Is This All There Is To Modern Design?
Although Design Within Reach
is a commercial website, it's well put together, with interesting features
that provide biographies
and a a potted history of modern furniture design. However, like the plethora of coffee-table books on the subject, the uncomfortable (!) feeling remains that it crystalizes the accepted and the historical - the so-called modern classics
- rather than engage with what is truly contemporary. This is, after all, highly traditional
modernism and post-modernism. And it's rife
. Where is the avant-garde? Is there one on view to ordinary mortals? You end up feeling that the truly new designs - this century's, after all - are being swept under the carpet, awaiting some boring committee process of consensus and approval.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Sep 29, 2003 -
"Buildings of Disaster
are miniature replicas of famous structures where some tragic or terrible events happened to take place. The images of burning or exploded buildings make a different, populist history of architecture, one based on emotional involvement rather than scholarly appreciation."
posted by MrMoonPie
on Aug 11, 2003 -
(Farsi) or barjeels
(Arabic) are windcatchers
that work as low-tech air conditioners. The city of Yazd, Iran
is probably best known for them. Badgirs are built so that they can be opened to catch the wind from different directions, the air is then cooled as it travels down the tower, and in turn cools the rooms below. When there is no wind, air in the tower is heated and rises, which draws cooler air from the courtyard into the house. (There is no URL to link to for the search result for “badgir” on Encyclopaedia Iranica
, but I recommend checking out their definition and diagrams even though you’ll have to go through three different PDF pages.) Badgirs have been around in some form “since the New Kingdom (1500- 300 BC) in Egypt”, but global warming might make them ineffective.(scroll down to #16-#18)
Variations, such as malqafs
, can be found from Egypt
. You can get a modern one
for your own house. You can win an award
shaped like one for advancements in sustainable development.
Or you could just stay in the Fairmont Dubai Hotel which is shaped like a huge badgir
. So even after all this, I still don't know what those sticks sticking out of the sides are for.
posted by lobakgo
on Jul 10, 2003 -
The Vertically Inclined Photographer:
Shooting Paris, Rome, the French Riviera and the Loire Valley from a low-flying plane is Patrick Durand's
photographic obsession. It's an interesting flat
alternative to Horst Hamann's
[click on "Gallery" and go to "New Verticals"
] tall vertical New York
. There's something very exciting about looking at familiar sights from an unfamiliar point of view. [Both sites very, perhaps too Flash.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Jul 4, 2003 -
Images of medieval architecture.
A great site put together by Alison Stones, Professor of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. There are two large gazetteers, one for Britain
, and one for France
. Besides photos, there are many plans, sketches and elevation drawings, which help to give an idea of the sheer scale of gothic cathedrals such as the cathedral of Saint-Étienne at Bourges
(scroll down for the human figures at the bottom).
posted by carter
on Jun 29, 2003 -
Greek Temple Architecture
: They were houses--houses for cult statues, storehouses of treasures given to the gods--they were not churches. Worship consisted, by and large, of sacrificial ritual
: killing animals and eating them
, for the most part--and, hence, it was done out of doors. The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook's Accounts of Hellenic Religious Beliefs
and Accounts of Personal Religion
give additional flavor and context. Greek religious architecture evolved from wooden structures
and was tradition bound--they built in stone as they had in wood according to variations on a traditional canon called the orders
, first and foremost, the Doric Order
, the Ionic Order
and the Corinthian Order
. Here are some restorations
. I love restorations, on paper or models rather than at the actual sites. The first in a series.
posted by y2karl
on Jun 19, 2003 -
(Geocities) ... is the compulsion, upon seeing a long crane boom reaching skyward in the distance, to drive over and see what's holding it up.
The crane capital of the world is Germany, where Demag, Gottwald, Krupp, Liebherr and others make some cranes with eye-opening numbers: more than 60 feet long, with 10 axles, and able to lift 1,000 tons.
Now sometimes cranes tip over
, touch power lines and so on; and there's a website for that too.
posted by kurumi
on Jun 12, 2003 -
Libeskind's "wedge of light" WTC design isn't what you thought.
Specifically, if you thought that sunlight would shine down on the plaza at precisely the interval between the time the first tower was hit, and the time the last tower fell...no. That's not what Libeskind meant after all. Actually, there would be shadows, it turns out. From other buildings! So funny, so pathetic.
posted by luser
on May 1, 2003 -
A Love of Monsters: Gargoyles & Architectural Details in NYC.
