There’s also the “small-house movement”, a Whole Earth Catalog-style spin-off that posits the home as a crunchy, anti-consumerist statement, both in terms of space and resources saved and how living in compact surroundings can discourage excess consumption. Small Houses are typically self-builds, rich in craft and personal detailing, about as ideologically detached from the anonymous off-the-shelf homogeneity of the developer’s tract home as it’s possible to be. They’re also individualist and isolationist, frequently depicted as solitary human creations amidst great wilderness plots. The pared down off-the-grid small scale living of the small house movement is a form of utopianism, a Walden-esque return to nature. Cabin Porn, like Shelter Porn before it, [...]
I'm not sure how, but at some point this past year I inadvertently signed up for a newsletter from a site called urlaubsarchitektur. For months I deleted it as spam because the sender was always "www.urlaubsarchitektur.de," in all lower-case (it's a German site), but then one time I opened it and learned that it wasn't junk but a small roundup of "architecturally outstanding holiday houses and hotels" from all over Europe and beyond.
Translated as "Holiday Architecture," the newsletter delivers photos and brief descriptions of minimalist and painfully beautiful vacation destinations twice a week; recent installations have included a TV-less and "aesthetically perfect" apartment in Bavaria, a [...]
"Corporations often change their interiors dramatically, especially over the course of 40 years. But at the former Ebony/Jet building, Johnson saw to it that things were maintained, replaced, re-milled or remade with exactly what was there when the building was completed." —And that was in 1972, my friends.
Construction is finally underway on The Thin House, the impossibly thin house (just over two feet wide at its narrowest) in Poland, where the Israeli author Etgar Keret will live briefly before passing the space on to other creative people, potentially spurring a claustrophobia-art renaissance. It makes you wonder why they don't build it first and then swing it in like a coin into a slot, but I am no architect. ("Put glue on the sides?") Here's the rendering from way back when, and Keret's latest short story collection, Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, remains great.
More information on The Thin House (not its official name) [...]
A spite house is a house built for the express purpose of pissing someone else off. Personal comfort, adequate living space, and compliance with local zoning laws all come second to this all-important goal. Spite houses come in all shapes and sizes, but the best are absurdly small and very angry indeed. Here are a few of my favorites, ranked from least- to most-spiteful.The Montlake Spite House, Seattle
The Story: You have options here. EITHER the house was a result of a divorce settlement in which the husband got the [large, non-spiteful house] and the wife got the front yard and decided to use it, dammit—OR, the [...]
I live a block from the Barclays Center, downtown Brooklyn’s much contested and controversial new arena. It’s so close that I could walk out my front door, throw a baseball, and it would hit [the ground and then roll] into the Nets store on the street level. These are my field notes.
What: Opening night, Jay-Z. When: Sept 28, 2012. Who: Me and my friend Murph, who decide 12 hours before opening night that we desperately need to be there and spend a stupid amount of money on Stubhub. Notable quote: Though it was completely unjustifiable, Murph told me if we didn't go, we would be “irresponsibly missing a really [...]
Matt Pericoli, a creative writing professor, teaches a course called the "Laboratory of Literary Architecture," which includes an assignment to "physically build the literary architecture of a text." The Times excerpted from his students' work last week, and the results are fascinating. Here's Pericoli describing the project:
Each student brings to class a novel, a short story or an essay whose inner workings he or she knows intimately. We start with the plot, the subject or simply a feeling that the student has about the text. We break the piece of writing down into its most basic elements and analyze the relationship of each part to the overall [...]
It doesn't seem like there's much more to say about tiny houses these days, so this has probably gotten old, or did long ago, and maybe all that's left is to actually go live in one for a while, possibly through Spice Box Homes (or Tiny House Listings). There's even a theoretically Game of Thrones-themed one, although it seems less like a mini-Winterfell than like a miniature version of the house where the unpleasant old man … hmm, spoilers, but where his female relatives were in abundance, in the rafters.
It would be cool (or, nightmarish) to be a small person living in an actual spice box. [...]
The buyers of the nine full-floor apartments near the top that have sold so far — among them two duplexes under contract for more than $90 million each — are all billionaires …
Good news! Construction on the tallest residential apartment building in New York appears to be going well. The units are all castles, and the building is a thousand miles tall. It takes a million years to get to the top, and an hour to fall back down. There's a video of it, too, if you're interested. (And renderings at the building's official site.) What now, Tiny House?