Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

(CNN) One architecture firm hopes to create the longest building in the world by bending a skyscraper in half.

The Big Bend is a curved, 4,000 foot-long skyscraper planned on Manhattan’s Billionaire’s Row. It’s the brainchild of Oiio Studio.

It’s no secret that there is a space issue in Manhattan. Architects build up because there is no room to build out.

“If we manage to bend our structure instead of bending the zoning rules of New York, we would be able to create one of the most prestigious buildings in Manhattan,” reads the building proposal on Oiio’s website.

The designer of the project, Ioannis Oikonomou, was inspired to create the U-shaped structure after learning that a company created an elevator that not only moves vertically, but also horizontally.

What the hell, man? How does this work exactly? I’m confused. On one hand it looks cool as hell, on the other it freaks me out a little. On a related note, that thing looks like it could fall over in a stiff westerly breeze. Good God.

 

Case Study Houses were experiments in American residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned major architects of the day to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United States residential housing boom caused by the end of World War II and the return of millions of soldiers. The program ran from 1945 until 1966. The first six houses were built by 1948 and attracted more than 350,000 visitors. Most of those that were constructed were built in Los Angeles. Bottom line. these are cool houses, man.

We need more of these, pronto!

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What you see below is a house. It belongs to some dude in India named Mukesh Ambani, the 6th richest man in the world. It’s a 27-story, $2-billion monstrosity that’s 550-feet tall and has over 400,000 square feet of floor space. It’s located in the most poverty stricken area of India, and only 6-people live in it.

Amenities include:

Three rooftop helipads, in case three helicopters are arriving at once.

Three high speed elevators, because two high speed elevators just wouldn’t do.

One floor used exclusively for the parking and maintaining of Ambani’s cars.

A 50-seat home theater.

A Wine room, indoor swimming pool, lap pool and jacuzzi.

A staff of 600-people. Wait. What? 600? Da hell? With only 6 people living there, that’s 100-people for each resident.

On a related note, that’s one ugly-ass house.

Before I begin, you should know that I love old gymnasiums. When I go to towns in other states I’ve been known to walk into random high schools and ask to see their gymnasium. I love to look at the photos on the walls, learn the history of their teams, everything. Weird? Maybe. I love old gyms, man. But let us begin . . .

For those of you who don’t know, “The Jigger” is the name of the gymnasium in which I coach. How it got that name will be told shortly, but let’s start at the beginning . . .

Back in the  late 1950’s, two local high schools, Twin and Bainbridge, decided to consolidate into one high school. Twin’s athletic teams were the Tigers and wore the colors blue and gold. Bainbridge? They were the Polar Bears and wore orange and black. The two schools were heated rivals, so the consolidation had to be handled delicately. In fact, much discussion took place as to where the new school would even be built. It was finally decided, wisely, that the school would be built halfway between the towns where Twin and Bainbridge schools were located, Bourneville (home of Twin High School) and Bainbridge (the home of Bainbridge High School). As for the school name and the school colors, a combination was decided upon. The new school would be called Paint Valley (after the beautiful valley in which it was located), black would be borrowed from Bainbridge’s black and orange, and gold would be taken from Twin’s blue and gold. Thus was born Paint Valley’s black and gold. But what about a mascot? Bainbridge was the Polar Bears and Twin was the Tigers. Bears and cats. Ah. Somewhere, a light went on in somebody’s head, and the PAINT VALLEY BEARCATS were born.

And you know what? It was perfect.

Soon after, a gymnasium was built. And it was not an ordinary gymnasium. In an era of small, 300-400 seat gyms, Paint Valley’s sparkling new gym was a crown jewel among Southern Ohio gyms. It seated 1,300 people, a rarity for its time. For years, many post-season tournaments were held there.

As a kid, I attended many events in this amazing gymnasium. My father took me to games, and I have distinct memories of watching Coach Oral Crabtree’s great teams play there. Legendary players like Stacey Thompson, Mike Everhart, Mike Haas, and Mike Kinnamon all played there. SVC and Ross County League championships were won.

I even remember watching my sister’s boyfriend play there, a player by the name of Donald Anderson. His nickname? Jigger. But more on that later as well.

I recall attending sectional and district basketball games there too, and I loved it. My Dad and I always sat in the top section on the home side, dead center, and I was mesmerized by the place. The smell, the sounds, everything about it fascinated me.

Later, when I attended Paint Valley, I had the honor of playing in that same gymnasium in which I had sat years before. Even then I felt I was playing in a special place, the coolest gym in our league. There was something about the feel of the place. It actually seemed to have a personality of its own, ya know?

