Gothic cathedrals are generally discussed in the context of structure, yet the Gothic cathedrals of Britain are equally spectacular in ornamentation. The cathedrals’ vaulted ceilings were often decorated with religions iconography and heraldry. The ornamentation in St Albans Cathedral was refurbished in 1951-52 by Jane Lenton, replicating a 15th century shield. The red and white roses are associated with the Houses of Lancaster and York. Heraldry is prominent in Gothic churches, found on stained-glass windows, floor tiles, doors, and vaulted ceilings. The presence of theses shield often tells a story of patronage.
David Adjaye has won approval to design a “micro village” in Florida’s Winter Park. The Winter Park Public Library and Events Center is replacing an existing civic center with David Adjaye’s cultural building on a new site near Martin Luther King Jr Park. The center includes three pavilions with vaulted red walls. The library building will have circular skylights to bring daylight into the reading areas. The buildings—raised on a platform—will help shape communal outdoor space.
Home to both young families and criminal gang members, Nørrebro is a diverse neighborhood. Its park—Folkets Park—has been contested for decades. As a response, Danish artist Kenneth Balfelt organized a project with architects and landscape architects to improve the park, prioritizing community engagement.
Nørrebro is a densely populated neighborhood with a longstanding mistrust of local officials. When a fire destroyed a building in the neighborhood resulting in an open lot adjacent to a factory, people moved into the the factory and Folkets Park and Folkets Hus were established. Folkets Hus quickly became a community house hosting theater groups, parties, music events, and political debates. The city repeatedly attempted to demolish Folkets Hus, but in the 1990s the building finally receive official approval.
Balfelt worked with all members of the community, asking them, “What their analysis of the park and the situation was, and what they needed from the space.” While most specialists argue that well lit pathways are more safe, Balfelt listened to community members who found dark areas of the park to feel more private and secure. Balfelt argued with the city to include zone lighting to accommodate well lit areas of the park and dark zones in the park. Balfelt enlisted young members of the community to help build and paint the playground equipment for the children. Tensions with gangs in the area have increased over the years, and a shooting occurred in the park last year, pushing officials to temporarily close Folkets Hus. Given the current climate, the park has prospered since the renovation.
Source: Next City
Architects for Animals and FixNation teamed up to raise funds to support FixNation’s charitable services provided to Los Angeles’ homeless cats. Thirteen local architects were selected to build creative cat shelters to raise awareness. In addition, twenty-eight cat bowls were also painted by various celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Charlize Theron, Carly Patterson, and Kristen Bell. The image above shows the disco-themed cat shelter, by CallisonRTKL, with triangulated stained glass windows inspired by cathedrals.
David Buckley Borden has created a year-long, art-based trail, along with Aaron M. Ellison and their team of collaborators. The site-specific interpretive trail project tells the story of the endangered eastern hemlock tree. According to scientists working on the project, the hemlock tree will be extinct by 2025. The trail raises awareness about the aphids that are killing the trees, and larger issues of climate change. The trail is meant to capture the attention of artists and wider audiences, bringing consciousness to the environmental frailty of the New England forests. The Fisher Museum will hold public workshops, promoting reflection, creativity, and critical thinking, along with self-guided trail maps for the Hemlock Hospice project.
Source: World Landscape Architect
MVRDV and the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute recently completed the Tianjin Binhai Library in Tianjin, China. The library features an enormous auditorium with undulating floor-to ceiling bookcases. The layered bookshelf is a spacial device allowing for stairs and seating within the bookshelf. The concept of the design revolves around a sphere. The sphere rests in the center of the auditorium as if it has been pushed into the building creating a ripple effect. The library was designed and built in only three years. Changes were made locally against MVRDV’S advice, rending access to the upper shelves impossible. However, since its opening in early October 2017, the building has been popular serving as an urban living room to residents.
Indigo production has been a long-standing part of Japan’s history. The artisan group BUAISOU is dedicated to preserving ancient indigo dyeing techniques. Indigo dye comes from the leaves of the indigo plant, which are harvested, dried, and then fermented in a vat of ash lye, wheat bran, and calcium hydroxide to create the dye. Sukumo—the type of dye that the group uses—has properties that prevent the dye from bleeding onto other fabrics and materials.The intensity of the dye is dependent on how long the fabric is dipped into the vats of dye. The indigo color only appears when the dye is oxidized after the fabric is dipped into the vat and exposed to air.
Source: Spoon and Tamago
Northern Japan is know for rice production. After a harvest, rice straw—or wara—is recycled to improve the soil,or it is woven into giant sculptures. For nine years Uwasekgata Park has hosted the Wara Art Festival, teaming up with creatives to create creatures from rice straw. Schools send art students to Niiigata to assist with the sculptures that remain on display well into the fall.
Source: Spoon and Tamago
Several campaigns and protests have rallied against Snøhetta’s proposed changes to the Philip Johnson-designed AT&T Building at 550 Madison Avenue in New York; this building, with a Chippendale-inspired roof line and marble and brass finishes, played a large role in bringing Postmodern architecture to America. Unveiled in late October, Snøhetta’s plans for 550 Madison include a curved glass curtain wall over the lower portion of the skyscraper. Protesters argue that the Postmodern building should be preserved in its original state, and that New York is losing its historic masonry buildings.
One of the largest undertakings of its kind, Conservation International plans to plant 73 million trees in the Amazon. This short-term project—called Muvuca, a Portuguese word describing many people in a small place—will restore 70,000 acres of tropical rain forest. A large quantity of seeds of various species are being planted allowing natural selection to demonstrate which species are most suited to survive. Ending deforestation could allow for the absorption of 37 percent of carbon emissions.
ETH Zurich has found a way to make an extremely thin, sinuous concrete roof structure, with an average thickness of five centimeters. The thin structure was designed using digital fabrication technologies to calculate a structurally efficient shell structure using the minimum amount of material. The formwork is comprised of steel cables and fabric stretched across the cable net. This system will be used in a residential unit on top of the NEST living laboratory in Dübendorf, Switzerland.
Puerto Rico’s power grid was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Tesla has begun rebuilding the power infrastructure with more resilient and sustainable technology. Construction has begun on a solar field near the Children’s Hospital in San Juan. It will take six months before power is restored on the Island. The new, alternative power generation and energy storage facilitates will help keep buildings running even if the grid fails.