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Seeing.Thinking.Drawing

Francis Ching is professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Washington who keeps a blog of his city-focused sketches. Discussion varies from thinking about construction and layout to materials and focus when drawing scenes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 23, 2013 - 11 comments

Acid and Architecture

How Kiyoshi Izumi Built the Psych Ward of the Future by Dropping Acid.
posted by homunculus on Jul 18, 2013 - 5 comments

Forensic Topology

Forensic Topology. "In his 2003 memoir Where The Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World, co-authored with Gordon Dillow, retired Special Agent William J. Rehder briefly suggests that the design of a city itself leads to and even instigates certain crimes—in Los Angeles’s case, bank robberies. Rehder points out that this sprawling metropolis of freeways and its innumerable nondescript banks is, in a sense, a bank robber’s paradise. Crime, we could say, is just another way to use the city."
posted by homunculus on Jul 13, 2013 - 14 comments

Architects, Ethics, and Prison Design

The American Institute of Architects’ Code of Ethics [pdf] states that “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors." Raphael Sperry, president of Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), wants to amend the code further so it reads "Members shall not design spaces intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement." From Architect Magazine: “Should Architects Design Prisons?” [more inside]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl on Jul 11, 2013 - 42 comments

Keret House: Jakub Szczesny's Narrow House

"Polish architect Jakub Szczesny claims to have built the world's narrowest house, just 122 centimetres across at its widest point."
posted by The Deej on Jun 28, 2013 - 49 comments

Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes

Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes runs from 15 June - 23 September 2013 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. It is the museum's first comprehensive exhibition on Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887-1965), and is billed as "the largest exhibition ever produced in New York of [his] protean and influential oeuvre"; in 2014 it will travel to Madrid and Barcelona. Exhibition curator Jean-Louis Cohen, an architectural historian at New York University, gave a tour of the exhibition as part of the "Le Corbusier/New York" symposium at the Center for Architecture on June 8. World-Architects was in attendance, so here we present some insight into the exhibition, accompanied by highlights from the symposium at right.

posted by infini on Jun 26, 2013 - 17 comments

Burgess Meredith sold separately

Building conversions can be a tricky business, but it's especially so when there is a fifty ton steel vault built into the structure. So what can you do with that old bank? Well, restaurants are popular. So are nightclubs and bars. Really big banks seem to be a natural for a hotel conversion (here's one in progress). And if all that sounds too fancy, well, how about a Walgreens? [more inside]
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 22, 2013 - 52 comments

Ruint

The Accumulation Of Ruin Space
In Between The Ruins On The Edge Of The Salton Sea (Salton Sea, previously)
Inhabiting Construction [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 11, 2013 - 7 comments

Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China

One of the most striking features about daily life in China is how much of what one encounters has been appropriated from elsewhere. It’s not just the fake iPhones or luxury watches . . . . Above all are the physical spaces. . . . New architecture, when it is notable, is nearly always by foreigners or copying foreign styles, a tendency that has led Western architects to flood into China, often with second-rate projects for sale. . . . These are not just individual buildings but entire streetscapes, with cobblestone alleys, faux churches (often used as concert halls), towers, and landscaping designed to reproduce the feel of European and North American cities. The city of Huizhou features a replica of the Austrian village of Hallstatt; while Hangzhou, a city famous for its own waterfront culture, now includes a “Venice Water Town” that has Italian-style buildings, canals, and gondolas. Other cities in China now feature Dutch colonial-style townhouses, German row houses, and Spanish-style developments.
Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China from the NYRB blog.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jun 9, 2013 - 12 comments

"We turn'd o'er many books together."

The avant-garde art of book stacking in stores of Japan.
posted by Fizz on Jun 9, 2013 - 22 comments

Jadu Ghar: The house of magic in the heart of Calcutta

Established in 1814 by founding curator, the Danish botanist Nathanial Wallich at the premises of The Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum of Calcutta* is the oldest museum in Asia and the 9th oldest in the world. Referred to as a "museum of museums", considered outdated and obsolete, its Victorian Era majesty dimmed by modernization, the grande dame of Indian history still manages evoke paeans to its otherworldly wonders:
With collections to rival the Smithsonian and the British Museums, it isn't just a storehouse of countless artifacts from the world over. The building seems to be a tiny world, an island in the midst of a busy street. The tall gates with their spikes are the doorways to different recorded ages. All those entering through the high steps are travelers in a time machine. But this is not all that Kolkata's Jadughar or "House of Magic" has to offer. Its jadu lies in the magic with which it houses portions of man's past. The high ceilings seem to stretch to infinity. Amid the silence there is vibrant life. Showcasing essential elements of different cultures, the dark, often dank, interiors show up the objects more sharply. Gradually the eyes grow used to the absence of light; the smell seems natural. It is this ambience that gently draws you in and makes the textbook history we are used to, a tangible living reality.
It remains a wonderful time-warp with plenty of mangy-looking stuffed animals, fish and birds, together with fossils so beloved of Victorian collectors, as well as fascinating Indian friezes, bas-reliefs and stone carvings and art.
posted by infini on Jun 7, 2013 - 5 comments

