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Misfits’ All-Time Top 10 Hits

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Misfit friends! It’s been more than a year now so here’s an “all-time” progress report on what’s been going on, based on statistics from those nice folks at WordPress. Most people who find this blog find it via a search engine, and search engines, as you know, only give back what you put into them. So, to those people who searched “what is microprocessor” (5), “melltorp help” (5), “đơn vị ở lớn marseille” (5), “oil” (5),  “zaha hadid shelter” (6), “burj a la rab” (7), and “where can i get ornamental architecture” (6), I hope you find what you were looking for. It wasn’t here. As we say in English, “go somewhere else”. We guess you did.

Sometimes, with search engines it’s good to just take a chance. To the eleven (11!) people who input “though the great expanses of glass that he favors may occasionally turn his rooms into hothouses, his flat roofs may leak and his plans may be wasteful” into google, well done! That would have taken you straight to The DARKER Side of the Villa Savoye, a classic post on a classic theme of ours.

Three and a bit times less astonishingly, 34 people input “valve to prevent water from gravity feeding”.

They would have been directed to Bashar’s post The Beauty I see in Al Hambra that describes Al Hambra’s ingenious system of water supply. Mind you, the actual sentence was “the engineers built several reservoirs on high ground, so that gravity would ensure a constant flow of water to feed the gardens.” Just for the record.

Some other people whose names we do not know, used terms such as “shit shapes” (9), “masdar bullshit” (5) “What’s the point of architecture” (7) and “architects bullshit” (6) to arrive at the misfits blogsite. Please send us your CVs.

Anyway, without further ado …  we now present the 2012 MISFITS’ TOP TEN SEARCH TERMS starting, of course, from No.10. In these rankings, we’ve gathered together similar terms, especially for the more difficult-to-spell terms.

No.10 Eileen Gray (81 hits)

Eileen Gray is the only female misfit. [Since I wrote that, we can now include Ann Lacaton of Lacaton and Vassal – see Architecture Misfits #6: Lacaton & Vassal.] Fittingly, Eileen Gray’s E1027 house doesn’t fit in with anything except its location and climate. It may have been one of the first high-performance houses, or maybe she was just working with local knowledge and a feel for the climate, and wanted a house that was pleasant to live in. Crazy huh? And who are these people? And what are they doing there? Find out at Architecture Misfit No.3: Eileen Gray.

No.9 Prosopis cineraria (99 hits)

This search term took people to The Process Behind a Better Architecture Building where they maybe learned a little bit about the Ghaf tree.

It needs hardly any water, and when it does, can send roots down 30m to find it. It can survive being buried in sand. It’s connected to every organism, animal, bird and insect in the desert ecosystem. These very useful characteristics are probably related to its rather dull green colour which, unfortunately, means that it’s never used as a street tree in the UAE (although I have noticed more of them being planted to stabilise the sand alongside intercity highways).

No.8 Barajas Airport (145 hits)

Most people were probably looking for this picture of a design feature that’s a bit dubious since, even if you know your colours, you still have to know your big numbers to find your departure gate. The accepted story is thus patronising bullshit. Besides, the colours could have been blended better methinks. But not that I care. Buen Viaje!

No.7 Jungfraujoch (191 hits)

This one’s an old favourite. The Sphinx Observatory, alternatively known as Jungfraujoch, is maybe not the cutest building in the world, but it has an important job to do in a environment that can be very nasty at times. Should it have been built to be more ‘in keeping’ with its surroundings? We think it’s just fine the way it is.

No.6 CCTV diagrid structure (275 hits)

We suspect that most of these searchers were looking for this image. Here it is from previous post The Things Architects Do #2: Ornament.

And there’s also the following image from September 2011’s The New Architecture of Austerity. This wall detail clearly shows that the pattern we see on the outside is not, in fact, what’s actually holding up the building. In the drawing it’s called “diagrid cladding” – in the sense of diagrid-patterned cladding elements – and is totally separate from the structural diagrid members linking the structural columns inside the building. (Maybe that’s what the person in the section is trying to point out). But are you fine with this? We’re not. Notice that the actual structure is smaller than its expression. Basically, what this means for life on earth is that showing everybody how clever you are, is more important than being clever. As such, this is the most depressing cladding sectional detail ever. Cheers for that Remment Koolhaas now can’t you please just go somewhere else?

