Mycotecture: Exploring the Potential Materiality of Mushrooms

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
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Mycotecture. (Courtesy of Phil Ross)

Mycotecture. (Courtesy of Phil Ross)

While the idea of living in a house made of mushrooms might conjure up visions from the Smurfs or one of a handful of whimsical houses across the country, artist/inventor turned mycologist Phil Ross is using mushrooms as the buildings blocks for a new construction material with some distinct advantages.

Ross has dedicated his career to the organism, recently discovering that its root-like network lying just underground is quite similar to concrete when dried, but actually stronger. The dried mycelium can be shaped into a brick, or almost any other form, and is fire, water and even mold resistant.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Enigmatic Egg-Shaped Cube at The Festival of Lively Architecture

Fabrikator
Friday, October 5, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator

A materially simple yet structurally complex pavilion welcomed visitors to an international architectural competition that took over Montpelier’s 16th-century French hotels.

For the seventh annual Festival des Architectures Vives, or the Festival of Lively Architecture, held this year in Montpelier, France, design studio Atelier Vecteur (AV) was asked to create a pavilion to welcome visitors to the city-wide outdoor installation competition. This year 11 international architecture teams were each assigned a courtyard in one of Montpelier’s many historic hotels. Dating back to the 16th-century, these quiet, private spaces act like refuges from the city streets. They also offered the competing teams a unique venue for their site-specific installations as well as a challenge to come up with the best use of the interior outdoor space. AV was assigned the 18th-century Hôtel Saint-Côme, a former center for medical study and practice funded by Louis XV’s surgeon, who used it until it closed in 1792 during the French Revolution.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Video> Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Awash in Psychedelic Light

International
Thursday, October 4, 2012
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Gaudi's Segrada Familia awash in psychedelic light. (Courtesy Moment Factory)

Gaudi’s Segrada Familia awash in psychedelic light. (Courtesy Moment Factory)

Residents of Barcelona had the opportunity to see Antoni Gaudi’s 120-year-old La Sagrada Familia in a new light recently as Montreal-based media studio and light artists Moment Factory projection mapped a multimedia display over the cathedral’s facade. While Gaudi’s signature stone carvings portraying dripping stone, fanciful plant forms, and intricate religious displays in their normally sand-colored hue are usually enough to dazzle the viewers eye, the gaudy splash provided one psychedelic experience.

Watch a video after the jump.

Video> The Sound and Light of Berlin’s Trees

International
Thursday, October 4, 2012
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(Courtesy BUND)

(Courtesy BUND)

Even as Berlin loses green space, the city remains Europe’s greenest with more than 400,000 trees. One of the grandest, a 100-year-old chestnut tree towering over Montbijoupark, was the center of Tree Concert, a public art project that took place in September to bring light, literally, to the city’s diminishing greenery with a glowing LED sculpture circling the trees trunk.

Continue reading after the jump.

Imaginary Doors in Paris

International, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
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Imaginary Doors. (Jonas LeClasse)

Imaginary Doors. (Jonas LeClasse)

Paris-based artist Jonas LeClasse’s Imaginary Doors (And the People Who Pass By Them) is as simple as it is beautiful. Amidst the continuous grit and grime of dirty, graffiti-filled urban walls in St. Dennis—a working-class Parisian suburb—LeClasse draws doors using chalk, provoking viewers to slow down and reflect. He then invites viewers to pause for a portrait with the “door.” Perhaps it is a gateway of sorts, a simple delineation of inside and outside, or the fact that the portrait always captures the subject within a double-frame (outside of the the door yet inside of the picture). In any case, LeClasse achieves poetry using subtle architectural gestures.

View a slideshow after the jump.

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Slideshow> A Promising Runner-Up for the Keelung Waterfront

International, West
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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Last week AN revealed Neil Denari’s winning scheme for the $140 million Keelung Harbor Service Project, a plan to redevelop the Taiwan city’s underexploited waterfront for arts, office, recreation, and industrial uses. Above and below is one of the impressive runners up, the scheme by  P-A-R (Platform for Architecture + Research) and Sériès et Sériès along with local architect Ricky Liu Associates. The project consisted of a cargo building, a 20-story office complex, and a three-story cruise ship terminal, all connected via a sloping, faceted landscape.

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Videos> Three Proposals for LA’s Sixth Street Viaduct Animated

West
Monday, October 1, 2012
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HNTB'S PROPOSAL FOR THE SIXTH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT IN LOS ANGELES. (Courtesy HNTB)

HNTB’S PROPOSAL FOR THE SIXTH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT IN LOS ANGELES. (Courtesy HNTB)

In September, AN reported on the three proposals to replace Los Angeles’ iconic but crumbling Sixth Street Viaduct by HNTB, AECOM, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The three teams have notably added pedestrian amenities and adjacent lush landscaping to the 3,500-foot-long cable-stayed span. While the renderings were compelling for each design, these video renderings fly the viewer in and around each proposal for a more detail view of what might soon be built in LA. Take a look.

