Technology Vision

The Beautiful Gas Station, A Contender


A few months ago (which is like four entries ago) we linked to The Most Beautiful Gas Station of the world. Our tardy reading of Tropomail this weekend tipped us off to a contender for the title: a gas station by Jean Prouve, as installed at the Vitra headquarters (pictured). Tipped off by the photographer, Vigggo.

Art: Culture In The Age Of Supply And Demand


Sorry to be so tardy on this. Greg Allen gives us another insightful article on the effect of an Art World with lots of rich people buying up everything in sight. And he is searching for the art that is going to be around when the rich folks stick to investing in real estate.

And, he links to a huge and interesting PDF document from the Olafur Eliasson studio. Just in time for the holidays!

Tropolism Websites: Sorry, Out Of Gas


We usually don't link to websites from architects: our inbox is filled with them, and the navigation alone usually causes us to run the other way. This one got our attention though. The CCA has launched a companion website for their imaginative exhibition Sorry, Out Of Gas. With this exhibition, CCA has taken the world of architecture to Green 2.0: seeing energy crises and environmental concerns in a cultural and recent-historical context, as a way to shape the dialogue and practices of the present day.

The website interface is simple, and the information is presented as a series of slideshows. We think the touch of having the slide transitions look like real live slides flipping forward (in the days before digital slide programs) is particularly elegant. It's a way of visiting the exhibition that is effective, and saves you the trip to Montreal. If the installed exhibition is big documentary photos on a wall, I'd rather see it online anyway.

Also presented is a work that was found in the press kit: An Endangered Species, a booklet amusingly illustrated by Harriet Russell.

Nouvel Tower Renderings


We can't get enough of this design. And we stand by our statements after seeing the plethora of renderings at Dezeen.

Nouvel Redefines Towers In NYC


It's difficult to believe, but after Jean Nouvel's sensitive-yet-stunning 40 Mercer, his sparkly-yet-stunning 100 Eleventh Avenue, Jean Nouvel comes through with another groundbreaking design for Manhattan. This time it's for a mixed-use tower next to MoMA. The height will rival the Chrysler Building, and with its open lattice structural top, it may rival the old bird's iconic status as well.

Also of note is Ourousoff's article on the building, which calls attention to the most important issues the building addresses. How private developers are doing more daring architecture than MoMA itself commissioned only a few years back. How this will hopefully correct MoMA's craptacular gallery situation. How an architect can produce a design for a tower while playing with the essential elements of towers that up until now felt played out (the structural system, the curtainwall, the profile), yet all the while creating something new, of our time, and dazzlingly buildable.

Our favorite part is that the developer has chosen to build what others might consider unsellable floors: the penthouse apartment with a huge elevator/stair core. It is brilliantly described as "the pied-a-terre at the top of the Eiffel Tower from which Gustave Eiffel used to survey his handiwork below."

Preserving The Awesomeness That Is Richard Neutra


In today's New York Times, a happy preservation story about Richard Neutra's 1946 Kaufmann House. What is most intriguing is that this is a preservation project undertaken by a couple who just really like architecture. By "really like" we mean "obsessed to the point of doing an insane amount of research." And just so you know, this kind of obsession is something we respect. We hope they publish a book: We Preserved It, And So Can You!.

The Most Beautiful Gas Station In The World


Greg Allen does his thing and uncovers the most beautiful gas station in the world. And we have to agree. Which is saying a lot. We grew up in Ohio, where there are plenty of beautiful gas stations. In a 'Wal-Mart construction is sublime beauty when it's empty' kind of way.

The architect is Peter Celsing and it was built 1954-56.

The only competition would be one other gas station. We will take this moment to remind the world that Mies Van Der Rohe designed a gas station (scroll down), and we have forever been in love with it.

Shigeru Ban In Chelsea


Adding to an already impressive couple of blocks in West Chelsea, Manhattan, is Shigeru Ban's new design for The Metal Shutter Houses. That's the name for a condo with nine duplex apartments with jaw-dropping exterior features. Renderings are unveiled today in the New York Times. Simply amazing, and surely to rate high on the two-dozen list, whenever we get around to updating it with Nouvel's second apartment building, Herzog & DeMeuron's 40 Bond Street, and the like.

