September 25, 2013
Housing Prototypes site
José Antonio Coderch
Las Cocheras, Barcelona, Spain 1968-1973
Image source: Roger Sherwood / HousingPrototypes.org
Are you researching housing projects by particular architects or in certain cities/countries? Or just curious about the possibilities for multi-unit housing? Check out the online resource HousingPrototypes.org. While currently limited to western Europe and a few other countries, the range of projects is impressive. Each project page provides summary information, a description, images, and reference works.
Silodam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2002
Image source: Roger Sherwood / HousingPrototypes.org
Here's the site's own description of its service:
"Welcome to the web site dedicated to the study of international multi-family housing. HousingPrototypes.org contains examples of housing designed by different architects in different historic periods, countries, and cities. Projects range in scale from single buildings to examples of large social housing projects containing thousands of dwellings. A typological guide provides for research by housing site and building organization. Each example is presented as an individual case study complete with building data and description, a critical analysis, bibliographic resources, photographic images, and drawings. The data is cross-indexed for easy searching by housing type, country, city, architect and date. Links in the text provide for further browsing. New examples are constantly being added to this collection. The site is designed for convenient browsing and all examples are downloadable using most web browsers."
Viaduct Harbor, Auckland, New Zealand 2000-2004
Image source: Roger Sherwood / HousingPrototypes.org
November 30, 2012
Green and"living" walls are a trending feature in urban environments. Whether free-standing or part of a building, they are valued for cooling capacity, potential to reduce water, air and noise pollution, and aesthetic qualities. Innovations in construction are constant, and the "Green Side-Wall" in Barcelona caught our eye.
Created by Capella Garcia Arquitectura in March 2012, the free-standing steel structure hides an unsightly wall remaining from demolition. Essentially a stack of platform gardens, the green wall "represents the birth of a novel type of construction in the field of 'vegitecture'".
all images via domus
August 02, 2012
New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery
Grand Central Station, ca 1935-1941
Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives
New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery is the city’s first ever online image database. It consists of over 870,000 photos covering 160 years of New York City history and subjects include daily life, landmarks, construction, crime scenes and more. In addition to photographs users are also able to access maps, moving images, and audio recordings.
Taken mostly by anonymous municipal workers, some of the images have appeared in publications but most were accessible only by visiting the archive offices in lower Manhattan over the past few years.
April 20, 2012
"The Venetian Dilemma" (video review)
City of Venice
© G. W. Willard
Source: AAEL Digital Image Collection
The Venetian Dilemma
Produced and directed by Carole Rifkind, Richard Rifkind
While tourism rapidly increases every year, Venice's population, like the city itself, has been dramatically sinking. Little shops and businesses have been pushed out for shops and bars that cater to tourists, and the residents of Venice worry that the Venice they’ve known is disappearing. Mayor Roberto D’Agostino has great plans for pushing Venice forward with new industry and the proposal of a subway to the mainland. However, native inhabitants of the city worry this will only increase tourism, and argue that more should be done to provide better housing and services for those who already live there. Presenting both sides, the film explores the tension between the conflicting desires for modernity and the preservation of culture in Venice.
April 05, 2012
"Robert A.M. Stern" (video review)
15 Central Park West, New York
© AP Photo / Richard Drew
Source: AP Images
Architect Robert A.M. Stern expresses his lifelong interest in New York City, and takes us on a tour of its unique apartment buildings from the past and present. Contrasting them with traditional Parisian apartments, Stern demonstrates how early 20th century apartments in NY redefined what apartment housing was. In the early 1900’s NY was growing rapidly and row houses were no longer enough. Architects Philip Hubert, and James Pirsson had the idea of building apartments that were essentially part of a large home and community. They provided dining, laundry service, and communal rooms for entertaining. This new approach to apartment styles lead to the popularity of apartment living amongst the wealthiest members of society. Stern examines these elaborate apartment buildings such as the Dakota Apartments, 998 Fifth Ave., and 740 Park Ave and describes how they were influential to his own work, 15 Central Park West. Through this comparison, Stern highlights how he drew from the early 1900’s to create a modern apartment building that retained the spirit of the original grand New York City apartments.
March 22, 2012
"The Sprawling of America" (video review)
Alex MacLean, Highway interchange, Detroit, Michigan, 1995
© Alex MacLean / Landslides
Source: AAEL Digital Image Collection
This excellent two-part documentary takes an in depth look at the early beginnings and increasing drawbacks of suburban sprawl in Michigan. The film particularly studies the example of Detroit, covering how the 1940’s housing crisis and racial tension in the city led to the depopulation of Detroit and the expansion of the suburbs. Aggravated by government policies that supported suburbs and the lack of public transportation in Detroit, the suburban way of life has become increasingly unsustainable and detrimental to the city. The growth of suburbs has also affected rural areas and farming in negative ways, rapidly decreasing the availability of land for food production. Yet, all is not lost. While Detroit is not the only city in the U.S. to be suffering from these problems, there are cities that are working to make their city centers vital, living communities and to reduce the suburban sprawl. From the east coast to the west coast new policies are being explored that value sustainable land use and the increasing walkability and livability of a city, and provide valuable ideas for the city of Detroit and other U.S. cities suffering from sprawl.
