Photographer Ritayan Mukherjee documents Kolkata's deteriorating historical mansions in the neighborhoods of Shovabazar, Bagbazar, and old Chitpur, once home to the Bengali economic and culture elite, and the stage for the city's intellectual renaissance of the 19th and early 20th century.
Design for the One Percent by Alex Cocotas [Jacobin Mag] Contemporary architecture is more interested in mega projects for elites than improving ordinary people’s lives. [more inside]
David Neat is a model maker and teacher. Of David Neat, Makezine says "This modest blog may be the Holy Grail of model-making sites."
Japanese YouTube user HMS2 creates meticulous handmade dollhouse miniatures: DIY Fake Food, DIY Dollhouse Items. There are also hundreds of kit-making videos, from food replicas to complete villages. Yes, there are Re-Ment unboxings! And oh yeah, he also built a ninja mansion for his hamster. h/t [Alert: Ninja mansion link has auto-hamster music.]
Buildings used to be designed less as big blocks and more as complex shapes, even shaped like letters, to minimize the distance to an exterior wall and maximize natural light and ventilation. In fact, in 1773, Johann David Steingruber (Google auto-translation) published Architectonisches Alphabet, or Architectural Alphabet (Archive.org), providing an alphabet (more or less) worth of floor plans. It's in German, so you'll probably skip ahead and start with A. Of course, you can still find plenty of letter-shaped buildings (and write geo-greetings), thanks to the ubiquity of aerial photography.
La Fábrica is a former Barcelona concrete factory that was partly torn down, converted into an architecture firm, with an adjoining private residence, and inspired a neighbouring block of flats.
The Evolution of the Petrol/Gas/Filling/Service Station Gas stations might be boring or even ugly places, but for the most part, you can’t avoid stopping by one on a long trip. However, they have been so many more beyond the basic design of columns, roof and shop over their history. The following 60+1 filling stations encompass almost a century of architectural progression, showcasing some of the best Art Deco, Bauhaus, futurist, brutalist, minimalist, modernist, Googie building designs of the motorist history. Enjoy the ride!
Hostile architecture, also known as defensive architecture, exists on a spectrum. At one end are the overt design features that are obvious to anyone walking by—like spikes and fences. At the other end, says Petty, are the design elements in which “the hostile function is often embedded under a socially palatable function.”
Quick: imagine a colorful San Francisco Victorian. The way it looks in your mind's eye probably has something to do with Buckter's decades of steady influence.
Misplaced.Design Eleven New York City landmarks have been misplaced, their current location unknown. Photographs of unclear origin appear to show them scattered across the globe – on sand dunes, mud flats, “lunar” plains, and rocky beaches. Nobody knows exactly what happened or why
Uncube has ended. A Berlin-based digital architecture magazine that began in 2012 has concluded with issue #43, Athens. Known for its unconventional reportage and groundbreaking design, monthly themes ran the gamut from the desert to Iceland to outer space to, well, death. [more inside]
Musicologist Mylène Pardoen has researched and recreated the ambient 18th-century sounds of Le Grand Châtelet quarter in Paris. Historians used artwork, surviving machinery and tools to record and bring together 70 different soundscapes, including a recreation of the Notre Dame water pump using an 18th-century water mill whose sound was adapted for the size of the Notre Dame pump. The pump in question brought up water from the Seine for Parisian consumption. [more inside]
Dating Historic Images A key to using clues in photos to narrow down the date of construction for historic vernacular architecture, from University of Vermont's Landscape Change digital image project. [more inside]
Groundbreaking visionary of contemporary spatial design, Dame Zaha Hadid has passed away. The British designer had a heart attack while in hospital in Miami, where she was being treated for bronchitis. One of the most sought-after architects in the world, Iraqi-born London-based Hadid was first woman to be awarded the prestigious RIBA gold medal in her own right, and the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize.
