robertogreco + bldgblog   64

Warnings Along the Drought Line – BLDGBLOG
"Elise Hunchuck, whose project “An Incomplete Atlas of Stones” sought to document warning stones placed along the Japanese coast to indicate safe building limits in case of tsunamis, has called my attention to a somewhat related phenomena in Central Europe.

So-called “hunger stones” have been uncovered by the low-flowing, drought-reduced waters of Czech Republic’s Elbe River, NPR reports. Hunger stones are “carved boulders… that have been used for centuries to commemorate historic droughts—and warn of their consequences.” One stone, we read, has been carved with the phrase, Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine, or “If you see me, weep.”

Although there are apparently extenuating circumstances for the rocks’ newfound visibility—including a modern-day dam constructed on the Elbe River which has affected water levels—I nonetheless remain haunted by the idea of uncovering buried or submerged warnings from our own ancestors stating that, in a sense, if you are reading this, you are already doomed.

Read a bit more over at NPR."
bldgblog  stones  multispecies  morethanhuman  warnings  drought  czechrepublic  elisehunchuck  climatechange  climate  memory  legacy  communication  rivers  europe  2018  history 
october 2018 by robertogreco
The Hit List – BLDGBLOG
"We might say with only slight exaggeration that the United States exists in its current state of economic and military well being due to a peripheral constellation of sites found all over the world. These far-flung locations—such as rare-earth mines, telecommunications hubs, and vaccine suppliers—are like geopolitical buttresses, as important for the internal operations of the United States as its own homeland security.

However, this overseas network is neither seamless nor even necessarily identifiable as such. Rather, it is aggressively and deliberately discontiguous, and rarely acknowledged in any detail. In a sense, it is a stealth geography, unaware of its own importance and too scattered ever to be interrupted at once.

That is what made the controversial release by Wikileaks, in December 2010, of a long list of key infrastructural sites deemed vital to the national security of the United States so interesting. The geographic constellation upon which the United States depends was suddenly laid bare, given names and locations, and exposed for all to see.

The particular diplomatic cable in question, originally sent by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to all overseas embassies in February 2009 and marked for eventual declassification only in January 2019, describes what it calls “critical foreign dependencies (critical infrastructure and key resources located abroad).” These “critical dependencies” are divided into eighteen sectors, including energy, agriculture, banking and finance, drinking water and water treatment systems, public health, nuclear reactors, and “critical manufacturing.” All of these locations, objects, or services, the cable explains, “if destroyed, disrupted or exploited, would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States.” Indeed, there is no back up: several sites are highlighted as “irreplaceable.”

Specific locations range from the Straits of Malacca to a “battery-grade” manganese mine in Gabon, Africa, and from the Southern Cross undersea cable landing in Suva, Fiji, to a Danish manufacturer of smallpox vaccine. The list also singles out the Nadym Gas Pipeline Junction in Russia as “the most critical gas facility in the world.”

The list was first assembled as a way to extend the so-called National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)—which focuses on domestic locations—with what the State Department calls its Critical Foreign Dependencies Initiative (CFDI). The CFDI, still in a nascent stage—i.e. it consists, for now, in making lists—could potentially grow to include direct funding for overseas protection of these sites, effectively absorbing them into the oblique landscape of the United States.

Of course, the fear that someone might actually use this as a check list of vulnerable targets, either for military elimination or terrorist sabotage, seemed to dominate news coverage at the time of the cable’s release. While it is obvious that the cable could be taken advantage of for nefarious purposes—and that even articles such as this one only increase the likelihood of this someday occurring—it should also be clear that its release offers the public an overdue opportunity to discuss the spatial vulnerabilities of U.S. power and the geometry of globalization.

The sites described by the cable—Israeli ordnance manufacturers, Australian pharmaceutical corporations, Canadian hydroelectric dams, German rabies vaccine suppliers—form a geometry whose operators and employees are perhaps unaware that they define the outer limits of U.S. national security. Put another way, the flipside of a recognizable U.S. border is this unwitting constellation: a defensive perimeter or outsourced inside, whereby the contiguous nation-state becomes fragmented into a discontiguous network-state, its points never in direct physical contact. It is thus not a constitutional entity in any recognized sense, but a coordinated infrastructural ensemble that spans whole continents at a time.

But what is the political fate of this landscape; how does it transform our accepted notions of what constitutes state territory; what forms of governance are most appropriate for its protection; and under whose jurisdictional sovereignty should these sites then be held?

In identifying these outlying chinks in its armor, the United States has inadvertently made clear a spatial realization that the concept of the nation-state has changed so rapidly that nations themselves are having trouble keeping track of their own appendages.

Seen this way, it matters less what specific sites appear in the Wikileaks cable, and simply that these sites can be listed at all. A globally operating, planetary sovereign requires a new kind of geography: discontinuous, contingent, and nontraditionally vulnerable, hidden from public view until rare leaks such as these."

[via: https://twitter.com/jbushnell/status/933014185675513856 ]
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  geography  2011  wikileaks  bighere  geopolitics  military  2010  us  gabon  africa  middleast  israel  canada  germany  landscape 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Dumpster Honey – BLDGBLOG
"In a poem I clipped from The New Yorker a while back, Davis McCombs describes what he memorably calls “Dumpster Honey.” It remains a great illustration of altered natures—and the fate of food—in the Anthropocene.

McCombs shows us bees wandering through a rubbish heap “of candy wrappers and the sticky rims / of dented cans, entering, as they might / a blossom, the ketchup-smeared burger // boxes,” mistaking a stained world of “food-grade waxes / mingling with Band-Aids” for healthy flora.

Hapless bees slip their little bodies past “solvents / and fresheners,” picking up industrial food dyes and “the high-fructose / corn nectars” of artificially processed edible waste.

With this in mind, recall several recent examples of bees feasting on edible chemicals in urban hinterlands, in one case actually turning their honey bright red.

As Susan Dominus wrote for The New York Times back in 2010, a stunned Brooklyn beekeeper “sent samples of the red substance that the bees were producing to an apiculturalist who works for New York State, and that expert, acting as a kind of forensic foodie, found the samples riddled with Red Dye No. 40, the same dye used in the maraschino cherry juice” being mixed at a nearby factory.

This had the dismaying effect, Dominus writes, that “an entire season that should have been devoted to honey yielded instead a red concoction that tasted metallic and then overly sweet.” (Amusingly, Brooklyn’s cherry-red honey also inadvertently revealed an illegal marijuana-growing operation.)

Or, indeed, recall a group of French bees that fed on candy and thus produced vibrant honeys in unearthly shades of green and blue. This honey of the Anthropocene “could not be sold because it did not meet France’s standards of honey production,” perhaps a technicolor warning sign, as the very possibility of a nature independent of humanity comes into question.

In the post-natural microcosm of “Dumpster Honey,” meanwhile, McCombs depicts his polluted bees “returning, smudged with the dust / of industrial pollens, to, perhaps, some // rusted tailpipe hive where their queen / grew fat on the the froth of artificial sweeteners,” a vision at once apocalyptic and, I suppose, if one really wishes it to be, ruthlessly optimistic.

After all, perhaps, amidst the litter and ruin of a formerly teeming world, some new nature might yet spring forth, thriving on the sugared colors of factory sludge, beautifully adapting to a world remade in humanity’s chemical image.

It’s worth reading the poem in full. It stands on its own as a vivid encapsulation of these sorts of overlooked, peripheral transformations of the world as we forcibly transition an entire planet into a new geo- and biological era."
bees  environment  anthropocene  insects  multispecies  2017  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  davidmccombs 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Scratching the Surface — 24. Sara Hendren
"Sara Hendren is a designer, artist, writer, and professor whose work centers around adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, inclusive design, accessible architecture, and related ideas. She teaches inclusive design practices at Olin College in Massachusetts and writes and edits Abler, her site to collect and comment on art, adaptive technologies and prosthetics, and the future of human bodies in the built environment. In this episode, Sara and I talk about her own background and using design to manifest ideas in the world, the role of writing in her own design practice, and how teaches these ideas with her students."

