Ultra-rich people in NYC demand apartments with (gasp) driveways

The hot new amenity that NYC developers are building into their plans for luxury apartment buildings is a porte-cochère, aka a fancy driveway. In fact, in Manhattan an opulent private drive may actually add more value to a new property than using that same real estate for additional living space. Then again, why choose! From Bloomberg:

The trend towards motor courts has accelerated notably in the last two years, according to Kent Security’s Alon Alexander, who has seen a major uptick in inquiries from luxury developers on how best to incorporate the feature in an architectural brief. They’re driven, of course, by twin concerns: privacy and security.

There’s also a less concrete allure to motor courts: in a city where developers want to wring maximum value from every square foot, there’s an extravagance in leaving such a large space empty. It tacitly telegraphs a developer’s largesse and indulgence, at least according to Alon Alexander’s twin brother, Oren. He is a sales executive for 565 Broome. “A regular developer might squeeze a retail site, or extra amenities like a larger lobby, from that space but a driveway is the definition of luxury,” Oren says by cellphone, “It’s space where you don’t typically get it.” Jasmine Mir, CMO of Corcoran Sunshine, puts its more simply. “Buying a penthouse at the top of a building is one thing, but the sense of extravagance and luxury associated with having space at street level in a congested place like New York? It gives an amazing sense of wow!

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The Modernist Utopia that never was


HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network, is back for its fourth season. This week:

What happens to a utopia that never got off the ground? Bits and pieces of one, an experiment in postwar living for the masses, are hiding in plain sight in the hills above Sunset Boulevard. Architect and author Cory Buckner talks about Crestwood Hills, a Modernist vision for a cooperative future that never quite arrived.

A note from the producer: If you'd like to help HOME get off to a good seasonal start, drop by the iTunes Store and subscribe. And if you have a minute to leave a rating and/or review, that helps stir the algorithmic stew that gets shows noticed. Thanks for listening.

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Watch spiderbots weave a hammock-like web


Maria Yablonina developed a system for wall-climbing robots to weave fibers into useful structures on vertical surfaces, like this hammock-like web that can support a human. The bots can even trade the threaded bobbin between units. Read the rest

Coming soon to New York, an underground park: The Lowline

Courtesty of the Lowline, photo: Liz Ligon

Do you like the Highline park in Manhattan? There's a subterranean version coming soon. The Lowline looks like it's going to be amazing.

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Concrete computer keyboard


Redditor ipee9932cd couldn't find a keyboard to their liking, so they built the casing of their dreams—out of cement. The brutal board weighs in at 12 pounds (yes, heavier than an IBM Model M) and "it takes some force to move it."

Being my first concrete cast, I chose not to put any rebar and want to see what happens over time. I know nothing about concrete, just did some research and went for it so we'll see what happens. It's not moving off my desk, even if I try, and when I do move it I never hold it from one edge. I was thinking about trying basalt rebar or glass fibers for the next cast...
the full gallery has 5 glorious shots of this brutal contraption, and there's an accompanying how-to gallery to show each step of the way. (Not shown is dismantling a keyboard and installing the important bits, but I guess if you're that far into custom keyboards it won't be a problem for you.) [via r/MechanicalKeyboards]

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Hobbit house above Washington lake now available on Airbnb


Kristie Wolfe loved The Hobbit ever since seeing the cartoon as a child, so she decided to build a hobbit house in Washington State. This fun video shows the whole process, and it's even listed on Airbnb. Read the rest

"Glitchy" skyscraper debuts with spectacular light show


MahaNakhon debuted as Thailand's tallest building this week with an unforgettable light show. Read the rest

The New York Public Library is surprisingly CHUD-friendly

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As this spectacular cross-section of the NYPL main branch demonstrates, the library was designed to service the needs of all the city's dwellers, even the CHUDs. (via From Deco to Atom) Read the rest

Worst of McMansions: architectural criticism of inequality's most tangible evidence


Between the Reagan years and the crash of 2008, developers absorbed the skyrocketing wealth of the 1% with monuments to bad taste and ostentation: the McMansion. Read the rest

The Creative Architect – An iconic '50s creativity study finally comes to light in book form


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

In 1958 and '59, an unprecedented study was conducted by the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research at the University of California, Berkeley. The idea was to apply the latest psychological tests on the world’s most famous and accomplished architects to try and determine what makes them so creative and successful. In studying them, could some magical key to creativity be discovered?

Astoundingly, some 40 major architects volunteered, including Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Philip Johnson, George Nelson, Louis Kahn, and A. Quincy Jones. The group spent three days being subjected to a battery of tests, sitting for interviews, even evaluating the creative and design prowess of each other. While the idea was to publish the results of the tests at the time, besides some news and fluff pieces about the study, and some superficial conclusions about the nature of the creative impulse that drove these design superstars, the full results of the study have remained unpublished until this impressive new release from Monacelli Press.

The Creative Architect: Inside the Great Midcentury Personality Study is a lovely and thought-provoking time-capsule of a book. Through its numerous black and white photos and reprints of the research materials, correspondences between the subjects of the study and the psychologists, and news clippings of the day, the book paints a surprisingly evocative picture of this unique study and the era in which it was conducted. Reading the test results, in the architects’ own hands, and the evaluations of the researchers, is fascinating. Read the rest

This 90-year-old man is building a cathedral by himself, by hand


For more than 50 years, Justo Gallego has spent his days building his own beautiful cathedral outside of Madrid, all by himself.

"When I started to build this cathedral, the word on the street was that I was crazy," Gallego says.

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Coffee table book of photos of Brutalist architecture: This Brutal World


Peter Chadwick -- he runs the @brutalhouse stream of loving photos of imposing brutalist monuments -- has teamed up with Phaedon to publish a coffee-table book of the biggest, most uncompromising hulking monsters of the bygone age of concrete futurism: This Brutal World. Read the rest

Collection of colorful crafted ceilings

Contemporist gathered up some of the most innovative sculptured ceilings from around the world, like the Colombian Ice Cream Shop Von Glacet above. Below: New York's Innuendo Restaurant.

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Mirror-filled Chinese bookstore seems infinite


XL-Muse designed this new bookstore in Hangzhou's Star Avenue commercial center, using mirrors and clever perspective to make its many rooms seem infinite and mind-meltingly weird. Read the rest

Sculptor builds tiny, elaborate treehouses in house-plants


Jedediah Voltzby's Somewhere Small sculpture series is composed of 25 tiny treehouses painstakingly built around houseplants, drawing on Voltzby's extensive experience as a props-master for films. Read the rest

Putting two elevators in one shaft


As high rises replace their elevator up/down buttons with panels that you enter a floor into, which then direct you to a specific elevator, they create the possibility of adding more cars to each shaft, radically increasing the efficiency and throughput of a building's lifts. Read the rest

A Burglar's Guide to the City: burglary as architectural criticism

For years, Geoff Manaugh has entertained and fascinated us with his BLDGBLOG, and now he's even better at full-length, with A Burglar's Guide to the City (previously), a multidisciplinary, eclectic, voraciously readable book that views architecture, built environments, and cities themselves through the lens of breaking-and-entering.

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