Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Friday, December 31, 2010

North London Daydreams. By Andrea Levy

Illustration by arch. Matteo Pericoli

When I was young my mum used to complain that I spent too much time daydreaming. That was because I liked to stare at the sky. She thought that while I was dreaming I could be doing something useful as well, like knitting. Now that I am a writer, I have the privilege of daydreaming as part of my job. And I still love to gaze at the sky. The view from my workroom in my North London house has a lot of sky, and I couldn’t work without it. There are never any structured thoughts in my head when I look up. They just come and go and change shape like the clouds.
I have a wonderful view of Alexandra Palace. This is not a royal palace but a 19th-century leisure center for exhibitions and events — a people’s palace, known locally as “Ally Pally.” It was the place from which the world’s first regularly scheduled television transmissions were broadcast, in the 1930s, and the famous antenna is still there. Below it I can see the doors of the studios where modern television began, and I find that thrilling. The palace is still a venue for the occasional exhibition, but mostly it just sits there on the hill, waiting for someone to find a good use for it in this information age.
In the foreground, close to my house, is a school. I have come to know the sounds of that school so well that it has become my clock. As early as 7:30 the first children arrive, twittering into the playground like the first birds of the morning. During the din of their playtimes I always stop working to have a cup of tea.
The school sits among Victorian row houses just like mine, with their jumbled chimney pots and television aerials. When I see them under my mass of sky, with Ally Pally up on the hill, then I know I am home.

Bajo el cielo y las nubes de Londres. De Andrea Levy

Ilustración del arquitecto e ilustrador Matteo Pericoli

Cuando yo era joven, mi madre solía quejarse de que me pasaba demasiado tiempo sumida en ensoñaciones. Eso era porque me gustaba quedarme mirando el cielo. Ella pensaba que yo podía hacer algo útil, como tejer. Ahora que soy escritora, tengo el privilegio de que soñar sea parte de mi trabajo. Y todavía me encanta mirar el cielo. La vista desde el cuarto donde trabajo, en mi casa del norte de Londres, tiene un montón de cielo. Cuando miro hacia arriba, nunca hay en mi cabeza ningún pensamiento estructurado. Mis pensamientos tan sólo van y vienen y cambian de forma como las nubes.
Tengo una maravillosa vista del Palacio Alexandra. No es un palacio real sino un centro recreativo del siglo XIX, destinado a exhibiciones y actos... un palacio del pueblo, al que llaman Ally Pally. Fue el lugar desde donde se hicieron las primeras transmisiones televisivas regulares del mundo, en la década de 1930, y la famosa antena aún sigue allí. El palacio todavía es la sede de ocasionales exhibiciones, pero en general simplemente está allí, en lo alto de la colina, esperando que alguien le encuentre utilidad en esta era informática.
En primer plano, cerca de mi casa, hay una escuela. He llegado a conocer tan bien los sonidos de esa escuela que se han convertido en mi reloj. Temprano, a las siete y media, llegan los primeros niños. Durante el período de bulla de sus recreos siempre dejo de trabajar para tomarme una taza de té.
La escuela se inserta en una fila de casas victorianas como la mía, con su mezcolanza de chimeneas y antenas aéreas de televisión. Cuando las veo bajo mi masa de cielo, con Ally Pally en la cima de la colina, sé que estoy en casa.

Andrea Levy . Londres, 1956
Sus padres son jamaiquinos; llegaron a Inglaterra en 1948. Ella comenzó a escribir después de los 30 años. Su primera novela, Every Light in the House Burnin', de 1994, fue un gran éxito, y la cuarta, Pequeña isla (Anagrama), de 2004, fue la ganadora del Whitbread Book of the Year
Traducción de Mirta Rosenberg

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo!

Digital painting by Myriam B. Mahiques
Felicidades a los lectores, a los que están allí, compartiendo, leyendo....Que tengan un excelente 2011!
Greetings to all readers, to those who are there, sharing, reading.... Have an excellent 2011!

Selection of paintings by Michael Gutteridge

Chinese New Year Celebrations in Albert Square (40x50cm. Acrylic on board.) 

St. Mary’s Gate (40x50cm. Acrylic on board) Painted 2004

Parked Cars (40x50cm. Acrylic on board) Painted 2002

Beautiful points of view in the City. Keep on enjoying Michael´s paintings:

Beatles Crosswalk Gains Historic Protection


The north-west London zebra crossing traversed by the Beatles one bright morning 41 years ago - and visited by musical pilgrims ever since - has has been granted Grade II listing.
The heritage minister John Penrose took the unusual decision to protect the crossing, which provided the cover shot for Abbey Road album, following advice from English Heritage.
Although the listing is the first of its kind, the Abbey Road studios where the 1969 album was recorded, won similar recognition this February.
Tourists and music lovers flock to Abbey Road every day. Photograph: Felix Clay
Sir Paul McCartney, whose barefoot stroll across the road gave rise to all manner of absurd conspiracy theories, welcomed the news today. "It's been a great year for me and a great year for the Beatles and hearing that the Abbey Road crossing is to be preserved is the icing on the cake," he said.
Penrose said that while the crossing was "no castle or cathedral", it had "just as strong a claim as any to be seen as part of our heritage" because of its link to the Beatles. He added: "As such it merits the extra protection that Grade II listing provides."
Roger Bowdler, head of designation at English Heritage, said: "the crossing continues to possess huge cultural pull — the temptation to recreate that 1969 album cover remains as strong as ever."
Excerpt from the article by Sam Jones, at Guardian.co.uk