Later I ended up becoming a teacher and basketball coach, and the very first game in which I coached took place in the very gym I loved so much. It was just junior high basketball, but it meant so much to me to be coaching in that facility. After that first year I left to coach and teach at another school, and for 7-years I never set foot in the gymnasium I’d grown to love so much.

As fate would have it, however, I was hired to coach at my former school and in the gym I loved dearly. I remember my first game back, in the Fall of 1988, and I immediately knew I was home. It felt so comfortable to be there, so . . . right.

For the next 8-years I coached in that gym, and no matter where we played I always thought our gym was better than any other. And by the way, the man who hired me to be the head basketball coach was Donald “Jigger” Anderson, now my sister’s husband and the same guy I watched play back in the late 60’s. And during all my years coaching at Paint Valley, there had been no bigger supporter of Paint Valley basketball than Jigger.

I resigned from my coaching job after the 1996 season, and a couple months later our school suffered a major blow – Jigger passed away. He was such a integral part of our school that his death affected everyone.  He meant that much to everybody affiliated with Paint Valley High School, and it was a difficult time for all of us.

In the Fall of 1997 I was hired as Athletic Director at Paint Valley, and in 2001 our school underwent a major renovation. A junior high and elementary building was built beside our existing high school, and my beloved gymnasium was to undergo a complete renovation as well.

The original plans called for new plastic bleachers to replace the old wooden ones, plexiglass to replace the old iron railings, and the red brick on each side of our stage to be painted white to match the walls.

Nah, that wouldn’t do, now would it? I felt our gym somehow had to be renovated, but in a way that kept its old school feel. Its integrity if you will. Hell, it’s personality. It’s character.

Luckily, we had a Superintendent who felt the same way. As it turned out, we opted for wooden bleachers, wrought iron railings, and we kept the red brick on each side of our stage. A balcony on the visitor’s side was added, and somehow, someway, we kept the feel of the original gymnasium. Old school, baby, and it looked fantastic.

On January 12th, 2002, in a special ceremony, we officially dedicated our newly renovated gymnasium. It was named Donald “Jigger” Anderson gymnasium, after the man who meant so much to our school, our teachers, our students and our sports teams.

“The Jigger” was born.

And today, 15-years later and in an era of new, antiseptic, lifeless, and cookie-cutter gyms without character, I believe ours still stands out. We maintained the integrity of the original, and it was worth it.

On the wall next to the place where Jigger used to stand at every game, there hangs a plaque. It explains why our gym carries his name, and I touch it every time I walk past it. I know he’d be proud that we kept the integrity of the gym he loved so much.

To this day, on any given morning, I take a long look around as I walk into the empty gym. I take it all in. I do the same when I’m the last to leave at night. I have so many great memories of games, teams, moments, and players there. And yes, memories of Jigger. It’s an amazing feeling really, a feeling that I can’t get anywhere else.

And I don’t think that feeling will ever go away. 

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I’ve always been interested in architecture and design, stuff like that. So when I ran across a site showing some mean-looking buildings I was hooked. Check these out and tell me what you think. As always I’ll add my hilariously insightful observations. You’re welcome.

Let us commence, and as always, kindly click to enlarge . . .

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This is Selfridges Department Store, Birmingham, England, and it is ugly. Looks like a slug or something.

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Da Hell? This monstrosity is in Polygone Riviera, France. Why in God’s name would you build something with a human head in the middle of it? I’m so confused right now.

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Here’s the Mahanakhon Tower in Bangkok, Thailand. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to be in a building that looks like it’s falling apart. Just sayin’.

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It’s Fort Alexander in Saint Petersburg, Russia! This, my friends, would be a great place to stay when the Zombie Apocalypse inevitably occurs.

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This is the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel in Beijing, China. No way I’d stay in that donut. Looks like it’s about to roll into the river.

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Check out the Stamp House in Queensland, Australia. Great house to zombie-proof. Love it.

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Hey, look at the Chongqing Art Museum, in Chongqing Shi, China. Man, that’s a spikey lookin’ building. Spikes for days.

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This is Buzludzha, in Bulgaria of all places. Man, I need to research this building. Looks like a flying freaking saucer, man.

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That’s Philadelphia City hall. Yikes. Looks like Gotham City or something, just looming there like a boss.

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Hey, it’s the Research Institute For Experimental Medicine in Berlin, Germany! Good God. Research for Experimental Medicine? Really? Looks like a WWII fortress, man.

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Yep. That’s a McDonald’s in Roswell, New Mexico, Get it? Roswell is supposedly where the aliens crashed. It’s a flying saucer shaped McDonald’s. Never mind.

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This is the Lyon Airport Train Station in France. Is it me or does that look like a really pissed off elephant? Or maybe an angry mouse?

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Check out the Aiguille Du Midi in the French Alps. Love this one a lot. Just cool on so many levels.