January 19, 2012
"Beijing Taxi" (video review)
A taxi waits near the Beijing Railway Station, Saturday, July 26, 2008, in Beijing.
© AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty
Source: AP Images
a film by Miao Wang
Miao Wang documents a rapidly changing city beginning two years before the 2008 Summer Olympics held in China. These changes are examined through the views of three taxi drivers who know the city and its ins and outs better than anyone else. Taxi driver Bai Jiwen shares the struggles of being a driver in the current economic situation and his dreams of retiring and traveling the world as a photographer. Zhou Yi also recognizes the affects the alterations of the city have on the taxi business and decides to change careers. Wei Caixi is a restless mother who went into taxi driving because the freedom of the job appealed to her. Even so, she becomes disillusioned with the practicality of the job as the whole nature of the city is transformed, and decides to open her own shop. Culminating with the start of the Olympics, the opportunities as well as the detriments to local businesses and shops are presented along with the reshaping of the lives of three taxi drivers in Beijing.
December 01, 2011
"Two Square Miles" (video review)
© Filmakers Library
Source: Filmakers Library
In the small town of Hudson, N.Y. many are adjusting to the changes that have occurred over the years. Having gone from an industrial town, to a mostly abandoned one, and finally to the present with local businesses on the rise and new residents moving in, Hudson citizens must decide what they want the future of their town to look like. When the city council presents a bid by Saint Lawrence Cement to put a cement plant on the outskirts of the town, there are many divided between the jobs it would provide and the environmental and health problems it would cause. However, the majority of the town’s citizens decide against the cement plant and work together to convince the city council that this is not what they want, despite the council’s eagerness to accept the plant deal. Ultimately the film asks the question: Can the citizens of a small town work together to build and shape their desired community or will corporate America win out?
November 16, 2011
"Athens Subway" (video review)
A tourist walks past ancient pottery artifacts decorating the Metro station of Acropolis in Athens, August 11, 2004
© AP Photo / Lefteris Pitarakis
Source: AP Images
Produced by Flashback Television for the History Channel
With air pollution from traffic congestion damaging ancient monuments and the 2004 Olympics around the corner, an expansion of the single line Athens subway was desperately needed. But the subway would pass under the most ancient heart of the city! There was tension between engineers and archaeologists as the engineers had deadlines to meet and the archaeologists wanted to carefully go through everything unearthed. Fortunately a system of cooperation was developed which opened up new opportunities for both the engineers and archaeologists. By building the subway beneath the city the engineers provided access to areas for archaeologists that would never have been available before, allowing for the largest scale archaeological project ever conducted in Athens. The various and delicate tunneling techniques the engineers used to preserve ancient buildings in the city above are shown in detail. When the subway is opened the ancient is incorporated with the new as artifacts found during the subway’s creation are put on display in the stations. This film shows how the engineers and archaeologists worked together to protect Athens’ rich cultural heritage and to balance the needs of the living with the preservation of the past.
October 06, 2011
"Waste Land" (video review)
Jardim Gramacho: February 10, 2011
© AP Photo / Felipe Dana
Source: AP Images
Directed by Lucy Walker
Vik Muniz, a contemporary artist based in New York and originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, takes on one of his largest projects at one of the world’s largest landfills, the Jardim Gramacho of Rio de Janeiro. In this film, Muniz photographs and interviews the people of Jardim Gramacho, who are known as the "Pickers" for their job of collecting recyclable materials from the landfill. Their individual personalities emerge as Muniz works with Tião Santos, the leader of the Association of Pickers of Jardim Gramacho, to understand the conditions at Gramacho and what is being done to improve them. Working with Muniz and providing their own creativity and inspiration, the Pickers help create their own stunning portraits from the photos Muniz takes and the materials of the landfill. Throughout the film Muniz addresses the question “Can art change people?” and by the end both he and the Pickers have their own answers to this question.
