The concepts Frank Lloyd Wright never built

Fallingwater, an hour out of Pittsburgh, is described as the world's most beautiful modern house. But fully half of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's fully-conceived masterpieces never left the drawing board.

Wright designed 532 buildings that were made, and about the same number again that never were. His career spanned seven decades. His personal life was beset by chaos. He left his first wife Kittie, then in 1914 his partner Mamah Cheney was murdered alongside six other people by a domestic worker named Julian Carlton. His second wife, Miriam Noel, was a hopeless morphine addict. His third marriage, to Olgivanna, seems to have been all right. Wright famously said that, “not only do I fully intend to be the greatest architect who has yet lived, but fully intend to be the greatest architect who will ever live.” Walking around this show, a beautiful edifice built of the flotsam and jetsam of a long career, one realizes that even a man like that didn’t always get his way.

My favorite FLW fantasy is The Illinois, a mile-high skyscraper that makes the Burj look like a Burger King. Read the rest

Gigantic knitted sea urchins

Choi + Shine Architects created these beautiful knitted sea urchin sculptures for an outdoor installation in Singapore. Read the rest

Watch a server room's isolated floor do its job during earthquake

On a reporting trip in the mid-1990s, I visited the headquarters of a major Japanese construction company. I was there to talk about their plans (unrealized, thus far) to build hotels on the moon. During the tour, they took me underneath the building to show me their state-of-the-art (at the time) seismic base isolators to manage the vibration caused by huge earthquakes. The entire huge building was built on big rubber bearings that sway and sliding mechanisms that move smoothly back and forth. I felt quite safe. I was reminded of that technology when watching this in-building seismic isolation technology doing its job in a Sendai building's server room during the March 11, 2011 Tōhokue earthquake.

Of course Boing Boing is impervious to such natural disasters as our private data facility is located in stable orbit at the fifth Lagrange point.

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You can live in a giant cowboy boot for $40 a day

If Huntsville, Texas sounds like the kind of place you'd like to kick your boots off and sit a spell, you might rent this beaut of a boot, featuring two bedrooms, a bath, and an open-air deck on the top.

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Astonishing book tunnel entrance to bookstore

Chinese bookstore Yangzhou Zhongshuge has arguably the most breathtaking bookstore entrance in the world. Read the rest

A climbable personal library in an old elevator shaft

Studio North was commissioned to refit an old elevator shaft in a converted warehouse loft in Calgary; they built a tall, narrow library with climbable shelves whose hand- and foot-holds retract into the shelving. Read the rest

3D-printed zombie-proof tiny house

Just look at that headline! It's a nounpunk antideepstate beanie short of pure condensed random Boing Boing. But the prototype PassivDom “autonomous 3D-printed mobile house” is a €200,000 effort at creating a completely self-powered dwelling fit for the "zombie apocalypse."

The first model, the ModulOne, includes solar panels that power the climate control system, a clean water system that takes moisture from the air, and air quality control system that includes includes carbon dioxide control. The frame is made of 3D-printed carbon fiber, fiberglass, and resists and the entire house is recyclable.

There are three models, from ultra-simple to full autonomous. The Autonomous house is 36 square meters and costs €59,900 to pre-order. There is already a model in Ukraine and they have a few thousand folks already on the waitlist for the houses. Luckily the team doesn’t take itself too seriously. They also offer a special “Zombie apocalypse” package that includes armored glazing, an alarm system, extra toilet paper storage, and a bible.

While the whole thing could be a pie-in-the-sky fantasy it seems that they have a real model built already and all of the technology is feasible. I, for one, look forward to spending my time in a zombie-proof passive house in the middle of the taiga.

