Thursday, July 31, 2008

Your Personal Modern Architecture Guide

One of the newest innovations in modern architectural guides for those on the move is MIMOA. It is a free online service that quickly provides linkage to the interesting modern architectural sites near almost any place you may be visiting in the world. You plug in a city name, or area, or coordinates. MIMOA then displays modern architecture on a map with the address and all additional information you need to actually find and visit interiors, parks, public places, buildings and bridges.

Further, you can join the fun by photographing less known modern architectural sites you think others might appreciate and add them to MIMOA. This personal chronicling provides wonderful additions to the traditional structures featured in guide books. Now there is a resource that can guide you to the gems that only locals may know about.

MIMOA is intended for anyone interested in modern architecture, design, culture, photography, cities, travelling, visiting buildings, knowing how to get there, whether the project is public and what the opening hours are. For the modern architecture devotee, this is a wonderful niche travel resource.

Sold Out!

Tickets to tour the Philip Johnson Glass House, built in 1949, in New Canaan, CT, are sold out for the remainder of 2008. September 1, tickets go on sale for the 2009 schedule. For all of us who may never score a ticket to see the Glass House, here is a Quicktime video of an interesting tour, directed by John Maeda, RISD's new President. The very beautiful video was shot over three, picture-perfect days. Maida shares his impressions and relates his thoughts about simplicity.

(Note: We downloaded the video as a Quicktime file, because the YouTube version did not do it justice. The downland takes a minute or so to complete.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Novel Recycled Chair

What a great chair! It is located at the Myopic Bookstore in Providence, RI. Here's a link to the story at the Rag and Bone blog.

It was made by artist David Karoff: "David Karoff welded the chair and attached the paperbacks: they have holes drilled though their insides and are slipped onto a hidden rebar frame. All of the materials are recycled - even the books, which are cast-offs from the Rochambeau Library Book Sales."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ornithological Design?

We are told that generations ago the skies were filled with birds, the ocean bays filled with oysters and pods of Sperm Whales, that flocks of water fowl covered the shore lines. It IS hard to imagine what the world use to be like...and what we have lost. Each generation must feel that its time is the norm and that "now" is the way it has always been. We thought this video (we are terribly sorry about the advertising) taken in England is an amazing and rather sublime example of bird behavior and a helpful reflection on our endangered world.

We've read that scientists have studied this phenomena to try to discern how such flight is accomplished. Their conclusion is that when birds fly like this they become "of one mind," as if they were "one." It's a little bit like "the wave" at a sports stadium, and a lot like a school of fish. This idea also reflects thinking concerning community wholeness, the whole community acting as one, in, say, natural disasters. It seems the capacity to act as one has been available to species, but is now dormant, for most.

Quote for the Day

The New York Times Building’s facade is
being modified to deter people from climbing the tower.

That Renzo Piano guy is getting pretty pithy. When questioned by a New York Times correspondent about the third dare-devil climbing the New York Times Tower which he designed, he responded:
“I’m frankly quite worried about this new fashion of going up on buildings,” Mr. Piano said in the interview. “This is what I call an inappropriate use of the building.”
Inappropriate use of a building! Oh, for heaven's sake, Mr. Piano man. Relish the bravura. Also, he may have forgotten for a moment that some people have said exactly the same thing about his work: "Inappropriate use of a building." But, we digress.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Bastille Day!

Prise de la Bastille

Put on some Piaf and storm a Bastille! Allez! Allez!

World's Largest Solar Kitchen

One of the most sacred places in an Indian home is the kitchen. Now a temple in Rajasthan India has collaborated with Solare-Brucke in Germany to design a kitchen with so much heat and so much space the organization can prepare 38,500 meals a day! Holy tandoori! Additional statistics about the installation boggle the mind.

We know that Indians sure can cook, but now it appears they can also go green in a monumental way. Read on.

Also, there is the completely solar powered Hindu temple being constructed outside Chino, California. After leading the way in technology and programming innovations, it appears the Indians may also show us how to innovate with solar energy for large structures. Om shanti.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cosmic Communist Constructions

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has put together a show of "Cosmic Communist Constructions." The 48 photographs, represent buildings shot over a five year period by French photographer, Frederic Chaubin. The buildings, constructed behind the iron curtain during the 1970s and 1980s, represent a treasure of little known Modernist architecture. One building is so unique, it was once erroneously designated a missile silo by American intelligence operations.

These images show creative freedom from a nation usually thought to be devoid of imaginative work,” said Gregory Dreicer, Vice President of Exhibitions and Programs. “They are comparable in imaginative force to the designs of Bertrand Goldberg and Harry Weese.”
Many of the structures featured in this show are threatened with demolition. We know a lot of you are out there on the road for work and/or pleasure. If you are near Chicago, put some dazzle in your trip and take in this surprising exhibition.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Community Garden Under Fire

Scott Hoffenberg tends the garden he shares with his neighbors
in a right-of-way in the 700 block of University Avenue on
Monday, July 7, 2008. The city has asked him to remove the
fences and trellises that protect his plants from damage.
Photo by Mary Caivano

We are suffering the throes of the gas wars right now. We are, also, getting an inkling of the water wars to come. Next...the food wars! Hard to believe they may have begun in Boulder, CO. Read it and weep.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Vision Thing

For the truly devoted eco-consumer (there's an oxymoron), we came across these beautifully hand carved, wooden eye glass frames. They are carved by Scott Urban. His company Urban Spectacles, is a gem. Besides wood, Urban also makes frames from recycled records and industrial materials. One of the theories behind the wooden frames is that, unlike mass-produced, plastic frames, they actually breath on your skin, rather than creating sweat. Get the fuller story and more pictures, over at

Style gossip has it that Urban created several wooden frames for Radio G of Chicago's Hotstyles. Apparently Radio wore a pair to the BET awards recently. The beat goes on.

Paper Cups, 2008
This is a detail of a print depicting 410,000 paper cups,
equal to the number of disposable hot-beverage
paper cups used in the US every fifteen minutes.

Photographer Chris Jordon has focused his camera on the issues of consumption. Wandering the ports and industrial areas of the world, he has captured the raw remains of our "taking." He has also constructed installations that represent measures of consumption that let us know just what it is we are doing.
The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences. I fear that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits. - Chris Jordon
We think he is one of the visual heroes of our time, forcing us to evaluate our responsibility, forcing us to make an inquiry of our own behaviors---the process that is most critical to finding solutions.

Space Walk

Esther Stocker is an artist who was born in Italy. She studied art at Akademie der Bildenden K√ľnste, Wien (Prof. Eva Schlegel), Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milano, Italy, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. An enviable education. We think her work is a creative fusion of architecture and art that we've not seen before.

Here is her website. It provides a look at the various ways she seems to integrate this larger understanding of space. We think it is full of inspiration, especially her installations.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How Cool is THIS!

The world of design just took another leap. This video technology is called chronotopic anamorphosis. The applications are limitless. The longer you watch the video the better it gets. Amazing technology. Links below provide further information.

Chronotopic Anamorphosis from Marginalia Project on Vimeo.