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Tate Goes Hi-Tech with iPhone Tours
The Tate is looking to stay on top of things it looks like, as they've just released the first of what's sure to be a whole slew of museum/exhibit tours intended to be viewed on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Instead of going the standard route of renting out small audio players for visitors to rent, the Tate has designed a whole, snazzy interactive tour, downloadable via the free wi-fi in the museum, providing audio and clickable extras as people wander around and take it all in. Right now the Tate only has this available for their soon-to-end Gustav Klimt exhibit, but like we said, we can almost guarantee that they have plenty more in the pipeline, as does every other museum on the planet, we'd guess.
The Eco-town of Tomorrow and it's planning.
kosmograd in Kosmograd
Gordon Brown's "legacy" project of building 10 eco-towns in the South East of England is an endeavour of specious rhetoric, of mobilised Nimbyism, and unfettered hyperbole. There seems to be nobody willing to defend eco-towns. Even, Wayne Hemingway, who is advising/ apologising for the Government on eco-towns, thinks the plans should be scaled back to just one or two.
sonance House Takes LEED Silver
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Earlier this month, the USGBC awarded LEED Silver certification to the Resonance House, a project designed and built by the collaboration of Design Lab Inc. and University of Kentucky College of Design. Of note, the Resonance House is the first and only home to be certified by the USGBC at the time of certification. It's a 4,400 sf home with contemporary finishes and energy efficient elements. Located at 151 Old Georgetown Street in Lexington, the five-star plus Energy Star home has a small operating cost of 2.8 cents per sf, or ~$125 per month.
The Victorian Age
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
For the past few days I’ve been vacationing in Victoria, BC. It’s not my first trip here, but it might as well be. The last time I was a toddler. The city is considerably smaller than I expected. I knew Victoria was not a big metropolis like Vancouver (Canada), but it feels almost like a small Oregon coast town—particularly Astoria, with its fabric of historic homes. From our hotel looking out at the inner harbor (or, if you prefer, ‘harbour’) there is a constant stream of sea planes landing on the water and the squawk of seagulls, but otherwise it seems like a sleepy town. Victoria, like lots of Canada, also feels a bit more European, especially British of course, than US cities.
At Calatrava's Milwaukee Art Museum, It's "If it's not broke - break it."
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
Mary Louise Schumacher, the Milwaukee Journal arts writer who took over the architecture beat from the inestimable Whitney Gould, has a dispiriting piece on how one of the first acts of the Milwaukee Arts Museum's new director Daniel Keegan is to move admission desks into the stunning, cathedral-like entry hall that architect Santiago Calatrava designed for the Milwaukee Art Museum. Calatrava's building made the museum a global destination, so what better way to repay him than to start cheapening it up? Can coffee and souvenir kiosks be far behind? A conscious decision was made when the museum opened to let people come in the grand hall and look around. Now you have to know you can request an "amenity button" to do it without paying an admission charge.
Future Megastructures, Starship Breaking, and Independence Day 2
Jimmy Stamp in Life Without Buildings
As the human race dares to venture further out into space, we’re going to have to adapt our construction methods for large-scale space travel — think starships, space docks, habitable satellites, and other mega-objects too insanely large for construction on this gravity-well we call Earth. In a thought-provoking article, scifi blog io9 takes a look at the far future of construction, because as it tends to do, science fiction will probably inspire many of the eventual designs of real-life galactic monoliths. Among the hundreds of possible examples from the annals of the genre, two of the megastructure construction facilities that I find most compelling are the planet-building factory in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (pictured above) and Star Trek’s Federation shipyards.
Affordability and the City
Clark Williams-Derry in WorldChanging
Yesterday, 12:48 PM
Downtown housing affordability is an international problem. Interesting article: Alan Ehrenhalt argues in The New Republic that cities throughout North America are undergoing a "demographic inversion," in which the center city is once again becoming home to the well-off rather than the poor. Chicago is gradually coming to resemble a traditional European city--Vienna or Paris in the nineteenth century, or, for that matter, Paris today. The poor and the newcomers are living on the outskirts. The people who live near the center--some of them black or Hispanic but most of them white--are those who can afford to do so. That certainly rings true for Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, too. In fact, Ehrenhalt discusses Vancouver, with its "forest of slender, green, condo skyscrapers," at some length. So apparently, the problems of urban housing affordability aren't just local ones; they're international in scope. (At least we're in good company.)