Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff

Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir OssipoffHawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff by Karla Britton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There was an expo in Frankfurt in 2009. would have been better in the Vitra Museum, but oh well…

The book is expensive but worth reading for all aficionados of underrated modernist’s, but not brutalist’s architecture. Ossipoff incorporated the Japanese Zen kind of back to the basics minimalism with Hawaiian Lanais (lanai being an indoor roof covered space that is enclosed and weather protected) Ossipoff’s Honolulu airport building was my first glance back in the days.

Slowly Ossipoff is being recognized outside the pacific room, for what he was: a true Visionary. He finally needs to be named alongside other great ones like Eileen Grey, Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright, le Corbusier or today’s Kotaro Ide from ARTechnic architects in Japan.

What elevates Ossipoff from many, especially brutalist architects, is his humbleness and respect towards “Hawai’i” (“Ha” means breath, or breath of life. “Wai” means fresh water and for some adepts Mana or life force. And “I” means supreme.)

Ossipoff lived that thoroughly with his architecture by NEVER planing, designing and/or installing artificial air conditioning systems, until very late in his life, where he allowed a few to install AC in their bedrooms… His very spiritual Hawaiian vision that even in a house/Lanai, the Ha needs to flow through the house is breathtaking!

So “I live in the supreme Mana that rides on life’s breath” might have been his Mantra…


How to Avoid Being Killed in a War Zone: The Essential Survival Guide for Dangerous Places, by Rosie Garthwaite

How to avoid being killed in a war zone, offers practical advise, that will help you survive some of the world’s most hostile environments.¬†

Now the content is, honestly, nothing new. But the writing style is splendid.

I don’t know, if Rosie Garthwaite meant it that way, but some of her statements are so painstakingly bone dry, that they become hilarious reads.

I love that, because it reminds me of the sense of humor, I had as a senior firefighter sometimes, that alienates those who have not seen what I have seen. But with my colleagues/brothers at the hose, it was like a ping-pong match… Surprisingly we do recognize each other all over the world with that kind of humor… Also other Brothers in Arms… Not sure this makes any sense to whomever… But Rosie maybe?!

Don’t get me wrong, this book can and will be very useful for many, and should be used with (GMV = gesundem Menschenverstand) common sense/horse-sense.

I will cherish this book for the rest of my life! Thank you!



Ringing True, by Robert Morrow

This is a book imagined by an adult for adults. I love it. Sexuality is a part of us, that needs to be referred to without bigotry.

Its thought-provoking, humorous, smart, satirical, without ever drifting into the cynical. And it is remarkably well written.(!) Robert Morrow is a true poet, and his eloquent and classy writing promises greatness for the future.

The best summer read for anyone who enjoys thinking while and after reading.

Love it, love it, love it….


Etre the cow, by Sean Kenniff

Please check the homepage for the¬†stories¬†summary. ¬†As usual I will share my opinion about it with you and no more…

Berchtold Brecht wrote: ‚ÄěDie d√ľmmsten K√§lber w√§hlen ihre Metzger selber‚Äú Roughly translated “the dumbest cow, chooses its own butcher”¬†

The meaning being: we follow blindly, without thinking and choose our life without really choosing it consciously. 

Etre changes that… He becomes aware…¬†

Or as some others would have said: 

РHe awakens (Jim Morrison) 
Cogito, ergo sum (Descartes)
– J’ai pas choisi de vivre ici, entre la soumission, la peur ou l’abandon, J’m’en sortirai, je te le jure, √† coup de livres, je franchirai tous ces murs (Jean-Jacques Goldmann)

I have rarely read a more erudite and skilled story, packed with philosophical allegories. Very challenging psychological assertions, brought to you in a language you will LOVE and understand. Read it with an open mind, think about what it tells you, what unquestioned answers it reveals to you and it will blow your mind away! 

All in all: I recommend it to 100% 

Except to those who don’t like books that accrue them as a human being and help them evolve into more consciousness! To those I say: Beware! Because you wont have any excuses left for NOT taking your life into your own hands, after reading this, anymore.¬†

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was right about this one Sean! Superbe travaille!

Still Life With Brass Pole, by Craig Machen

Per aspera ad astra!

I read this book twice and fell in love with that lovable, romantic soul.

This Biographic Book is about Craig’s search for a place to call home and someone to love, and who will love him back, unconditionally. He is also looking for the classic answers we all look for when we’re young. Who am I, why am I here, will I be like my parents, when I grow up? Only in his case, with the adoption, the neglegtion, the abandon you feel them being twice as corroding on his soul.

But by growing older, smarter, and more sober he manages to find those answers and through them, ultimately unveils his true self. Sir Lancelot!

While reading you just can’t stop thinking, this boy had so much love to give, despite having received so few. Where does he take it from? The book ultimately also raises the question why some people adopt at all.

The story itself is captivating and heartwarming. Its deeply and hopefully romantic.

The metaphors in the book are funny, witty, creative. The anecdotes are truthful, unpretentious, honest.

The writing shows real talent! I am certain that we can expect great things from Craig Machen in the future.

All in all, this has become one of my all time favorite books. I can totally and utterly recommend it! 

And if you … Ladies and Gentleman … ¬†do not fall a tiny little bit for Craig after this, I do not know …


The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance

A well written, insightful and smart read.

Jim Al-Khalili is obviously proud of his roots. And i like that.

Without being to missionary about it, he makes a good point in the fact that the Mideastern knowledge that started in Mesopotamian times and evolved all the way through our dark ages until the renaissance, was very influential on the¬†Occident’s¬†development of not only medicine, or architecture but also poetry,¬†astronomy¬†and art.

The questions of how and why the Islamic knowledge is suddenly regarded as threat from some circles, even within its own culture, is worth being elaborated in a book on itself.

I can highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to open his horizon a bit, in regard of where our cultural background was forged and how humanity evolved: By sharing its science and exchanging thoughts. Arabic was then what Latin became later to the literate elite. Scientists were Christians, Jews and Persians.

And as John Noble Wilford said in his (as usual) brilliant review “The Muslim Art of Science” in the NYT: Jim Al-Khalili also reminds readers that in early Islam there was no bitter conflict between religion and science and that the Koran encouraged the close study of all God‚Äôs works.

John Noble Wilford’s (much better than mine) review can be followed here:

The Tragedy of Arthur by William Shakespeare: The First Modern Edition of His Lost Play, with an Introduction and Notes by Arthur Phillips

The Tragedy of Arthur is an emotional and elaborately constructed “tour de force” from bestselling and critically acclaimed novelist Arthur Phillips, ‚Äúone of the best writers in America‚ÄĚ (The Washington Post)

I very much liked the fictional biography, or is it fictography?

I love that mind-boggling idea of not just inventing a (remarkably well done) lost Shakespearean play, but the whole family history to go along with it. Or, is it all true? To furphy or not to furphy, that is the question…

And so, fooling the readership into not knowing what to believe anymore! Great, base for a long night with friends discussing it in your book club… Or any English teacher seeking inspirational books for their classes.

So much fun to read, talk and think about… Go ahead and buy it, worth every penny…