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The city as a sprawling organism

Illustration by Hubert Blanz
Excerpts from the article at the New York Times: A Physicist Solves the City. By Jonah Lehrer.
¨Although (Geoffrey) West worked for decades as a physicist at Stanford University and Los Alamos National Laboratory, he started thinking about leaving the field after the financing for the Texas superconducting supercollider was canceled by Congress in 1993. West, however, wasn’t ready to retire, and so he began searching for subjects that needed his skill set.
Eventually he settled on cities: the urban jungle looked chaotic — all those taxi horns and traffic jams — but perhaps it might be found to obey a short list of universal rules. “We spend all this time thinking about cities in terms of their local details, their restaurants and museums and weather,” West says. “I had this hunch that there was something more, that every city was also shaped by a set of hidden laws.”
And so West set out to solve the City. As he points out, this is an intellectual problem with immense practical implications. Urban population growth is the great theme of modern life, one that’s unfolding all across the world, from the factory boomtowns of Southern China to the sprawling favelas of Rio de Janeiro. As a result, for the first time in history, the majority of human beings live in urban areas. (The numbers of city dwellers are far higher in developed countries — the United States, for instance, is 82 percent urbanized.) Furthermore, the pace of urbanization is accelerating as people all over the world flee the countryside and flock to the crowded street.
Illustration by Hubert Blanz
This relentless urban growth has led to a renewed interest in cities in academia and in government. In February 2009, President Obama established the first White House Office of Urban Affairs, which has been told to develop a “policy agenda for urban America.” Meanwhile, new perspectives have come to the field of urban studies. Macro­economists, for instance, have focused on the role of cities in driving gross domestic product and improving living standards, while psychologists have investigated the impact of city life on self-control and short-term memory. Even architects are moving into the area: Rem Koolhaas, for one, has argued that architects have become so obsessed with pretty buildings that they’ve neglected the vital spaces between them.
But West wasn’t satisfied with any of these approaches. He didn’t want to be constrained by the old methods of social science, and he had little patience for the unconstrained speculations of architects. (West considers urban theory to be a field without principles, comparing it to physics before Kepler pioneered the laws of planetary motion in the 17th century.) Instead, West wanted to begin with a blank page, to study cities as if they had never been studied before. He was tired of urban theory — he wanted to invent urban science.
For West, this first meant trying to gather as much urban data as possible. Along with Luis Bettencourt, another theoretical physicist who had abandoned conventional physics, and a team of disparate researchers, West began scouring libraries and government Web sites for relevant statistics. The scientists downloaded huge files from the Census Bureau, learned about the intricacies of German infrastructure and bought a thick and expensive almanac featuring the provincial cities of China. (Unfortunately, the book was in Mandarin.) They looked at a dizzying array of variables, from the total amount of electrical wire in Frankfurt to the number of college graduates in Boise. They amassed stats on gas stations and personal income, flu outbreaks and homicides, coffee shops and the walking speed of pedestrians.
After two years of analysis, West and Bettencourt discovered that all of these urban variables could be described by a few exquisitely simple equations. For example, if they know the population of a metropolitan area in a given country, they can estimate, with approximately 85 percent accuracy, its average income and the dimensions of its sewer system. These are the laws, they say, that automatically emerge whenever people “agglomerate,” cramming themselves into apartment buildings and subway cars. It doesn’t matter if the place is Manhattan or Manhattan, Kan.: the urban patterns remain the same. West isn’t shy about describing the magnitude of this accomplishment. “What we found are the constants that describe every city,” he says. “I can take these laws and make precise predictions about the number of violent crimes and the surface area of roads in a city in Japan with 200,000 people. I don’t know anything about this city or even where it is or its history, but I can tell you all about it. And the reason I can do that is because every city is really the same.” After a pause, as if reflecting on his hyperbole, West adds: “Look, we all know that every city is unique. That’s all we talk about when we talk about cities, those things that make New York different from L.A., or Tokyo different from Albuquerque. But focusing on those differences misses the point. Sure, there are differences, but different from what? We’ve found the what.”
There is something deeply strange about thinking of the metropolis in such abstract terms. We usually describe cities, after all, as local entities defined by geography and history. New Orleans isn’t a generic place of 336,644 people. It’s the bayou and Katrina and Cajun cuisine. New York isn’t just another city. It’s a former Dutch fur-trading settlement, the center of the finance industry and home to the Yankees. And yet, West insists, those facts are mere details, interesting anecdotes that don’t explain very much. The only way to really understand the city, West says, is to understand its deep structure, its defining patterns, which will show us whether a metropolis will flourish or fall apart. We can’t make our cities work better until we know how they work. And, West says, he knows how they work. (....)
The mathematical equations that West and his colleagues devised were inspired by the earlier findings of Max Kleiber. In the early 1930s, when Kleiber was a biologist working in the animal-husbandry department at the University of California, Davis, he noticed that the sprawlingly diverse animal kingdom could be characterized by a simple mathematical relationship, in which the metabolic rate of a creature is equal to its mass taken to the three-fourths power. This ubiquitous principle had some significant implications, because it showed that larger species need less energy per pound of flesh than smaller ones. For instance, while an elephant is 10,000 times the size of a guinea pig, it needs only 1,000 times as much energy. Other scientists soon found more than 70 such related laws, defined by what are known as “sublinear” equations. It doesn’t matter what the animal looks like or where it lives or how it evolved — the math almost always works.
West’s insight was that these strange patterns are caused by our internal infrastructure — the plumbing that makes life possible. By translating these biological designs into mathematics, West and his co-authors were able to explain the existence of Kleiber’s scaling laws. “I can’t tell you how satisfying this was,” West says. “Sometimes, I look out at nature and I think, Everything here is obeying my conjecture. It’s a wonderfully narcissistic feeling.”
Not every biologist was persuaded, however. In fact, West’s paper in Science ignited a flurry of rebuttals, in which researchers pointed out all the species that violated the math. West can barely hide his impatience with what he regards as quibbles. “There are always going to be people who say, ‘What about the crayfish?’ ” he says. “Well, what about it? Every fundamental law has exceptions.¨
Keep on reading:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Clausura preventiva de las urbanizaciones privadas Colony Park y Parque de la Isla

