Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Monday, January 31, 2011

Call for Papers: Reducing Urban Poverty

Urban poverty. Picture from blog.magnumphotos.com

Building on the success of last year’s paper competition, USAID’s Urban Programs Team, in cooperation with the International Housing Coalition (IHC), The World Bank, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Comparative Urban Studies Project (CUSP), and Cities Alliance, is once again seeking paper submissions for an upcoming policy workshop and paper competition on urban poverty in the developing world. Winning papers will be published and selected authors will present their papers in a policy workshop to be held in Washington, D.C. in October 2011.

Papers should be linked to one of the following topical areas:

Land Markets & Security of Tenure
The absence of efficient land and housing markets and lack of secure tenure for both renters and home
owners are important impediments to urban and economic development in developing countries. Papers
on these topics should explore strategies and approaches that would enable property markets to function
better and would provide increased security of tenure and strengthened real property ownership rights.
Papers might examine such topics as: legal and regulatory policies and frameworks that facilitate the
functioning and efficiency of real estate markets; tenure security for tenants and homeowners; property
ownership in slums and informal settlements; the availability of land to house lower income households;
titling and registration systems; the availability of public information about property values and market
data; gender aspects of tenure security and property rights.

Health
The World Health Organization recognizes the rapid increase of people living in cities as one of the most
important global health issues of the 21st century. This issue is particularly important in Sub-Sahara
African, Asian, and Latin American cities struggling with persistently high disease rates and rapidly
urbanizing populations. Solutions lie in both improving health services and improving the living
environment of poor urban residents, especially their access to safe water and sanitation services. We
welcome papers analyzing approaches to identifying and addressing urban health challenges in
developing countries.

Livelihoods
The urban poor exhibit extraordinary innovation and resiliency in the face of extreme challenges and
marginalization. Papers on this sub-topic should explore the ways that the urban poor work themselves
out of poverty by adapting to the economic, political, social, and various other constraints that they face.
Papers might discuss: informal economy; enabling environment and regulatory policies; access to credit,
microenterprise development, and income generation.

Papers should be policy-based and solutions-oriented and should critically examine existing projects
and/or propose new strategies for tackling issues related to urban poverty. Papers from a variety of
disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary perspectives are appropriate, including (but not limited to) urban
planning, economics, political science, geography, public policy, sociology, public health, and
anthropology. For more information, please contact Nancy Leahy (nleahy@usaid.gov).

For more information on last year’s competition, please visit:

Ayuda para la restauración de la Iglesia redonda de Belgrano

¨La redonda¨ de Belgrano. Foto de Wikipedia

Esta iglesia histórica es un hito en el Barrio de Belgrano; su nombre es Parroquia de la Inmaculada Concepción, pero los vecinos la conocemos como ¨la redonda de Belgrano¨. He vivido a unas dos o tres cuadras de ella, y me resultaba difícil pasar sin entrar. En su recinto, hemos celebrado el bautismo del hijo de una de mis más queridas amigas. Ahora leo que están restaurando y los fondos no alcanzan.
Reproduzco el texto publicado en mibelgrano.com.ar y debajo dejo otro link para que conozcan un poco de su historia:
Esta foto de skycraperscity.com muestra un Belgrano incipiente, y la construcción de la parroquia comenzada en 1876 http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?p=55634345