[audio: https://soundcloud.com/scratchingthesurfacefm/24-sara-hendren ]
sarahendren  jarrettfuller  design  2017  interviews  johndewey  wendyjacob  nataliejeremijenko  remkoolhaas  timmaly  clairepentecost  alexandralange  alissawalker  michaelrock  alfredojaar  oliversacks  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  nicolatwilley  amateurs  amateurism  dabbling  art  artists  generalists  creativegeneralists  disability  engineering  criticaltheory  integatededucation  integratedcurriculum  identity  self  teaching  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  assistivetechnology  technology  olincollege  humanities  liberalarts  disabilities  scratchingthesurface 
april 2017 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Ghost Streets of Los Angeles
"In a short story called "Reports of Certain Events in London" by China Miéville—a text often cited here on BLDGBLOG—we read about a spectral network of streets that appear and disappear around London like the static of a radio tuned between stations, old roadways that are neither here nor there, flickering on and off in the dead hours of the night.

For reasons mostly related to a bank heist described in my book, A Burglar's Guide to the City, I found myself looking at a lot of aerial shots of Los Angeles—specifically the area between West Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard—when I noticed this weird diagonal line cutting through the neighborhood.

[image]

It is not a street—although it obviously started off as a street. In fact, parts of it today are still called Marshfield Way.

At times, however, it's just an alleyway behind other buildings, or even just a narrow parking lot tucked in at the edge of someone else's property line.

[image]

Other times, it actually takes on solidity and mass in the form of oddly skewed, diagonal slashes of houses.

The buildings that fill it look more like scar tissue, bubbling up to cover a void left behind by something else's absence.

[image]

First of all, I love the idea that the buildings seen here take their form from a lost street—that an old throughway since scrubbed from the surface of Los Angeles has reappeared in the form of contemporary architectural space.

That is, someone's living room is actually shaped the way it is not because of something peculiar to architectural history, but because of a ghost street, or the wall of perhaps your very own bedroom takes its angle from a right of way that, for whatever reason, long ago disappeared.

[image]

If you follow this thing from roughly the intersection of Hollywood & La Brea to the strangely cleaved back of an apartment building on Ogden Drive—the void left by this lost street, incredibly, now takes the form of a private swimming pool—these buildings seem to plow through the neighborhood like train cars.

Which could also be quite appropriate, as this superficial wound on the skin of the city is most likely a former streetcar route.

But who knows: my own research went no deeper than an abandoned Google search, and I was actually more curious what other people thought this might be or what they've experienced here, assuming at least someone in the world reading this post someday might live or work in one of these buildings.

[image]

And perhaps this is just the exact same point, repeated, but the notion that every city has these deeper wounds and removals that nonetheless never disappear is just incredible to me. You cut something out—and it becomes a building a generation later. You remove an entire street—and it becomes someone's living room.

I remember first learning that one of the auditoriums at the Barbican Art Centre in London is shaped the way it is because it was built inside a former WWII bomb crater, and simply reeling at the notion that all of these negative spaces left scattered and invisible around the city could take on architectural form.

Like ghosts appearing out of nowhere—or like China Miéville's fluttering half-streets, conjured out of the urban injuries we all live within and too easily mistake for property lines and real estate, amidst architectural incisions that someday become swimming pools and parking lots.

*Update* Some further "ghost streets" have popped up in the comments here, and the images are worth posting.

[image]

The one seen above, for example, is "another ghost diagonal that begins on 8th St. at Hobart, and ends at Pico and Rimpau," an anonymous commenter explains.

Another example, seen below—

[image]

—is "a block in the Pico-Robertson area," a commenter writes:
I lived there as a teenager, but never noticed the two diagonals until I looked at it with google maps. There are some lots on the west side of the next two blocks north which also have diagonals. And if you continue north across Pico Blvd, you can see diagonal property lines around St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School and the church.

Thanks for all the tips, and by all means keep them coming, if you are aware of other sites like this, whether in Los Angeles or further afield; and be sure to read through the comments for more.

*Second Update* The examples keep coming. A commenter named Lance Morris explains that he did an MFA project "about this very thing, but in Long Beach. There's a long diagonal scar running from Long Beach Blvd and Willow all the way down to Belmont Shore. I tried walking as closely to the line as I could and GPS tracked the results. There are even 2 areas where you can still see tracks!"

This inspired me to look around the area a little bit on Google Maps, which led to another place nearby, as seen below.

[image]

Again, seeing how these local building forms have been generated by the outlines of a missing street or streetcar line is pretty astonishing.

Further, the tiniest indicators of these lost throughways remain visible from above, usually in the form of triangular building cuts or geometrically odd storage yards and parking lots. Because they all align—like some strange industrial ley line—you can deduce that an older piece of transportation infrastructure is now missing.

[image]

Indeed, if you zoom out from there in the map, you'll see that the subtle diagonal line cutting across the above image (from the lower left to the upper right) is, in fact, an old rail right of way that leads from the shore further inland.

To give a sense of how incredibly subtle some of these signs can be, the diagonal fence seen in the below screen grab—

[image]

—is actually shaped that way not because of some quirk of the local storage lot manager, but because it follows this lost right of way."
losangeles  urban  architecture  cities  chinamieville  streets  seams  scars  landscape  2015  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog 
december 2015 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: It Came From Below
"In a short book called Making Time: Essays on the Nature of Los Angeles, writer William L. Fox explores the remnant gas leaks and oil seeps of the city. At times, it reads as if he is describing the backdrop of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Such is the strange and permanent apocalypse of 21st-century L.A.

Fox writes, for example, that “a methane vent opened up in the middle of Fairfax Street” back in 1985, and that it “burned uncontrollably for days before it could be put out.” At night, it was a world lit by flames. Astonishingly, he adds, in 1962 “a Hawthorne woman had a fire under her house—a house with no basement. She located the source of the problem when she went outside and touched a match to a crack in the sidewalk: A flame ran down to it.”

This city where sidewalks burn and sewers fill with oily ooze is a city built here almost specifically for that very reason; Los Angeles, in many ways, is a settlement founded on petroleum byproducts, and the oil industry for which the city was once known never actually left. It just got better at hiding itself.

It is already well known that there are oilrigs disguised in plain sight all over the city. The odd-looking tower behind Beverly Hills High School, for example, is actually a camouflaged oilrig; an active oil field runs beneath the classrooms and athletic fields. Even stranger, the enormous synagogue at Pico and Doheny is not a synagogue at all, but a movable drilling tower designed to look like a house of worship, as if bizarre ceremonies for conjuring a literal black mass out of the bowels of the Earth take place here, hidden from view. If you zoom in on Google Maps, you can just make out the jumbles of industrial machinery tucked away inside.

However, amidst all of this still-functional oil infrastructure, there are ruins: abandoned wells, capped drill sites, and derelict pumping stations that have effectively been erased from public awareness. These, too, play a role in the city’s subterranean fires and its poisonous breakouts of black ooze. "



"It is worth considering, then, next time you step over a patch of tar on the sidewalk, that the black gloom still bubbling up into people’s yards and basements, still re-asphalting empty gravel parking lots, is actually an encounter with something undeniably old and elementally powerful.

In this sense, Los Angeles is more than just a city; it is a kind of interface between a petrochemical lifestyle of cars and freeways and the dark force that literally fuels it, a subterranean presence that predates us all by millions of years and that continues to wander freely beneath L.A.’s tangled streets and buildings."
losangeles  nature  oil  geography  geology  2015  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  centerforlanduseinterpretation  clui  petroleum  williamfox 
march 2015 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Procedural Forestry
"We looked at procedural Brutalism the other week—and, deep in the BLDGBLOG archives, we explored the moors of a procedurally generated British countryside—so why not procedural forestry?

