Sleepless in Shenzhen

Everything Minded

  • Gropius and Breuer’s Martini Signals

    Based on a true story from Ise Gropius herself in 1980.

    It was a long day towards the end of the summer at the Graduate School of Design. 1940 was a tough year. The horrific war was well underway and the news from Europe wasn’t so good. Though, none of this would impact Walter as much and if it wasn’t for constant war talk by his fascist student Philip Johnson, he would care less and continue his day as if nothing happened and go on and look forward to martini hour he would resume with his neighbor, ex-student and now colleague Marcel Breuer who just built a house of his own just a stone throw away.

    Driving home through the beautiful country road in Lincoln near Cambridge, listening the radio instead of getting upset to dandy PJ was already better for the time being. It was just the right sundown just the right music, his alter ego, Glen Miller on the radio, Tuxedo Junction and the winding road. Martini hour with Lajkó, aka Marcel, has been theirs for a long time.

    Routine was, Walter pulled into driveway, stopped the engine, got out the car, opened the door and said something like “scheisse” to Ise and proceeded to kitchen grabbing a martini glass running up to second floor deck, raising the glass to the west where Lajkó was waiting for his martini signal.

    He was there in Walter’s house in five minutes just when his mentor friend was pouring the well shaken not stirred cocktails in the chilled glasses. Ise walked in, took one look at both of them and said “If Mies was here, you’d be drunk already” but by then the men were climbing the stair to talk 'chair' on the deck, ignoring her commentary.

  • MAX

    We are now entering MAX, it stands for Maximum Analog XIR. Whatever it is to you, it means the whole world to the occupant. In it, all conceptions of minimalist bourgeoisie stop. The longer you are superconscious, as a clean liner, and primping yourself, XIR aka MAX the maximum analog, is adding...

  • Nature Everywhere Part II

    If you are questioning what is so personal about these images and what a poor way to observe the nature, read on (some images are from Mars.)Since my birth, living mostly and if not all in urban centers I became accustomed to detect and appreciate their nature. Sure, there are exceptionally...

  • Nature Everywhere

    My doctor told me I should walk more often since I am not a sports person other than occasionally betting on European soccer games. He told me to walk exercise as much as possible and enjoy the nature. I was pleasantly surprised when I start to walk every day and be with the nature that surround...

  • Learning From Michael Asher

    Haus Lange installation, 1982 (photo from the exhibition catalog)LEARNING FROM MICHAEL ASHERMichael Asher's, the artist, died almost two years ago in October 2012. When he was alive his work was mostly unknown to architects except somebody like Frank Gehry who was his good friend. In the art...

  • This Your Father's License

    THIS IS YOUR FATHER'S LICENSEArchitects are highly intelligent people. They are the members of a noble profession who in dictionaries referred as master builders.They are taught and talk a specialized language, they have skills to design and visualize three dimensionally, and intern long years to...


    SHENZHEN I am sympathetic to Shenzhen from its occupation. A port city like the one I grew up in. I feel like I know its tricks, talents and aura, even if I am wrong. I don't know Shenzhen that much face to face, I know something in her DNA, which makes me more relaxed about exploring it. ...

  • On the Job; Words, Images and impressions from the Shenzhen Biennale

    Some of the familiar biennale exhibitions were handled by a second venue near Shenzhen Shekou Port Ferry Terminal named “Border Warehouse”. There were some panel discussions on visible and invisible borders socially, physically, locally and economically. This subject was developed by...

  • A Brief Introduction to Shenzhen Biennale

    I am sleepless and I can't get used to the idea that I am in Shenzhen, China. I might as well be in Las Vegas hotel room with a gold leaf framed watercolor print hanging on the wall and a laptop with a spotty internet access. This is my first time in China with a mission to attend and journal the...

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About this Blog

Archinect Senior Editor Orhan Ayyuce is blogging his thoughts, impressions and provocations.

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