Colony Park. La primera etapa es la que está dentro de la línea negra.
Por fin. Parece que la lucha por defender el Delta del Tigre ha llevado dos años, y no termina aún. Me avergüenzo públicamente de mis colegas y compatriotas corruptos, que llevan a cabo obras bajo la política del ¨hecho consumado¨. Y me alegra que los vecinos se hayan movilizado. No sucedería esto en San Isidro, o Belgrano, donde las comisiones de vecinos son muy fuertes. Y menos aún en EEUU. De hecho, el código en California cambia otra vez, entrando en vigencia el 1o de enero de 2011, junto con el Green Code, basado en normas internacionales. Actos así serían impensables en EEUU, donde hasta edificios de sólo 4 pisos en zonas urbanizadas deben cumplir con las normas LEED.
Acá dejo párrafos de notas acerca de la clausura preventiva de las urbanizaciones privadas de Colony Park y Parque de la Isla, con sus respectivos links. Celebro por los logros de los defensores ambientales y espero que el intendente Sergio Massa pueda llevar a cabo el Master Plan, como corresponde a un país civilizado.

¨La jueza de San Isidro Sandra Arroyo Salgado dispuso preventivamente la clausura de las urbanizaciones privadas Colony Park y Parque de la Isla, situadas en la primera sección de islas del delta del Paraná, pertenecientes al municipio de Tigre. Asimismo, ordenó al Organismo Provincial para el Desarrollo Sostenible el estricto contralor de la medida dictada.
Lo que sucede allí es otra lamentable historia que deja al descubierto cómo una suma de irregularidades e irresponsabilidades por parte de la autoridad y algunos privados transforma en un verdadero desastre ambiental cuestiones que deberían manejarse mediante una planificación, una gestión y un control adecuados, ya que se trata de nuestros más valiosos recursos naturales.
Con una ubicación inmejorable, frente a exclusivos clubes náuticos de la zona norte y a unos mil metros apenas de una de las avenidas más importantes del continente, separados apenas por un canal, los emprendimientos Colony Park y Parque de la Isla parecen ser el lugar perfecto para vivir rodeado de verde y cerca de la ciudad a la vez.
Sin embargo, el desarrollo de infraestructura necesario para llevar a cabo el millonario emprendimiento que se publicita como "isla privada" implica la destrucción de enormes sectores del humedal isleño. Las graves consecuencias que esto acarrea van más allá de la irreparable pérdida de flora y fauna autóctonas. El relleno de los terrenos a más de siete metros de altura para facilitar la construcción de casas tradicionales (y no sobre palafitos, como ancestralmente ocurre en el lugar para permitir la normal corriente de mareas), el desvío y cierre de algunos cursos de agua, el desalojo de familias de antiguos pobladores y el ingreso de automóviles, que accederían al predio por un puente que conectará continente e isla, son algunos de los daños que están causando estas urbanizaciones al ecosistema del Delta.¨
Siga leyendo esta nota:
¨La Juez Federal Sandra Arroyo Salgado, para resolver en la incidencia y respecto a la solicitud Formulada por la Dra. Rita Ester Molina, en su carácter de titular de la Fiscalía Federal N°1 de San Isidro, en el marco de la causa caratulada “Ferreccio, Enrique Carlos s/denuncia, N° 2843/08 del registro de la Secretaría N° 7, del Juzgado Federal en lo Criminal y Correccional N°1 de San Isidro y considerando el planteo propiciado y su pertenencia y la solicitud de Ministerio Público Fiscal, resolvió disponer preventivamente la clausura de las instalaciones correspondientes a los emprendimientos “Isla Colony Park” y “Parque de la Isla”, ubicadas en la primera Sección de Islas del Delta del Paraná, con el fin de garantizar la paralización de las obras que respecto a estos emprendimientos allí se llevan a cabo. Ello de conformidad con lo dispuesto en los Art. 4 y 32 de la Ley 25.675 (Ley General del Ambiente), Art. 23 penúltimo y último párrafo del Código Penal, los arts. 183 y 193 de C.P.P.N. y Art. 41 de la constitución Nacional, medida esta que comenzó a regir a partir del 1 de diciembre de 2010.
También dispone la Juez Federal Arroyo Salgado, que el Organismo Provincial para el Desarrollo Sostenible (OPDS), como autoridad ambiental de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, con poder de policía, en cabeza de su Director Ejecutivo, Sr. José Manuel Molina, cumpla con el estricto contralor y supervisión periódica de los emprendimientos mientras dure la clausura preventiva, con el fin de verificar que no se continúe con la ejecución de las obras, hasta tanto se adecuen los emprendimientos a la normativa vigente en la materia, de acuerdo a los previsiones legales que imponen entre otras cosas la “Declaración de Impacto Ambiental (DIA) a partir de la aprobación del respectivo estudio (Ley Provincial N° 11723; Ley Nacional 25.765; Resolución OPDS 29/2009).
Ordena además la Juez, librar oficio a la Dirección de Inteligencia Criminal – Zona Delta – de la Prefectura Naval Argentina, a cumplir con lo dispuesto, asegurando el lugar, velando por la integridad y seguridad de las personas que en el se encuentren con franjado de estilo y consignas que hagan falta. Todo ello en aras de dar cabal cumplimiento a la clausura preventiva ordenada, que tendrá que asegurar la paralización de las obras, entregando copia del decisorio al Representante de dicha persona Jurídica, o la persona responsable de los trabajos que allí se encuentre.
También autorizó la Juez Federal, la realización de una inspección de Visu en el lugar en el que se llevan a cabo los emprendimientos “Colony Park” y “Parque de la Isla”. (...)
En el Delta no hay catastro, “el que hoy está tiene más de 70 años, no hay normas constructivas, entonces cada uno viene y hace lo que quiere; en el Delta no hay normas de dragado, entonces uno viene y hace un refulado y un dragado de acuerdo a lo que le conviene en su casa o desarrollo”, expresó como ejemplo Massa. Pero para el intendente “eso lo vamos a terminar, por eso estamos poniendo en marcha un Master Plan que le pone límites a los Colony Park, a los que vienen y hacen lo que quieren en el delta, llegó la hora de ponerles límites y coto a aquellos que vienen y se quieren llevar por delante día a día la naturaleza”.
Massa comentó que se está trabajando en tres temas. “Uno tiene que ver con el ordenamiento ambiental, urbanístico, inmobiliario y catastral, con un programa que tiende a fijar normas para que nadie haga lo que quiera en la isla. Y para que el desarrollo sea sustentable desde el punto de vista ambiental y desde las características de identidad del Delta. Queremos que el Delta crezca, pero de manera armónica y no vamos a cambiar lo que pensamos en nombre de un supuesto progreso. Queremos el progreso, pero de manera ordenada y respetando a aquellas familias que le dan vida a nuestra isla”.

