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(Image stolen from the Newman Lab at MIT)

5 years ago today, I posted my first entry on Klaustoon’s Blog. Actually, the blog itself had been active since the day before (March 9, 2009), thanks to Dan Cashen, who made up for my lack of digital skills and designed the blog himself. The cartoon I chose to start the blog with featured a comment on the preeminent presence of the architecture department on anything GSD-related, drawn on occasion of the publication of the first installment of GSD Platform. As some others that were featured afterwards, it had previously appeared on Trays, the late GSD online journal directed by Quilian Riano et al. After all, the point of these cartoons was to make tongue-in-cheek, in-house satire of everything that happened within the realms of GSD life. The blog was meant to be a mere spin-off where I could show some other non-GSD related -or less PC- stuff. As you see, everything was really low-profile.

That April, however, our friend Rem came over for his hilarious intervention in the Ecological Urbanism Conference, which obviously deserved some comment, and some days later, Kazys Varnelis deemed it interesting enough to illustrate his blog. So, surprised by this kind of attention, I decided to make a test: I took a cartoon I had started with a different protagonist, and reworked it into “On Starchitecture”. The cartoon started popping up everywhere on the internet and beyond (it still does), and that was that.

So, let me do some recap of what’s happened in these five years.

Since I opened the blog, most of its cartoons have been published here and there. A tip of the hat must go to Kazys Varnelis and Joseph Grima, who recruited me as the editorial cartoonist for The New City Reader (NY New Museum, 2010-11), and to Carlo Aiello, who was the first to commission a cartoon from me, for eVolo magazine. After that, they have been featured in Harvard Design Magazine, Clog (also here), Puerto Rico University’s (In)Forma, Milan-based Studio, Norwegian mag Conditions, the Russian Project International, Volume, the book Goodbye Topolinia and, of course, MAS context (here, too). I also have to thank the effort invested by many people to exhibit my work, starting with the retrospective organized in 2010 by the Society of Architects of South Portugal, the inclusion of my cartoons in the Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the GSD, the mini-show within Jimenez Lai’s “Three Little Worlds” installation in the Architecture Foundation, MAS Context’s Analog Show in Chicago (again with Jimenez), or the “Klaus Korner” at the Building Comics exhibit in the 2013 Naples ComiCon. Next show, it seems, will take place in a city well known for its particular ‘effect’.

The most surprising aspect of all this is, however, its academic side-effect, which has taken me to speak to London, Barcelona (more here), or Naples, and to write articles for Clog, Conditions, Studio, MAS Context, to be interviewed for Volume (Jimenez, even once more, this time together with Brendan Cormier), and Mas Context   (there’s one more yet to be published) or even to work as a guest editor (happy 5th anniversary to you too, Iker). What a waste of time, those years spent on a PhD…

2013 marked my first ongoing collaboration with a magazine, the “Klaus’ Kube” section at Uncube (thanks, Jessica, Florian, Sophie), which will soon be joined by another one. Starting with the March 2014 issue, Mexican magazine Arquine will feature “Arquinoir”, where you will be able to behold -yet once more- my lack of ability in imitating André Franquin. There’s some more thrilling stuff bound to happen, but I’d rather not unveil it yet. Stay tuned.

So, thank you all for watching. See you here in 5 more years’ time.

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They’ve built schools like wedding cakes and are making a real-life gingerbread house with Grayson Perry. But the UK’s most playful practice is breaking up after 23 years. They have built a romanesque church out of sparkly blue sequins, a school that looks like a gothic wedding cake and turned the head of Hercules into a squishy seat. Now, in an unexpected twist, the mischievous London architecture practice FAT has announced it will be no more. Architects usually die, divorce, or go bust – so why the boyband-style break-up?

“We all feel we’ve completed what we set out to do,” says Sam Jacob, who has worked with fellow partners Sean Griffiths and Charles Holland for the last 23 years on everything from art installations to social housing, alongside a prolific volume of writing and teaching. “FAT was only ever intended to be a project, a way of taking a set of ideas out into the world,” he says. “We still can’t believe we’ve had so many opportunities to make buildings.” […]

The three partners have yet to announce their future plans, but will end their collaboration at the Venice Architecture Biennale next summer, where they are curating the British Pavilion with Dutch practice Crimson and writer Owen Hatherley.

“They remain open to offers for a lucrative reunion in 20 years’ time,” concludes the official press release. “We’ve got to go on a victory tour,” grins Jacob. “Bands used to take 30 years to reunite, but nowadays they’re back together in a couple of months, so who knows …”

— Oliver Wainwright: The end of FAT: architecture’s biggest pranksters call it quits – boyband style.” The Guardian, Tuesday 17 December 2013

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The original cartoon can be found as originally published in the “Klaus Kube” section of Uncube Magazine #18: Slovenia, edited by Sophie Lovell, Florian Heilmeyer, Jessica Bridger, Elvia Wilk et al. And yes, that is Foster’s “Cycling Utopia” (for God’s sake…) in the foreground.

A tip of the hat to Sam Jacob and the rest of FAT. I’m really sorry to see them disbanding, but I’m also looking forward to seeing what comes out of this in the future. Best of lucks!

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