Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My last pictures from Walt Disney Concert Hall. Los Angeles, California

 Downtown L.A. from Walt Disney Concert Hall. By Frank Gehry
 An entrance from the plaza level.
  Downtown L.A. from Walt Disney Concert Hall. By Frank Gehry
 The rose sculpture at the Plaza Level.

 That´s my sister and me.
That´s my architect husband

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lotte, Korea's First Supertower



Lotte World Tower, once called Lotte Jamsil Super Tower, is the fifth-tallest building under way in the world, says the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Chaebols, other than Lotte, have built the world's tallest towers. Yet the tallest building in Korea is the 308-m North East Asia Trade Tower at the Songdo International Business District.
The Lotte tower is just coming out of the ground. If finished by October 2015 as currently scheduled, the 123-story tower would rank as the seventh tallest of the world's eight supertowers over 500 m. The tallest is the 828-m Burj Khalifa in the Arab emirate of Dubai.
Since 1989, Lotte's founder and general chairman, Shin Kyuk-Ho, weighed 10 designs by three other architects before selecting the current design by New York City-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC. KPF's.

The construction of the mega columns
The temporary platform

REFERENCE:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kauffman Center designed by Moshe Safdie. Kansas

JE Dunn Construction's Kyle McQuiston takes us on a hardhat tour of the Moshe Safdie-designed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Urban camouflage


Urban environments are crowded with all kinds of sights that are so common they often just seem to fade into the background. Signs, buildings, cars, the odd package waiting on a doorstep – they are all so ubiquitous that our minds somewhat block them out. Artist Ceyetano Ferrer takes the things that our minds gloss over and makes them almost disappear with clever urban camouflage.
Using photo stickers, Ferrer shows passers-by exactly what urban objects obscure. The sign on the street, the box in the corner, the billboard downtown: they all cover up another layer of the city. Ferrer’s clever method of peeling back the layers actually involves building up another layer that is ultimately akin to an invisibility cloak.


Reference:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Analyzing disaster after Japan´s tsunami

Over the course of two hard-driving weeks in April, seven engineers and researchers comprising the ASCE/Structural Engineering Institute Tohuku Tsunami Reconnaissance Team, in collaboration members of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers, examined nearly all the towns and cities with significant damage from the March 11, 2011 tsunami.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Artists to intervene City Planning

Rirkrit Tiravanija's "Bike Share," part of the "Civic Action" exhibition at the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park.

¨when all else fails, the visionary thinking of artists has become public policy. Ten years ago an artist turned mayor painted dilapidated buildings with bright primary colors in Tirana, Albania, performing a kind of art therapy on a depressed city. And in Bogotá, Colombia, traffic police were replaced with mimes in the hope of supplanting corruption and violence with playful street theater.
The situation in Long Island City isn’t as dire as in those localities. But that section of Queens has been threatened in recent decades by unchecked development, the loss of affordable housing and the chemical hangover of industrialization. And so the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park asked four artists to take a crack at city planning.
Long Island City has a history of artist involvement. In 1961 Isamu Noguchi, the celebrated Asian-American sculptor, moved there to be near stone suppliers and metal fabricators, into a building that would later became his museum. In the early ’80s Mark di Suvero, whose 11 behemoth sculptures occupied Governors Island this past summer — and who became obliquely affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, since his red steel sculpture looms over Zuccotti Park — turned a landfill across the street from Noguchi’s building into an outdoor studio, which eventually became Socrates Sculpture Park.
when all else fails, the visionary thinking of artists has become public policy. Ten years ago an artist turned mayor painted dilapidated buildings with bright primary colors in Tirana, Albania, performing a kind of art therapy on a depressed city. And in Bogotá, Colombia, traffic police were replaced with mimes in the hope of supplanting corruption and violence with playful street theater.
The future solutions in the exhibition “Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City” at the Noguchi Museum range from site specific to silly.¨


¨If only the city could speak¨ intallation by Mary Miss

“Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City” is on view through April 22 at the Noguchi Museum, 32-37 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens; (718) 204-7088, noguchi.org.

