Technology Vision

Graffiti Research Lab

dripsessions.jpgOne of the reasons we love Gordon Matta-Clark is that his presence in the art world is so unique. He did things to buildings that were disruptive, in a direct, physical way. He played with the very stability of structures, as well as the psychological stability of the interiors.

Graffiti Research Lab may seem more up Coolhunting's alley, but we were turned on when a fellow architect sent along the link to The Drip Sessions, which incorporates a lot of DIY technology, from paint bottles to high-power projectors, all in service of creating light graffiti on New York City buildings (pictured). This project is our favorite, because it is one of the most beautiful. It can be interpreted as an act of defacement, or enhancement, depending on your perspective. Perhaps the best part is that the video is like an instruction video. I want a drippy paint bottle too.

Some of the other projects are more guerilla, like the brilliant and politically charged Threat Advisory Tower. Although the guy leaning over the parapet freaked us out. Life/safety, yo, we have a license for a reason. We received a more unadultered thrill watching the Light Criticism project in action, when hoodie'd artists walk up to and tape up black masks over those stupid moving billboards that endlessly repeat the same ad for television shows, and in the process create a moving work of art.

Cardboard Monday Part 1: São Paolo

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This morning our parent site Cool Hunting unleashes upon the world pictures of Daniela Thomas and Felipe Tassara Architecture at São Paulo Fashion Week. Their installations in the Bienale building by Oscar Neimeyer are entirely composed of white cardboard. The casual nature of the material offsets the coolness of Neimeyer's famous sculptural white concrete to create new spaces and functions inside the existing building.



For more cardboard love, see some more pictures at Moto-à-Porter.

For even more cardboard love, check back here later today.

The Shrinking Freedom Tower

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We're a bit slow on the draw on this one, but we can't let the week end without pointing it out. Rafael Viñoly, one of the architects who worked under the THINK New York banner during the WTC competition, gave a lecture at 7WTC on January 18th describing how unnecessary the Freedom Tower is. The above diagram was copied from Gothamist, who also provides a complete description on the lecture.

StrangeHarvest

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BLDGBLOG points us to a gorgeous site hailing from London called StrangeHarvest. I like to think of it as an English cousin of BLDGBLOG, reflecting an appetite for constructed environments and their relationship to nature. Case in point: the post about astroturfing Texas Highway medians from the January 1971 issue of Texas Highways, whose current manifestation is TexasFreeway.com. This stuff keeps us warm at night.

Unique to StrangeHarvest are some original visual artworks. Our favorite: the highway collages.

New York City's 50 Best Webcams

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I've always said that New York is the best place on earth to experience the internet. The city is mapped online, and vice-versa. The city's life is extended online, and stuff on the internet shapes the phycial form of the city. I said that in 1998, in an article that ANY rejected. (They probably saved my writing career). I always knew I was right, but I didn't really feel vindicated until today.

It is with great pleasure that we discovered, via the ever-vigilant Curbed, NewYorkology's list of New York's 50 Best Webcams. (Are there more than 50? Is there a site that has ALL of them?) For those of you interested in progress at the WTC site: three webcams will take you downtown, without all the hassle of the financial district. Want to take a jaunt up the Hudson River Park, except from your Powermac G4? Check out the 20 Hudson River Park cams. New York, here I come.

Skin + Bones: Fashion and Architecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

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Happy opening night crowds hovering around Greg Lynn’s bubble wall for the Slavin House.

When a colleague mentioned the title of the “Skin + Bones” exhibition to me a few months ago, I had to repress the impulse to vomit. It’s rare that I have such episodes without a heavy night of drinking, but the thought of pinning such an obvious title to such a tired topic evokes turmoil in even the most solid of stomachs.

Had I known that the exhibition would be so well produced, so perfectly in sync with the thesis of mixing fashion with architecture, I might have saved myself the gastronomic discontent. In fact, I think that even the most cynical of mind will find this show a delight to the eye, and a moderate mental work out to the mind. It’s certainly “theory-lite”, but it fulfills the need to simultaneously educate the public about something they tend to take for granted: Fashion + Architecture.

Click Continue Reading for the rest of the review.

Broken Chain: The Genes of the GenHome Exhibition

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On a sunny afternoon in late November, I rolled over to the MAK Center at the Schindler House on Kings Road in order to make sense of GenHome - An exhibition of digerati-leaning architects who are engaged in “Genetic Modifications” of the Schindler House. The show was guest curated by Eran Neuman, Aaron Sprecher, and Chandler Ahrens of Open Source Architecture, and features work from both local and global practices such as Greg Lynn’s LA-based practice FORM, and Servo.

And that’s about all I could make of the content of the show.

Click Continue Reading for more.

Pretty Pictures Friday: Archphoto.ru

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We love visiting modern architecture from places outside of our educational canon: Asia, Africa, South America, Canada, New Jersey. You know, the world outside of the USA and Western Europe. What a pleasure it was to receive an email about archphoto.ru, a commercial gallery of Russian architecture in Moscow and St. Petersberg, spanning from the czars to now.

Being the modern architects we are, we of course went straight for the Constructivist and Brutalist categories for Moscow, and were delighted to find many buildings we've never heard of, and some modern classics we thought long-demolished. Winner in crazy Brutalist (but why we like Brutalism, obsessive expression in only concrete) is "Apartment building" (pictured), credited to A.Meerson, E.Podolskaya, M.Mostovoy, G.Klimenko, and dated 1978.

