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Architecture

This category contains 127 posts

Steganography for architects

Steganography is hiding one picture (a secret or data) inside another (a host or carrier) image. As with cryptography in general, there are several reasons someone might want to hide content in this way. The hidden image could serve as a digital watermark. That’s to assert your claim on a picture. If someone copies it … Continue reading

How to hide one picture inside another

Here’s an anamorphic image of Karl Marx in the aptly named Karl Marx House in Trier, Germany. Face on, the image is a blur. Side on you can see him. That’s one way of concealing an image, revealed only if you know where to stand. Digital images offer other methods as well. Here’s a fragment … Continue reading

Urbanise rasterise

“Raster” is a suitably old fashioned term suggesting the scan lines of a cathode ray television screen. “Pixel” is more up to date. Pixel images have a privileged relationship with architecture. Much architecture is about the grid. Pixel images provide one means of depicting space, i.e. plans and elevations of buildings, zones, regions, city blocks. … Continue reading

Less is more: Signatures, cities and hash codes

In 1997, the Hubble Space Telescope’s Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) picked up the signature of a black hole. Instead of a vertical straight scan line, the STIS showed an S shape. Signatures point to the presence of something (a referent). But you see the thing only indirectly, i.e. you get to know that the referent exists, … Continue reading

What a calamity!

Calamity, cataclysm, catastrophe, crisis, catalysis and cacophony bear no common etymology as far as I can see, though they sound as though they should. A calamity derives from the idea of a corn harvest gone bad. A cataclysm is a deluge. A catastrophe is an overturning. A crisis is a moment of decision. A catalysis … Continue reading

Architecture post-COVID

What are the spatial implications of social isolation? Demonstrators arranged themselves on a social-distancing grid at the Athens May Day gathering, conjuring up a scenario of a gridded world, where citizens move about as if on a chessboard or an early version of SimCity. Architects gravitate towards extreme conditions as a way of unleashing new … Continue reading

Patholopolis

The metropolis is about as good as a city can get. As “the mother city”, it combines the best of its predecessor types: the family-based village community (eopolis), and that mutually supporting defensive community known as the polis. The metropolis is that stage in the evolution of the city where labour skills divide. Specialist workers … Continue reading

Flightless cars

Who wants a car that drives itself? The Tesla car epitomises the ambition for electric-powered self-drive cars. The tesla.com website explains that the hardware (i.e. sensors, controls, etc) is in place. It will soon be safe enough for a driver to recline in her seat and fall asleep while the car does the rest. “All … Continue reading

The word on the street

You may wonder at the affinity amongst rich, famous, powerful and (mostly) white men — and hip hop. We may have expected an affinity between Barack Obama and rappers such as Jay-Z and Kanye West, but not Donald Trump. To those in the know, rap gives expression to social conditions where there’s “unemployment, violent crime … Continue reading

Perspecticide

The concept of defence is not so far from the idea of architecture. Vitruvius made that clear in his Ten Books on Architecture, the last of which is devoted to siege engines and ballistae. Security and defence are amongst the benefits, then and now, that draw people to live together and form cities. Sound the … Continue reading

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