 

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Here we have the Basque Health Department Headquarters In Bilbao, Spain. Man that’s an ugly building. And in what looks like a nice older neighborhood too. Looks bloated like you read about.

What the hell, man? Loo

This is the Graz Art Museum in Graz, Austria. Sweet Mother. Looks like a pregnant pig on its back. Horrendous.

The House on the Rock is an amazing structure built on some rocks up in Wisconsin. It’s weird, creepy and awesome. The house itself is atop Deer Shelter Rock, a column of rock approximately 60-feet by 70-feet by 200-feet on the top, and it stands in a forest. The complex features “The Streets of Yesterday”, a re-creation of an early twentieth century American town; “The Heritage of the Sea”, featuring nautical exhibits and a 200-foot model of a fanciful whale-like sea creature; “The Music of Yesterday”, a huge collection of automatic music machines; and what the management bills as “the world’s largest indoor carousel”,among other bizarre attractions. The carousel at the House on the Rock features 269 carousel animals, 182 chandeliers, over 20,000 lights, and hundreds of mannequin angels hanging from the ceiling. And get this – the carousel has no horses. During the winter, the attraction features a Christmas theme, with decorations and a large collection of Santa Claus figures. Many of the bathrooms are decorated with strange objects, including mannequins, flowers, and preserved animals. One of the house’s main attractions is the Infinity Room, which juts out 218-feet and looms 56-feet over the ground below. Cool.

[for the love of all that is holy, click to enlarge the photos]

Say what you want about the Japanese, man. Those dudes go to work.

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Beautiful indeed.

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Stellar beard and luxurious hair, too. Leo had it all, man.

Leonardo da Vinci may well have been the greatest inventor in history, yet he had very little effect on the technology of his time. Da Vinci drew sketches and diagrams of his inventions, but either he lost interest in building them or was never able to convince any of his wealthy patrons to finance construction of his designs. As a result, almost none of da Vinci’s inventions were built during his lifetime. And because he never published his diagrams, nobody else knew about them until his notebooks were discovered long after his death.

Like Edgar Allan Poe, da Vinci wasn’t appreciated until after he was long gone. Sad, really.

And that’s a damn shame, because da Vinci’s designs were spectacularly and amazingly ahead of their time. If they had been built, they might have revolutionized the history of technology. The problem is, many of them may have been impossible to build with the tools available in the 15th and 16th centuries.

How could Leonardo possibly imagine building inventions that would require tools not yet invented? Because he was a freaking genius, man.

In recent years engineers have begun to construct models of da Vinci’s amazing machines, and guess what? Most of them actually work. What follows is just a few of the most imaginative, and coolest, designs that da Vinci sketched out in his notebooks.

As you read about these inventions, remember that Leonardo da Vinci lived from 1452 to 1519. To put this in perspective, he was 40-years old when Columbus discovered America. So, long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue Leonardo was drawing blueprints for flying machines and machine guns.

Incredible.

Read on, and prepare to be amazed. Remember that these are just a few of his ideas.

THE PARACHUTE

Da Vinci, who was fascinated by the idea of human flight, conceived his parachute as a way for people to drift through the air. Its pyramid-shaped framework was draped with cloth. As da Vinci wrote in his notebooks, it would allow a man “to throw himself down from any great height without suffering any injury.” Twenty-first century attempts to build the design show that it would have worked pretty much as da Vinci described.

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Kewl, man. Kite-like.

THE ORNITHOPTER

The ornithopter would theoretically have allowed humans to soar through the air like birds. While da Vinci’s parachute would have allowed a human being to jump off a cliff without being hurt, the ornithopter was actually a way for people to soar off the ground and into the air. As you can imagine this was beyond comprehension during da Vinci’s time. On paper, the ornithopter looks much more birdlike than present-day airplanes. Its wings are designed to flap while the pilot turns a crank. This invention demonstrates da Vinci’s strong grasp of aerodynamics and modern attempts to reproduce the ornithopter show that it could indeed have flown. However, it would have already had to be in the air because taking by hand would have been impossible. And get this – the parachute and ornithopter were only two of the flying machines concocted by da Vinci in his notebooks. Others include a glider and something a little farther down on this list.

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Looks safe enough.

THE MACHINE GUN

Da Vinci’s idea for a machine gun, or “33-barrelled organ,” wasn’t a machine gun like we think of one. That is, it couldn’t fire multiple bullets rapidly out of a single barrel. It could, however, deliver punishing volleys of gunfire at rapid intervals and, if it had been built, would have effectively mowed-down oncoming infantry like a boss. Da Vinci proposed mounting 11-muskets side by side on a rectangular board, then attaching three such boards together in a triangular arrangement. By placing a shaft down the middle, the entire contraption could be rotated, so that one set of 11 guns could be fired while a second set cooled off and a third set was being reloaded. Then the entire mechanism could be rotated to bring the loaded set to the top where it could be fired again. That’s just terrifying, man.