Ayudemos a la Iglesia
La Iglesia Inmaculada Concepción, "La Redonda", necesita $ 45.000 para realizar los arreglos más urgentes, para que no se derrumbe. Ya cedieron mamposterías y revoques por la humedad. Todo empeoró por la vibración del tránsito y la extensión del subte D.
La falta de mantenimiento está haciendo desprender buena parte de las molduras de su cúpula redonda. La parroquia no tiene plata para las obras, por eso salió a pedirle ayuda a la gente.
El 8 de diciembre la iglesia, que queda en Vuelta de Obligado y Juramento, festejará su cumpleaños número 125. Y los años se hacen sentir. El tiempo resintió su estructura, hecha —como se construía a principios del siglo XIX— de ladrillos de barro. Se levantó cuando Belgrano quedaba en el medio del campo. Ahora la rodean edificios, por la esquina pasan 18 líneas de colectivos y a una cuadra, por avenida Cabildo, el subte.
Hace unos 20 años empezó a tener filtraciones de humedad, pero dicen en la parroquia que todo empeoró con la extensión del subte D, en el 91. "Desviaron todo el tránsito de Cabildo por el frente de la iglesia, y esa vibración sumada a los cimbronazos de las excavaciones produjeron rajaduras en el techo y las paredes", contó el cura párroco, Rafael Morán Díaz.
Por ellas empezó a filtrarse humedad que terminó haciendo ceder mamposterías y revoques. En el verano se cayó una hilera de molduras del exterior de la cúpula, justo en el arenero que está al lado del templo. Hace más de un año tuvieron que techar el interior con una mediasombra negra para que el revoque y el cielorraso no cayeran sobre la gente.
"El peligro es que a la larga pierda estabilidad. Si esto sigue va a empezar a afectar los cimientos", explicó Ricardo Czapla, el arquitecto que está cargo de los trabajos de recuperación de La Redonda, como conocen a la iglesia en el barrio y aún más allá de sus límites.
Para parar la humedad necesitan hacer un tratamiento hidrófugo, es decir sellar todas las filtraciones. "Nos presupuestaron $ 45.000, una cantidad a la que lamentablemente no llegamos. El poco dinero que nos entra por donaciones lo usamos para pagar sueldos y para el trabajo social", se lamentó Morán. La iglesia tiene un merendero, que atiende con comida y ropa a más de 80 familias. Esa cifra, aclaran, es sólo para evitar que la estructura se siga deteriorando. La restauración de los frescos de su cúpula y de las más de cien molduras de su nave se llevará otros $ 600.000.
Echaron mano a los ahorros de la iglesia y lograron juntar $ 1.500. Con esa plata contrataron a tres obreros que están sacando los revoques flojos. Antes un grupo de voluntarios de la parroquia los fotografió para restaurarlos si consiguen el dinero. Hicieron lo mismo con el cielo raso cubierto de guardas. Están pintadas a estilo trompe l'oeil, una técnica que simula profundidad. También descolgaron la araña, agarrada a dos soportes demasiado oxidados para sostenerla.
Nadie sabe qué va a pasar cuando se acabe esa plata. Sólo hay una iglesia que depende del Gobierno porteña, la Santa Felicitas, en Barracas. Y, por ahora el apoyo oficial es sólo técnico. La directora de Patrimonio de la Ciudad, Nany Arias Incolla, lo explica: "Tenemos un equipo de arquitectos que ya asesoró a varias iglesias, pero, lamentablemente, no contamos con presupuesto para este tipo de trabajos". En el Arzobispado la situación no es demasiado distinta. "La gente cree que la Iglesia es una institución llena de dinero, pero la plata que entra siempre es menor que la que sale. Por eso, en estos casos , la única alternativa que tenemos es pedirle ayuda a la gente", explicó su vocero, Guillermo Marcó.
Y ya empezaron: habilitaron una línea telefónica para donaciones y prepararon una carpeta para salir a pedir ayuda a empresas. Además, reparten volantes en misa explicando los problemas a los vecinos. La Inmaculada Concepción no sólo es el símbolo de Belgrano, sino que forma parte del patrimonio histórico de los porteños. "En Buenos Aires sólo hay otras dos iglesias de una sola nave y de cúpula circular —explica Juan Carlos Poli, uno de los arquitectos que restauró la Catedral metropolitana— Fue un alarde constructivo para la época. Es una pena que nadie se dé cuenta de la importancia que eso tiene para la Ciudad".
La Inmaculada Concepción recibe donaciones en Obligado, de martes a viernes de 9 a 12 y de 16 a 19. El teléfono de la secretaría parroquial es 4784-3596. Precisan dinero y materiales.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Environment and feeling

Forest. Image from educacion2.com

¨The problem of how environment and feeling are related comes to a head with the question, can a sense of spaciousness be associated with the forest? From one viewpoint, the forest is a cluttered environment, the antithesis of open space. Distant views are nonexistent. A farmer has to cut down trees to create space for his farmstead and fields. Yet once the farm is established it becomes an ordered world of meaning -a place- and beyond it is the forest and space. The forest, no less than the bare plain, is a trackless region of possibility. Trees that clutter up space from one viewpoint are, from another, the means by stand one behind the other as far as the eyes can see, and they encourage the mind to extrapolate to infinity. The open plain, however large, comes visibly to an end at the horizon. The forest, although it may be small, appears boundless to one lost in its midst.¨
REFERENCE
Space and Place. By Yi-Fu Tuan. Spaciousness and Crowding, p. 56. Minnesota, 2007

Friday, January 28, 2011

El orgullo del arquitecto

Bones´wall. By Myriam B. Mahiques

Nosotras no hemos sido creadas, sino, como todo organismo, gestadas, desde el momento en que los esclavos arrastraron estas enormes piedras. Con ellas convinimos tomar la forma correspondiente a su tectonicidad; a cambio, les permitiríamos moverse libres en nuestro interior, para abrir y cerrar pasadizos a discreción. Con las enredaderas tortuosas acordamos nos escondieran, optando algunas por moldearse al laberinto vegetal, que desbarató su esqueleto pétreo, pero, en esencia, en lo oscuro de sus entrañas, aún permanecen allí.
No imaginó el arquitecto que seríamos muchas más en el mundo, atemporales, hermanadas en nuestros principios, distintas a la vista de quien permitimos nos descubra ocasionalmente; de lo contrario, no tendríamos razón de ser, ni gozaríamos de las opiniones de científicos y charlatanes, quienes nos han tildado de monumentos, observatorios, tumbas, y hasta de creaciones extraterrestres!
El arquitecto, desconocedor de nuestros acuerdos previos, creyó que sus planos eran respetados al detalle. Lo observamos disfrutar de la grandiosidad de ¨su obra¨, y el orgullo lo instó a contemplarnos desde afuera y desde adentro, incauto a nuestra estructura celosa que lo atrapó a él y sus trabajadores sin piedad; nos teñimos de su brillante rojo sanguíneo, devoramos sus huesos y los convertimos en parte de nuestros muros, dejando a los sarcófagos reales como excusa de nuestra existencia.
Safe Creative #1101298366072