Designer Florian Veltman tweeted two screen grabs the other week, along with the quick comment that he was "working on a procedural forest." The first image, which you can see in his tweet, is just a path or small clearing—almost a holloway—cutting forward through a forest of algorithmic leaves and branches.

But it's the picturesque errorscape seen in the opening image of this post, and in Veltman's second tweet, that really caught my eye. Captioned by Veltman as a "procedural forest gone wrong... or right?," it resembles a kind of upended tectonic plate overgrown with vegetation, pierced by the alien presence of a miscalculated substrate erupting from below.

Procedural forestry, procedural geology, procedural oceanography—the very idea of a procedural natural history is just incredible. Unstoppable worlds endlessly flowering from roots of code. Imagine landscape information modeling becoming weirdly sentient, self-generating, and aesthetically sublime, laced with errors, topographies gone wild—stuttering and mutated—in the infinite seams between digital worlds.

We watch in unearthly awe as coded terrains crack open or glitch apart just enough to reveal their mathematical interiors, buried operating systems indistinguishable from nature whirring away within the roots and leaves."
bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  procedural  forestry  geology  oceanography  naturalhistory  code  landscape  topography  math  mathematics  2014 
september 2014 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Through the Cracks Between Stars
"Paglen ended his lecture with an amazing anecdote worth repeating here. Expanding on this notion—that humanity's longest-lasting ruins will not be cities, cathedrals, or even mines, but rather geostationary satellites orbiting the Earth, surviving for literally billions of years beyond anything we might build on the planet's surface—Paglen tried to conjure up what this could look like for other species in the far future.

Billions of years from now, he began to narrate, long after city lights and the humans who made them have disappeared from the Earth, other intelligent species might eventually begin to see traces of humanity's long-since erased presence on the planet.

Consider deep-sea squid, Paglen suggested, who would have billions of years to continue developing and perfecting their incredible eyesight, a sensory skill perfect for peering through the otherwise impenetrable darkness of the oceans—yet also an eyesight that could let them gaze out at the stars in deep space.

Perhaps, Paglen speculated, these future deep-sea squid with their extraordinary powers of sight honed precisely for focusing on tiny points of light in the darkness might drift up to the surface of the ocean on calm nights to look upward at the stars, viewing a scene that will have rearranged into whole new constellations since the last time humans walked the Earth.

And, there, the squid might notice something.

High above, seeming to move against the tides of distant planets and stars, would be tiny reflective points that never stray from their locations. They are there every night; they are more eternal than even the largest and most impressive constellations in the sky sliding nightly around them.

Seeming to look back at the squid like the eyes of patient gods, permanent and unchanging in these places reserved for them there in the firmament, those points would be nothing other than the geostationary satellites Paglen made reference to.

This would be the only real evidence, he suggested, to any terrestrial lifeforms in the distant future that humans had ever existed: strange ruins stuck there in the night, passively reflecting the sun, never falling, angelic and undisturbed, peering back through the veil of stars.

Aside from the awesome, Lovecraftian poetry of this image—of tentacular creatures emerging from the benthic deep to gaze upward with eyes the size of automobiles at satellites far older than even continents and mountain ranges—the actual moment of seeing these machines for ourselves is equally shocking.

By now, for example, we have all seen so-called "star trail" photos, where the Earth's rotation stretches every point of starlight into long, perfect curves through the night sky. These are gorgeous, if somewhat clichéd, images, and they tend to evoke an almost psychedelic state of cosmic wonder, very nearly the opposite of anything sinister or disturbing.

Yet in Paglen's photo "PAN (Unknown; USA-207)"—part of another project of his called The Other Night Sky— something incredible and haunting occurs.

Amidst all those moving stars blurred across the sky like ribbons, tiny points of reflected light burn through—and they are not moving at all. There is something else up there, this image makes clear, something utterly, unnaturally still, something frozen there amidst the whirl of space, looking back down at us as if through cracks between the stars."



"In other words, we don't actually need Paglen's deep-sea squid of the far future with their extraordinary eyesight to make the point for us that there are now uncanny constellations around the earth, sinister patterns visible against the backdrop of natural motion that weaves the sky into such an inspiring sight.

These fixed points peer back at us through the cracks, an unnatural astronomy installed there in secret by someone or something capable of resisting the normal movements of the universe, never announcing themselves while watching anonymously from space."
satellites  astronomy  stars  ruins  2014  trevorpaglen  geoffmanaugh  theothernightsky  thelastpictures  constellations  bldgblog 
august 2014 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach
"Incredibly, a "new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii," Science reports.

This new rock type, referred to as a "plastiglomerate," requires a significant heat-source in order to form, as plastiglomerates are, in effect, nothing but molten lumps of plastic mixed-in with ambient detritus. Hawaii with its coastal and marine volcanoes, offers a near-perfect formational landscape for this artificially inflected geology to emerge—however, Patricia Corcoran, one of the discoverers of these uncanny rocks, thinks we'll likely find them "on coastlines across the world. Plastiglomerate is likely well distributed, it’s just never been noticed before now, she says."

We've been surrounded by artificial geologies all along.

But is it really geology? Or is it just melted plastic messily assembled with local minerals? Well, it's both, it seems, provided you look at it on different time-scales. After heavier chunks of plastiglomerate form, fusing with "denser materials, like rock and coral," Science writes, "it sinks to the sea floor, and the chances it will become buried and preserved in the geologic record increase." It can even form whole veins streaking through other rock deposits: "When the plastic melts, it cements rock fragments, sand, and shell debris together, or the plastic can flow into larger rocks and fill in cracks and bubbles," we read.

It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to suggest that our landfills are also acting like geologic ovens: baking huge deposits of plastiglomerate into existence, as the deep heat (and occasional fires) found inside landfills catalyzes the formation of this new rock type. Could deep excavations into the landfills of an earlier, pre-recycling era reveal whole boulders of this stuff? Perhaps.

The article goes on to refer to the work of geologist Jan Zalasiewicz, which is exactly where I would have taken this, as well. Zalasiewicz has written in great detail and very convincingly about the future possible fossilization of our industrial artifacts and the artificial materials that make them—including plastic itself, which, he suggests, might very well leave traces similar to those of fossilized leaves and skeletons.

In a great essay I had the pleasure of including in the recent book Landscape Futures, Zalasiewicz writes: "Plastics, which are made of long chains of subunits, might behave like some of the long-chain organic molecules in fossil plant twigs and branches, or the collagen in the fossilized skeletons of some marine invertebrates. These can be wonderfully well preserved, albeit blackened and carbonized as hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen are driven off under the effect of subterranean heat and pressure." Plastiglomerates could thus be seen as something like an intermediary stage in the long-term fossilization of plastic debris, a glimpse of the geology to come.

