Tag Archives | Architecture

The Architectural-Utopia Desert Commune Of Arcosanti

arcosantiVisionary architect Paolo Soleri died in April at 93. His landmark work is the domed utopian village Arcosanti in Arizona, a communal, hippie-futurist "human laboratory" created in 1970, where hundreds of people still live with the purpose of developing new ways of physically organizing human life. ArchDaily writes:
Paolo Soleri spent a lifetime investigating how architecture, specifically the architecture of the city, could support the countless possibilities of human aspiration. The urban project he founded, Arcosanti, 65 miles north of Phoenix, was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as "the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.”
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Robot Discovers Unknown Passageways Below The Aztec Temple of Quetzalcoatl

quetzalcoatl

The hidden chambers could contain the corpses of the ancient civilization’s rulers, about whom very little is known. Via the Daily Mail:

A tiny robot has made a momentous archaeological discovery deep under the famous Temple of Quetzalcoatl, it was announced on Monday. The robot has spent months exploring the tunnels under the celebrated temple, which lies about 37 miles north of Mexico City. The temple is best known for the towering Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun.

Experts expected to find just one ancient chamber at the end of a stretch of 2,000-year-old unexplored tunnel at the Teotihuacan site. Instead, the remote-controlled vehicle has beamed back images of three mysterious caverns.

The complex of pyramids, plazas, temples and avenues was once the center of a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants and may have been the largest and most influential city in pre-Hispanic North America at the time. But nearly 2,500 years after the city was founded, very little is known about the identity of its rulers.

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Kansas City Police Uncover A Subterranean Suburb Inhabited By Homeless

subterranean suburb homeless campIn the coming years, expect living in the tunnel cities with the outlaws, rejects, and copper bandits to become an increasingly popular lifestyle option. From Kansas City’s KMBC:

Kansas City police uncovered an underground suburb used by the homeless on the city’s northeast side. KMBC’s Haley Harrison reported that a homeless outreach group said it was unlike anything they’ve ever seen. The subterranean refuge has caves and tunnels.

Police were evicting the homeless because of the squalid conditions. “We’re working to find out if in fact they’ve got kids down here because this is not a safe environment for that,” Cooley said.

Cooley told Harrison that he first went to the area because of a rash of crime. Police said copper thieves have repeatedly struck a nearby grain mill, most recently swiping a valuable piece of equipment and now millions of dollars worth of grain is in danger of going bad.

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Have Prisons Become The Mass Housing Of Our Time?

Via Creative Time Reports, aerial photographer Christoph Gielen on prisons as the new housing boom:

Since 1980, when the U.S. prison population began to increase dramatically, Americans have been living in an era of mass incarceration, which Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has called one of the “greatest social experiments of our time.” The Spatial Information Design Lab, a think- and action-tank at Columbia University, goes so far as asking, “have prisons and jails become the mass housing of our time?”

I want to illustrate how prison design and architecture do in fact reflect political discourse, economic priorities, cultural sentiments and social insecurities, and how, in turn, these constructed environments also become statements about a society.

The opportunity to visually examine these restricted locations is significant; while some (low-resolution) satellite images of prison complexes are available in the public domain, the public cannot inspect Supermax facilities on the ground.

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400-Year-Old Masonic Secret Chamber Uncovered In Historic British Manor

Do the rituals of freemasonry go back further than anyone has realized? The BBC reports:

A secret chamber, hidden for 400 years and with possible links to early freemasonry, has been discovered.

The entrance to the room, which has plastered walls, was found inside a cupboard at the National Trust-owned house Canons Ashby, near Daventry. It is a paneled room with walls showing crests of local families and enigmatic symbols.

Laura Malpas, community manager of the trust, said there was “speculation” the room had been an early masonic lodge. Ms. Malpas said it was “a fascinating and puzzling space” with walls that include “frankly odd Latin texts.” She added: “There has been speculation that this room was used as an early form of Masonic lodge before Freemasonry was established in England some 130 years later in 1717.”

