Treehouse of Worship. Everyone loves a treehouse, especially one that dates from 1696 (built in a tree that’s over 800 years old, no less). Boing Boing uncovered the chapel in Allouville-Bellefosse, France dedicated to the Virgin Mary that was built in the hollowed out trunk caused by a lightning strike.
Talking Tanks. Who can forget the Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania who, fed up with cars parked in the bike lane, crushed the offending vehicles with a tank. Classic. Transportation Nation couldn’t get enough of the car-crushing crusader, either, and has posted an interview where the mayor warns that tanks may return to the streets of Vilnius.
Frank Llego Wright. Will we ever tire of LEGOs? I hope not. LEGO has already immortalized Wright’s Fallingwater and his Guggenheim Museum in tiny plastic bricks, but Building Design just reported that the Prairie-style Robie House in Chicago is also available for architects and aspirants to assemble and adore.
Baking Buildings. Some of the most beautiful historic (and modern, too!) buildings feature terra cotta facades, but whether they’re ornate or sleek, we seldom have a chance to peek behind the scenes to see how the clay cladding is made. Buffalo Rising took a visit to a local terra cotta factory to check out what’s involved.
It’s a printed airplane! The printed aircraft has arrived. Researchers in the UK created the first 3D-printed electric-powered airplane. Core77 explained that 3D printing was originally developed for the US Navy (to eliminate excess parts) making repairing damage easier.
Red light, green light. For Mayor Bloomberg, safety is paramount. He even believes there should be red light cameras at every New York City intersection. At a recent conference, he cited economic reasons: the city cannot afford to have cops on every corner. Check out the Mayor’s comments at Transportation Nation.
Bharadvaja’s Twist. A hybrid architecture firm and yoda studio called Arte New York is… stretching… their space in the garment district, adding an additional 15,000 square feet according to Crain’s. The firm’s new space will include a wellness center for the community.
The labyrinth. Beginning September 12th, the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France will present Wander, Labyrinthine Variations, an exhibit exploring the development of labyrinths through a variety of mediums including architecture, art, film, maps, as well as archeological findings. More at e-flux.
A High Line education. A $75 million for-profit school called Avenues will open next year at the High Line, reported the NY Times. Funded by private equity firms, the school is slated to move into a converted ten-story, 215,000-square-foot historic Chelsea warehouse in September of 2012.
Cyclopedia. Finally, we have a well-curated, refreshing book celebrating vintage bicycle design. Publishers Thames & Hudson recently released Cyclopedia: A Tour of Iconic Bicycle Designs that explores 90 years of classic and racing bicycle history through bright, crisp photographs and an uncluttered layout. More info at Cyclodelic.
Plaza politics. Beginning September 7th, Cheonggyecheon Plaza in Seoul, South Korea will host an installation titled Itjanayo (You Know…) featuring the work of Soo-in Yang. The project is comprised of a mirrored cube on the outside and a recording studio and viewing room on the inside allowing visitors to record their opinions to be replayed for others.
“Throughout history, a plaza has been a place for airing statements of opinion, historical statements are limited by time and forgetfulness, but the statements inside Itjanayo are recorded and replayed for others to hear. Others who subsequently enter the box can add responses to the earlier statements as though they were adding online comments”, wrote e-flux.
Saving the ranch. Ranch houses, those one-story dwellings once popular in the suburbs following World War II, are now turning fifty years old, making them eligible for preservation. While some deride the houses for their plain style, preservationist Richard Cloues argues that they must be saved as an important markers of U.S. housing development in the mid-twentieth century. More at the WS Journal.
Digital Clay. Last week at the SIGGRAPH technology conference, a prototype input device called “Recompose” made its debut. TechNewsDaily says that this “marriage of a keyboard and a 3-D tiled surface could be the future of computer interfaces.” Developed by the MIT Media Lab, Recompose will give users the ability to “sculpt” data.
LED Lettuce. The Dutch have amped up hydroponic agriculture with the use of LEDs, notes Good magazine. Scientists in the Netherlands have found that using the red and blue versions of the lights maximizes the effects of sunlight and minimizes dehydration. A bonus result? Greenhouses with rave-like ambiance.
Flat out Platonic. Core 77 alerted us to the thought-provoking carpet designs of Luís Porém, which are based on deconstructed Plato’s beloved polyhedrons.
Biker Rights. A group of NYC lawyers ride to the aid of cyclists disputing NYPD tickets for bell, helmet, and lane violations, reports The New York Times. The law firm of Rankin & Taylor is preparing a class action suit against the city on behalf of bikers.
Mapping Visage. Canadian artist Ingrid Dabringer has attracted attention for her unique map paintings, finding countenances in irregular land masses. The artist explained that she draws inspiration from large-scale topography and lines on detailed maps. Dabringer believes that maps hold meaning and by adding her own touches, she seeks a more personal interpretation within a traditional tool. More at Core77.