Then I realized there was one thing I could do and that was to love him.

"My name is Chris Murray, and I'm an artist and I'm very talented... And I’m a dairy stocker at the Edge of the Woods organic grocery store in New Haven, Connecticut." [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jun 1, 2013 - 18 comments

a permanent representation of a different time and a different ideology

Paolo Soleri Is The True Legend Of The Arizona Architecture Scene. print version. Soleri passed away last month at the age of 93. He is best known for the arcology, Arcosanti, in the Arizona desert. Remembering Life in Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri’s Futuristic Desert Utopia [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 31, 2013 - 11 comments

Cross View Color Chronicle

Only a lucky few MeFites have the ability to view vaudevillian, commercial actor, inventor, and photographer George Mann's gorgeous vintage Kodachrome survey of Los Angeles coffee shops in 3-D as he intended.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 24, 2013 - 21 comments

I had never seen a hole playing for Temple.

Structural Archaeology
Geoff Carter's radical view of building in the ancient world, especially the archaeology of the lost timber built environment of Southern England. It is new research into of prehistory of architecture
With the ultimate conclusion that Stonehenge is the remains of a roofed shelter. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on May 19, 2013 - 76 comments

The 10 Buildings That Changed America - And Architecture

Ten Buildings premiers today on PBS. Web-exclusive video [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 12, 2013 - 42 comments

Not fade away

abandonedography.com is a seemingly-endless photo collection of abandoned places and things. Explore random sites, check out the favorites, see everything at once in the archive, or submit your own.
posted by Room 641-A on May 11, 2013 - 19 comments

Endbahnhof, bitte aussteigen Sie!

Endbahnhof, a collection of photographs of every U-Bahn station in Berlin, organised by line and showing the variety of architectural styles in the system. There is an interview with the photographer, Kate Seabrook, here.
posted by acb on Apr 28, 2013 - 10 comments

“free as air and water”

For the first time in over a century, Cooper Union announces that it will begin to charge undergraduate students tuition.
posted by Whitall Tatum on Apr 23, 2013 - 71 comments

Think Apple Store meets Colonial Williamsburg

240 year-old Menokin House was home to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The Menokin Foundation would like to restore it, but all that's left these days are two broken walls and a pair of crumbling chimneys. Even the head of the foundation admits, "Virginia needs another house museum like it needs a hole in the head." So how to honor the home's owner colonial statesman Francis Lightfoot Lee while still trying to present something novel and worth seeing? The Foundation's answer: rebuild the structure, just as it was, but replacing all of its missing components with structural glass.
posted by DirtyOldTown on Apr 18, 2013 - 14 comments

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Unless you have a camera, of course, in which case there are some amazing shots.
posted by Athanassiel on Apr 17, 2013 - 15 comments

“Shopping is so ritualised that we walk around like zombies,”

Sian Jarvis, the supermarket’s head of corporate affairs, had undermined her claims to care about the health of her customers and let slip one of the secrets of a multi-billion-pound industry ... she revealed that one in three Asda checkouts “are what we call guilt-free checkouts”. Jarvis insisted “guilt-free” was merely “a term that’s commonly used in retail”. But it was too late, and her “guilt” gaffe quickly invited scorn in the industry and among public health professionals. Whatever the damage, she had already opened a door to the arcane science of supermarket psychology. To the designers of the modern store, shoppers are lab rats with trolleys, guided through a maze of aisles by the promise of rewards they never knew they sought The Secrets Of Our Supermarkets
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 10, 2013 - 238 comments

In every dream home a heartache

The clean lines, the geometric decorative elements, the seamless blending of indoor and outdoor space… I sure do love mid-century modern architecture.