Monday, December 27, 2010

World Symphony in Miami Beach: a building without ¨gehryfication¨

This building involved my partner and me in a discussion. He said that Frank Gehry should be loyal to his principles and should have followed his own design guidelines. You understand what I mean, the similar buildings that look like roses, built everywhere. And I stated that he would have to respect the city´s environment, the urban historical guidelines; I don´t like the idea of ¨stamping¨ buildings everywhere.
I have a colleague friend who prepared a project at the beach front, in Miami, and he emailed me the conditions. Absolutely strict, his modern house wouldn´t be approved by the City Council. He fought as much as he could, but here we have Gehry, that succumbed to the temptation of a huge fee. Now, the question is, does Miami need to pay such amount of money? Well, the same happened in Bilbao, in the future, the dividends are brought by tourists. Bilbao was suddenly improved by the mere existence of Gehry´s building. That was the city´s objective.
Here I have some excerpts from the article by Ines Hegedus García, for the Prime Miami Beach. com. It´s really interesting and it has some links to complete the story´s gossip about Gehry. All pictures are downloaded from the article.

¨The story behind the new building….shortened for brevity’s sake, is that Michael Tilson Thomas (Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, aka MTT), was babysat by Frank Gehry, who ended up designing the building because of their long established friendship. Miami Beach would get a top notch architectural landmark because of MTT’s influence! There were 3 aspects to the project: a parking structure, the actual concert hall, and a public park. Frank didn’t want to do the parking structure….DUH! why in the world would the City of Miami Beach commission a parking lot to a renown architect? But the city pushed and Gehry ended up doing the parking lot and the building, the budget then did not allow for the park, Gehry withdrew from the project and someone else did the park (West 8, a Dutch landscape architecture firm) <<< I’m over-simplifying here but want to get to the important part of the story, which is the building itself.
Of course I was bummed out that Gehry didn’t get to design the most important aspect of the project. The public park will be the key ingredient to incorporating the building into Lincoln Road’s existing life – if not done correctly, the city and the NWS will have to go back to the drawing table to make the space work. When I asked why a talented local like Raymond Jungles was not commissioned for the space, I was at least happy to hear that he had been hired to do the Rooftop terrace. (....)I started documenting the “Gehryfication” of the structure from the moment construction began and to my and others’ surprise, it was pretty damn boxy. FOR REAL? A Frank Gehry building that did not have his signature? Especially when he’s known for “turning his pencil against traditional box-shaped buildings”. What in the world was going on?
As the box continued to get finished, I hoped that the gehryfication happened in the interior and that’s why I was so happy to go on the tour. I am happy to inform you that it DOES happen in the interior and once you hear the concept, it all starts making more and more sense. According to Gehry, this was to be a “program driven building”, and as you can tell by the complicated program, this would be no easy task.¨

