Posts Tagged ‘military’

The largest clear-span wooden building in the world – Tillamook Air Museum

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

137  Just the sheer size of this hanger is incredible to behold. Tillamook Air Museum

The largest clear-span wooden building in the world, constructed entirely without glue wood, was built as a U.S. military air station hangar. It is now the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon. More info here and Wikipedia.

It’s nice to see communities saving these old military hangars. It is a tragedy that Vancouver lost its 5 vintage military hangars at Jericho Beach in Vancouver in the late 1970s. They were beautiful. I heard about the Tillamook hangar from Vancouver architect Mark Osburn who was, incidentally, responsible for the interior refurbishment of one of the Jericho hangars for UN Habitat 1976.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about wooden skyscrapers and large wooden buildings, as if it’s a new thing. The architecture of this hangar is an unsung feat far preceding these newer, much-hyped ideas.

There are different criteria for ranking wooden buildings by size; as noted above the Tillamook hangar is the largest clear-span wooden building. It is not the tallest, and it may not be largest when measured by square footage of usable floor space.

Other large buildings, based on various criteria:
Tōdai-ji in Nara, Japan
Metropol Parasol palace in Sevilla, Spain  (freestanding structure, not enclosed building)
Sutyagin House, Russia – largest wooden single family house, built by Russian gangster
Wooden skyscrapers are planned for Austria and Norway and more recently one has been proposed by Vancouver’s Michael Green. And of course there was the Wood Innovation and Design Centre to be built in Prince George, British Columbia, meant to be the tallest wood building the world, but so far unbuilt due to monies promised by the BC gov’t but not budgeted for or delivered.

Photos by hobbitcamera and Laurentiu Cristofor on Flickr and Mark Osburn.

Oregon military hangar

139 During WWII at Tillamook Air base Tillamook, Or

135 Tillamook Air Museum in Tillamook, Oregon

Hangar B interior view facing South

Hangar B West wall

128 Large hangars would hold blimps at Tillamook Air base during WWII

PS re: Miltary Guild of Rural Tailors & Liam Maher

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Young Meagher shirt

The Militant Guild of Rural Tailors, a mysterious outfit we recently stumbled across online, seemed to be a cross between an elaborate imaginary historical narrative and a men’s fashion line. After writing about it we were totally delighted to actually hear from Liam Maher, founder of the MGRT, who cracked us up by admitting to “the irresponsible and arcane content related to my Young Meagher project and the Guild of Rural Tailors” and confirming what we’d guessed – the Rural Tailors is an elaborate fictional framework inside which he was able to create extremely well-made clothes while also meditating on the history of military and civilian traditions of tailoring as well as criticizing the waste and disposability inherent in the corporate fashion industry – “to provoke the industry on subjects that irritate me personally,” he says.

young meagher militant guild of rural tailors sign logo

Maher lives in Amsterdam where he currently works as Head of Design for D E N H A M, who recruited him on the basis of Rural Tailors which has appeared at New York Fashion Week and ISETAN in Japan. Denham’s blog now bears more than a passing resemblance to the Rural Tailors aesthetic.  There’s an interesting interview with Liam at the beautiful Digital Temple Magazine and other glimpses into the MGRT project here, here, and here.

young meagher militant guild of rural tailors jacket

We love these clothes for the obvious reason that they are beautifully made and made to last – even through a war, hence the military tailoring methods, always sturdier than civilian clothes. Buttons sewn on to woven tape, etc. The Rural Tailors’ Standards and Ethics (or click below to read it) also show a definite anti-trend, anti-logo stance:

• If the spirit of the maker is INSIDE the garment,
• Then the name of the maker is also INSIDE the garment
• The name of the wearer is NOT NEEDED if men will recognize his FACE
• So never is there ANY NAME on the OUTSIDE of a garment.

and they propose “Meritocracy over Aristocracy, Producers over Poseurs, Damnation over Dandyism, Artisanry over Automation, Manuality over Management, and Natural Sweep over Fretting & Flattery.” Yes, it’s about authenticity and purity, but in a good way.


Militant Guild of Rural Tailors – Young Meagher

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Rural Tailor Brass Knuckle Scissors 1

Young Meagher’s “Militant Guild of Rural Tailors” is apparently a fashion line that doubles as a faux-museological collection of objects and textiles purportedly belonging to a revolutionary worldwide underground cult of rural tailors reaching back into early 19th C history. You can lose several hours in this imaginary steampunkish realm. The combination of high-quality men’s tailoring and handmade fantasy props is very big in Japan (not joking), which seems to be MGRT’s largest market. “Audience” is maybe more appropriate than “market,” because even though the clothes are commodities, they also seem to be part of an artistic performance. The fact that the objects are presented as props and artifacts rather than as mere products seems to be a part of a rebellion against cheap meaninglessness of the commodity market and a hopeful alliance with quality and historical meaning, so that the company’s symbol—the hybrid of brass knuckle and scissors above—almost comes off as secret insignia rather than as a logo. As for the styles themselves, they seem to point to the American Civil War and more broadly to the 19th C in general, which seems to be a popular nostalgia at the moment and has ties to the eclectic antiquey references of steampunk. These photos are all from the Young Meagher website  (original site at is now defunct; it had a bleak, howling wind and antique train soundtrack) and their Flickr pool, which goes by the name Rural Tailor Research. Captions to photos below are from the Flickr pool. Thanks to B.C.M. for the tip.


youngmeagher militant guild of rural tailors

youngmeagher militant guild of rural tailors

youngmeagher militant guild of rural tailors

youngmeagher militant guild of rural tailors

Rural Tailor's Crown 1

Tailors Crown crafted from traditional scissor-parts taken from initiated tailors in exchange for the Brass Knuckle Guildsman’s Shears shown above and presented in clandestine annual ceremonies to bestow honor on the single guild member from across the international network thought to have most advanced the art of rural tailoring. The crown would be displayed in secret in the winner’s atelier for a year before it was then awarded to the next honoree (similar to the Stanley Cup).

