Posts Tagged ‘Architecture’

Parliament of Ghosts

From this New York Times profile of art in Ghana comes this photo of a beautiful space created by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama, titled Parliament of Ghosts. What an incredible space.

The Whole Earth Catalog Goes Online

Stewart Brand’s classic Whole Earth Catalog, a sort of 70’s proto-blog in paper about building, the environment, crafts, and more, has made all their issues available online for free. This is something I’ve heard referenced in books and articles many, many times, but only now can I actually read them all.

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The Incredible Tension-Based Sculptures of Kenneth Snelson

Photo Via, but in all honesty good photos were hard to find, and credits are iffy.

Snelson’s sculptures feel like they should almost not stand up, but work via an intriguing mix of tension and compression (Which Buckminster Fuller would later term ‘Tensegrity’).

Take, for example, this beautiful 60 foot piece, ‘The Needle Tower’, from 1968:

Lookout by Martin Puryear

Photo by Amir Hamja

This stunning new sculpture at Storm King uses traditional African brick-laying techniques:

It uses a technique known as Nubian vaulting, developed thousands of years ago in the Upper Nile delta. Mudbricks can be laid at an angle rather than in the typical flat orientation, and the technique requires a fast-setting mortar.

The beautiful structure reminds me of an igloo, which obliges me to link to Doug Wilkinson’s unbelievable 1949 NFB film How to Build an Igloo.

Read More about Lookout →

On Buckminster Fuller's Exuberance

As I touched on in my post about Henry Dreyfuss’ Symbol Sourcebook, Buckminster Fuller, the designer of the above-pictured Expo 67 American Pavilion here in Montréal, was a big character. I recently ran into the following passages about him in a thrifted book This Was Expo, about Montréal’s Expo 67:

He once had an idea for an apartment building that would be put in its place by a dirigible. The building would be made of lightweight alloys and the floors of it would be hung from a great mast. A dirigible would pick up the whole building and take it to where it was needed. First the dirigible would drop a bomb – that’s right, a bomb – which would create a hole in the ground for the mast. Then the dirigible would put the building in place and fly away. A ground crew would pour concrete around the mast to secure it. And everybody’s housing problem would be solved.

This is someone who does not shy away from big ideas. It continues later:

On this day he was talking, as usual, about his ideas and about the future of mankind. “Because I’m in research,” he was saying, “I’m on the frontiers of man.” He looked around at the fair outside, through the transparent walls of the dome. “We are all going into world man,” he said. And for a moment, under the spell of his genial intensity, Expo seemed an important moment in world history and “world man” indeed a possibility. But then perhaps all moments seem important to those in Bucky Fuller’s company.

In a 1972 interview, Bucky allegedly said:

Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Elizabeth again: The whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing on the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving that little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. It takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole ship of state is going to turn around. So I said, ‘Call me Trim Tab.’

And he believed in this small idea of leverage enough that he put it on his tombstone.

Photo: Wikipedia

Explore Le Corbusier’s modernist metropolis Chandigarh

Photographer Roberto Conte uncovers the hidden gems of Chandigarh’s concrete infrastructure in his new series exploring the Le Corbusier-designed Indian city. Read More →

The Utopian Vision of Habitat '67

A great overview of architect Moshe Sadie‘s delightful Habitat 67, followed by attempts to create the original vision in 3D graphics.

Turning the Place Over by Richard Wilson

A simple and beautiful art piece by Richard Wilson from the Liverpool Biennal in 2007. Echoes of Gordon Matte-Clark.