Fragmento del artículo Marginación y olvido, dramas cotidianos en el sur porteño

Toma del parque Indoamericano. Foto clarin.com
Toma del parque Indoamericano. Foto clarin.com
Con mucho pesar, reproduzco la primera parte del excelente artículo de Fernando Massa, para La Nación:
¨La toma del parque Indoamericano fue sólo la gota que rebasó el vaso, un síntoma de la desidia estatal que lleva años. La paciencia de los vecinos de Villa Lugano y Villa Soldati se agotó y, desde hace días, expresan a su modo una bronca acumulada durante mucho tiempo ante el fracaso y la inexistencia de políticas estructurales para el sur de la Capital.
Los espacios verdes son allí tanto o más amplios que en Palermo, pero casi no se utilizan: su abandono es aprovechado para el ejercicio de la prostitución y para el comercio de drogas. Los vecinos no se animan a salir de noche por temor a que les roben. La policía tampoco da respuestas: no puede o directamente no quiere actuar, dicen en esos barrios. Viajar en transporte público es un calvario: los colectivos pasan cada media hora, repletos de gente, y no paran. Los centros de salud están cerca, pero saturados. Las escuelas, superpobladas, obligan a los vecinos a cruzar la avenida General Paz y a llevar a sus hijos a establecimientos del partido de La Matanza. Falta iluminación, faltan cloacas, faltan redes de agua potable.
Toma del parque Indoamericano. Foto clarin.com
Toma del parque Indoamericano. Foto infobae.com
Esos son los principales problemas que desde hace años sufre la comuna 8 de la Capital -conformada por los barrios de Villa Lugano, Villa Soldati y Villa Riachuelo?, según señaló a La Nacion un grupo integrado por una decena de vecinos de la zona, entre los que se encontraban algunos profesionales que se desempeñan en esos barrios del área metropolitana.
Un ingeniero civil que trabaja desde hace más de cinco años en la zona explicó que para hacer una radiografía de la comuna 8 deben tenerse en cuenta antes dos fenómenos particulares que se dan allí.
En primer lugar, que, si bien no es una de las zonas de la Capital con mayor cantidad de habitantes -pues según el último censo son 184.703, mientras que otras comunas rondan los 230.000- en sus conglomerados urbanos se advierte un grave problema de superpoblación, en tanto los hogares suelen ser multifamiliares. De hecho, el censo también refleja que es la comuna que cuenta con menor cantidad de viviendas: sólo 58.156.
En segundo lugar, que, junto con Palermo, la comuna 8 es uno de los dos "manchones" verdes de la ciudad, que cuenta con un diseño urbano muy particular. "Con el Indoamericano, el Parque de la Ciudad, el parque Brown o el Autódromo, acá se ve más verde que cemento. Pero estos espacios públicos no se usan: nadie va a pasear por ahí, y entonces son ocupados y aprovechados para otros destinos. Además, el diseño urbano hace que la interconexión de Lugano y Soldati con el resto de la Capital sea muy difícil. Tanto es así que cuando pusieron el Premetro, que es una berretada de tranvía, fue un logro", detalló el ingeniero.
Nelly, empleada administrativa que vive desde hace 21 años junto a sus dos hijas en el barrio Samoré, un complejo habitacional situado sobre la calle Castañares, enfrente del parque Indoamericano, escenario de la usurpación que expuso la marginalidad de esta zona de la Capital, lo confirmó. "Al parque no se puede ir porque no cortan el pasto y no hay iluminación. Y de noche ni siquiera podemos llegar a la avenida Escalada porque te roban en el mismo estacionamiento del Samoré", dijo.¨
Lea la nota completa:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

About the disinfection of public places in the Middle Ages

The Black Death. From google images
¨In the Middle Ages, the strewing of public places with aromatic flowers and leaves to ward off fevers was wide-spread. Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare, with its strong camphor-smell, was often used to disinfect public places in the days of the plague, and so was the spicy marjoram, Origanum vulgare. In the nineteenth century church pews were still strewn with lavender, rosemary, woodruf and balm, and a sprig of southernwood was worn on the Sunday smocks of the farm folks. Other worshippers might carry a Sunday posy, with stems decently wrapped in a clean pocket handkerchief, which would usually include a sprig of fennel.¨
Tanacetum vulgare. From mynug.com
Reference:
Green Magic. By Lesley Gordon. p. 115. New York, 1977

El relleno sanitario donde vierte los residuos la ciudad de Buenos Aires colapsará en 2012

¨Sobre el Camino del Buen Ayre crece un volcán hediondo. Los camiones de Ceamse (Coordinación Ecológica Area Metropolitana Sociedad del Estado) desfilan sin parar, llegan y vomitan para alimentar a la Pachamama con lo que mejor habla de nosotros: nuestra basura. El relleno sanitario Norte III recibe casi 17 mil toneladas diarias de desperdicios; 5 mil de ellas son de los porteños. El problema es que la tierra está más que satisfecha con el kilo de basura que le brinda cada habitante, y en 2012 ya no tendrá más estómago para seguir masticando nuestra porquería: el relleno sanitario colapsará en 2 años y aún no se sabe dónde podremos enviar los desperdicios. Según el presidente de Ceamse, Raúl de Elizalde, están tratando, desde hace 3 años, de ampliar esos terrenos de José León Suárez. La negativa es del Ministerio de Defensa. Desde allí dicen que no por razones "ecológicas", por seguridad y porque impediría las maniobras militares que se hacen en Campo de Mayo. Para Diego Santilli, ministro de Ambiente y Espacio Público, "es un problema de Estado, es una situación de la Argentina, no de la ciudad de Buenos Aires". El 2012 es ya y para poder empezar a operar en un terreno "se necesitan, mínimo, dos años", explica el ingeniero Marcelo Rosso, gerente de Operaciones de Ceamse.

