The site of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, has been an item of contention lately. Complaints about the World Heritage site’s lack of a prominent visual presence have prompted a rethinking of the site’s layout. Preservation Design Partnership has proposed a large, enclosing glass wall that will mark the bounds of the original structure. Critiques against this proposal assert that the area that will be enclosed by the wall currently functions as a completely public plaza. Critics argue that this proposal could be the end of the “street preaching, panhandling, raspa vending, trinket shopping, [and] photo posing” that constitute the role of the square in the city.
Source: Next City
Google Chrome has devised a new way to get to know our planet. Through doodling a curve onto its interface, Land Lines reveals a corresponding landform, along with its physical location. This is an application that allows users to happen upon parts of the world to which they would otherwise be oblivious.
Source: Visual News
During this year’s Venice Biennale, Sir Norman Foster presented about a port that his firm has designed for drones. Designed for Rwanda, the “droneport” is meant “to service difficult to reach hospitals with medical supplies across inaccessible and rural” areas. The design is composed of rammed earth arches that are built from local soil to reduce the cost of construction. This article by Failed Architecture elaborates upon the conditions in Rwanda and is critical about the potential effects (or lack thereof) of Foster’s project upon the socio-political milieu.
Source: Failed Architecture
Image Credit: CNN
Researchers at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands are developing a self-healing concrete. Its cement paste has been infused with harmless, dormant bacteria that becomes active when in contact with rainwater. This would cause cracks in the concrete to be filled. Reportedly, the most complicated part of developing the technology was ensuring that the “healing agent particles” were not disturbed during the initial concrete mixing process.
Source: The Future of Things
Talks of a Fort Worth-to-Dallas high-speed train line have been confirmed. The line would be about 30 miles long and would be traveled “at speeds between 70 and 125 mph.” An environmental impact study is currently in progress to be completed in one year, but the train line would most likely not materialize until the year 2023. This is seen as the first step to connecting Texas’ major cities to one another by high-speed train.
Source: Next City
Amazon’s campus in downtown Seattle will contain a 50,000- square-foot homeless shelter, Next City reports. The nonprofit that will manage the accommodations currently resides in a condemned building that is owned by Amazon, so it will be relocated to inside the headquarters. Amazon has also actively helped other entities in the Seattle area, such as the University of Washington computer science center and aloting space for another nonprofit as well.
Source: Next City
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects have revealed the first renderings of the Obama Presidential Library, which will be completed in 2021. The library will be located in Jackson Park in Chicago, and is designed to “seamlessly integrate into the park and the community,” per the request of the Obamas. The museum portion of the complex is a multi-storied, stone clad structure that will sit opposite the horizontally oriented library. Landscaping will wrap around the museum and atop the library, which opens up to a public plaza. Barack and Michelle Obama presented the concept design and site plan at an event on May 3.
Visual News reports about “the Great American Word Mapper,” a device that allows you to input a word and the output will inform you of its popularity based on location. The data driving the site was compiled in 2014 from billions of Twitter posts and the top 100,000 words used in those tweets generate the maps. It reminds us that vocabulary, regardless of the prevalence of social media today, remains tied to geography.
Source: Visual News
Love & Robots has created personalizable jewelry that can represent a specific moment in time as well as a geographic location. One chooses a location and a date on the store’s website, resulting in an animation of a fluttering metal cloth showing that day’s wind patterns. The customer can then pause the animation to produce a still, windswept form. The metal is either 3D-printed or a mold is 3D-printed and the metal is cast inside.
The Norwegian Coastal Administration asked Snøhetta to produce renderings for the conceptual design of a long tunnel underneath the Stad peninsula to connect between two fjords. It is estimated that “between 70 and 120 ships” would pass through this mile-long tunnel daily. This construction has been considered for many, many years. “Historians have even discovered that Vikings often preferred to portage their ships” over this distance than to endure the ship ride all the way around the peninsula.
The University of Stuttgart has employed robot arms and drones to install a woven pavilion. The “lightweight fibre composites” in the project serve to easily achieve the span of the built work. Because former design teams from this institution had been restrained by the length of the robot arms they were employing, the drones were used to allow them to fabricate something of a larger scale.
Rich McCor’s photographs with inserted silhouette cut-outs inspire thoughts about scale and composition. His Instagram profile is composed of images that take recognizable artifacts from our environment and transform them through simple superimposition. The final product tends to be humorous and refreshing—take a look!