The Low Line - Public Space Goes Upwards and Underground

For years now I've been watching the development of the High Line, a wonderful landscape design/urban design/regeneration project along Manhattan's West Side that has only recently opened to the public. My little architecture school tucked away here in Australia was ridiculously excited about the project when it was first opened to a competition, and the announcement of the successful design and the eventual, slightly delayed construction has all played out like a beautiful (albeit incredibly suspenseful!) ode to the power of innovation.

[Video via The High Line +
- stick past the ad, it's worth it!]

Instead of merely reducing an historic piece of city infrastructure into rubble, landscape architects James Corner Field Operations and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro have transformed an abandoned elevated train line into a place of robust urban beauty.

[Images via The High Line]

Needless to say I've been watching on with a sense of awe and an extreme case of jealousy, but just when I was at the height of my envy, Sydney sneaks up on me and unveils its own little tricky surprise. Along one of the busiest and most famous roads in Sydney (and perhaps even Australia), the recently opened Paddington Reservoir is as unexpected as it is delightful.

Designed by landscape architects James Mather Delaney Design and architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, this amazing new space will host markets, art and film festivals, and hopefully a few small live music gigs as well (Mr. Unreliable has already scoped out his favourite place for an acoustic set that may or may not eventuate!)

By day the most outstanding features of the Gardens are the bright sub-tropical landscaping and the simple pallette of materials that is ruthlessly modern in areas and seamlessly sympathetic in others. A large portion of the Gardens can be viewed from street level, however the real pleasure of this space is in its exploration. Though not a particularly large area by any means, the multiple levels weave poetically through the layers of history and provide a rich experience even for the casual observer.

Once the sun sets however, the Gardens take on a whole new personality...

I've only had the pleasure to visit in the daytime, but a night visit is definitely on the cards, complete with camera and tripod (what better excuse to finally find film for the former and simply buy the latter!) If you happen to be cruising along Oxford Street, take a break from retail therapy/partying/people watching and have a little look around. You'll love it, I promise!

And just for a little background, an excerpt from the design statement:
When TZG and JMD were commissioned to convert the Paddington Reservoir into an urban park, the general expectation was that the site would be capped off and a brand new arrangement built on top. However, we were captivated by the possibilities of revealing the 19th century structures as a ruin through which members of the public could wander, taking in the dramatic spaces and play of light across the remnants of historic walls and vaults.
Listed as a site of state heritage significance, the Paddington Reservoir was originally constructed in two stages, completed in 1866 and 1878. The water chambers were built below street level with a grassed park above, opened to the public in the 1930’s. The operational life of the reservoir ceased in 1899 and the site was used as a workshop and garage until 1990 when roof collapses forced its closure.
We believed the concept for the project was embodied in the existing artifact. An accessible sunken garden and pond, surrounded by a raised pre-cast concrete boardwalk, has been inserted within the conserved ruin of the western chamber of the former reservoir. The edges of the ruin are contained by concrete up-stands in such a way as to amplify the distinctive curved characteristics of the original brick vaults. The Victorian tree-fern garden hints at the era in which the Reservoir was originally built.

Further reading on The High Line:

Further reading on the Paddington Reservoir Gardens:


I. Am. So. Excited.

Must have more! MORE!

EDIT: Apparently Disney don't want the world spreading the word about their production, and for free no less! Click on the image above to find a (currently) working trailer!

Flighty Monday

A few weeks ago I was making frequent use of the old adage that when it rains, it pours. I thought I had successfully trekked through a brief patch of craziness and that all was back on track again. And then it poured. And hailed. And then reached hurricane proportions. I'm pretty sure I saw a cow soaring past at one stage.

So now, here I am, hoping that I'm on the other side and not merely in the eye of the storm, awaiting another round of madness. Following a ridiculous amout of driving, red-eye flights, countless trips to the hospital and eventually finding myself attending the second funeral this year, I think it would be fair to say I'm a little bit flighty at the moment.

As much as I'd love (and really need!) a little time to regroup and pull myself back together, there's a pile of travel/medical bills to be paid, so I'm back on the 9-5 train workin' hard for my money (sooo hard for my money!) Sadly that means I'm not able to Twitter away to all my marvellous Northern Hemisphere friends, colleagues and fellow bloggers, but I'm hoping that once my body clock evens itself out a little, I'll be back to daily posts at a regular time... weather permitting.