Specifier Magazine

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This week is New Architectural Magazine Week at Tropolism. Didn't you hear?

First up is a great magazine out of Australia called Specifier. Its publication includes a lot of information on architectural building products, and relates them to projects worldwide. Kind of like Architectural Record, only not so half-assed. Specifier has only recently gone online, which is how we found out about it (thank goodness for our magazine-surfing intern). Our favorite: being able to read and see pictures of the current issue, like this article about the marvellous Metropol Parasol in Seville.

OMA Fun Palace In Beijing

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The New York Times is nothing if not consistent. Another article on OMA/Rem Koolhaas? Send in Robin Pogrebin for more softball pitches. The article on the MoMA show about OMA's new buildings in Beijing does give us a sense of what to expect with the show, but as usual provides little illumination on the building beyond what the architects practiced to say about it. Apparently, when an architect says they are building a fun palace, you just put it in quotes and hope someone else gets the reference. If it's a reference.

Saarinen's TWA: Looking For Life

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Preservationists have been holding their breath about Saarinen's TWA Terminal at Kennedy Airport, dormant since 2001, ever since JetBlue announced they were building their own terminal really, really close to it. Without doing anything to it.

The New York Times reports that the Port Authority is soliciting development proposals for the building. The high notes: Saarinen's original design and details will be restored and preserved, and you can still walk through the space ship tubes to get to the Jet Blue terminal. The low notes: what, really, does one do at an empty terminal building in the middle of an airport forever clogged with traffic? And, as Frank Sanches of the Municipal Arts Society aptly points out, how will such a huge restoration project make this an attractive development? Questions abound.

Preservationists (and Saarinen lovers, like myself) can breath out, and breath in. And hold the breath a little longer.

Denari, Illuminated

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The Flickering Field of Fluoroscape: Illuminated perspectives on Neil Denari.

On a culture-filled Sunday this past September 17th I tromped down to Downtown Los Angeles to take in several fantastic “Spectacles of Culture”. First, I visited the Banksy show, which was held in an out-moded industrial structure off of Santa Fe Blvd. in the heart of LA’s industrial district. Banksy, the merry prankster of the street-art world, jammed the warehouse with examples of his work, and an live elephant as well. I shall not comment on the show as it has already been done to death by the press and therefore can be summed up with the phrase “if you were there, you’d know what I’m talking about”.

The event was, however simply the primer for the next stop which was to take place at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Click Continue Reading for the rest of my review and another picture.

High Waters In New York (And Elsewhere)

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There are recent articles in several places about global warming (like last week's survey in The Economist) and all of them vaguely refer to the fact that a rise is ocean levels would be devastating to urban areas near water, like New York or London. Future Feeder points us to a great Google Maps mashup that describes, exactly, what your neck of the woods would look like with a little rise in ocean levels. Great for disaster fanatics and long-term real estate investors.

Daily Dose Double, Part 1: 40 Bond Street Mockup

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Daily Dose has posted a couple of wonderful posts lately. First of all, the completely-unreported-by-New-York-blogs news that the Herzog and DeMeuron designed 40 Bond Street, here in Manhattan, had put up some kind of construction mockup of the glass trim. The speculation from the photographs is well-documented by DD. We add that the original press on this was for a "cast glass" exterior, not a curved float glass element; the mockup looks like the prismatic effect of cast glass is lost by having curved glass. Perhaps this was just a test of an option under consideration.

The Abandoned Pods, Part 2

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A month ago we pointed out something posted by our friends at Tranism about some abandoned housing pods outside of Taipei. It was our response to the craze over some overhyped pods in a recent New York City loft conversion. We got several dozen emails asking us more. We asked for more. Tranism has delivered more; see their site for many more pictures, and the unusual (for western cultures) reason for its abandonment.

Toledo Glass Pavilion Opens

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Last week saw the opening of the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art. Sanaa, the Japanese architectural firm led by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, designed the curved-glass-walled structure. It joins one of Frank Gehry's early lead-coated-copper-clad structures at the Museum. The New York Times' Nicolai Ouroussoff writes a great description of his tour of the building, which includes a moment of frisson from his visit to Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan.

Also of note are the slideshows posted by the Museum throughout the pavilion's construction. They are a wonderful document of the construction process for a Sanaa building.

Versailles In The Pacific

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Pruned posts a long and fantastical article called Versailles In The Pacific. It begins with the announcement of a device called AMOEBA (Advanced Multiple Organized Experimental Basin, of course), which gives humankind the ability to write the letter "S" into the surface of water. We weren't astounded, until Pruned did a Thomas Edison on us and speculated about the practical applications of this discovery:

Of course, we cannot wait until a larger version of the AMOEBA gets built, something continental or oceanic in scale. And then rather than propagating saccharine heart shapes and smily faces or boring letters and numbers, one could inscribe the Gardens of Versailles in their entirety somewhere in the South Pacific.
Unfortunately, there is also the possibility of weaponizing AMOEBA waves in the same way one could easily turn any natural earth systems, e.g. earthquakes, into a national security threat. Because once the machine falls into the hands of al-Qaeda, they can then easily wipe Los Angeles off the map with a tsunami. In the shape of Versailles.

Check out Pruned for more tasty images. This is the stuff that gets us out of bed each morning.