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.

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.

tower of david

Believed to be home to the world’s most vertical squatter residency, the Tower of David (Torre de David) is Caracas’s tallest building. Originally it was to become a symbol of status — then in the early 90s the Venezuelan economy tanked and many businesses quickly went under… including the one building this tower:

Now the building has been taken over by squatters, partly due to the economic collapse, partly due to the extreme housing shortage, and partly due to the government’s role in either or both of those.

You can watch an interesting clip by the New York Times that illustrates the good and the bad of the building HERE. On one hand, it is a roof over many people’s heads. It has become a small DIY style functioning residence with electrical hook ups from the grid, home-made porch railing, and even some running water. But on the other hand, it is also a clear indication that the government is willing to let so many people live in unsafe conditions without lifting a hand to help them.

Among other things — walls, railings, water — the building is lacking elevators. Still, residents have settled in as high up as the 28th floor. Small businesses have started on almost every level as well, and there are security guards, of sorts, posted at the entrances.

As Caracas continues to have a severe housing shortage, what’s next? How many stairs would you be willing to climb up everyday?

And what ever happened to David Brillembourg, the tower’s namesake and original financier? … oh right, he died in 1993.

read the whole NYT article here

eco-bridge or birdy-blender?

maybe this could be a good idea …

or maybe it will completely fail and make minced meat out of a whole lot of birds.

According to Gizmodo:

This Solar Wind concept is the brainchild of designers Francesco Colarossi, Giovanna Saracino and Luisa Saracino, who came second in a competition to dream up a bridge spanning the Italian areas of Bagnara and Scilla.

If chosen, the solar highway would stretch 12.4 miles, with the bridge’s wind turbines generating enough electricity to power 15,000 houses a year. Naturally the solar panels would also generate electricity, and the greenhouses would allow passing drivers to buy roadside fruit and vegetables from indie growers.

but read the comments and you may start to think otherwise…

indie growers?

also it looks like a bridge made out of clocks. and is it just me or does it look like half of it is a really narrow lane of cars and the other half is trying to be the highline in nyc?

Práter Street

Atelier Péter Kis’ series of Hungarian apartments, designed with interesting angles and exaggerated balcony design, totally evoke the idea of buildings as art. It seems to depend on how you look at them though.

from some angles the buildings look really cool and urban-modern

but from other angles they remind me of giant blocks of public housing

Sustainable, connected, original, and promoting local development
cold, blocky, and lacking in privacy with unnecessarily long balconies?

more info and photos here