Rural Tailor Applicant's Novice Mask 5

Rural Tailor Applicant's Novice Mask 3

Novice’s Veil Masks like this (and those below) were required to be worn by candidates seeking initiation in order to prevent nepotism influencing selection. Would-be guild tailors were referred to as “Fresh Faces” by the inner guild which refered to the practice adopted by candidate of decorating their masks in order to show a little bit more of the tailorwise dexterity during their application regimine. This reproduction and those below were created for GenArt during New York Fashion Week.

Rural Tailor Silk Hanger

Reproduction Silk Hanger garment hanger covered in silk re-used from vintage neck-ties used by guild members to display new designs for consideration during the ceremony described above. Hangers like this would be hung from scissors which had been “stabbed” into the wall of a guildhall to present garments by rural tailors competing for the Tailor’s Crown. Created by L. J. Maher (AKA Meagher)

Handsewn Lamb-Suede Angel Dressmaker Form Mannequin

Commisioned from by Barney’s New York for use in holiday windows. Hand-cut silkscreened words from Handle’s Messiah printed onto strips of lambs-suede and hand-stitched through a fiberglass form. Hand sewn ostrich feather wings with cowhide banding brass snap-clipped to copper wing armatures. Hand=hammered shoulder and neck cladding leading to antique violin peg-head finial.

Ha, finally! The 90s are the new 80s.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

NYT The Moment "90s are the new 80s"

That’s according to the New York Times, and since nostalgia seems to work in 20-year cycles, I guess anyone could have seen it coming. If, as the article says, the 90s were the sci fi thing and the Breeders, then excellent, but … what is that orange outfit! Do I not remember the 90s correctly? No matter what they were, though, anything is better than the 80s, the decade that just makes me go Reagan Thatcher Reagan Thatcher Reagan Thatcher Shoulderpads in a loop. I realize this view is unpopular. Sorry. From the NYT’s blog The Moment :

Show after show this week in London, the Y.B.D.’s were designing like it was 1995. Topshop’s Unique collection, in the hands of the stylist Katie Grand, mined the junkyard-rave aesthetic of the cult classic “Tank Girl” to mixed results. Charles Anastase’s “autobiographical” collection paid homage to the unsung icons of grunge — think the D.I.Y. style of Kelly and Kim Deal, of the alt-rock band the Breeders, and Rayanne Graff, the too-cool-for-school character played by A.J. Langer on the teen drama “My So-Called Life.” Chances are that only the hipsters who crash his shows will be savvy enough to appreciate this.

See also Aeon Flux and read this review on gawker.

Dazzle painting

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Dazzle painting on the Gloire

“Dazzle painting,” devised in Britain during WWI, was based on the theory that complex optical patterns would confuse enemy naval rangefinders by disguising a ship’s speed and direction. It employed a number of visual tricks including the painting of false bow waves on rear portions of the ship rather than the prow. There’s a fascinating explanation of how it was meant to work here. Interestingly, the concept was invented by an artist, a marine painter named Norman Wilkinson. When devising dazzle painting Wilkinson adapted some of the abstract, graphic style of constructivism and cubism even though he himself was a much more traditional painter (click below). Women artists from London’s Royal Academy of Arts dazzle-painted small scale models for optical studio testing before the design for each warship was finalized. It would be impossible to make this kind of stuff up, though perhaps it’s not surprising that historically it’s been standard practice for artists and designers to devise wartime camouflage. In the end the military effectiveness of dazzle painting was uncertain, but it did have the effect of being very good for ship’s morale, and it produced some surreal and beautiful ships. More photos in my Flickr set. See also the Tate Modern article on its camouflage exhibition, and more historical information here.

Dazzle painting, the Mahomet, WWI

dazzle painting, British navy

dazzle painting, British navy, WWI

Norman Wilkinson with dazzle painted ship model, in front of own painting

Norman Wilkinson

Billykirk shoulder bag

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

BillyKirk N0. 95 Shoulder Satchel

Why can’t more civilian bags be like this – free of bling, glitz, chacha, weird anatomical looking folds, pointless, slouchy, ruched wrinkledness, and dopey hardware? I don’t understand the bags being churned out by the big couture houses at the moment. So many of the bags I like are either military or close to military, probably because they’re beautiful by virtue of their pure functionality, simplicity and their complete lack of pointless, purely decorative features and general fussiness. This ridiculously beautiful bag is the No. 95 Shoulder Satchel by Billykirk and it’s a fairly faithful copy of a WWII Belgian military map case. It’s entirely handmade and the company casts its own white brass hardware.  This Billykirk bag is quite transcendent, too, and click below or here for an interesting interview with the designers.

BillyKirk N0. 95 Shoulder Satchel

BillyKirk N0. 95 Shoulder Satchel