You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘architecture’ category.

—————————————-Greenlanders, life on the edge, image found here

Here at the republic, we’ve been hearing it from all over the map:

things have changed,

people have changed

whatever you were counting on, you’ll need to count on something else...

the party’s over, the merry–go–round is broken, and the tools to fix it are all gone.

——–National Snow & Ice Data Centre– iceberg image Greenland found here

We take sorrow seriously here, and sadness, and dispair. And grief. And there is a lot of all of this around, and we are not the ones to say to anyone: just get over it sunshine, nor do we deal in advice.

No matter what any of us feels about all this right now, what we can say for sure is this: nobody knows for sure where we are all headed.(some 8 billion of us, not including household pets).

—————-Photographer Hengki Koentjoro, The Roads of Mount Nebo, found here

But the fact that we don’t/can’t know what will happen tomorrow means, among other things, that we can count on a few surprises, discoveries, and once in a while: a truly “wow” moment or two. And there are lots of people out there who, every day, take on the job of making and delivering a one-of-a-kind experience for us–in music, in sculpture, in paint, in pixels. in steel wire and water. As always.

——————nik wallenda on the high wire across Niagra Falls image found here

Around here, our general approach to what’s going on lately, and to most things before that, is to stand back and look at the big picture while clinging to a few simple, but sometimes overlooked, facts.

———————————– Earth in space image found here

Such as the fact that we all live in the middle of nowhere (ok, “space”), there is no backup generator to provide heat, light, and water, virtually all of the people in the world have no idea who we are, each of us has and expiry date, we don’t know what love is, or how to find it….or keep it.

We all know these things to be true, apparently, and yet lots of humans, lots and lots, manage and have always managed, to not just carry on, but to rise above our sketchy circumstances and make something, which is by itself an act of defiance in the face of our precarious circumstances. And among the makers, we have a special fondness for visual artists, for (some) architects, and performers who risk everything.

—————————–nuuk Greenland early morning image found here

Whatever is coming down the pipe for us in the next decade and beyond, there is no doubt whatever that all over the map there will be original images, objects, structures, and experiences, made by humans of all sizes and shapes and circumstances. And some of these ‘works’ will stop you in your tracks and adjust your dials. All right here on this rock in the dark. Because that’s who we are.

With that in mind, we had a look around for a few recent examples of what humans get up to when they take on the job making something new. We have made a point of not thinking too much about the impact of work like this. Mostly it is love at first sight followed by “yes” Which sometimes leads to love.


Regine Schumann

Shown recently at galerie hoffmann and found here

This artist works and lives in Cologne Germany. We first saw this just a few days before selecting it for this post. It definitely says Yes to all the right questions. Thank you Ms Schumann


Shio Kusaka

Recent work by Shio Kusaka presented at David Zwirner gallery in 2022. You can find more here

Ordinary/Extraordinary. Clay, glass objects suitable for the home, any home, now, tomorrow or 100 years ago. Very nice.


Vilhelm Sundin

————————————————————————————————————-See some of his work here

We saw from across the room a picture of a heavy snowfall in a city. Up close we saw the snow was moving, falling. It was a beautiful thing. Silent. All of us see so much video all day all night. How much of it is beautiful?

Video art by Swedish born Canadian artist Vilhelm Sundin can be viewed in person at Monte Clark Gallery in Vancouver


Patkau Architects, Patricia and John, Vancouver BC

——————————————————————————This image of the Audain Art Museum found here

Interior of the Audain Art Museum in Whistler BC. If you visit no other building in Canada, visit this one.

Patricia and John Patkau and their team are among the very best in their profession anywhere. oh yes.


Tham + Videgard Architects

images found here
from here

Scandinavia is always worth a look for the kind of design and production of objects, from cutlery to houses and public buildings, that whispers “quality” “quiet” “sensible” and “uncluttered”. A team of Swedish architects, Bolle Tham and Martin Videgard now at work is producing their own portfolio of houses and public buildings (etc) that embody these qualities –with very clean and quiet and tasty results. Brace yourself


Olafur Eliasson artist Danish + Icelandic + multimedia + prolific

image above seen here
image seen here

Mr Eliason has built a unique practice and continues to search and surprise.

You can hear him talk about what he does in this video

You can see a new exhibition of what he does this Fall in New York City at the Frick Madison


James Turrell Light + Space

image found here

Mr Turrell creates spaces filled with light. People linger. Something happens. He has been doing this for a long time. There is nothing like it and no one like him.

Current exhibit at Mass moca in Massachusetts


Ai Wei Wei ARTIST. Provocateur. Man of the World

opening of AI WEI WEI recent exhibit. image from here

Ai Wei Wei is a truly international/world artist. He delights as much as he disturbs. You feel you might welcome him to your home and yet is one of the most famous people on earth. His work always provokes in some way, it raises issues often overlooked. But he never preaches. He makes things. Happen. For which we can all be grateful

image found here

And, just to put this in perspective, a long time ago in a desert in Peru someone and their friends made something to be enjoyed by birds and space travellers. That’s who we are.

