Posts Tagged ‘architecture


Trying to grab hold of a few good ideas…

Well, it’s been a rough couple of weeks here at the Werkshop, and I’ve been fighting to get my motivation back while at the same time realizing that my creative drive is sporadic, somewhat unfocused and has the unfortunate habit of derailing other elements of my life when allowed to run full-tilt. Maybe it’s an artist thing to be subject to a manic creativity (and sometimes, like when I was putting together the layout and written sections of “The Art of Swap”, it has proven a blessing as a motivator) but I’ve finally recognized that I’ve got to get more focused and find a way to make it work for me. Sometimes I make street art and other times it manifests itself by making me its creator…

I’ve given some thought to learning a couple more craftmanship and art skills, like cabinetmaking, ABS plastic-working and boning up on my knowledge of screenprint making. I’ve also been considering a couple of potential large interventions to pull off this summer, since I’ve got the basic knowhow to be able to work with wood and metal. Trying to think up new and interesting uses of public spaces has always been a favorite theme of mine…

There are a lot of vacant, under-construction and poorly used areas in the vicinity of downtown Montreal which could be converted to some more interesting uses, and picnic areas and sports facilities are two themes I keep coming back to. I’ve been thinking about what I would have to buy, find and make in order to create basketball hoops out of scrap wood and metal. One of the examples I’ve been considering is Brusse’s Streetlove Project , which I absolutely love.

As well, downtown Montreal is severely lacking in bike parking. I wonder how easy it would be to Macgyver up a nifty-looking bike parking fixture. Or perhaps a smaller one, for tricycles…

I’m going to head over to the library and try to borrow a couple of books on innovative slum architecture and built solutions to urban problems. I’ve always had an incredible admiration for some of the creative genius-work which one can find in urban slums, and in a way I as a street artist am aping their work. I’m trying to build things out of discarded materials, using whatever I can find and trying to give our discards a new and productive life…

Here’s a question for my dear Montreal readers…what do you think needs fixing in our city (besides potholes, of course)??


On planning, parasites and projects. And pranksterism

I’ve been pursuing my very own Grand Question for over a year now. That is the question of where the link between street art, architecture and urban design lies. And can one introduce memetics into the mix? I’ve gotten a lot of my ideas through images of others’ work that I’ve seen, and some of my best ones have come about through adapting other projects for the streets (for example, one of my original inspirations for the Swap Box was the Berkeley Free Store)

How then to design someting that is simple, easily replicable and also functional and useful (in that it improves its surroundings by creating new possibilities for public space)? Many projects which fit the first two categories really don’t work too well when the third is considered.

Then there’s the question of how to work my love for street art into urban planning and design (which I’m currently studying). I’ve found that when street art is mentioned in relation to architecture or urban studies in a non-negative way(and here I mean non-graffiti streetart) it’s the aesthetic that is being considered rather than the transformative potential.

One interesting idea which I recently stumbled on is that of Parasitic Architecture
I’m not personally sure where this concept originated- I think it came from Peter Cook’s Archigram Group- but I find it fascinating. Of course, the problem with any kind of design theory is that you’ve gotta sort through heaps of theoretical babble in hopes of finding one or two good inspirational ideas.

Cook, in some interviews, has talked about the need to create an urban environment that is amenable to addings-on. He’s designed a building in Lisbon that creates space for ground-floor kiosks and buskers within its exterior shell…

Would this be an example of something that inevitably breaks down and gets used by homeless people and junkies to the exclusion of all else? Or what could happen if passers-by and users took an interest in it?

Oh, and if you’re interested in some brilliant theoretical writings check out BLDG BLOG. It’s DRB in text form