London Bridge: 12 Contenders Including ‘Flaming Mouth of Hades’

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

london bridge 008

Some of the concepts submitted for the new Nine Elms to Pimlico pedestrian bridge in London are rather – well – pedestrian, while others are so out-there they’ve been nicknamed ‘The Flaming Mouth of Hades.’ Spanning the Thames River, the bridge will link two very different parts of the city, and must be “technically rigorous and beautiful,” cyclist-friendly and well-engineered while providing headroom for river traffic.

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The competition to design the bridge has drawn dozens of entries from around the world, with a shortlist set to be announced later this month and a winner unveiled in July. The design brief notes that “how the bridge looks from afar, as it bestrides the Thames, what it feels like to cross and how it touches land on either shore – and the places that it creates around each landing point – will be critical to its success.”

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Thus far, there’s only a gallery of images to look at, without any supporting information on each design, so it’s hard to tell just what we’re looking at in some cases. The City Metric called most of the entries ‘ridiculous,’ pointing out “the one which is definitely not a bridge,” “the one like a nightmarish Escher painting” and “the one that’s a spoon.”

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london bridge hades

It’s clear enough why the word Hades was invoked to describe the strange violet-and-orange creation pictured above, and it’s unclear how this design would actually function as a bridge. You have to wonder whether some of the entrants are just trolling. But some of the designs are actually quite beautiful, like the one featuring a perforated undulating canopy over a network of paths planted with greenery. However will the judges choose?


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Aerodynamic Avian Architecture: 12 Bird-Inspired Buildings

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

bird architecture quadracci main

From a massive kinetic museum structure that flaps its wings to indicate a new exhibit to an internet-famous church in Florida accidentally resembling an Angry Bird, these avian-inspired buildings seem like they’re ready to take off.

Zoomlion Headquarters Exhibition Center, China

bird buildings zoomlion 1

bird buildings zoomlion 2

The giant wings on the facade of this ‘transformer building’ in China actually flap, changing the look of the exterior. The hinged steel and glass panels are mounted on hydraulic arms, opening up the interior spaces to the outdoors during appropriate weather. Designed by Californian architects amphibianArc, the structure will serve as an exhibition and display center for Chinese machinery company Zoomlion.

Bird-Shaped House, Czech Republic

bird architecture czech house 1

This house in the Beskydy Mountains of the Czech Republic looks like it’s ready to take off, with a titanium-plated room in the shape of a bird’s head and wings. Atelier Simona Group applied their “organic architecture” philosophy to the project, looking to the natural surroundings of the site to guide them in creating a shape that would satisfy the client’s desire for something truly unique.

Mashhad City Entrance, Iran

bird architecture mashad city 1

bird architecture mashad city 2

bird architecture mashad city 3

Visitors entering the city of Mashhad in Iran could be greeted by this massive bird-like structure, a gateway that “has been designed so that entry and exit of any vehicle will cause changes in the structure.” The weight of vehicles passing over a speed bump causes a movement in the structure’s wings, making it appear to fly. The busier the entrance, the more active the flying movements become.

Santiago Calatrava’s Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee

bird architecture quadracci 1

bird architecture quadracci 3

bird architecture quadracci 2

Architect Santiago Calatrava’s contribution fo the Milwaukee Art Museum looms over a ship-shaped building, its louvers opening and closing like the wings of a monstrously oversized bird. The kinetic structure also incorporates a cabled pedestrian bridge with a mast inspired by sailboats, and a wave-like galleria. When the louvres are open, they act as a signal indicating that a new exhibition has arrived.

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Aerodynamic Avian Architecture: 12 Bird-Inspired Buildings

Bild

[ By Steph in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

bird architecture quadracci main

From a massive kinetic museum structure that flaps its wings to indicate a new exhibit to an internet-famous church in Florida accidentally resembling an Angry Bird, these avian-inspired buildings seem like they’re ready to take off.

Zoomlion Headquarters Exhibition Center, China

bird buildings zoomlion 1

bird buildings zoomlion 2

The giant wings on the facade of this ‘transformer building’ in China actually flap, changing the look of the exterior. The hinged steel and glass panels are mounted on hydraulic arms, opening up the interior spaces to the outdoors during appropriate weather. Designed by Californian architects amphibianArc, the structure will serve as an exhibition and display center for Chinese machinery company Zoomlion.

