Post Tagged with: "architecture"

New Dossier: Paul Laffoley

New Dossier: Paul Laffoley

Geochromechane: The Time-Machine From Earth by Paul Laffoley

Latest dossier is up: Paul Laffoley.

August 29, 2012 0 comments
Crack the Surface: Free Documentary Series on Urban Exploration

Crack the Surface: Free Documentary Series on Urban Exploration

Crack The Surface – Episode I from SilentUK on Vimeo.

Crack The Surface – Episode II from SilentUK on Vimeo.

Produced in association with:

silentuk.com
sub-urban.com
placehacking.co.uk
prourbex.com

Previously: Urban Exploration

February 27, 2012 0 comments
Charlie Stross on Buckminster Fuller: “Why are your houses so heavy?”

Charlie Stross on Buckminster Fuller: “Why are your houses so heavy?”

Dymaxian House

The story of why we aren’t all living in Dymaxion houses today is a convoluted epic of business failure (for one thing, starting up a production line for houses using cutting-edge aerospace technology was something that had never been done before; for another, Bucky’s business sense was not, sadly, as good as his design sense) that has been recounted in numerous biographies. What interests me about it is that it’s a far more humane approach to the problem of providing housing for the masses than his Brutalist contemporaries, whose designs tended to be fixed, immovable, made cheaply out of low-end materials, and built with high density mass housing in mind rather than low impact customizability. It was also way ahead of the field in terms of awareness of environmental constraints; while we could design better today, we’d be making incremental tweaks, whereas Bucky came up with the original idea of modular, lightweight, mobile low-impact housing ab initio.

Charlie Stross: “Why are your houses so heavy?”

May 25, 2011 2 comments
Cyberculture History: A Virtual Reality Concept from the 15th Century

Cyberculture History: A Virtual Reality Concept from the 15th Century

 Giovanni Fontana's Castle of Shadows

In 1420 Venetian engineer Giovanni Fontana created a proposal for the Castle of Shadows. From BLDG Blog:

Philippe Codognet describes the 15th-century machine as “a room with walls made of folded translucent parchments lighted from behind, creating therefore an environment of moving images. Fontana also designed some kind of magic lantern to project on walls life-size images of devils or beasts.” Codognet goes on to suggest that the device is an early ancestor of today’s CAVE systems, or virtual reality rooms—an immersive, candlelit cinema of moving screens and flickering images.

Full sized image at BLDG Blog

(Thanks Bill!)

What would you call a genre speculative fiction based around this period? Venetianpunk?

February 23, 2011 0 comments
Video: Kowloon Walled City Documentary

Video: Kowloon Walled City Documentary

A German documentary on the Kowloon Walled City from 1989.

(via Theoretick)

For more on Kowloon, see Justin Bolland’s guest post on the subject.

December 20, 2010 0 comments
Green Cities and the Urban Operating System

Green Cities and the Urban Operating System

PlanIT

PlanIT is building a city in Portugal as a test of its “Urban OS” concept, hoping to sell “instant cities” in China and Inida in the future.

“It’s a bit of a bloodbath really,” says Lewis, who began studying it while still at Microsoft. “They’re using techniques older than God. All of the technology is being used on the design end. No one can look into the future and ask ‘If I put better glass into this building, what does that do for energy efficiency down the road?’ You have developers building to do a quick flip, and eventually the building becomes so inefficient and so expensive to fix they have to knock it down. There’s no process and no lifecycle management. The industry is fragmented and the consolidation that’s happened everywhere else hasn’t happened here.”

A Harvard Business School case study (pdf) published earlier this year echoed this view. Despite being a $4.6 trillion global industry, construction firms have had little incentive to integrate, consolidate, or otherwise become more productive. While non-farming industries have made productivity gains averaging 80% since the 1960s, the construction industry has become 20% less productive over that span. “Studies suggested that up to 75% of construction activities typically added no value,” the authors noted.

A City in the Cloud: Living PlanIT Redefines Cities as Software

PlanIT plans to make constructing buildings, and cities, as efficient as manufacturing automobiles.

Buckminster Fuller, thou art avenged.

PlanIT will have competition from open_sailing‘s open source SwarmOS, which open_sailing co-founder Cesar Harrada considers a spiritual successor to The Walking City.

See also:

Cybersyn

October 14, 2010 0 comments
Infrastructure Still Crumbling – So What Do We Do About It?

