Week 31 - 5 September 2021

I’ve just got back from lending a hand on summer camp.

Reckon the kids had a good time, especially as it’s been so long since we’ve managed to go camping, which is the main thing.

It always has a tinge of bizarre fever dream - the main weird bit being that the kids cook all their own meals which the leaders judge. A group of 10 year olds attempting to make the very wet carbonara they’ve just cooked on a wood fire look ‘fancy’ made me laugh very very hard.

We were camped under this disused water tower, which I liked a lot. One afternoon we imagined it was an invading alien ship, and the kids had to build devices to fling bombs at it. (foil wrapped potatoes).

An old water tower we camped around

I also liked this hut that’d been half wrapped in red tarp, Christo style.

Hut covered in red tarp

I saw this big cat in Wathemstow. It reminded me of something from Studio Ghibli.

A cat I saw in Walthamstow

I went to a few festivals - We out here (great) and All points east (terrible). I also went to my first wedding, which made me very happy. Congrats and warmth to Bryony and Doodey.

I encountered my first bit of Japanese bureaucracy. To enrol in my masters, I have to post a form to Japan that a member of my family has signed. I can’t believe that I go back to school in a couple weeks.

Between all that I've squeezed continuing to help organise a couple bits for London Design Festival. I'm managing to keep expenses low enough that a day of that a week means I don't need to dip into savings.

I’ve been thinking about Energy a bit. Here’s some unsorted notes:

I’ve been reading Architecture: From Prehistory to Climate Emergency, which charts the history of the built world through energy. Running through architectural history with that new lens is like learning about it all over again. I also read a great essay about Llwns in the recent issue of Real Review, which feels related to this recently released report which makes the argument for building housing on London’s golf courses.

The most instantly compelling article I’ve read on this recently is ‘Vertical farming does not save space’. The by-line articulates the argument entirely: “If the electricity for a vertical farm is supplied by solar panels, the energy production takes up at least as much space as the vertical farm saves.”

I find it so compelling because it instantly implores the reader to think about these technological ‘solutions’ with a systems lens. Which makes me think a bit of Tony Fry’s Defuturing, which argues that to create we always destroy. Yeah, it sounds obvious and a bit glib - but there’s depths to the argument, and it’s so often forgotten that it’s worth repeating.

Still on energy, on the digital side I recently came across Formafantasma’s website whilst doing that afformentioned work for LDF, which makes the case that economic (and in this case low energy) design doesn’t need to be unrefined. I wonder what big corporate websites would look like if held to similar standards.

Sorry, that's a bit of a brain dump.

Summer's coming to a close. I'm going to the farm for the last time, heading to Italy for a bit and then it'll be time to be a student again. What a funny few months I've had. Here's to a few more.

Last update: 2021-09-05 12:00:00 -0600