El planeta produce dos billones de toneladas anuales de residuos sólidos urbanos. La ONU estima que para el año 2025 esa cifra se quintuplicará. Según la Ley de Basura Cero, sancionada en 2005 y reglamentada en 2007, para este fin de año la ciudad de Buenos Aires debía enviar 30% menos de desechos al relleno sanitario que en 2004, cuando se enterraron 1.492.867 toneladas. El año pasado fueron 1.847.748. Para cumplir con la ley se debería enviar 43% menos que en 2009: imposible. La carrera contra la basura está perdida, no hay superhéroe a la vista y sí enemigo con vestimenta fluorescente: una sociedad de consumo desquiciada -retratada en el documental de Agnès Varda Los espigadores y la espigadora-. Echale la culpa al capitalismo. Entonces la pregunta ya no es qué se hace con la basura, sino por qué y cómo se la genera. Y también: ¿todo es basura? "Los principales problemas de la sociedad industrial se basan en el tratamiento de síntomas. La humanidad se ocupa de ellos, en lugar de evitar las situaciones que los generan", decía Gilles Gillespie, responsable del movimiento Basura Cero en Australia, país vanguardista en la lucha, en una nota para LNR en 2005. No se trata de ver qué hacemos con la mugre, sino de analizar qué hemos usado para producirla, qué recursos naturales hemos utilizado -y posiblemente estemos por agotar. Grábese esta palabra que le dará picazón neuronal en las próximas décadas: sustentabilidad.¨
Siga leyendo la nota de La Nación Revista:
Las fotos de este post fueron bajadas de la misma nota en La Nación digital.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The triclinium

A fresco of a triclinium in Pompeii. From historyforkids.com
Roman diners were accommodated on couches arranged in a ¨U¨ shape and called the triclinium. When the guests were seated, their slippers were removed. If the host was rich or pretentious, his guests might then be subjected to a full-scale pedicure, although it was more usual for slaves simply to bring round ewers of water so that they might wash their hands and bathe the dust of the street from their feet.
A reproduction of a triclinium. From wikipedia.org
Triclinium. From novaroma.org
The table was set in the centre of the ¨U¨ and, as the courses came and went, ¨a high-girt slave with purple napkin wiped well the maple-wood table, while a second swept up the scraps and anything that could offend the guests¨. This last, slightly sinister phrase (from one of Horace´s Satires) takes on meaning when it is realized that Roman wall hangings and canopies occasionally came adrift, descending ¨in mighty ruin upon the platter, trailing more black dust than the north wind raises on Campanian plains¨. When this happened, guests were inclined to call for their slippers -a sign that they intended instant departure.
REFERENCE. 
The Fine Art of Food. By Reay Tannahill. P. 19

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!


My fractal contribution to the holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays for all readers!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Selection of pictures of Tadashi Kawamata´s works


Translation from Wikipedia.org:
Tadashi Kawamata has quickly gained on the Japanese and international art scene. At age 28, a graduate of the University of Fine Arts in Tokyo, he was already invited to the Japan Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 1982. Therefore, it intervenes in the world to produce monumental projects always in agreement with the site invested.
Tadashi Kawamata's work reflects on the social context and relationships that define it. When installing shelters made of materials (wood, cardboard) recovery on the edge of the cities of Montreal, New York or Tokyo, it refers to the slums and the homeless. At Alkmaar, these are people with social problems that are associated with a proposed bridge linking the rehabilitation center in the city. In any project, the artist is surrounded by students, residents, groups involved in editing and producing the work.


A careful discovery, physical and mental health, history, landscape, architecture and lifestyles they bring him gradually to determine the nature of its projects. At the root of his work, Tadashi Kawamata interested in planning issues, construction sites or demolition, the intermediate areas that remain in urban areas are reinvested by the artist who uses the building for its same materials of the site, the "recycling" (chairs, boats, scaffolding). For example, in Kassel, is a church in ruins, destroyed by World War II and neglected during the reconstruction of the city, Tadashi Kawamata restores to the people on the occasion of Documenta VIII in 1987. Time as an indicator of greatness or decline of a monument or site, is a key element of his work.
Its operations recreate bridges between past and present, revealing the emotional, invisible things, but also their material reality. Work sharing and reflection on community life that animates and builds each of its projects promote the awakening of this memory. At the Saint-Louis de la Salpetriere in 1997, The passage of the chairs form an elevation of chairs and pews, spiral springs towards the dome of the chapel. In Barcelona in 1996, is a bridge that connects the contemporary art museum in the old neighborhood. In Evreux in 2000, pedestrians are asked to move on instead of City Hall by an elevated walkway that allows to change the point of view. All examples and situations where the work calls for a shift to a path. At St. Thélo in the Côtes-d'Armor, Tadashi Kawamata has invested three summers (2004-2006) during the old weaver's houses doomed to destruction.
Professor at the University of Fine Arts in Tokyo from 1999 to 2005, he currently teaches at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 2005 he was appointed artistic director of the Second Triennial of Yokohama, Japan. Recent projects have taken him to France to participate in the artistic journey The estuary between Nantes and Saint-Nazaire and Japan in a solo retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo.


