dense materials within dry/wet walls. Floors require vibration buffers further to those materials and on top of the ceilings, materials such as mass loaded vinyl can be used which is again comparatively expensive. Unfortunately local councils and governments do not like investing on the people, they prefer investing on the market.

One thing we have in Cyprus (possibly present in the Mediterranean region) is the immediate and extended family outreach. This is however happening because of the wrong reasons. We cannot rely on our authorities. This means that when people lose their homes, there is no other alternative but to approach family members or social circles. When that fails, they are on the streets.

jakob wrote #322412:

Then you might like ‚Urbanized‘ (now online) even more as it throws light on the massive inequalities in urban life across the world.

I’ll be watching it. Thanks!!!

Going back to design alienist manifesto is an ezine crossing sociology, activism, urbanism and anarchism. All their issues are free on pdf and their design is reminiscent of the punk movement.


Yiannis
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#8 2020-04-02 15:38:22

zero
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2004-04-19
Posts: 1,245
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Re: Design and Designers

colak wrote #322423:

That started during the Thatcher years right?

Yes

The big secret is that it is expensive to sound insulate. It requires precise detailing of all openings and dense materials within dry/wet walls. Floors require vibration buffers further to those materials and on top of the ceilings, materials such as mass loaded vinyl can be used which is again comparatively expensive. Unfortunately local councils and governments do not like investing on the people, they prefer investing on the market.

I don’t know the ins and outs of it but traditional walls made of brick and stone, well-built and well plastered were very good for sound insulation, but then electric drills and plasterboard arrived and sound goes through the weakest or thinnest spots – holes, loose cement etc. There’s usually no plaster behind skirting boards, architraves etc and new wiring goes here and other weak spots. So now it’s quicker to use plasterboard-type party walls with wiring easily routed and, yes with precise detailing that might be fine but it’s very expensive to replace those panels precisely if there’s any damage. Just my understanding but like you say, it comes down to investing in the market not in people.

extended family outreach

Sounds like a useful euphemism to hide many sins

alienist manifesto

All good stuff. Thanks for all the links. One day I might get around to reading A Geology Of Media that you recommended a while back. I’ve had no internet since yesterday lunchtime so should have started it then but got distracted into other things. I’m enjoying this lockdown :-)


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#9 2020-04-02 19:28:51

colak
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Re: Design and Designers

I wasn’t sure if this YouTube video of Richard Sennett in conversation with Srećko Horvat broadcasted live a few minutes ago, would be more appropriate in the Covid-19 thread but as Sennett is very much read by architects too, I’m posting it here.

Sounds like a useful euphemism to hide many sins

Don’t get me started:)


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#10 2020-04-03 08:15:45

colak
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Re: Design and Designers

Sounds like a useful euphemism to hide many sins

Ok, I just can’t let this one go:)

Punitive neoliberalism (Davies, 2016) has been repurposing, rather than dismantling, welfare state provisions such as healthcare, income support, housing and education (Cooper, 2017: 314). This mutation is reintroducing ‘poor laws’ of a colonial flavour, deepening the lines of discrimination between citizens and non-citizens (Mitropoulos, 2012: 27), and reframing the family unit as the sole bearer of responsibility for dependants. (https://pirate.care/pages/concept/)


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