Tag Archives | Architecture

The Weird Occult Origins of Downtown LA’s Famous Bradbury Building

Hey Angeleno disinfonauts, have you ever noticed the Bradbury Building downtown?

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According to Curbed Los Angeles it has some rather curious occult origins:

The timeless, fantastic Bradbury Building at Broadway and Third Street is a much-beloved Downtown Los Angeles landmark, most widely known for its significant appearances in movies including Blade Runner(500) Days of Summer, and Marlowe, starring the late James Garner. But before it was a popular film set, it was the idea of a gold-mining magnate who really wanted to put his name on a building. His vision led him to turn down a prominent architect and mysteriously commission a totally untrained one instead, and that not-quite-architect, George H. Wyman, turned to ghosts and literature to pull it off. Avery Trufelman, producer of the design and architecture podcast 99 Percent Invisible, talked to Esotouric operators Kim Cooper and Richard Schave about the eerie history of what 99 PI calls “arguably the biggest architectural movie star of Los Angeles.”

As the story goes, Lewis Bradbury, a gold-mining millionaire, decided he wanted to build and put his name on a building, so in 1892 he commissioned prominent architect Sumner P.

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The New Googleplex: A Titanic Human Terrarium

“The next Googleplex goes way beyond free snacks and massages; it’s a future-proof microclimate,” writes Brad Stone for Bloomberg:

The most ambitious project unveiled by Google this year isn’t a smartphone, website, or autonomous, suborbital balloon from the Google X lab. You can’t hold it, or download it, or share it instantly with friends. In fact, the first part of it probably won’t exist for at least three years. But you can read all about it in hundreds of pages of soaring descriptions and conceptual drawings, which the company submitted in February to the local planning office of Mountain View, Calif.

Credit: BIG/Heatherwick Studio

Credit: BIG/Heatherwick Studio

 

The vision outlined in these documents, an application for a major expansion of the Googleplex, its campus, is mind-boggling. The proposed design, developed by the European architectural firms of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, does away with doors. It abandons thousands of years of conventional thinking about walls.

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Ernest Becker’s “Immortality Project” Theory and The Pyramids

Ricardo Liberato via Wikimedia Commons.

Ricardo Liberato via Wikimedia Commons.

Anthropologist Ernest Becker proposed a particularly interesting premise in his 1973 book, The Denial of Death, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1974. The book proposes that civilization is driven by a symbolic defense mechanism created by the awareness of our mortality, which acts as an intellectual and emotional response to our survival mechanism. In other words, people attempt to outlive their own lives by doing or becoming a part of something that will symbolically transcend their own death. It reminds me of the eerie quote at the beginning of the movie Troy.

“Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?” — Odysseus in the movie script of Troy

Becker suggests that there exists a fundamental duality between a symbolic world of human-defined meaning and the perceived physical world of objects.… Read the rest

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Urban Treehouse That Absorbs Pollution

© Beppe Giardino

© Beppe Giardino

Not only is this apartment complex badass, but it’s also good for the environment. The apartment building, 25 Verde located in Turin, Italy, contains 150 trees that absorb air pollution and noise pollution.

The building, designed by Luciano Pia, elevates the trees “off the ground in an attempt to evade Turin’s homogeneous urban scene and integrate life into the facade of the residential building.” The trees absorb about “200,000 liters of carbon dioxide an hour,” while providing insulation from the busy street and glaring sun.

© Beppe Giardino

© Beppe Giardino

What are the chances NYC would build something like this? I’m thinking slim-to-none…

Check out more photos at Colossal.

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The Futuro Houses of 1960

via Atlas Obscura:

The Futuro House was designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in the late 1960s. Made of new materials like plastic and manufactured to be portable and adaptable to diverse terrain with its raised legs, the capsule house was imagined as a ski chalet with a quick heating system. You entered through a hatch to an elliptical space with a bedroom, bathroom, fireplace, and living room. Suuronen soon saw its potential beyond the slopes, and through the Futuro Corporation built the lightweight houses as a prefabricated, compact housing solution adaptable for any corner of the globe.

