August 26, 2010
AMNH Explorer iPhone App
If you're planning a trip to New York's American Museum of Natural History be sure to check out the AMNH Explorer. The latest in museum interaction, the iPhone app assists in everything from navigating the museum with a personal GPS system to providing a variety of tours of the collection. Other innovative features include creating your own tour or participating in a museum treasure hunt. Don't have an iPhone? The museum has over 300 available for use to maximize your museum experience.
August 18, 2010
"The Lost City" (video review)
Source: AP Images
In light of China's preparation for the 2008 Olympics this video presents the problems of balancing cultural heritage and city development with a look at the hutong, the traditional courtyard home, and its disappearance in Beijing. Many of the homes were destroyed to make way for roads to help relieve the problem of traffic congestion or to provide room for more modern housing developments. This demise of the hutong and its conflict with modernization is examined within its historical context from city planning under Mao to the destruction of cultural landmarks during the Cultural Revolution. Interviews with the homeowners express the difficulties of their displacement and the importance of preserving the hutong as an example of traditional architecture and the history of Beijing.
August 12, 2010
Mapping Gothic France
Notre Dame Cathedral, Amiens, France
© Archivision (Scott Gilchrist)
Source: AAEL Digital Image Collection
Mapping Gothic France is a creation of the Visual Media Center in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, the Visual Resources Library at Vassar College, and the Columbia University Libraries
The website is an ongoing project to present Gothic cathedrals mainly from the 12th to 13th centuries with the theme of space, time, and narrative. Each cathedral has its own entry complete with images, descriptions of the building's architectural features, its history and place in France in comparison to other cathedrals and a bibliography for further information. Multiple plans are also included with the added ability of choosing a location on the plan for further images. The database can be searched in a number of ways ranging from a variety of maps, modern and historical, to an interactive time line that allows you to search by date and place. (Click here to see the entry for Notre Dame de Amiens.)
An excellent resource, Mapping Gothic France aims to provide an interactive database that explores the manifold and diverse layers of history and architecture surrounding Gothic cathedrals.
August 05, 2010
"The Architecture of Mud" (video review)
Shibam, the Hadramaut Valley, Yemen
View from south in 2003
The Architecture of Mud
An Anonymous Productions presentation of a project by Caterina Borelli and Pamela Jerome
Set in the Wadi Hadhramaut region of Yemen, The Architecture of Mud introduces the production and creation process of mud brick buildings and the architectural accomplishments achieved with mud brick from comfortable houses to grand palaces. The long standing tradition of mud brick architecture is expressed in interviews with the masons that provide not only details of construction covering practices for foundations, walls, and roofs but also insights into the lives of the masons and how construction practices have changed over time. Ample footage of the building process is incorporated presenting the creation of mud brick, the mud plaster used to cover the bricks once they are in place, and finally the methods for producing lime plaster for waterproofing. Also addressed is the rise of cement as a building material despite its disadvantages such as retaining heat and its higher expense as a building material. Yet for now masons remain positive that mud brick is still the more popular building material. Overall a quiet film with very little narration that provides coverage of workers and construction in a profound visual storytelling.