How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?

“We’d forgotten that useful things could be this beautiful”

The preview for the movie that explores Norman Foster‘s quest to design things better and more beautiful and thus the great influence he had on design and architecture.

São Paulo: 5 years with no outdoor ads

Some of the remains of São Paulo's advertising - a Flickr set by Tony de Marco

In 2006 the mayor of São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab, passed the “Clean City Law” with the intention of curbing pollution — visual pollution included. This required the removal and ban of all (most) outdoor advertising such as that on billboards, store fronts, and transit.

Today the law is still in effect and according to a recent survey 70% of the population has found the ban beneficial to the city. According to a article,

Unexpectedly, the removal of logos and slogans exposed previously overlooked architecture, revealing a rich urban beauty that had been long hidden.

While many great aspects of the city were revealed by this movement, some of the shantytowns that may have preferred to hide behind such large signs were exposed. The same article sited that, having these inequalities suddenly

… [brought] to light incited residents to improve conditions and begin discussing solutions. No longer could actual problems be masked by artificial solutions.

The documentary below discusses the ban and its effects. Apparently several years ago there was talk of a reversal of the ad law, but as of today it appears to still be in effect. As one of (or the only?) democratic countries with this type of legislature, hopefully the success of São Paulo’s visual pollution curb can inspire other like-minded cities to follow.


the hole

via bldgblog:

A neighborhood in Brooklyn known as “The Hole” is thirty feet below sea level. It is so close to the water table, in fact, that local homes are not connected to the city’s sewer system, relying instead on cesspools; the streets—with names like Ruby, Emerald, and Sapphire—are often flooded, on the verge of permanently returning to marshland. The Hole is a short documentary by Courtney Sell and Billy Feldman about this neighborhood; cowboys on horseback wander through water-logged streets while abandoned housing developments soak up rain like giant sponges.

why does the architecture have to be so static?

72 Hour Urban Action is the world’s first real-time architecture competition.

It is defined by community needs, an extreme deadline, a tight budget and limited space.

Selected teams have three days and three nights to plan and realize their projects in response to missions assigned randomly on take off day.

The first 72 Hour Urban Action took place in Bat-Yam, Israel, as part of the Bat-Yam Biennale of Landscape Urbanism.