Escuche el microrrelato ilustrado con fotos:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Neo-classic use of drapery

The architect´s dream. 1840. Thomas Cole. From google images
Panel 3 of The Course of the Empire. (Consummation). Thomas Cole, 1836. From google images

The phenomenon of life imitating art may be observed in the elaborately developed art of window draping in the early nineteenth century. Neo-classic taste required the use of drapery in clothes and for domestic interiors to carry the look of antiquity even into the usages of everyday life. The spell of Classical drapery, never entirely broken, was asserting itself yet again in cloth-conscious industrial Europe. Ultimately, in the late nineteenth century, it appeared in the draping of absolutely everything from bustles to banisters. (....) But once the High Renaissance convention was inaugurated for using ornamental drapery off the figure, either randomly or formally arranged, without any visible specific function, it became a universally useful element. (..) Reconstructed Classical scenes in the art of both periods, displaying great efforts at accuracy in costume and architecture, might also include a profusion of invented drapery to clothe columns and arches. An exaggerated example from early-nineteenth-century Romantic Classicism is the third panel, Consummation, of the set of five paintings entitled The Course of Empire (1836) by Thomas Cole. This shows an imaginary, more or less Roman triumph taking place in a harbor city glittering with riches celebrations. The procession occurs in the foreground under arches decked in huge, unimaginable and unmanageable lengths of bright-colored draped material. Indulging this grandiose fancy, Cole goes further with such colossal curtains in The Architect´s Dream, in which literally thousands of yards drape the architectural elements in the foreground, dwarfing the tiny figure.
REFERENCE
Seeing through clothes. By Anne Hollander. P. 32-35. USA 1980

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An interview with Fumihiko Maki

Mihara Performing Arts Center. Photo by Toshiharu Kitajima
MIT Media Lab Complex. Photo by Anton Grassl
Annenberg Public Policy Center. Photo by Jeff Totaro

Spiral. Phto by Toshiharu Kitajima
During his many decades practicing architecture, Fumihiko Maki has accrued an impressive collection of awards, including the Pritzker Prize (1993) and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale (1999). Now, the American Institute of Architects has announced that this year’s Gold Medal will honor the esteemed architect, known for such projects as the Sam Fox School of Design and MIT Media Lab.
A graduate of both Tokyo University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Maki was one of the first Japanese architects to study and work in the United States after World War II. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1954, Maki worked and taught in the United States before opening his practice in Tokyo in 1965.
To date, Maki and Associates has completed a range of projects worldwide. The firm currently is working on Tower 4 of the World Trade Center redevelopment, in addition to a host of other buildings overseas.
Architectural Record's Tokyo Correspondent Naomi Pollock recently met with Maki to discuss the architect’s long-standing relationship with the United States.
Read it here:
Introduction from architectural record

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The city and its symbols

Palmanova
Consecration cross, Norfolk, UK.
The city is a place, a center of meaning, par ecellence. It has many highly visible symbols. More important, the city itself is a symbol. The traditional city symbolized , first, trascendental and man-made order as against the chaotic forces of terrestrial and infernal nature. Second, it stood for an ideal human community: ¨What is the Citie, but the People?¨ True, the People are the Citie¨(Shakespeare, Coriolanus, act 3, scene 1). It was as transcendental order that ancient cities acquired their monumental aspect. Massive walls and portals demarcated sacred space. Fortifications defended a people against not only human enemies but also demons and the souls of the dead. In medieval Europe priests consecrated city walls so that they could ward oof the devil, sickness, and death -in other words, the threats of chaos.

Lotus garden, India
Masonic church

REFERENCE:
Space and Place. By Yi-Fu Tuan. P. 173. Visibility and Chaos. University of Minnesota. 2007
Pictures´references:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Taipei 101 Aims To Be World's Tallest Green Building

