Tag Archives | Architecture

Googie: Architecture Of The Future That Never Was

Paleofuture on the mid-twentieth century school of design in which apartment buildings, restaurants, stores, banks, and hotels were built in a style heralding the rise of the space age. If only we still lived in a Googie world:

Before I moved to Los Angeles (almost 2 years ago now) I had never heard the word Googie. I didn’t know the word, but I definitely knew the style. And I suspect you might too.

Googie is a modern (ultramodern, even) architectural style that helps us understand post-WWII American futurism — an era thought of as a “golden age” of futurist design for many here in the year 2012. It’s a style built on exaggeration; on dramatic angles; on plastic and steel and neon and wide-eyed technological optimism. It draws inspiration from Space Age ideals and rocketship dreams. We find Googie at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the Space Needle in Seattle, the mid-century design of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, in Arthur Radebaugh‘s postwar illustrations, and in countless coffee shops and motels across the U.S.

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Radioactive Time Capsules Of The Southwest

The Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles examines what they term “perpetual architecture” — several dozen cell structures scattered across the desert of the U.S. southwest holding radioactive hazards. These edifices are designed to exist forever — thousands of years from now, in a vastly different world, these may be the only remnant of our civilization. Below is the Green River Disposal Cell in Utah:

More than 30 of these disposal cells have been constructed over the last 25 years, primarily to contain radioactive contamination from decommissioned uranium mills and processing sites. They are time capsules, of sorts, designed to take their toxic contents, undisturbed, as far into the future as possible.

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The American Geography Of Incarceration

We may peruse neighborhoods on Google Maps, read about suburban sprawl and new city developments, but millions of Americans exist in a different, ignored geography. Via the The Funambulist:

Prison Map is a project developed by Josh Begley, a graduate student at NYU. Let’s recall that 2.5 millions people are living in prison in this country. Such a project illustrates therefore a sort of hidden urbanism in which 0.8% of the American population live for a given time.

They illustrate a geography of exclusion [and] often ironically appear similar to European palaces with well-ordered classical plans.

prison

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How Hollywood Killed The Las Vegas Starship Enterprise

Gary Goddard, CEO of entertainment design firm The Goddard Group tells the story of how a full scale Starship Enterprise very nearly came to Las Vegas in 1992, only for Paramount Pictures' CEO Stanley Jaffe to ruin every Trekkie's wet dream:
...We learned everything we could about the Starship — its actually size and dimensions, how it would exist in “dry dock” on the planet if indeed such a situation had been possible. We imagined what it could be, and how we might achieve it. We got Ken Ball (former head of engineering at Disney’s MAPO) involved to figure out how to engineer and support it. (Ultimately we realized we would need to add some supports on the outer edge of the “disc” section due to the extremely high wind conditions in Vegas. For this we created a high tech “scaffolding structure” that gave the ship more of the appearance of being in an open-air dry dock. I have not yet located that sketch, but I’ll try to find it.) Source: The Goddard Group The “big idea” was building the ship itself at full-scale. That was the main attraction. That being said, we also knew we would have to have some kind of “show” on board...
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Millionaires’ Doomsday Shelter Being Built Below Kansas Prairie

doomsdayA new standard of luxury in apocalypse survivalism? Via the Daily Mail:

These luxury flats, deep in the shaft of an abandoned missile silo, are meant to withstand everything from economic collapse and solar flares to terrorist attacks and pandemics. So far, four buyers have thrown down a total of about $7 million.

Developer Larry Hall is installing an indoor farm to feed 70 people for as long as they need to stay inside. Other floors will be for a pool, a movie theater and a library, and when in lockdown mode there will be floors for a medical center and a school.

And, of course, an elaborate security system and staff will keep marauding hordes out. The condo elevator will only operate if a person’s fingerprint matches its system, Hall said. Cameras will monitor a barbed-wire topped fence and give plenty of warning of possible intruders. Responses can range from a warning to lethal force.

