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Liam Young, 17 03 13


Tomorrows Thoughts Today’s Liam Young has been interviewed by We Made Money Not Art’s Regine Debatty for her ‘Artists in Laboratories’ radio programme on ResonanceFM. Each week Regine is in conversation with an artist, a hacker, a designer or a scientist discussing new art practices made possible by advances in science and technologies. Liam discusses his fictional city project Under Tomorrows Sky, the extreme landscapes of Unknown Field’s research expeditions and his upcoming Future Perfect exhibition at the Lisbon Architecture Trienal. You can listen to the interview here on sound cloud.

Liam has also been interviewed in Vienna by SpaceCuriosities’ Sandra Häuplik-Meusburger and Verena Holzgethan for Orange FM and the Cultural Broadcasting Archive. They discuss the value of the speculative project and the necessity for new forms of architectural culture to engage with the complexity of an anthropocentric world. Listen to the podcast here.

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Darryl Chen, 21 12 09


DIY Urbanism makes a debut in this quarter’s Urban Design magazine – the voice of many an embattled professional urban designer and sourcebook for shared surface roads, character-based place-making and high quality inclusive public realm (among other para-governmental best practice design guidance).

The journal devotes its regular Viewpoint pages to the “cheeky? incisive?” TTT project which is otherwise featured on this site as “How to be a successful urban designer” (scroll down for that post in this column). (more…)

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Liam Young, 09 07 09


On 14th July at the Barbican Liam Young hosted a screening of two amazing films, ‘Buckminster Fuller Meets the Hippies’ and ‘Counter Communities’, for the Architecture Foundation’s Architecture on Film series. See the Spaceship Earth and the Designer Guru website for film and event details. Liam wrote the following essay to accompany the screening.

Once Upon an Island: Utopian Cowboys, Guru Astronauts and Other Hopeful Tales of Misadventure

The hippies gather round, they sit together on the grass as Bucky holds court at their centre, waxing lyrical, a suited up,  button down island in a sea of beads, headbands, beards and cowboy hats. Children giggle, smoke and optimism fill the air and the crowd blows bubbles that float off, glistening like the geodesic domes of Bucky’s utopian dreams. The hippies had lots of questions and it appeared Buckminster Fuller had all the answers. He was a prophet, a counter culture guru, a mad scientist and maverick architect. For Guinea Pig B, as he came to call the experiment that was the fashioning of his own life, we are all astronauts on this great spaceship earth, and any individual has the capacity to change its course.

(more…)

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Darryl Chen, 08 04 09


J.G. Ballard could give up now. Dubai is quickly surpassing his dystopian imagination by conjuring this phenomenon from its maxed-out economy: There is now a subclass of western expats who having been made bankrupt from over-extended mortgages have been evicted from their gated villas, had their bank accounts frozen and are now seeking refuge in hotel carparks camped out in their SUVs.

Homelessness is not supposed to happen in this oasis where flowers bloom in the desert. Certainly not for white-collar executives who have been shipped in for the promotion, the tax-free paypacket, the lifestyle, the blissful unaccountability of expat life. Even in an economic downturn, we expect this savvy international class to have some fallback position, some funds back home, a legal safety net…. (more…)

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Darryl Chen, 27 07 08


[originally published in Architectural Review, Feb 2003]

Shanghai presents a unique almost control-model kind of urban subject matter among world metropolises. It is a city which after experiencing incredible economic prosperity through the turn of the nineteenth century froze its free market development under thirty years of failed socialist revolution, and then started again on an accelerating trajectory towards capitalist ideals. The city currently exists in a giddy state of equilibrium between government control and market forces, the monolithic state regime acting as a valve for releasing massive forces which would otherwise send the country into a multi-directional frenzy of socio-economic instability. (more…)

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Darryl Chen, 21 07 08


Beijing is a north-south city – rational in its conception and linked to a fundamental cartesian logic. How can this clarity so evident in plan form – in its planning under a single eye – be so different to the experience of being on the ground? This is invariably an experience of not being on the surface of a geometric formation, but within a realm with extra-geometrical complexity – a spatial experience borne not out of a complex extrapolation of three-dimensional form, but a dense presence of phenomenonlogical factors.

(more…)