Author Archives: Graham Shawcross

About Graham Shawcross

Architect PhD student at Edinburgh University Interested in order, rhythm and pattern in Architectural Design

Five Finger Exercises

Written and spoken numbers are represented differently. In English numbers are usually written with Arabic numerals or as a transliteration of the spoken version, for example 342 or three hundred and forty two. Rod counting provides a written representation of … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Brain Physiology, Enumeration | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Chocolate Fireguards

A very short post on Chocolate Fireguards, which as the name suggests are objects which subvert their own function. The first example is a real fireguard, though not one actually made of chocolate. It is an example of an object … Continue reading

Posted in Aesthetics, Architecture, Brain Physiology, Design, Design Methods, Logic, Objects | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment


The school report of Emily, our 4 year old grandchild, said that she could subitise up to the number 6, and I had no idea what this meant. Subitising is a technical term that comes from the Latin root subito … Continue reading

Posted in Aesthetics, Architecture, Brain Physiology, Design, Design Methods, Enumeration, Geometry, Randomness | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Severely Constrained Design

When a design problem is severely constrained it becomes possible to generate all solutions to the problem. That is, it is possible to close out the problem. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the design of British Local Authority 2 and 3 … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Design, Design Methods, Enumeration, Housing | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Embodied Materiality

This is another list, probably even a listicle, of objects with eccentric properties. In this case objects that are, or were originally, named for the materials they are made of. Richard Wentworth was the curator of the highly influencial 1999 … Continue reading

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Archetypes and Visual Pangrams

This follows an earlier post on Visual Pangrams here Pangrams To recap, ordinary pangrams use every letter of the alphabet at least once to form a more or less meaningful sentence, for instance: – Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz … Continue reading

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Audio Illusion

Observation The following diagrams illustrate the way, until recently, our television was setup. The television and speakers were connected to a Media Centre, with both Speakers markedly offset to the left of the Screen. With this setup, when the television program is … Continue reading

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Merely Conventional Signs

During a recent seminar on Vilém Flusser, organised by Ella Chmielewska and Fiona Hanley the discussion got round to the Borges story of Cartographers producing maps of larger and larger scales. I thought that Lewis Carroll had produced something similar … Continue reading

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Haptic Interfaces: Extending Object Capabilities

Whilst looking for more up-to-date scanning devices I came across this nice haptic interface that extends the capabilities of everyday objects. It comes from the Fluid Interfaces Group of the MIT Media Lab and uses my favourite definition of a … Continue reading

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Smartgeometry 2013

The tenth annual smartgeometry event has just finished in London, and was held at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Previous years’ events have been held at Troy, Copenhagen, Barcelona, New York and San Francisco with institutions bidding for the privilege of hosting … Continue reading

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