Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Little Help from Her Friends

So it turns out this weekends winter wonderland was a cooperative effort between Mother Nature and Mother China, as reported in the Guardian.

And in this Times Online article from February there is a video showing the rockets in action.

See Previous:
Strange Weather

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First Snow of the Season

snowman 2, originally uploaded by o d b.

First snow of the winter season here in Beijing. And I'm stuck at work. On a Sunday to boot. yay!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Edible Architecture 4 - Cantilever Cake Taste Verygood

Well…at least I hope they do…
From my friend and colleague Nozomi we are blessed with this picture of two incredible cake versions of the famous CCTV/TVCC buildings in Beijing. The buildings are designed by OMA of course but I don’t know who designed the cake versions. Surely it was a truly inspired baker. Possibly with a structural engineering background because that is quite some cantilever….or should we call it a cake-ilever?
Hmmm…maybe not.
I would love to see pictures of someone slicing this cake—I wonder if it comes complete with a demolition drawing package? Without some practice, or at least a little forethought, I can imagine a major wedding disaster: “Poor Suzie got smothered under her wedding cake when Bob didn’t follow protocol for dismantling the sucker. Took ‘em the rest of the night just to shovel her out! I guess they’ll never forget their wedding night…har har har….”

If you’re a sucker for all things food and architecture, please check these out as well:
Edible Architecture 3
Edible Architecture 2
Edible Architecture 1

p.s. Don’t call it a comeback. Not yet at least.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Hi Everyone,

I have decided to take a break from blogging for a little while in order to regroup, reboot, and do some other things because I find blogging intensive and all-consuming, especially with a full-time job on the side...hehehe. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the archives and please feel free to leave comments, as I will be keeping up with them, or drop me a line from time to time.

I will not leave you with high and dry...here are some of my favorite pictures from a recent trip to Linyi, PRC for Chinese New Year:

p.s. I might look happy in that final pic but because of my actions at the time I paid a price later. I have learned a lot about my body and its dietary limits from being in China. Formerly I would have just accounted my (then) forthcoming discomfort to a bout of food poisoning (or the Chinese equivalent of Montezuma's revenge), but as every good Chinese person will tell you:
Never eat hot sweet potato in cold wind.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

URB-Links 01

Hi Everyone,

Shinian Kuai Le, or Happy Chinese New Year!
Sorry for the week long absence from posting but I have been on holiday for CNY since last Saturday. I hope to have some pics from the festivities on my Flickr page soon so all of you can take a gander. It's a very interesting holiday for me to witness as a foreigner and I really enjoy all of the traditions--the food, the firework, the family time, etc. It's truly wonderful.
With a new year also comes new traditions. This is the first in a new segment here on _URB_ - a weekly links update on things that I have found interesting in relation to the themes that we tend to explore here. So the links will be organized topically.
Without further adieu...

The big event in geo-mimicry this past week has to be BIG's new masterplan for Zira Island in Azerbaijan. Will it really be a zero-energy resort and a "sustainable model for urban development"? That remains to be seen...but what we do know for certain is that the project's form is derived from Azerbaijan's famous 'Seven Peaks.'

Although this is not exactly urban, the fact that the rainforests are regenerating themselves on abandoned farmland is pretty great news. But in the end tt actually does have something to do with urbanization however: "small holdings...and much larger swaths of farmland — are reverting to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings."

Io9 features a great gallery of megaSPACEstructures--apparently where we will all be living in a few decades. My favorite? Probably the first image apparently supplied by NASA--it's a great mix of 2001, Paolo Soleri, and an LA suburb.

The Architect's Newspaper's editorial by Julie Iovine encourages architects to expand their professional capacities and become "designers of options, instead of icons." She also mentions a forthcoming book called Architecture Depends which sounds really great.

Limewire creator Mark Gorton is looking to bring an open-source approach to urban planning through open source city models, increasing the capacity and complexity in online trip-planning, internet based planning forums for communities, and introducing para-transit and other smaller, more adaptive, and more responsive public transit systems. Sounds exciting!

Become a WHEREblogger!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rural Studio 2

Forrest just sent me a series of comic book inspired panels describing the design and construction process of the Glass Chapel and is graciously allowing me to post them here on _URB_. It is a great set of images giving us a glimpse into the multifarious collection of tasks required by Rural Studio participants--conflict negotiation and mitigation, junkyard pulls, laborious construction techniques, on-the-fly detail design, community immersion, and of course--having fun! Check out the flickr set to look at the images in more detail.
Forrest also sent me the following two pics--the first of me in SubRosa and the second, quite amusing pic of my father whispering sweet nothings to me via the pipe of confidentiality I referred to in my previous post on the Rural Studio.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

aqua.URB.anism || NY Moon WATER Issue

Interactive Map of the Water Systems of Manhattan, via New York Moon

The current edition of the New York Moon, “an internet-based publication adhered to the lunar phases of the real waxing, waning moon,” is dedicated to Water:

It billows in the lower atmosphere; it falls in drops or sheets or buckets or cats and dogs; it is drunk; it is sprayed over the breadbasket fields; it is peed; it slices down sluices, levels locks, tumbles through turbines in hydroelectric dams, courses through cataracts and rumbles over Mosi-oa-Tunya tunneling out its gorges; it vaporizes; it is cried; it fills the vast fields over which tankers and pirates zoom and under which manta rays skate; it gives and sustains Life (see, Fertile Crescent, primordial ooze); it also takes it away (see, Ophelia, Kursk); it is composed of three atoms — Hydrogen, Oxygen, Hydrogen; it envelops Dead Sea bathers, bears away bits of Venice and serves as boundaries to be crossed only if the intention is to helm the Ship of State past the treacherous waters of the shining Cyclades. It runs off.

Thus states the opening page of the issue. A few of the issue’s articles demonstrate the delicate balance between water and urban areas. “The Sick Waters of Voronezh” gives a first hand account of the intimate relationship between a Russian city and its water supply throughout history.

One of the amazing features of the issue is an interactive map of the “Water Systems of Manhattan” demonstrating Manhattan’s natural hydrology with overlaid maps from 1865 and today.

Beneath New York’s lattices of concrete, iron and landfill lie dozens of organic waterways. Using data from an 1865 sanitation map and contemporary satellite photographs, this projection depicts Manhattan as a vascular organ, whose obscure operation has had a powerful bearing on the fate of the city…Created for the department of sanitation, the map was a reminder that natural water systems, entombed beneath modern accumulations, hidden from view, could still have monumental effects on the functioning of city life. Indeed, structural engineers and city planners continue to consult the Viele map as the authoritative survey of Manhattan’s water systems.

Other interesting articles include a story which casts Wall Street as a waterlogged version of Pompeii and a proposal to extend IKEA’s flatpack/fabrication logic “beyond the limits of conventional architecture to the biological construction of fauna inhabiting the watery zones surrounding the city.”

note: found via BLDGBLOG.

See Previous: Water Worlds