Infrastructure Still Crumbling – So What Do We Do About It?

crumbling bridge

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has released its 2009 Report Card for American Infrastructure, and the results are grim. The association gave the most powerful nation in the world an overall grade of D, and stated that it would take a five-year investment of $2.2 trillion to bring the U.S. up to par with the rest of its class—the world’s major postindustrial nations.

The Architect’s Newspaper: State of Disrepair

(via Brainsturbator)

What exactly can be done about it, other than spending massive amounts of public funds and ratcheting up an already astronomical deficit?

The obvious libertarian answer I can think of is: sell off all private infrastructure and issue tax refunds for it. Let the private companies who purchase it deal with it. At this point it doesn’t seem like that’s any worse an option than letting it all rot. Certainly there’d be a lot of questions regarding access to essential infrastructure. And if, say, the entire interstate highway system were privatized I’m sure that would open things up to all sorts of highly entertaining anti-competitive actions on the part of its owners.

But I have to admit I sort of relish the idea of seeing how tea partiers feel about paying road tolls (and seeing how self-righteous non-motorists, the type who think it’s unfair that they’re taxed for roads they supposedly don’t use, react to increased food costs). And hell, it might actually cause megacorporations that currently avoid paying much in taxes actually have to shell out something for the roads they use.

But even if there was the political will, could that even happen? Are there companies out there that would be willing to buy up all our roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure? Would it be profitable to maintain?

And what about existing private infrastructure? According to The Architect’s Newspaper, over 85% of levees are privately owned and they still got a D from the ASCE. How much of the infrastructure ASCE evaluated is privately owned to start with?

What other other options are on the table? A government-backed scrip for infrastructure work? Even if we’re at 20-25% real unemployment, I’m not sure that’s bad enough to get modern Americans to work on infrastructure projects for scrip and for small businesses to honor it. But I could be wrong.

What about revolution? It’s always a possibility, but it also seems far from happening. I have been thinking though that if there were to be a revolution in the the States, it would have to start with seizing infrastructure, which is our real “means of production.”

What else can be done?

Flickr search for “crumbling infrastructure”

Photo by Michelle Soulier / CC

August 10, 2010 2 comments
Futuristic Mega-Projects by Shimizu

Futuristic Mega-Projects by Shimizu

The Mega-City Pyramid
The Mega-City Pyramid

Japanese construction firm Shimizu Corporation has developed a series of bold architectural plans for the world of tomorrow. Here is a preview of seven mega-projects that have the potential to reshape life on (and off) Earth in the coming decades.

Pink Tentacle: Futuristic mega-projects by Shimizu

See also:

Archigram archive

open_sailing

The Totalitarian Buddhist Who Beat Sim City

June 1, 2010 1 comment
Hong Kong’s rooftop shanty towns

Hong Kong’s rooftop shanty towns

Hong Kong Rooftop slum

In South America the slums are attached to the outskirts of mega-cities such as Caracas and Mexico City like wasps’ nests on a cliff face. In a hilly island city like Hong Kong, however, living space is limited. Here you only see the laboriously constructed huts made of corrugated iron and planks of wood in which the poorest of the poor live if you look upwards – they occupy, to put it in cynical terms, a penthouse location.

Daily Tonic: The Level Up

(via Grinding)

May 30, 2010 1 comment
Bricks made of bacteria and sand at room-temperature

Bricks made of bacteria and sand at room-temperature

Biomanufactured bricks

An American architecture professor, Ginger Krieg Dosier, 32, Assistant Professor of Architecture at American University of Sharjah (AUS) in Abu Dhabi, has won this year’s prestigious Metropolis Next Generation Design Prize for “Biomanufactured Brick.” The 2010 Next Generation Prize Challenge was “One Design Fix for the Future” – a small fix to change the world. The Next Generation judges decided that Professor Dosier’s well-documented and -tested plan to replace clay-fired brick with a brick made with bacteria and sand, met the challenge perfectly.

“The ordinary brick – you would think that there is nothing more basic than baking a block of clay in an oven,” said Horace Havemeyer, Publisher of Metropolis. “Ginger Dosier’s idea is the perfect example of how making a change in an almost unexamined part of our daily lives can have an enormous impact on the environment.”

Dexigner: Biomanufactured Brick: Bricks Without Clay or Carbon

(via )

May 18, 2010 0 comments