Read Martha Schwendener´s note in full:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Plaga (?) de palomas en Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Plaza de Mayo. Yo también he tenido una foto de niña, junto a las palomas....
Foto de itaka.es

Como ya he contado en este blog, hace más de diez años ya, estuve haciendo peritajes en las escuelas de la capital de Buenos Aires. Y recuerdo un día, entrando a un aula, le pregunté a la maestra, aparte de las patologías constructivas que notaba a simple vista, si había algún problema que quisiera reportar. Y me respondió ¨las palomas, vea, cómo se acercan a la ventana, los chicos se encariñan, pero dejan todo lleno de heces y por supuesto traen psitacosis-¨
Esta cuestión más el hallazgo de dos escorpiones en el aula, fueron además parte de mi reporte sobre los inconvenientes constructivos del edificio. Ahora, luego de tantos años veo que la inquietud de esta maestra era bien fundada, baste mirar las cornisas de los edificios antiguos de Buenos Aires, muchos llenos de alambres para evitar que se posen estos lindos animalitos, de los cuales aún no se declara que sean plaga.
En el Sur de California, el mismo problema podría haberse suscitado con los cuervos, que cada día son más. He leído en Los Angeles Times que la mayor causa es la basura que los alimenta. Sin embargo, los residuos se dejan en contenedores de plástico bien duros, con tapa, que no pueden ser siquiera mordidos por roedores. A diferencia, en Buenos Aires aún se ve la basura dentro de las bolsas de consorcio.
De la nota de Laura Rocha para La Nación:

Palomas en Plaza de Mayo; atrás a la derecha, el Cabildo. Foto de turismoyargentina.com

Las palomas no son una plaga en la ciudad de Buenos Aires. Por lo menos, en los papeles. Y, aunque no son una especie invasora, aún no han sido declaradas oficialmente una amenaza, tal como sucede con las ratas o las cucarachas, especialistas en aves, funcionarios y vecinos se quejan de un aumento en la población de estas aves.
Una de las razones de la proliferación de estas aves es que no tienen un predador, por no ser especie nativa. Otra, también se apunta, es la cantidad de comida disponible que tienen que sólo fomenta su desarrollo.
En la Capital, muchos edificios, sus balcones, los equipos de aire acondicionados, los monumentos, bancos de las plazas, parques y varias iglesias son las más afectadas por las palomas, tanto por sus nidos como por sus heces.
En el parque Rivadavia, por ejemplo, se levanta un monumento al libertador Simón Bolívar, que muestra los vestigios del paso de estas aves. Ese monumento podría demarcar la línea divisoria entre los que piden que se controle su población y entre quienes la alientan. (...) Claudia Nardini, investigadora de la ONG Aves Argentinas, explicó: "En la ciudad de Buenos Aires habitan cinco especies silvestres: torcaza, torcacita , picazuró, ala manchada, yerutí y, por supuesto, la paloma doméstica. Se cree que tanto los gorriones como las palomas llegaron a nuestro país de la mano de los inmigrantes provenientes de Europa y Asia, donde era común que estas especies formaran parte de la dieta. La famosa «polenta con pajaritos» no es un cuento y como no sabían qué irían a encontrar en estas tierras, era lógico traer las provisiones necesarias. Aunque también algunas personas las criaban como palomas mensajeras".
Cabe recordar que la ley nacional 12.913 prohíbe la matanza de las palomas mensajeras. Y, para aplicar políticas de control de población, es necesario atravesar la instancia parlamentaria.
"Hoy en la Capital hay una población en aumento de la paloma doméstica, problema que se repite en muchas ciudades del país y del mundo. Esta paloma que habitaba originalmente en acantilados del Viejo Mundo, encontró en las cornisas de los edificios de las ciudades una suerte de sucedáneo de aquellos lugares de nidificación. Además encontraron alimento y muy pocos predadores, hasta ahora. Desde hace unos años, se observa un número interesante de especies de aves rapaces, como el chimango o el halcón peregrino, que llegan a la ciudad para buscar ese alimento", indicó Nardini. En las grandes ciudades, el problema principal se centraliza en el daño que las heces de estos animales producen en los edificios antiguos. Asimismo, la ornitosis (anteriormente conocida como psitacosis) es una de las enfermedades que pueden transmitir a través de la materia fecal, que resulta riesgosa para la salud.
Según indicaron en el gobierno porteño, las plazas del Congreso y la Plaza de Mayo son dos de las más afectadas por la proliferación de las palomas. Incluso, en esta última, ya son parte de la postal turística.
Pedro Acevedo es barrendero en la zona desde hace seis años. "Se ve que hay más palomas. La gente muchas veces le da de comer al borde de la vereda y los pájaros mueren aplastados por los autos", contó. Acevedo también apuntó que desde hace un tiempo nota la presencia de más aves rapaces: "En Sarmiento y Maipú, se ven dos o tres halcones sobrevolar para buscar su alimento".
Recoleta y Belgrano son otros de los barrios afectados por las palomas. Las paredes del cementerio, las terrazas, los pulmones de manzana y las columnas son el lugar propicio para los nidos. En la parroquia de la Inmaculada Concepción, también conocida como La Redonda, en Juramento y Vuelta de Obligado, por ejemplo, un grupo de cotorras y palomas se disputan los capiteles de las columnas para armar su nido. Las cotorras han logrado quedarse con la columna principal del edificio, mientras que las palomas habitan aquellas que lo rodean.
Eloísa Avellaneda, que vive en Uruguay, entre Juncal y Arenales, está cansada de luchar contra estas aves. "Estamos indefensos, ya no sé qué hacer. Probé todos los métodos y nada funciona. Estoy encerrada en mi propia casa: no puedo abrir las ventanas porque me invaden y entran en mi casa", contó.
Muchos consorcios y vecinos recurren a los exterminadores de plagas, que tienen varias soluciones disponibles. Sin embargo, no las eliminan, sólo las ahuyentan.

