M.I.T., Google, And Umberto Eco Want To Erect a Realtime Cloud Over The 2012 London Olympics

from TechCrunch by Erick Schonfeld

What is it with architects that they feel the need to glom onto the latest buzzwords to justify their projects? A group from M.I.T.’s Senseable City Lab is looking for funding for an ambitious observation deck designed for the 2012 London Olympics. They are calling it the Cloud. It is a “lightweight transparent tower, composed of a ‘cloud’ of inflatable, light-emitting spheres . . . fed by real time information from all over the world.”

The structure is an architectural interpretation of the realtime cloud. Videos of the Olympic events, Twitter and Facebook streams, and other realtime data such as energy usage, Internet traffic, and mobile phone activity will be projected onto LED displays in the Cloud so that people in the Cloud can observe the events from high above London.

M.I.T. credits Google and the engineering firm Arup as part of the design team. Fiction author Umberto Eco is an adviser. In other words, it’s never going to be built. Not by 2012. They don’t even have building permits yet.

The drawings are nice though. Except I’m not sure what that person is doing inside one of those spheres in the bottom image. Is that some sort of realtime cage? He looks like he needs saving.

Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Biggest Polluters Still Not Filing With SEC

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

As Copenhagen nears, the companies in the fossil energy industry that will be actually impacted by the climate bill are still not reporting their climate change risks, according to the Environmental Defense Fund and the Center for Energy and Environmental Security.

Climate-related disclosure “continues to be weak or altogether nonexistent in SEC filings of global companies with the most at stake in preparing for a low-carbon global economy.”

Read more of this story »

A Stoplight For The Progress Bar Generation

from Gizmodo Australia by John Herrman

Progress bars aren’t always accurate, but at least they’re there, giving us hope, curing our angst, and mostly, diverting our attention from the fact that whatever it is, it isn’t done. And soon, they will invade the meatspace. (more…)

Homeowners Associations and and Solar Roof Laws Do Battle

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


The desire to avoid solar confrontations with neighbors could have an effect on architectural design. Here’s how one Southern California homeowner solved that on a new home in San Diego: he hid the panels behind a parapet.

California has already had a law on the books for three decades: The California Solar Rights Act made it illegal to restrict solar system installations, in deeds and certain other documents.

Read more of this story »

California City

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh

[Image: Geoglyphs of nowhere].

In the desert 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles is a suburb abandoned in advance of itself—the unfinished extension of a place called California City. Visible from above now are a series of badly paved streets carved into the dust and gravel, like some peculiarly American response to the Nazca Lines (or even the labyrinth atChartres cathedral). The uninhabited street plan has become an abstract geoglyph—unintentional land art visible from airplanes—not a thriving community at all.

Take a look.

[Image: Empty streets from above, rotated 90º (north is to the right)].

On Google Street View, distant structures like McMansions can be made out here and there amidst the ghost-grid, mirages of suburbia in the middle of nowhere.

And it’s a weird geography: two of the most prominent nearby landmarks include a prison—

[Image: The geometry of incarceration].

—and an automobile test-driving facility run by Honda. There is also a visually spectacular boron mine to the southeast—it’s the largest open-pit mine in California, according to the Center for Land Use Interpretation—and an Air Force base.

To make things slightly more surreal, in an attempt to boost its economic fortunes, California City hired actor Erik Estrada, of CHiPs fame, to act as the town’s media spokesperson.

[Image: Spatial fossils of the 20th century].

The history of the town itself is of a failed Californian utopia—in fact, incredibly, if completed, it was intended to rival Los Angeles. From the city’s Wikipedia entry:

satellite photos shows the extent of the scarred desert and how it stakes its claim to being California’s 3rd largest geographic city, 34th largest in the US. California City was incorporated in 1965.I can see an amazing article being written about this place for GOOD magazine —”California and its Utopias,” say—or The New Yorker, or, for that matter, Atlas Obscura. The large-scale spatial remnants of an economic downturn, decades in advance of today’s recession.

[Images: Zooming in on the derelict grid].

Either way, and with any luck, a road trip out through the deserted inscriptions of this forgotten masterplan will hopefully beckon once BLDGBLOG moves back to Los Angeles.

(California City was pointed out to me a very long time ago by a BLDGBLOG reader—whose original email I can no longer find. If it was you who pointed this out to me, I owe you a huge thanks! David Donald—who also pointed out that California City was written up byThe Vigorous North last year).