Taipei 101, Taiwan. Image from google images

TAIPEI, Jan 17 Asia Pulse - The Taipei 101 skyscraper, a landmark in Taiwan's capital, is expected to become the world's tallest green building by the third quarter of this year at the latest, its management said Saturday.
The company that manages Taipei 101, also known as the Taipei Financial Center, has filed an application with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for a platinum-degree certification so it can be recognized as the world's highest green building, Hsu Chao-fa, a manager of the building, said.
The building had been the world's highest building from 2004, when it was officially ranked as such, until the inauguration of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai last year.
Hsu said the building has invested NT$4.83 million (US$166,348) in energy conservation and the move has paid off by enabling the building to save about NT$12.42 million in electricity bills a year.
As early as 2008, the building's management had seriously considered how to make the building more energy efficient and it had taken a series of coordinating measures to achieve energy savings and carbon dioxide emission reductions, Hsu said.
In addition, Hsu said, the building also changed its lighting to energy efficient systems and began using ultra red ray sensor control equipment, which cut energy consumption by 9.6 per cent between 2008 and 2010.
The manager added that the building's management watches closely the temperature each day to adjust air conditioning systems, while adopting time control to manage lighting.
The owner of Taipei 101 is among the business operators in Taiwan to echo the Ministry of Economic Affairs' goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
The ministry successfully convinced the local business sector to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.93 million tons last year, which created about NT$1.8 billion in economic value.

The musk scent of temples

Image from travel.paintedstork.com

It seems that walls in some temples really smelled. The literal architecture of senses:
¨In the ancient world plant perfumes were enjoyed and made use of in religious ceremonies, as a disinfectant in the sickroom and for embalming. Hebrew women wore perfume balls suspended by a chain from the neck or the waist, like the later pomanders. Distilling was unknown, and perfumes were first made by boiling vegetable substances in fat to make a fragrant ointment. It is said that the mortar used in teh building of some ancient temples was partly mixed with musk, and for many years the walls continued to give out a powerful scent.¨
From the book Magic Green. By Lesley Gordon. P.14. London, 1977

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Los vitreaux de la catedral de Chartres

Imagen de ulbs17.antipode.info
Foto de La Nación

¨Las vidrieras de la catedral de Chartres son únicas en muchos aspectos. En ningún otro lugar ha sobrevivido tanto vidrio medieval a las guerras, las tormentas, la intolerancia religiosa y la desidia de siglos. De las 173 ventanas originales, 143 se encuentran en su mayor parte intactas, y hay en total casi 1500 vitrales con escenas y figuras que componen una biblioteca en imágenes prácticamente sin igual sobre la vida y las creencias medievales. Aparte de esto, consideradas en conjunto constituyen un programa artístico de una calidad y ambición rara vez vistas, comparable por su complejidad iconográfica con la Capilla Sixtina, de Miguel Angel, o la capilla de los Scrovegni, de Giotto. La catedral que vemos hoy es en su mayor parte posterior al incendio de 1194, que destruyó todo el antiguo edificio románico, salvo el ala oeste. El clero vio la ocasión de construir una catedral mayor y mejor en el nuevo estilo gótico, y los responsables de la reconstrucción concibieron un programa que integrara vitrales, arquitectura y escultura en una enérgica afirmación de la autoridad y el dogma de la Iglesia. Una de las grandes innovaciones de la arquitectura gótica fue el arbotante, que liberaba los muros de la carga de la bóveda y hacía posible abrir vanos más amplios. El espacio así ganado para los vitrales permitió desarrollar la iconografía y todo un nuevo vocabulario y unos nuevos medios de expresión en vidrio de colores. El resultado fue una explosión de creatividad durante la segunda mitad del siglo XII, que alcanzó su culminación en las catedrales góticas del XIII, en particular las de Bourges, Reims, Amiens, París y, sobre todo, Chartres. La instalación de los vitrales de Chartres se prolongó durante treinta años o más, comenzando hacia 1205.

Foto de La Nación
Imagen de commons.wikimedia.org

 La impresión que recibe quien visita Chartres por primera vez suele ser profunda. A muchos les sorprende la oscuridad del interior incluso en un día soleado. Los intensos colores del vidrio -principalmente rojo, azul, amarillo y verde, y en menor cantidad, morado, marrón y rosa- crean una atmósfera mágica. Se trata de un efecto deliberado, al menos en parte; al fin y al cabo, las catedrales góticas eran, en cierto sentido, una evocación de la Jerusalén celestial descripta en el Apocalipsis de San Juan, y los vitrales eran las joyas de la ciudad celestial. Lo más llamativo son los tres grandes rosetones situados en los puntos cardinales Norte, Sur y Oeste del edificio. Estos maravillosos despliegues de luz, color y geometría celebran la vida de Jesucristo y la Virgen María (incorporando también las armas de soberanos seculares, Blanca de Castilla y un duque de la región) y marcan la pauta para el resto de los vitrales. El alto ventanal oriental en el coro vuelve a subrayar lo importante, con la Virgen sosteniendo al Niño Jesús. La preeminencia concedida a la figura de María en Chartres no sólo se debe a que la catedral le estaba dedicada, sino también al hecho de que la reliquia más valiosa que en ella se guardaba era su túnica -la Sancta Camisa-, que había sobrevivido milagrosamente al incendio de 1194, al igual que el célebre vitral conocido como Notre-Dame de la Belle Verrière («Nuestra Señora del Bello Vitral»). La ventana oriental del deambulatorio, tras el altar mayor, refleja los intereses del capítulo catedralicio. Este importante lugar se reservaba tradicionalmente al árbol de Jesé (con la genealogía de Cristo) o la Pasión, pero en Chartres lo ocupan las vidas de los Apóstoles. Ello revela la importante deriva que se produce en la Iglesia occidental a principios del siglo XIII desde los grandes temas místicos hacia las ilustraciones de la vida cristiana activa. Por la misma razón, casi todas las ventanas que circundan el edificio al nivel del suelo -las más visibles para los fieles laicos- muestran vidas y relatos de santos y parábolas evangélicas.¨


