Imagine nature's most elegant ideas organized by design and engineering function, so you can enter "filter salt from water" and see how mangroves, penguins, and shorebirds desalinate without fossil fuels. That's the idea behind AskNature, the online inspiration source for the biomimicry community. The featured pages are a good starting point. Cross-pollinating biology with design. [more inside]
Game developers are unconstrained in their designs for the enemy. Such designers will be punished with poor sales, not death in the gulag, if their designs for the overlord are unpopular. They could go anywhere with the homes of evildoers: halls of electric fluorescence, palaces carved from corduroy, suburban back yards. And yet, in spite of this freedom, most videogame designers choose to make a definite connection to familiar – or real-world – architecture ...
The Reas' previous house was destroyed in a winter storm - such are the perils of living on Unst - most northerly of the Shetland isles. On re-building the pensioner couple have constructed what they claim is the world's first occupied zero carbon emission house - using off the shelf materials. Here is a video interview with them and a few more details about the house. [more inside]
Synchronous Objects - Exploring choreographic structures using objects and data, creating stunning visualisations. [flash]
Roadside Architecture. "I have been passionate about commercial architecture and roadside related things all my life. I grew up in California but New York City has been my home since 1980. I started this website in 2000 simply as a way to organize my own photos. Since then, it has become a bit of an obsession and grown to well over 1,000 pages." flickr. blog. [more inside]
3D laser scanning offers a fly-through view of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Carved directly into volcanic bedrock, the churches of Lalibela were built during the Zagwe Dynasty (1137-1270). YouTube video of the church and local villagers.
An epic blog post on the evolution of the architecture of Megacity-One, the futuristic comic-book home of Judge Dredd, by Matt Brooker, showing influence of artists such as Carlso Esquerra, Mike McMahon and Ian Gibson over the years. Judge Dredds cover appearances on 2000ad from 1977 onwards (when each Prog cost 8p), and plenty other images from the world of Judge Dredd. As for that movie... [more inside]
100 Abandoned Houses. A photo essay from Detroit-based photographer Kevin Bauman.
Prince Charles has been a notable critic of architecture over the years. Now he's had a go himself, designing a fire station in the village of Poundbury. Whilst the reception to the Prince's efforts has not been overwhelmingly positive at least the commentators at the Daily Mail like it
NPR article and slide show of the works of Julius Shulman. If you've seen anything by Shulman, you've seen this one. Gas station buffs probably favor this. And, if this one wasn't in Playboy, it should have been! And, bunches more though a google image search. And, at 98, he's still capturing images!
In Portland, Oregon sits the Wilkinson residence, designed by Robert Oshatz. It is kind of neat. [via]
Invincible Cities "Hundreds of color photographs of Richmond, California, Camden, New Jersey, and Harlem, New York, intended by the artist to be part of a 'Visual Encyclopedia of the American Ghetto.' The photos depict the built environment of these cities as they change over time (1980s-2005). Website features a detailed introduction and databases of photos from each city with interactive maps." [via] [more inside]
"The brief was simple: to build a house to retire to in order to grow food, entertain and enjoy the East Anglia landscape. The outcome was as unconventional as they come. A structure that has the ability to vary or connect the overall building's composition and character according to season, weather or simply a desire to delight. Wallpaper* took a trip to the site to capture the physical phenomenon in the only medium that serves it justice - film." via
Meta-efficiency is the analysis of efficiency at a more comprehensive level. Metaefficient Review assesses products considering not only their energy efficiency but also the embodied energy, toxicity, affordability, and usability. [more inside]
User El_Greco of the SkyscaperCity Forum presents "Lost London", an absolutely stunning photographic thread of old London architecture.
Explore the History of the Ancient Greek World from the Neolithic to the Classical Period. Covering important topics, such as Art and Architecture, Mythology, Wars, Culture and Society, Poetry, Olympics, History Periods, Philosophy, Playwrights, Kings and Rulers of Ancient Greece.
Monumental projection projects video onto 3D architecture, incorporating the form and volume of the physical structure into a dynamic art presentation. Other notable examples include Pablo Valbuena's The Hague City Hall projection and AntiVJ's Nuit Blanche Bruxelles projection. [more inside]
Gingerbread Houses are the embodiment of Caribbean architecture, though many are now threatened. Enjoy this wonderful photoset from Roseau, capital of the tiny island of Dominica; and this exquisite set of Boissiere House in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Then there is this little gem in Martinique.