Ultimately, the idea that the stunning volcanic beaches of Hawaii are, in fact, more like an early version of tomorrow's semi-plastic continents and tropical archipelagoes is both awesome and ironic: that an island chain known for its spectacular natural beauty would actually reveal the deeply artificial future of our planet in the form of these strange, easily missed objects washing around in the sand and coral of a gorgeous beach."
bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  geology  plastics  plastic  2014  janzalasiewicz  hawaii  plastiglomerate 
june 2014 by robertogreco
UNDER TOMORROWS SKY
"UNDER TOMORROWS SKY IS A FICTIONAL, FUTURE CITY. SPECULATIVE ARCHITECT LIAM YOUNG OF THE LONDON BASED TOMORROWS THOUGHTS TODAY HAS ASSEMBLED A THINK TANK OF SCIENTISTS, TECHNOLOGISTS, FUTURISTS, ILLUSTRATORS, SCIENCE FICTION AUTHORS AND SPECIAL EFFECTS ARTISTS TO COLLECTIVELY DEVELOP THIS IMAGINARY PLACE, THE LANDSCAPES THAT SURROUND IT AND THE STORIES IT CONTAINS. ACROSS THE COURSE OF THE EXHIBITION INVITED GUESTS WILL WORK WITH THE CITY AS A STAGE SET TO DEVELOP A COLLECTION OF NARRATIVES, FILMS AND ILLUSTRATIONS. WANDER THROUGH THIS NEAR FUTURE WORLD AND EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES AND CONSEQUENCES OF TODAY’S EMERGING BIOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL RESEARCH. THE EXHIBITION OPENS FOR DUTCH DESIGN WEEK ON OCTOBER 20TH. THE UNDER TOMORROWS SKY PUBLIC THINK TANK WITH LIAM YOUNG, BRUCE STERLING, WARREN ELLIS, RACHEL ARMSTRONG, PAUL DUFFIELD, BLDGBLOG, EDIBLE GEOGRAPHY, NEXT NATURE, THE CENTRE FOR SCIENCE AND IMAGINATION AND NEW SCIENTIST WAS HELD AT MU ON JUNE 16/17. YOU CAN WATCH THE VIDEOS OF THE EVENT HERE. IN COLLABORATION WITH MU ART SPACE, EINDHOVEN AND THE 2013 LISBON ARCHITECTURE TRIENNALE. GET IN CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION"
liamyound  architecture  art  designfiction  scifi  urbanism  sciencefiction  warrenellis  brucesterling  rachelarmstrong  paulduffield  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  nicolatwilley  ediblegeography  cities  2013  future  urban  technology  futurism  illustration  writing  thinking  thinktank  landscapes 
april 2013 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Spacesuit: An Interview with Nicholas de Monchaux
"I was looking for a way to discuss the essential lessons of complexity and emergence—which, even in 2003, were pretty unfamiliar words in the context of design—and I hit upon this research on the spacesuit as the one thing I’d done that could encapsulate the potential lessons of those ideas, both for scientists and for designers. The book really was a melding of these two things."

"But then the actual spacesuit—this 21-layered messy assemblage made by a bra company, using hand-stitched couture techniques—is kind of an anti-hero. It’s much more embarrassing, of course—it’s made by people who make women’s underwear—but, then, it’s also much more urbane. It’s a complex, multilayered assemblage that actually recapitulates the messy logic of our own bodies, rather than present us with the singular ideal of a cyborg or the hard, one-piece, military-industrial suits against which the Playtex suit was always competing.

The spacesuit, in the end, is an object that crystallizes a lot of ideas about who we are and what the nature of the human body may be—but, then, crucially, it’s also an object in which many centuries of ideas about the relationship of our bodies to technology are reflected."

"The same individuals and organizations who were presuming to engineer the internal climate of the body and create the figure of the cyborg were the same institutions who, in the same context of the 1960s, were proposing major efforts in climate-modification.

Embedded in both of those ideas is the notion that we can reduce a complex, emergent system—whether it’s the body or the planet or something closer to the scale of the city—to a series of cybernetically inflected inputs, outputs, and controls. As Edward Teller remarked in the context of his own climate-engineering proposals, “to give the earth a thermostat.”"

"most attempts to cybernetically optimize urban systems were spectacular failures, from which very few lessons seem to have been learned"

"architecture can be informed by technology and, at the same time, avoid what I view as the dead-end of an algorithmically inflected formalism from which many of the, to my mind, less convincing examples of contemporary practice have emerged"

"connections…between the early writing of Jane Jacobs…and the early research done in the 1950s and 60s on complexity and emergence under the aegis of the Rockefeller Foundation"

"Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt—who have gone a long way in showing that, not only should cities be viewed through the analogical lens of complex natural systems, but, in fact, some of the mathematics—in particular, to do with scaling laws, the consumption of resources, and the production of innovation by cities—proves itself far more susceptible to analyses that have come out of biology than, say, conventional economics."
militaryindustrialcomplex  tools  cad  gis  luisbettencourt  janejacobs  meatropolis  manhattan  meat  property  fakestates  alancolquhoun  lizdiller  cyberneticurbanism  glenswanson  parametricarchitecture  parametricurbanism  interstitialspaces  urbanism  urban  bernardshriever  simonramo  neilsheehan  jayforrester  housing  hud  huberthumphrey  vitruvius  naca  smartcities  nyc  joeflood  husseinchalayan  cushicle  michaelwebb  spacerace  buildings  scuba  diving  1960s  fantasticvoyage  adromedastrain  quarantine  systemsthinking  matta-clark  edwardteller  climatecontrol  earth  exploration  spacetravel  terraforming  humanbody  bodies  cyborgs  travel  mongolfier  wileypost  management  planning  robertmoses  cybernetics  materials  fabric  2003  stewartbrand  jamescrick  apollo  complexitytheory  complexity  studioone  geoffreywest  cities  research  clothing  glvo  wearables  christiandior  playtex  interviews  technology  history  design  science  fashion  nasa  books  spacesuits  architecture  space  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  2012  nicholasdemonchaux  wearable  elizabethdiller  interstitial  bod  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Venture Ethnography 1: a bi(bli)ography « Justin Pickard
"Project Cascadia is the test-case for a cluster of ideas I’ve been playing with for the best part of five years. A chance to break out my signature obsessions …

Hauntings, world expos, gonzo journalism, science fiction, systems, geopolitics, utopianism, virtuality, globalisation, the sublime, resilience, collapsonomics, aesthetics, architecture, environmentalism, infrastructure, design, futures studies, sovereignty, atemporality, risk, the nation-state, the uncanny, Americana, technoscience, cyberpunk, multispecies ethnography, fiction, capitalism, the human senses, counterfactual history, media and cyborgs (and media cyborgs)

… and nail them to the mast of a weird and interstitial sort of boat; a soupy, hybrid writing practice that would combine the best of ethnography, journalism and science fiction.

In lieu of a biography, then, I’m offering a bibliography. Five years of my brain, in books, articles, essays, and blog posts…"
urbanism  jgballard  richardbarbrook  marcaugé  warrenellis  jenniferegan  bradleygarrett  donnaharaway  naomiklein  brunolatour  ursulaleguin  ianmacdonald  suketumehta  chinamieville  jimrossignol  michaeltaussig  huntersthompson  adamgreenfield  brucesterling  thomaspynchon  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  cityofsound  danhill  davidgraeber  matthewgandy  williamgibson  corydoctorow  douglascoupland  michaelchabon  jamaiscascio  laurenbeukes  journalism  mediacyborgs  cyborgs  geopolitics  aesthetics  utopianism  risk  atemporality  sovereignty  sciencefiction  cyberpunk  technoscience  ethnography  capitalism  globalization  collapsonomics  resilience  writing  projectcascadia  bibliographies  2011  justinpickard  bibliography  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Lebbeus Woods, 1940-2012
"the genuine & endless difficulty of pursuing our own ideas and commitments, absurd goals no one else might share or even be interested in."

"Lebbeus Woods is the West…should be on the same sorts of lists as James Joyce or John Cage, a person as culturally relevant as he was scientifically suggestive, seething with ideas applicable to nearly every discipline."

"Lebbeus's work was constantly erasing the very surfaces we stood on…"

"Architecture, if you will, is a Wile E. Coyote moment where you look down and realize the universe is missing—that you are standing on empty air—so you construct for yourself a structure or space in which you might somehow attempt survival. Architecture is more than buildings. It is a spacesuit. It is a counter-planet—or maybe it is the only planet, always and ever a terraforming of this alien location we call the Earth."