Imagen de fr.academic.ru
Del artículo publicado en La Nación Revista

Hotel rooms as containers


The cabin hotel room (Tree Hotel), Harads – Sweden (2010). Diseño, Mårten Cyrén & Gustav Cyrén. A design for Tree Hotel.
Bayside marina hotel, Yokohama – Japón (2009). Arquitectura, Yasutaka Yoshimura architects.
Pictures from 
http://blog.bellostes.com/?tag=hoteles

Prince Charles to build ¨shanty town¨

Dharavi slum. From mail on line
This is an excerpt from the article by Fay Schlesinger for Mail on line. Before anybody could feel surprised at Prince Charles´ declaration that the slum has order and harmony and it is self organizing, I have to explain that he refers to a non Euclidean order, fractal indeed, under the Chaos theory and Complex systems, that´s the ¨self organizing¨ principle. Those words are probably taken from Dr. Nikos Salingaros, who is an urbanist advisor of Prince Charles.
Prince Charles meets members of the Dharavi slum, 2003. From mail on line
The Prince of Wales is building an eco-friendly ‘utopia’ for 15,000 poor people in India, inspired by the shanty town in Slumdog Millionaire.
The development will include schools, shops and 3,000 homes in a tiny area the size of 14 football pitches, the Daily Mail can reveal.
His multi-million-pound venture plans to turn a 25-acre swathe of Indian wasteland on the outskirts of either Calcutta or Bangalore into a ‘mini oasis in the desert’.
It will be modelled on Poundbury, the Dorset model village that has been Prince Charles’s 30-year pet project.
Building on the Indian scheme – expected to be the first of a series of eco-developments on the subcontinent by his charity, the Prince’s Foundation for the Built ­Environment – is set to begin in the autumn.
The project comes after Charles praised Mumbai’s vast Dharavi slum, later to be featured in Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, despite it housing up to a million people in a place less than half the size of the prince’s Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire.
He wrote: ‘When you enter what looks from the outside like an immense mound of plastic and rubbish, you immediately come upon an intricate network of streets with miniature shops, houses and workshops, each one made out of any material that comes to hand.’
Unlike the ‘fragmented, deconstructed housing estates’ built in the West, the slum has ‘order and harmony’ he claimed, adding: ‘We have a great deal to learn about how complex ­systems can self-organise to ­create a harmonious whole.’
Keep on reading:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

El Coliseo romano será restaurado a fin de este año

El Coliseo Romano. Foto bajada de Google images

El Coliseo de Roma, símbolo de la capital italiana y uno de los monumentos más visitados del mundo, será restaurado a fin de este año, en virtud de un acuerdo entre el Ministerio de Bienes Culturales de Italia y el grupo de calzado italiano Tod's.
La firma de calzado, del empresario italiano Andrea Della Valle, destinará 25 millones de euros (unos 33 millones de dólares) para llevar a cabo los trabajos de restauración, explicó el Ministerio de Bienes Culturales en una nota, después de haberse abierto un concurso público para recibir proyectos de restauración para el Coliseo y de que varias propuestas no se ajustaran a los requisitos.
El subsecretario de Estado de Bienes y Actividades Culturales, Francesco Giro, especificó que los trabajos comenzarán a fin de año y durarán entre 24 y 36 meses, según el diario La Repubblica .
Está prevista la restauración de las fachadas norte y sur del anfiteatro, las galerías y el hipogeo (galerías subterráneas). Además, se mejorará el sistema de iluminación, se revisará la seguridad de las instalaciones, con la sustitución de las cancelas actuales por un nuevo modelo, y se creará un centro de servicios en el exterior del monumento, que albergará boleterías, baños, librería y cafetería.
Durante el desarrollo de las obras de restauración, el Coliseo permanecerá abierto al público.
Con estos trabajos se pretende mejorar las condiciones de conservación de uno de los monumentos históricos más visitados de Italia y del mundo, y evitar derrumbes como los registrados durante el año pasado en lugares emblemáticos del país, entre ellos el propio Coliseo, la Domus Aurea de Roma o en el enclave arqueológico de Pompeya.
FUENTE:
La Nación, sección Cultura

Friday, January 21, 2011

Architectural Humanities Research Association Conference 2011. CALL FOR PAPERS


Submission: 15-Feb-2011
Opening: 27-Oct-2011
Closing: 29-Oct-2011
Queen’s University Belfast
School of Planning, Architecture & Civil Engineering (SPACE)

