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"I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"

This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 4, 2011 - 31 comments

 

A Living Bridge

In northeast India, a giant cliff leads up into a hidden world: Lothlórien Meghalaya. Nearly two kilometers high and buffeted by monsoon storm clouds, this is possibly the wettest place on earth. Once, twenty-five meters of rain fell here in a year, the world record. Living here poses an unusual problem, and it's not just keeping dry. Nearly all the rain falls during the summer monsoon. Rivers switch from gentle streams to raging torrents. They become wild and unpredictable, and almost impossible to cross. Harley and his niece, Juliana, are busy cultivating a cunning solution. [more inside]
posted by troll on Nov 4, 2011 - 30 comments

Showcase of Creative Inspiration

We and the Color is a blog about creative inspiration in art, graphic design, illustration, photography, architecture, fashion, product, interior, video and motion design. Also on Flickr.
posted by netbros on Oct 28, 2011 - 1 comment

Futuristic Urban Mega-Structures

Futuristic Urban Mega-Structures
posted by Trurl on Oct 14, 2011 - 48 comments

A city of justice, a city of love, a city of peace

The Architecture of the Comic Book City
posted by Artw on Oct 14, 2011 - 28 comments

Sundrome No More

Known as The Sundrome , I.M. Pei's Terminal 6 at JFK Airport (b. 1970) has been slated for demolition.
posted by beisny on Oct 6, 2011 - 48 comments

Bridge of Signs

Most people know that Venice has long been threatened by chronic flooding, but in recent years the Queen of the Adriatic has faced a rising tide of a different sort: advertising. From the Doge's Palace to St. Mark's Square to the bittersweet Bridge of Sighs -- named for the grief its splendid views once inspired in crossing death row prisoners -- immense billboards lit late into the night now mar the city's most treasured places. Allegedly built to cover the cost of restoration work in the face of government cutbacks, the ads have brought in around $600,000 per year since 2008 -- a fraction of the shortfall -- and show no sign of going away any time soon. Their presence prompted a consortium of the world's leading cultural experts led by the Venice in Peril Fund to air an open letter demanding the city government put a stop to the placards that "hit you in the eye and ruin your experience of one of the most beautiful creations of humankind." Mayor Giorgio Orsoni, for one, was not moved, saying last year "If people want to see the building they should go home and look at a picture of it in a book."
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 4, 2011 - 59 comments

What Is Admired As Whimsy Could Be Awful As Fact

PJ O'Rourke has penned an appreciative essay about architect Antoni Gaudi, designer of buildings such as the bone-like Casa Batlló and the unfinished Gothic cathedral La Sagrada Familia
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Sep 29, 2011 - 16 comments

Didn't win? There's always next year...

The 2011 MacArthur “Genius" Fellowships have been announced ('07, '08, '09, '10 on the Blue). Among the recipients is Chicago-based architect Jeanne Gang. The 82-story Aqua Tower is her first skyscraper, and stands as the tallest building in the world designed by a woman.

"You know, a lot of architects get into fetishized objects,” she said to me. “But when you can design anything you want without actually having to make it, you do wild things that can’t work. And that’s not what I want to do.”
posted by obscurator on Sep 20, 2011 - 71 comments

Et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam

St. Peter's was a seminary built near Cardross, on the outskirts of Glasgow. It is remarkable for its modernist design, the architects having drawn significant inspiration from Le Corbusier's brutalist monastery at La Tourette, and has been A-listed by Historic Scotland. During its construction, the Second Vatican Council recommended that priests should be trained and educated in the communities they were to serve; the quasi-monastic setting of St. Peter's thus meant it was obsolescent before its completion. Although it was briefly adapted to serve as a rehabilitation centre for drug abusers, it was abandoned in the 80s and, by 2008, found itself on the World Monument Foundation's list of most endangered sites (PDF, see p.58). There has been recent talk of the Scottish Government funding a £10m restoration project, but it is not entirely clear if the restoration is intended to turn the building into an arts centre, a museum or an 'intentional modernist ruin'. [more inside]
posted by Dim Siawns on Sep 19, 2011 - 19 comments

From cutting edge to the museum.