Jardim Gramacho: woman collecting recyclable material, February 10, 2011
© AP Photo / Felipe Dana
Source: AP Images
Jardim Gramacho: workers collecting recyclable material, February 10, 2011
© AP Photo / Felipe Dana
Source: AP Images
September 22, 2011
"To Market To Market" (video review)
To Market To Market To Buy a Fat Pig
PBS Home Video
Travel across the U.S. with Rick Sebak as he tastes food, searches for a fat pig and has fun exploring the farmers’ markets of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Lancaster Market in Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Asheville, North Carolina; Decatur, Georgia; Santa Monica, California; Hilo, Hawaii and the West Side Market in Cleveland. Each market claims to be the best but what they all share in common is fresh food and a friendly, social environment. Yet at the same time each market has something different to offer, from Decatur market with its wealth of international foods and people to the market in Hilo with its abundant pineapples and coconuts. Sebak discovers how these unique markets have developed, their important role in their communities and the traditions they carry on through generations of farmers and market goers.
July 21, 2011
"Off the Grid" (video review)
Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa
Still Point Pictures
Off the Grid documents the life of a community connected by their desires of having no boundaries and living by their own rules. The community’s location in the isolated desert area of New Mexico known as the mesa makes achieving this lifestyle difficult, and the inhabitants must aid each other in developing innovative ways to gather food and water. The documentary also covers the tricky balance the inhabitants maintain in keeping their own laws and the run-ins they have with the authorities. Yet their laws are also capable of dealing with the different situations that arise, such as teenage runaways stealing from their community. While still in the United States, the mesa is its own realm created by the strong-willed nature of the people who choose to live there.
July 14, 2011
"Vancouver" (video review)
© AP Photo/Odd Andersen
Source: AP Images
Vancouver: Level 2
Life in a Great City Series
Take a tour of Vancouver with this film that presents the many exciting opportunities the city has to offer from all hours of the day and night. Known as the Gateway to the Pacific, Vancouver’s harbor is bustling with many seaside activities presenting beaches, fresh fish, an aquarium and a commuter ferry from downtown to the North Vancouver area. The beautiful mountains of North Vancouver are excellent for the outdoor enthusiast with activities such as hiking and paragliding. Interviews with gardeners, chefs, artists and shop owners provide insight on the diversity and culture that contribute to creating this great city.
© Scott Gilchrist, Archivision, Inc.
Source: Archivision Architecture Images
July 06, 2011
"The Sand Castle" (video review)
The Sand Castle: Building a City in the Desert of Ras al-Khaimah
Director Eirin Gjørv
This documentary follows the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta and their experience designing a city for HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi of Ras al-Khaimah. Snøhetta competes to create a city that will attract international business and rival neighboring Dubai, but their concept for a city is declined in favor of the plan developed by Rem Koolhaas and architecture firm OMA. However, the Norwegian firm is given the task of envisioning the city’s convention center, a major site for international traffic to be visible from the planned highway. Yet Dr. Khater Massaad, the Sheikh’s special advisor, must approve all designs first, and he proves a tough critic. Thus the film documents Snøhetta at work developing models and concepts using different tools until they reach a design for a convention center that both Dr. Massaad and the Sheik are pleased and excited about representing their city.
June 16, 2011
"The End of Suburbia" (video review)
Cul-de-sac housing development, Gaithersburg, Maryland, ca. 1995
© Alex Maclean, Landslides Aerial Photography
Source: AAEL Digital Image Collection
The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream
Electric Wallpaper Co.
The End of Suburbia travels back in time to the rise of the suburb and its place in the “American Dream”, examining life in the suburbs from its origins to the present day. The suburbs were posed as an alternative and even an escape from living in the industrial city, yet the problems and difficulties surrounding such a lifestyle are becoming ever more apparent. Furthermore, as the world’s oil supply decreases so does the ability to live in the suburbs. After bringing these issues to light and recognizing that more sustainable living styles need to be adopted, the film proceeds to explore the question of “what next?” Urban planners, scientists and economists present measures of alternative energy resources, examine the development of desirable urban living, and seek to draw awareness to how the American lifestyle will need to change and adapt to the future.
May 05, 2011
"Future by Design" (video review)
© Doug Drexler/concept and design by Jacque Fresco
Future by Design
Produced and directed by William Gazecki
Jacque Fresco, the artist, social engineer and industrial designer, is compared to Leonardo da Vinci in the versatility of his work and his exploration of technology in this documentary on his life and creations. From inventing surgical tools to designing underwater cities, Fresco elaborates on his passion for the use of future design and technology to improve the world.
Fresco also shares his early inspiration and fascination with the future drawn from films such as Metropolis and his encounters with Buckminster Fuller and Albert Einstein. Giving a tour of his home in Florida, he introduces what is known as The Venus Project, a full-scale model of homes surrounded with natural environment that he designed for future living. In his studio Fresco describes his dreams, designs and innovations for homes and cities, exhibiting the workplace and models he has created for his captivating vision of the future.
April 28, 2011
"Detroit Collaborative Design Center" (video review)
© Sou International Ltd
Source: Sou International Ltd
Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Sou International Ltd.