Golf course architecture goes back more than 100 years. Golf courses can be incredibly beautiful, very tough, or extreme. Which are the best golf courses? Of course, the golf course critics over at Golf Club Atlas might not agree. [more inside]
The Domestic Transformer: sliding walls and yellow light, a local architect's solution to the problem of scant living-space in Hong Kong. [more inside]
Famous for his Western works, such as the Louvre Pyramid, Chinese architect I.M. Pei has capped off his long career with The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. The architecture of the museum is a blend of Islamic and modern elements, resulting in a sort of cubist sculpture. The collection, meant to be an overview of Islamic art throughout history, is extensive but not without a few flaws. [more inside]
The Evoluon was a museum dedicated to science and technology, and the place of technology in society. It was closed for the public in 1989 and has not been re-opened as a public museum since. Watch the wonderfully 60s promotion (worth it just for the soundtrack). [via]
The Archipelago of Fear. "International surveys show that the more people trust their neighbours, strangers, and their government, the more likely they are to help strangers, to vote, and to volunteer. If better streets, sidewalks, walls, and buildings all improve the ways people engage with one another, then the reverse should also be true: antagonistic architecture can corrode trust and fuel hostility. Kabul just might be a laboratory of toxic urbanity."
Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid have been lined up to take on one of the most high-profile projects on earth – the redevelopment of Mecca [more inside]
London's iconic transportation symbol, the roundel, is 100 years old this year and a new online exhibit at the London Transport Museum features some amazing galleries of architecture, promotional material, livery and a great illustrated history of the mark.
Architectural critic and writer Reyner Banham loved Los Angeles. (Last link is a BBC documentary, circa 1972, 52 minutes -- NSFW at 47 minute mark) [more inside]
Jørn Utzon, the architect who designed Sydney Opera House despite the project being plagued by controversy and scandal, died today. While the rest of us are posting photographs of our drunken friends or the poetry of a plastic bag caught in the wind, one Flickr user is busy with pithy, insightful, considered and often witty architectural commentary supplementing exquisite architectural photography. This obituary for Utzon captures the cost of that project to the man himself and to the world. [more inside]
A hidden room sealed inside the Great Pyramid may hold the explanation for how the pyramids were built. Previously, it was believed that the construction took place from the outside, but evidence points to the building starting on the inside and working out. Do you want to build your own pyramid at home? Well, that's considerably easier. [more inside]
Dionisio González makes photographs of imaginary favelas, Filip Dujardin makes photographs of imaginary buildings.
We need a way to have, buy, and sit on fewer and better things. — from the CICINA, a 20 minute video presentation on their effort to compare all things in a massive bracketed set of 214 binary judgements. Which is better: Apples or Oranges?
Origami inspired bamboo and paper modular buildings for use as temporary shelters, by Ming Tang.
Contemporary architecture in India, a little look: Odd and unusual buildings l Mumbai 1, 2, 3 l Kerala backwaters l Kolkata l Architectural renderings from the Indian Skyscraper blog. [more inside]
A luminous dragon climbing the side of a building is almost certain to be fearsome; but, when executed properly, even a sculpture of a bunny rabbit can threaten.... Gargoyles and Grotesques. (some nsfw stonework) [more inside]
Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling comprises a selective survey of prefabrication in architecture, represented by a timeline, and a building project of contemporary prefabricated homes on the MoMA west lot that is available until October 20th. [more inside]
Blairmont: The Final Dose. Yesterday Rob Powers of Built St. Louis (prev.) completed a 189-post tour of the North St. Louis properties bought and left to ruin by developer Paul McKee's Blairmont Associates LLC. Residents trying to rebuild in this area have had to deal with nearby Blairmont properties catching fire, collapsing due to brick rustlers, and obstructing their efforts to improve their own homes. Four years this has been going on and still nobody knows what McKee is up to. Much more information at Ecology of Absence.
24 Stunning HDR Photographs of Abandoned Places. 42 Essential Flickr Abandonments Groups Dedicated to Abandoned Places, Properties and Buildings.
Primal source at GLOW (video), Burble London (an implementation of Open Burble) (video), Evoke (video) - the transformative artworks of Haque Design and Research. Interview with Usman Haque. Previously.
The Islamic art collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has beautiful objects to delight every fancy, whether you seek manuscript illustration (more), calligraphy (more), glassware (more), archetectural elements (more) and much, yes, more! If you want some knowledge to go with the beauty then you are in luck because on the site there is an overview of Islamic art history from inception to the now.
Kieran Long in The Architects' Journal: "The 2008 biennale is the year that the avant-garde finally disappeared into its own darkest recesses. Let's hope the recession finishes the job."
"I moved here, primarily, to have the bigger, stronger, runway," Travolta explains, "then built a taxiway to the house that would endure the weight of the 707."
Visualizing Early Washington. A project at the Imaging Research Center of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County has reconstructed the original landscape of Washington DC before its radical transformation into a modern capital city. [more inside]
Tiny Houses - Design Boom compiles a nice list of tiny residences around the world.
How Buildings Learn--Stewart Brand, 1997, BBC, 6 Parts; Flow, The Low Road, Built For Change, Unreal Estate, The Romance of Maintenance, Shearing Layers. "What happens after buildings are built? Why do some buildings get better over time and others get demolished? Stewart Brand says architecture is a prediction, and all predictions are wrong, so the more monumental the architecture, the more wrong the building is. The buildings that thrive are those that can adapt to how people actually use them. The worst buildings for inhabitants are usually statement architecture -- buildings that look like art. The best buildings are often non-descript, and pick up character as they evolve. In other words they grow into art." Kevin Kelley