Friday, 27 November 2009

Tunnel vision: a history of the London tube map

Tunnel vision: a history of the London tube map

includes.... Henry Beck's original drawing for the 'diagrammatic' tube map (1931), Beck's first pocket Underground map, British Waterways river map. enjoy!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

How far will £1,000 take you?

Cross the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, ride the London tubes for a year – or take the train to Scotland


Cornwall to Kyle of Lochalsh . . . £1,002, 20-plus hours and five changes.

Inaudible Tannoy announcements. Limp sandwiches. Interminable delays. The British public have much to endure on the nation's rail network, but nothing raises hackles more than fare hikes. Rail users, then, must surely be weeping tears of despair at news of the first-ever £1,000 train journey.

It was revealed this week that if you turn up at Newquay station in Cornwall and ask for a first class "walk-on" return to Kyle of Lochalsh on the northwest coast of Scotland you will be quoted £1,002. Admittedly, it is highly unlikely that any sane person would want to endure such a journey. For example, if you were to catch the 14.58 from Newquay, you would arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh at 11.28 the following morning having made five changes, including a wait of more than an hour and a half at Crewe for the sleeper to Inverness.

To be fair, though, going by coach would require even more stamina. It takes 25 hours and 25 minutes to travel from Newquay to Inverness with National Express (you still have to make your way to Kyle of Lochalsh and the return fare is a somewhat more modest £134.10). Going by taxi, however, would cost £1,500 each way, according to Biotravel Taxis in Newquay.

But let's assume you want more for your £1,000. Here are some alternative travel options:

£1,032 Annual Transport for London travelcard, zone 1+2.

$1,000 (£610) 120 days of unlimited travel on US Greyhound buses.

£959 "Economy Plus" around-the-world flight on Qantas/BA with STA Travel (London-Hong Kong-Sydney-Los Angeles-London).

£743 One month first-class Inter-Rail Global Pass, valid across 30 countries.

£969 14 days aboard the Trans- Siberian Express (Moscow-Beijing).

£899 Six-night transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 cruise liner (suite or outside cabin).

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Statistical treasure chest...

A very useful site:

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Norfolk Southern Unveils Zero Emission Plug-in Electric Train

Hey guys, found this artical and found it interesting so thought i'd share.
We’ve covered plenty of plug-in hybrid electric cars, and now Norfolk Southern Corp. is extending the same technology to locomotives with its prototype battery-powered train, the NS 999. The 1,500 horsepower switching train is powered exclusively by a series of 1,080 lead-acid 12-volt batteries. The best part – since the NS 999 doesn’t have a diesel engine, it releases zero emissions.
The train, developed in conjunction with the US Department of Energy, the Federal Railroad Administration, and Penn State, recharges its batteries during braking. When fully juiced up, the locomotive can operate three shifts before recharging.
The $1.3 million NS 999 may just be a prototype now, but it could radically cut down on the railroad system’s carbon footprint if widely deployed. The transportation sector in the US accounts for nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s hope the NS 999’s plug-in technology is commercialized before the US expands the national railroad system.


After the lil trip on the RHDR (Romney, Hythe, Dymchurch Railway), just thought it might interest people to see what the climate of Dungeness/RHDR can create. Let me introduce NOVEMBER COMING FIRE. I know for a fact that the band grew up in the area, road the RHDR to school (one of the members had the railway passing through his street), and used/went on trips on the railway for inspiration during the album writting process.

It may not help everyone but i think it helps give RHDR some richer (or maybe slightly stranger) context.

Great live video which captures the 'point' of the music. Performed in our very own Canterbury Scouts Hut (one of the first and possibly most famous newwave/underground uk hardcore venues)

Video and artwork of the band with a studio version of their song blackest blood

In addition i think this review of the album raises some fun points of the world of dungeness, both land and album.