"…architecture is poetry is literature is myth…is equal to them and it is one of them…"

"Architecture is about the void…"
audrelord  giordanobruno  williamblake  williamsburroughs  alberteinstein  jamesjoyce  johncage  thevoid  void  poetry  philosophy  nyc  lebbeuswoods  architecture  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  2012  canon  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Publishing to the power of two - Architecture - Domus
"The digital revolution has spawned a new generation of small, agile and hyperactive publishers who, over the last decade, have profoundly transformed how architecture and design are broadcast, both in print and online."
print  blogging  blogs  online  2012  myrdlecourtpress  notagateway  deepanaik  trentonoldfield  rubypress  juliendesmedt  beatrizcolomina  runpinderbhogal  marcusfair  eliasredstone  julianschubert  elenaschütz  leonardstreich  davidbasulto  archdaily  césarreyesnájera  dpr-barcelona  alexandertrevi  futureplural  massimomini  birgitlohmann  publishing  design  architecture  designboom  ediblegeography  nicolatwilly  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  dezeen  ethelbaraona  from delicious
october 2012 by robertogreco
Venue
"Venue — a portable media rig, interview studio, multi-format event platform, and forward-operating landscape research base — will pop up at sites across North America from June 2012 through fall 2013.

Under the direction of Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG and Nicola Twilley of Edible Geography, Venue officially launches Friday, June 8, with a public event from 6-8pm at the Nevada Museum of Art in downtown Reno, Nevada.

In collaboration with the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art and with Columbia University’s Studio-X Global Network Initiative, Venue will traverse North America in a series of routes, visiting such sites as New Mexico’s Very Large Array, Arches National Park, the world’s largest living organism in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, and the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival.

At these and many other locations, Venue will serve as a backdrop — or venue — for original interviews with people from an extraordinary range of disciplines, even as it records and surveys…"
2013  mediarig  gregorynanney  brendancallahan  thomjones  jon-kylemohr  folkertgorter  nomadic  2012  outpost  keithscharwath  architecture  design  atleykasky  joealterio  jeffreyinaba  centerforlanduseinterpretation  ediblegeography  futureplural  recording  thevenuebox  mattrichardson  descriptivecamera  surveying  tripods  us  westaf  nea  landscape  interviews  pop-upstudios  pop-ups  chriswoebken  venue  verylargearray  nevadamuseumofart  gloablnetworkinitiative  studio-xny  studio-x  nicolatwilly  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Object Cancers
"In any case, what seems more provocative here, on the level of design, would be to appropriate this protective stance and reuse it in the design of future objects, but emphasizing the other end: to allow for the scanning of any object designed or manufactured, but to to insert, in the form of watermarks, small glitches that would only become visible upon reprinting.

We might call these object cancers: bulbous, oddly textured, and other dramatically misshapen errors that only appear in 3D-reprinted objects. Chairs with tumors, mutant silverware, misbegotten watches—as if the offspring of industrial reproducibility is a molten world of Dalí-like surrealism.

Put another way, the inadvertent side-effect of the attempted corporate control over objects would be an artistic potlatch of object errors: object cancers deliberately reprinted, shared, and collected for their monstrous and unexpected originality."
2012  errors  mutations  brucesterling  objectcancers  3dprinting  objects  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
No Joke: These Guys Created A Machine For Printing Houses On The Moon | Co.Design: business + innovation + design
"First, you solve the material transport problem by making the moon base out of the moon itself. Second, you mitigate the "humans are expensive" problem by keeping them on the ground until the last minute--you use robots to build the base. Recently, USC Professors Behrokh Khoshnevis (Engineering), Anders Carlson (Architecture), Neil Leach (Architecture), and Madhu Thangavelu (Astronautics) completed their first research visualization for a system to do exactly that."
building  madhuthangavelu  bldgblog  neilleach  anderscarlson  behrokhkhoshnevis  houses  future  architecture  3dprinting  technology  fabbing  concrete  construction  timmaly  2012  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Bioluminescent Billboards
"Scientists at UC San Diego have made a bioluminescent bacterial billboard. They call it a "living neon sign composed of millions of bacterial cells that periodically fluoresce in unison like blinking light bulbs." Making it all work "involved attaching a fluorescent protein to the biological clocks of the bacteria, synchronizing the clocks of the thousands of bacteria within a colony, then synchronizing thousands of the blinking bacterial colonies to glow on and off in unison."

These are referred to as biopixels.

So could this vision of a bioluminescent metropolis be far off? UC San Diego suggests that their "flashing bacterial signs are not only a visual display of how researchers in the new field of synthetic biology can engineer living cells like machines, but will likely lead to some real-life applications." Surely it would not take much work—even if only as a media stunt—to make a full-scale functioning prototype of a bioluminescent streetlight?…"
biotechnology  biotech  technology  science  2011  displays  biomimicry  biomimetics  biology  bacteria  biopixels  bioluminescence  bldgblog  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
AA SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE - Lectures Online: Thrilling Wonder Stories 3 (3 of 3)
"We have always regaled ourselves with speculative stories of a day yet to come. In these polemic visions we furnish the fictional spaces of tomorrow with objects and ideas that at the same time chronicle the contradictions, inconsistencies, flaws and frailties of the everyday. Slipping suggestively between the real and the imagined these narratives offer a distanced view from which to survey the consequences of various social, environmental and technological scenarios.

Thrilling Wonder Stories chronicles such tales in a sci fi storytelling jam with musical interludes, live demonstrations and illustrious speakers from the fields of science, art and technology presenting their visions of the near future. Join our ensemble of mad scientists, literary astronauts, design mystics, graphic cowboys, mavericks, visionaries and luminaries for an evening of wondrous possibilities and dark cautionary tales."
mattjones  vincenzonatali  liamyoung  brucesterling  andylockley  philipbeesley  christianlorenzscheurer  charlietuesdaygates  roderichfross  naturalroboticslab  gavinrothery  gustavhoegen  radioscienceorchestra  spov  zeligsound  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  harikunzru  chriswoebken  davegracer  simoneferracina  jaceclayton  lindsaycuff  nettle  andrewblum  jamesfleming  davidbenjamin  thrillingwonderstories  scifi  sciencefiction  art  technology  julianbleecker  storytelling  designfiction  2011  kevinslavin  towatch  debchachra  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
05_Future | Abitare En [Read all five parts, links at the beginning of this one.]
"The future of architecture and design blogging should: 1) make pop culture more interesting by introducing fringe ideas to wider audiences, acting as a bridge between the periphery and the center; 2) synthesize ideas from apparently unrelated fields; and thus 3) unite writers, designers, architects, clients, the reading public, and other practitioners across geographic and professional backgrounds around shared themes of inquiry and concern. In the process, blogging’s future should pursue a larger political goal of changing what conversations take place in the context of architecture and design, who is able to participate in those discussions, and, finally, how widely – and in what form – the results of these exchanges can be disseminated. These are ambitious, even utopian, goals, but they are also part of what it will take to ensure that blogging will, indeed, have a future."

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/12215358947 ]
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  2011  blogging  writing  architecture  design  diversity  interdisciplinary  sciencefiction  geography  synthesis  periphery  ideas  inquiry  thinking  writingasthinking  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
A Brief History of Architecture Fiction: Implausible Futures for Unpopular Places: Places: Design Observer
"First, we identify a suitable building: Something that appears neglected, and seems to have no immediate prospects for a future use. In short, we choose an unpopular place. Next we devise a hypothetical future for that structure. Specifically, we strive to make this future blatantly implausible: maybe provocative, maybe funny; above all engaging. Then an artist creates a rendering based on the imaginary concept. This is printed onto a 3' x 5' sign, modeled on those used by real developers. That sign, finally, goes onto the building."

