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

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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

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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the nature of the creative impulse that drove these design superstars, the full results of the study have remained unpublished until this impressive new release from Monacelli Press.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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Treescrapers are bullshit

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Architects love to render their buildings covered and ringed in trees: trees that sprout from balconies, dot roofs, climb walls. Read the rest

Whatever happened to utopian architecture?

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The Tale of Tomorrow: Utopian Architecture in the Modernist Realm collects photos and commentary about the mid-century heyday of utopian architecture, from Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti to Bangladesh's National Assembly Building. Read the rest

Incredible Hollywood home with outdoor movie "theater"

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Belzberg Architects built the magnificent "Skyline Residence" on a ridge in the Hollywood Hills. The 5,800 home consists of two separate structures, a main house and guest house, with a gathering space between them to watch a film outside.

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MOS: Selected Works – A collection of the playful architect company's unusual and eccentric work

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

If the enormous hairy solar chimneys that these architects once built in the middle of Long Island City don’t make you smile, then your sense of play might need renovation. The fun-loving, aggressively eccentric work of MOS Architects includes some recurring motifs: canopies, unusual materials, solar chimneys, shaft lighting, and buildings that look like blocks tumbled to earth. Engaging for architects and non-architects alike, this is a book that I keep picking up: to look through the illustrations, to wonder at, to think about how to work creatively, to show something weird and wild to a friend. While there is some discussion of theory in the included essays, this is a book refreshingly light on architectural jargon.

The architectural historian Lucia Allais suggests in an included essay that one of the primary questions that the work of MOS poses is, “Is this simple or complex?” While the works presented are often simple, the reactions they provoked for me were complex, ranging from confusion to glee to disbelief. Crammed with 300 images, the just-released MOS: Selected Works demonstrates the firm’s unusual range of having produced buildings, installations, furniture, software, films, and pavilions, along with smaller works (like this book).

MOS, as a firm, is on a very serious mission to advance the limits of architecture, but without taking themselves too seriously. Their hilarious office manual is included in the book and will inspire glee in anyone who has ever worked in a corporate office, advising, “You will arrive at the Office when you are awake and ready to work. Read the rest

Turn drone footage into 3D terrain models, which you can 3D print

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Drone Deploy is an analytics and automation package that uses drones to create accurate 3D terrain and architectural models. Read the rest

UN places order for 1,000 next-generation flat-pack refugee shelters

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The Better Shelter is a flat-pack refugee shelter that costs three times more than the traditional tent, but lasts up to 40 times longer. It was developed with a grant from the Ikea foundation. Read the rest

Iconic 1960s spaceship house now a venue for discussing the future

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Craig Barnes, a grad student at Central St Martins in Kings Cross, London, bought and refurbished one of the last 60 Futuro houses, originally designed in the 1960s as modular ski chalets by famed Finnish architect Matti Suuronen. Read the rest

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