All pictures downloaded from google images

Sunday, December 19, 2010

James Stirling Exhibition At the Yale Center for British Art


Curator Anthony Vidler, architecture dean at Cooper Union, discusses "Notes from the Archive: James Frazer Stirling, Architect and Teacher"

KTV House. By Standardarchitecture

The theme of the 2009 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Architecture\Urbanism was "City Mobilization." So Standardarchitecture created Eggs of the City — a pair of mobile living pods designed with China’s enormous population of young migrant workers in mind. Made of fiberglass, the playful egg-shaped units stood on the plaza of Shenzhen’s civic center; one doubled as a bench with a small sleeping area inside, while the other served as a karaoke room. Both were purely experimental, but a third, more fully outfitted variation was later made of bamboo at Standard’s office, by a firm member who, as of press time, had lived there full-time for more than three months.
Picture and text from Architectural Record.com

Friday, December 17, 2010

El Centro Cultural Recoleta festeja sus 30 años junto a sus hacedores

Fotos de commons.wikimedia.org
¨Hoy abre al público una muestra con obras de Clorindo Testa, Fernando Benedit y Jacques Bedel.
Hace tres décadas fueron los responsables de la obra arquitectónica que le dio origen. A partir de hoy, a las 19, la institución festejará su 30° aniversario con una exposición de esos tres grandes realizadores: Clorindo Testa, Luis Fernando Benedit y Jacques Bedel.
En diciembre de 1980, el Recoleta abrió sus puertas a la experimentación artística en un espacio remodelado por los tres artistas/arquitectos, que le dieron nueva función a un edificio que constituye una de las construcciones más antiguas que se conservan en la ciudad, que en el siglo XVIII había pertenecido a los frailes Franciscanos Recoletos y que luego se convirtió en un asilo de mendigos.
Bedel, Testa y Benedit en 1980. Foto de La Nación
Foto de info-recoleta.com
Foto de buenosaires.it
Para este aniversario, "era indispensable convocar a los tres geniales artistas que lo diseñaron", señaló Claudio Massetti, director del Recoleta, institución que pertenece al gobierno porteño. Reunidos por La Nacion, Testa, Benedit y Bedel recordaron la obra que los convocó como arquitectos, en un diálogo en el que el humor y el recuerdo se desplegaron en dosis parejas. "Fue una obra interesante, divertida arquitectónicamente, creo que nos llevamos bastante bien", comentó Benedit.
Hace treinta años, los tres posaron para una serie de fotografías en distintas partes del edificio. "Cuando veo la foto de aquella época lo primero que pienso es ¿y éstos quiénes son? Después me doy cuenta de que somos nosotros", comentó Testa con su habitual jovialidad.
En tanto, Bedel señaló: "Este edificio fue uno de los primeros que se hicieron como restauración, pero no histórica, sino con intervención de ideas contemporáneas, cosa que no tenía muchos antecedentes en esa época. Fue un desafío". También recordó que el Recoleta irrumpió en la escena cultural porteña como un espacio de experimentación artística y de propuestas nuevas que le daba oportunidades a la gente joven desde un ámbito oficial, lo cual era novedoso.
Testa rememoró el llamado que recibieron del entonces secretario de Cultura, Ricardo Freixá, para realizar la obra, debido a que los tres eran arquitectos y artistas. Nunca habían trabajado juntos como arquitectos, pero sí como artistas. Como integrantes del Grupo CAYC, en 1977 habían ganado el Gran Premio de la Bienal de San Pablo.
"Cuando nos convocaron para la obra del Recoleta fue un desafío y un honor, e hicimos el anteproyecto ad honorem ", dijo Bedel. Si bien no volvieron a realizar juntos otra obra arquitectónica, continuaron vinculados en el campo de las artes visuales. En cuanto a los roles durante la construcción del centro, Benedit comentó con humor: "Clorindo llegaba más temprano y lo agarraban a él primero. El era el bueno y yo el malo". En tanto, Bedel agregó en sintonía: "Yo era el jamón del sándwich, hacía de amortiguador entre las dos versiones".
Testa+Bedel+Benedit es la exposición de obras que, hasta el 20 de febrero, se exhibirá en la sala Cronopios del Recoleta (Junín 1930). Una selección que ofrece trabajos de distintas etapas de cada uno de los artistas, a lo largo de estos 30 años. Si bien sus propuestas artísticas son diferentes, hay elementos que los unen, como ellos mismos señalan: una forma parecida de pensar, una constante renovación, y ganas de seguir generando ideas y propuestas.¨
REFERENCIA
Texto tomado del artículo de Laura Casanovas para La Nación, Sección Cultura.
Siga leyendo:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

India to Build 24 Green Cities in Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor

Delhi. Picture posted in the article of inhabitat.com
¨As a rapidly developing country, India still makes heavy use of fossil fuels (especially coal) — however in recent years it has worked to diversify its energy supplies and make its infrastructure ‘greener’. The largest infrastructure project currently underway in the country is the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and India just announced that it plans to build 24 ‘green cities‘ as part of the development.
The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is a major infrastructure project that India is developing with Japan. The project will upgrade nine mega industrial zones as well as the country’s high-speed freight line, three ports, and six airports. A 4,000 MW power plant and a six-lane intersection-free expressway will also be constructed, which will connect the country’s political and financial capitals. The DMIC project is already underway and it will cover six states — Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The mega-project, which is rumored to cost over $90 billion, is being partially funded by the government along with Japanese loans and investment by Japanese firms. The 24 green cities are designed to boost India’s infrastructure in the smaller towns along this 1,483km corridor, as well as national economic growth and prosperity. A key part of the green city development will improve and repair the basic infrastructure of two major metropolitan cities that suffer from poor roads due to high levels of transport. A large portion of the funding will go into developing better transport facilities and public transport systems.¨
Keep on reading Timon Singh´s article for Inhabitat.com

