Thursday, 26 February 2009

Tourism Update

Rome bans horse-drawn carriages

'Touring Britain'

'Touring Britain' is a series of two TV programmes on BBC4, exploring the use of the travel guides. The first programme, which screened this evening, looked at the impact of the Baedeker guide:

"Cultural historian David Heathcote uses his favourite old 1887 Baedeker Guide to explore modern-day Britain, discovering unexpected delights and hidden treasures which were popular with Victorian tourists but are rarely visited today. Following in the footsteps of early American tourists who arrived off the boats in Liverpool, he takes the advice of the Guide and discovers 'the most fashionable of Welsh watering places'. The Guide then recommends a trip to the salt mines, popular with American visitors 100 years ago and, surprisingly, just as interesting today. He then travels on to Manchester, recommended by Baedeker as a hotbed of music, politics and radical thinking and discovers that the spirit of what attracted the curious visitors 100 years ago lives on. The journey ends in York where modern day tourists follow in the footsteps of their Victorian counterparts and enjoy the magnificent medieval city and cathedral. As he travels, Heathcote explores the story behind the guide books that were so influential in creating the independent traveller as we know it today."

It can be found on BBC iPlayer here.

Next week's programme will look at the Shell guides for motorists that were produced from the 1930's.

One & Other

This is an amazing project!!! A clever way to reuse a public space!!!


This summer, sculptor Antony Gormley invites you to help create an astonishing living monument. He is asking the people of the UK to occupy the empty Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London, a space normally reserved for statues of Kings and Generals. They will become an image of themselves, and a representation of the whole of humanity.

Every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days without a break, a different person will make the Plinth their own. If you're selected, you can use your time on the plinth as you like. One & Other is open to anyone and everyone from any corner of the UK. As long as you're 16 or over and are living or staying in the UK, you can apply to be part of this unforgettable artistic experiment.

You can play your part in making this idea a reality - either by volunteering yourself, by telling others about it, or by experiencing it online or in the square itself.

Antony Gormley on the Fourth Plinth from One & Other on Vimeo.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Teatro Urbano

For those of you interested in Urban Theatre... I found this annual event in Rome - unfortunately the next one isn't until Sept 2009, but never-the-less...

The Annual Festival Internazionale del Teatro Urbano aims to transform urban spaces into theatre spaces and the pedestrians into the extraordinary. The festival "present[s] theatre pieces specifically created in city places (urban sceneries), where people (spectators) come together for absolutely different reasons (eg. in the underground)." The agenda of the festival is to reclaim the theatre and combat indifference (presumably between people from different backgrounds) via the use of 'guerilla tactics'...and it's free! (well to the spectators at least!). The events take place all over the city at set locations -some more conventional or in need of 'carnivalisation' than others.
For more info - check out:

Thursday, 12 February 2009

I have just received an email off a friend in Taiwan who has informed me that the British government no longer requires visa's from Taiwanese travelers (probably other countries too) in order to increase tourism in the UK because the economy is so bad at the moment! 

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

500 hectares - the project

The notion of a 500 ha project derives from Cutrufo’s proposals for a Disney inspired theme park of this size on an undisclosed site on the margins of Rome.  What alternative uses or infrastructure could be proposed for such a large area of the city?  You are free to be as realistic, polemical or visionary as you wish.  You might find inspiration in existing urban elements that we visited, such as Hadrian’s Villa, EUR, or the Vatican; in the competition project for Coney Island; or in the major project that you are currently developing.
The project jumps in size from the very specific individual propositions and detail studies that you have made so far, and concerns city planning at the largest, most broad brush scale. 
The site that is offered for this project is the outskirts/periphery/margins of Rome as shown on Google Earth.  An alternative basis for a project that would engage in a historical dialogue with the city is the 1816 Plan Topographique de la Campagne de Rome that is available on the shared folder.  If appropriate to your main project, an alternative 500 ha site located elsewhere may be proposed.

500 ha = 5 sq km = 5,000,000 sq m
Rome has an average population density of 2,105.5 per sq km.  At this density, 500 ha is sufficient space for 10,527 people.
500 ha = 1,236 acres (UK) = 1.93 sq miles
500 ha = MMMCMLXVIII or 3,968 actus quadrati (Roman acres)
500 ha = the area of central Rome shown in this Google Earth image:

500 ha = one theme park
For a topical comparison, the slums of Mumbai that feature in the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, and which have been proposed by Prince Charles as a viable model for urban housing, accommodate half a million people in an area of 520 acres (only 210 ha!).
See articles here and here from the Guardian for more information on Mumbai slums.
Introduction – 10.15 am, Wednesday, 11. Feb
Pin-up/review – 1 pm, Thursday, 12. Feb
(roughly 20 hectares per hour)

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Did we miss this?

"What have hamburgers got to do with Italy's extraordinary cultural patrimony?"

"Italian heritage groups and opposition politicians have criticised the appointment of a former McDonald's executive to run Italy's museums.  Mario Resca, 62, who worked as Italy manager for the fast-food chain for 12 years before moving last year to relaunch a state-run casino, has been appointed to squeeze more revenue out of the country's museums, part of a shake-up at the culture ministry."

Further details here

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

February Issue of The AR has a few interesting things to offer...

discussion on "Context or ambiente" talks about how buildings must relate to both their past and the present, and makes reference to TS Eliot's, 'Tradition and individual talent' (1919) - which may be of some interest. It also mentions the recent frequency of 'international architects parachuting their visions into foreign places' contributing through their travel to 'making global architecture an historic phenomenon.'

Feature Articles which may be of interest:
Historical Drama - a Roman (rediscovered) amphitheatre in Spain and
Conversing with the past - modern buildings to house the old culture
...there are also a couple of historic refurbs...