Más palomas en Plaza de Mayo. Foto de andryjko. http://www.panoramio.com/photo/23619355

(....) CUÁNDO SE LA PUEDE DECLARAR UNA PLAGA
Para la Organización Mundial de la Salud una especie es una plaga cuando su aparición masiva puede dañar a poblaciones animales, vegetales y humanas. En la ciudad de Buenos Aires la declaración de una plaga es emanada desde el Ministerio de Salud o vía una ley de la Legislatura. En el Congreso Nacional hay un proyecto que declara plaga la superpoblación de palomas, al tiempo que el Ministerio de Agricultura de la Nación estudia un plan de manejo. "Si bien todas las aves transmiten enfermedades, nosotros no hemos tenido aún denuncias sobre las palomas", indicó Oscar Lencinas, director del Instituto Pasteur.

Lea la nota completa:

Friday, December 9, 2011

The sublimity of landscape

J. M. W. Turner. The decline of the Carthaginian empire. 1817. Google images

¨The interest of a landscape consists wholly in its relation either to figures present—or to figures past—or to human powers conceived. The most splendid drawing of the chain of the Alps, irrespective of their relation to humanity, is no more a true landscape than a painting of this bit of stone. For, as natural philosophers, there is no bigness or littleness to you. This stone is just as interesting to you, or ought to be—as if it was a million times as big. There is no more sublimity —per se—in ground sloped at an angle of forty-five, than in ground level; nor in a perpendicular fracture of a rock, than in a horizontal one. The only thing that makes the one more interesting to you in a landscape than the other, is that you could tumble over the perpendicular fracture—and couldn't tumble over the other. A cloud, looked at as a cloud only, is no more a subject for painting than so much feculence in dirty water. It is merely dirty air, or at best a chemical solution ill made. That it is worthy of being painted at all depends upon its being the means of nourishment and chastisement to men, or the dwelling place of imaginary gods. There's a bit of blue sky and cloud by Turner—one of the loveliest ever painted by human hand. But, as a mere pattern of blue and white, he had better have painted a jay's wing: this was only painted by him—and is, in reality, only pleasant to you—because it signifies the coming of a gleam of sweet sunshine in windy weather; and the wind is worth thinking of only because it fills the sails of ships, and the sun because it warms the sailors. (....) Only natural phenomena in their direct relation to humanity—these are to be your subjects in landscape. Rocks and water and air may no more be painted for their own sakes, than the armor carved without the warrior.¨

