Sharing in the City

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The sharing economy has made great strides in encouraging sustainable consumption. In an effort to increase potential participants’ accessibility to current programs, the Swiss initiative Pumpipume aims to eliminate the current requirement that one have online connectivity. Pumpipume minimizes barriers by creating a simple system that only requires one to order complimentary stickers that the sharer’s applies to her mailbox to indicate what items she is willing to lend. Pumpipume’s system not only questions the prevailing norms around personal consumption but also addresses the need for a low-tech, all access approach.

Source: Pop Up City

Constructing Worlds

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Constructing Worlds,”a new exhibition at London’s Barbican Art Gallery features an impressive array of photographs culled from the respective oeuvres of iconic photographersall heavily influenced by and drawn to architecture. The exhibition juxtaposes iconic architecture photographs, such as Case Study House #22 by Julius Shulman, with more obscure images of Garbage City in Cairo (see “Mokattam Ridge” by Bas Princen). Through their selection, the exhibition’s curators illustrate the intrinsic connection between photography and architecture, as architecture is “the medium’s most willing accomplice.”

Source: The Guardian – Photography

The Life of a Vacant Home

9_25_2014

Pittsburgh artist Dee Briggs’ most recent work is deeply personal and political. After several years living next to a vacant blighted home, Briggs decided to take action not as an artist but as a neighbor. Briggs was given the opportunity to take conditional ownership of the house as long as the structure was torn down. After Briggs encountered the personal belongings left in the home by its former residents, she began questioning the municipality’s sterile view of vacant buildings. Briggs launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 to demolish the home as gently as possible in order to salvage materials for re-use.

The campaign recently met its goal, although what happened on the way to $30,000 is what is truly remarkable. Briggs and some friends painted the entire house gold to bring attention to the forgotten and launched a website allowing anyone to comment on the house. What emerged from the comment forum is a fascinating history of the home and its past residents. Briggs’ project has not only salvaged fragments of the physical but also that which is less tangible: love for a home left vacant.

Source: CityLab

Austin Rooftop Architecture Film Series: “Tiny”

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This week’s Rooftop Architecture Series screening at The Contemporary Austin features documentary film Tiny. Tiny tracks one couple’s struggle to design and build a home, the footprint of which fits within an average parking space.

The film runs for two nights at the Jones Center Roof Deck October 8-9, 2014 starting at 7:30 pm. Later this month check out the next installment in the series, Sagradawhich highlights the construction of Gaudi’s Barcelona basilica.

Source: The Contemporary Austin

Fun Friday: 3D-Printed Shells for Hermit Crabs

9_23_2014

Artist Aki Inomata has produced a collection of whimsical new homes for hermit crabs. Inomata scanned each hermit crab to ensure a perfect fit and then printed the crystal clear shells on a high-accuracy 3-D printer. Inomata decided to make each shell a different city skyline to prompt introspection about the temporary and transitional identities of place. Inomata’s shells question the politics of moving, migration, and nationality.

Source: Web Urbanist

World Metro Systems

9_12_2014

The Guardian presents a brief photo history documenitng the world’s metro systems over a one hundred year period, ranging from the first underground rail systemthe London Undergroundto Moscow’s ornate stations, often referred to as the “people’s palaces.” The collection reveals how metros over time have evolved, alongside cities, to best serve residents’ needs.

UT faculty, students , and staff can access images of world metro systems by logging into the Visual Resources Collection’s online image collection and searching key terms “subway” and “underground station” to view images from various regions and time periods.

Source: The Guardian

Vernacular Architecture One Exposure At A Time

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Author Katherine Flynn highlights the upcoming issue of Preservation Magazine with a blog post featuring a recent body of work by photographer duo Steve Gross and Susan Daley. Vernacular architecture—utilitarian in nature and designed in response to needs rather than stylistic constructs—reflects a greater social message about a town, people, and region. Canvasing the country, the photographers documented structures on isolated roads in nearly abandoned towns and homesteads. Gross and Daley believe the buildings appeal “because of their familiar forms that have a sense of character, directness, and certainty about them.”  The result is a poignant, socially conscious body of work.

Source:  Preservation Magazine is the quarterly publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

VETS RESTORE: Veterans and Historic Preservation

9_9_2014

VETS RESTORE, in King County, Washington, is an example of a partnership focused on civic engagement, veteran relations, and historic preservation bringing awareness to both the needs of returning veterans and historic buildings. Upon acceptance into the program, military veteran participants receive training on the theory of historic preservation. They visit current project sites in the region and receive weeks of supervised hands-on training. After completing the program, participants work as paid interns with one of the organization’s five local affiliates. Visit the VETS RESTORE Facebook page to view photos of work by the participants.

Source: VETS RESTORE

Public Art in D.C. Narrates Neighborhood Change

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This month, the Washington, D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities launched their city-wide temporary public art project called 5 x 5. The project brings an installation to each of D.C.’s eight wards. Placing an installation in each ward not only feeds the greater context of the work but decentralizes public art. The common threads of redevelopment and gentrification and how they influence the ever-changing identity of the wards are reflected in the installations. Artist Glenn Kaino superbly captures the resiliency that manifests through neighborhood change in Bridge. Bridge is made up of two-hundred unique slats. Each slat is a cast of athlete Tommie Smith’s arm with a clenched fist to replicate his appearance at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. About this gesture, Smith later commented, “Well, I didn’t actually make the Black Power sign. I was showing solidarity with all the world’s repressed people. It was a sign of freedom” which is a sentiment that still inspires those who feel repressed in the face of redevelopment.

Source: The Dirt: Uniting the Built & Natural Environments

Old and New Photo Fusion

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Blogger Jason King was inspired to reflect upon Portland, Oregon’s history of hidden hydrology through viewing Photography Then and Now’s interactive photos that juxtapose an exact location through a lens of historical events and the present day. King’s images challenge one to not only contemplate urban metamorphosis through the built environment but also ecologically.

Source: Landscape+Urbanism

Lighting Designers Collaborate with Local Prisoners

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In 2009 Norwegian design partners Morten & Jonas founded STUDIO Bjørgvin in partnership with the Norway correctional system. STUDIO Bjørgvin was inspired by Morten & Jonas’ desire to not only design innovative pieces but to also encourage transformative discussions and practices among local prisoners. Both of Morten & Jonas’ desires were fulfilled by the collaborative creation of the Bake me a Cake” lamp. Morten & Jones found that prisoners experienced cognitive shifts—transforming  their traditional thought patterns—through the process of design.

Source: Cool Hunting