"Dungeness, is both a seaside town in Kent known as "The End of the World" (it's the most South East point of Britain) and a stunning record. The town, is a rather depressing one. It's key landmarks are; its beach, its lighthouses, its two (at the time) nuclear powerstations, and, a little black house (Wikipedia; It is a virtually deserted place of human population and proved the perfect setting for NCF's full-length opus (many of the song names takes references from key landmarks), as the place is both as dark, atmospheric and mysterious as is this album. Take songs like 'Powerstation' or 'HMS Blackwater' (or the 3 minute comedown after 'Closure' which is just waves crashing) both songs that make references to technical, riff-based hardcore (Inspired by the likes of Converge and Old Man Gloom) but spliced in with genuine atmosphere. I remember the first time I saw 'Powerstation' live, (supporting The Hope Conspiracy, December 2005) and I remember being absolutely blown away by it. It starts with a stop-start rhythm section, and a relentless guitar riff that practically manages to menacingly rip throughout this song. It progresses, into a fantastic battling ground for the shifting, explosive rhythm section, and the counter balancing guitars, whom, eventually win when this track's outro takes over of a haunting, repeated guitar riff, being played to the sounds of waves crashing and a mystic speaking in a archaic language; it is a truly stunning piece of songwriting, full of rage and atmosphere, a hard thing to get right, and something I think even the mighty Converge would be enviable of"


Tracklist:1. Blue Reigns2. Powerstation3. Devil on the Shore4. The Jackal5. HMS Blackwater6. That Black house Made Of Rubber7. Argonaut8. Instrumental No.29. Providence10. Mascot11. Queenliest Dead12. Closure



Monday, 5 October 2009

An oblique connection, but worth thinking about.

From - tangentially related to our agenda.

Coal power is not base-load electricity by itself. To enable coal to reliably deliver electric power, it took the creation of an entire other national infrastructure; the trans-continental railroad system.

Without the unceasing rail-car-load delivery, every 12 hours, on the hour, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, year after year, of every next 12-hour-supply of fuel for the fire; the fire would go out, the water wouldn’t boil, the steam wouldn’t rise, the turbine wouldn’t turn; the next 12 hours of electricity wouldn’t be made. The fire must never go out.
Coal plus railroad = base-load power.
Even today, a century later, every 12 hours in this nation a trainload of coal from Wyoming or Pennsylvania or Ohio, must arrive at an electric power station near your city, to make your coal power for the next 12 hours. No trainload of coal; no coal power.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Internet rules!

Team JB: Keep up with your world railway news at Railway Gazette!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Happy new to work.

JB team research links...


find more!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


Lebbeus Woods has been reflecting on what makes a good architecture school on his blog. There are several follow-up pieces there also. make up your own minds.....


A school is—before all else—a faculty.

 It is obvious that without a faculty, a school could not exist, for there would be no one to teach the students who come to a school. Also, the better students, those who are most eager to learn, most ambitious for themselves, and most demanding, those, in short, with the most potential for becoming good architects, select a school partly because of its faculty—they understand well the dynamics of learning.

It follows that, without a good faculty, a good school cannot exist. A mediocre faculty can only create a mediocre school, never a good one, regardless of how much potential its students have. Only a great faculty can produce a great school, and it does so by helping students realize their full potential.

There are two aspects of a great faculty (let us put aside mediocre and say that good is fine, but why not calibrate higher?): they are very effective teachers, and they have active peer relationships. The latter refers to the exchanges they have with other teachers and critics within their school and to their creative activities outside the school, in the big, wide world of ideas and work. Peers demand of each other, first of all, a high level of dedication to architecture, meaning a high level of seriousness. A peer is an equal. No one who is serious (even playfully so) wants to waste time with anyone who is not. There is always a certain amount of competitiveness among peers, and not just for position. The true competition is for achievement: as teachers and as architects. Creative rivalry and intellectual disputation are good, even noble, forms of competition, and are to be encouraged, and appreciated.

However, creative achievement does not necessarily make an architect an effective teacher. Teaching requires several qualities operating in parallel.

The first is having something to teach. An architect, or anyone else, who wants to instruct young people should feel strongly about what they know and have an equally strong desire to communicate it with others, particularly aspiring architects.

