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kin kit
25 June 2011 @ 02:28 am
How strange to have turned 22. 

A half remembered line from Norwegian Wood, "Wouldn't it be nice if we could go from being 21 to being 19 again?"

And a quote from a Robert Louis Stevenson's An Apology for Idlers, "And yet it is not so. The ends for which they give away their priceless youth, for all they know, may be chimerical or hurtful; the glory and riches they expect may never come, or may find them indifferent; and they and the world they inhabit are so inconsiderable that the mind freezes at the thought."
kin kit
29 April 2011 @ 10:40 pm
1) Going down Yio Chu Kang road for a distance less than 5km, one passes through no less than 3 constituencies. 
2) The formation of GRCs, might have had the adverse side effect of letting voters express their dissatisfaction in a more generalized fashion to the dominant party at the expense of the merits of individual candidates. 
kin kit
24 March 2011 @ 11:30 pm
It would be interesting to think of the concrete dome at chernobyl as architecture, and the 18 mile exclusion zone around it, the speediest form of landscaping. How is it to imprison time itself? The concrete shell constantly erodes- even the strongest man-made building is temporary. 
kin kit
01 February 2011 @ 11:47 pm
Even the statues would melt under such a sun, but I am reminded of another story. On another planet, the rain is ceaseless and men driven mad by the incessant rhythm that is not their own search endlessly for some relief. 
kin kit
04 January 2011 @ 11:25 pm
 I have always thought that one can judge a movie by the way it ends. If a movie runs too short, it feels unresolved; but if it runs over, it feels gratuitous, and takes away something from the experience. If at the end of a good movie, I think: it should end here- and it does, then i know it's a great movie. 

And Alice in the cities has one of the best endings ever.
kin kit
02 January 2011 @ 11:28 pm
 If north korea really wanted to win the war, they would use bio weapons. 
kin kit
15 November 2010 @ 10:55 pm
 Case Study- The Glasgow School of Art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Built in two phases, the construction of the Glasgow school of Art straddles the time period between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century. It is somehow symbolic of its unique place in history, encompassing the brief efflorescence of the art nouveau movement and the advent of the modern movement in architecture.

Ahistorical and eclectic, the building exemplifies in its contradiction of styles, the vast schism between fin-de-siecle art nouveau and the modern movement that was soon to come. Though rationally ordered and composed, the Glasgow school of art still remained an art nouveau building with all its characteristically individual flourishes of intricate craftsmanship. It is this synthesis of contradictory elements that still fascinates to this day.

That such a curious anomaly was to occur in late 19th century Glasgow does not come as a surprise. Cosmopolitan and bustling, Glasgow was a major port that traded not only in goods but in ideas brought from the far reaches of the world. The situation also gave rise to a growing class of open-minded nouveau riche who were eager to secure the cachet of supporting the local arts scene. It was in such a milieu that the building was to be commissioned.
The growing demand from the nouveau riche for a representative art prompted a need for the existing Glasgow school of art to expand. Under the auspices of its forward-looking chancellor Fra Newberry, a competition for a new building was announced. The brief of the competition was surprisingly open-ended, calling only for a “simple-building” with “large well-lit studios ” and a “short, sensible circulation.” He was also concerned that the building should include every possible modern amenity.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh a bright, young architect and a friend of the chancellor came to take upon and eventually won the competition to design the building. As both artist and architect, Mackintosh belonged to a group of artists known as the “Four”, who promoted an art that displayed a strong celtic and art-nouveau inspired influence. This style would later be developed in his design for the Glasgow school of art along with a strong Japanese influence that would characterize his work.
In Mackintosh’s design for the Glasgow school of art, the primary challenge was to fulfill the brief with regards to the difficult conditions of the site chosen. The site for the building was set at a steep incline in an urban context and the challenge was to accommodate the required functions of the building in spite of the constraints in section.

Mackintosh’s solution displayed a clear logic that presaged the functionalist solutions of the modern movement. The building is organized in section according to the requirements of the program, with the double volume studios that required plenty of light located at the top level of the main façade of the building. They share the same communication space as the museum behind which has a lower ceiling height to accommodate the difference in its use.

This idea is developed across the building as can be seen in other sections such as the library with its triple-height space that is shared with the life drawing room but is divided in a different manner. The lower level of the library is slightly depressed and has a shorter floor-to-ceiling height while the upper level is a well-lit, taller space that attains its drama by its contrast.

This objective, logical approach is carried over to the façades of the building, which manifest the clear order of the spaces within. For example, the main façade of the building explains the presence and the linear organization of the studios along the main wing of the building.

Such an arrangement also conveys the clear organization of the circulation within. The building was conceived with a e-shaped layout to provide easy and convenient access to the different parts of the building.

The disposition of the spaces in plan is also logically developed. As the quality of light was important for an art school, the various studios were arranged according to their different requirements for the quality of light.
While this fascination with light may seem characteristically modern, it is anachronistic to consider it as such. Mackintosh’s fascination with light was more for its evocative qualities than the strict dictates of the program that may have influenced his rational disposition of spaces in accordance.

This is perhaps best exemplified by the dramatic quality rendered in the passage through the entrance hall to the main staircase. The entrance hall is kept intentionally dark with a low vaulted ceiling that sets up a dramatic contrast with the large, open void that is present at the main staircase.

