//
archives

Architecture

This category contains 106 posts

Unicursality

The traditional unicursal maze has no forking paths but leads directly to its centre. As a drawing or ornamental pattern you imagine the lines are walls and trace your finger through the opening. You eventually arrive at the centre, through a series of left and right turns. There’s just one path through the intestines of … Continue reading

Infinite souq

Retractable queue barriers funnel airport passengers in twisted but orderly lines. These security labyrinths manage large numbers of people within a confined space. They also keep people on the move, turning compliant travellers into unceremonious processionalists. Umberto Eco thinks the detective story is like a labyrinth. He identified 3 types of labyrinth: the kind that … Continue reading

Hacking the city of the future

What happens when hackers get hacked? The headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) is located between the cities of Washington and Baltimore. Amongst its many operations the NSA develops hacking tools for spying on other countries. But some of these tools leaked out, and earlier this year were turned on the city of … Continue reading

The twist of the pen

“The application of a new force during the process of writing is usually accompanied by a twisting of the tip of the pen and a deviation from the already-established path into a new twist” (165). That’s a quote about calligraphic writing from Reza Negarestani, author of Cyclonopedia. The twist of the pen serves as leitmotif … Continue reading

Don’t go into the crypt!

Those who couldn’t fight, or were too important to lose in battle were told to hide in the crypt of the capital for safety. Meanwhile those above ground battled the White Walkers and their army of the dead (called “wights”). Zombie logic I wasn’t following Game of Thrones closely enough to realise that the crypt … Continue reading

The treehouse

A treehouse provides both prospect and refuge. It’s built to position its residents some distance above the ground. A treehouse is organic and improvised, structured to oblige its particular and uncertain superstructure — the tree. The structure is usually additive. It looks as though it could extend further into the tree canopy, and even connect … Continue reading

Eliminate the impossible

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” said Sherlock Holmes, in The Sign of Four, ch. 6 (1889). One of the ways to eliminate the impossible is to first enumerate everything that can be enumerated — probable or not. René Descartes said something similar. His last rule for … Continue reading

Riddle of the Sphinx

When is a riddle like a passcode? That’s not a riddle by the way. The Sphinx guarded the gate to the city of Thebes and required travellers to answer a riddle before gaining access to the city. Riddles are a bit like passcodes. They typically present as permutations, combination of elements, albeit for small numbers, … Continue reading

Unlocked

TOOOL stands for The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers. According to their website they’ll be holding a LockCon event in October 2019 in The Netherlands, which is where the organisation was founded. The organisation distances itself from criminal activity, i.e. breaking and entering. It provides instructions and runs competitions as a kind of “door hardware sport.” … Continue reading

Architecture’s pragmatic turn

There was once a linguistic turn. The philosopher Richard Bernstein describes the ascent after WWII of analytical philosophy with its focus on plain language and clear argumentation, as it pushed aside other philosophy deemed imprecise and speculative. But now we have entered the pragmatic turn. Bernstein published a book in 2010 entitled just that: The … Continue reading

University of Edinburgh logo

Richard on Facebook

Latest FB image
Or "like" my Facebook page for blog updates.

Try a one year research degree

AHRC/EPSRC/ESRC/MRC project

book cover
book cover

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 361 other followers

Site traffic

  • 198,755 post views