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Secret City: Illegal Architecture of Taiwan

TaipeiMany cities in Asia proper, have captured the imaginations of authors, specifically science fiction writers, due in large part due to their disjointed, chaotic, and multi-layered nature. These cities have a tendency to map their histories, migration patterns, linguistic groups and associated economic levels onto the very architecture and design of the city. In Taipei much of the building is done illegally, in ‘secret’ places all around the city, particularly by rural migrants, artists and experimental architects. This has resulted in some very dynamic and cyber-punk worthy designs that further colour the fabric of Taipei. Via Web Urbanist:

Beyond the ‘official city’ of Taipei, where modernization and beautification efforts are glossing over the city’s natural and historical origins, there’s Instant City. Using Taipei’s conventional modern architecture as a platform and energy source, this network of illegal architecture attaches itself ‘like a parasite’ to create unsanctioned urban farms, night markets and other social gathering places.

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Sifting the Rubble

Wang Shu

Wang Shu. Photo: Elekhh (CC)

A building, that uses historical rubble a main building component, is causing rumblings in the architecture community. What implications does this have on building a sustainable future? Via Inhabitat:

The 2012 Pritzker Prize was just announced this morning, and the winner is Wang Shu — the first Chinese architect to receive the honor. Wang Shu runs Amateur Architecture Studio with his wife Lu Wenyu out of Hangzhou and is also the head of the Architecture Department of the China Academy of Art.

Responsible for a number of large cultural and social projects in his native country, Wang Shu has become known for work that is “deeply rooted in its context and yet universal.” Some of Wang Shu’s most well known projects include the Library of Wenzheng College at Suzhou University, the Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum, the Ningbo History Museum, phase 1 and 2 of the Xingshan Campus of the China Academy of Art, and the Vertical Courtyard Apartments.

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The Therapeutic Singing House

To be unveiled in New Orleans -- a home equipped with a drone synthesizer that produces pleasing tones reflecting the surroundings. I hope this architectural innovation catches on everywhere:
Demonstration of latest Quintron invention called THE SINGING HOUSE. This is an analog "drone synth" can be installed into any building in order to provide its inhabitants with a pleasing chord that is constantly changed by the weather. Preliminary studies have show that these soothing sounds can bring mental relaxation and healing to the modern home or institution. The music is actually played by the skies above. No two days sound the same.
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Strange Rooms And Devices Inside Scientology’s Super Power Building

Via the Village Voice, unbelievable renderings of the chambers to be used for testing, training, and sensory enhancement of Scientology adherents:

The Voice has obtained hundreds of new renderings of Scientology’s Super Power Building in Clearwater, Florida. L. Ron Hubbard devised the “Super Power Rundown” in 1978. He envisioned it as a series of counseling routines with the use of elaborate and futuristic platforms and machines. In 1998, Hubbard’s successor broke ground on a massive new building project, “Flag Mecca,” known commonly as the Super Power Building, where the new rundown would be housed. Thirteen years and $145 million in fundraising later, the building is thought to be largely completed, but it is still not open for business.

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Are Skyscrapers Linked With Financial Collapse?

DubaiTowersSo says the BBC. On various continents, and going back for over a century, the construction of new record-nearing skyscrapers seems to be a consistent canary in a coal mine indicating that an economic bubble exists and a financial crash will soon occur in a given society:

There is an “unhealthy correlation” between the building of skyscrapers and subsequent financial crashes, according to Barclays Capital.

Examples include the Empire State building, built as the Great Depression was under way, and the current world’s tallest, the Burj Khalifa, built just before Dubai almost went bust. China is currently the biggest builder of skyscrapers, the bank said. India also has 14 skyscrapers under construction.

“Often the world’s tallest buildings are simply the edifice of a broader skyscraper building boom, reflecting a widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction,” Barclays Capital analysts said.

The bank noted that the world’s first skyscraper, the Equitable Life building in New York, was completed in 1873 and coincided with a five-year recession.

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