This film profiles the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and its working philosophy of "participatory design". The non-profit organization, based at the University of Detroit Mercy, works closely with its clients to create architecture and community projects most beneficial to everyone involved.
To illustrate the DCDC design process, the film covers their collaboration with the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, for whom they were commissioned to create new offices. The inclusion of in-depth interviews with the clients and with Dan Pitera, the Design Center's Director of Design, provides a full picture of the approach.
The DCDC employs innovative methods to include and help their clients understand the design process. Scavenger hunts familiarize the clients with the design and architectural features of a building; Play-Doh models allow the clients to work out the location of rooms and how they want them to function within the spatial limits; and clients provide a project statement to assist designers. This active engagement leads to informed opinions and clear statements of what they need and want in a new building space. As a result, the clients feel more satisfied with the end design.
Throughout the film the potential difficulties of this collaborative method are raised. And, how the DCDC comes to resolve such problems as costs or clients inhibiting the design is documented. By addressing these complexities, Detroit Collaborative Design Center provides a persuasive model of how other programs can reach out and apply the principles of "participatory design" with their clients in the community.
April 07, 2011
"Big Blue Bear" (video review)
"I See What You Mean" by artist Lawrence Argent
© Annette Haines
Big Blue Bear
Just Media Presentation
When the Denver Convention Center held a competition for a public artwork that would encourage visitors to the center to explore the rest of the city, artist Lawrence Argent won. His commissioned work "I See What You Mean", more popularly known as "Big Blue Bear", is profiled in this eponymous documentary.
The film covers the development of the large scale art project, from its initial inspiration and the making of a model to its final creation and installation. Interviews with Denver public art director John Grant and fabricator Bill Kreysler provide a full description of their roles and assistance in the making of Big Blue Bear. Throughout this engaging film Argent displays the sense of fun and the collaboration involved in his creative artwork.
March 10, 2011
"Palmyra" (video review)
Triumphal arch of temple at Palmyra, Syria
Digital ID: 88482. 1860s-1920s
Repository: The New York Public Library. Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.
Source: NYPL Digital Gallery
Palmyra: Venice of the Sands
Part of the Living Stones: Where Archaeology Begins series
Presented by Alpha Line Productions
A look at the ancient city of Palmyra in the Syrian Desert, this film covers the history and fall of a once prosperous desert oasis. Originally known as Tadmore, the city was conquered by Alexander the Great and then later by the Roman Empire, which gave the city its current name Palmyra. The wealth of the city, visible in the ruins of its great monuments, was due to its location on major caravan trade routes. The impact of the consequent diversity is seen in the temples to various deities as well as its varied art and architecture. Also covered is the city's rebellion against Roman rule under Queen Zenobia and the resulting destruction of the city by Emperor Aurelian. Using archaeological evidence and computer models the filmmakers explore the layout and plan of the city and attempt to recreate the atmosphere of the once flourishing Palmyra. In less than half an hour, this video provides a fine overview of the economic, political and multicultural history of this city.
February 10, 2011
"Sustainable Urban Living" (video review)
November the 15th Street - also known as Flower Street, Curitiba, Brazil
© Mathieu Bertrand Struck
Sustainable Urban Living: A South American Case Study
Produced by Peter Beeh
This narrated, straightforward presentation focuses on the urban development of Curitiba, Brazil and the tactics the city has employed to remain an environmentally friendly city despite its industrialization. The film relates five aspects that serve the city and its residents, and features interviews with Jaime Lerner, the architect who played a major role in implementing them.
Beginning with the recycling and garbage system in place since the 1980s, Curitiba has brought an open and innovative approach: for example, creating things such as libraries with thrown away books. Other innovative features include the Solution of the Parks, which helped the city's flood problem by turning riverbanks into park areas and creating lakes; the Integrated Transport, which includes a bus system with Curitiba and Volvo's joint invention of the bi-articulated bus; and the Green Exchange, a program designed to aid lower income residents. The final aspect covered is Curitiba's urban planning, and the inclusion of a mall at the heart of the city that is strictly a pedestrian area, encouraging life at the city center beneficial to shop owners and residents alike. Overall this brief film examines Curitiba as a healthy and vibrant urban center.
February 03, 2011
"Firenze Scomparsa-Forgotten Florence" (video review)
This DVD presents a look at medieval Florence through history, architecture and its leading families; available in Italian and English. The history is centered on the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore and the uncovering of the preceding structure. Using CG models the film recreates the old cathedral, Santa Reparata (ca. 4th-5th century), which was replaced by Santa Maria del Fiore, beginning in 1296. CG models are also used to recreate the surrounding city as it would have looked in the medieval period. This is done using evidence from excavations of the old church underneath Santa Maria del Fiore as well as surviving frescoes that depict the church in its contemporary settings. The history and the original structure of the adjacent Baptistery of St. John is also examined, covering its beginnings as a small hexagonal building to the larger marble baptistery known today. The structures of other city buildings and city streets are also recreated with an emphasis on the abundant towers of the medieval city and their various functions and relations to the leading families of Florence. Overall the film aims to present the look and feel of medieval Florence through the recreation of its architecture.
