Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Let me digress from architecture today and talk about this shocking news featured on a Spanish newspaper. Somewhere in vast Russia, a man tried to rape a raccoon. Yes, there's lots of strange people around. However, the poor animal, instead of letting himself enslaved, turned back against and ripped his penis off a bite. Hooray for raccoon!

Don't know much more about the story and how faithful it is to reality, since the main source of the article was The Sun... But while having a coffee at the Mary Ward Centre in Holborn with some fiends couldn't help but to visualise the feisty animal as some sort of Rodriguez-like character the sorts of Machete. Mapache is raccoon in Spanish.

I think the illustration would look cool as promotional poster for a gig.

More on raccoons here.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Bauhaus Dessau

Gesamtkuntwerk or synthesis of the arts was what the Bauhaus school was committed to. It’s probable that most of the people that took part in it would have objected against the idea of a Bauhaus style in architecture. Despite the name as ‘House of Construction’, during its 14 years of existence architecture played a minor role in the program and was only one more among painting, sculpture, the decorative arts, and crafts.
The story of the Bauhaus school as a building has three phases at the end of each it was forced to move to a new city. Starting at Weimar under the direction of architect Walter Gropius it next moved to Dessau where Hannes Mayer eventually succeeded to. The Bauhaus ended up as a private school in a former telephone factory in Berlin under the direction of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It pretty much seems that since its creation during the liberal Weimar republic in 1919 it had been on the run, escaping from the criticism its overstated progressivist left-wing ideals arose. A fast growing party later to become the Nazi regime finally forced its leadership to shut it down in 1933.
It is the school buildings in Dessau designed by Gropius that became the image of the Bauhaus itself and also showpieces of Modernist architecture to which the school contributed decisively. Considering the Bauhaus as a short lived institution that had only 1250 students total and little practical output it’s surprising how influential it still is today.

This illustration is the third in succession of 6 postcards designed for Bauhaus: Art as Life competition at the Barbican.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Seagram Building

So it reads one of the slogans that sum up the International Style, developed in the 1920s to bring industrialized mass-production techniques to architecture, and think of houses as 'machines for living'.
It is likely that if you look out the window you see a glass office building. Before the Seagram Building (1958), designed by German architect Mies van der Rohe, skyscrapers didn’t look like that, they weren’t ‘transparent’. Like the neighbouring Empire State or the Chrysler they were probably Art Deco or copying historic styles.
However, together with Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, van der Rohe was to change that by championing a radical simplification of architecture. The structural elements of a building would make all the ornamentation in an attempt to establish a more honest conversation with the public.
I think that these architects were successful in conveying these ideals through their architecture; another very different thing is what corporations do in them.
Anyway, who cares? IT’S A BUILDING WEARING A SUIT!!
This illustration is the second in succession of 6 postcards designed for Bauhaus: Art as Life at the Barbican.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Unité d'Habitation Marseille

Wow! A year off blogging. Oh well... I’ve been busy, I swear. Working on my first graphic novel which will be published this year! So hopefully now will have more time to upload stuff that is long overdue.
Let’s start with something I did last week! This illustration is part of a series of 6 postcards I submitted to Bauhaus: Art as Life, a competition at the Barbican. This one is inspired by the Unité d’Habitation Marseille by Le Corbusier. It is not really a Bauhaus architect, but his work pushes forward the Bauhaus principles of Modernist architecture and links it to Brutalism.
Christened as ‘Cité Radieuse’ this one is the first of a series of residential housing developments that he designed to ‘improve the living conditions for the residents of crowded cities’. This one in Marseille is a more realistic outcome to the urban megalomania of the ‘Ville Contemproraine’ planned for Central Paris. It comprises 337 apartments arranged over 12 stories and it is informally referred as ‘La Maison du Fada’. The madhouse.
Le Corbusier didn’t know that this ‘unité’ likes eating cars!

See the original building here.