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Robo-Chernobyl and the Alcubierre Drive
By Geoff Manaugh, Tuesday, 08:33 PM
In light of an interview I'm about to post with architect Lebbeus Woods, I thought I'd point out two quick bits of recent news. The heavily irradiated failed nuclear complex at Chernobyl will soon be "encased in steel."
This "arched structure," New Scientist calls it, "will be 150 metres long and 105 metres tall – big enough to allow the existing sarcophagus and the wrecked reactor to be dismantled and permanently entombed." That "existing sarcophagus" is actually a giant shell of concrete that "was hastily built over the wreckage" back in 1986. It has already begun "leaking radioactivity" and needs to be replaced.
By Geoff Manaugh, Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Nearly a year ago, Andrew Evans – of Reinterred City fame – sent me this image of a place called Hog Island, Philadelphia. Hog Island was a shipbuilding yard – in fact, we read, it was "the largest shipyard in the world" during WWI.
Twentyone Examples of Dullness in Construction
About what builders were thinking when such things do?
Literary Dose #16
By John, Thursday, October 04, 2007
"In connection with abstract space...a question arises...It concerns the silence of the 'users' of this space. Why do they allow themselves to be manipulated in ways so damaging to their spaces and their daily life without embarking on massive revolts? "
- Henri Lefebvre, from The Production of Space, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith (1991).
San Francisco's Wright
By jimmy, Monday, October 1st 2007
The Xanadu Gallery is the only existing Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building in San Francisco. Originally constructed in 1912, the building was the home of the V.C. Morris Gift Shop, and it was the Morrises who commsioned Wright to expand and remodel their store. Considering that the commission was for a retail space, it seems odd that there are no display windows, aside for a small terrarium-like entry structure. A little web research yielded the answer to this puzzler.
Lights among the ruins
By Geoff Manaugh, Saturday, September 29, 2007
The New York Times reports today on what it calls the "Pompeii of World War II," an abandoned village in Italy now "overtaken by vines and lime trees."
That village is San Pietro, an "11th-century cobblestone mountain village nestled among wild figs and cactus," as well as the scene of months of horrific fighting between Allied and German troops.
Literary Dose #15
By John, September 25, 07:45 AM
"Thinking about daylight and artificial light I have to admit that daylight, the light on things, is so moving to me that I feel it almost as a spiritual quality. When the sun comes up in the morning -- which I always find so marvelous, absolutely fantastic the way it comes back every morning -- and casts its light on things, it doesn't feel as if it quite belongs in this world. I don't understand light."
- Peter Zumthor, from Atmospheres (2006). The book is a transcript of a lecture Zumthor gave at Wendlinghausen Castle in East-Westphalia-Lippe, Germany in 2003.
Terrace House 2,Vienna, Austria
By Christoph Wassmann, September 19, 2007
Vienna, Austria, has fairly high standards regarding social housing. Especially the architect Harry Glück has raised the bar for high density apartment towers: each flat is connected with a private open space - a terrace.