Historically, archaeologists have largely ignored acoustical science as a tool for archaeological discovery. This is changing with the advent of acoustic archaeology. “Could the Maya have intentionally coded the sound of their sacred bird into the pyramid architecture? I think it is possible.” Hear it for yourself in this video. While this is a pretty astounding feat of architectural engineering, it’s by no means the only example of archaeoacoustics that can be found at Chichen Itza, amongst the mayan people, or throughout the many other cultures who’ve built structures that integrate unique auditory phenomenon to stimulate the senses. [previously]/[previously] [more inside]
This series of experiments explores the use fresh animal blood as the basis for a building material.
No one expected the force of the tempest that hit the New York Public Library in late 2011—not its new president, Anthony Marx, and maybe not even the literary lions up in arms over plans for an ambitious, $300 million renovation. Will the “palace of culture” on Fifth Avenue become a glorified Starbucks, as some fear? Interviewing all sides, Paul Goldberger walks the controversy back to its flash point: the nature of the library’s 21st-century mission and the values at the center of the Norman Foster–designed project. - Paul Goldberger, Firestorm on Fifth Avenue
CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER: The thing that strikes me about your friend's building -- if I understood you correctly -- is that somehow in some intentional way it is not harmonious. That is, Moneo intentionally wants to produce an effect of disharmony. Maybe even of incongruity.A debate — old, but still relevant — between architects Christopher Alexander (whose new book The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth depicts the struggle between his worldview and Eisenman's at length) and Peter Eisenman (who here discusses his frustrations with liberals and the avant-garde).
PETER EISENMAN: That is correct.
CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER: I find that incomprehensible. I find it very irresponsible. I find it nutty. I feel sorry for the man. I also feel incredibly angry because he is fucking up the world.
“I’m not interested in living in a fantasy world. All my work is still meant to evoke real architectural spaces. But what interests me is what the world would be like if we were free of conventional limits. Maybe I can show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules.” Lebbeus Woods, a brilliant, visionary architect, has passed away. [more inside]
If you are Rackspace, then your corporate headquarters are located inside a dead shopping mall in a suburb of San Antonio. (SLNYT)
Here’re some photographs of outstanding structures & buildings:
The Salk Institute in San Diego
400 Monte Vista Avenue, Mill Valley CA
Light Cathedral, Ghent Belgium
The Buzludzha monument ... [more inside]
The Salk Institute in San Diego
400 Monte Vista Avenue, Mill Valley CA
Light Cathedral, Ghent Belgium
The Buzludzha monument ... [more inside]
A 280-page history of Athens (en) with a focus on architecture and planning. 1930s buildings of Athens photothread with multiple pages (selection). Athens Highrises (en). Ambelokipi. Piraeus and more Piraeus. Bits and bobs. The Athens forum.
Sometimes walls, windows, door and a roof just isn't enough. Why be boxed in by four walls when you can make your home or business look just like your favorite critter? Here's a collection of animal-shaped buildings from around the world, including the trailblazing Lucy the Elephant whose creator got a patent in the 1880s giving him exclusive rights to make animal-shaped buildings up until the turn of the century. [more inside]
The SCI-Arc Media Archive features 600+ video lectures on modern architecture and design, with an emphasis on Southern California.
'At 123,000 square feet, the new Main Library may very well be the largest single floor public library in the nation.'
The McAllen, TX Public Library won a 'Best-Of-Category' award in Interior Design for its new layout. It's in an abandoned Wal-Mart. [more inside]
The World's most beautiful McDonalds may very well be located in Budapest, Hungary. With vaulted, coffered ceilings wrought-iron scrollwork and modern chairs, it's a lovely place to order a cheeseburger. [more inside]
Fantastic Norway has announced details of their New Utøya project, ‘a strategy for re-establishing a political camp on the island of Utøya. "Our ambition has been to reflect and reinforce values such as commitment, solidarity, diversity and democracy, both through form and function. In short we have done this by establishing a small village with small streets, belfry and a town square on the very top of the island. The village consists of many small units that together ad up to a bigger community: A symbol of unity and diversity." say the project leaders, Erlend Blakstad Haffner and Håkon Matre Aasarød, who won the Iakov Chernikov International Prize in 2010. The 22 July Fund of the Worker's Youth League raised $68 million to build the memorial to the 69 victims of Anders Behring Breivik's attack on the island. Via Things Magazine.