Atlas Obscura brings us a photo-essay of seven places in Europe where humans exhibit an adventurous spirit, ingenuity, and engineering chops.
Medina Wasl is a small, prototypical Iraqi desert town with a market, a mosque, and the occasional car bomb. It's just down the road from Ertabat Shar, a small, prototypical Afghan mountain town with a market, a mosque, and the occasional truck bomb. They are the simulated battlefields[main link] of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, in the Mojave desert. They offer tours. [more inside]
Photographer Mehrdad Rasoulifard is taking viewers on a visual journey through the history of ancient (and modern!) Iranian architecture and design. He captures the structural and artistic intricacies of iran’s most significant places of worship and cultural complexes, including the tessellated and tiled ceilings of historic mosques. [via designboom]
Architectures is a youtube playlist of 53 short (1/2 hour) architectural videos of buildings around the world, mainly Europe.
'The Story Behind The Most Creative Job Application We've Ever Seen' Étienne Duval is a thirty year old architect who wants to work with Bjarke Ingels at B.I.G. ... 'To catch a big fish you need a big hook! I began this application like an architectural project, by finding the key criteria and playing with it. A cover letter is an ego trip, so I thought about this hip hop video clips and told myself "why wouldn't I do the same?" A short interview with Etienne Duval at ArchDaily
Though prefab houses have started to increase in popularity, the concept is certainly not a new one. Sears & Roebuck, through it's Modern Home program, sold mail order homes for over thirty years at the start of the 20th century. And though Sears was the most popular home seller at this time, other companies such as Aladdin in Bay City, Michigan also made their mark. Central Michigan University has an online archive of these home catalogs for those curious. And these Flickr albums include not only Aladdin catalogs, but also Sears Home catalogs and many others for your perusal. Finally, if you think that you might live in a Sears home or you've seen one in your neighborhood, here are a few tips for successfully spotting them (Previous Prefab Posts).
Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin has been documenting the Los Angeles urban landscape for over a decade. His latest project, The Los Angeles Recordings, examines the physical structure of neighborhoods and how they are molded and reconfigured by outside elements (demographics, gentrification, the passage of time.) “The Los Angeles Recordings is a project I’ve been working on in some way, shape, or form for over a decade. Very soon after getting into photography, I recognized the medium as a way I could show others the city as I viewed it. LA’s people, landscape, and topography exist in a state of constant change that is, in my opinion, rarely portrayed from street level." [h/t] [more inside]
Megalithic Robotics is a recent class at MIT that resulted in a very interesting object: a 2000-pound megalith that can be moved with a fingertip.
A 3D printed habitat for four Mars explorers from Clouds Architecture Office. Awarded first place in NASA's Centennial Challenge Mars Habitat Competition.
Dear Architects: Sound Matters. Put your headphones on. Why Architects Need to Use their Ears [more inside]
Modernist gingerbread houses | More | Ginger Bauhaus | Architectural 3-D ginger cookie | The history of using gingerbread at Christmas with recipes.
Eugene Tssui designed the “Fish House” – based on the tardigrade, a segmented marine microanimal – for his parents in Berkeley, California. But that’s not the only interesting thing about him. . . . [more inside]
The four-bedroom/nine-bath house at 631 Parra Grande Lane in Montecito has been sold. Built on ten acres in 1906, El Fureidis--originally called Gillespie Estate or Gillespie Palace--is one of five homes designed by American architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. If you're not familiar with El Fureidis and its long and dignified history, here's a tour, and a video of an infamous owner's wedding.
The Radical Sandcastles of Matt Kaliner, aka Sandcastle Matt: How To Build Sandcastles The Sandcastle Matt Way [more inside]
New York City's mail chutes are lovely, ingenious and almost entirely ignored. But what happens if mail gets stuck?