Bas Princen, Mokattam Ridge (Garbage city)

from we make money not art by Regine

174kI first thought Princen’s photograph was fake. How could this be real? Looking online for the location of the photo, Mokattam, i discovered the image is authentic. It’s a suburb of Cairo, called Garbage City. A community of mainly Coptic Christians were allowed to collect and dispose of Cairo’s waste by feeding it to their pigscontinue

we architecture: TT-villa

from Designboom – Weblog


TT-villa

we architecture‘s TT-villa was designed to optimize the surroundings in which it is situated.
located in phuket, thailand, the aim was to design a building where both interior and exterior
has equal contact to nature and sea, an oasis in a tropical surrounding with the commodities
of modern living. the residence is west facing, hillside near the sea built partly carved into the rock.
the building steps down the hill providing interior and exterior access between the entrance
at the top and the beach below. along these paths, the layout of the house provides terraces
connected to the various rooms of the building and where nature has the ability to grow
unobstructed between the volumes of the villa.

the house is divided into three floors. the top floor, near the entrance, is the one which functions
more as a public, communal space. throughout the middle there are semi-private rooms,
with the lower level housing the mots private spaces. by offsetting the three floors, they have
created additional terraces. rotating the floors opens up the house towards the sea and maximizes
these outdoor areas.

rather than having a backside as a traditional cliff side villa, the building is placed in such a way
that there are views both towards the sea and the green rocky slope. the vegetation grows
between the different floors of the building making the inside and outside flow into one another.
opening up the villa’s blinding system completely, gives you picturesque views, transforming your
living, dining or bedroom into covered terraces.


the residence is situated on a hill and partly built into the rock


the offset levels have expansive terraces


the blinding system closed


the blinding system partially open


the blinding system fully open provides full views of the surroundings converting the villa’s various rooms into covered terraces


section 1 of the house


section 2 of the house


section 3 of the house


from stacked to staggered


floor plan


floor plan


floor plan

name: TT-villa
assignment: private
type: private villa
client: classified
size: 450m2
place: phuket, thailand
collaborators: uwe wuterich
team: marc jay, julie schmidt-nielsen, marie hesseldahl larsen, hochung kim

UNstudio: beijing creative zone

from Designboom – Weblog


beijing creative zone by UNstudio
image courtesy UNstudio

UNstudio were awarded first prize in the competition to develop a creative zone
located in yanqing, beijing, china.

the beijing creative zone represents the urban typology needed for a new open learning
environment in ‘urbanity in nature’. the design for the creative zone encompasses
compression on a dual scale; the greenbelt and the urban fabric. the urban fabric of
the edge is formed by the interweaving of two distinct yet highly interconnected strips.
in the creation of an architectural park, ateliers and pavilions are organised on the basis
of the chinese garden’s emphasis of ‘one view per step’. the parkland becomes an international
showcase of experimental projects and emerging design practices. by implementing
the four clusters of a products life cycle ‘think, develop, produce and sell’ as a continuous
loop of activity, one creates a platform for all steps of the process towards product sales.


image courtesy UNstudio


image courtesy UNstudio


image courtesy UNstudio


ground floor plan
image courtesy UNstudio


image courtesy UNstudio

project info:
client: people’s government of yanqing county, beijing municipality, beijing institute
of architectural design
location: yanqing, beijing, china
building area: 145.119 sqm
building site area: 210.152 sqm
programme: creative zone masterplan
status: competition entry 1st prize

credits:
UNStudio:
ben van berkel, caroline bos with markus van aalderen, yi cheng pan and mieneke dijkema,
ren yee, clarissa alfrink, megan ng, maud van hees, wendy van der knijff, jae young lee

advisors:
advisor urban development: dcu, pablo vaggione
advisor sustainability: arup shanghai

Winners of the “What Can a New School of Architecture Be?” Competition Announced

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

“What can a new school of architecture be?” This question was the core of the international ideas competition “Laurentian Architecture” which just announced its winning entries. Organized by the Steering Committee for theNorthern Ontario School of Architecture (NOSOA), in partnership with the City of Greater Sudbury and WoodWORKS!, the competition invited students of architecture to submit designs for a new school in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Prizes were awarded the top honors based on their contribution to the research, creation and critique of new ideas for a school of architecture – specifically one that served a culturally diverse community while providing an innovative and globally competitive education. Projects were judged based on their creativity, inventiveness, its potential to stimulate public discussion, and its integration into the downtown of the City of Sudbury.