It is this tension between the rationally ordered composition of space and the subjective interpretation held within, that is of the greatest interest in the Glasgow school of art. Neither giving in to the excessive craftsmanship of the art nouveau or falling trap to the sterility of the modern movement, Mackintosh manages to synthesize a balance, in which artistic license is subordinate to its use in the articulation of space and structure.

This is a concern that carries through the use of elements in the building. For example, in the main staircase, there is an arrangement of four posts that runs from the first floor all the way through to the museum above, as though defining the entire space as one continuous volume. The trusses in the museum while functional are however articulated in an ornamental manner with a motif of hearts and leaves that are typical of Mackintosh’s design work. The care for detail is so specific that each studio has a different design of its supporting trusses in order to differentiate its function.

The harmonious blend of structure and ornament can be seen throughout the building as all the furniture and fixtures designed in the art nouveau tradition of a total work, or Gesundkunstwerk, adopt the rectilinear language of the structure. This can be observed in the interior designs of the building where Mackintosh developed his own style drawing from both Japanese and Celtic references. The Celtic references can be seen in the delicate nature inspired imagery of plants and flowers. This is contrasted with the rectilinear, planar language that drew more from Japanese influences.

But perhaps the best example of the blending of function and ornamentation is the window brackets along the main façade of the school. These finials which appear decorative at first blush actually serve the function of allowing cleaners to access the large windows along the façade. And beginning from the left to the right, the design of the finials along each window changes from a seed to a flower, which is symbolic of the purpose of the institution to nurture the arts.

Built in two parts due to financial constraints, the evolution seen between the first and the second parts mark also the development of its architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The relatively uncontrolled east elevation gives way to the extreme clarity of the west elevation in which the volumes are clearly articulated in the façade. The library for example can be easily identified by the tall oriel windows on the west façade. Oriel windows, an element of Scottish vernacular architecture also demonstrate the maturity and erudition of the older Mackintosh and his years of study especially of the architect Charles Voysey.

However, despite the presence of vernacular references in structure and the Celtic and Japanese influences in its interior design, the Glasgow school of art still remains a largely ahistorical building, gaining its effect from the intrinsic qualities of the space created rather than by any reference to historical styles or forms. It is this quality of reduction that lends the building to a comparison with the modern movement and brought it praise in its time. It represented a particularly bold vision of the art nouveau brought to its logical conclusion, with the emancipation of historical styles put to the service of responding to the vast technological and social changes of the turn of the century. From the bold integration of modern lights and heating to the eclectic use of historical references in the service of space creation, the Glasgow school of art was a revolutionary building that in some sense was only possible with the open-minded and adventurous spirit of Glasgow at the time. That with its rational composition a tendency to excessive decoration was held in check, and with every obsessively crafted detail a specificity was given to each space, the Glasgow school of art describes a tenuous balance of oppositions that should serve to inspire and inform future generations of architects, as much as its halls remain to educate generations of students.
kin kit
15 November 2010 @ 10:45 pm
<an essay i wrote>
What is Carl Sagan prominent astrophysicist and all-round man of science doing on the front of an architectural student's portfolio? The general understanding of architecture is confused, but if anything it is probably understood as having to do with art. However, this was an impression that was to be gradually destroyed over the course of the semester. Looking back, if anything, architecture would seem to have nothing in common with art. The most common refrains heard in this studio were against "form-making" or "arbitrary" designs. Architecture it seems is not art. We must always have a "guiding principle" in doing things.
But if architecture is not art then it is definitely not science either. In the latter half of the semester the warning became about “not being an engineer.” This left me even more confused than I was at the beginning. What then is this quality of “architecture”? Louis Kahn has an answer but it is, in his usual manner, cryptic. Architecture he says consists of an “immeasureable quality”. So neither as vague as art not as precise as mathematics, architecture seems to lie somewhere in between, possessed of a quality that can supposedly be felt but not apprehended. Thinking about this, I had a small realization.
Architecture is about construction. Construction is the sin qua non of architecture. The difference between architecture and art lies in the repeatability of the measurement, the iteration of the idea beyond the limits of a person or a time.
But now what idea? What idea do we choose to build? For this Carl Sagan seems to have an answer. Despite the apparent objectivity of science lies at its heart an essential wonder at the universe. And with this realization comes the recognition of our place in relation to it.
Architecture serves this purpose. The building exists between the person and the universe. It mediates our understanding of it. In this I think lies the “immeasureable quality” of architecture. To see the wonder that exists in our universe is a good start. But one does not need to look to the stars, to find it. The very ordinariness of normal life can make one gasp at the beauty of it.
We only need to look.
kin kit
24 October 2010 @ 12:45 am
And tonight, the city dry and silent fails to offer any thoughts to these parched lips and emptied mind. 
kin kit
13 October 2010 @ 01:50 am
Architecture is sometimes about:


And in our drawing, control with each measured line and proportional relation. Meaning in every detail is obsession-beauty.

But sometimes, it's so much more pleasurable to just draw. scribbling lines seismograph like across each surface our eyes touch- we make our minds with our hand. There is tremendous beauty in the abstract scrawl, the free and flowing lines dancing across the page, sometimes deliberate, at other times extravagant; or fugitive, seeking the boundaries of what we try to know. 

I think urban structures are more interventions then insertions. The surrounding city impacts the structure more. Perhaps its the idea of the urban building as a room in a house of the city.