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]
The purpose of the Super Power Building has been stated as providing a dedicated center for delivering the Super Power Rundown, a high-level Scientology training course that has not yet been released.
National Register Photostream — Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the U.S. National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.
house Greek Revival subway ventilator on Joralemon Street.
Welcome to Arts & Architecture. In the case of some, maybe, welcome back...Old-timer. On this website you will find selected projects from issues of the magazine 1945 through 1967. [more inside]
From architect/designer Luis Urculo, a short film in which iconic buildings are modeled with everyday objects: Covers (vimeo) [more inside]
A Pattern Language explores the living structure in good and bad buildings, human artifacts, and natural systems, discussing the presence of the same living order in all systems. [Christopher] Alexander proposes that the living order depends on features which make a close connection with the human self. The quality of works of art, artifacts, and buildings is defined not merely in terms of living structure, but also in their capacity to affect human growth and human well-being.
Ultra Swank - Retro Living and Design from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Ozark Giraffe Rock architectural exteriors are a common sight along Route 66 in the Ozarks region of the United States, as they were a popular building choice between 1910 - 1940. The construction materials for giraffe rock exteriors were inexpensive and produced locally from materials found in plentiful supply in the Ozark Mountains, and the style was most predominant on small houses, usually bungalows. [more inside]
What do you mean the building codes require us to install handicapped-accessible crosswalk? Fine. Here's your fucking crosswalk. [more inside]
Highrise: One Millionth Tower is an interactive documentary, architectural visualization, and virtual transformation featuring a highrise development in Toronto. Presented by the National Film Board of Canada. (via Chrome Experiments)
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.
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]
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.
Known as The Sundrome , I.M. Pei's Terminal 6 at JFK Airport (b. 1970) has been slated for demolition.
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."
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