A journey through the architecture and urban landscape of Chicago – from industrial zones to Mid-Century suburbs and all points between. [more inside]
Atop the twin spires of the Andromeda and Milky Way Galaxies the eerie call-and-response of bagpipe players echoed across the valley. I watched four siblings race one another up to the top of the Multiverse's spire as their mother, standing at the base, tried to maneuver a cell phone around the fifth child strapped to her chest.-The Duke, the Landscape Architect and the World's Most Ambitious Attempt to Bring the Cosmos to Earth by Alina Simone is an article about the Crawick Multiverse in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and its designer, landscape architect Charles Jencks. The garden is designed to represent modern cosmological theories.
Rudimentary stepwells first appeared in India between the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D., born of necessity in a capricious climate zone bone-dry for much of the year followed by torrential monsoon rains for many weeks. It was essential to guarantee a year-round water-supply for drinking, bathing, irrigation and washing, particularly in the arid states of Gujarat (where they’re called vavs) and Rajasthan (where they’re baoli, baori, or bawdi) where the water table could be inconveniently buried ten-stories or more underground. Over the centuries, stepwell construction evolved so that by the 11th century they were astoundingly complex feats of engineering, architecture, and art.
Something you seldom think about: A fascinating imgur set of The Governor's Mansions of the United States, sorted alphabetically. [more inside]
"The tension, the promise, and the peril of the exoskeleton: It is great for some, but in the gusto for technological solutions, for stories that “inspire” and for devices that pull people into the “normal” world, people can lose sight of a future that could be much better. " Rose Eveleth at The Atlantic writes about exoskeletons and other forms of assistive technology for people with disabilities, the life-changing things they can do, and the possibility that they are blinding us to other ways to look at disability, accessibility, and infrastructure. This is part of Remaking the Bodies, a series on how science and technology are re-engineering the human body.
Paul Madonna (previously on MeFi) and his wife have been evicted from the home and workspace in which they've lived for ten years. In response, Paul is drawing and writing All Over Coffee: The Eviction Series about his life in San Francisco right now.
The last remaining Inca rope bridge is the Q'eswachaka, spanning the Apurimac River in Peru. Even though there is a modern bridge nearby, the residents of the region keep the ancient tradition and skills alive by renewing the bridge annually, in June. Several family groups have each prepared a number of grass-ropes to be formed into cables at the site, others prepare mats for decking, and the reconstruction is a communal effort. In 2009 the government recognized the bridge and its maintenance as part of the cultural heritage of Peru.
We will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed. So wrote Ada Louise Huxtable in a NY Times editorial condemning the destruction of Penn Station. The outrage was a major catalyst for the architectural preservation movement in the United States. In 1965, the New York Landmarks Law was passed, which helped save the iconic Grand Central Terminal and more than 30,000 other buildings from similar fates.
The National Building Museum in Washington DC is hosting an interactive installation by the design collaborative Snarkitecture: THE BEACH [more inside]
A pristine time capsule from 1962. Stunning pictures and video from this classic terminal, designed by famed Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. [via] [more inside]
He was a prophet without imprimatur in his own city. Charles Correa, who passed away late on the night of 16 June, was among the great architects of our times. His institutional buildings across the world are all iconic. Yet, Mumbai, his lifelong home, boasts just one* residential tower designed by him – an irony as much as a travesty. Though the cubist Kanchanjunga is eye-catching, it’s still high-rise: a genre caustically savaged by this patron saint of low-slung architecture.[more inside]
The Golden Ratio or the Golden Mean is touted as universal principle of mathematics, aesthetics, and architecture. Its natural occurrences are often associated with beauty and health. But naysayers think the Golden Ratio is myth or even a scam. Golden ratio previously and previouslier.
In 1914 Le Corbusier designed, but never built, an open-plan slab concrete house he caled Dom-Ino, combining domus and innovation. One was built to match the plans at the Vienna Biennial in 2014, but you can see the dom-ino philosophy in the skeletons of buildings all over: The Radical Le Corbusier Design That Shaped Italy [more inside]