The New King Abdullah Economic City

A computer rendering of the King Abdullah Financial District on the outskirts of Riyadh.
¨Saudi Arabia — Just off a desert road about an hour’s drive from this port city, an enormous arched gate capped by three domes rises out of the sand like the set for a 1920s silent film fantasy. It is, instead, a fantasy of contemporary urban planning, the site of what one day will be King Abdullah Economic City, a 65-square-mile development at the edge of the Red Sea. With a projected population of two million, the city is a Middle Eastern version of the “special economic zones” that have flourished in places like China.
The city is one of four being laid out on empty desert around this country, all scheduled for completion by 2030. They follow on the heels of the country’s first coeducational university, which opened last year next to the King Abdullah site, and a financial district nearly the size of Lower Manhattan that is rising on the outskirts of the capital, Riyadh.
Architecturally they couldn’t be more dreary and conventional — bloated glass towers encircled by quaint town houses and suburban villas decorated in ersatz historical styles. Their gargantuan scale and tabula rasa approach conjure old-style Modernist planning efforts like the creation of Brasília in the 1950s or the colossal Soviet urban experiments of the 1930s, but these are driven by anxiety over the future, not utopian idealism.
With more than 13 million Saudis — half the population — under 20, the 86-year-old Saudi ruler, King Abdullah, is trying to create more than a million new jobs and 4 million homes within 10 to 15 years. He and his royal clan envision an economy less dependent on oil, run by a new class of doctors, engineers and businessmen who can function in a global marketplace.
To accomplish this feat the Saudi government says it needs to crack the door open to some sort of Western-style modernity — or at least a softer version of the Islam practiced here, with its strictly enforced separation of the sexes, its severe restrictions on the public lives of women and the ever watchful eye of the religious police.¨
REFERENCE
An article by Nicolai Ouroussoff for The New York Times.
Keep on reading

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

YALE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE. Symposia spring 2011

“Middle Ground / Middle East: Religious Sites in Urban Context”
Friday and Saturday, 21 & 22 January 2011
Hastings Hall, Basement Level
Paul Rudolph Hall, 180 York Street

In a part of the word where the intersection of religious traditions has always been at the heart of both cultural identity and conflict, the importance of religious sites for shaping social life – especially in urban contexts – is critical. Religious sites are the outcome of human experiences realized within a particularly dynamic social context, embracing both cultural heritage and modernization. Their tangible and material aspects are among the most fundamental sources of solidarity, practices, beliefs, worldviews and aspirations – what might be called a “hidden cultural synthesis.” Moreover, these spaces are often an important element of the urban matrix within which change is facilitated – one thinks of recent work in such places as Samara, Beirut, Riyadh, Cairo and Jerusalem.
This symposium, co-sponsored by the Yale School of Architecture, the Yale Divinity School, the Yale Center for Middle East Studies, and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, will focus on the role of religious sites representing the three Abrahamic traditions in shaping the urban environments in the Middle East. Recognizing that sacred building – mosques, churches, synagogues, and other holy sites – has often been regarded as representative of patterns of social and cultural division, the symposium seeks to address the centrality of religious traditions, inter-faith relationships, and long practices of learning and tolerance. Leading architects and scholars from a variety of fields and religious backgrounds will examine through a plurality of perspectives the recent paradigm shifts regarding the relationship between architecture and religion and the ways in which religious sites currently engage urban regeneration, economic growth, cultural identity, memory, and the limits of multiculturalism.
Learn more:

CALL FOR PAPERS. Third Architecture. Culture and Spirituality Symposium


The THIRD Architecture. Culture and Spirituality Symposium will take place take place June 29-July 1 at Serenbe, a 1,000 acre community located under 25 minutes drive from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson
International Airport. Serenbe is an unique place that strives to support authentic living, working, learning and playing in celebration of life’s beauty and sanctity, through its nourishment of connections between people, nature and the arts. Its design provides an explicit structure, spatial order, and context for community, ceremonial events, and a strong sense of belonging. John Graham, one of its residents, puts it this way:
“Serenbe is marked by an extraordinary sense of community. What has contributed to this remains something of a mystery: The founder’s vision, the inculcation to the sacred, and the commitment to the principles of sacred geometry in physical design, have resulted in a strong sense of place that attracts residents sharing a commitment to the land, the environment, and to each other. The formula may not be simple, but the results are obvious to all.”
Keep on reading about the Symposium:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Permaculture Floating Tower in Amsterdam



¨A student from Thailand, Panit Limpiti has proposed design for a skyscraper to be located in Omval, Amsterdam, that will cater to the region’s worst case scenario situation, a flood.
It’s called Permaculture Floating Tower. With the ability to withstand high water levels, and through the design of a floating landscape, this building will stand strong, no matter the weather forecast.¨
Shared by Nicholas Roberts.(Permaculture coop.)
Keep on reading:
http://www.architecture-view.com/2010/12/08/permaculture-floating-tower-in-amsterdam/

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