Master Builder Uncovers Striking Similarities In Indian and Incan / Mayan Sacred Structures:- It is Sthapati's theory that Mayan, the creator of Indian architecture, originated from the Mayan people of Central America. In Indian history, Mayan appears several times, most significantly as the author of Mayamatam, "Concept of Mayan" which is a Vastu Shastra, a text on art, architecture and town planning. The traditional date for this work is 8,000bce. Mayan appears in the Ramayana (2000bce) and again in the Mahabharata (1400bce) - in the latter he designs a magnificent palace for the Pandava brothers. Mayan is also mentioned in Silappathikaram, an ancient Tamil scripture, and is author of Surya Siddhanta, one of the most ancient Hindu treatises on astronomy. (Original ca. 1995) [more inside]
One of the city's first high rises, Philadelphia's Lorraine Apartments were designed by flamboyant architect Willis G. Hale in 1892. In 1948, the building was sold to Father Divine, leader of the International Peace Mission Movement and became The Divine Lorraine Hotel. [more inside]
Computer modeling, along with new materials, has done wonders for contemporary architecture, allowing practitioners to render seemingly organic shapes from inert materials. Mimicking biological shapes could soon cross a threshold: behold Shahira Hammad's proposal for the Westbahnhof train station. Again, before and after.
WIRED has been running a fascinating series: Olympic Physics: Can Runners Benefit From Drafting?, Scoring the Decathlon, New [Swimming] Platform Is No Chip Off The Old Block [more inside]
"Peter Aaslestad is both a free-lance photographer and an internationally recognized historic preservation consultant specializing in the use of architectural photogrammetry to document existing buildings." [more inside]
English churches can be very picturesque. People have very strong opinions about their favorites. They can be colorfully decorated with painted walls,(previously) or filled with strange animals carvings! There is a complex architectural terminology devoted to the details of their construction. [more inside]
Since 2009, a thread on the Skyscraper Page forums has been dedicated to trawling for old photos and stories of Los Angeles, mostly from the LA Public Library and USC Archives. Thousands of posts have accumulated into a fascinating portrait of the city. [more inside]
A wall with large buttons that trigger voices, mellotron-style; An Indonesian gamelan xylophone orchestra played with a arcade game-like control panel; A leslie speaker that amplifies whatever a stethoscope touches. These are just a few of the instruments built into a unique New Orleans musical architecture installation called Dithyrambalina, or simply, The Music Box. [more inside]
Driving down the street in LA, you may notice coffee shops, gas stations or motels with bright primary colors, sweeping lines, bold angles and a retrofuture feel: Googie - Architecture of the Space Age [more inside]
5 Pillars of the Abandoned World is a tour through lost landscapes and shrugged off citadels. From the Gothic, Disney villainness ominousness of Miranda Castle to the distant splendor (photo by Cédric Mayence) of the abandoned Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Don't feel left out, North Americans: the US has plenty of holy, holey structures to sweep you off your feet. Fan favorite for urbane decrepitude, Detroit has lots to see. The St. Agnes Catholic Church is the place to be for the religiously inclined ramshackle rambler. Need a place to put up your feet? The Book-Cadillac offers a cozy spot to spread out your tour guide and relax. When you're ready to move on, just head over to Michigan Central Station and hop on the last train to forever. The world's an awfully big stage. There's a lot to take in, but don't worry about a thing. Just enjoy the show. There's no hurry; what's already gone isn't going anywhere. [more inside]
Factum Arte in Madrid has made an animation film based on Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Carceri d'Invenzione prints; and have also built many of his pieces which shows the workings of his imagination, merging his architectural ambitions with his obsessive interest in antiquity. Giovanni Battista Piranesi was a source of inspiration for, among others, Goya, Poe, Escher, Max Ernst, De Chirico. [more inside]
Legendary architect-philosopher Christopher Alexander delivers a fascinating lecture at Berkeley, in which he criticizes "modular" design and offers a radical new vision of architecture's relation to nature. Alexander is best known for A Pattern Language, which aimed to make buildings and towns more "alive" through a series of pleasing and comfortable patterns (five sample patterns can be found here). His most recent work, the four-part The Nature of Order, theorizes that life, whether organic or inorganic, emerges from a single simple process, which can be found on page 4 of Amazon's preview of the third volume. In the first volume Alexander lists fifteen properties that make a structure whole. Also worth reading: Alexander's classic essay A City is not a Tree.
Ten gorgeous buildings made out of books. More views of some of them: Scanner — Book igloo — Tower of Babel — Cadiff/Miller — Argument (with other book structures). Want to build your own? Order books by the yard from various outlets, some quite pricy, others more affordable: BookDecor, Half Price Books Outlet.