I would rather not have to see the zombies. The name abbreviates "Passive Domicile," but PassivDom is brilliant; one supposes the innuendo may not be clear to its Ukrainian creators. No-one tell them! Read the rest

Imposing architectural photography by Sebastian Weiss

Hamburg-based photographer Sebastian Weiss is known for taking stark, clean images of remarkable buildings against bright blue mid-day skies. The results are remarkable. Read the rest

100 of the coolest buildings in Los Angeles

From Spanish-style adobe to Art Deco to Googie to Midcentury Modern to new experimental forms, Los Angeles is one of the most eclectic cities for architecture. Los Angeles Magazine curated this great list of 100 architectural gems worthy of a visit. Read the rest

Book documents repurposed Pizza Huts worldwide

Ever see a business that's housed in what was clearly a former Pizza Hut? Ho Hai Tran and Chloe Cahill spent a couple of years photographing repurposed Pizza Huts for their book Pizza Hunt. Following a successful Kickstarter, the book is now available. Read the rest

Luxury nuclear bunkers in Kansas

Larry Hall is developing luxury nuclear bunkers underground at an old nuclear missile site in Kansas. Hall says the Survival Condos, starting at $1.5 million, are "nuclear-hardened bunkers that are engineered… to accommodate not just your physical protection but your mental wellbeing as well." From BBC News:

Mr Hall says he has spent millions on providing the complex with every possible feature to keep residents safe both now and for an indefinite period, should a catastrophic event occur.

These include air and water filtration systems, a range of energy sources (including wind power), and the capacity to grow plants and breed fish for food supplies. Armed guards patrol the entrance.

There are many other features too, such as a cinema, swimming pool, surgery, golf range, and even a rock climbing wall. "It's like a miniature cruise ship," says Mr Hall.

He believes that luxury touches like these could help to explain a development that may seem a little surprising.

At first, he says, clients saw owning an apartment as "like life insurance", just something to be used in case of an emergency. But now some purchasers have come to regard their apartments as second homes, making regular use of them for weekends or longer breaks.

"Everyone comments on how well they sleep here," he adds.

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Survive the coming apocalypse inside a big pipe buried underground

Atlas Survival Shelters sells huge corrugated pipe shelters outfitted for living with air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, and power generators. A 10' x 20' shelter goes for $30-$40,000 and the "Hillside Retreat," a 10' x 51', runs as high as $109,000. Options include a big screen TV, electric fireplace, oak flooring, hatch camouflaged as a boulder, and many other fine amenities. From their pitch:

The only bunkers manufactured today that has actually been tested against the effects of a nuclear bomb and has passed, is the round corrugated pipe shelters (used in the 1950s) by the U.S. Army Corps of Enginneers..

The round shape worked then and still works today! There is little difference between the bunkers made 50 years ago and the bunkers made today except the addition of modern interiors, NBC air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, generators, and high-tech electronics. There is no other shape other then round that will allow you to reach the depth underground that you need for maximum protection for your family and to allow the climate to be controlled underground.

"Beware the Square". No pre-manufactured square metal bunkers passed the nuclear test and should only be regarded as a fallout shelter or tornado shelter at best!

Atlas Survival Shelters (via Uncrate)

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A book about London's gorgeous, brutalist architecture includes dainty DIY papercraft models to make yourself

Brutal London: Construct Your Own Concrete Capital tells the stories of nine of London's greatest brutalist structures (with an intro by Norman Foster!), including the Barbican Estate, Robin Hood Gardens, Balfron Tower and the National Theatre -- and includes pull-out papercraft models of these buildings for you to assemble and display. Read the rest

Remarkable 3D-printed conceptual furniture

Gilles Retsin has been experimenting with 3D-printed design concepts, but he's also been working with computational mereology to engage in large-scale discrete fabrication. Think of it like Tetris or LEGO: a set of prefabbed interlocking parts that can then be assembled by a robot programmed to create a specific shape. Read the rest

Drone footage of a massive star fort

Fort Bourtange is a 16th-century star fort that is now a museum. This drone footage captures the scope of the spectacular engineering feat. Read the rest

Snow White's cottage for sale

Built in 1982, this 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath home based on Snow White's cottage is for sale in Olalla, Washington. It's 2,800 square-feet on 7.52 acres and listed at $925,000. From Realtor.com:

There's not a square corner anywhere. Each door was hand built with extensive iron work. Wood beams were hand carved, stained glass windows are everywhere, and the walls appear to more like a magical cave. Perfect for a B & B or a wedding business.

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Hong Kong's Architecture of Density through Michael Wolf's lens

Though he's lived there since 1994, German-born photographer Michael Wolf has only been documenting Hong Kong since 2003. This interview looks at two of his more notable projects: his shots of massive residential high-rises, and the back alleys of the city. Some of the high-rise shots are below: Read the rest

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