J.M.W. Turner. Modern Rome. Campo Vaccino. Google images

John Ruskin. Lectures on Landscape.
These Lectures on Landscape were given at Oxford on January 20, February 9, and February 23, 1871

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New bridge design for Los Angeles rail

Image courtesy of  Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension


I'm not sure I like it, because the 3D render is not helping, it looks more like an illustration. But, anyway, I'm anxious to see the development of this original design for a freeway's bridge.
From Greg Aragon's post:
Traditional art and modern-day seismic technology will join in an iconic structure to be built as part of the first phase of the $735-million, 11.5-mile Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension in Los Angeles County. Last month, the Foothill Extension Construction Authority unveiled the winning design for an $18.6-million bridge over the 210 freeway in Arcadia that will also sport "smart column" seismic-assessment wiring.
Dubbed the "Gateway to the San Gabriel Valley," the 584-ft-long bridge is scheduled to be completed next summer. It is the first phase of the overall Gold Line's Pasadena-to-Azusa light-rail extension, which broke ground in August 2010 and is scheduled to finish in 2015.
"We started the design process with an artist's concept paying homage to the region's historic Native American basket-weaving tradition," says Habib F. Balian, CEO of the Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the entity in charge of building the line from downtown Los Angeles to the eastern county line, along the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley.
The unique design was created by award-winning public artist Andrew Leicester, who was selected through an international competition seeking a signature bridge facade that would best embody the San Gabriel Valley. His winning idea features two prominent "basket" columns as well as the superstructure's serpentine-like underbelly.
Leicester says he researched the area and discovered an ancient trade route used by Native Americans that paralleled the 210 Freeway.
"The Tongva [tribe] were the earliest dwellers in this area, and they are famous to this day for their skill in basket making," says Leicester, who was born in England and has created public art projects throughout the U.S., U.K. and Australia. "I thought this was a good opportunity to wrap the columns in an ornamental sheathing and basket textile patterns as an attractive way to disguise the columns."

Image from thesource.metro.net
Rebar for one of the columns rises from the ground. Picture by Walt Mancini. http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_19033343

Keep on reading:

Monday, December 5, 2011

New York. Through Kafka´s imagination

New York City, 1937. From nyc-architecture.com
NYC 1900. From timefreezephotos.com

¨To a certain degree, by creating his own conception of America, Kafka takes the role of master and creator, producing for himself a feeling of power and superiority over the supposed land of freedom. This sense of superiority enables Kafka to criticize the capitalist and industrialized America through his description of the streets of New York. He writes, from morning to evening and far into the dreaming night that street was the channel for a constant stream of traffic which, seen from above, looked like an inextricable confusion, for ever newly improvised, of foreshortened human figures and the roofs of all kinds of vehicles, sending into the upper air another confusion, more riotous and complicated, of 4 noises, dust and smells, all of it enveloped and penetrated by a flood of light which the multitudinous objects in the street scattered, carried off and again busily brought back, with an effect as palpable to the dazzled eye as if a glass roof stretched over the street
were being violently smashed into fragments at every moment (Kafka 39).
The “confusion” that Kafka explicitly mentions is further revealed implicitly through his heavy incorporation of sensual imagery, ranging from the cacophony of human and car noises to the visual scattering of sunlight to the clash of smells, all of which introduce a bustling and industrious atmosphere into Kafka’s world.
The complex syntax of this lengthy sentence, with its prepositional phrases and subordinate clauses, engenders a sense of confusion in the reader’s mind that parallels the confusion that Karl experiences when staring down at the city from his uncle’s house. Austin Warren points out that “Kafka’s imagined America is not a land of broad cornfields shining in the sun but a chiefly metropolitan affair, already stratified, weary, and hopeless ¨a land of hotels and slums” (Warren 123). Any sense of individualism, of the individual achieving the American dream, becomes lost in the midst of this fast-paced America.¨

Excerpt from: Franz Kafka’s Amerika: The Amerikan Dream. Edmond Lau. April 30, 2001

NYC. A structural steel worker in the old times. From solarnavigator.net

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Remembering ¨Into White¨ by Cat Stevens

Barley House. Digital art by Myriam B. Mahiques
Safe Creative #1112010636274



I like Cat Stevens´ old songs, but I´m not crazy about them, except for this one -Into White- that tells us about a mystic house:


I built my house from barley rice
Green pepper walls and water ice
Tables of paper wood, windows of light
And everything emptying into white.