Thank you all so much for your patience and understanding, I promise I'll catch up on emails and comments as soon as my brain starts functioning again (unless you want gibberish emails which I'm also happy to send - just don't expect anything coherent!)

xx Kit

Fashion Travels

If reality television has taught me anything, it's that the life of a model is a whole lot less glamourous than it seems. Sure there's free clothes and exciting travel, but there's also crazy ultra early mornings, lots of transit time, plus the challenge of standing and/or floating around in minimal clothing in sub-zero temperatures. And let's not forget Tyra Banks. Eek!

The life of a fashion photographer however...well I'm sure there's plenty of hard work and tedious travelling too, but when you're heading to beautiful, exotic locations sans tiny clothes and endless hair and makeup sessions, it all looks pretty damn glamourous to me!

And that is my excuse for virtually glowing green with envy as I flicked through the folio of German-based photographer Margaretha Olschewsk.

This shoot for Italian Grazia has my normal city sensibilities craving a little country escape. Rural New South Wales may not have an abundance (i.e. any) Romanesque ruins scattered around, but there's definitely a desire to flee from the city and soak up some fresh country air.

And while I'm at it, what's a little continent-hopping between friends? I would happily put a return to France on hold if the alternative was the opportunity to galavant around Morocco; first stop Marrakech! (Yet another gorgeous Italian Grazia shoot!)

Although if Europe does win out in the end, a trip to Spain is a must! So I'm told at least, I've yet to make it to that corner of the continent but I've heard good things. And if this shoot in Southern Spain is anything to go by (for, you guessed it, Italian Grazia!) I think I'll fit right in...if you exclude my completely unfounded fear of donkeys.

If the donkey happens to win out however, I'd happily retreat to the city if my accommodation looked a little something like this. Back on Margaretha's home soil in Hamburg, this shoot (for you-know-who) has me wishing my return to the Northerm Hemisphere was sooner rather than later. The travel bug has well and truly bitten!

In the meantime however, happy Friday and have a fantastic weekend!

xx Kit

Through Tim Burton's Looking Glass

Okay. I'm a few weeks behind but I still need to share this in case it somehow slipped under the radar. I don't know if it's the insane amounts of coffee I've already downed or just general excitement over a life-long obsession coming to the screen once more, but I'm almost bouncing off the walls with glee at the latest photos to emerge from Tim Burton's production of Alice in Wonderland.

I'm so enamoured by fellow Aussie Mia Wasikowska as Alice and I can't wait to see what she brings to the role. It's been a while since I've seen a blonde rendition of Alice too - the version I grew up with depicted a fair-haired title role, but for some reason I've since come to envision Alice with darker locks.

No surprises to see Johnny Depp (the Mad Hatter) and Helena Bonham Carter (the Red Queen) making an appearance (I'd really love to see a Burton film sans Bonham Carter! Depp can stay, of course!) but Anne Hathaway as the White Queen is a fantastic, albeit slightly unexpected choice.

The latest concept art to pop up is simply sublime too, with Burton's trademark macabre aesthetic melding seamlessly with C.S. Lewis' Lewis Carroll's* luxuriously elaborate (drug-induced?) world. The dark edge suits the story for the most part, but I can only hope it's not too overwhelming.

Unfortunately we'll have to wait until March 5, 2010 to find out (most likely longer for us Australian folk, unless of course Mia can pull some strings!) Given that filming has already reportedly wrapped up, 9 months worth of post-production bodes well for the look of the movie at the very least.

The countdown is on!

*Thanks Jenn! C.S. Lewis != Lewis Carroll! Much like My Brain != Functional. Is it Friday yet?!

[Images via SlashFilm]

Wednesday Wisdom - Dazed and Confused

Confusion is a word we have invented
for an order which is not understood.

- Henry Miller (1891 - 1980)

Confusion is always
the most honest response.

- Marty Indik

If confusion
is the first step to knowledge,
I must be a genius.

- Larry Leissner

Wowsers! Just when I thought Fate might be taking a well-earned break, she decides to throw another curveball my way when I least expect it. The last week or two has been a circus in amongst running between the hospital and various family abodes, but after a fair chunk of chaos and another unhealthy dose of stress, everyone is doing fine and I'm finally back on board.

More apologies for my quick trip off the face of the Earth! Fingers crossed I can dose up on inordinate amounts of caffeine and finally do some serious catching up! Super gigantic thank you for your patience! <3