Do you know what I love more? My children. And that is why I will never live in my MCM dream home. Because mid-century modern architecture is designed to KILL YOUR CHILDREN. (Also, moderately clumsy or drunk adults).
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 7, 2013 - 167 comments

Louis Kahn: the brick whisperer

"Inspired by ruins, DNA and primary geometry, Louis Kahn was one of the 20th century's most influential architects. Why isn't he more famous? Oliver Wainwright on the life and legacy of a man who died bankrupt" ~ The Guardian
posted by infini on Apr 1, 2013 - 17 comments

Eye candy, if you insist on calling it that

The 10 Most Overlooked Women in Architecture History (PHOTOS)
posted by infini on Mar 29, 2013 - 16 comments

Can we please stop drawing trees on top of skyscrapers?

Want to make a skyscraper look trendy and sustainable? Put a tree on it. Or better yet, dozens. However, "There are plenty of scientific reasons why skyscrapers don’t—and probably won’t—have trees, at least not to the heights which many architects propose. Life sucks up there. For you, for me, for trees, and just about everything else except peregrine falcons." [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Mar 26, 2013 - 65 comments

For squares only

Folks who love and/or hate modernist architecture: the functionmag tumblr might be fun. Via things.
posted by mediareport on Mar 24, 2013 - 17 comments

From Ruins to Birth

A couple of years ago developers of Johnathan Blow's upcoming video game "The Witness" tapped landscape architect David Fletcher (Fletcher Studio) and architect Deanna VanBuren (FORUM Design Studio) "to help synthesize what was, at the time, a remote, anonymous island setting without much context . . . Witness required the landscape architects to reverse engineer a site from ruins to birth." (Previously)
posted by IvoShandor on Mar 21, 2013 - 15 comments

Mailboxes - The Fife Collection of Western U.S. Vernacular Architecture

A collection of pictures of mailboxes in the western US - part of the Fife Collection of Western U.S. Vernacular Architecture, which also includes quilts, murals, tree bark graffiti, fences, gravestones, and festivals, and other examples of folklife and material culture visually recorded by folklorists Austin and Alta Fife. [more inside]
posted by carter on Mar 14, 2013 - 3 comments

If you really love the mall, now you can live there!

Shopping mall reused as micro-apartments. [more inside]
posted by Joh on Mar 11, 2013 - 87 comments

Everybody Puts Baby In The Corner

" Initially it was thought to be something to house firewood, though it didn’t seem capable of holding much, and the slat that sits perpendicular to the box on the inside wall made little sense. It took observers a while to realize that this contraption was a device for holding children—a “baby tender.”" (via)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 5, 2013 - 56 comments

Detailed Floor Plan Drawings of Popular TV and Film Homes

For your enjoyment: detailed floor plan drawings of popular TV and film homes.
posted by reenum on Mar 3, 2013 - 40 comments

"An outstanding example of a firetrap"

As the NYT reported in 1948: The ceiling of the East Room, elaborately done in the frescoes of fruits and reclining women and weighing seventy pounds to the square foot, was found to be sagging six inches on Oct. 26, and now is being held in place by scaffolding and supports.... But it took the $50,000 survey authorized by Congress to disclose the fact that the marble grand staircase is in imminent danger. Supporting bricks, bought second hand in 1880, are disintegrating. So in 1950 a renovation began: this is what the White House looks like completely gutted. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 28, 2013 - 38 comments

Cairobserver

Cairobserver is the start of a conversation about Cairo’s architecture and building, urban fabric and city life. A well curated blog about Cairo featuring both Arabic and English essays. [more inside]
posted by Corduroy on Feb 17, 2013 - 2 comments

Architectural Piracy?

How good is Zaha Hadid's new building? So good it's already being copied. And the copy may be finished before the original. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 15, 2013 - 33 comments

Origa(s)mic Architecture

On the one hand we have kirigami, the slightly more dangerous variation of origami that involves razor-sharp instruments (think snowflakes). On the other hand we have architecture. Now put your hands together... [more inside]
posted by heyho on Feb 13, 2013 - 12 comments

Lost Vanguard: The remains of Soviet Modernist architecture

Photographer Richard Pare spent from 1992 to 2007 documenting the modernist architecture that flourished in the newly-formed Soviet Union. Many of the building are now underused, decayed, or demolished. Here is an interview. Here are some reviews of a 2007 show at MOMA and the current exhibit at Chicago's Graham Foundation, which ends on the 22nd. Previously.
posted by hydrophonic on Feb 12, 2013 - 3 comments

An Architect Gone Mad

Mysterious Buildings Assembled from Found Photographs by Jim Kazanjian. More here. [via]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 5, 2013 - 28 comments

An affected, narcissistic creep, but he’s also a genius.

