Archive for March, 2007

Russian gangster’s log cabin

Posted: March 30, 2007 in creativity
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Via Boing Boing: “This record-breaking, 13-storey log cabin was hand-built by a ruined Russian gangster as a summer place in Arkhangelsk. The towering fire-hazard is all that remains from his life of crime, and the city is threatening to tear it down on the basis that it threatens to take the whole suburb with it if it goes up in smoke”.

Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang

Posted: March 30, 2007 in creativity
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Via Neatorama: “The Ryugyong Hotel is much like the North Korean regime itself: it’s monolithic, unstable, and menacing. Construction began on the building in 1987; it was abandoned in 1992, presumably because funding ran out. Perhaps due to bad concrete used in its initial construction, some think it’ll never be open as it’s currently designed. To this day, a crane sits at the top, 330 meters above Pyongyang, a dormant antenna perched on the half-built, ghostly hull. The edifice lacks windows, fixtures, and fittings; that it was never finished didn’t stop the government from adding it to maps and official currency, or from manipulating it in official images so that it appears to be lit up at night. Why would an isolationist state like North Korea, a country with perhaps the world’s tightest controls on tourism, undertake the construction of a hotel with 3,000 rooms? One can only guess”.

Rolling Bridge, London

Posted: March 30, 2007 in creativity
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In my Sitooterie post I mentioned Designer Thomas Heatherwick – here is another of his awesome designs (via Neatorama): the Rolling Bridge.

“Rather than a conventional opening bridge mechanism, consisting of a single rigid element that lifts to let boats pass, the Rolling Bridge gets out of the way by curling up until its two ends touch. While in its horizontal position, the bridge is a normal, inconspicuous steel and timber footbridge; fully open, it forms a circle on one bank of the water that bears little resemblance to its former self.

Twelve metres long, the bridge is made in eight steel and timber sections, and is made to curl by hydraulic rams set into the handrail between each section.”

Singapore’s floating towers

Posted: March 30, 2007 in creativity
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Here’s another great architectural project, via World Architecture News. com. The Far East Organization, Singapore’s largest private development company, has commissioned the Office for Metropolitan Architecture for OMA’s first architectural project in Singapore – the Singapore Scotts Tower, a 36-storey residential high-rise. The 153 meter tall tower will be located at the intersection of Scotts Road and Cairnhill Road, in close proximity to Orchard Road, Singapore’s famous shopping and lifestyle street. With 20,000m² of built floor area, the building will provide 68 high-end apartment units with panoramic views. The design strategically maneuvers within the highly regulated building environment to maximize the full potential of the site: four individual apartment towers are vertically offset from one another and suspended from a central core. The skyline of floating towers directly relates to the surrounding building volumes and explores the most attractive views towards the city center and an extensive green zone to the north. The lifted apartment towers reduce the building’s footprint to a minimum; the liberated ground level provides communal leisure activities embedded in the tropical landscape.

In my mind this is an excellent example for creating a symbiotic relationship between aesthetics and sustainability. Vertically redistributing the floor area to four alternating towers makes maximum use of a small spatial footprint while offering an eye-pleasing design. I wish more city planners and architects would apply those principles.

Sand castles

Posted: March 30, 2007 in creativity
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There are two art forms I always find quite amazing: ice sculptures and sand castles. In both cases I am
not only amazed about the sculpting skills of their creators, but also the fact that the artworks actually
can be created at all and in a semi-permanent way. Anyway, a friend send me the pictures below – I am
not sure where they were taken; it seems there are lots of sand castle events happening all over the
world.

    

Tree sculptures

Posted: March 30, 2007 in creativity
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Via Wohba!: Most of these photos are courtesy of Richard Reames, author of the book
Arborsculpture
arborsmith.com

Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Posted: March 29, 2007 in science & technology
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Pity I don’t have US$ 1.3 million spare … but then, even if I would, I probably wouldn’t spend them on this toy anyway, for various ethical and environmental reasons. Nevertheless, it does look beautiful in my eyes plus it’s not for the faint-hearted (like my wife): it reaches its top speed at around 400km/h and accelerates from 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds! The DSG transmission produces completely uninterrupted, linear acceleration – apparently not only does your head not bob at each gear change, you can’t even feel it happening. Wow …

I always find it amazing, how much VW has changed its image in this globalised world – just think of its humble beginnings with the Beetle. Anyway, for more info go to the PopSci website in the coming months or directly to Bugatti.