Spaceport News: Foster And Partners Design Unveiled


Someone thankfully advised Virgin Galactic to come to their senses after releasing their underwhelming concept ideas for a spaceport design: they held a design competition and hired Foster and Partners. The recently announced design, while being far from the Star Wars style Rebel Base we have always imagined, promises to be a thoughtful building prototype for an equally unique flying experience. This might just be the Saarinen TWA terminal for the Space Age.

Maya Lin Systematic Landscapes


Forgive us for being so slow on the ball on this; a travelling exhibition of Maya Lin's gorgeous new installations, Systematic Landscapes, opens at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis this week. Pictured from the show is Water Line, as captured by Jen S on flickr.

Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen Serpentine Gallery Pavilion


From Future Feeder:

0lll’s exhaustive photo diary of the Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2007 by Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen

Brilliant as ever.

World Building Projects


At, a collection of very tall building projects. Not a complete list, but worth checking out.

Zaha's Shiny Shard


A London correspondent tipped us off to something that is old news over there: Zaha Hadid won a competition for the London Architecture Foundation's new building. And redesigned it. We like the redesign better than the original project, probably because it's like a giant silver version of her gold lego project.

Prouve's Maison Tropicale Is In Queens


Prouve's Maison Tropicale was designed for the African climate, but for a little while, it has a new home in Queens, New York. And, it's for sale. The New York Times gives us the details on the restored house, as well as details on the other two surviving specimens. The house is open today to the public, and is located in Long Island City, on a plot just south of the Queensboro Bridge.

Update: After running over there today, I can report that the dates the house is open are May 17-June 5, 2007. No hours were posted. It was locked at 11am today.

And yes, we've been away for a while, celebrating our second anniversary.

Guggenheim 5th Avenue: Cracking


Yesterday's New York Times served up some technicolor imaging of Frank Lloyd Wright's cracking Guggenheim facade. For anyone that has seen a set of historic preservation documents, this kind of documentation is routine. However, the image from the times takes it to a whole new level of awesomeness.

Tropolism Buildings: Torre Cube


We've often expressed our admiration for Enric Miralles. Long overlooked in our praise has been his former partner, Carme Pinos. The early design brilliance of projects like the Igualada Cemetery are of equal credit to Enric Miralles and Carme Pinos. As a distant observer of their work, and as someone who knows people in their milieu, we surmise that Miralles had the surrealist imagination, and Pinos tended toward rhythmic ordering, modularity, and beautiful material connections. Miralles' work seemed to devolve into indulgent shapes (the Scottish Parliament's execution is a great example of this) without the regulating force of Pinos. Together, they were amazing.

Somehow we missed, until now, the Torre Cube in Guadalajara, Mexico (pictured). The project is an office building with natural ventilation. Offices are arranged in staggered prismatic volumes supported by three curved concrete cores. The atrium and openings between the volumes create a natural ventilation effect. In addition, there is a double skin to the building: the offices are enclosed by glass and are shaded by a sliding wood panel system. These panels can be manually moved to create optimum shading for different work environments and times of day/year.

And, it's beautiful as all get out. Carme, it's time to get a website already.

Tipped off by Via Arquitectura.

Abu Dhabi Update: Louvre Signs On


The Louvre is going franchise. For $520 million, Abu Dhabi has licensed the Louvre name for its previously-titled "classical museum". Read all about it in the New York Times today. While the article is full of details like art exchanges, price tags, and a cursory overview of the financial and political relationship between France and the United Arab Emirates, what really interests us is the new rendering of the underside of Nouvels' dome (pictured), previously reported on here. For us, the global branding of art, a result of the commoditization of art, is of little interest. We want that amazing building to be real.

Abu Dhabi Update Part 2: Zaha and Nouvel


This Abu Dhabi wonderland update we are showing off pictures of the models for the designs by Jean Nouvel (pictured) and Zaha Hadid.

Nouvel's scheme for a "classical museum" (possibly a branch of the Louvre) features a huge, flattened dome over an open-air arrangement of smaller buildings. It's like a village, shaded with a space dome. We think it's gorgeous.

Click Continue Reading to see a close-up of the Nouvel dome, and to experience the Zaha model goodness.

Abu Dhabi Update Part 1: Overview, Ando, and Gehry


A few weeks ago we mentioned a new design by Zaha Hadid for a planned arts supercomplex in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. A special UAE correspondant has provided us with photographs of the exhibition. We weren't prepared for the amount of detail and vigor that went into the models and design of each proposal, and for our correspondant's wonderful close-up photography.

Click Continue Reading for amazing pictures with the Tadao Ando and Frank Gehry proposals.