Bird-Shaped House, Czech Republic

bird architecture czech house 1

This house in the Beskydy Mountains of the Czech Republic looks like it’s ready to take off, with a titanium-plated room in the shape of a bird’s head and wings. Atelier Simona Group applied their “organic architecture” philosophy to the project, looking to the natural surroundings of the site to guide them in creating a shape that would satisfy the client’s desire for something truly unique.

Mashhad City Entrance, Iran

bird architecture mashad city 1

bird architecture mashad city 2

bird architecture mashad city 3

Visitors entering the city of Mashhad in Iran could be greeted by this massive bird-like structure, a gateway that “has been designed so that entry and exit of any vehicle will cause changes in the structure.” The weight of vehicles passing over a speed bump causes a movement in the structure’s wings, making it appear to fly. The busier the entrance, the more active the flying movements become.

Santiago Calatrava’s Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee

bird architecture quadracci 1

bird architecture quadracci 3

bird architecture quadracci 2

Architect Santiago Calatrava’s contribution fo the Milwaukee Art Museum looms over a ship-shaped building, its louvers opening and closing like the wings of a monstrously oversized bird. The kinetic structure also incorporates a cabled pedestrian bridge with a mast inspired by sailboats, and a wave-like galleria. When the louvres are open, they act as a signal indicating that a new exhibition has arrived.

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These skyscrapers, homes and city concepts eschew typical architectural silhouettes, taking inspiration from cliffs, mountains and hills to create artificial ... Click Here to Read More »»


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[ By Steph in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

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Aerodynamic Avian Architecture: 12 Bird-Inspired Buildings

Bild

[ By Steph in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

bird architecture quadracci main

From a massive kinetic museum structure that flaps its wings to indicate a new exhibit to an internet-famous church in Florida accidentally resembling an Angry Bird, these avian-inspired buildings seem like they’re ready to take off.

Zoomlion Headquarters Exhibition Center, China

bird buildings zoomlion 1

bird buildings zoomlion 2

The giant wings on the facade of this ‘transformer building’ in China actually flap, changing the look of the exterior. The hinged steel and glass panels are mounted on hydraulic arms, opening up the interior spaces to the outdoors during appropriate weather. Designed by Californian architects amphibianArc, the structure will serve as an exhibition and display center for Chinese machinery company Zoomlion.

Bird-Shaped House, Czech Republic

bird architecture czech house 1

This house in the Beskydy Mountains of the Czech Republic looks like it’s ready to take off, with a titanium-plated room in the shape of a bird’s head and wings. Atelier Simona Group applied their “organic architecture” philosophy to the project, looking to the natural surroundings of the site to guide them in creating a shape that would satisfy the client’s desire for something truly unique.

Mashhad City Entrance, Iran

bird architecture mashad city 1

bird architecture mashad city 2

bird architecture mashad city 3

Visitors entering the city of Mashhad in Iran could be greeted by this massive bird-like structure, a gateway that “has been designed so that entry and exit of any vehicle will cause changes in the structure.” The weight of vehicles passing over a speed bump causes a movement in the structure’s wings, making it appear to fly. The busier the entrance, the more active the flying movements become.

Santiago Calatrava’s Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee

bird architecture quadracci 1

bird architecture quadracci 3

bird architecture quadracci 2

Architect Santiago Calatrava’s contribution fo the Milwaukee Art Museum looms over a ship-shaped building, its louvers opening and closing like the wings of a monstrously oversized bird. The kinetic structure also incorporates a cabled pedestrian bridge with a mast inspired by sailboats, and a wave-like galleria. When the louvres are open, they act as a signal indicating that a new exhibition has arrived.

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Augmented Showroom: Projections Compliment Physical Products

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

projected furniture accessory showroom

Offering more than a traditional storefront space or conventional shopping website could individually, this hybrid showroom allows shoppers to experiment with different combinations of furnishings and fixtures both physically and virtually.

projected lamp example object

Created by London studio Bureau de Change for Made.com, the space is designed with a series of screens as backdrops for various sets of staged furniture and fixtures, allowing accessory items to be projected alongside for shoppers to compare and evaluate in relation to physically-present pieces.

projected living room accessories

“The projections provide a true, adaptable representation of the products, at the right scale, in the right place. Without them, the room sets feel unfinished, so for us they were the missing link to achieving a flexibility you can normally only achieve online,” say the designers.

projected showroom hybrid digital

Again bridging the physical and digital, various displays have sample swatches that can be taken by would-be buyers but others also have tablets that will let people peruse related items or rearrange potential settings.

projected interior shop space

Like a gallery or work of installation art, the idea was to create something interactive that also made maximum use of limited and very expense London commercial real estate, drawing people in, serving a function but also engaging them beyond their past or expected shopping experiences.

projected room showcase design

projected interior space setup

“This is such a bustling street, with so many stores vying for your attention, we wanted to produce something unexpected – an idea that would set it apart from the traditional format of lots of products in a display. The space was designed on a tight budget and timeframe but [the designers] brought a lot of ingenuity and flair and turned an old rundown bookstore into a crisp, spacious and inviting design for our customers”


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Cyberpunk City: Reframing Tokyo as a Futuristic Wonderland

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[ By WebUrbanist in Culture & History & Travel. ]

PhokusSelect_10

With a background and interests in skateboarding, anime and architecture, this photographer brings both a youthful imagination and an outsider’s eye to an area of the world famous for speculative fiction-worthy landscapes and high-tech cityscapes.

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Sam Pritchard‘s interest in architecture evolved alongside his interest in Japanese cities and culture, which in turn helped inspire his recent Phokus Archives remodel (years in the making and with audio accompaniment by Reso). The child of an architect, he grew up seeing the built environment through the lens of a skateboarder and urban explorer in England. Meanwhile, he developed fascination with futuristic cityscapes through (often Japanese) video games and movies, from Sega, Nintendo and Atari to Akira and Ghost in the Shell.

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architecture japanese bridge infrastructure

After spending time as an architectural photographer in London, Pritchard moved to Japan to follow up on his childhood fascinations and see what structures are really like in the fabled land of futuristic tech. The results were surprising: “Since living in Japan the reality of day-to-day life in isn’t really any more tech or futuristic than it is in any other developed city or country. But in my photography, I try to create the illusion that it is some kind of digital future world that lives up to my childhood expectation of the place.”

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Shafted: 10 Eerie Unused & Abandoned Mine Winding Towers

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned mine winding tower Belgium 1
When coal mines get the shaft, only abandoned winding towers remain to mark the places where Earth’s underground bounty was winched to the surface.

abandoned mine winding tower Belgium 1c

Coal and metal ores are finite resources, the extraction of which requires a huge investment in machinery and infrastructure. When a site’s prime resource runs out, however, it often isn’t economically viable to move the massive infrastructure to a new location.

abandoned mine winding tower Belgium 1a

abandoned mine winding tower Belgium 1b

Such was the case at the Winterslag coal mine in northeastern Belgium, which opened in 1917 and closed in 1988. Flickr user Geoffrey Alfano (Geoffrey Vlassaks) visited the complex in June of 2011, subsequently posting a host of evocative HDR images.

abandoned mine winding tower Belgium 1d

abandoned mine winding tower Belgium 1e

The mine’s quarry, slag dumps, factory buildings and matching pair of winding towers have all been “recultivated” and preserved in recent years, with additional construction resulting in a unique tourist attraction: the C-MINE cultural center.

Super Yooper

abandoned mine winding tower Michigan 2a

abandoned mine winding tower Michigan 2b

Old iron mines need love (and winding towers) too. The Cliffs Shaft Mine complex (now a museum) in Ishpeming on Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula operated from 1868 through 1967, and in 1992 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The abandoned mine’s oldest winding towers date from 1919 and were built in the Egyptian Revival style. Like many actual ancient Egyptian monuments, this 97-foot tall tower still looks impressive today.

Polish Precedent

abandoned mine winding tower Poland 3a

abandoned mine winding tower Poland 3b

abandoned mine winding tower Poland 3c

Flickr user Rafal Nalepa (Rafal N.) visited the Prezydent coal mine in Chorzów, Poland back in October of 2010 and came back with a wealth of striking images of this former Silesian coal mine and its surprisingly stylish winding tower.

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The High Life: 12 Incredible Residential Tree House Designs

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

residential treehouses

We’ve seen tree houses that function as oversized sculptures, play structures for kids, sky-high tea houses and elevated retreats for work or meditation, but how many tree house designs actually fulfill dreams of living in the forest canopy full-time? These 12 residential tree houses range from traditional huts built over a hundred feet above the forest floor to a stunning ultramodern cylindrical glass house that envelops an entire tree.

Amazing Cylindrical Glass Treehouse

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cylyndrical glass treehouse 2

cylindrical glass treehouse 4

This ultramodern, all-glass cylindrical house isn’t just in the trees, it contains one. ‘Tree in the House’ by Masov Aibek is a four-story residence in the woods of Almaty City, Kazakhstan with a spiraling staircase leading to each completely transparent level. A few plasterboard walls provide privacy for the bathroom and sleeping areas. The house will be available for rent, and though it may seem like it’s only suitable for exhibitionists, its location deep in the forest makes privacy less of a concern.

Traditional Residential Treehouses of Asia

traditional treehouse

korowai treehouse

traditional treehouses 2

Papua New Guinea’s Korowai Tribe is just one example of people who have traditionally built their homes in the canopies of trees, some as high as 115 feet off the ground. The houses are typically built in a single sturdy Banyan tree, with poles added for extra support. Each house accommodates as many as a dozen people. Elevated houses can also be found in flood-prone areas of India, Cambodia and other Asian nations.

Finca Bellavista Treehouse Community, Costa Rica

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finca vellavista treehouse 3

A couple went to Costa Rica in search of a small plot of land and ended up saving 600 acres of rainforest from the chopping block. Uncertain at first what to do with all that acreage, they began to envision a network of tree houses that soon became ‘Finca Bellavista,’ a sustainable treehouse community with individual residences connected by zippiness and suspension bridges. The self-sustaining complex includes a dining hall, open-air lounge, campfire, bath house and ‘wedding garden.’

4Treehouse by Lukas Kos

4treehouse

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Looking a bit like a Japanese lantern when it’s illuminated at night, the 4Treehouse by Toronto designer Lukasz Kos is a modern take on the classic wooden tree house with a facade of slats that provide shade and privacy. A semi-detached staircase on casters provides a stable, steady entrance to the home no matter how much the structure itself may be rocking in the wind.

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(Not) for Sale: Get Paid $5K to Haul Away ‘Skyway to Nowhere’

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[ By WebUrbanist in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

skyway as lake superior retreat

280,000 pounds of glass, steel and concrete spanning over 80 feet, this remarkable structure was built to span city streets and sidewalks in Minneapolis but has storied history that goes well beyond its original usage. Today, this historic wonder can be yours for a remarkable sum of negative $5,000 - indeed, its owners will pay you to take it away (and hopefully put it to good use).

skyway to nowhere

skyway current condition wheels

buy a skyway

An incredibly robust work of engineering, the structure originally connected two downtown buildings in Minnesota’s biggest city, but when one of the pair it bridged was demolished it became a kind of “skyway to nowhere” that was more liability than asset. Ideas to turn it into a bridge or use it again as a skyway in another location all failed to materialize, but many others have been dreamed up since – a mobile nightclub, kiosk for Nicollet Mall and so forth.

skyway on nicolet mall

skyway interior cabin design

skyway floor plan design

skyway as walkway

It was subsequently listed for sale and bought for $1 by the University of Minnesota, which then sold it at blind auction by CityDeskStudio for $5,000. Plans to turn it into a modern cabin overlooking Lake Superior have since fallen through, hence its being once again up for grabs. CDS originally relisted the bridge in the early 2000s for close to $100,000 – the price was dropped repeatedly before the company decided to not only give away the behemoth but to pay for its relocation.


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Checked Out: Ten Permanently Vacant Abandoned Motels

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned motel 1
Motels have been in decline for decades – even Norman Bates knew that – and these abandoned motels illustrate a fundamental shift in travel trends.

abandoned motel 1a

abandoned motel 1b

abandoned motel 1c

People are still traveling by car, of course, but the roads they travel these days are often different then those used in the post-war era when the motel boom shifted into high gear. Travelers can easily make the shift from highways to freeways… motels (especially non-chain independent ones), not so much. Overlooked by vehicular travelers, once-thriving establishments like the old Hillcrest Motel along the Lincoln Highway outside Jefferson, Iowa, have no future other than fading into the underbrush.

Killed With Fire

abandoned motel 2a

abandoned motel 2b

abandoned motel 2c

The West Pike Motor Lodge near Coudersport, PA, was likely long past its peak when a (possibly convenient) fire put it out of its misery in 2010. Accidents will happen… especially when the nearest fire station just isn’t near enough. Kudos to Flickr user Bill Van Ryn for capturing the desolate state of the abandoned motel in October of 2012.

M TEL

abandoned motel 3a

abandoned motel 3b

abandoned motel 3c

Pocasset’s abandoned “Picture Lake M TEL” offers everything vacationers to Cape Cod could desire including air conditioned rooms and a swimming pool. What the sign doesn’t state is that the AC hasn’t conditioned any air since Reagan was in office and the pool is about as appealing as the one from Poltergeist. Flickr user D. Brigham visited the abandoned motel in July of 2010 – hopefully he wasn’t planning on spending the night.

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