November 04, 2010
"Echoes of Forgotten Places" (video review)
© Carlos Osorio
Source: AP Images
Echoes of Forgotten Places: Urban Exploration, Industrial Archaeology and the Aesthetics of Decay
Presented by Scribble Media, written and produced by Robert Fantinatto and Leesa Beales
The exploration of abandoned buildings is portrayed through quiet film shots, narration, and the presentation of the archaeologists and photographers who explore these spaces sharing their views and experiences. The film records various trips with photographers who seek to capture the poetic nature of these buildings and their ruined state. Attempting to portray the fascination with these spaces, many photographers aim to show the hold they have on the visitor as well as to bring awareness to the loss of historically significant buildings and the need for their preservation. Bonus features include an image gallery which provides various photographers' works with abandoned buildings, and the 1936 film, Steel: A Symphony of Industry (produced by Audio Productions on the American Iron and Steel Institute). A short, narrated film, it depicts the various techniques of steel production including the Bessemer converter, electric furnace, and open hearth as well as showing the forgotten vitality of these industrial buildings.
September 28, 2010
A great site for finding the ideal place to live in your city or nearly any city across the globe. Simply type in the address to find out the feasibility of walking in the area with a score based on a scale from 0-100. This score is further enhanced by descriptions from Car-Dependent to Walker's Paradise, and a basic overview that provides mileage for everything from the closest restaurants and groceries to parks and schools. Maps are also provided with the options of customizing the map for everything from the nearest coffee or bicycle shop to planning your commute. For a quick overview, Walk Score additionally features a listing of the most walkable neighborhoods in the U.S.
September 17, 2010
"Nowhere Fast!" (video review)
Image source: AAEL Digital Image Collection
Discovery Communications Inc.
Nowhere Fast! examines traffic congestion across the U.S. and the problem solving solutions being proposed and implemented. The film presents various traffic dilemmas through coverage of different routes with commuters from California, Ohio, and Texas driving from rural areas to cities or from one suburb to another. Interviews with experts on traffic and road construction offer the differing opinions over what should be done from building more roads to completely halting the construction of new roads. Other solutions are covered including Boston's Big Dig, or the congestion pricing implemented in London in 2003, a toll to drive into the city which has decreased the amount of traffic. The film also examines TranStar in Houston, a traffic and emergency center that watches over major roads with cameras while employees make reports on any traffic backups or difficulties as they happen. An ongoing problem, Nowhere Fast! presents a look at the development and the potential of various tactics to manage traffic congestion.
September 14, 2010
Creative Commons License for UMHS ImageBank
The University of Michigan Health System has a terrific image database of the architecture, campus and urban setting, and work of the hospital and medical school system.
And, in consultation with the University Library Copyright Office, the University of Michigan Medical School Public Relations and Marketing Communications has adopted a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license for all of the images in their Health System ImageBank!
What does this mean? You can use any image posted to their imagebank provided your use of the image is noncommercial and provided you give appropriate attribution: cite the image!*
*Courtesy University of Michigan, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license
February 08, 2010
Beyond the Motor City
"Beyond the Motor City: Detroit and the American transportation system now and in the future" premiers Monday, February 8 at 10 pm on PBS television stations and on their website. The documentary is part of Blueprint America, a multiplatform production of PBS addressing the critical issue of the nation's failing infrastructure. The website provides interviews, blogs, web videos, expert analyses, and documentaries.
University of Michigan Professor Robert Fishman is a featured interview in the documentary and his paper 1808 - 1908 - 2008 National Planning for America also appears on the "Beyond the Motor City" report site.
January 19, 2010
The William Livingstone House on Eliot Street in Brush Park was demolished on September 15, 2007. This house was not only famous for its long tortured decline, it was also renowned as the first commission by the young architect Albert Kahn while working for the George Mason-Zachariah Rice firm.
Here is the picture of the house in better days:
and here on Flickr
Another building by Kahn, The National Theater (1911) on Monroe Street near Greektown, then:
December 17, 2009
How food shapes our cities
Architect and author Carolyn Steel uses food as a medium to "read" cities and understand how they work. In her book 'Hungry City" she traces and puts into historical context food's journey from land to urban table and thence to sewer. Cities, like people, are what they eat.
A few months ago at the TEDGlobal Conference at Oxford she discussed the daily miracle of feeding a city and showed how ancient food routes shaped the modern world.