Leonardo da Vinci noted time and again in his notebooks that he hated war and loathed the idea of creating killing machines like this one, he needed the cash and found it easy to convince his wealthy patrons that such machines would help them triumph over their enemies. Perhaps it was for the best that this hellish death machine was never actually built.

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Diabolical.

THE DIVING SUIT

While living in Venice in the late 15th century, da Vinci devised a wild idea (for its time) for repelling invading ships. He suggested sending men to the bottom of the harbor in diving suits so they could cut holes in enemy hulls. That idea is not so outrageous nowadays, amirite? Hell, it’s common now for frogmen with scuba gear to engage in underwater sabotage. In da Vinci’s time? Unheard of, man. Da Vinci’s divers would have carried breathing hoses connected to a floating bell full of air, wearing facemasks with glass goggles that would help them see underwater. In another version of the concept, the divers would have breathed from wine bladders filled with air. In both versions, the men would carry a bottle to urinate in so that they could stay underwater indefinitely. Da Vinci’s design was not only feasible, it was practical. These diving suits were actually going to be constructed, but the invaders they were intended for were driven away by the Venetian Navy. Hence, they were never tried.

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15th Century Aquaman.

THE ARMORED TANK

While working for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, da Vinci proposed what may have been his ultimate war machine – the armored tank. Driven by the muscle power of eight men, the armored tank was a turtle-like moving shell with no less than 36-guns poking out of its sides. It was operated by a system of gears propelled by cranks that turned a sequence of wheels. Sounds complicated, huh? The eight men would have been protected by the outer shell so that they could have driven the tank at about walking speed right into the heat of battle without being hurt. The guns, firing in all directions, would have been devastating to the bad guys. Dude was pretty good at devising weapons of destruction for somebody that hated war, right? Money is a magnet, folks.

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Flying saucer-ish, man.

THE SELF-PROPELLED CART

Da Vinci’s self-propelled cart was pretty much the first car in history. In fact, because it has no driver, it can be looked at as history’s first robot vehicle, too. The drawings that da Vinci made of the car in his notebooks don’t fully reveal the mechanism inside and modern engineers have had to guess at what made it go. The best guess is that it used a spring-driven mechanism similar to that in a clock. The “mainsprings” were contained inside drum-shaped casings and would be wound up by hand. So, the cart would be driven forward like a wind-up toy. Leonardo apparently considered his cart to be sort of a toy, but it’s not hard to imagine that useful applications for it would have followed pretty quickly.

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Sort of like a wind-up toy.

THE AERIAL SCREW

No, this is not some weird sexual accomplishment. Da Vinci’s aerial screw is arguably one of the coolest designs that he ever sketched in his notebooks. Working much like a modern helicopter, this flying machine looks a lot like a giant spinning pinwheel. However, the blades of this helicopter were to have been made out of linen. When turned fast enough, they were intended to produce lift, the exact same aeronautical phenomenon that makes airplanes and helicopters fly. Air pressure would have built up under each blade, forcing the flying machine right up into the sky. At least that was the idea, anyway. The aerial screw would probably not have worked, but da Vinci had the basic concepts of flight pretty much down pat.

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Because everybody likes an aerial screw, amirite?

THE ROBOTIC KNIGHT

If da Vinci’s self-propelled cart was the first working design for a robotic vehicle, then the robotic knight would have been the first robot, albeit one from the 15th damn century. Da Vinci was fascinated by human anatomy and spent long hours dissecting corpses in order to figure out how the human body worked. Sort of a morbid hobby but hey, geniuses are weird like that. Anyhoo, this gave him an understanding of how muscles propelled bone. Being the brainiac that he was, he reasoned that these same principles could be applied to a machine. Unlike most of da Vinci’s inventions, Leonard apparently actually built the robotic knight. Driven by a system of pulleys and gears, it was used primarily for entertainment at parties thrown by his wealthy budro Lodovico Sforza.  Da Vinci’s robot has not survived and no one knows exactly what it was capable of doing, but apparently it could walk, sit down and even work its jaw. Yowza.

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Unsettling.

So yeah. Leonardo da Vinci? WAY ahead of his time, man.

PS: I haven’t even mentioned Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, which weren’t half-bad as well. After all he did paint the freaking Mona Lisa. Bro was multi-talented, man.

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“How YOU doin’?”

Man, what I’d give to have one of these. They’re built by Zaha Hadid Architects. Very cool.

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Zha, Jazz

Kewl.

houseday