Peripheries
Peripheries are increasingly considered in contemporary culture, research and practice. This shift in focus challenges the idea that the centre primarily influences the periphery, giving way to an understanding of reciprocal influences. These principles have permeated into a wide range of areas of study and practice, transforming the way we approach research and spatio-temporal relations.
The 2011 AHRA Queen's Belfast Peripheries conference will invite discussion via papers and short films on the multiple aspects periphery represents -- temporal, spatial, intellectual, technological, cultural, pedagogical and political – with, as a foundation for development, the following themes:
Peripheral practices
Practice-based research
Urban peripheries
Non-metropolitan contexts
Peripheral positions
From these themes might arise a series of questions:

* How do notions of periphery and proximity impact on the construction of cultural memory?
* Is globalization facilitating the inclusiveness of peripheries or denying their local value to favour the centre?
* How does architecture respond to the challenges of temporal peripheries in varying historical, spatial and political contexts
* Does being on the edge heighten or transform architectural practice?
* What infrastructure is required for peripheral positions to exist? How are peripheries networked to one another and to centres?
* Can architecture support peripheral populations, and can these voices offer critique of architectural practice?
* How does interdisciplinarity -- the communication between perceived peripheral disciplines -- affect architectural practice?
* What are the shifting boundaries of alternative or peripheral currents of education, research and practice? Do architecture schools recognize the importance of peripheral subjects in their teaching?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Preservation Education & Research. CALL FOR PAPERS

Mayan preservation. Image from miradorbasin.com

The editors of Preservation Research Education invite paper proposals for the fourth (2011) edition of the journal. Papers on all topics related to preservation education, research, and scholarship are considered.
The deadline for submission of papers (4500-6000 words) is FEBRUARY 15, 2011. Papers will be blind reviewed and authors notified of publication status by April 2011.
In addition, the editors introduce a new section entitled PER Forum, where short essays (800-1000 words) written as responses or critiques of reports or articles in the previous edition the journal can continue a constructive and scholarly dialogue. We encourage readers with interest and expertise in the topics covered in the third edition to consider writing a PER Forum essay.
The deadline will be May 1, 2011. These contributions will be reviewed for acceptance and edited by PER editorial staff and, in some case, sent out for peer review.
Complete guidelines for paper and PER Forum essay submissions can be accessed on NCPE website (http://www.ncpe.us) or are available through the co- editors, Anat Geva and Kevin Glowacki, Texas University (PERjournal@gmail.com).

Memories from the Simons Brick Co.

Simons Brick Co. Picture from usgwarchives.net

View of part of the flooded clay pit of the Simons Brick Company in Santa Monica, 1939.
The power conveyor carried raw clay from the pit up to the plant. Courtesy of the
Santa Monica Public Library Image Archives, City Collection. From http://www.calbricks.netfirms.com/brick.simonssm.html

¨The Simons brothers simply began to build barrack-like housing adjacent to the deep pit where workers mined the reddish clay good for molding into bricks. By the late spring of 1907, the newly christened Mexican Village of Simons (...) had become a fully engaged brick-making company town, turning out as many as 160,000 bricks a day.(...) Built of rough-hewn lumber, the houses stood in worked out clay deposits. Houses had no foundations: moisture seeped upwards and invaded in the winter. The houses had no electricity, gas, or plumbing; electricity did not arrive in some until the 1930s. Newspapers covered the interior walls of many (all the houses were single-wall construction) as makeshift wallpaper.¨
From Whitewashed Adobe. By William Deverell. Chapter ¨The color of brickwork is brown¨. California, 2004

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Giant Interactive Group. Offices by Morphosis in Shangai



¨When Mayne and his team first visited the site, they found farms and a flat landscape. Other architects might have seen a featureless setting, but Mayne envisioned the land playing an active role in the project.Since learning about Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, and other “earth artists” in the 1980s, Mayne had designed a number of projects — including the Crawford Residence in Santa Monica (1990) and the Diamond Ranch School in Pomona (1999) — that dug into and engaged their sites. “Giant is the culmination of this train of thought,” states Mayne.(...)Working with the landscape architecture firm SWA, which had master-planned the 44.5-acre site as a parklike setting with a new lake connected to existing canals, Morphosis designed the building as a series of snaking forms burrowing under and through the land. Almost all of the western half of the building (containing shared elements such as an indoor pool, a gymnasium, and a hotel for corporate guests) sits below a 164,000-square-foot green roof, which reads from afar as a faceted hill or folded meadow. The east half of the complex (containing the general offices, executive offices, auditorium, cafe, and library) jumps over a highway bisecting the site and reaches out to the lake. In a dramatic flourish, the east wing cantilevers out 115 feet, hovering above the lake with a glass floor offering views of the rippling water below.(...)While the enormous green roof, the lake, and a series of plazas and courtyards carved into the building offer employees ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, Mayne’s approach to nature is anything but naturalistic. “It’s an augmented landscape,” says the architect.¨



