The online portfolio and whimsical ramblings of Robert James Page

Far Away From Any Road...

I've been listening to the new Brand New album over the past couple days. Man its awesome! Wow. I'm loving me. Its actually a really heavy album (especially compared to The Devil and God..) which, a little surprisingly at first, got me really amped! Its been a while since I listened to anything in this sort of vein of music, but its rad, 'cos its prompted me to pull out some of my other old post hardcore kind of stuff, so my Brand New play-list has been complemented this week by a bit of mewithoutYou, some Underoath, even some Norma Jean.

Don't think I'm quite ready for Bane or Terror mind you.

But Daisy's definitely worth a listen.. Do it!

Sketch-book scan courtesy of a particularly boring Theory of Structures lecture. I've been sitting in the back row of a lot of lectures lately. Actually I've generally been taking life way too easy these past couple of weeks. I think the apparent nearness of the end of this year has lulled me into some sort of false sense of security, which is a very dangerous place to be when you have a portfolio presentation in just under three weeks time. Most importantly, I really need to pick up my socks and finish this model!


One more thing. If you're reading this on Facebook, welcome!
Yeah, I uploaded the blog to FB today. Its actually really simple, you just enter the RSS/atom feed address, and it does it all for you. Stoked!
You can find the real thing at http://hiroshimasunrise.blogspot.com

Blah Blah Fishpaste

I write a fair bit of music in my spare time. I sing and play guitar in a little Indie rock band that was called CMYK, and is now without a name. I also write A LOT of acoustic stuff. Generally whenever I have free time, or I'm taking a break from work I'll pick up my guitar and play, and since I don't know a lot of songs and have pretty much forgotten all of the ones I learn when I first started playing guitar, I mostly just sit and jam. You can find some of my little home recordings via the Myspace "Music" link at the top of the page.

This is just a little clip of something I've been working on for a little bit. It stated out as a little two guitar instrumental thing for a video a friend of mine had to do for his multimedia marketing (or something like that) course, an advert for Redrow Fishpaste. I started playing around with effects and adding some vocal layers and things and it turned into this:

(Click HERE if the player isn't showing)

It may turn into a song of some sort, it may not, but it was pretty fun to do..

I used Audacity, an open source sound recorder, to make it (Still gotta do some more fiddling with the settinbg to get rid of the buzz) and Zoopy.com, a South African media hosting service (Local is Lekka!) to stream.

Umhlanga Mixed Use Photos 2

This is a follow up to a previous post, about a precedent study I did for Varsity on mixed use buildings. These are part of a collection of photos I took in Umhlanga:

Park by you.

Lights by you.

Rock by you.

Pond by you.

Construction by you.

Walk by you.

Street 2 by you.

Street by you.

Entrance by you.

Shaft by you.

Cresent by you.

Ilchester Site

I've got this long running project for my Technology course at varsity, for which I have to do a PBS (practical building study) of a residential project from the ground up.. So all year I've been visiting this site kinda near my house and taking photos, and doing sketches, and all the rest, from foundation stages all the way up to this point..

View from street
Back veranda

Gang nail truss

I took these photos a little while ago (yes, another Wordpress re-post, but probably the last). Unfortunately, when I go in the week I kind of have to wait for the builders to pack up and leave so the lighting's not too great in some of the shots, but its all good..




I just love building sites. There's something about all the textures, and the colours, and the sense of something to come that just gets me so amped. This looks to be rather a pretentious, ugly big house.. But I think its quite beautiful at this stage.

Brick and rubble


Maybe it was just the Bon Iver in my ears, the half dark or the site itself, but there's something of an atmosphere all of its own to a place like this..

This is Sparta!

It must be said, that I have never been a big rugby fan. Sure I enjoy a game if I'm watching it with my friends, but I've never really followed it, or watched a match on my own even.

However, the other day I was channel hopping, and I caught an interview with Victor Matfield. I had never seen this man before. This is a terrible thing to say, but I think I support the Bulls now (But not really). He looks like some sort of war hero straight from Valhalla. If he rode up to my house on a massive stallion and told me to follow him into battle I would drop everything in an instant.

Ok. This is coming out a lot gayer than it sounded in my head. All I'm saying is the man should be our president. I remember reading Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink a little while ago, in which he writes a chapter about Warren Harding, about how he was a terrible American president, but that everyone loved him because he had a certain charisma that inspired an irrational sense of trust. I finally get that.


I think I'm in love

So I found out a couple weeks ago, from the ever reliable source of Wikipedia, that Hayley Williams, from Paramore is only 20. You may say its unreasonable, and she may have turned down all of my requests on Facebook, but I STILL think I have a chance.

Hayley, if you're reading this:

I love you!