In Situ Study. Recently on Building Design, third-year architecture student Jonathan Brown posed the following question, “Do architecture students today focus too heavily on design theory and practice and consequently, neglect construction skills that cannot be taught in a classroom?” Not alone in his query, the latest RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) “Part of the Picture” campaign permits graduates to credit three months of on-site experience toward their education.
Now and then. Technology and the internet have transformed the way we preserve and promote history, particularly our photographs. Trendcentral highlighted three exciting websites: Historypin, where users can upload historic photos and search geo-tagged photos by time, period, and address; Dear Photograph posts reader-submitted photographs of historic photos in context; and the Flickr group, Looking into the Past, includes a diverse range of historic-current photo collages.
Troubled Bridge over Water. Conservationists and architects have rejected the Venetian superintendent’s call to replace the historic Ponte del Accademia with a glass and steel substitute, reported Building Design. Although architects Schiavina of Bologna have incorporated an Istrian stone version of the iconic bridge’s gentle arch in their design, prominent art critic Francesco Bonami has dubbed the plans a “bad crash.” Plans remain on hold while the city seeks funding for the €6 million design.
Table of Tables. It’s a meta periodic table of tables…or a chemistry lessons for design connoisseurs. Curbed posted the tongue-in-cheek infographic above: gone are helium, hydrogen, and silver; now we have coffee tables, pool tables, and nightstands.
Athletic Alphabet. An ambitious Spanish graphic designer, Joan Pons Moll, has created a new typeface—with his feet. Living on the island of Menorca, with its curving, windy streets, Moll uses Run Keeper, to map his letter-shaped routes. More at the NY Times.
Grand Apple. Apple’s next stop is Grand Central. Slated to open in the balcony space once home to restaurant Metrazur, Apple will forgoe its traditional glass cube designs in favor of an open plan overlooking the main concourse. New renderings posted by Gothamist show a minimal layout filled with high-tech toys.
Trumping Georgia.Donald Trump will develop the two tallest towers in Georgia (the country, not the state), according to the NY Times. The Don’s firm won’t be directly involved with construction; instead, Silk Road Group will manage the projects. John Fotiadas Architect is designing the master plan for the residential tower slated for the Georgian city of Batumi.
Pop-Up Forgiveness. With Spain in the midst of an austerity plan, the NY Times reported that Madrid and the Catholic Church have spent $72 million for festivities centered around the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, which has drawn criticism from many in the city. Among the improvements lavished upon Madrid are 200 pop-up confessional booths in Retiro Park. Perhaps city leaders doling out funds will be among those in line at the booths.
Reminder! Tomorrow, Wednesday August 17th, the International Center of Photography will hold a panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945. The discussion will feature authors Erin Barnett, Adam Harrison Levy, and Greg Mitchell who will speak about the exhibition’s compelling photographs of post-bomb Hiroshima along with a discussion of censorship and documentation of the the attack.
Fresh Jobs. Data from a USDA report released last week indicated that farmers markets are on the rise in the United States. The report counted 7,175 markets, a 17 percent increase since last year. States with the largest growth were Colorado, Alaska, and Texas, representing a robust local and regional food system. Grist and GOOD broke down the report.
Where’s the Map? Transportation Nation asks, Where’s the Amtrak map at Penn Station? It seems as though travelers are missing out on the opportunity to visually place their train journeys. As journalist Mark Ovenden said,“maps are part of the journey, and we shouldn’t forget that.” You can ask for a paper fold-out version, which pales in comparison as its streaking red lines give little real indication of the train’s path.
Aban-dam-ment. Atlas Obscura posted several images of the abandoned 1906 Pinawa Dam in Manitoba, Canada on the Winnipeg River. After its decommission in the 1950s, the dam was later used for military training. Quite literally bombed out, the dam stands as a scarred relic and reminder of the once highly functional hydro-electric generating station.
Campus Tour. Architectural Digest compiled a list of top colleges with the best architecture, spotlighting both old and new including UVA’s World Heritage-listed campus, Harvard and Yale’s 18th century history mixed with modern architecture, and Frank Llyod Wright’s presence at Florida Southern College.
International Green. International landscape designers Gillespies developed three “rooftop sanctuaries” that take their visitors around the world. With inspiration drawn from Indonesian, Japanese, and Moroccan traditional gardens, the result was “a series of posh but welcoming spaces ranging from the intimate and serene to the open and flourishing.” Inhabitat has a virtual tour.
Moshe’s Fall. Architect Moshe Safdie is expecting to open four projects to the public in the next few months. ArtDaily profiled of each of them, including the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City (September 16), United States Institute of Peace, Washington (Fall 2011), Khalsa Heritage Centre, Anandpur Sahib, India (Fall 2011), and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (November 11).
Prairie Hotel. After a 2-year, $18 million renovation, Frank Lloyd Wright’s last standing hotel has reopened in Mason City, Iowa. The Historic Park Inn Hotel is a premier example of the Wright’s Prairie style, and features deep hanging eaves and a terra-cotta façade. A massive art-glass skylight drenches the lobby in multi-colored light. More at ArtInfo.