There is a lot to say, we think, about the value and attraction (and sometimes strangeness) of smaller things.  It seems only right to dish out the goods in portions.  Welcome to sm2.

small towns F-Den Haag-MadurodamIn 1952, the Dutch launched a good-hearted campaign challenging the notion that bigger must be better by building something grand on a very very small scale.  Madurodam in the Hague is a mini-representation of Holland as a whole that can be wandered through in half a day.

small town Muadurodam colourHouses, public buildings, canals, canal boats, railways, airport…tiny tulips and cheeses. The effect on the Dutch and the zillions of visitors seems to be calming, amusing, reassuring.  So cute.

The idea has spread. There are now “miniature towns” all over the place–many in the UK, many in Asia, maybe one down the road from you. Their success says something about what appeals to us, almost all of us, for escape and amusement.

But how about the real spaces we need to live in and work in.  How small is just right?  Well we live at a moment when smallness is all the rage in houses.  You’ve seen the pictures, you’ve found yourself cooing “ahhh, look at that!”.  Here’s a few we found at our fingertips:

swedish-red-spackhuggaren-bornstein-lyckefors-architecture-residential_dezeen_hero-1-852x479.jpg             Swedish interior spackhuggaren-bornstein-lyckefors-architecture-residential_dezeen_2364_col_13-1704x1278

olsen kundegfalse-bay-writer-s-cabin-olson-kundig-architects-small-house-bliss              Kimihiko Okada 63371309231

Tetsuo Kondo 63364985428    winter-black-house-03b_oisterwijk-brouwhuis-1024x694-e1529458837608.jpg

Aren’t they adorable?  We are as smitten as anyone by these diminutive domestic dwellings, but being of the wondering kind, we wonder if this craze might just be an economic necessity wrapped in a personal preference, dusted with big dollop of copy-catism, and bound together with quite a large dash of moral superiority.

But hey, it is also entirely possible that these are, in fact, just what we all need

johannesNorlander scandinavian-house-exterior-290117-504-10

But but…OK just one more, inside and out, from Brazil, all white.estudio brasBrazilFOTOS


Our local art gallery is currently presenting a show called “cabin fever” running all summer if you are in the area.

Images of these houses rarely show any people in them so it is hard to gauge how effectively they serve the real needs of actual living and working.  But there is strong evidence to show that great things can be achieved in modest surroundings.

small Workspace-18 EBW

E.B. White (the New Yorker, Charlotte’s Web, The Elements of Style, etc etc) hammered out some of the most graceful, beautifully realized sentences in any language on a bench in a tiny cabin with a view of salt water.  The spare, plain, durable qualities of the cabin and everything in it perfectly match the products of Mr White’s mind and fingers.

Producing great work, it seems does not (always) require a lot of space. joan miro at workJoan Miro at work, no bench, no table, no window, no ocean, no net.  Art needs only the artist.


So maybe we can live smaller, a lot smaller, without giving up the dream of doing great things. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Adorable small houses designed by:

bornstein lyckefors architecture

Olsen Kundig

Kimihiko Okada

Tetsuo Kondo


Johannes Norlander

estudio bra.


2017-08-06 09.48.26Look, up in the sky…

2017-08-06 07.22.182017-08-06 07.18.29

Look, there’s people.  Up in the sky.  Walking around and round inside a coloured ring2017-08-06 06.04.41Don’t worry, it is only–ONLY!–a work of art from Olafur Eliasson, this time in Denmark where where was born, this time in the city of Aarhus.  It is called Your Rainbow Panorama.

This is the same artist who put a waterfall under the Brooklyn Bridgeolafur waterfalls01

And managed to get another one to fall out of the sky at Versaiilesolafur-eliasson-waterfall-versailles-designboom-10

So maybe creating a rainbow you can walk inside on top of an art museum wasn’t such a stretch for him.  But he seems all alone (to us, anyway) in his capacity to astonish so many people from all over the place, time after time, with ‘public works’–open, visible, engaging to anyone.  Water, light, colour, always unexpected, always accepted.

Will we ever see another like him?  Is that even worth thinking about?

Olafur E Model for a Timeless Garden IMG_MDA107810_1600pxAbove Moments from a Timeless Garden, water fountains, made to freeze in mid splash.

Truth is, maybe, some things only come along once.  So get used to it and make sure you don’t miss any part of it.  Wherever you go next, Mr O, we’ll be watching.

