mammoth – mammoth // building nothing out of something

Author Archives: mammoth

“brute force architecture”

We highly recommend checking out Bryan Boyer’s latest post, “Brute Force Architecture and its Discontents”, which is a fascinating take on OMA and its uinque impact on the operational models of other architecture firms around the globe: OMA is famous for two things: its astounding output, and the extent to which its operations chew through […]

phantom stories

[Homes on the outskirts of Shanghai, via Google Maps.] A recent report in the New York Times which looks at global marriage patterns from an economic perspective contains the following fascinating excerpt, which indicates that China’s one-child policy, “combined with a cultural preference for sons and technologies that permit selective abortion”, has indirectly produced a […]


We recently wrote a brief piece, “Appeal”, for the excellent architecture journal Quaderns in response to their most recent issue, “Parainfrastructures”. We used this response as an opportunity to consider why we are so drawn to infrastructural landscapes like Blue Plains — not just as sites of logistical and technological operations, but aesthetically as well: […]

blue plains

Last spring, Mammoth visited the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant. This massive facility — which claims to be the largest plant of its particular kind in the world — exists to remove the solids that the 2 million residents of Washington, D.C. and surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia introduce into wastewater from their parking […]

residue treatment center

[Residue Treatment Center (or CTRV) in Vacarisses, designed by Batlle i Roig. While the CTRV is a municipal solid waste treatment facility, not a wastewater treatment facility (where flushed feces usually go), the two kinds of facilities are commonly linked by the need to dispose of solid materials separated out of water at wastewater treatment […]

fecal matters

This week — really, we promise it will just be a week — we’ll be looking at landscapes of shit.  We’ll take a guided tour of DC’s huge wastewater treatment plant, Blue Plains, we’ll have an excellent guest post from Peter Nunns on “fecal politics”, we’ll look at a student project that proposes “the making of […]

border box

The following piece is a part of Border Town’s supplementary online discussion, which is collated at the Border Town website.  Border Town is a “10-week, multi-participant collaborative design studio that investigated the conditions that surround life in cities situated on borders, divided by borders, or located in conflict zones” this summer, led by Tim Maly and […]

behind the scenes

While there is a lot that has gone unfortunately unposted this summer (our drafts queue is more than a little bit out of control) — at least in part due to Rob’s failure to contain the floods series (which is finished, by the way, with yesterday’s final post on de-damming the Dutch delta) to anything […]

revolutionary space

In saying anything about the past couple weeks’ events in Egypt, we have to begin by saying that we know little about Egypt.  (What we do know — that it is absolutely appropriate to celebrate the downfall of a tyrant, however limited our understanding of Egypt may be and however complicit America has been in […]

generative capacity

At the end of October, Hillary Brown — founding principal of New Civic Works, a consulting firm which “promotes the adoption of sustainable design principles for buildings and infrastructure”, as well as a professor of architecture at the City College of New York — published an article on Places entitled “Infrastructural Ecologies: Principles for Post-Industrial […]

architects without architecture

As a coda to our collaborative reading of The Infrastructural City, mammoth spoke with Kazys Varnelis, editor of that book, about how the infrastructural city and “network culture” are related, what the contents of an imaginary new chapter for The Infrastructural City might be, and the future of architecture in the wake of global economic […]

“what to do when there is nothing to do”

[“Weather Field”; Lateral Office + Paisajes Emergentes for Land Art Generator Initiative] As we have nearly reached the conclusion of our collaborative reading of The Infrastructural City, we thought it would be interesting to discuss some of the lessons of the text with one of mammoth‘s favorite architectural studios, the Toronto-based Lateral Office. In a series […]


“The objective is to convey 55 years of experience in the architectural profession and say what I can before the end comes.”

jam, hack

This is week five of our reading of The Infrastructural City; if you’re not familiar with the series, you can start here and catch up here. [Traffic cameras in Los Angeles, photographed by flickr user Puck90] “Blocking All Lanes”, Sean Dockray, Fiona Whitton, and Steve Rowell’s contribution to The Infrastructral City, opens by questioning the […]

“for every pile there is a pit”

We’re back from our week off with another installment of Reading the Infrastructural City; if you haven’t been following along, you can catch up on the series here and see the introductory post here. [Aggregate operation in the Reliance pit mine, Irwindale, California; photograph by Steve Rowell, via CLUI] The fourth chapter of The Infrastructural […]

reading the infrastructural city: chapter one index (updated 5 may)

Images by Robin Black Photography for the Owens Lake Project, an ongoing photo documentary chronicling the rejuvenation of Owens Lake. See the website for many more.  Black comments at DPR – Barcelona: “No more is it a toxic wasteland, though it’s certainly odd, and occasionally ugly, and still troublesome along the portions deemed too disturbed to recover. Life is returning […]

wyoming is in los angeles

From now until the beginning of August, mammoth is hosting a chapter-by-chapter reading and discussion of The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles.  This post is the first in that series, and discusses Owens Lake; for the full schedule of readings and an introduction to the series (and the book), click here.  In addition […]

reading the infrastructural city: proposal

[A portion of the Alameda Trench, a cut in the surface of Los Angeles which runs “ten miles long, fifty feet wide, and thirty-three feet deep”, carrying over $200 billion in cargo each year, as photographed by Lane Barden for The Infrastructural City; image via a Places Journal slideshow] — UPDATE: this book club is […]

the shelter category

Magazine on Urbanism‘s twelfth issue, Real Urbanism, was released last Thursday; mammoth is quite pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to this consistently provocative publication.  For this issue, MONU called for entries which “explore how people in the real estates business perceive and conceive cities”: “What do cities look like in the eyes […]

the best architecture of the decade

[The Large Hadron Collider] The end of a decade inspires a lot of list compiling; in that spirit, mammoth offers an alternative list of the best architecture of the decade, concocted without any claim to authority and surely missing some fascinating architecture.   But we hope that at least it’s not boring, as this was an […]