Members of the jury include Douglas Cardinal, Principle Architect, Douglas Cardinal Architect, Inc., Ottawa, Canada; Anne Cormier, Director, École d’architecture de l’Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada; Craig Dykers, Principle Architect, Snøhetta AS, New York, USA; and Dominic Giroux, President, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada.

These are the winning entries:

1st Place: Daniele Rocchio & Ferdinando Mazza
Focolta di Architettura Valle Giulia Sapienza, Italy

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
1st Place: Daniele Rocchio & Ferdinando Mazza (Focolta di Architettura Valle Giulia Sapienza, Italy)

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
1st Place: Daniele Rocchio & Ferdinando Mazza

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
1st Place: Daniele Rocchio & Ferdinando Mazza

Jury comments: A project that works more closely with the surrounding landscape, readdressing it, bringing it into the core – it is an exciting prospect. This proposal could enhance the industrial landscape that exists today. Highlights the history of the place, enhancing it by using the existing forms to its advantage. It may be the least ‘urban’ of the projects in that it could work almost anywhere. It does however, address urbanism but not in the traditional sense. It’s success is in its intimate spaces and the network of views that are created. There are still questions that remain in terms of elevations, the relationship between the interior and exterior. From a distance, an interesting project that would likely pull you in to explore the downtown. There are many metaphors going on – the mass of the ice, the stone, it’s part of the story of the building. To a certain extent it’s a connector, providing an interesting edge to the core, almost altering the boundaries of the core. There is an appreciation in its sensitivity to orientation based on the northern climate. A very intelligent project that covers a lot of bases. It’s dynamic in the way it addresses urban issues and intriguing in how it’s pieces filter into the surroundings – like a mirage in the distance. People would come to Sudbury to see this building.

2nd Place: Dylan Sauer and Joe Smith
Yale School of Architecture, USA

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
2nd Place: Dylan Sauer and Joe Smith (Yale School of Architecture, USA)

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
2nd Place: Dylan Sauer and Joe Smith

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
2nd Place: Dylan Sauer and Joe Smith

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
2nd Place: Dylan Sauer and Joe Smith

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
2nd Place: Dylan Sauer and Joe Smith

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
2nd Place: Dylan Sauer and Joe Smith

Jury comments: The idea of hop-scotching between buildings to attend each element of the school would be an appealing experience – the notion that you leave a structure and are forced to interact with your surroundings while moving to another structure. Making the entire school downtown rips at the core of what it is to be a school – bringing a ‘soul’ to the core. The project would have benefited from more thought put into the ‘winter experience’. In hustling people through the downtown, this project has certain virtues. As a master plan, this project is successful and would give visibility to the school at every corner. This project provides a great deal of flexibility in its planning. It could benefit from some more sculptural elements. While it doesn’t solve everything, it gives a future competition the option of study for entrants – a basis from which the school could grow.

3rd Place: Michael Blois, Sean MacLean and Jason Fung
Ryerson University, Canada

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
3rd Place: Michael Blois, Sean MacLean and Jason Fung (Ryerson University, Canada)

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
3rd Place: Michael Blois, Sean MacLean and Jason Fung

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
3rd Place: Michael Blois, Sean MacLean and Jason Fung

Laurentian Architecture Winners

Click above image to enlarge
3rd Place: Michael Blois, Sean MacLean and Jason Fung

Jury comments: Also creating a network of buildings, rather than a lone standing structure. In it’s presentation, it’s minimalistic which hurt it to a certain extent. Suggests a different kind of architectural school – one that is spread out in with controlled outdoor spaces. Makes a great effort to realize the potential of the downtown with the addition of a new school of architecture. By expanding its boundaries beyond the school itself, it discusses the possibilities for further infill for other schools and other events to cluster around the school. With further development, building upon its more attractive spaces, this could be a much stronger project. The intent of the project is not expressed through its plans as well as its sections. It has created a direction that is soft and somewhat humble. There is an ability to move easily across the spaces as it digs down and builds up. As a school of architecture, it has a nice scale to it complete with intriguing, intimate spaces.

Images: Laurentian Architecture

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