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The Hidden Geography Of Optical Calibration Targets

The Center for Land Use Interpretation on symbols strewn across the American landscape which make sense only to airborne machines:

There are dozens of aerial photo calibration targets across the USA, curious land-based two-dimensional optical artifacts made mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, and many are still in use, though their history is obscure.

Most of them follow the same form established by the Air Force and NASA. The pattern painted on the targets is sets of parallel and perpendicular bars that function like an eye chart at the optometrist. For aerial photography and satellites, it provides a platform to test, calibrate, and focus aerial cameras traveling at different speeds and altitudes.

Many of these resolution test targets are found in the Mojave desert of California, one of the principal development and test areas for surveillance aircraft. The largest concentration in one place is on the grounds of Edwards Air Force Base, where calibration targets run for 20 miles.

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Designing A City Impenetrable To Drones

Chapati Mystery lays out plans for the hypothetical Shura City, a place of beauty and atmosphere and freedom of movement, but no fear of U.S. drone strikes:

Drones work by detecting patterns, identifying individuals, and extracting data. I dreamed up Shura City to fight against drones with humanity and community. The city is a “black box” impenetrable to data miners and military-trained individuals but it is not a prison.

It is at best expensive and at worst impossible to build armor that can deflect any American bomb. Shura City instead uses inscrutability as its armor. Its windows are protected by computerized mashrabiyas that blink and recombine into various QR codes to jam leering cameras. Its expansive courtyard is protected by latticework with backlit (by color-changing LED) windows that allow for sunshine for children and stars for young lovers, but also make face detection tricky with color blocks and changing shadows.

Badgirs and minarets do their part to provide wild fluctuations of temperature (so that individual bodies are difficult to identify with infrared) and to provide high-wattage radio towers to interfere with wireless communication.

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Balloon-Like Space Dwelling To Be Tested On International Space Station

Reuters on the silvery space pod in which you’ll be spending future vacations:

A low-cost space dwelling that inflates like a balloon in orbit will be tested aboard the International Space Station, opening the door for commercial leases of future free-flying outposts and deep-space astronaut habitats for NASA.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), developed by privately owned Bigelow Aerospace and about 13 feet long and 10.5 feet in diameter when inflated, is scheduled for launch in mid-2015 aboard a Space Exploration Technologies’ Dragon cargo ship, said Mike Gold, director of operations for Bigelow Aerospace.

A successful test flight on the space station would be a stepping stone for planned Bigelow-staffed orbiting outposts that the company plans to lease to research organizations, businesses and wealthy individuals wishing to vacation in orbit.

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Scientology Has Secret Alien-Themed Doomsday Compound In The New Mexico Desert

A science fiction movie sprung to life — the vast bunker is where Scientology’s elite will hide out when civilization breaks down, and the gigantic etched symbols, visible from above, likely are messages intended for the extraterrestrials who created humanity. Via Live Science:

A secret bunker hidden deep within the deserts of New Mexico is reported to be the “alien space cathedral” of the Church of Scientology, according to a BBC reporter. The site is marked by a large symbol etched onto the desert floor: two diamonds surrounded by a pair of overlapping circles, according to the British newspaper The Sun. A private airstrip, built to serve the controversial church’s leaders, is within walking distance of the symbol.

Journalist John Sweeney claims the church designed the underground site to withstand a nuclear holocaust. Hidden within the complex’s vaults are titanium caskets that hold gold disks inscribed with the original texts of Scientology founder L.

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Man In China Created Fleet Of Floating Doomsday Pods

The best thing to come out of rumors that the world would end this past week? A former furniture maker, Liu Qiyuan of the small village of Qiantun became obsessed with the possibility of a Mayan calendar apocalypse and was driven to build what you see below for his family. The fiberglass pods cost $48,000 each to create and are equipped with oxygen, seat belts, food, and supplies allowing 14 people to survive inside for at least two months. I foresee a future in which we all float through life in these:
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