Clog Journal Tackles the Stories Traditional Media Overlooks

Architecture, Media
Monday, December 16, 2013
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(Courtesy Clog)

(Courtesy Clog)

The journal Clog wants to slow things down. It believes that digital media has reduced the “lifespan of any single design or topic” to a nano second and that the deluge of content required to feed online platforms means that “excellent projects receive the same fleeting attention as mediocre ones.” In order to counter these trends, Clog focuses on its print journal with themed issues like Brutalism, The National Mall, Rendering, and next spring, Prisons (submissions due December 31, 2013).

The Clog platform calls for writers to submit 500 word (or less) essays that address the topic’s concerns from multiple viewpoints, particularly projects, themes, and ideas that have been overlooked by other media. Its latest issue, Unpublished, for example, addresses what is left out by the “critical press” that tends—it argues—to replicate the same signature projects. The editorial staff of the journal examined every building that has appeared over the last fifty years on the cover of Architectural Record. They analyzed the selected projects according to several criteria—location, architect, and building type. The results of the analysis are fascinating and worth the price of the issue on its own, but there are other equally compelling articles (fifty three in total) in the issue like ones on Justus Dahinden’s Ugandan Martyr’s Church, Burning Man’s 2011 flaming man effigy, and a piece on the surface of Borromini buildings.

Jacob Reidel, one of several editors of the journal, has submitted an essay that makes the case for why certain buildings go unpublished in other media outlets. The essay traces the story of Herzog & de Meuron‘s first New York project. A very different project than the Swiss architects’ glamorous 56 Leonard residential tower, this is a renovation of an old piano factory on Manhattan’s West Side near Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club and horse stables for Prada USA. Reidel suggests the fact that this building has gone largely unnoticed is due to a bias against renovation projects by the media, but also Prada and the Swiss architects’ deliberate desire to keep it hidden and unpublished. In fact, Reidel uncovers several interesting design elements it the building, like its new-to-the-U.S. 121 custom fixed glazing units and flanking operable aluminum panels. This essay, like the Clog venture itself, makes the case for the value of small but smartly edited independent publishing journals.

Issues of the journals can be ordered by contacting Clog.

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