Excerpt from the article by Clifford A. Pearson. For Architectural Record
All pictures downloaded from Architectural Record

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spain's extravagant City of Culture


¨Spain's latest architectural extravagance was finally opened to the public today amid complaints that the massive new City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela is a huge and expensive white elephant.
American architect Peter Eisenman describes his €400m (£332m) hilltop complex overlooking one of Spain's most picturesque and historic cities as something that is meant to appear as though it has "erupted and heaved up" from the ground.
But others see the complex of six buildings in Galicia as a monument to the vanity of the region's former rightwing premier, Manuel Fraga, and an anachronism at a time of austerity. The project, still only half-built, has already cost four times more than originally planned.(...)
City of Culture. A design by Peter Eisenman´s studio. Photo by Inigo Bujedo
A 3D massive model of the City of Culture. Image from pinklenses.com
Aerial view of City of Culture. From archinect.com
Eisenman said the project could only be compared in scale to the Getty Centre in Los Angeles. "And that took 15 years to complete," he told the Faro de Vigo newspaper. "The size of the project has been increased several times over the past 10 years, so it is not surprising that the costs have increased.(...)Critics complain that the whole project reflects a state of mind that saw signature cultural buildings such as Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum rise in cities across the country during an economic bonanza. Such buildings, they say, are now inappropriate in a country with 20% unemployment and a 9% budget deficit.¨
Excerpts from Spain's extravagant City of Culture opens amid criticism- Article by Giles Tremlett
Read more about this project

The Japan Series. Poles pictures by Andreas Gefeller


So many times we talk about visual contamination in the cities, and we specifically refer to advertisement on walls. But, if we look higher, there´s more to see. Here is an artistic example, by Andreas Gefeller.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Haiti damaged concrete could be recycled

Earthquake in Haiti. Image from blogwatch.missionary-blogs.com
Haiti could safely and economically recycle damaged concrete and rubble from the 2010 earthquake into strong new construction material, U.S. researchers say.
Researchers at Georgia Tech say new concrete can be made from recycled rubble and other indigenous raw materials that meets or exceeds minimum strength standard used in the United States, an article in the Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society reported.
With most of the damaged areas of Haiti still in ruins a year after the 7.0 temblor, researchers say the method could provide a successful and sustainable strategy for managing an unprecedented amount of waste, estimated to be 20 million cubic yards.
"The commodious piles of concrete rubble and construction debris form huge impediments to reconstruction and are often contaminated," Reginald DesRoches, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech says. "There are political and economic dilemmas as well, but we have found we can turn one of the dilemmas -- the rubble -- into a solution via some fairly simple methods of recycling the rubble and debris into new concrete."
Excerpt from Engineering News Record.com

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Las grandes ciudades alteran la salud mental de sus habitantes

Stress urbano. Foto archivo La Nación
Vivir con la irrupción de ruidos, las aglomeraciones, la invasión del espacio personal, las dificultades para circular, los apuros, el aislamiento emocional en medio de multitudes y la falta de ámbitos naturales relajantes es un pésimo factor de riesgo para todo el abecedario psicopatológico. Desde la depresión hasta las múltiples variantes de los trastornos de ansiedad se multiplican en las ciudades, en proporción directa con el nivel de urbanización.
Distintos estudios científicos confirman esa afirmación. El más reciente es un estudio que engloba los resultados de estudios precedentes y sus cuyas conclusiones son terminantes: la urbanización está asociada con la salud mental. "La prevalencia de trastornos psiquiátricos fue significativamente más alta en áreas urbanas que en zonas rurales", concluyó el equipo del Departamento de Psicología Clínica de la Universidad VU de Amsterdam y del Instituto de Salud Mental y Adicciones de Utrecht. Las poblaciones estudiadas provenían de España, Italia, Alemania, Gran Bretaña, Países Bajos, Bélgica, Irlanda, Noruega, Finlandia, Canadá y Estados Unidos.
Una de las investigaciones anteriores más originales para desnudar el costado psicopatológico de la vida urbana dividió los lugares de residencia en cinco categorías según su densidad demográfica. Esta estratificación permitió escalonar los hallazgos: a mayor densidad de población, mayores fueron los índices de enfermedades mentales, con tendencia, además, a ser más complicados, pues se combinan diferentes patologías.(...)
Los nuevos analistas del fenómeno ambiental en su vertiente psicológica son ecopsicólogos, que estudian cómo la arquitectura condiciona las conductas. Uno de los postulados inaugurales de esta nueva disciplina o especialidad es, justamente, la recuperación del medio natural como factor de salud. Distintos trabajos han analizado los beneficios de estar en contacto con la naturaleza, aunque más no sea el efecto oasis que ofrece una plaza en medio del cemento.
REFERENCIA
Párrafos del artículo de Tesy de Biase para La Nación, sección Ciencia y Salud.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Design by analysis of self-organizing crowds

Multitudes coming forth. By Mohamad Bazzi  http://mohamadbazzi.com/visual_Art/paintings.htm