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Steve Rainwater (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Futuro House in Rockwall, TX as it appeared in April, 2003.
Steve Rainwater (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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What Architecture Is Doing to Your Brain

Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. (Katie Brady/Flickr)

Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. (Katie Brady/Flickr)

via City Lab:

At a particular moment during every tour of Georgetown University’s campus, it becomes necessary for the student guide to acknowledge the singular blight in an otherwise idyllic environment.

“Lauinger Library was designed to be a modern abstraction of Healy Hall…,” a sentence that inevitably trails off with an apologetic shrug, inviting the crowd to arrive at their own conclusions about how well it turned out. Much of the student population would likely agree that the library’s menacing figure on the quad is nothing short of soul-crushing. New research conducted by a team of architects and neuroscientists suggests that architecture may indeed affect mental states, though they choose to focus on the positive.

I spoke with Dr. Julio Bermudez, the lead of a new study that uses fMRI to capture the effects of architecture on the brain. His team operates with the goal of using the scientific method to transform something opaque—the qualitative “phenomenologies of our built environment”—into neuroscientific observations that architects and city planners can deliberately design for.

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DIGITAL ADDICTION | Imitate Modern Gallery

RHK1Having just returned to London from painting his largest architectural scale installation to date, the exterior of a massive 5 story, 10k square foot food bank in Lower Silesia – Poland, RSH announces the release his limited edition print DIGITAL ADDICTION via London’s Imitate Modern Gallery.“Digital Addiction” is a powerful abstract metaform built from composite layers of paintings/3D modelling/html5 panorama/and collage to create an extraordinary print of light and depth that thematically considers society’s 21st century addiction to digital imagery and its continual manipulation.

A 5 colour silk screened, 3 colour ways print in an edition of 33 each on 400 gsm heavy Bristol paper with metallic ink overlays in each of copper, gold, and silver editions. The print image is 24×24 inches on a 32×32 inch sized paper.

“At all levels, ultimately graffiti is an act of cultural insurgency. It is a rebellion; against the norm, against society at large, against corporations, against the city or “government.” Graffiti is the act of changing the visual environment in the public space.
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One of America’s Most Famous Architects Was a Nazi Propagandist

Philip Johnson.2002.FILARDOThat would be Philip Johnson, who once said “[t]he people with money to build today are corporations – they are our popes and Medicis.” Matt Novak details Johnson’s fascist beliefs, his Nazi sympathizing and hatred for Jews, whom he described as “a different breed of humanity, flitting about like locusts,” at Gizmodo:

American architect Philip Johnson designed some of the most iconic buildings of the 20th century. Johnson, who died in 2005, has long been hailed as one of the greats. But there’s one fact about the man that many people in the architecture community don’t like to talk about: Johnson was a fascist who openly supported Adolf Hitler and the Nazis for nearly a decade.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1964 New York World’s Fair opening, so special attention is being paid to one of Johnson’s most beloved buildings: the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows.

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The Way People Think And Act Is Affected By Ceiling Height

ceilingIs your mental range of possibility being stifled by the ceiling above you? From a little while ago, via ScienceDaily:

Recent research by Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, suggests that the way people think and act is affected by ceiling height.

“When a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly,” said Meyers-Levy. “They might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics.”

The research demonstrates that a higher versus a lower ceiling can stimulate the concepts of freedom versus confinement, respectively. This causes people to engage in either more free-form, abstract thinking or more detail-specific thought. Depending on what the task at hand requires, the consequences of the ceiling could be positive or negative.

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Facebook Building Walled Corporate City For Employees

Via Valleywag, Silicon Valley workers will have the opportunity to disappear inside Facebook, for good:

If Facebook staffers opt to move in to work, they’ll be getting a very sweet deal out of it: the Anton Menlo project includes all the comforts of suburbia and college combined. What 20-something engineer wouldn’t want to live in a walled compound?

Work is only five minutes away—and thanks to mediocre or non-existent public transit options, no one from The Outside will be able to easily visit. It’ll be like you never existed on Earth before joining Facebook.

To really finesse that You’ve-been-removed-from-the rest of society vibe, a six-foot wall surrounds most of the project.

facebook

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