Check out "Hungry City" from Shapiro Undergraduate Library
HD9000.5 .S678 2008
See her web page Carolyn Steel's Hungry City
via TED Talks
November 30, 2009
Mapping Main Street
Mapping Main Street calls itself a "Collaborative Documentary Project." They invite anyone to load images, stories, and videos of Main Streets across the United States. There are over 10,000 Main Streets in the United States and though "Main Street USA" is are often spoken about in broad brush strokes, the variety of Main Streets reflects the towns and cities they cross.
Above is an image of South Main Street, Ann Arbor from 1980. Main Street in Ann Arbor isn't well represented on Mapping Main Street. Let's get some good images of Main Street, Ann Arbor up there! Here are directions for participating.
August 27, 2009
Open KSA at Ohio State
Ohio State might be a dirty word on the football field here at Michigan, but if you're an architecture student you might want to put aside your rivalries and check out the Open KSA. Open KSA is the media resources web site for the Knowlton School of Architecture at OSU. Here you can find tons of great links on subjects ranging from copyright law to statistics to Geotagging. Also available are streaming videos from Architecture 200: Outlines of Architecture course which uses specific buildings to teach about themes and the history of the field.
August 25, 2009
Video review: Berlin Babylon
Berlin Babylon is a 2001 film focusing on the changing urbanscape of Berlin after the fall of the infamous Wall in 1989. The film opens with the following text:
“The future of Babylon was in the hands of craftsmen who were not afraid to tackle a burden of any dimension. They were determined to finish what they had started even though their tongues became confused during construction (…).”
This opening text outlines both the context and the spirit of this beautiful photo documentary made by Hubertus Siegert with industrial music by Einstürzende Neubauten. The film is a collage of sites, conversations, nostalgic memories, people, aspirations, concerns and general hullabaloo concerning tonnes of new projects on the once touted longest and continuous construction site in Europe.
The overall sequence is non-linear, moving between sites and time with time-lapse photography and stock footage of post-war demolitions. The actors include local builders, developers, construction workers and site managers standing as equals among and around notable architects like I.M.Pei, Rem Koolhaas, Renzo Piano and Helmut Jahn. What's appealing about this film is that it does not seek to profile individual architects through their winning projects. Instead, it weaves together the popular with the everyday, the persona with the real and the grand conceptions with the on-ground challenges: creating a rich and rather melancholic tapestry of urbanism, both conceived and lived.
The film is loud and yet for most part, seemingly quiet and surreal. Einstürzende Neubauten's music adds to this paradox - moving from construction clamour to more elegant compositions and back. The camera and the sounds help enliven the moment when the Wall fell, and the prospect to build a bigger and a brighter tomorrow, arose. It captures the spirit of architecture and its inherent responsibility of building hope and aspiration. Siegart has produced a masterpiece of a documentary. A collectable and a must watch!
July 28, 2009
New Metropolis Lecture Series from Virginia Tech
July 02, 2009
Rem Koolhaas on CNN
The BBC recently aired an interview with the architect, Rem Koolhaas, entitled The Architect Planning for the Future. You can also find other interviews and specials relating to architecture by searching the CNN videos page, like this sample search here. You can watch the rest of the special here by clicking on the thumbnails beneath the main video.
June 12, 2009
Entrants to this portion of the competition, which comprises a single stage, may enter as individuals, independent teams, or through academic studios under the leadership of an instructor. The competition organizers energetically encourage participation among students, and are willing to work with studio instructors who wish to set WPA 2.0 (SE) problems for the Fall 2009 term.
The competition is open to a wide range of urban planning endeavors, download the brief, here.
via BLDG BLOG
May 29, 2009
A new website may make getting all kinds of information a whole lot easier. Data.gov promises to host data sets from geospatial information to census data thanks to the Open Government Initiative. You can search by types of data, search for widgets, and find source pages for most of the material.
May 21, 2009
Spatial Key is an online system designed for data visualization. It's still in the evaluation stages, but you can apply to use the system now. Keep your eyes open for the roll-out of the official version as it could be an asset in helping you share your data with others.
via Swiss Miss
May 19, 2009
GeoCommons is a new site that allows you to share and create maps or add data to existing maps. You can download existing maps in Google Earth form, spreadsheets or shape files. Check out the Off the Map Blog to find out about interesting data sets and tips on using GeoCommons.
Hat tip to Deep Focus
March 27, 2009
Smart City Radio
Smart City Radio is a weekly talk show discussing different issues regarding urban life, lifestyle, and sustainability. The host of the show is Carol Coletta, president of CEOs for Cities and internationally recognized urban expert. Some of the recent topic have been Resilient cities, America's Transportation Strategy, and the History of Food. Whether you're a designer, planner, or just someone interested in being green, the weekly show might be a good addition to your podcast subscriptions.