Push, shout, or politely excuse yourself all you want, but those slowpokes in your way just won't budge. A new study shows a long-neglected reason why: Up to 70% of people in crowds socially glue themselves into groups of two or more, slowing down traffic. What's worse, as crowds gets denser, groups bend into anti-aerodynamic shapes that exacerbate the problem. The study may be a boon to urban planners.
Crowd physicists already understand the effects of bottlenecked entrances, dueling streams of pedestrian traffic, and even "turbulence" in shoulder-to-shoulder mobs. In the past 15 years, this work has led to decent mathematical models that architects, city planners, and pretty much anyone dealing with crowds can use to make their spaces safer and more flock-friendly.
Trouble is, the simulations treat people as independent particles—ignoring our love of sticking in groups and blabbing with friends. Small groups of pedestrians change everything, says Mehdi Moussaid, the study's leader and a behavioral scientist at the University of Toulouse in France. "We have to rebuild our knowledge about crowds."(...)
The researchers found that socializing groups slowed crowd traffic down by about 17%, compared with models in which pedestrian groups didn't interact. They also reveal today in PLoS ONE, that groups of three or more flex into V and U shapes as crowds get denser, with central group members falling back relative to flanking members. This adds insult to injury for pedestrian traffic that is already gummed up, Moussaid says, but it allows the chitchat to continue. "We're not so different from sheep when it comes to crowding. What sets us apart is social interaction," he says. "Walking backwards is not exactly practical, so we form V and U shapes at the cost of speed."
"I'm in discussion with planners from all over the world, ... and the realistic simulation of [group] effects is one of the hottest topics for application," says Tobias Kretz, a software engineer at PTV AG, a company in Karlsruhe, Germany, that consults planners on traffic mobility logistics. Kretz uses a program called VISSIM to model crowd traffic for his clients, and he says Moussaid's work is precisely what he's been waiting for. "We are definitely planning to include the model in ... VISSIM's simulation of pedestrians and make it globally available for traffic-planning projects."
Applications for improving pedestrian traffic on sidewalks, train platforms, malls, and other public spaces aside, Moussaid says he noticed something else during the work: Renegades who rush around lollygagging pedestrians only make things worse. "You're contributing to chaos," he says. "Crowds are self-organized systems, so when you don't cooperate, the system breaks and you slow everyone down."
From the article by Dave Mosheron for Science Magazine. 
Secret of Annoying Crowds Revealed

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Historical demolitions in Saigon

Saigon. Eden Centre demolition. From flickr.com, picture posted by rustyproof

Demolition on Hai Bà Trưng st. Image from http://saigon-today.blogspot.com/. By Simon Kutcher

¨From his motorbike taxi stand outside the city's opera house Nguyen Van Dung gazes at the empty building site surrounded by a high security fence. For decades the corner was occupied by the historic Eden building but now it has been pulled down in the name of progress.(...)
In its last days the Eden was no beauty. It was greying, mouldy and long past its prime. But history was embedded in every one its blue-green shutters, and some fought to preserve the building that housed the Givral Café, famous as a hangout for spies during the Vietnam War.
Amid protests over what residents claimed was inadequate compensation, the building situated opposite the equally historic Continental Hotel – where Graham Greene once drank and wrote – was finally torn down last month. The 1930s French-built block, located on one of the city's prime streets, became the latest in a series of historic buildings to be demolished and replaced by the shiny new constructions preferred by the Vietnamese authorities. A shopping centre, hotel and office complex built by property developer Vincom will now occupy the space where the Eden once stood.(...)The Eden, whose residents watched as scenes from the 2002 film of Greene's novel, The Quiet American, were filmed in the square below, is just the latest victim of the fast-paced development that has taken place during the city's past 10 years of rapid growth. Vietnam's tallest tower, the 68-storey Bitextco, was completed recently but some believe it will never be viable. Dust emanating from building sites is one of the biggest air pollutants in many cities.
Many of the city's now lost old buildings housed restaurants and bars that catered to the city's growing middle class and expatriate population. The top class French restaurant Camargue and Vasco's, a popular bar, opened in a large building with a courtyard about 10 years ago. But both had to move as the seemingly inevitable wrecking ball arrived three years ago. Vasco's relocated to another old building that was used as an opium refinery during French rule.
District 5's Chinatown has lost many of its old shop premises in recent years and only one block is now regarded as an "old quarter". Many of the other properties built by Chinese merchants have gone the way of the colonial buildings.(...)Le Thi My Uyen, 22, whom I interviewed on Nguyen Hue street close to the Eden building said: "We cannot live without history." But she admitted her favourite destination was a new shopping centre built by Vincom that replaced another colonial block: "I like to go window shopping in big department stores with friends. I can hang out there and have coffee or go bowling too."

Tết on Lê Lợi St. Picture from http://saigon-today.blogspot.com/. By Simon Kutcher

From The fall of Saigon – by demolition. Article by Helen Clark, for independent.co.uk

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