'They crouch in the corners and lurk under windows. They curl around drainpipes and blend into doorways. They're so clever at hiding most folks won't see them at all. '
'But I know where the monsters live. I see them all the time. If your heart is understanding and your eyes remember wonder, then take a quiet stroll with me and see what you can find.'
posted by plep
on Mar 17, 2003 -
had been one of the most successful architects of the late nineteenth century, working at the forefront of early skyscraper design
. But by the turn of the century, his distinctive style had fallen out of fashion, and his major commissions dried up. Sullivan took jobs where he could find them, and between 1908 and 1919 designed small banks in eight midwest towns. Tiny yet elegant, they are sometimes referred to as his "jewel boxes
." See examples in Owatonna, Minnesota
; Grinnell, Iowa
; West Lafayette, Indiana
; Sidney, Ohio
; and Columbus, Wisconsin
posted by Aaaugh!
on Feb 16, 2003 -
Victorian Secrets of Washington, D.C.:
and thoughtful essays
documenting one man's fight to draw attention to D.C.'s neglected architectural heritage: "This site won't be much of a beauty pagent because we 'll concentrate on buildings that are vacant, abandoned, deteriorated, distressed, or just plain at risk because they are standing in the path of development . . . if even one Victorian finds an angel because of our page, we'll consider it a thousand percent return on investment."
posted by ryanshepard
on Feb 14, 2003 -
! What is it? Well, silly, it's a style of Gothic script, of course, used chiefly in the 14th and 15th centuries and so-called because it combines characteristics of the Gothic cursive style with the more formal "textura". Why do I know this? Because I've been surfing the mighty-wonderful Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus
posted by taz
on Feb 11, 2003 -
"Architecture is the only art that moulds the world directly ... Nobody in the 20th century grasped this more firmly than Speer's patron and employer, Adolf Hitler."
Albert Speer was the man
Hitler picked to mould his future empire, starting with its capital, Berlin
, that would have been rechristened Germania
In an ironic twist of fate, Albert Speer's son
, also named Albert Speer and also an architect, is currently in the running to radically rebuilt Beijing
posted by costas
on Feb 6, 2003 -
Future of Sky Scrapers?
Is this the future of sky scrapers, or are they now irrelevant with the current threats that are presented? Would you work in this building?
posted by npost
on Jan 29, 2003 -
Constance Adams, Space Architect
She designed the International Space Station's TransHab module
(a prototype for manned Mars missions), and says cool things about what the role of architecture is: "Architecture involves forming harmony around the human system, balancing culture, biology, planetary knowledge and technology in counterpoint to the unknowable." (via boingboing)
posted by vraxoin
on Jan 24, 2003 -
Gaudi's Grand Hotel
During his life, Barcelona’s “bauharoque” architect Antonin Gaudí
pioneered imaginative structures with Moorish spires and whimsy likened to Dr Seuss. (Counter to popular myth, however, the word “gaudy” is not among his legacy.)
Several of his works
broke his patrons’ budgets and remain unfinished. Now, Boston artist-architect Paul Laffoley
is attempting to revive Gaudi’s dramatic 1908 New York City concept
and give it a second chance
—at the WTC site for which it may originally have been commissioned. His thesis is both an intriguing history walk and a cloying, self-ingratiating, told-you-so piece.
posted by skyboy
on Jan 22, 2003 -
a fantastic Danish architect and designer known for his wild interiors
. “Most people spend their lives housing in dreary, grey-beige conformity, mortally afraid of using colours.” He definitely was not afraid
. Tak skal du have, Verner!
posted by snez
on Jan 13, 2003 -
Today at 1pm EST, the 7 proposed new plans
for redevelopment of the former World Trade Center site will be revealed. Currently, they're carrying the announcements of the new proposals (with architect descriptions of their projects) live on wnyc.org on the Brian Lehrer Show
posted by callicles
on Dec 18, 2002 -
Bomb Shelter Gets Makeover
Got an old bomb shelter sitting around? Wondering what to do with it? Why not turn it into a shopping mall?
Across China, more than 3,700 hotels and dormitories and 1,270 shops and restaurants have been created in former bomb shelters, according to an article in Beijing Youth Weekly last year. In Beijing, a youth hostel has been established in a bomb shelter below Wangfujing, the glitziest shopping street in the city. An estimated 20,000 workers are employed in businesses in former bomb shelters in Beijing alone.
posted by orange swan
on Nov 28, 2002 -
Does your bowling alley have an inexplicable Tiki motif? Does your neighbor's house vaguely resemble a flying saucer? Does your coffee shop suggest, architecturally, that the secrets of the atom are being exploited within? Well now, you can call it by name. Googie. Who knew?
posted by condour75
on Oct 31, 2002 -
City of London Churches
'The ‘Square Mile’ that constitutes The City of London is a world financial centre where 300,000 people work and nearly 500 foreign banks have an office. Less well known is that amongst the largely uninspired office blocks are hidden around 50 current or former churches and other places of worship, either complete, converted into offices, or in ruins. Once there were nearly 100 parish churches within the City boundaries but the Great Fire of London, the migration of residents to the suburbs, and Hitler’s bombs have done most to reduce that figure. Many of the surviving churches are, famously, Wren churches. After the Great Fire he had the unique opportunity of designing over 50 churches, and he gave full rein to his imagination ... '
A guide to 55 churches in London's financial district; best seen on a weekend, when the City is virtually deserted. Whilst the majority are Wren churches, there are some exceptions - St Bartholomew the Great
, which dates back to Norman times; the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue
, the oldest surviving synagogue in Great Britain; and the Dutch Church
, which was drawn by van Gogh
and important to the Huguenot community. Particularly worth a visit is St. Bride's
, the journalists' church; the design of the wedding cake is based on the shape of its spire.
posted by plep
on Oct 30, 2002 -