"Our neighborhood is the sort that people describe as "transitional," and some of the property…is vacant. On one nearby commercial structure…I noticed a sign…You've seen similar signs…It was a rendering of a development, a future, involving a small, empty building. It suddenly struck me that, given how long this sign has been here, what it depicted was, at best, a hypothetical future — and arguably a fictitious one."
design  architecture  writing  fiction  designfiction  robwalker  classideas  architecturefiction  archigram  creativity  jgballard  brucesterling  hypotheticdevelopmentorganization  writingprompts  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  carlzimmerman  brettsnyder  phantomcity  nyc  nola  neworleans  losangeles  cities  urban  urbapotential  foundfutures  honolulu  stuartcandy  packardjennings  stevelambert  genre  storytelling  benkatchor  detroit  dreams  seeing  noticing  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Unsolving the City: An Interview with China Miéville
"Over the course of the following long interview, China Miéville discusses the conceptual origins of the divided city featured in his recent, award-winning novel The City and The City; he points out the interpretive limitations of allegory, in a craft better served by metaphor; we take a look at the "squid cults" of Kraken (which arrives in paperback later this month) and maritime science fiction, more broadly; the seductive yet politically misleading appeal of psychogeography; J.G. Ballard and the clichés of suburban perversity; the invigorating necessities of urban travel; and much more."
chinamieville  thecityandthecity  design  art  architecture  books  cities  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  literature  fiction  jgballard  scifi  sciencefiction  borders  toread  jmwturner  gulliver'stravels  thomaspynchon  gravitysrainbow  tvtropes  via:preoccupations  seeing  unseeing  attention  2011  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Urban Speculation in Los Angeles and Beyond
"In many ways, then, the book is astonishingly extroverted. It's a book by an architecture office about the city it works in, not a book documenting that firm's work; and, as such, it serves as an impressive attempt to understand and analyze the city through themed conversations with other people, in a continuous stream of partially overlapping dialogues, instead of through ex tempore essayistic reflections by the architects or dry academic essays."

Comment from Robert Farrell: "Perhaps the answer to the traditional architectural monograph lies in the above discussed book. How boring it is to see glossy image after glossy image of an architects portfolio put on bookshelf. It seems at a time when most architects are not building much, that investigation should take the lead."
losangeles  bldgblog  michaelmaltzan  architecture  urban  urbanism  cities  books  2011  monographs  portfolios  identity  infrastructure  landscape  resources  experience  density  polity  economics  community  institutions  nomoreplay  photography  meaning  hatjecantz  place  olebouman  iwanbaan  context  charlesjencks  qingyunma  edwardsoja  charleswaldheim  jamesflanigan  sarahwhiting  mirkozardini  catherineopie  geoffmanaugh  jessicavarner  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
DESIGNING GEOPOLITICS · Jun 2+3 2011 · La Jolla, CA > D:GP The Center for Design and Geopolitics
"How does a digital Earth govern itself? Through what jurisdictions, what rights of the citizen-user, what capacities of enforcement, and in the name of what sovereign geographies? In fact we simply do not know. But in the face of fast-evolving cyberinfrastructures that outpace our inherited legal forms on the one hand, and a multigenerational arc of ecological chaos on the other, we need to find out quickly: we need to design that geopolitics."
via:robinsloan  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  vernorvinge  caseyreas  levmanovich  mollywrightsteenson  teddycruz  ucsd  events  2011  togo  benjaminbratton  ricardodominguez  jamesfowler  hernándíaz-alonso  triciawang  peterkrapp  normanklein  sheldonbrown  joshuakauffman  metahaven  edkeller  elizabethlosh  kellygates  manueldelanda  renedaalder  jordancrandall  adambly  charliekennel  naomioreskes  larrysmarr  mckenziewark  joshuataron  danielrehn  tarazepel  calit2  geopolitics  design  architecture  computing  cyberinfrastructures  geography  emergentgovernance  governance  interdisciplinary  computationaljurisdictions  publicecologies  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: On the Grid
"Dutch photographer Gerco de Ruijter recently got in touch with an extraordinary series of aerial photographs called Baumschule—some of which, he explains, were taken using a camera mounted on a fishing rod. <br />
<br />
The series features "32 photographs of tree nurseries and grid forests in the Netherlands.""<br />
<br />
[See also: http://chelseaartmuseum.org/exhibits/2004/agnesdenes/gallery/AgnesDenes_images14.html ]
photography  art  landscape  nature  plants  trees  gercoderuijter  bldgblog  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
Eight Successful People Doing Exactly What They Want - Business - GOOD
"“Someone once accused us of doing nothing but following our whims to their every logical & illogical conclusion,” Jim Coudal says. That is, more or less, exactly right…

Coudal makes physical products, internet tools, & other oddities, any number of which will suck up an entire afternoon if you stumble upon coudal.com. That is perhaps the best way to describe the 50-year-old: He’s a master of the type of ephemera you would probably be playing with if you didn’t have to do your own job…When Coudal Partners started to execute its own ideas, the firm became its own favorite client. “The way we describe what we are now is we are a creative-design and advertising firm with no clients.

“We’re of the school that if you have an idea that you think might work, the answer is not to talk about it for four weeks. The answer is to try it & see what happens,” he says. “If it goes down in flames, that’s fun too.” "

[Also profiles of Alexis Madrigal, Emily Pilloton, Geoff Manaugh, among others.]
jimcoudal  alexismadrigal  emilypilloton  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  projecth  projecthdesign  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Slow Box
"The project, Egashira explains on his website, "required the construction of an over-sized camera vehicle (Slow Box) and an archive space (After Image). Slow Box can fit a person inside its wooden structure. It travels across villages with a help of an agricultural tractor."
architecture  photography  bldgblog  publicspace  cameras  japan  collaboration  slow  design  devices  shinegashira 
june 2010 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG Expedition to the Geoglyphs of Nowhere - Eventbrite
"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 as a series of badly paved streets carved into the dust and gravel, the outer edges of California City are like some peculiarly American response to the Nazca Lines. The uninhabited street plan has become an abstract geoglyph—unintentional land art visible from airplanes—not a thriving community at all.
architecture  california  suburbs  bldgblog  desert  abandoned  mojave  todo  californiacity 
february 2010 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Rousseau and Echolocation
"Entire, community-wide children's games were also devised so that everyone growing up in a village could become intimately familiar with the local landscape. ... But this idea, so incredibly basic, that children's games could actually function as pedagogic tools—immersive geographic lessons—so that kids might learn how to prepare for the coming night, is an amazing one, and I have to wonder what games today might serve a similar function. Earthquake-preparedness drills?"
games  play  rousseau  echolocation  learning  children  architecture  space  history  techniques  communities  bldgblog  tcsnmy  teaching  landscape 
december 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Crash State
"Yet, for the time being, water stills flows from California's taps, the traffic signals still work, and rural towns still have electricity—but what might happen if California really did "collapse"? What would it look like if the state actually did declare bankruptcy, defaulting on billions of dollars in public debt?"
california  infrastructure  urbanism  society  future  collapse  crisis  economics  finance  bankruptcy  2009  bldgblog 
december 2009 by robertogreco
6 Involuntary Parks | Quiet Babylon
When he was still running the Viridian Movement, Bruce Sterling introduced the idea of involuntary parks. Spaces in the world that have become so polluted or otherwise unusable by humans, that they’ve been left to nature (or, at least, savagery).
korea  brucesterling  detroit  centralia  chernobyl  brittany  ecology  landscape  nature  urbanism  environment  bldgblog  parks  ruins  collapse  urbanprairie  urbanreclamation 
november 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Phantom City
"Cheng+Snyder's free download opens up a new kind of historical spectating: architectural tourism of the unbuilt. Perhaps someday we'll be done with monographs, traveling exhibitions, and even senior thesis reviews; we'll simply upload all our projects into the Phantom City and let the world decide their worth. Crowds of tourists mill about on 13th Street, looking around at the imaginary buttresses of a superstructure you've spent three years digitally assembling.

Download the app via the iTunes store and see for yourself."
art  culture  architecture  future  history  books  cities  bldgblog  maps  mapping  iphone  nyc  local  interface  geography  augmentedreality  applications  phantomcity  ios  ar 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Omnivoracious: Building The BLDGBLOG Book: Questions for Geoff Manaugh
"Manaugh: One way to look at this touches on why I like Los Angeles so much: the thing with L.A. is that almost literally no one thinks it actually works. Almost no one will tell you that L.A. is a well-designed city or that it can’t possibly be improved upon because it’s already so perfect.