Watch the videos after the jump.

Minnesota Taps HKS for New Vikings Stadium

Midwest
Monday, October 1, 2012
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An image from HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, submitted as part of its proposal for the new Vikings stadium contract. (Courtesy HKS Sports & Entertainment Group)

An image from HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, submitted as part of its proposal for the new Vikings stadium contract. (Courtesy HKS Sports & Entertainment Group)

Twin Cities sports fans may be most excited about Sunday’s victory on the field, but a twinge of that satisfaction could be due to the team’s new stadium. Minnesota’s Sports Facilities Authority chose HKS architects to design a new home for the NFL’s Vikings.

HKS also designed Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Cowboys Stadium in their home base of Dallas—two of the most high-profile NFL construction projects in recent memory. A decision on the lead contractor for the project has yet to come down, but news of the $975 million stadium’s designer is the latest announcement in a long and at-times contentious political process that subsidizes professional sports in Minneapolis.

Face-painted fans turned out to city council meetings as the deal cleared hurdles. With respected stadium architects on board, supporters may anticipate validation for their use of public funds. Those opposed maintain only time will tell, no matter the designer.

Pocket Parks Perking Up Los Angeles

West
Friday, September 28, 2012
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The new 49th Street Pocket Park in South Los Angeles. (Courtesy KPCC)

The new 49th Street Pocket Park in South Los Angeles. (Courtesy KPCC)

Little, leafy-green patches are sprouting up over Los Angeles as part of the city’s “50 Parks Initiative,” a public-private program designed to revive some of the city’s neediest, most densely populated communities. To date, there are actually 53 of these pocket parks planned, with one of the first parks, 49th Street Park in South Los Angeles, opening earlier this month. When completed, the small parks combined will cover a total of 170 acres, and many of the individual parks will be under an acre.

Not only are the parks small, but they will be somewhat self-sufficient. Requiring only four to six months to build, these micro-recreation areas will be decked out with “no mow” grass, drought tolerant plants, smart irrigation, and solar-powered, self-contained waste bins that can hold five times the average amount of trash. And to keep intruders out after hours, automatic time-lock gates and solar motion-activated cameras will be installed.

Continue reading after the jump.

Temporary Dwelling Units Offer ‘Shade & Shelter’ From the Sandstorm

Fabrikator
Friday, September 28, 2012
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator

An intelligent, temporary dwelling that automatically responds to weather

For his thesis project at Shenkar College of Design, located in Ramat Gan just outside Tel Aviv in Israel, industrial design student Ohad Lustgarten created a six foot-tall prototype of Shade & Shelter, a lightweight, low cost dwelling unit designed to provide protection from the elements. Though Lustgarten had desert environments in mind when he designed the unit’s flexible folding slats to shield against sandstorms, sun and cold, Shade & Shelter could work equally well for campers along a hiking trail. Read More

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Unveiled> SANAA Meanders Through What Could Have Been a Subdivision

East
Thursday, September 27, 2012
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(Courtesy Sanaa and OLIN)

(Courtesy SANAA and OLIN)

Tokyo-based SANAA has unveiled its next U.S. project, a meandering structure called The River for the Grace Farms Foundation, a faith, arts, and social justice non-profit in New Canaan, CT. Situated on one acre of the 75-acre Grace Farms, the building is defined by its flowing roof that hovers ten feet above the landscape on slender metal posts. Interior spaces are formed by increasing the building’s width and enclosing spaces in floor-to-ceiling glass, creating a seamless transition between interior spaces and a landscape designed by Philadelphia-based OLIN.

COntinue reading after the jump.

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Welcome to Staten Eye-Land: World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel to Anchor New Waterfront Development

East
Thursday, September 27, 2012
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The planned New York Wheel development includes the world's tallest Ferris wheel. (Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office)

The planned New York Wheel development includes the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. (Courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office)

Today, thousands of tourists and New Yorkers make a loop on the Staten Island Ferry between the borough and Manhattan, but as soon as 2016, they will also be able to make a vertical loop on the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, anchoring a new mixed-use project on the North Shore waterfront in St. George. Mayor Bloomberg today unveiled plans for Harbor Commons, which includes 350,000 square feet of retail space for 100 outlet mall stores, a 200-room, 120,000 square foot hotel, and a massive green-roofed parking structure, but all eyes were on the project’s neighbor; the 625-foot-tall New York Wheel will offer stunning views of New York City and its Harbor to an estimated 4.5 million people per year.

COntinue reading after the jump.

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