March 18, 2009
American Institute of Architects on Google Earth
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) introduced a project called America's Favorite Architecture for their 150th anniversary in 2007. After polling over 2,000 of its members, the AIA produced a list of the 150 most beloved structures in America. You can scroll through the list on the project website by ranking, architect, title, or date.
In sticking with our Google theme from the previous post, if you'd like another way to interact with the structures on the list, you can use the America's Favorite Architecture layer in Google earth. All you have to do is type 'America's Favorite Architecture' into the 'fly to' search box. This will give you a list of the structures, and double-clicking on the title of the structure will "fly" you to that location. Many of the structures are rendered in 3D, so you can view all sides of the structure. You can also download 3D models using Google Earth itself or Google Sketchup.
March 17, 2009
Google has become synonymous with searching the internet, but many of us may be less acquainted with other Google offerings. Google SketchUp, as you can see in from the video above is downloadable software that allows you to create 3D models of just about anything. The program is fairly easy to use and can be translated into presentations using LayOut (watch the tutorial here). Dwell Magazine is even sponsoring a design contest using SketchUp models (details).
March 12, 2009
Housingprototype.org is an online collection of various multifamily housing structures. For each housing project, a brief description, images and some plans are listed. You can easily browse by architect, building type, project name, city or country using the left hand navigation bar. Also listed with each project are bibliographies for further research on a particular project. Many of the images aren't high quality, but that shouldn't stop you from being able to use Housing Prototypes as a starting point for thinking about housing developments.
above: View of garden side of Rue des Suisses infill block seen along the garden slab. Herzog, Jacques & Pierre de Meuron. Rue des Suisses. Paris, France image © Roger Sherwood
March 10, 2009
If you're interested in environmentally conscious design, planning and architecture, the PBS series E2 Design might be of interest to you. The Visual Resources Collection owns season 1, 2, and 3. You can also watch the third season online for the time being at the E2 Design Website.
If you can't completely get you green fix from the episodes, there are PBS E2 podcasts to supplement each segment of the series. The PBS E2 site also provides teachers' guides and project suggestions to accompany the videos if shown in class.
logo above © Kontentreal and displayed here for promotional and educational reasons
February 26, 2009
David Rumsey Historical Maps
The David Rumsey Cartography Collection is a large resource for finding historical maps. Over 13,600 maps make up the collection. The collection consists mostly of items from the 18th and 19th century Americas like maritime charts, atlases, and globes. Many items from the collection are integrated with Google Earth. The maps are overlaid on contemporary images, and you can change the transparency of the maps to see how the areas have changed. You can view the maps from the collection website. If you'd like, you can even visit the collection in Second Life.
Also listed on the cartography collections page are several universities' map collections. All of the collections are available from computers located on the university campus with only two being inaccessible from non-university computers.
image: Hall, E.S.; Lloyd, H.H.; Waters & Son, Military Portraits. Glossary Of War Terms, Maps, Arms, Etc. (Map of) Maryland, Virginia, Chesapeake Bay, Etc., Etc. Published by H.H. Lloyd & Co., 25 Howard Street, New York. 1861, © David Ramsey Collection
January 13, 2009
University of Texas Map Collections
The University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection is great resources for many kinds of maps. The UT website is split into convenient categories for browsing. You can choose by location and type of map. Another great asset are the links to outside references; the list ranges from Rand McNally road maps to West Nile Virus maps to the NASA earth observatory. One thing that separates them from many other map resources is that they also group maps according to topical interest.
And just in case you need a refresher, here's a guide to map citations from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Above: Gaza Crisis Map, original scale 1 mm=2.5km, BBC News, Jan. 13, 2008 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7812136.stm
January 08, 2009
Lantern Slide Collections
Before there were digital images, glass or Plexiglas slides, there were lantern slides. Lantern slides are larger than more modern film-based slides and usually have dimensions between 3" and 4". Sometimes the slide is developed directly onto emulsion coated on the glass, and other times film is placed between two pieces of glass. In many cases the images are painstakingly hand-colored.
The Art, Architecture, & Engineering Library has its own Collection of Lantern Slides. The majority of the collection has been digitized, but many of the undigitized images are of poor quality, damaged or fragile.
Because lantern slides production ended with the advent of smaller more sturdy glass and film slides, their production ended in the mid-twentieth century. This makes them a great resource for historical images.
Click here to view a sampling of the Lantern Slide Collection.
There are other lantern slide collections available on the web, a good one to check out is the George Eastman House Collection. There is also the Walter McClintock Glass Lantern Slide Collection at Yale.
Click on the image to view information details.
December 10, 2008
In several of the entries, we've mentioned how particular institutions offer podcasts or streaming audio or video. However, there's also a great source of broader strictly educational material available on iTunes U. Many students and faculty may already be using the University of Michigan materials located on iTunes U, whether public lectures or private course offerings.