Ok, enough silliness.. Back to work, Matt Costa and the growing of my beard.


Umhlanga Mixed Use Photos 1

Yes, Dear Reader, my first real new post to the blog.
Que fanfare.

A little while ago, for a Theory project a friend of mine and I made some delectably legal visits to some mixed use building around Gateway shopping centre in the uMhlanga New Town Centre area. I'm pretty sure we were allowed to be everywhere we went though, we saw plenty of cleaners who didn't say anything..

Anyway.. Here goes:

To be continued...

Congress Round Three

So what more can I say..

Apart from the odd buss tour, most of our time was spent either in the most insane lectures, or partying, there was no in-between really..

One thing that really struck me though from the other universities is just how many pretty girls study architecture. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself, but its true! I think I need to move to PE/Cape Town/Pretoria!

Enough of that.

We had most of our lectures in this building:

Which is around a massive green quad on the Tuks main campus.

I would never have thought it, but Pretoria is actually a whole lot greener than Durban, and its not just the Jacaranda trees..

The architecture building (Boukunde) is also super cool. A whole lot more inspiring than the mass of yellow brick work and cavernous dungeon lecture halls that is the Denis Shepston Building at Howard College.

Mornings were a somber affair of hung over faces and what can only be described as warm chicory beverages.

Nothing however, could prepare us for the final night: the Des Baker competition.

Held at Freedom Park, and sponsored by the very deep pockets of Murray & Roberts, this was one hell of an event! The competition is held every year and submissions are invited from the third year classes of each school. It's one of the most prestigious student competitions of the year, and a matter of major rivalries. This year however, it would not be UCT, TUT, TUKS, UJ, NNMU or any of the other universities who took the prize, and as tention built, the winners were finaly anounced..

Michael Brunner and Helen Reeves of the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Hmmm.. Part two

The week after I got back, I was really struggling to resolve plans, and get design done, just feeling generally down and uninspired. I was really starting to miss PTA. I don't know why. I suppose after spending a week in such a creative, fun, different environment with loads of awesome people, coming back to the same old deadline orientated, design production line that varsity seems to be right now just felt really empty. Like nothing I was doing was really worth while.

I think about the kind of things the people who presented papers on congress are doing: social housing in Accra, creative arts centers in Kinshasa, Urban Agriculture projects in Johannesburg and do-it-yourself development mixed use buildings in Amsterdam. Architects and anthropologists Heinrich Wolff, Dick Van Gameren, Joe Addo, Liz Ogbu, Hein de Haan, etc, etc, just blew my mind. This is what architecture has to contribute to society! Not green roofed mansions one on top of each other in Mount Edgecomb on Zimbali, or art galleries on Florida Road.

I think I was just in a bit of an idealistic mood. I've still got time before I start thinking about how I'm going to make a real contribution to this work I suppose.

Well here's a taste of what I'm rambling on about. A Day Laborer Station presented to us by Liz Ogbu of Public Architecture, the first of these structure is to be build sometime in the new year. (More info here)


The Day Labor Station, a project of Public Architecture, is a simple, flexible structure that can be deployed at these informal day labor locations. It is a sustainably-designed project that utilizes green materials and strategies and exists primarily, if not completely, off-the-grid. It provides a sheltered space for the day laborers to wait for work as well as greater community amenities and resources. Our design is a responsive one, addressing the needs and desires of the day laborers themselves, as our clients. As such, the structure will be flexible enough to serve in various capacities, including as a meeting space or classroom.


Pretty awesome really. Things like this really make me want to be an architect.. But right now I don't know if I can be bothered. I think I just need a break.

On another note: I've been listening to the new Paramore album this week. Pretty awesome stuff actually. Give it a listen..

Congress 2009

About a month ago I took a trip up to Gauteng for about a week or so for the Students' Architectural Congress 2009.

What a rad week!
Basically, all the schools of architecture from around the country get together in the same city for a few days once a year. In the glorious name of architecture we attend guest lectures, meet new people, sleep in tents and party pretty hard! =P
This year was held in Pretoria, which I must admit, I was pretty surprised to discover is actually a REALLY beautiful city. I had always assumed it was pretty similar to Jo'burg, but its not at all. Definitely a place I'd love to visit again.

Road to PTA

We arrived a day early and explored Pretoria. I went out that night to a little restaurant/bar/club effort that I can't remember the name of, and watched a couple bands play. Good start. The next day we did the typical tourist thing from a couple of really cool, low rider busses..


We drove around the city, and eventually stopped off at the union buildings which are so beautiful. I love being a tourist!

Union Building

Union Gardens

Their University is really pretty, kind of puts mine to shame.


But more about that next time..