Radiant Copenhagen documents the future of Copenhagen. Marking up a GoogleWiki maplike thing, artists Anders Bojen, Kristoffer Ørum, Kaspar Bonnén, and Rune Graulund have created a new future, one that is at once probable and entirely fantastic. Kind of like reality. It's brilliant because it's played out over our new way of discovering architecture: through markups, tagging, satellite imagery, and as a companion to the real city we are surfing the internets in.
Back from Brazil! In this second installment of Arquiteto ou Engenheiro? we bring you more contractor comedy gold, mostly from South America, one from Europe, and one which look like a mishap in suburban Georgia.
The Hemeroscopium House, by Ensamble Studio in Madrid, is a refined combination of heavy infrastructural pieces. The pieces are stacked; the resulting spaces are a house. Most awesome is the pool deck, entirely under what is typically used for highway or parking superstructures: a giant precast beam. The surreal scale of the elements--nothing except the furniture appears people-scale--reminds us of OMA's work. Yet this is almost post-OMA, in that there is a clear pleasure to living underneath a highway overpass. The deck you walk on is polished and smooth, the pool and furniture are gorgeous, the landscaping mellow. There's no brutality to this brutalism, only refinement and play. In short a place to live.
Via Architect, which also has a big gallery of pictures.
Last week’s world premiere of Brooklyn DIY brought a motley crowd of artists, performers, and groupies to MoMa. Through interviews and photographs, the film documents the “creative renaissance” of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Employing an ambiguous timeline, the narrative favors subjective experience over specificity. However, the disjointed “mapping of memory” is grounded by focusing on a handful of seminal moments that defined the neighborhood.
Archinect has a great piece on MONU Magazine's issue #10, titles "Holy Urbanism". The issue focuses on how building by religious organizations, and religious experiences in general, affect cities. It's a brilliant topic rarely discussed ever by anybody, so it's long overdue for the zine set.
Especially thrilling is the fact that you can browse the magazine on Youtube. Stunning.
From a friend in Brazil comes an email loaded with pictures of construction mishaps in Brazil. They range from the puzzling to the hilarious to the overzealous to the treacherous. Click on the slideshow to check out the full gallery. If only New York had so many examples of constructed comedy...
2mins15 is a new blog of architects and flaneurs posting short videos of their cities (Paris, Valencia, Buenos Aires and Caracas). The results are interesting, and definitely part of the psychogeography collection we have here at dear Tropolism.
In what must be the most bizarre, yet most refined, inventive, and weirdly beautiful collection of images yet, the Municipal Art Society has posted a flickr album with a selection of results of their Imagine Coney project. Curbed smartly whittles the results down further for those who can't be bothered to slog through the 36 images in the album. Or favorite is pictured, Historic Path.
I saw this model in 2004 when it was displayed at the Skyscraper Museum and it's a powerful thing. That museum is close to Ground Zero but a bit off the beaten path in Battery Park City. Visiting during the day I had the model to myself. It was a powerful experience: the model was my new memorial. The model is huge, a technical achievement in its own right, not just in construction but in the extreme stewardship needed to keep it in good shape. And yes, it's significant and ironic that a paper and plastic model outlived a huge building complex. It's a powerful reminder of what was lost seven and a half years ago.
For those fans of the Whole Earth Catalog, that awesome counterculture publication from the late 1960s that inspired everyone from architects to computer programmers, is now online. The original DIY zine, the catalog was as much about information delivery systems as it was about what to do with the hippie information it provided. So it is only fitting that now it's archived here, with us.
There has never been a concept too experimental that it needn't be built in Harajuku. Jean Snow points us to Flat Flat, a space where visitors can experience the online games portal Hangame. As a retail space it is an oddity: highly expressive, yet not much there except a bunch of computer screens. As a concept it is arguably redundant (if the games are online, isn't the point that you play them against people far away?), which also makes it highly unique.
During the last ten years of economic mirth a lot has changed in regards to the contemporary city, both in how it looks and how we inhabit it. Since the late 1990’s both cities and private capital have invested heavily in glamorous architecture and staggeringly beautiful landscape projects whose role it was to enhance a particular metropolises cultural cache in relationship to its global neighbors. Technological innovations in consumer electronics coupled with the increasing prevalence of the Internet have enhanced cosmopolitanism and network culture rather than creating isolation that early critics feared. And while the money poured in aesthetic beauty and civic narcissism reigned supreme.
Now, as capital flows across global markets evaporate and those markets begin to collapse, politicians and civic pundits alike are all whispering the same word: Infrastructure. While a new museum or concert hall will be a hard sell over the next decade they theorize, a new bridge or light rail project will not because of the construction jobs those projects generate. Even President-elect Barack Obama has stated that part of the U.S. economic recovery will hinge on heavy government spending and investment in infrastructure. As building commissions dry up it is only a matter of time before architects try to align themselves with these new State and Federal patrons, casting aside formal seduction in favor of survival.
They will no doubt find that infrastructure does not need them and in fact faces a crisis of its own. It only takes a book like The Infrastructural City to make this apparent.
Last night at 6pm, the Guggenheim began its 24-Hour Program on the Concept of Time. Presenters included architects, artists, philosophers, writers, anthropologists, etc. Like any academic conference, lucidity and brevity comingled with pointless meandering. I suppose temporal musings may demand the non-specific thought processes that I saw last night and this morning. Below are highlights from the conference--at least the way I remembered and experienced the moments.
As the building and architectural profession starts to morph into its post-recession and post-overdesign phase, it's worth looking at some alternatives. One is Amish builders, who, with a few constraints, can custom build your house in all the highly crafted splendor that has inspired architects for a long time. Although apparently some folks put their talents toward building...this.
On the other hand, the restrictions include not building things to code, at least for their own structures. The unresolved question is huge: are Amish buildings exempt from building codes because their religious beliefs have them reject electricity, indoor plumbing, and graded lumber? In the past, obviously they have been. But a new set of building codes, including New York State's 2007 revision, have had many local officials fining Amish for their new buildings, with some court cases emerging in New York.
The Amish are fighting back. Filing suit in a federal court, an upstate Amish community claims full-on religious discrimination. Over their beliefs as it pertains to buildings. It's an intersection of beliefs, architecture, and building code that is unique. Stay tuned.