A simple garden, with acres of sky
A Brown-haired dogmouse
If one dropped by
Yellow Delanie would sleep well at night
With everything emptying into white.

A sad Blue eyed drummer rehearses outside
A Black spider dancing on top of his eye
Red legged chicken stands ready to strike
And everything emptying into white.

I built my house from barley rice
Green pepper walls and water ice
And everything emptying into white

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The booming of Hanoi´s ancient quarters

Pattern of Hanoi´s tube houses. Picture from García Lamarca´s post.
Hanoi´s street. Picture from García Lamarca´s post.


I´m sharing an interesting post at Polis by Melissa García Lamarca:
¨Hanoi’s “36 Streets” or Ancient Quarter, an area that has existed since the city was founded in A.D. 1010. Originally the center of supply for Vietnamese rulers in the Imperial City and a residential area for “commoners,” the area emerged as an important trade and craft center in the early 13th century. This was due to its privileged location nestled between the country’s seat of power, the old citadel destroyed by French colonizers, and the Red River, whose flow provided an important connection to nearby regions.
The urban morphology and function of the Ancient Quarter has, remarkably, remained largely intact throughout Vietnam’s more recent history of French colonization and decades of war. Its "spaghetti" street pattern remains from the 15th century, when trade streets emerged that specialized in a particular craft or good, still reflected in street names today. Constant division of properties over the centuries led to the creation of the Quarter’s characteristic "tube" or "tunnel" houses, providing live-work spaces for the residents of the area.(...)
Since the late 1980s, the Ancient Quarter has undergone a massive entrepreneurial boom. A high proportion of the local population has benefited, as they have transformed their "tube" house living quarters into shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. There is a thriving pavement economy, with street hawkers — overwhelmingly women — commuting in daily from the countryside to sell vegetables and other goods. Foreign tourism is also booming.¨

Read the complete post:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An artificial glacier in Mongolia´s capital for air conditioning

Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia. Photograph: Doug Kanter/Getty Images

From Guardian.co.UK:
¨Mongolia is to launch one of the world's biggest ice-making experiments later this month in an attempt to combat the adverse affects of global warming and the urban heat island effect.
The geoengineering trial, that is being funded by the Ulan Bator government, aims to "store" freezing winter temperatures in a giant block of ice that will help to cool and water the city as it slowly melts during the summer.
The scientists behind the 1bn tugrik (£460,000) project hope the process will reduce energy demand from air conditioners and regulate drinking water and irrigation supplies. If successful, the model could be applied to other cities in the far north.
The project aims to artificially create "naleds" - ultra-thick slabs of ice that occur naturally in far northern climes when rivers or springs push through cracks in the surface to seep outwards during the day and then add an extra layer of ice during the night. Unlike regular ice formation on lakes - which only gets to a metre in thickness before it insulates the water below - naleds continue expanding for as long as there is enough water pressure to penetrate the surface. Many are more than seven metres thick, which means they melt much later than regular ice.
A Mongolian engineering firm ECOS & EMI will try to recreate this process by drilling bore holes into the ice that has started to form on the Tuul river. The water will be discharged across the surface, where it will freeze. This process - effectively adding layers of ice rinks - will be repeated at regular intervals throughout the winter.
The qualities of naleds (also known as Aufeis, German for "ice on top") have been known for hundreds of years. The North Korean military used them to build river crossings for tanks during the winter and Russia has used them as drilling platforms. But engineers usually see them in negative terms as a threat to railways and bridges.¨
Keep on reading:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Disertación del arq. Clorindo Testa con complicaciones