The decline of post-modernism- a short(ish) essay.
posted by ClanvidHorse on Sep 18, 2011 - 38 comments

OpenBuildings: collaboration community dedicated to architecture

Clarke Quay Singapore, The Cement Factory, Takasugi-an, Nobis House, Kew House, Rolex Learning Centre, Central Park, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Containers of Hope, Museum of Liverpool, Busan Opera House, The Meera House, Nakahouse
OpenBuildings is an collaboration community dedicated to architecture where you can browse buildings by collections, people/firms, city guides or their vicinity to you.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Sep 12, 2011 - 2 comments

Broken Angel: architectural outsider art

"Broken Angel isn’t architecture - it’s outsider art." A profile of Arthur Wood, whose lack of formal training did not prevent him from adding six stories of wild additions to the two-story Brooklyn tenement building he bought for $2,000 in 1971. [more inside]
posted by whir on Sep 9, 2011 - 63 comments

float like a butterfly

The Animal Architecture Awards have just announced the winners of their 2011 contest. Taking first place is Simone Ferracina’s Theriomorphous Cyborg, a (speculative) augmented reality game inspired by Jacob von Uexküll’s notion of the animal umwelt. Not truly architectural, Theriomorphous Cyborg instead shifts how a human participant relates to space and the landscape. Each level in the free-form game takes the player through different modes that relate to the sensory capacities of various animals. (via) [more inside]
posted by infini on Sep 1, 2011 - 3 comments

More Talking About Buildings And Music

David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve. A TED talk.
posted by Joey Michaels on Aug 25, 2011 - 25 comments

Print out your own home: WikiHouse

Print out your own home with WikiHouse. [more inside]
posted by honey-barbara on Aug 23, 2011 - 57 comments

Wayside School Is Not Funny In Real Life

In 1972, Washington, DC opened the doors to the HD Woodson Senior High School. It was the city's first new school in twelve years, and the first to be constructed after riots devastated the city in 1968. Like its sister school across town, it had been built to withstand another riot, and protect its students within its fortress-like walls. For a time, it stood as the pride and joy of the city's school system, featuring a diverse range of academic and vocational programs in a state of the art 8-story building complete with escalators, science labs, and a six-lane pool; a symbol of hope for a downtrodden community. By 2008, however, things had gone horribly, horribly wrong. The building was literally crumbling, many of its original facilities had closed due to neglect, only 13% of sophomores were proficient in reading or mathematics, and violence was a daily concern. Facing no other choice, the city closed the school in 2008, and demolished the brutalist structure shortly thereafter.

After a three year series of delays, next week, students will begin classes in the newly reconstructed HD Woodson High School; a 3-story state of the art building complete with elevators, science labs, and an eight-lane pool; a symbol of hope for a downtrodden community -- leading many to question: Will it work this time? The correlation between architecture and academic performance is not well-studied, and previous efforts have been inconclusive at best.
posted by schmod on Aug 18, 2011 - 49 comments

Round Barns and Covered Bridges

Round Barns and Covered Bridges. [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Aug 8, 2011 - 20 comments

HABS, HAER, HALS, CRGIS, NRHP and NHL. Together at last.

Heritage Documentation Programs is part of the National Park service and administers the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) - the United States government's oldest historic preservation program - Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) and Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 7, 2011 - 2 comments

Saint Petersburg's New Holland Island

Closed to the public for more than 300 years, St. Petersburg's New Holland Island is about to get a major makeover. The 410M USD redevelopment project, managed by none other than the power couple Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich, aims to transform Russia's first military port into a residential and commercial area while preserving the island's historic warehouses. Take a look at New Holland Island.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Aug 3, 2011 - 3 comments

Antoni Gaudí

"Hiroshi Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudi is a spare, astonishing, and haunting documentary on the designs of famed turn of the century Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926). A profound influence on the Spanish art nouveau movement, Gaudi's sensual adaptation of Gothic, Middle Eastern, and traditional architecture is a truly a unique artistic vision. Teshigahara immerses the viewer into Gaudi's unorthodox vision using lingering takes and mesmerizing panning sequences, accompanied by an equally eclectic soundtrack that vacillates from lyrical symphony to disquieting near silence. The film, largely structured without verbal narrative, unfolds as a figurative mosaic of Gaudi's early influences and nascent vision in the mid 1800's - from an overview of the Catalonian culture, to the contemporary works of other prominent architects, to the medieval art and architecture pervasive in the region." (Janus/Criterion, 1:12, color)
posted by puny human on Aug 3, 2011 - 15 comments

Representing the shame of a great city

Philaphilia, a blog about Philadelphia buildings past and present, in which the little known architectural terms "badassivity," "concrete testicles" and "shitfucktastic garbitechture" are presented for your edification.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders on Aug 1, 2011 - 36 comments

"In several cases, a family might build a second octagon when they outgrew the first."

