The best of the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud 2011

3 January 2012 | blog, comment

Riccardo Bofill - Les Arcades du Lac, Montigny-le-Bretonneux,1982For the last two years, I have published a daily image on Tumblr under the banner of the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud. This started out as a collection of images that I wanted to keep for easy reference – a sort of Pinterest before its time – but I developed a curiosity about the popularity of certain images and the lack of appeal of others, measured through Tumblr’s notes system. I know that many people from a planning background – including some that I work with – find many of these images rather challenging (grim, depressing, cheerless). Many of them lie well outside the boundaries of acceptability for many practitioners – or perhaps many can’t associate these images with actual practice. This is especially the case with images featuring the recurring themes of concrete, brutalism, modernism, Le Tiers Paysage or Terrain Vague.
Cosmic Inspirocloud 2011
During 2011, the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud posted 365 images in monthly themes as follows – with their numbers of notes (likes) shown in brackets and their ranking:

January – Landscape Installations and Film (186) 11th
February – Buildings in Landscape (120) 12th
March – Architecture and Modernism (967) 2nd
April – German and Italian Modernism (259) 10th
May – Landscape Architecture, Installations and Photography: (268) 9th
June – German Modernism (mostly) (751) 4th
July – Landscape Interventions (342) 7th
August – Architecture, Modernism and Rationalism (1,761) 1st
September – Landscape Interventions (290) 8th
October – Postmodernism (782) 3rd
November – Landscape Photography (548) 6th
December – The Metabolists (555) 5th
Scan through the images in the archive.

The most popular theme for the year was Architecture, Modernism and Rationalism shown in August. This theme supplied the top image for the year, namely Luigi Moretti’s Complesso Residenziale-Commerciale in Corso Italia, Milano dating from 1952. Architecture and Modernism also occupied second place in the theme for March and this theme supplied the second placed image which was Florian Beigel with ARU’s Youl Hwa Dang Publishing House, Paju Book City, South Korea from 2004. The enduring popularity of modern architecture was also evident in other monthly themes, only being unsettled by the landscape photography of Andrea Schuh in November. In third place was the Postmodernism theme from October in which Stanley Tigerman’s Hot Dog House, Site’s Best Store in Houston, Texas and John Hejduk’s Security installation in Oslo from 1989 did well.

At the other end of the scale, infrastructure, projects, art installations and the architecture of poor old Ulrich Müther just didn’t appeal at all as a group although there were individual images that were popular. Even the work of Frei Otto was overlooked and challenging projects such as the Euthanasia Coaster were largely ignored. Some of my personal favourites such as O M Ungers Haus ohne Eigenschaften in Köln, 1996, and Riccardo Bofill’s Les Arcades du Lac at Montigny-le-Bretonneux, 1982 were largely forgotten.

I was surprised that so many great images and projects were ignored this year. It seems that Tumblr people have little time for art installations, landscape architecture or atmospheric landscapes such as Camillo Nardi Greco’s La Colonia Montana di Renesso, Savignone, 1933 or Alain Nogues’s Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan.

The top ten images from the year are shown below: