To finish the week, how about some lovely drawings by Toby Melville-Brown? These drawings of fictional towers are as absurd (and almost as detailed) as the room with 80 million surfaces, only realized in a way almost as slowly as an actual building project. He drew them by hand. It takes a level of skill and patience I can only imagine. Happily, the results of all his work are amusing drawings when seen at a distance, but infinitely rewarding as you lean in toward the details. His drawings make me wish I had opted for the retina display. You can see more under the jump.
Today, I thought I’d share three videos of three very different projects under construction right now. The projects are all quite different, and this is in no way a comparison of the three. But they are all interesting to different people and are being realized to vastly different scales.
Some people are scared of rooms. These people, who suffer from koinoniphobia, might want to stay away from Digital Grotesque. The exhibition isn’t necessarily scary but it does feature a room that might be overwhelming… even if you don’t have a phobia. Made using digital fabrication techniques, the room has some eighty million surfaces. And in case the complexity isn’t enough, the entire room is gilded. Based on the model photo above, I can’t tell if this novel form of space making is the future of surfaces or an aliens interpretation of the Baroque period.
It probably looked strange to the other folks lined up to meet David Sedaris that I was holding a glossy photo of Billie Holiday. I was happy about it because David Sedaris singing in the style of Billie Holiday is the funniest thing in the world. But that world got cloudy and sad when someone who looked important and official approached me to say, “Oh, he won’t sign that, it’s not his work.” I folded the picture in half and put it in the back of the paperback I brought for him to sign. I was waiting in line to meet him for the first time, even though I’ve been reading Sedaris’ books since I saw Naked on my mom’s bookshelf and she told me I was too young to read it. He’s also been on This American Life more than any other contributor I can think of. His newest book is called Lets Explore Diabetes with Owls and it’s… well… a hoot.
Last week, Bobby tweeted: “‘Remember when images didn’t move?’ – Our grandchildren.” It’s exciting to imagine such a future; one where your grandkids’ friend would reply “What?!” with bewildered astonishment that people ever lived without moving images being the norm. So what does that mean for the billions of still images lying around? Who knows. But before theirs get too dusty, National Geographic is releasing a small trove of previously unpublished still images on a Tumblr simply called Found.
When I read the headline “Miami Beach Advisory Board backs Portman-CMC plan to overhaul convention center” I thought the competition was over. The competition is taking place in the middle of Miami Beach, a town about to spend a lot of time and a lot of money to redevelop its convention center. But before breaking ground (or breaking apart the sea of asphalt that surrounds the current convention center) Miami Beach has to pick a plan, and they only have two to choose from. These plans are from OMA and BIG.
I’ve inadvertently been talking about projects this week that have distinct relationships with water; one has been exceedingly photogenic and the other… well… it’s working on it. I happen to like it, but wastewater treatment facilities aren’t for everybody. I’d like to write about how water can shape buildings and also feature a project that isn’t typically glamorous: the lowly public restroom.
Even without knowing what the typical water treatment facility looks like I’m fairly confident that this one in New York is an outstanding example. The only other water treatment plant I can think of that is worth mentioning is this one in Connecticut designed by Steven Holl. But this isn’t a comparison of the two projects, it’s just nice when infrastructure projects consider what they look like instead of just what they do.
The timescale of geology is bonkers. For instance, the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland is the result of lava flows that occurred some 60 million years ago. Along the rocky shoreline, tens of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns emerge from the ground and gradually sink into the sea. Now thanks to the folks at Henegan Peng Architects, thousands of stone mullions are rising and sinking into a grassy plain adjacent to this natural wonder. It’s the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre.
I haven’t quite known what to think about Peter Zumthor’s proposed overhaul of the LACMA campus, ever since I saw it described as a “black flower.” It confused me. I know black flowers exist, but the architect’s nickname for the project doesn’t help me understand this enormous, amoeba-shaped slab of concrete that the architect has plopped down onto the sunny Los Angeles terrain. And aren’t flowers, even black ones, usually delicate? This project is something much sturdier and larger, and when it’s done, will probably smell a lot more like the neighboring La Brea tar pits than a flower.