"The most comprehensive source on octagon houses ever compiled." [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Aug 1, 2011 - 47 comments

Marvin the Paranoid Android wandering Hackney Marshes

The writer Iain Sinclair has been a fierce critic of London's 2012 Olympics project for some time. Now, with under a year until the games begin, his determined condemnations have again made the news. But, one architect wonders, is all he is offering just "the urban hipster version of shabby chic"?
posted by hydatius on Jul 27, 2011 - 14 comments

Massimals, like massing models, animal massing models.

Jason Scroggin and Akari Takebeyashi teach in the Architecture faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Design. Together they also form Design Office Takebayashi Scroggin [D.O.T.S.] Recently they took the idea of an architectural massing model* to the world of animals. Here is a petting zoo of "Massimals" made with ziplock ties, polystyrene foam, chipboard and foam core. [more inside]
posted by honey-barbara on Jul 26, 2011 - 4 comments

The Fallacy of Sprites

Learning from Doom: Latvian artist Viktor Timofeev explores the "digital ruin" of the classic 1993 shooter DOOM, taking dozens of annotated snapshots along the way. It might be the only time you'll see 16th-century Mannerism, El Lissitzky, and Arachnotrons mentioned in the same place.
posted by theodolite on Jul 26, 2011 - 50 comments

I am a beautiful building!

Beautiful Buildings Club is a comic about politics, the Cold War, and the eternal conflict between beautiful buildings and the evil Bauhaus empire.
posted by kenko on Jul 22, 2011 - 5 comments

Words, words, words.

10 Unconventional Bookstores For Your Browsing Pleasure. Includes The Secret Bookstore and The Book Barge but not The Ateneo Grand Splendid.
posted by Saxon Kane on Jul 19, 2011 - 22 comments

Robots of Brixton by Kibwe Tavares

Rioting robots on the streets of Brixton, a gorgeous sci-fi/architecture/animation short film by architecture graduate Kibwe Tavares. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jul 15, 2011 - 27 comments

Dog and Deco

Dog and Deco. My name is Pickles McConchie. I’m a 15 year old Art Deco and camera loving Terrier from Scotland. I like to travel the country with my bitch and pose in front of art deco factories and industrial buildings from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, as well as other twentieth century architectural gems.
posted by The Discredited Ape on Jul 12, 2011 - 12 comments

Cities for People

Danish architect Jan Gehl on making cities safe for people, the art and science of designing good cities for walking, and how to plan good cities for bicycling.
posted by parudox on Jun 27, 2011 - 39 comments

Uncle Adolf's Holiday Camp

"A vacation complex along the Baltic coast with 10,000 sea-view rooms in eight identical six-story blocks of steel-reinforced concrete, each one the length of five football fields." Built to last but never finished, Prora has been largely unknown until recently, as Germans debate its future use or demolition. [more inside]
posted by kinnakeet on Jun 22, 2011 - 31 comments

Architectural marvel or eyesore?

Stonehenge West, a monumental art project and home outside Los Angeles, may be torn down for building code violations.
posted by xowie on Jun 4, 2011 - 24 comments

Parking Garage

The parking garage at 1111 Lincoln Road by Herzog and de Meuron.
posted by puny human on May 29, 2011 - 14 comments

The postman who delivered a palace

The story begins in 1879. Cheval, then 43 years old, had been working as a rural mail carrier in the southeast of France for 12 years. Because his daily routine involved walking about 20 miles (32km), mostly in solitude, he did a lot of daydreaming. One day (perhaps while his mind was elsewhere), he tripped over a small limestone rock. He picked up that stone and over the next 33 years went on to build his dream, Le Palais Idéal, an amazing fantasy palace. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on May 21, 2011 - 18 comments

I just need one more 4x2 brick.

