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.

Read the rest

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

Unevenly distributed futures: Hong Kong's amazing towers

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UK photographer Peter Stewart's collection Stacked is a series of photos of Hong Kong's fabulous high-rises, shot from ground level, looking straight up into the sky. Read the rest

Beautiful, free/open 3D printed book of lost Louis H. Sullivan architectural ornaments

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Tom Burtonwood creates 3D printed books of dimensional, public domain architectural elements: in 2013, he made Orihon and in 2014 he made Folium, which featured work from Ancient Egypt to Louis Sullivan department store decorations. Now he's released a new work: "Twenty Something Sullivan." Read the rest

Would you live in a treehouse?

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Fun little short documentary from the Atlantic on YouTube, in which you meet people who build, live in, and love treehouses. Gotta be honest here, this is very much a lifelong passion and dream of mine.

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Magnificent mountaineering museum embedded in a summit

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Above, a balcony jutting from the Messner Mountain Museum Corones that's carved out of the summit of Mount Kronplatz in Tyrol, Italy, 2,275 meters above sea level. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the mountaineering museum that is built entirely of concrete on steel scaffolding. More photos and construction time-lapse video below.

"The idea is that visitors can descend within the mountain to explore its caverns and grottos, before emerging through the mountain wall on theater side, out onto the terrace overhanging the valley far below with spectacular, panoramic views," Hadid says.

(via Uncrate) Read the rest

For sale: one volcano supervillain lair

The Volcano House, "a saucer shaped mid-century icon perched on top of a 150-foot cinder cone," is $650,000 or best offer -- but you'll have to commute to the Mojave. Read the rest

That Flintstone House in the San Francisco Bay Area is up for sale

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If you've ever driven along Highway 280 in the San Francisco Bay Area, you've probably seen this home. Read the rest

London skyscraper wins award after "melting" car

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20 Fenchurch Street, a slightly concave mirror-like office tower in the UK capital, has been awarded the Carbuncle Cup after sunlight reflected from it melted parts of an expensive Jaguar parked below.

The award, given to architecture deemed ugly, hostile or otherwise bad, came with an affirmation that the skyscraper met every possible criterion for recognition.

Organized by Business Design magazine, the Carbuncle Cup is awarded by a panel of architecture critics who take into account comments sent in by readers. This year's prize went to the Walkie Scorchie by a unanimous decision of the judges.

One of them, Ike Ijeh, said City of London planners were as much to blame for approving what he described as "a gratuitous glass gargoyle graffitied onto the skyline of London" as the building's renowned Uruguayan architect, Rafael Vinoly.

"If anything summarizes what makes a building a Carbuncle, this is it," Ijeh wrote in an article on Business Design's website.

Judges complained that the top-heavy building, whose upper floors are bigger than its base thanks to its unusual flared design, was an eyesore.

See also a Vegas hotel whose similar design casts "death rays" at unfortunate poolside visitors below.

Photo: Reuters Read the rest

Poster shows 121 types of American house

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Pop Chart Lab: THE ARCHITECTURE OF AMERICAN HOUSES [via] Read the rest

Skysphere: fantastic hang-out globular tower pad

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New Zealand designer Jono Williams built his otherworldly Skysphere clubhouse in around 3,000 hours from $50,000 in materials. No bathroom, but it has plenty of great amenities: Read the rest

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