The Penny W. Stamps Lectures as well as TCAUP lectures are frequently posted to iTunes U, but access to audio and video podcasts through iTunes U is not limited only to University of Michigan programs. Many museums and other Universities also post lectures or instructional videos. In the Fine Arts category, for example, you can find everything from lectures on Rembrandt to demonstrations of how to use Final Cut Pro or Dreamweaver.
If you want to find lectures or performances from a museum, click the "Beyond Campus" button on the left of the screen, this will bring you to a list that includes institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the National Science Digital Library. So, whether you're a mac or pc person, art student, chemistry major or engineering grad, there's something on iTunes U for you.
If you're a faculty member and are interested in offering extra items or recordings of your lectures on iTunes U contact: UMiTunesinfo@umich.edu. Make sure to check out the contribute page on Michigan's iTunes U for copyright policies and other instructions.
November 14, 2008
Catena is a digital image database of historical gardens and landscapes. The newly remodeled site includes their collection of photographs, drawings, and excerpts from texts. Catena is a good supplement to landscape studies and fills a niche that many strictly architecture or art image databases do not. Searches can be done for location, the type of garden/landscape element, period, and type of image in addition to the usual creator, title and keyword searches. The new design makes browsing the collection much more user-friendly than before.
Other highlights of the remodel include interactive plans of a few key villas and gardens and excerpts from rare books available in the image viewer. Look below the fold for more images from Catena's collection.
image: Garden and palace near the villa of Tivoli, Dupérac, Etienne, etching, (1525-1604) © Bard Graduate Center
November 11, 2008
Interested in Ann Arbor?
Ever wonder about the history of this town you'll be living in for at least a few years of your life? The Ann Arbor District Library and the Bentley Historical Museum have teamed up to offer an online history of the Making of Ann Arbor. The site offers essays, images, and maps all relating to the city. One section focuses just on historical buildings in the area. If you can't find what you're looking for on the Making of Ann Arbor site, they provide an extensive list of links and suggested readings to further your research.
Image above Northeast Corner Main and Washington Streets - Ann Arbor, contact Bentley Historical Library for copyright information.
October 13, 2008
Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu
image: Urban Pastoral © Eskyiu
Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu, founders of Eskyiu, a firm involved in design for communities incorporating technology and creativity to meet urban needs. Their Urban Pastoral project is currently on display at the Hong Kong Pavilion 11th Venice Architecture Biennale International Exhibition. Their collective work investigates new ways of community interaction and urban living.
They will be lecturing for TCAUP today at 6:00pm in the Art & Architecture Lecture Hall. For more information, read further.
Venice Biennale Hong Kong Pavilion (featured under the 'exhibits' and then 'landscape' tabs)
Bullviant, Lucy. "Beyond the Kiosk." Architectural Design, vol. 77 iss. 4
September 25, 2008
Home Delivery: Prefab Houses & MOMA videos on the web
Video and many others available via the MOMA user homepage on YouTube.
Over the summer, the Museum of Modern Art has been hosting an exhibition called Home Delivery in the empty lot adjacent the museum. Five different groups from the U.S. and Europe erected homes on the site with emphasis on issues ranging from sustainability to disaster relief.
For more information, articles, and videos on the exhibition, keep reading.
September 19, 2008
Use M-Tagger for Images!
Try the new M-Tagger tool to tag images in the AAEL VRC Online Image Collection. You can then search for your tags and find the images you've tagged. You can tag with words that describe the image or you might tag with a course name or number for which that image is relevant.
Simply go to the collection, conduct your search, click on a thumbnail and then click on Tag This Page!
To search tags (your own or all tags), simply go to the MTagger Search Page or to any image and click on the Search Tags link in the MTagger window.
September 12, 2008
Cities in Pictures
Urban planners often have different image needs from other disciplines. Here are a few sites rich with images of cities, urban topics, and social issues.
Images of Detroit
SeeDetroit.com Image Gallery
Virtual Motor City
Images of Detroit from News Sources from 1900-1980.
Library of Congress American Memory Project
Click on the Cities and Towns link.
Sanborn Maps of American Cities
(Requires UofM authentication)
September 11, 2008
Looking for images that don't fit in neat subject categories?
Try AP Images. AP Images provides 100's of 1,000s of images from newspapers, magazines, and online news sources. You can search in several news categories (national, international, sports, etc.). You might want to browse through some of their historical image groups (i.e., Man on the Moon, Jazz Greats, Early Computers, etc.).
When searching for images in AP Images, remember that you're searching through captions, so choose words that you might expect to find describing the image you're hoping to find. For example, if you don't find what you need with "tornado," try "funnel cloud." Remember to search common abbreviations in addition to words. For instance, searching for WTC New York will find different and additional images from a search for World Trade Center New York.