"Day by day we pass by vacant lots downtown ... Neighbourhoods that, although having a huge potential, have more and more unused spaces ... Sometimes, the tourists are the ones who open our eyes by mentioning or questioning whether this situation is normal. On other occasions, we pay attention to it for a moment only because the secondary problems that those spaces imply affect us directly. But in most of the cases, they are only a part of our way."
Habit Makes Us Blind is a series of colorful images by Spanish studio Espai MGR that seeks to draw attention to the problem of wasted space in urban environments (specifically, in the city of Valencia) -- by building conceptual LEGO structures in them. [via]
posted by bayani on May 9, 2011 - 8 comments

Ultra Local Geography

Ultra Local Geography documents the everyday architecture of Chicago with detailed drawings and neighborhood historical research. [more inside]
posted by enn on May 4, 2011 - 12 comments

Westminster Abbey

How is abbey formed?
How is abbey formed?
How girl get regnant?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 27, 2011 - 256 comments

Old Architecture

Images of times past: abandoned monuments in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet era architecture in Bulgaria. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Apr 27, 2011 - 49 comments

Michael Hansmeyer: Computational Architecture

Michael Hansmeyer: Computational Architecture. Subdivision: Ornamented Columns -- "A full-scale, 2.7-meter high variant of the columns is fabricated as a layered model using 1mm sheet. Each sheet is individually cut using a mill or laser. Sheets are stacked and held together by poles that run through a common core." [more inside]
posted by Gator on Apr 26, 2011 - 17 comments

Atlantropa: Dam in the Straits of Gibraltar and Flood Africa

The Canal des Deux Mers connected the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Zuiderzee Works reclaimed part of shallow inlet of the North Sea to expand the Netherlands, so why not try taming the Mediterranean and irrigating Africa? Part ocean reclamation, part power generation (the "white coal" of falling water), Atlantropa wasn't simply the stuff of science fiction. First called Panropa, it was the long-term goal of a German architect and engineer named Herman Sörgel, a dream that lasted until his death in 1952, and the Atlantropa Institute continued on another 8 years. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 22, 2011 - 17 comments

Skeletal Archiporn

Scaffoldage. If you like construction, with particular reference to terrifyingly lashed-together metal or bamboo rods reaching dizzyingly up into the sky, then you've come to the right thread.
posted by The Discredited Ape on Apr 5, 2011 - 23 comments

Venice, how does it work?

How does Venice work? Short Vimeo documentary on the practicalities of Venice's architecture and civil engineering. More at Venice Backstage.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 4, 2011 - 25 comments

The Ballroom Under the Lake

The Ballroom Under the Lake [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Mar 28, 2011 - 31 comments

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

"Completed in 1954, the 33 11-story buildings of the Pruitt-Igoe housing development was built as an attempt to address the housing crisis the poor faced in St Louis, Missouri. Only twenty years later, at 3pm on the 16th of March, 1972, the buildings were leveled, declared unfit for habitation because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions, coupled with rampant crime. The story of Pruitt-Igoe is a tragic urban fable, a complicated and loaded story of ambition, hubris and failure." (src)
"The Pruitt-Igoe Myth" is a documentary directed by Chad Freidrichs that dives into the complex history of the famed housing project (YouTube or Vimeo trailer). RustWire has an interesting interview with the documentary's creator. More information from Architizer, Homo Ludens, and Magical Urbanism. Be sure to check out the collection of pictures from the area and from the documentary in the creators' Flickr stream. [via Archinect and Mefi Projects] [more inside]
posted by spiderskull on Feb 28, 2011 - 29 comments

I live in a rectangle, but I like these anyway

Vincent Callebaut has been pursuing visionary architectural projects; Coral Reef housing in Haiti, Urban Jungles in Hong Kong, high-flying Algae Airships for the South China sea, and Lilypads for global warming.
posted by twoleftfeet on Feb 27, 2011 - 18 comments

Intelligent Dance Music Dancing

London Boys vs Autechre [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 20, 2011 - 7 comments

Christopher Alexander would have a fit

Freakish, otherworldly Soviet architecture. (previously)
posted by shii on Feb 15, 2011 - 49 comments

Christian Hubert Studio

Christian Hubert designs beautiful residential spaces, like this fantastic 10,000 square foot home, and chic commercial projects. He design aesthetics are sensitive to the relation between art and architecture, and he has worked on some wonderful galleries and exhibition spaces. His practice is informed by a thorough knowledge of philosophy, and his site includes a comprehensive and accessibly written encyclopedia on important concepts in art, aesthetics, and critical theory.
posted by Saxon Kane on Feb 10, 2011 - 15 comments

"It's the old houses in Rhode Island."

"I have never done a story in a shopping mall because, even if I'm not drawing it myself, I don't want to see somebody draw a shopping mall." Mike Mignola talks to BLDGBLOG about the influence architecture has on his work. Also includes a link to a USA Today exclusive Hellboy story that appeared previously on these pages.
posted by yerfatma on Feb 9, 2011 - 15 comments

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