Pattern in Islamic Art - thousands of high quality, free pictures of various motifs, patterns and architectural elements of mosques and other structures from Asia to West Africa. [more inside]
Peter Morville is widely recognized as a father of the information architecture field, and he serves as an advocate for the critical roles that search and findability play in defining web user experience. His recent project titled Search Patterns, is a sandbox for collecting search examples, patterns, and anti-patterns; for example spime search, the ability to query objects in motion and find things in the real world. Morville is also on the editorial board of the new Journal of Information Architecture.
Urban exploration has been featured here once or twice before, but Jim Griffioen's site photo-documenting his discoveries in and around Detroit deserves a look. Griffioen was recently interviewed [direct mp3 link] on the American Public Media radio program The Story. [more inside]
Tetragram for Enlargement is an architectural video installation by Apparati Effimeri that decorates, distorts, and eventually explodes the fortress Rocca Malatestiana. [Italian] [more inside]
Champions of Reversible Destiny, architects Arakawa + Gins believe that people die because they're too comfortable. Having lost their life savings through Bernie Madoff, their bewildering East Hampton Bioscleave house - and, presumably, immortality - can now be yours for only $4million. [via the always awesome It's lovely! I'll take it!]
A website has been launched to preserve the history of Danvers State Insane Asylum. The Asylum, which opened in 1878 in Danvers, MA (site of the Salem Witch Trials) and closed in 1992, was featured in the horror movie Session 9, and may have been the inspiration for HP Lovecraft's Arkham Asylum. Its Kirkbride Wings, which once held the institution's living quarters, now house a 400+ unit apartment complex. [more inside]
The Architects' Journal (home of British architecture) has recently listed their top 10 architectural features of Star Wars. The article cites the Sandcrawler of Tatooine (possibly inspired by the Hôtel du lac in Tunisia, and in turn may have influenced Casa da Música [virtual tour, requires Quicktime] ), gave Bright Tree Village an honorary rating of BREEAM Excellent (top marks for environment-friendliness and sustainability), then embrace the Ecumenopolis that is Coruscant. This is not the first discussion of the architectural styles of the Star Wars universe. George Lucas once said "I'm basically a Victorian person," referring to his love of "all kinds of old things," including sort of Art Deco or Art Moderne-type. The retro-futuristic styles of Star Wars has gone on to inspire others.
Slavoj Žižek recently gave five talks under the title Masterclass - Notes Towards a Definition of Communist Culture. It sez 'ere, "The master class analyses phenomena of modern thought and culture with the intention to discern elements of possible Communist culture. It moves at two levels: first, it interprets some cultural phenomena (from today’s architecture to classic literary works like Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Heloise) as failures to imagine or enact a Communist culture; second, it explores attempts at imagining how a Communist culture could look, from Wagner’s Ring to Kafka’s and Beckett’s short stories and contemporary science fiction novels." Audio of Zizek's talks and subsequent discussion is now online: Part I Utopias; Part II Architecture as Ideology; Part III Wagner’s Ring as a Communist narrative; Part IV Populism and Democracy; Part V Environment, Identity and Multiculturalism. Those who like to watch the beard in motion will find links to video of some of the talks posted here.
After more than 30 years of competions and planning and eight years of construction, the New Acropolis Museum officially opens today. The museum, designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, provides a dramatic new home for the many historic treasures of the Acropolis, including the marbles of the Parthenon frieze. [more inside]
Controversy has erupted in Britain after it emerged that Prince Charles used his personal influence with Qatari royalty to sack modernist architect Richard Rogers from a development in London. Charles has been an outspoken critic of modern architecture and advocate of neo-traditionalist styles, and even created a model village to showcase his ideas about "proper" architecture. Charles' preferred replacement for Rogers is Quinlan Terry, known for his neo-classicist leanings. [more inside]
The first stage of New York City's High Line redesign was opened to the public yesterday, and reviews are generally favorable. The city's newest park (whose concept is similar to Paris’s Promenade Plantée,) transforms an abandoned, above-ground, elevated freight train track into a nine block "lofty expanse of walking and green spaces that stretches 60 feet wide in some spots". It also provides visitors with a unique look at some of the city's architecture and layout. (Previously on MeFi) [more inside]
Dr. Frances W. Pritchett, Professor of Modern Indic Languages at Columbia University, New York, has created a superb online collection of resources, all about India and South Asia, its art, history, literature, architecture and culture. Her Indian Routes section (the Index page) is a particularly rich resource. Her vast, colorful and informative site also has many great images. Check out her "scrapbook pages" on the Princes l the Ghaznavids l British Rule l Women's Spaces l Perspectives on Hinduism. [more inside]
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.