No.5 Villa Savoye (434 hits)

Altogether, these included general searches (128) and people (146) interested about the site plan which, as you know from Bashar’s post The DARKER Side of the Villa Savoye is a bit “schoolboy”. A further 19 people were specifically curious about “villa savoye orientation”. Many people were sourcing dimensions, probably because their instructor told them they had to make a model or smmn. Other notable searches included “villa savoye materials” (5), “villa savoye problems” (7), “villa savoye heating” (5), and “villa savoye bad” (8). We hope you all found something you could use or think about. Maybe some of you tracked down the original client vs. LC correspondence about the bathroom skylight, the terrace leaks, the lawsuits and support our stance that IT WAS NOT A HAPPY HOUSE (even before WWII). Here’s a gratuitous picture. What makes this image interesting is that the building has been defaced digitally.

To me, this says something about how our opinions of buildings are formed by images. At first, some of us may have thought “how could they??!!” and then it turns out, they didn’t, and then the thought is “but hang on, they did!!!” But all they defaced was an image we had in our minds and, such is they mystery of the human mind, we know VS has been restored to extra-virgin anyway. What can one conclude? “Graffiti ain’t what it used to be?” Or, “CAMISA, CLOUDINHO BF and TONIOLO, grow some balls and do it for real!”  (And send us a photo.) Architecture has a complex relationship with this house.

No.4 Hannes Meyer (631 hits) 

We’re glad for this and proud – I mean, where else are you going to find about about Hannes Meyer? If the Bauhaus was that f*****g important, then why is he not remembered – if for nothing else, as the only guy who made it turn a profit by making useful stuff. Btw he was also the guy responsible for the Bauhaus having an architecture program – true story – but who cares about that? Thanks anyway Hannes – we miss you! You’re still Architecture Misfit No.1!

No, really, you are!

No.3 Microprocessors (1,052 hits)

Basically, microprocessors are cool. They’re not trying to beautiful. Go back to our classic post The Microprocessor Is Not Trying to Be Beautiful for details. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s what one looks like. The gold isn’t there to be fancy.

And don’t forget: There’s no such thing as an ugly microprocessor.

No.2 AK-47 (1,559 hits)

You’d think nothing could be simpler to input than AK47 but no – it’s also known as “aka 47” (6), “a k 47” (7) and “ак-47” (8). This last one’s disturbing – I mean, if Cyrillic-writing people have to use Google to source something so local and essential to life as an AK-47 then what kind of world is it we live in I ask you?!! But we forget – the AK-47 has global appeal because of its performance beauty. In a nutshell, it may not be the purrtiest thing, but it does what it does, well. (Go back to the same The Microprocessor Is Not Trying to Be Beautiful for details.) Intriguingly, ten (10) people searched for AK-47 Type II. Is it that much better? Let us know.

No.1 Unité d’Habitation (3,886 hits)

In all it’s glorious forms. Correct alphanumeric input can be a problem but think of the poor French! Fortunately, “unite habitation” (77), “unite d’habitation” (72), “unité d’habitation” (232) and “unitè d’habitation” (387) will all get you to the same place, as will “мікропроцесор” (5) and “микропроцессор” (7), whatevertf that means.

Many viewers may have been looking for these student staples – plans and sections of Corby’s Unité d’Habitations in Marseille. Here they are once again – look no more.

All this was contained in the post The Things Architects Do and which went mildly viral last October, spiking  once last November last year and consistently this March because the single point running throughout the post was that THE UNITE D’HABITATIONS IS NOT VERY GOOD. Most of my objections were to do with the wasteful planning in what is supposed to be social housing. We only ever see the ‘interlocking’ apartments even though the building contains about 35 different types of apartments. This is often explained as Corbusier providing for different family configurations and preferences (and actually, to be fair, it would be described in exactly the same way today). However, it is bullshit. Families requesting social housing are not usually able to pick and choose their apartment type. How about the family on the bottom half of the above ‘interlocking’ section. Did they ask for a plan where the only living space was at the end of the parents’ bed? [That’s a bit crap, non?] Or how about the family in the apartment at the bottom left of this plan? Did they say “We want an apartment that has windows only to the south because we would prefer to not look at the Mediterranean?”

Anyway, I won’t go into that now. For people wanting a little more information on Unité d’Habitations and how crap it is, I’ve organised the more obvious points into a table, showing how they were solved or not over the course of LC’s next four versions. Unsurprisingly, it’s the hugely flawed first attempt that’s remembered, not the improved ones. From this, we can surmise that the other four were somehow compromised by reality and therefore not fitting the narrative fiction that sustains the idea of genius.

Unités d’Habitation comparison

Editable Word doc.


  • are we talking number of hits in millions, billions or trillions?
    or, are tyne numbers in small local developer, mining company or us government deficit speak?
    the use of numbers like 387, although a very worthy beautiful number in its own right, odd and divisible by 3, seems to lack the true reflection of its referenced worth.
    keep up the great work team. always a delight

    almost forgot, gratuitous 😃