This short animation by Buck/Antfood was featured on NYTimes.com to coincide with with the print version of their 2010 Year in Ideas issue. There are a few other excellent animations in the feature (especially the Armored T-Shirt) but I like the mesmerizing geometries of the Turbine-Free Wind Power because they reminds me of Charlie Harper. The animation diagrams technology proposed by Dr Francis Moon, a professor at Cornell who has written about and researched extensively non-linear and chaotic vibrations. The mechanism produces power through a grid of pads that “attach to piezoelectric materials that produce electricity” as the pads rustle, or vibrate, in the wind.
The Giant Interactive Group Campus by Morphosis Architects is huge and impressive without reading too much like a behemoth. Of course, it helps to have the exceptionally talented Iwan Baan photograph your shiny, new 260,000 square foot corporate headquarters, but it also helps to break up the mass of the building with an undulating green roof, exterior courtyards, and a road. The road divides the campus into two halves: a half for work and a half for play. A central circulation spine jumps the road to connect the two halves, and continues into the center of the recreational spaces, but stays to one side the office programming that terminates in a cantilevered conference room with a glass floor. (Morphosis also designed a glass-floored conference room at Caltrans Headquarters in downtown LA.)
I was lucky enough to hear Morphosis’s Thom Mayne speak at the Hammer Museum about this project in 2009; that is, when he could get in a word between critics Sylvia Lavin and Jeffrey Kipnis. The conversation between the three started out as a talk about urbanization in China, but evolved into questioning the parallels between migrating picture frames and cantilevers (true story) and concluded with both critics agreeing that Mr. Mayne did “interesting things with the ground.” The conversation was witty, a little tipsy, and I wish it had been longer. I’ve been excited to see the Giant Interactive Group project finish and thrilled to see it photographed by Iwan Baan.
P.S. Happy Birthday to Thom Mayne, who turns 69 today.
This bakery in Kyoto by Japanese firm Ninkipen! blends together new and old textures in a really chic way. Front and center sits a huge, rough hewn log with a delicate, antique-looking boulangerie display on top of the 1,000 pound chunk of wood. Just think of the contrast between “1000 pound chunk of wood” and “boulangerie.” The details are few, but nicely done; I especially like the name of the bakery embedded in the concrete entrance. By carefully editing the color and texture palette, the bread gets the attention that it deserves, and that’s making my palate water.
Totally called that this was an architect’s house when I saw it. This particular house was built by Warren Schwartz of Schwartz/Silver Architects. In plan, it’s a simple 17 foot by 90 foot rectangle; in section, half the house is cantilevered while the other half conforms to the slope of the site. The design is structurally dramatic, but looks oddly neutral on site, especially in the snow. The steel that enables the house to cantilever, also allows the house to flex: if you’re hanging out in the living room while the 65-pound poodle starts jumping around, you’re likely to feel the floor reverberate. But the concrete basement buried in the hill provides more than enough counterweight for the cantilever, enough for five dozen people to occupy the living room with “several thousand pounds on the roof.”
These curious and wonderful photographs are the work of Kahn & Selesnick from their current exhibition, Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea, at Yancey Richardson Gallery. The series combines photographs taken in Utah with images captured by roving robots Spirit and Opportunity. The New Yorker synopsis of the exhibition describes “an imagined Mars, its civilization fallen, its buildings abandoned, its inhabitants struggling to survive.”
I was excited when I came across Khan & Selesnick’s tumblr, which features more images from the series as well as a link to a self-published book. In their description of the book, the project sounds a little different: “a world populated solely with two women. We do not learn their names nor how and when they came to Mars, but we observe their wanderings in a desolate landscape which they attempt [to] make navigable and habitable with an amalgam of high-tech components.”
Other than that habitable part, these two ladies on Mars sound like the two exploration rovers on Mars. If the ladies are as lucky as the rovers, they’ll last years longer than originally planned. Spirit and Opportunity began with 90-day missions. Almost exactly seven years after their landings, both are still operational today (although Spirit is now stationary).These are the rovers that provided imagery for Kahn & Selesnick; let’s hope their exhibition is as successful as the rovers.
Folks wanting to brush up on their Martian geography may be interested in a Mars Pillow; I have one on my couch.