The second is a commitment of time and energy to teaching. Dipping in and out of a studio or seminar in distracted bits of time stolen from a busy career is no commitment. Teaching cannot simply be a line-item on one’s CV. A teacher must spend ‘quality time’ with students, that is, being personally, fully engaged in the time—of whatever duration—he or she is with students.

 Third, a teacher must understand the difference between training and education. The term ‘training architects’ is an oxymoron. The trans-disciplinary nature of architecture, the depth and diversity of knowledge it requires, as well the complexity of integrating this knowledge into a broad understanding that can be called upon at any moment to design a building or project, goes far beyond what anyone can be trained to do. Still, some teachers try to train students, using all the finesse of training dogs. Even those who disclaim rote learning and ‘copy me’ methods can carry vestiges of attitude that amount to the same. A good test is whether the students’ work in a design studio is diverse and individual, or is similar or even looks like the personal work—the ‘design style’—of the teacher. The best teachers preside over the flourishing of individuals and their ideas, and the resulting diversity. Diversity is the essence of education.

Schools of architecture must require of students that they pursue in some depth a broad range of subjects. This is because architecture is the most comprehensive field of knowledge one can enter. It engages the whole of society, and must be informed by a society’s knowledge, practices and values. Philosophy comes first, as it provides a framework for ordering all the diverse bits and pieces. Then come the social sciences, literature and poetry, and art. These studies happen together with architecture and engineering courses, and, ideally, coalesce in the design studio. It is the task of the studio teacher to set up projects and programs that enable this coalescence—far from easy. To accomplish it, a teacher must have the requisite knowledge himself or herself, and an almost uncanny ability to state in plain language a problem, lay out a methodical series of scheduled steps leading to an articulated and attainable goal. It is up to the teacher to make sure the intended work is actually accomplished within the given time. There is nothing more discouraging and dispiriting than work left unfinished.

Not least in importance is the study of history. Knowledge of the histories of the many communities we share today in global society, as well as the history of architecture, towns, and cities, is crucial. Goethe said, ‘The best part of history is that it inspires us.’ He was right. When we see what people have been able to achieve in the past, we realize that we can do the same, in our own inevitably different terms. Without a strong sense of this spirit of history, an architect can only drift with the currents of the moment. It is the responsibility of studio teachers to make this clear. 

Students are the other half of any school’s story.

Without good students, a good school cannot exist. However, it is much easier to find good students than good faculty. It is far easier to find great students than great faculty. As Raimund Abraham once said, ‘There are no bad students.’ What he meant was that young people who aspire to become architects and have gone through an admissions and selection process have demonstrated in advance a potential that should be respected. If students try and yet do not do really good work, it is, with few exceptions, due to the failure of their teachers. In contrast, many architects who become and remain teachers do so for reasons other than their potential as teachers. There are many—competent professionals—who should never be allowed any contact with young, eager students bristling with talent and ambition. Bad teachers, especially those who imagine themselves as good, do irreparable damage. They kill the spirit.

This does not mean that outstanding architects cannot emerge from mediocre schools—they can, and some have. But their being outstanding is more the result of their own drive to learn and develop, in spite of the mediocrity around them in school. They are, in effect, self-taught. However, even the most self-determined students need some help along the way: the encounter with a rare teacher who stirs their imaginations, ignites their passions about an idea, or sets an example by the teacher’s own knowledge, integrity, and dedication. These are the qualities that describe the entire faculties of great schools.

This brings us to the other half of any school’s story. Yes, there are three halves. The third is a school’s administration, its dean and department chairs….

 (to be continued)




Saturday, 14 February 2009


This Otto Neurath inspired narrative is part of the work 'Book from the Ground' by Brooklyn based artist Xu Bing. He is even developing a computer programm that translates from different languages into the pictoral language of isotypes. Read the artist:

Book from the Ground is a novel written in a 'language of icons' that I have been collecting and organizing over the last few years. Regardless of cultural background, one should be able understand the text as long as one is thoroughly entangled in modern life. We have also created a 'font library' computer program to accompany the book. The user can type English sentences (we are still limited in this way, but the next step will include Chinese and other major languages) and the computer will instantaneously translate them into this language of icons. It can function as a 'dictionary,' and in the future it will have practical applications.

via ads without products"

(Via synchronicity.)

