Except for some interior stairs and some retrofitted safety and stabilizing additions, the inside of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is smooth marble. This lovely tour goes all the way up to the bells at the top, offering a great view. Read the rest
Triad's Omoshiro Block ("fun block") are blocks of notecards from architectural model company Triad that have been pre-scored by a laser-cutter so that the pages separate to leave behind -- and gradually reveal -- detailed, delicate and exquisite models of Japanese architectural landmarks. Read the rest
Muji -- the Japanese minimalist design house that's something of a local equivalent to Ikea, but with clothes, stationery, toiletries and groceries -- has finally shipped its long-awaited Mujirushi micro-home, a ¥3,000,000 (USD27,000) "hut" with a slanting roof that can be ordered for delivery and assembly in many Japanese suburbs. Read the rest
Since 2010, photographer Noritaka Minami has documented life in Tokyo's Nakagin Tower, a "metabolist" building constructed in 1972 in just one month. Each prefabricated cube attached to the core tower is a 107-square-foot apartment complete with a tiny lavatory. Since designer Kisho Kurokawa's death in 2007, its fate has been uncertain. From National Geographic:
Some capsule owners have moved out or converted their rooms into offices, while others have chosen to renovate and remain in the one-of-a-kind dwelling.
Minami avoided photographing the tenants directly, preferring to have their presence communicated through their objects. “[The room] functions as a container of people's identity, personal interest, hobbies and taste.”
I bet this Petersburg, Virginia home is the last place local trick-or-treating children want to hit up for candy on Halloween.
The Tombstone House" was built in 1934 using the lower half of marble tombstones procured from Poplar Grove, the nearby Civil War cemetery. There are 2,200 discarded headstones in total, all from Union soldiers.
The soldiers all died in the siege of Petersburg, which lasted for nine months at the end of the Civil War... After their original wooden grave markers rotted away, the government installed upright marble headstones to take their place.
However, during the Great Depression, maintaining the cemetery and the headstones suffered because of scant funding. The city decided to cut the tombstones in half and lay the top halves, which were engraved with the soldiers’ details, on the ground so they no longer stood erect. These makeshift flat graves saved money on mowing and maintenance costs.
The bottom halves of 2,200 slain tombstones were then sold for the princely sum of $45. Their new owner, Oswald Young, used them to build his house, chimney, and walkway...
The house is located at 1736 Youngs Road in Petersburg, Virginia.
Thanks, Greg Wright! Read the rest
The Louvre in Paris decided that the "Domestikator," the 40-foot-tall installation by Atelier Van Lieshout seen above, wasn't the right fit for the adjacent Tuileries Gardens. The plan was to show it during this month's Fiac! International Contemporary Art Fair.
“Online commentaries point out this work has a brutal aspect,” wrote the Louvre’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez Martinez, in a letter to fair organizers. “It risks being misunderstood by visitors to the gardens.”
The Louvre was also reportedly concerned that in the Tuileries Gardens the sculpture would be too close to a children's playground.
The new plan is that starting next Wednesday, the "Domestikator" will be situated in front of the Centre Pompidou that houses the Musée National d'Art Moderne.
“To have this major piece in front of the Pompidou is a victory,” Julien Lombrail, director of the London-based gallery Carpenters Workshop, which represents Atelier Van Lieshout, told the New York Times. “It’s an incredible moment for Paris and the public, when we have so many issues surrounding art and censorship. It’s important for us to engage for the future.” Read the rest
Buckminster Fuller created this striking 1960 overlay photograph "Dome Over Manhattan" in 1960. It's one of many prints, drawings, models, and artworks in the "Never Built New York" exhibition now on view at the Queens Museum. Co-curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, and designed by Christian Wassmann, the exhibition "explores a city where you could catch a football game in Manhattan, travel via a floating airport, and live in an apartment also acting as a bridge support." Below, Frank Lloyd Wright's "Key Plan for Ellis Island" (1959), Eliot Noyes’s Westinghouse Pavilion proposal for the 1964 World’s Fair installed at the exhibit as a scaled-down "bouncy house" model, and Paul Rudolph’s "Galaxon Pavilion," designed for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows and recreated in virtual reality by Shimahara Illustration. The exhibition is based on the curator's book, Never Built New York. From an interview with Lubell and Golding in City Lab:
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Lubell: The way you experience the show in Queens connects you to the site, makes it real, and then you’re in the salon space before finally walking up to the panorama, looking above the projects with a sense of how it all would have affected the city. The combination of galleries makes for a really powerful experience.
Seeing these projects through our show doesn’t just create a ‘wow’ factor: it can inspire people to learn more about how cities do or don’t work. It clues people into the planning process. I think the emotions that come from looking back at these projects will make people think about what we can do now and in the future to improve New York.