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.
LA City Council is busy these days. Just one day after approving a downtown football stadium it voted today to approve the CRA/LA Continuation Ordinance, a move that will allow its city redevelopment agency to keep running. As part of the state’s so-called “Voluntary Alternative Redevelopment Program,” the city had to pay $97 million to the state this year, and will need to pay $26.5 million in future years. The program came as a result of state budget bills that would have simultaneously dissolved the state’s CRAs and given them a monetary out. According to Curbed LA, other cities that have opted in so far include Long Beach and Irvine. We’ll wait to see who else antes up.. Meanwhile the California Redevelopment Association’s lawsuit against the legislation is still pending.
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).