Friday, 13 February 2009

transition city

Next social meeting:
Tuesday 17th at the farmhouse, 7pm onwards. including a screening of The Power of Community

Thursday, 12 February 2009

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No! it’s a… Hostel?!

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No! it’s a… Hostel?!: "

jumbo hostel, reclaimed 747-200, airplane hostel, stockholm, swedish plane, swedish hostel, airplane hotel, decommissioned airplane hotel, green refurbishment of an airplane, reclaimed waste hotel

Visitors traveling to Stockholm will find soon themselves with the option of sleeping on a plane! That may not sound like the most exciting proposition until you realize that the 747-200 in which they will be sleeping has been retired from flying, salvaged from being dumped somewhere to rot and turned into a low-cost, fully-furnished hostel that is perfect for overnight accommodation.



(Via Inhabitat.)

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Office for Metropolitan Architecture recently has presented a masterplan for the North Sea, claiming that wind farms in the North Sea can produce as much energy as the oil from the Persian Gulf is now. The plan was inspired by Hugo Graat, who in 1609 highlited that the sea should be a binding medium between nations, enabling communicating and exchanging ideas.
via archinect, architectenweb


(Via synchronicity.)

Build Your Own Light Lane

Build Your Own Light Lane: "

This is an interesting concept... create your own nighttime bike lane, when none is available. The idea is that you could still ride on the street, but that cars would see and respect your bike lane. Who knows, they might even think its real?! At the very least, the lasers would help to illuminate the riders so that they are more easily visible.
via Gizmodo


(Via Atelier A+D.)

Sky TV

Sky TV: "[Image: From the series Cloud Projections by Blake Gordon].

Photographer Blake Gordon has been documenting the geometric effects of light pollution in Austin, Texas, capturing thinly defined shapes in the clouds, projected upward from the tops of buildings.
It's an accidental ornamentation of the city sky – or what Gordon calls Cloud Projections.

[Image: From the series Cloud Projections by Blake Gordon].

read more of this at BLDGBLOG


Earrings for Spontaneous Seeding

Craig, perhaps a way of accessorizing your seed vest? You should forward your project to NEXT NATURE, who will probably be interested....

Earrings for Spontaneous Seeding: "

earrings for spontaneous seeding

Seed bombs away, because these earrings may awake the Guerilla Gardener in you…

You never know when an opportunity for planting might present itself. Be prepared with these tiny glass bottles filled with vegetable and flower seeds. Great for secretively planting in friends’ yards, medians, and those boring beds full of petunias outside your doctor’s office.

By Lea Redmond |

, , "

(Via - Nature changes along with us..)

2009 Open Architecture Challenge

2009 Open Architecture Challenge: "This year's Open Architecture Challenge -- a biennal open, international design competition run by Architecture for Humanity and Orient Global -- asks designers 'to work with students and teachers to design the classroom of the future for a school of your choosing.'


Click the image above for more information. Registration deadline is May 1, and the submission deadline is one month later."

(Via A Daily Dose of Architecture.)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Basque Health HQ by Coll-Barreu Architects has a photo filled post about the new headquarters of the Basque Health Department in Bilbao, Spain that was designed by Coll-Barreu Architects.

Bonneville Salt Flats Rest Stop Shelter

The first in an occasional series of unexpected monuments - Bonneville salt flats is famous for its salty flatness - hence the name - and its predictable weather....making it a prime choice for land speed record attempts and possibly chip consumption.... A striking mid-century modern form at the rest area next to the (also striking) salt flats west of the Great Salt Lake. This is one of those historically significant public designs, like those of the WPA, that remains uncredited, and often unappreciated, by today’s administrators.