In many parts of the world, the dream of owning a large house is being turned on its head #occupythesmallestpossiblespace
Buckminster Fuller's prototype Dymaxion House now resides in the Henry Ford Museum. A checkup under the floorboards revealed extensive cracking in the aluminum support beams underneath. The repair process granted a sneak peek into Fuller's remarkable design.
""Each bathtub was carved in Italy from a single block of Carrara Marble. Three bathtubs were shipped from Genoa, Italy in July, 1859 and reached Baltimore in November of that year. The other three were shipped from Leghorn, Italy in September of 1859, and arrived in New York in January of 1860. The precise dates of the bathtubs' arrival and installation at the Capitol are uncertain, but the Senate Bathing Room is known to have been in operation as of February 23rd, 1860."Roman Mars's 99% Invisible design podcast [previously] explores the once-luxurious Senate bathtubs hidden among the boiler rooms in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. [more inside]
The handcolored garden and architectural slides of Frances Benjamin Johnston. The Library of Congress has digitized their collection of lantern slides from Frances Benjamin Johnston, one of the first prominent female photographers in America, and a master of the landscape print.
Sounds from a Room is a series of live music performances streamed once a month from A Room for London, a boat installed on a London rooftop. [more inside]
The Nakagin Capsule Tower (slyt) is a prime example of the uniquely Japanese architecture known as "Metabolism", as well as the main inspiration for Tokyo's famous Capsule Hotels. The most unique feature of this building style is the interchangeability of the individual units, supposedly to allow it to adapt to changes in density and lifestyle (although that plan hasn't exactly panned out). Local residents are calling for the tower to be demolished, although a group of architects are trying to preserve it as an architectural landmark [more inside]
About 2 miles into the park... things start to get strange. A forbidding padlocked wrought-iron gate, surrounded by a low lying stone wall sits nestled on the edge of the trail.... Strange rusted debris starts to appear on the side of the paths. What looks like an old water filtration system, broken pieces of farm equipment, half buried sinks, strange concrete slabs with graffiti . A lovely little steam appears and makes delightful background noises, lizards and birds scatter about your feet. And then you see it. A burned-out overgrown concrete building completely covered with graffiti. Cartoon of Hitler? Check. Declaration of undying teenage love? Check.... The bunker of the building is exposed and filled with trash; a metal cage sits menacingly in the corner, and outside a series of stone steps wind up to what seems to have once been a sustenance garden. The steps then continue all the way to the top of the canyon (3,000 steps in all) and ghosts of America Nazis patrolling the wilds fill your head. Baby, we aren't at the Grove anymore... We are at the Los Angeles Nazi Compound! Well, it's actually the ruins of a small community built by Nazi sympathizers, in the hills outside of greater Los Angeles. [more inside]
Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, is brash and grandiose—and wildly attractive to young strivers seeking success. [more inside]
Double helix stairs allow for performers on one stair and audience on the other, letting the two intertwine but never come into direct contact as the stairs wind up the tower. An eight-story structure built on the grounds of Oliver Ranch in Sonoma, designed by Anne Hamilton. [more inside]
With the growing popularity of backyard chickens, some people are raising the art of the coop to a new level.
In 1956 a 12-year-old Jim Berger exchanged letters with Frank Lloyd Wright. The result was a Wright designed doghouse.
Apparently Moby has started a blog about architecture in Los Angeles.
Freedman Home For The Elderly in the Bronx had an unusual purpose at its outset in the 1920s: to house retirees who used to be wealthy but had lost their money. Now it is mostly empty. ScoutingNY.com went inside and took pictures. The abandoned upper floors are especially creepy. [found via curbed]
Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Collection provides visitors with the opportunity to view a virtual reconstruction of Walpole's extensive collections--everything from armor to wall hangings--housed in his custom-built Gothic villa, Strawberry Hill. (For video tours and discussions of its ornamentation, ongoing restoration &c., check out the Strawberry Hill Youtube Channel.) Objects can be viewed according to maker, type, or room; there's also a virtual tour, based on contemporary paintings and sketches. For more about Walpole, plus links to e-texts of his fiction (most famously, the pioneering Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto), visit The Literary Gothic.
According to the National Building Museum's new exhibit on unbuilt DC, there have been lots of proposed pyramids on the National Mall that were never built, including memorials for Washington and Lincoln. Also, a proposed National Sofa. [more inside]