Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

5 Folding Bikes for the City

Friday, November 20th, 2009


Brompton World Championship racers in obligatory jacket and tie depart from Blenheim Palace.  The dress code suggests both the folding bike’s roots in English quirkiness and its usefulness for urban commuting.

There’s no better way to take possession of a city than on a compact folding bike.  Neighborhoods that would be discouragingly distant on foot become only minutes away.  Distant communities that might otherwise go unexplored become riding destinations with the option of making part of the trip on a bus or train next to one’s unobtrusively folded mount.  A folder can be carried into shops and restaurants, avoiding the inconvenience and unreliability of chaining up outdoors.  Owning a truly compact folder is like having a bike in your back pocket.  It can shrink an entire city.  Not only does such a bike take you to fresh places in town, it does so without compromising the spatial immediacy of walking.  Philippe Starck has said, “frankly, it isn’t Manhattan that interests me.  The center of Manhattan is very civilized, a nice international city.  I am more interested in the passion of New York, and that’s why I go with my motorcycle or bicycle to the Bronx, Queens and Harlem.  There, you are like a spectator in front of the most beautiful drama in the world. Every corner of the street seems like an opera stage, a stage for drama.  The vibrations there are very strong.”  (more…)

10 of the Best Houses from the Last 25 Years

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Architakes launches its Lists category with 10 great houses.  If there’s a common thread, it’s the way good design makes more from less.  In chronological order: 


Magney House, Bingie Point, NSW, Australia, 1982-84

Glenn Murcutt, Architect

Murcutt’s houses reflect the life-simplifying advice of Thoreau.  Typically only one room deep, their interiors are intimate with nature.  A half-dozen Murcutt houses might have made this list.  Their agrarian vernacular forms and materials impart a humble dignity and cheerful informality that’s pitch perfect to their landscapes.   Murcutt has designed more great houses than any living architect. 

The publisher TOTO’s complementary volumes, The Architecture of Glenn Murcutt, and Glenn Murcutt: Thinking Drawing/Working Drawing, both by Gusheh, Heneghan, Lassen, Seyama & Browell, 2008, respectively have the best photo documentation and architect’s drawings.  Glenn Murcutt: Buildings + Projects 1962-2003 by Francoise Fromont, 2003, Thames & Hudson is also an excellent work.  The Magney House is covered in detail in Three Houses: Glenn Murcutt / Architecture in Detail by E.M. Farrelly, 1993, Phaidon.  (more…)