Etch-a-Desert. In the Peruvian desert, you will find artist Rodrigo Derteano’s robot scraping away at the dirt to create massive drawings. In an interview with Derteano, We Make Money Not Art explained, “Guided by its sensors, the robot quietly traced the founding lines of a new city that looks like a collage of existing cities from Latin America.” The drawing was completed over the course of five days, most of which the robot spent tracing alone. Have a closer look at the video above. (via BldgBlog.)
The future is dead. National Geographic reported that the most recent algae bloom in Qingdao, China has clogged 7,700 square miles of the Yellow Sea. The insurgence of green goop, however, has not stopped children and families from taking a dip while at the beach, but as the algae dies and decomposes, a dead zone and fish kill is expected as oxygen is depleted from the water.
Off to Jupiter. NASA sent three little LEGO figurines atop space probe Juno to visit Jupiter. Each LEGO person models a particular character: Galileo Galilei, the Roman god Jupiter, and the Roman goddess Juno. The figurines are made of aluminum and are expected to reach Jupiter by July of 2016. More at Design Boom.
Resources at RISD. The Rhode Island School of Design just opened its Materials Library, a long-term student project focusing on design process and material interaction, according to Core77. It’s hoped that designers will find a deeper appreciation of material through the tactile experience of holding them in their hands.
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Custom canopy scores big at Kansas City’s new soccer stadium.
Kansas City’s Livestrong Sporting Park opened in June as the city’s first soccer-centric stadium and the new home of the Sporting Kansas City, the soccer team formerly known as the Kansas City Wizards. To make the arena both athlete- and fan-friendly, architect Populous envisioned a soaring roof canopy designed to evoke the arc of a soccer ball flying across the field. The team considered building the canopy with ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) pillows, but desired a look more in line with glass panels. The weight of glass would have significantly increased the amount of steel substructure, in turn raising the canopy’s price. Working with Michigan-based architectural canopy design, engineering, and fabrication company Duo-Gard, the team began instead to develop a high-performance polycarbonate glazing system that minimized weight and maximized light transmission onto the field.
Amidst the flurry of activity surrounding the World Trade Center another monument is nearing completion, though this one is not exactly brand new. By the end of this week restorers of the Montgomery Monument at Trinity’s St. Paul’s Chapel will be securing the last arrow tip and guttae to the nation’s first monument.
City Farming. Last week, the New York City Council amended the city’s building code to allow for rooftop farming and greenhouses: now, rooftop greenhouses will not be considered an additional story. The bill also requires prisons to purchase locally grown food and calls for the city to maintain a record of spaces suitable for farming, Inhabitat said.
Mobile Equity. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights argued in a recent report titled “Where We Need to Go: A Civil Rights Roadmap for Transportation Equity” that mobility must be a civil right. Recent studies indicate that low-income areas and the elderly lack adequate access to mass transportation, particularly in rural areas. With abut 80% of federal transportation funding marked for highways, mass transit is under-funded reported Wired.
Home Slim Home. While Japan is famous for its narrow residences, the world’s thinnest house will soon lie in Warsaw, Poland, says ArchDaily. Designed by Centrala, The Kennet House is 122 cm to 72 cm at is narrowest part and will serve as the residence and workplace for writer Etgar Keret.
Perfect Pyramids. In a Wired post, a physics professor at Southeastern Louisiana University examined the construction of pyramids—how tall can pyramids be, and what is the best angle? Through mathematical formulas, he mused that 140 meters is the most efficient height.
Since Avatar’s release in 2009 architects have coveted the lush vegetation of the habitable moon Pandora for their own digital models, and today their calls have been answered. Interactive Data Visualization, the South Carolina-based developer of SpeedTree Cinema and SpeedTree for Games—used to create Avatar’s abundant flora as well as landscaping in your kids’ favorite video games—has released a new architect-friendly format.
After a protracted land use review with vitriolic community meetings that disquieted even battle-hardened presenters, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved plans by the Rudin development family and North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical to renovate the St. Vincent’s O’Toole building in Manhattan’s West Village. As of Tuesday, the former Maritime Union headquarters is set to become a comprehensive health care facility with emergency services.
At 7am on August 1, Genevieve White headed to work. Dressed like any personal trainer—zip-up track jacket, shorts, cross-trainers—she made her way down Wall Street. But White didn’t have an appointment to stand over a high-powered exec doing crunches. Bypassing the monumental entry of the neighborhood Equinox gym, she stationed herself on the sidewalk near William Street, stripped off her clothes, leaving on only her shoes and mirrored aviator sunglasses, and began doing jumping jacks.
Store in Print. Aesop director Dennis Paphitis and Brooklyn architect Jeremy Barbour of Tacklebox stacked 1,800 copies of the New York Times for the new Aesop skin care kiosk in Grand Central Station. While perhaps not our preferred choice for newsprint here at the paper, the gray pages create a rich texture on which to displayed beauty products. More at Co.Design.
Shipping Shop. London hopes to claim the world’s first pop-up shopping center made of shipping containers, to be designed by British firm Waugh Thistleton. Renderings of BoxPark revealed on Treehugger show the site-manufactured boxes stacked and outfitted with reusable materials.
Bagging a House. At the Studi Aperti Arts Festival in Ameno, Italy, design studios Ghigos Ideas and LOGh presented their architectural response to the seemingly endless supply of plastic bags. With help from students at Milan Polytechnic, the architects transformed an unfinished building with a wing made entirely of grocery bags. More at We Heart.
Green Talk. DesignIntelligence released their 2011 “Green & Sustainable Design Survey,” claiming that despite innovation in sustainable building, green construction is not yet mainstream practice. DI editor James Camor said sustainability and LEED is on the table, but maintained architects have not recognized the initiative’s urgency. More at The Dirt.
In an extended period of belt-tightening, it is often the arts sector that grapples with some of the harder aspects of fund-raising. With heavy competition from other non-profits clamoring for support from the city’s enlightened wealthy, institutions must be creative and resourceful to attract new and more generous donors. For the Municipal Art Society (MAS), this dedicated support has come in the form of Robert W. Wilson.
A veteran MAS donor, a philanthropist, and a former Wall Street hedge fund manager, Wilson has committed $600,000 over the next three years to match new or increased gifts of $1,000 or more on a one-for-two dollar basis. Effective August 1st, the aim is to help MAS strengthen and sustain its base of unrestricted support, which puts control of distribution into the hands of MAS rather than a targeted program.