But that’s why I love living there: every time someone with no connection at all to architecture gets stuck in a traffic jam, they’ll start thinking about alternatives: you know, “if there was a highway here, all of us wouldn’t be stuck at this intersection,” or “if these buildings could be moved over there then we could all just drive straight through and there’d be no more traffic”--and so on...everyday people tend to be almost constantly imagining alternatives: alternative ways of building the city, alternative ways of getting to work, alternative ways of designing houses, etc. L.A. all but requires you to imagine alternatives--and so everybody in L.A. is a kind of proto-urban designer."
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  interviews  losangeles  design  urban  urbanism  planning  scifi  architecture  sciencefiction  cities  books  buildings  fantasy  ideas 
august 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: On Publishing Student Work
"It is sadly the case that year-end school catalogs like these are the only times that many of these students' work will ever be published, and so it would be nice – if not emotionally important – even to see short, 50-word descriptions of each project.
architecture  education  publishing  narrative  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  tcsnmy 
august 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: The Bioluminescent Metropolis
"what if a city, particularly well-populated with fireflies...simply got rid of its public streetlights altogether, being so thoroughly drenched in a shining golden haze of insects that it didn't need them anymore? You don't cultivate honeybees, you build vast lightning bug farms. How absolutely extraordinary it would be to light your city using genetically-modified species of bioluminescent nocturnal birds...trained to nest at certain visually strategic points...how might architects, landscape architects & industrial designers incorporate bioluminescence into their work? Perhaps there really will be a way to using glowing vines on the sides of buildings as a non-electrical means of urban illumination..gglowing tides of bioluminescent algae really could be cultivated in the Thames – and you could win the Turner Prize for doing so. Kids would sit on the edges of bridges all night, as serpentine forms of living light snake by in the waters below."
bioluminescence  bldgblog  architecture  design  biology  animals  engineering  light  fish  lighting  birds  fireflies  science  technology  urban  scifi  cities  infrastructure 
august 2009 by robertogreco
ReBurbia
"In a future where limited natural resources will force us to find better solutions for density and efficiency, what will become of the cul-de-sacs, cookie-cutter tract houses and generic strip malls that have long upheld the diffuse infrastructure of suburbia? How can we redirect these existing spaces to promote sustainability, walkability, and community? It’s a problem that demands a visionary design solution and we want you to create the vision! ... Show us how you would re-invent the suburbs! What would a McMansion become if it weren’t a single-family dwelling? How could a vacant big box store be retrofitted for agriculture? What sort of design solutions can you come up with to facilitate car-free mobility, ‘burb-grown food, and local, renewable energy generation? We want to see how you’d design future-proof spaces and systems using the suburban structures of the present, from small-scale retrofits to large-scale restoration—the wilder the better!"
design  architecture  urban  suburban  redevelopment  capitalism  suburbia  planning  bldgblog  suburbs  urbanplanning  meltdown  landscape  competition  infrastructure  housing  cities  competitions  dwell  contests 
july 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Bloomsday
"That is, should you want to describe a man's walk around the city in as detailed and realistic a way as possible, capturing every minor event and instant, then you would have to include the circumstances of that walk in their often bewildering totality: every fragmentary thought process, directionless flight of fancy, and irrelevant detail noticed along the way, via a million and one dead-ends. Things remembered and then forgotten. Deja vu.

That daydream you had early today? That was, Ulysses suggests, part of the infrastructure of the city you live in.

The city here becomes a kind of experiential labyrinth: it is something you walk through, certainly, but it is also something that rears up mythically to consume the thoughts of everyone residing within it."

AND

"Inspired by Bloomsday, then, it seems well-timed to ask not only how our cities can best be mapped – and if narrative is, in fact, the ideal cartographic strategy – but what other physical possibilities exist for narrative expression. Put another way: what if James Joyce had been raised in an era of cheap 3D printers?
After all, given the possibilities outlined above, we might even someday be justified in concluding that Dublin itself is a written text, and that Ulysses is simply its most famous translation."
bldgblog  jamesjoyce  ulysses  flaneur  urbanism  psychogeography  architecture  design  cities  dublin  literature  information  geography  cartography  maps  mapping  fabrication  fabbing  books  experience  narrative 
june 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: This Diseased Utopia: 10 Thoughts on Swine Flu and the City
"It's an important question. After all, it's incredibly easy, reading about sustainable cities, urban agriculture, and even the locavore movement, to conclude that chickens, pigs, cows, etc., have all been removed from the urban fabric as part of a profiteering move by Tyson and Perdue.

But there were very real epidemiological reasons for taking agriculture out of the city; finding a new place for urban agriculture will thus not only require very intense new spatial codes, it will demand constant vigilance in researching and developing inoculations"
disease  geography  cities  health  bldgblog  agriculture  farming  animals  locavore  sustainability  urbanagriculture  swineflu  history  epidemics  urban  urbanism  architecture  stevenjohnson  epidemiology  crisis 
april 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: A Drone Amidst the Ruins
"Accompanying Napoleon's expeditionary force was a kind of secondary army of "savants": scientists, researchers, archaeologists, linguists, and other scholars who were there, ostensibly, to produce a scientific record of Nile civilization, but who, conveniently for Napoleon, also "offered moral cover for the invasion." ... "what would the 21st-century equivalent of these savants be? How interesting, I'd suggest, to imagine an army of Artificially Intelligent, wireless translation drones sent into the ruins of ancient temple complexes; they descend through otherwise inaccessible partly collapsed passages and domed vaults beneath hillsides in order to interpret the walls around them, narrating for the first time a vast and unfolding dream of gods and ancient earthquakes, their LEDs reflecting in colored glass mosaics on the floor. Maybe they'd even use Twitter."
bldgblog  napoleon  egypt  future  ai  drones  history 
april 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Hotelier at Sea
"Within four or five decades of inconsistent contact, the Library of Congress sends out a new, 21st century Alan Lomax to visit those thriving offshore subcultures and record their folk songs and oral histories."
design  architecture  environment  offshore  reuse  bldgblog  structure  us  gulfofmexico  speculative  alanlomax 
february 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Cardiopulmonary Spatialization
"The idea that architecture might have medical effects on the people who experience it was the premise of a project by Marina Nicollier produced this year at Rice University. In the project's accompanying documentation, Nicollier writes that we must learn "to create spaces that provide, through their experience and material substance, enough variability in environmental effects that individual differences in reception and response can be studied and used as a part of curative regimes." ... During Nicollier's thesis review, we discussed whether it might be possible for her building to act as a template or prototype for other such projects elsewhere. That is, could you produce a kind of spatial franchise in which certain combinations of color, materiality, texture, sequence, and even scent would be put to use for medical purposes? The light, sound, and temperature of the building would thus act as a general format, available to other designers in utterly dissimilar circumstances."
architecture  design  riceuniversity  bldgblog  health  medicine 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Obama as an Experiment in Urban Form - Dwell Blog - dwell.com
"How ironic would it be, however, to find that, for all of our calls to pedestrianize parts of the city, it takes the security of a president to make such urban interventions finally happen? In other words, what if Obama's most immediate impact on urban policy in the United States is simply to make people realize that pedestrianization isn't such a bad idea, after all?"
geoffmanaugh  politics  barackobama  landscape  chicago  security  urbanism  urban  cities  change  pedestrians  streets  cars  parking  bldgblog 
january 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: The Year of Listening
"After all, he concludes, "2009 will be a year of listening."
bldgblog  listening  sound  audio  recording  ambient  soundscapes  observation 
january 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Found Sound City
"So – overlooking the fact that this would not actually be possible – you begin to fast-forward the video at 4x speed, then 8x, then 16x, then 32x – and you realize, with a collective gasp, that that droning sound in the background is not a drone at all but a piece of music played slow to the point of unrecognizability. It's Beethoven, say, or Jimi Hendrix.

