Tag Archives: london

Going Batty: Animal Architecture


It could be said that architecture is one of the most humanist pursuits, existing solely to make humans happy.

The always clever BLDGBLOG this week features the Bat Spiral, a project by UK architecture firm Friend and Company which shows that animals can get just as much enjoyment from architecture.

Based just outside of London, the Bat Spiral is designed to provide a roost (cave?) for the 17 bat species that are native to the UK.  The 45 square metre structure can house about 330 bats who are attracted to the structure for its dark spaces, and for the warmth generated from the black timber walls.

It is also surprisingly beautiful with its simple, reed-like support columns raising it above the swamp, and its graceful painted timber curves.


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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in architecture, building


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London Commute Sends Man Batty


Too much time spent commuting in London sent Paul Middlewick a little bit batty. He started spotting animals on London’s iconic underground map, including, surprise, a bat.

Middlewick has teamed up with animal-rights charity IFAW to produce some fun merchandise.  Check it out at Animals on the Underground.





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Posted by on May 14, 2009 in Uncategorized


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Looking: Cameron Wittig Sightseeing

Sydney is a great city when the sun is shining, but when it’s wet – like today – it can be a real bitch. I know we need rain, but when the roads flood, the traffic snarls, and the monorail pummels you with water from overhead, it’s easy to forget that. Which explains why I was dreaming of being a tourist this morning, and happened to stumble across Cameron Wittig‘s fantastic Sightseeing series.

Since the advent of digital cameras, travellers have all but forgotten the ‘disappointment’ of returning home to find their holiday memories ruined with stray fingers or other unanticipated objects. Wittig’s series is nostalgic in this regard, but, with tongue firmly in cheek, it also questions the purpose of taking the same photo that everyone else has already taken, and will continue to take forever more.

In deliberately adding a finger to the frame, Wittig is asserting that perfection lies within imperfection. Kind of like today’s imperfect weather, come to think of it.

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Posted by on February 17, 2009 in art, photography


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Looking: Maps as art

I love maps. Always have. For as long as I can remember, sketching maps has helped me survive countless exams, boring church services, and slow days at work. On long car trips, I would browse the street directory, following our journey and trying to guess what the destination would be like. I quickly learnt that straight lines equal flat terrain, wobbly lines mean it’s either hilly or an old part of town, and sphaghetti shapes probably means it’s going to be a newer McMansion suburb. I also learnt that the messier the map looks, the worse the traffic will be (take Sydney or London as a case in point).

I haven’t quite figured out why I love them so much. It could be the sense of discovery; the sense of finding somewhere new. Maybe it evokes a desire to travel and explore new places, a sort of abstract armchair travel. Perhaps it’s simply a subconscious effort to escape wherever I am at that particular moment. Or it could just be that I like the look of them.

Several artists find maps similarly inspiring. The above work, Matrix by Emma Johnson, creates deconstructed maps using recycled materials, symbolising the tangible yet ambiguous nature of communication and transportation networks.

Another example is the late Burt Hasen, who was a soldier in World War II. Hasen’s time spent reading maps on the field inspired him to spend the rest of his life creating cartographic art, such as Convulsive Coupling (below).

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Posted by on February 11, 2009 in art, looking


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