Arq. Clorindo Testa en la UNLP. Foto UNLP


No es la primera vez que suceden rencillas serias en el Centro de Estudiantes, del que nunca participé, bajo ningún partido político. Mis soportes a la FADU fueron trabajar como docente gratis (Ad honorem) por un tiempo, hasta ser rentada con un sueldo que no se puede ni mencionar (al que hay que descontar estacionamiento, gastos varios, viáticos, etc) y aún sigo siendo investigadora Ad Honorem, pero lo hago con mucho cariño.
Mi esposo, el arq. Luis Makianich, también dió clases Ad Honorem y cursos de ArchiCad para los alumnos, gratuitos, con las computadoras del Centro de Estudiantes, hasta que ellos mismos, en estas rencillas políticas nos las quitaron, es decir, no se las llevaron, sencillamente no permitieron que los alumnos de nuestra cátedra las usaran, por supuesto todos los profesores teníamos computadoras en casa.
Sigo avergonzándome de su comportamiento, tanto en La Plata como en la UBA, y puedo entender que no son todos culpables, algunos se acercan al Centro con buenas intenciones. Del diario La Nación, transcribo un párrafo sobre el escándalo por la disertación del arquitecto Clorindo Testa, quien no se merece semejante actitud, menos aún considerando su prestigio y edad avanzada.
Dejo el link para que sigan leyendo y saquen sus propias conclusiones:

¨Y finalmente Clorindo Testa, uno de los más prestigiosos arquitectos del país, pudo brindar su conferencia académica en la Facultad de Aquitectura y Urbanismo de la Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), tras la controversia desatada entre las autoridades de esa unidad académica y la municipalidad de La Plata.
Sucedió que la conferencia de Clorindo Testa, con el título de Clorindo x Clorindo, estaba prevista a comienzo de este mes. A último momento, fue suspendida por el decano Gustavo Azpiazu porque en plenas elecciones estudiantiles Franja Morada y una agrupación kirchnerista se disputaban la exclusividad de la charla del arquitecto.
La iniciativa había surgido desde la Municipalidad de La Plata, por medio de la Dirección de Articulación Ciudadana, y fue propuesta a las autoridades de la facultad. Antes de que estallara la disputa estudiantil, la intención de la comuna era reconocer la trayectoria de Testa. Por eso, el intendente Pablo Bruera (FPV) iba a entregarle un diploma como ciudadano ilustre.
Si bien las elecciones estudiantiles pasaron, ayer se percibía un clima tenso en la facultad. La charla había sido anunciada a las 10.30 pero comenzó a las 10. Esto indignó a Bruera, que había ido a la facultad a entregarle el diploma.¨

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A fractal as a concept of an urban intervention




This is a fractal I´ve generated myself and it´s not a real urban intervention. But, while I was making zoom, I´ve seen they show the concept of the influence of an urban intervention.
Let´s suppose it´s an important huge building or a recreation area, shopping mall, whatever. All the blocks around will be directly affected and the influence will spread through the urban tissue.
Depending on the scale, maybe the intervention is smaller, but we shall always see the changes in the city.
Creative Commons License
A fractal as a concept of an urban intervention by Myriam B. Mahiques is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What is GeoDesign?

Image from Redlands.edu. University of Redlands


Shannon McElvaney at ESRI is working on a book on GeoDesign -- a growing movement of academics, community planning and development practitioners, ecosystem managers, and geospatial tool developers interested in the nexus between geography, design, planning, ecosystem management and community decision making. (....)GeoDesign is about decisions connected to place. It’s about context sensitive process, perspective, action, and implementation – nature and nurture integrated. The interplay of the two words offers a framework and paradigm for decision making. Geo can be as simple as 2 coordinates pinpointing location or as complex as the geological, biological, social, economic, and built elements associated with a park, city block, neighborhood, town, region, or watershed. Because the word Geo is often associated with the earth and its natural components – natural systems are given appropriate prominence in GeoDesign decision making. Design adds intention to decisions. It can lead to art, economic strategies, building construction, environmental mediation, or conservation priorities to name a few. It can be a single event but is more often an iterative process of continuous improvement. The GeoDesign movement represents a broad range of professionals interested in making the world a better place with belief that location-based decision making provides a valuable framework tackling a wide range of challenges.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A description of the arabesques in the walls of the Alhambra. By Edmondo de Amicis