Someone is playing incredibly slow music, like a kind of acoustic glacier, inside the building. It's avant-garde Muzak."
architecture  sound  music  cities  fiction  street  bldgblog 
january 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Air Born
"The new year begins with an interesting example of sovereign geography as applied to movement through the atmosphere: a Ugandan baby girl was born aboard an airplane en route from Amsterdam to the United States – and so was given Canadian citizenship, because the plane was flying over eastern Canada at the time. Of course, one wonders what citizenship this baby would have been given if they had been flying over the middle of the ocean, for instance, or across the tangled borders of an enclave or exclave. A complicated mathematics of trajectory, speed, and height is unleashed by terrestrial scholars below in order to find the exact location of the plane at the moment of childbirth. Like something out of Borges, imperial trigonometricians are called in for consultation. Their calculations take days and arguments break out."
bldgblog  citizenship  land  air  geography  space  borges  identity 
january 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Backyard Aquaculture
"A passing comment on the previous post has me thinking that a fantastic, Pruned-inspired summer architectural studio could be organized around the idea of turning backyard swimming pools not into mausoleum-like, subterranean granny flats, but experimental fish farms and hatcheries, alternative-energy algae-breeding ponds and other avant-garde aquacultural installations. Architecture as artificial ecosystem. Could you reimagine the food production infrastructure of a city through the aquacultural transformation of its backyard swimming pools?"

[more here: http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/still-pursuing-this-idea-of-radically.html ]
architecture  aquaculture  fisheries  bldgblog  swimmingpools  repurposing  superlocal  food  infrastructure  cities  homes 
december 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Offshoring Audacity
"On the other hand, if many of these towers continue to be designed, engineered, and built by western firms, are we actually witnessing a kind of bizarre projection of the West's own subconscious needs onto the blank slates of other nations? I'm reminded here of Marcus Trimble's quip that China, with its replicant Eiffel Towers and fake chateaux, has become a kind of architectural back-up harddrive for the French.
architecture  design  bldgblog  future  cities  urbanism  philosophy  nationalism  globalization  china  dubai  globalism  manhattanism  remkoolhaas 
november 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: The Game
""The Game" explores the idea that we might not actually know what it means to be urban, using a remark by Ole Bouman as a jumping-off point. In an essay of his own called "Desperate Decadence," published in Volume magazine #6, Bouman writes: "We have come to take for granted that those locations with large congregations of architecture must be cities." I've re-posted the complete essay below. "
urbanism  urbanplanning  art  architecture  planning  urban  bldgblog  cities  myth  sociology  games  design 
october 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Minor Landscapes and the Geography of American Political Campaigns
"what are the real everyday landscapes of American life, if those landscapes no longer include old-fashioned soda shops & small-town hockey arenas – or do such everyday landscapes simply no longer exist? if there are no everyday landscapes, then surely every landscape we encounter is, by definition, extraordinary – so we should perhaps all be paying more attention to the spatial & architectural circumstances of our daily lives? ... if political candidates have managed to discover an American landscape that seems not yet to have been touched by trends & technologies of twenty-first century, then why is that – and is it really a good indication that those candidates will know how to govern an urbanized, twenty-first century nation? ... if urban candidates "don't understand...small town life & out of touch with the moral hardships of the American countryside, then surely that's not altogether bad in a country that is 80% urbanized?"
2008  elections  landscape  bldgblog  urban  rural  demographics  politics  us 
october 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Library of Dust
"Each canister holds the remains of a human being, of course; each canister holds a corpse – reduced to dust, certainly, burnt to handfuls of ash, sharing that cindered condition with much of the star-bleached universe, but still cadaverous, still human. What strange chemistries we see emerging here between man and metal. Because these were people; they had identities and family histories, long before they became nameless patients, encased in metal, catalytic."

[See also: http://www.davidmaisel.com/library-of-dust/
http://oshmuseum.org/library-of-dust-documentary-coming-soon/
http://www.amazon.com/Library-Dust-David-Maisel/dp/0811863336 ]
bldgblog  harukimurakami  dust  photography  human  death  chemistry  books  davidmaisel  art  history 
august 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: The Psychiatric Infrastructure of the City
"Put another way, if a new highway can have a measurable, and easily detected, impact on a city's economic health and administrative well-being, then could a new highway – or bridge, or tunnel, or flood wall, or, for that matter, sewage treatment plant – have a detectable impact on the city's mental health? After all, these sorts of massive public works "may carry a psychological burden," the Boston Globe wrote back in 2006. It's the psychiatric infrastructure of the city."
bldgblog  architecture  psychology  cities  urbanplanning  urban  psychogeography  place 
august 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Night Vision
"What new sorts of cultural hauntings exist, then, in the desert Gothic, where the past never manages to fade and we're left staring at a whole world of things that were supposed to disappear?"
bldgblog  urbandecay  photography  urban  troypaiva  us 
june 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Botanical Otology
"Alex Metcalf's Tree Listening Installation is a small electronic listening device built for eavesdropping on the inner acoustics of trees...placed on the trunk of a given tree, then connected to as many as ten sets of headphones, which hang down from the
art  sound  trees  noise  flora  bldgblog  science 
may 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Sky.doc
"there is an obvious (and rather uninteresting) reaction to all this – i.e. please save us from yet another form of corporate advertising – but there are also artistic, and even literary, implications here that go beyond mere outrage."
art  ephemera  graffiti  clouds  sky  typography  make  design  architecture  bldgblog  writing  blogging  text 
april 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Transmitting live from below the Antarctic Ice
"we can now listen directly to "an acoustic live stream of the Antarctic underwater soundscape." This "live stream" is recorded via hydrophones attached to "an autonomous, wind and solar powered observatory located on the Ekström ice shelf."
bldgblog  arctic  life  sound  audio  water  oceans  soundscapes 
april 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Colored Magma
"Unsupervised geological interventions are the future of landscape architecture. What Ted Turner did for film, we will do for geology: the re-colorization of the planet."
bldgblog  design  geography  geology  terraforming  color  chile  landscape  magma  art 
january 2008 by robertogreco
geeKyoto » We were talking about tectonic warefare
"How started: Living in Philiy, taking free morning course on Archigram, reading lots of Ballard. Depressed & Claustrophobic. Started to write about interests/desires...Changed his life...blogger=free, like sunlight...no responsibility to write there, wri
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  future  sustainability  earth  terraforming  mars  climate  solastalgia  change  human  evolution  time  jgballard  landscape  architecture  presentations  climatechange  culture  forecasting  blogging  blogs 
january 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Literary Atmospheres
"author "claimed to have become so intoxicated" by the fumes that "she was reduced to writing thrillers."
bldgblog  comments  law  environment  writing  literature  atmosphere  place  smells  fumes  culture  uk 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Blackbeltjones/Work: » “The Earth is becoming unearthly” - Geoff Manaugh/BLDGBLOG at The Bartlett
"Archigram x Ballard x Philadelphia x depression x claustrophobia = start of bldgblog" "The interaction between architecture, weight and the earth’s surface could be further explored" "The new landscapes of the sublime are off-world"

[Now at: http://magicalnihilism.com/2008/01/23/geoff-manaughbldgblog-at-the-bartlett/ ]
geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  future  sustainability  earth  terraforming  mars  climate  solastalgia  change  human  evolution  time  jgballard  landscape  architecture  presentations  climatechange  culture  forecasting  mattjones 
january 2008 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Without Walls: An Interview with Lebbeus Woods
"architecture should not just be something that follows up on events but be a leader of events. That’s what you’re saying: That by implementing an architectural action, you actually are making a transformation in the social fabric and in the political fabric. Architecture becomes an instigator; it becomes an initiator.

That, of course, is what I’ve always promoted – but it’s the most difficult thing for people to do. Architects say: well, it’s my client, they won’t let me do this. Or: I have to do what my client wants. That’s why I don’t have any clients! [laughter] It’s true.

Because at least I can put the ideas out there and somehow it might seep through, or filter through, to another level."
architecture  politics  borders  cities  lebbeuswoods  culture  sciencefiction  scifi  theory  future  fiction  interviews  nyc  spaces  design  philosophy  bldgblog  art  architects  science 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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