With thanks.

shops milan dela spiga

Shopping, like a lot of things, can produce a smile and a sweet memory or it can make you grumble for days and hate yourself.  A lot of the difference lies in the attitude of you and me, the shopper.  But much depends as well on the shop itself, and the face it presents to the street. Above is a shopper’s street of dreams, Rue Manzoni in Milan.


shops live-italy-milan-vittorio-emanuele-ii-shopping-mall-oldest-in-world

Still in Milan, where commerce takes place in settings suitable for an opera or the overthrow of the government.  The Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele is centre stage, a shopping mall where you and everyone else is part of a performance–comedy, drama, money changing hands, loyalties tested.


shop naples Campania-Traveller-23Apr13-Alamy_b_646x430

Italy is more than Milan of course, and if you find yourself in Naples, for example, at the other end of the country, you won’t lack for chances to exercise your shopping muscles and the offerings may be quite different than Milanese high fashion.

shop naples-More_figurines_Apr_2010_Naples

Above is a windowful of Neapolitan wood carved figures,  a product of this ancient city that can be found all over the world (e.g on the giant Christmas Tree at the Metropolitan Museum in New York).  Nicely photographed by this perceptive shopper.


shops mossbrosscay-architectsweb

But its not just Italy that has a history and a culture of shops and shopping.  England too is what it is because of trade and traders, goods and wares, purveyors and shoppes.  our life as a shopper isn’t complete until you’ve treated yourself to London. This is Regent Street, a shop front done up by architects in 2013.


Han Kjobenhavn ny facade-wide-600x400

This looks to us very English too, but it is in New York, via Copenhagen, albeit on “Prince” street. Nice job by Han Kjobenhavn, is a “playful” Copenhagen-based eyewear brand.  Fits right in and stands out all at the same time. Found here.



shop emilio_pucci_madison_avenue_boutique_facade_img_3_0

Awwwwwww.  Cute as a box full of budgies. How much for those red lips, Mr Pucci?  This store is up on Madison Avenue in NY where they’ve been setting up shops to feed your eyeballs since way before there was QR code or a #.

Still on Madison Ave, this fellow and his fluffy companion have, I guess, seen it all before, but those gals in the window seem to be looking at him with intent. Nice photo.


MARNI 67th Street by MARNI

If you want to join the show on Madison, you better have your act together, and this is just about perfect, we think.  Nicely done Ms Marni.


Paris Pencils

We’ll give the last spot to Paris, not the fashion houses or perfume shops, but this little stationary shop between the Marais and the river.  Mmmmmm.  Wish it was just around the corner.

With shopping, as with dining, the best moment is often before you take the first bite.  Give yourself an eyeful next time you go shopping.  It won’t show up on the credit card statement and it won’t wear out.

Everyone should live alone–at least for a while, we think.  It teaches you how to take care of yourself and your cave.  It will make you a better roommate when the time comes.  If you make the choice–or it is made for you–to live on your own, you mostly have to make do with a place designed for two or three or seven.  Unless you get lucky.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

A few designers have, luckily, turned their heads to solo living. Above dwelling (“close to transportation”), is in Tokyo (of course) and is a solo abode designed for a 60-year-old woman above a tobacconist shop.  Architects : Hideshi Abe / Avehideshi Architect and Associates. Photos by Hiroki Kawata.  Viewed at dezeen here


The cost of land being what it is, the building has a small foot and lots of stairs to climb–beautiful stairs in this case, so take your time.


This drawing shows where the living quarters (or eighths) are, but how the solo householder has arranged it all is her secret.


Nor is this little lady telling us how she arranges her life and her bonnets inside this tiny red place.  Chances are it’s either neat as a pin or a spectacular mess.



If you want some space around your home alone, here’s a nice little cube among the trees and rocks to call your own.


home for one CA exterior-south-side-in-the-snow

This is a tiny onesy tucked right into the woodsy countryside for the winter.  Fits right in (“Maybe I should have the Birches over for hot chocolate”).  Seen here.


Home for one paavo norway tumblr_

Back to the future, this prototype for one is designed to supply food, energy, heat and oxygen to its occupant.  Its maker calls it  Oogst 1 Solo.   Sadly for us, no mention of it providing wine and potato chips.  Seen at polychroniadis on tumbler.


piirihouse interior

This is Piiri house, mostly wood, just for one, good for thinking about where you are and where you aren’t.



And if you aren’t yet sure where you want to live, consider the mobile option.  This one in Lego colours folds up into a trailer and folds out into different rooms.  More here



Mmmm. Designed for one, maybe but surely occasional sleepovers are allowed.  APH80 tiny home designed by the Spanish design team at Abaton,

Once you start looking, it turns out there are more people than we thought, professional designers and just plain soloists, who have considered the uni-dwelling:


Blob VB3, Designed by Belgian architectural firm, dmvA above.

Front Architects modern-billboard-house

A bit of a cliffhanger, by Front Architect


The lovely  L41home, designed by Architect and Urban Designer Michael Katz and Designer Janet Corne

So if you’re ready to go it alone, at least for a while, you just might be able to find the right fit after all.  Lots more here and here  Just don’t be a stranger, OK?




Head Office