Alhambra palace with arabesques in walls. joeherbertinspain.blogspot.com

" We entered the tower called the Tower of Comares, or vulgarly, of the Ambassadors.
The interior of the tower forms two halls; the first is called the Hall of the Boat: some persons say because it is shaped like a boat; others, because it was called by the Arabs Hall of the Baraka, or benediction, a word which the 81 ignorant have corrupted into that of boat (barca). This hall does not seem of human workmanship; it is nothing but a stupendous interlacing of embroideries in the form of garlands, rose-work, branches, and leaves that cover the ceiling, the arches, the walls, on all sides, and in every way, crowded together, twisted, in net-work, one upon another, and combined in such a manner that they are all seen in a single glance and present an astonishing magnificence and an enchanting grace. I went up to one of the walls, I fastened my gaze at the beginning of an arabesque and tried to follow its twistings and windings: impossible ! the eye loses itself, the mind becomes confused, and all the arabesques from the pavement to the ceiling seem to move and commingle to make you lose the thread of their inextricable net-work. You may make an effort not to look around you, concentrate your attention upon one little place of the wall, put your very nose in it, and trace the design with your finger: it is useless; in one minute the patterns become involved, a veil spreads between the wall and yourself, and your arm falls. The wall seems to you to be woven like a textile, crinkled like brocade, of open-work like lace, and veined like a leaf; you cannot look at it closely, you cannot fix the design in your mind, — that would be like counting the ants in an ant-hill." 


Alhambra dome. From musalaha.com

From Romantic Castles and Palaces, As Seen and Described by Famous Writers, edited and translated by Esther Singleton; New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1901; pp. 78-88.

Friday, November 11, 2011

2nd International Congress on Ambiances. CALL FOR PAPERS


The second International Congress on Ambiances will be held under the aegis of the Ambiances International Network. The congress, organized every four years, is one of the network’s main events, an international gathering for researchers, artists and players engaged in analyzing the ambiance-related dimensions of the built environment and in the sensory construction of the contemporary world.
Many approaches are at work in the field of architectural and urban ambiance, and these multiple contributions nurture its rich diversity. The International Congress on Ambiances aims to give voice to this activity, feeding on work exploring new forms of exchange between what is designed and what is experienced, between the measured and the qualified, the projected and the tested, the material and the immaterial.
The Congress will be held for four days at the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA), in Montreal, from 19 to 22 September 2012. It will seek to express advances in learning and new hypotheses proposed by the various disciplines and fields of activity which address the question of ambiances.

Read More:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Comentarios acerca del derrumbe del edificio de la calle Mitre al 1200, Buenos Aires

Edificio colapsado en la calle Mitre al 1200, ciudad de Buenos Aires. Foto de http://www.urgente24.com/noticias/val/16856/
Foto de http://m24digital.com/


Estoy siguiendo consternada las noticias sobre el colapso del edificio de la calle Mitre al 1200 en Buenos Aires, y recuerdo cuando hace varios años cayó un balcón en Capital y fue una gran noticia: los hierros estaban mal ubicados. Pero en estos últimos años, cada vez es peor, aún está presente el caso del gimnasio derrumbado en Urquiza, y hoy leo sobre el juicio a un arquitecto a quien lo acusan de mezclar basura en el hormigón de las columnas.
Me he tentado a comentar en el diario pero, he visto que mucha gente acusa sin conocer cómo son los procesos. Si bien hace varios años ya que no trabajo en mi país, puedo dar fe de los procesos clásicos de supervisión-dirección de obra, en los cuales, no siempre se presenta el inspector de la Municipalidad, por no decir que nunca, a no ser que venga a pedir ¨coimas¨ por alguna razón, las que tengo el orgullo de no haber pagado nunca, ni siquiera para conseguir entradas para recitales.
Una torre así se calcula con ingenieros estructuralistas, y los cálculos deben ser aprobados por el inspector de la Ciudad al que se le haya asignado el proyecto.
Difícilmente se pueda esperar un margen de error cuando los cálculos son hechos con softwares, debiera ser un error mayor, para que cualquiera de los profesionales intervinientes lo note por experiencia, a simple vista.
Que existan vicios de obra (como agregar basura a las bases, cambio de hierros, etc) podría pasar, generalmente por obreros malintencionados o constructores irresponsables, pero siempre debe haber una supervisión de la estructura ANTES del llenado. 
En un edificio en construcción, intervienen los siguientes profesionales: el jefe de obra de la empresa constructora, el arquitecto e ingenieros que firman, el inspector de la Ciudad. El propietario está representado por el arquitecto y lo bueno del sistema es que está confrontado por otros profesionales ajenos al propietario. Cabe aclarar que no siempre el arquitecto que firma el proyecto es el que firma la dirección de obra, que se paga aparte.
Cada día, cada parte, anota en cuadernos por triplicado lo sucedido, los pedidos, sugerencias, conclusiones, reuniones, descargos, etc, es decir, como los diarios de a bordo, los hechos e inspecciones visuales deben quedar registrados por escrito.


Fisura lateral, edificio Mitre al 1200. Foto de http://www.cronica.com.ar/diario/


Realmente me extraña que a todos se les haya pasado un problema que, según la foto de la gran fisura lateral, da la impresión que han cedido las bases.
Uno de los lectores de La Nación, preguntaba, de qué universidad es el arquitecto? A tantas preguntas ridículas, respondo que la justicia, a través de los peritos, determinará las culpabilidades y grados de responsabilidad, mas espero que estos tristes ejemplos ayuden a sanear la corrupción entre los inspectores de la ciudad.


NOTA al 12 de noviembre, 2011: Estas noticias las leo en los diarios argentinos on line. Hoy me entero que el derrumbe podría haber sido ocasionado por la construcción de un edificio lindero. Porque éste ya estaba construído hace años. Entiendo que los periodistas van publicando información sin conocer bien los hechos, induciendo a la gente a opinar en contra de los profesionales y la empresa constructora de este edificio que no debiera haber caído. Sea como fuere, mi intención es explicar procesos de obra relacionados con responsabilidades.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A controversial house design by Zaha Hadid in La Jolla, San Diego



I live close to La Jolla, maybe 2 hrs trip. This is a beautiful coastal city in San Diego, and its architectural style is like any other city in California, Spanish and post modern emulating Spanish. Most valuable for me is the landscape, the architecture is not interesting, from my point of view. With some exceptions, like The Salk Institute by Louis Kahn. So, it´s curious for me that the City Council has approved the request of a house design by Zaha Hadid, an enormous one, and we´ll see what happens next with the neighbors´ opposition. This is true that many decisions from the City Council are based on politics.


Salk Institute by Louis Kahn. La Jolla, California. Wikipedia.org. Picture by Jim Harper


From Archpaper.com:
Despite strident appeals from some neighbors, it looks like Zaha Hadid is coming to San Diego.
The city’s planning commission on October 20 approved a request to have Hadid and San Diego firm Public demolish an existing house on 8490 Whale Watch Way in La Jolla and replace it with a 12,700 square foot residence with four bedrooms, six bathrooms, and an indoor pool.
The project, which has been described by the firm as an “introverted sculptural structure,” displays Hadid’s trademark focus on elegant plasticity. Sitting on a tight half-acre site, its roofline will curve up like the prow of a ship, making it easily identifiable and marking the boundary between inside and outside. Hadid’s office has posted renderings of the project on its web site while London-based Rove Gallery has posted an artwork by Hadid called “La Jolla Residence.” (...)The La Jolla Community Planning Association would not comment on whether it planned another appeal, but if that were to happen the next step for the project would be approval by city council, an environment that Public Brown admits is much more challenging. “There’s nothing about city council with a design attitude,” said Brown. “It’s 100 percent politics.”

Read the full article:
The pictures of Zaha Hadid´s project have been downloaded from the article at Archpaper.com

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