Batman vs. Koolhaas. Critic Martin Filler reveals the true villain of DC's Batman: Death by Design.
posted by xowie on Feb 5, 2013 - 8 comments

Not so much theater as outdoor village, complete with night sky.

A lot of once great [New York movie] theaters have been gutted and repurposed, most often into churches, pharmacies and gyms," writes The NYC Scout in today's installment of Scouting New York. "I’ve stopped in quite a few hoping to find the rare gem that’s survived, but have only been disappointed time and again." Scouting New York has been featured in the blue many times ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 ), but this entry is (literally, at least in my case) jaw-dropping. Just keep scrolling down. [more inside]
posted by Mothlight on Jan 28, 2013 - 47 comments

Pallets

What do you do with all those empty lots that are left after major earthquakes? Gap Filler fills them with temporary community structures like the Pallet Pavillion. [more inside]
posted by aniola on Jan 28, 2013 - 14 comments

All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most important architects of the 20th century. He is known for buildings such as Fallingwater, the Guggenheim museum, and the Darwin D. Martin House. One of Wright’s most fascinating houses is Taliesin, his second home. Wright built the home in Spring Green, Wisconsin upon ancestral land given to him by his mother. Wright had fled his home in Oak Park, Illinois after abandoning his family and running off with the with the wife of a client. The Wisconsin home was built as a getaway for Wright and his mistress, but ultimately was the scene of her brutal murder. Wright did not abandon the building, but turned it into a place where young architects could study under the master. In 1937 he created a second home and school at Taliesin West. Fascinating documentary on Wright. Previously
posted by holmesian on Jan 21, 2013 - 37 comments

The many songs of Bertrand Goldberg, architect, artist, visionary.

Bertrand Goldberg is widely known as the architect who builds round buildings, but little is known about his innovative theories of space and his utopian ideas that have generated these sculptural forms. His work speaks with a vocabulary that is still unfamiliar to some and unappreciated by many. Goldberg’s often repeated statement, "for the first time in the history of the world we can build whatever we can think," seems to have been the beacon guiding his career. While many projects have been fully realized, some others have been only partially implemented, but all have grown out of Goldberg’s unique philosophical, aesthetic, and technological thinking.
From the preface to the Oral History of Bertrand Goldberg [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 11, 2013 - 14 comments

Aalto Barragan Calatrava

The ABC of Architects. A bouncy animation of 26 well-known buildings.
posted by painquale on Jan 8, 2013 - 5 comments

Cities and the Soul

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 30, 2012 - 26 comments

The Apple of Discord

The Manzana de la Discordia is a block in Barcelona's Eixample district on Passeig de Gracia, between d'Arago and Consell de Cent. It is home to four buildings of the Modernisme style by four very different architects: (some pages in Spanish or Catalan) [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 29, 2012 - 7 comments

THE EXPIATORY CHURCH OF THE HOLY FAMILY

The Church of La Sagrada Familia is perhaps the most famous under-construction Catholic church in the world. Started in 1882 under the direction of Francisco de Paula del Villar, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi took over construction in 1883, after which it became his life's work. La Sagrada Familia was dedicated in 2010, after the installation of the roof, and is scheduled to be complete in 2028 Let's look around: [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 24, 2012 - 27 comments

The Gentlemen's Club

Tweedland has some interesting stories and characters. Here's two to get you started:
Robert de Montesquiou - "Tall, black-haired, rouged, Kaiser-moustached, he cackled and screamed in weird attitudes, giggling in high soprano, hiding his little black teeth behind an exquisitely gloved hand – the poseur absolute. He was said to have slept with Sarah Bernhardt and vomited for a week afterwards."

Lord Berners - "As a child, having heard that if you throw a dog into water it will learn how to swim, he threw his mother's canine companion out of the window on the grounds that if one applies the same logic it should learn how to fly. (The dog was unharmed, and he was "thrashed" by his mother.)"

posted by unliteral on Dec 13, 2012 - 7 comments

The Brutality of Experience

Brutal Baroque: An Ode To Midcentury Modern Churches: French photographer Fabrice Fouillet traveled across Europe photographing some of the most important examples of postwar churches, creating a catalogue of the spaces called Corpus Christi. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Dec 13, 2012 - 18 comments

A tale of two shipping containers

A tale of two shipping containers in photos.
posted by heatherann on Dec 9, 2012 - 97 comments

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