Library of Glass. Although Philip Johnson’s Glass House library is transparent, Birch Books Conservation will soon offer the public a view the architect’s library without a trip to New Canaan. The non-profit publisher hopes “to preserve the professional libraries of artists, architects, authors, and important public figures through publishing photographic and written research,” with an inside look at Johnson’s personal collection, reported Unbeige.
Mapping Poverty and Rebellion. The Guardian opened up the recent London riots for debate. Journalist Matt Stiles mapped the newspaper’s accumulated data of riot hot spots on a plan of London’s neighborhoods. Deep red stands for the British capital’s poorest regions, while blue represents the wealthiest communities.
Metro In-The-Middle. The long-awaited Culver City Expo Line station was delayed by a disagreement between Culver City and construction authorities. Now, the two parties have agreed to the $7 million budget increase, which will fund a pedestrian plaza, bike lanes, parking facilities and pavement improvements. More at Curbed LA.
Rollin’ on the River. After seventy years, the Los Angeles River is now open to use by residents and visitors. The LA Times reported that the EPA has designated the river a navigable waterway, and a pilot program, Paddle the Los Angeles, launched this Monday. Visitors can now tour the waterway by kayak or canoe on weekends.
Unplugged Plugin. The new Sanya Skypump electric vehicle charging station is off the grid; it uses a combination of wind and solar energy, says Engadget. It is also a streetlamp, providing safe, green, parking illumination.
Urbanized Ablaze. Among of the casualties of the London Riots are the cousins of the upcoming documentary, Urbanized. According to the project’s blog, looters broke into a Sony distribution warehouse containing 20,000 DVDs of the Helvetica and Objectified films, took what they could and burned the rest. Many other independent films were also lost in the blaze.
Suburban dreams. The 2000 Census indicated that young Americans ages 25 to 34 were fleeing the suburbs and moving to cities, but polemic writer Joel Kotkin argued in Forbes that new census data analyzed by Wendell Cox points to a reversed trend. He said the demographic is returning the suburbs as they grow older and have kids.
Money McQueen. The Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which closed this past Sunday at midnight, was the Met’s 8th most popular exhibit of all time. Over its three-month showing, 661,508 people visited. Jezebel estimated the Met netted a minimum revenue of $14,603,862.
Bachelorette Pad. This fall, Barbie is finally becoming an architect—and getting a new house—built with the latest sustainable materials. Mattel teamed up with AIA to host a competition to design Barbie’s new home and Ting Li and Maja Parklar’s design for the Malibu Beach House took the top prize. Their design features a green roof, solar panels, bamboo flooring, and low VOC paints. More at Inhabitat.
Cheating on the Test. In a major blow for public safety, the New York Post reported that American Standard Testing and Consulting Labs—the company responsible for testing the safety and strength of concrete in projects like LaGuardia Airport, the Lincoln Tunnel, and Yankee Stadium—faked concrete test results. DOB inspectors have begun conducting spot checks and the buildings were found safe.
Transit Geography. Using Google Maps, Mapnificent illustrates how far public transportation users can go in a specified amount. While only available in major global cities, the maps allow users to calculate transportation times at two intersecting areas, highlighting possible travel distances. Now we can figure out exactly how far public transportation takes us in a New York minute.
Hanging in There. Nasa’s Hangar One at Moffet Field in San Francisco—built in 1933 for the USS Macon Navy airship—was once the largest freestanding structure in the world, but funding to renovate the massive facility have fallen through according to Gizmodo. NASA is in the process of pursuing alternative reuse options for the historic modern landmark.
Solar-Powered Fun. New York City’s first solar merry-go-round just opened at the South Street Seaport, offering free rides to kids through September 7th. GE’s Carousolar is powered by 100 solar panels made of ultra thin semiconductors able to withstand extreme humidity and UV ray exposure. The green fun isn’t just for kids—GE also provided solar-powered cell phone charging stations for adults around the carousel, reported Inhabitat.
Sun-Filled Fasting. According to Dubai’s top cleric Mohammed al-Qubaisi, residents of the Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest skyscraper, will have to wait a few extra minutes to break their fast during Ramadan. Muslims living above the tower’s 80th floor should fast two additional minutes after dusk while those above the 150th floor wait an additional three minutes, The Guardian reported. Al-Qubaisi explained that just like early Muslims living in the mountains, the residents of the highest floors must adjust their fast due to the extended visibility of sunlight.
#ThingsNotToDoOnPublicTransportation. Public Transportation is trending on Twitter and the end result is a humorous user guide to transit etiquette. Transportation Nation rounded up some of their family-friendly favorites.
LEGO Gate. While not yet officially announced, European blogs have been abuzz that the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin will be the next in LEGO’s Architecture line of miniature real buildings. Unbeige revealed the series’ designer Adam Reed Tucker developed the Brandenburg model, representing the 2nd building outside of the US (the first was SOM’s Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai).