Thursday, July 30, 2009

cthulhu's new apartment

There goes the neighborhood. Cthulhu recently reported as moving from a small studio apartment in south Cosmic Eternity, to this bright and spacious four-bedroom flat in the Upper Present area. The installations of artist FilthyLuker generally try to anthropomorphize their subject matter. In this case, the giant tentacles of the enormous squid-monster writhe freely in the air as it wiggles it's way into a fresh new skin of bricks and mortar. All at once, the absurd scale of your imagination is realized, and it's what is not seen that moves your imagination to wonder. Or horror.
Often, buildings are said to have human or animal-like features. Windows and doors and columns make faces. Building surfaces sometimes look like scales or skin. And oftentimes, these buildings are noticed more acutely than a typical building-building. Perhaps it's in human nature to associate or recognize living features in the presence of an other. FilthyLuker capitalizes on this trait and lends personality to physical environment in, perhaps, the most primal way possible - to characterize space. In the piece CC TreeV, the tree is transformed from a background object into a participant in the crowd.
Seen on i09.

Images via FilthyLuker on DeviantArt

Thursday, July 23, 2009

poster pocket plants

Combining the acts of adbusting and urban gardening, artists Eric Cheung and Sean Martindale are, by their description, "activating public space" with Poster Pockets. As layer after layer of advertising is posted to the walls of the city, the advertisements themselves become a perfect conduit for the guerilla activity. The artists cut deep into the layers of posters and fold the resultant angles into small planters. Cheung and Martindale then fill the pockets with dirt and a plant. Citing the desire for the act to be repeated and expanded, the artisits have used a Creative Commons license to allow others to use the templates they have provided on their blog Poster Pocket Plants. See the original article on the Torontoist. Also seen on Wooster Collective.

Monday, July 20, 2009

earthquake dinner plate

A test on the worlds largest shake table revealed that this building could structurally withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake. The Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Center subjected the seven-storey wood frame structure to forces equal to the 7.5 quake in order to test a pre-engineered nail-distribution plan and tie-down system. The system withstood the forces applied to it, and remained structuraly stable; only minor surface damage experienced.
The image that intrigues me the most is the interior view of the ground floor framing. The simple wood framing method gives way to structural piers - groups of wood studs. Seven (7) 2x8 wood studs are shown. If the studs are attached correctly in one direction, the structure might provide a high level of load bearing capacity, but would also move freely in a lateral direction. This may enable the entire structure above to sway horizontally during an earthquake event, but would not collapse. Seen on Inhabitat.

martha und daniel gantenbein winery

As an addition to an existing winery, the Gantenbein Winery in Flasch Switzerland by Bearth & Deplazes Architekten, maintains the simple vernacular feel of the region, but adds a textured layer of sophistication to the facade. Structurally, the building is a concrete frame with infilled brick. The double wythe brick skin was designed with the help of Gramazio and Kohler who used a computer generated patterning system and robotic production unit to individually stack and rotate each brick within the wall. Each infill panel was constructed off-site within a precast concrete panel and inserted into the super-structure on site. The resultant effect, when viewed from afar, is a facade composed of three-dimensional bubbles or bunches of grapes. On the interior, the sunlight is diffused into a soft glow that reveals the oversized exterior pattern. Seen on A Daily Dose of Architecture.

Friday, July 17, 2009

the elevator door

Things you don't know about elevators via Tudzy

In naming The Doors, Jim Morrison quoted Aldous Huxley's The Art of Seeing by saying "There's the known. And there's the unknown. And what separates them is the door." Arguably one of the most important inventions in modern construction, the elevator allows users rapid vertical movement through space. The elevator physically connects two places, yet in most cases, the users inside are visually unaware of their movement through space. Instead, they are introduced into a third, distinct environment - the elevator cab. The user enters through a door, the door closes, and as far as they are concerned, the physical world outside of the cab is moved to the other side of the door -the same door they entered through. A change of place has occurred with no changing of places. In this case, the door is the link between two known spaces and yet shields the user from many unknown ones. By removing the visual (known) connection with movement-through-space, the physical distance between space becomes abstracted simply into time. Curiously, this may heighten the users sense of the unknown, which may explain the urge for users to silently search for the rhythm of passing floors validating that movement is actually occurring.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

the natural beauty of attractive and repulsive light

Image Credit: Hong Tang and Yale University.

Scientist Hong Yang at Yale University has proven the ability to "manipulate circuits on silicon board with attractive light" and has now done the same with repulsive light. The technology splits a beam of infrared light down two nano-wires which then causes the silicon chips to move perpindicular to the direction of the light and nano-wires. The ability to control these components in both directions now means that they have complete control over an object -- though at an incredibly small scale -- through the use of light alone. Says Yang, "We've demonstrated that these are tunable forces we can engineer." Small as it may seem, this is an incredible breakthrough considering the ability to engineer functional technology powered by the physical force of light is possible. Photosythesis is the naturally occuring process that allows plants, algea, and bacteria to use sunlight to process carbon dioxide into natural energy-providing elements. Considered as a sustaining source of all carbon-based lifeforms on Earth, photosynthesis -- the conversion of light into energy -- can be viewed as a fundamental condition for "life". Yang's findings may lay the foundation for "living" materials that function and exist indefinately under the power light.

"Photosystem: A light-harvesting cluster of photosynthetic pigments present in the thylakoid membrane of chloroplasts." via Wikipedia.

Seen on i09 and

prada transformer - cinema

A short time ago, we wrote about the Prada Transformer by OMA, the dynamic installation that is four buildings in one; each new floor plate revealed as the entire structure is rotated in place. The second position is now being set up and new photo's have been released. The second position is a cinema and it will showing two films until it is repositioned again to host a fashion exhibit by Prada. Images by Iwan Baan. Seen on ArchDaily.

Monday, July 6, 2009

the age of stupid

Told in hindsight, the British film The Age of Stupid is a foresight of the future we may face and the incredible sense of shame that might very well accompany the great sense of loss. The film follows it's narrator, a lone survivor in the year 2055, as he watches film footage of 2007 and the swirling arguments and political stand-offs that the idea of climate change generated. As he watches real footage from 2007, the narrator (played by Pete Postlethwaite) wonders aloud why we didn't stop climate change while we had the chance. Meanwhile, epic scenes of the disaster and the world we constructed are flashed on the screen. It will be frightening to see real images of natural disasters today side by side with the haunting but beautiful scenes of a post-apocalyptic world and all to easy to see the two being not-to distant relations. Seen on i09.