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.
"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]
Stonehenge West, a monumental art project and home outside Los Angeles, may be torn down for building code violations.
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]
"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]
Ultra Local Geography documents the everyday architecture of Chicago with detailed drawings and neighborhood historical research. [more inside]
Images of times past: abandoned monuments in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet era architecture in Bulgaria. [more inside]
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]
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]
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.
How does Venice work? Short Vimeo documentary on the practicalities of Venice's architecture and civil engineering. More at Venice Backstage.
"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]
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.
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.
"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.
Stephen Biesty is an award-winning British illustrator famous for his bestselling "Incredible" series of engineering art books: Incredible Cross-Sections, Incredible Explosions, Incredible Body, and many more. A master draftsman, Biesty does not use computers or even rulers in composing his intricate and imaginative drawings, relying on nothing more than pen and ink, watercolor, and a steady hand. Over the years, he's adapted his work to many other mediums, including pop-up books, educational games (video), interactive history sites, and animation. You can view much of his work in the zoomable galleries on his professional page, or click inside for a full listing of direct links to high-resolution, desktop-quality copies from his and other sites, including several with written commentary from collaborator Richard Platt [site, .mp3 chat]. [more inside]
The Martello Tower is the definitive 19th century small coastal fortification, built in large numbers around the coast of the British Isles and elsewhere between 1805 and the 1870s. Many have been lost to the sea or demolished, but some have been converted to private residences (you can even stay in this one). The most recent conversion of a Grade II listed tower, by Billings Jackson Design working with Piercy Connor Architects, has produced this very interesting modern home, set in a wetland.
"studioBASAR is an architectural studio established in 2006 by Cristi Borcan and Alex Axinte. studioBASAR is a ’search and rescue’ team, acting as an agent of architectural observation and intervention." [more inside]
Mountain House, the first project in the U.S. from genius Japanese design firm Atelier Bow Wow. Designed for Mike Mills and Miranda July. [via]
Lead Pencil Studio is an architecture+art collaboration between Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, based in Seattle. Featured last month in FastCoDesign: Billboard advertising clean air. Lots of Google links to their work. [Main site = mildly annoying interface YMMV]
The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world's visual language, so they may be shared in a fun and meaningful way. The goal is to collect and organize all the symbols that form our language into one easy-to-use online library that can be accessed by anyone. All the symbols on their site are completely free to download, and can be used for design projects, architecture presentations, art pieces — just about anything.
Flickr user ElectroSpark collects and shares “random bits of vintage ephemera from mid-century vacationers,” with many in the form of charming round-cornered Kodachromes. In particular, his Fairs & Expos set with its collection of holiday snapshots from Brussels ’58, New York ’64 and Expo ’67 in Montreal, are all from a by-gone era. The collection includes both vintage graphics and photos.
Labyrinths – not to be confused with mazes – are being rediscovered as tools for contemplation, meditation, reflection, and community well-being, as well as inspiration for architecture, music, dance, ritual, business, and visual art. [more inside]
"Fantastic Journal is a blog about architecture, design and other things too," written by Charles Holland, a director of London-based FAT. [more inside]
Shortly before his 1924 death in penniless obscurity, architect Louis Sullivan was commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago to produce his final work: A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man's Powers, a series of intricate illustrations, unfolding diagrams, and accompanying descriptions outlining Sullivan's somewhat opaque aesthetic theories. In 2006, Giles Phillips interpreted these plates into a shape grammar of 23 rules with which Sullivan's elaborate forms may be distilled into a series of basic transformations. Moreover, he helpfully put the entire book online for your viewing pleasure. [more inside]
Istanbul Photos If you love Istanbul like I do, and can't visit often enough, this is a fine place to get a virtual glimpse of all of it.
The Buckminster Fuller dome of the former Dutch aerospace museum is for sale. In 1971 it was the largest in the world and housed most of the aircraft on display. The dome has a height of 23 meters and a 2700 m2 floorspace. It is currently dismantled and stored in 27 seafreight containers. At the site (in Dutch) there's a wonderful set of photos on the construction in 1971 and dismantling in 2004.
The newest and most exclusive residential tower for this city’s superrich is a cantilevered sheath of steel and glass soaring 27 floors into the sky. The parking garage fills six levels. Three helipads are on the roof. There are terraces upon terraces, airborne swimming pools and hanging gardens in a Blade Runner-meets-Babylon edifice overlooking India’s most dynamic city. There are nine elevators, a spa, a 50-seat theater and a grand ballroom. Hundreds of servants and staff are expected to work inside. And now, finally, after several years of planning and construction, the residents are about to move in. All five of them. [more inside]
Triangulation Blog is done by industrial designer, art director Emilio Gomariz, and covers photography, art installations, product design, architecture, animation, technological and digital projects. Gomariz also does Base Times Height Divided By 2, an experimental, scientific and technologic extension of Triangulation Blog.
Bruce Goff (1904 - 1982) was either a creative genius or the worst architect of the 20th century. At best, his astoundingly diverse body of work resembles a cross between Frank Lloyd Wright and The Gobbler; at worst it recalls Middle-Earth or industrial storage. His designs, many of them unbuilt, run the gamut from geometric abstraction to organic imitation. Forgotten for years, Goff retains a small following, particularly in Oklahoma, where he spent most of his career. Today he's experiencing a minor resurgence in popularity. [more inside]
"Zaha Hadid is a celebrated architect. You have probably read the articles by now: most famous woman architect in history, Pritzker prize winner, forceful character, born in Iraq or possibly, if the journalist hasn't done their research properly, Iran. She has just completed her first school, a powerful, singular object in Brixton, south London." Story. Slideshow. Some photos from Flickr. [more inside]
Hottest Spot in Vegas? Vdara hotel features an unintended reflection of the sun that some are calling a "death ray."
"Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture."
Lviv Interactive, a project of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, is mapping the history, architecture, and human landscape of the City of Lions - including locations no longer there. [more inside]
An Amazing 3D Light Show From Russia (watch in 480p)
In all my years of architecture school and practice, there seems to be a pervasive myth that my job is pretty and easy. Here, I reveal the painful, ugly truth about why it takes so long to build a building, what it is exactly that we do, and why that's not creamer you smell in my coffee.
Around the late 1800s and early 1900s, receipts, envelopes, letterheads, and other corporate correspondence often featured drawings of a factory or storefront. Columbia University's Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery contains over 1600 examples. Why not browse through? [more inside]
The term Brutalist Architecture comes from the French term for raw concrete, beton brut. The style resonates strongly in the works of JG Ballard. (previously, previously) [more inside]
Extracts of Local Distance combines fragments of existing architectural photography into multilayered shapes, so the resulting collages introduce a third abstract point of view alongside the original views of the architect and photographer. Joseph Egan is a student at Chelsea College of Art & Design, and he's been experimenting with anamorphic typography.
"I never know what to call myself really. I call myself a cartoonist because it's what I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember, it's what I always return to, and it's how I think. But I don't really work in that field. I think I'm an artist and a writer, or more appropriately, an artist who writes." [more inside]
RIP Trinity Square, Gateshead - a Brutalist car park made famous for it's appearance in the classic British crime drama Get Carter is being demolished this week.