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
Perhaps you think you've had your fill of photographs of decaying architecture and abandoned buildings. If so, the rich color and play of light in Michael Eastman's beautiful body of work from Cuba, Europe, and the U.S. may change your mind. His site is flash - for non-flash folks, the Duane Reed Gallery has additional works, including his B&W portfolios on horses, landscapes, and succulents. (no relation to the Kodak family; via BB-Blog)
The Massachusetts Historical Society has a nice collection of Thomas Jefferson's papers online. It includes two catalogs of Jefferson's books, a draft of the Declaration of Independence and his Garden Book. Architectural Drawings too! [more inside]
Atlantic Yards is the largest project Frank Gehry, now seventy-eight, has ever undertaken. And if it proves to be his last large project, it will be a fitting capstone to a career utterly blind to the public function of architecture. For how better to assert your dedication to personal expression over context than to have your distinct visual style serve as the emblem for the death of two Brooklyn neighborhoods?Charles Taylor discusses the anti-humanism of Modern architecture. [Via] [Previously]
Mimar Sinan; 16th century Ottoman Architect Mimar Sinan born a Christian in Anatolia, from either a Greek or Armenian background, was conscripted into Ottoman service in 1511, and converted to Islam. He was the chief Ottoman architect to four sultans. Sinan worked in seismic, as well as political, fault zones, and his buildings are famous for their earthquake resistance. His extraordinary output included 146 mosques. [more inside]
Rich people's rooftops in NYC offers a fun birds-eye view into a few sky-high secret decks and gardens. Roofs are the new frontier for innovative urban architects, but they aren't exclusive to the wealthy. All kinds of people and organizations are starting rooftop gardens. See the impressive results that two Chicago denizens had growing heirloom vegetables on their roofs (2). [more inside]
Keith Thorne has stunningly colored pictures of decaying urban spaces on his Flickr stream, including some taken at an abandoned German military hospital that once treated Adolf Hitler. A few pictures feature himself. Via.
Art Deco was the dominant style of the interwar era, coming out of Paris in the 1920's and ruling the roost until World War II broke out. Randy Juster's Decopix - The Art Deco Resource has enough pictures of Art Deco architecture to send one hurtling into The Gernsback Continuum. If that's not enough then there's always the 11000+ images of the Flickr Art Deco Pool. But Art Deco wasn't just about architecture. On the Victoria and Albert Musem's Art Deco site one can view Art Deco objects in great detail, rotating them and listening to audio lectures on each object. But before Art Deco was a design aesthetic it was an art-style. Illustrations for the Art Deco Book in France has more than 170 images from the proponents of that then-new style (some images are not safe for work, especially in the George Barbier section).
P.F.1 (Public Farm One) is a project designed by WORK Architecture Company for MoMA and P.S.1's Young Architects Program. P.F.1’s intent is to "educate thousands of visitors on sustainable urban farming through the unique medium of contemporary architecture." An artist in Providence, RI developed a similar installation called Green Zone, "an organic vegetable, herb, and flower garden planted in the detritus of wartime consumption: used tires, shopping bags, shoes, and other repurposed containers" at local venue Firehouse 13.
728 ton pendulum in action: Taipei 101's tuned mass damper during the Sichuan earthquake. [Via The Long Now Blog]
Project Genesis - "It's destined to be the world's largest cruise ship—when launched next year, Royal Caribbean's US$1.24 billion Project Genesis will be 1,180 feet long, and carry 5400 passengers (6,400 at a pinch). It's the most expensive ship in history, and it's longer, wider and taller than the largest ocean liner ever built, (Cunard's QE II), 43 per cent larger in size than the world's largest cruise ship, (Freedom of the Seas [previously]) and remarkably, bigger than any military ship ever built, aircraft carriers included. In a world where choice of amenities count, Project Genesis has yet another trump card—in the the center of the ship is a lush, tropical park which opens to the sky." cf. The Lilypad
10 Amazing Tree Houses from Around the World: Sustainable, Unique and Creative Designs. 15 (More) Amazing Tree Houses from Around the World: Unusual, Ecological and Inspired Designs.
It's 1881. You're real estate speculator James Lafferty, and you've just bought a large parcel of empty, scrubby shoreside land just south of Atlantic City. Problem is, it's cut off from the AC streetcar line by a deep tidal creek. How do you entice potential buyers to make the trek over the inlet and look at your property? Build a giant elephant, of course. Capitalizing on the celebrity of P. T. Barnum's famous Jumbo, Lafferty built 65-foot tall Lucy the Elephant, the first of three giant elephants Lafferty built (followed by Cape May's Light of Asia and Coney Island's Elephantine Colossus). He even took out a patent on the very idea of buildings shaped like animals. Though threatened by decades of neglect and rot, the Save Lucy Committee began preservation efforts in 1970, moving her to her present site and giving her a complete restoration. [more inside]
The late, great Tony Wilson is being honoured today with a 24-hour long "intelligent" conversation in Manchester, England. Wilson was a musical Svengali par excellence. He co-founded Factory Records, helped discover both Joy Division and the Happy Mondays and has been credited with reviving the city that was cradle to the industrial revolution. [more inside]