Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A series of architectural videos at

Philip Johnson´s video will be released April 27th. Image from duchessfare.blogspot
Good news from World
You are all invited to devote 20 minutes to architecture each week through our new online video series we will be serving. Owing to the membership profile of WAC we volunteered into the field of architectural education. As a part of our education mission, starting from 6 April 2011 and to be released in a weekly sequence, we will be offering a series of architectural films on our web site. The overarching theme of these films is "Patronage of Architecture". These films have been arranged in 20 minute sections and will have 12 episodes (plus introduction). The series will show the very inspiring examples of contemporary architecture from different countries and they endeavor to convey the various organizational forms of leadership in contemporary architecture.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hotel Lutetia: from the nazis to the jewish

The Hôtel Lutetia’s Art Deco facade. Photo by Olivier Amsellem
¨In occupied Paris, the Lutetia, draped in swastikas, was among the most notorious redoubts for Nazi officers, and last August it was purchased by a group led by the Jewish real estate mogul Alfred Akirov, an Israeli of Iraqi extraction. The $185 million sale was immediately hailed as a way of redeeming the hotel’s Nazi past.
Conceived by the directors of the neighboring Bon Marché department store, the Lutetia opened in 1910 as a rest stop for out-of-town shoppers. Its undulating stone facade was one of the first examples of the lavish eclecticism later known as Art Deco. From its inception, the hotel has been a frumpily elegant repository of Left Bank anecdotes and intrigues, the kinds you could spend a lifetime reading about while swishing espresso soot around the bottom of your cafe cup.
Dining room in Hotel Lutetia. Photo by Olivier Amsellem
Camp victims under the hotel´s chandeliers, 1945. Getty Images
When Oskar Reile, the Prussian spy catcher, first arrived at the hotel, in June of 1940, a German colonel greeted him with a glass of Champagne. (It probably was a mediocre one, since the staff had managed to secret away the best bottles behind a wall in the hotel’s cellar.) Reile was attached to the Abwehr, the German intelligence outfit with a headquarters in the Lutetia, which paid bonuses to informants for every Resistance member whom they betrayed. Interrogations would take place inside the hotel, in a room with a window that looked out onto the notorious Cherche-Midi prison, where torture victims reportedly were placed in tubs of water that were gradually brought to a boil.
Immediately after the war, the Lutetia was transformed into a “welcome center” for returning victims of the concentration camps. It was a horrible nexus of dashed hopes, with bulletin boards filled with faces of the missing and ghostlike camp victims wandering around in striped pajamas. The “Suite Française” author Irène Némirovsky’s two daughters went there in search of their parents. The older girl, Denise, ran desperately after a woman she mistook for her mother. She did not know that Némirovsky had died at Auschwitz three years earlier.
Alfred Akirov knows about all this history, but he does not seem particularly moved by it nor is he proud or boastful that a former Nazi hotel is now under Jewish ownership.¨
excerpts from the article by Stephen Heyman for the New York Times

Monday, March 28, 2011

Call for articles for The International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA)

The International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) publishes bi-annually, peer reviewed articles on the urban design and planning, architecture and landscape architecture of the historic Islamic world, encompassing the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, but also the more recent geographies of Islam in its global dimensions. The main emphasis is on the detailed analysis of the practical, historical and theoretical aspects of architecture, with a focus on both design and its reception. The journal also aims to encourage dialogue and discussion between practitioners and scholars. Articles that bridge the academic-practitioner divide are highly encouraged.
While the main focus is on architecture, papers in other disciplines that explore architecture in the context of art, history, archeology, anthropology, culture, spirituality, religion and economics and so forth are also welcome. The journal is specifically interested in contemporary architecture and urban design in relation to social and cultural history, geography, politics, aesthetics, technology and conservation. Spanning across cultures and disciplines, IJIA seeks to analyze and explain issues related to the built environment throughout
the regions covered. The audience of this journal includes both practitioners and scholars. The journal will be published both online and in print. The first issue will be published January 2012.
IJIA is now soliciting manuscripts in the following categories:

Design in Theory - DiT manuscripts focus on the history, theory and critical analyses of architecture, urban planning and design and landscape architecture. Essays submitted should be a minimum of 5,000 words but not more than 8,000 words. (Notes and bibliography are included in the word count).

Design in Practice - DiP manuscripts focus on the practice of architecture, planning and landscape design. It is preferential that DiP papers focus on contextual and/or conceptual issues, analysis or critique of proposals or built projects. Submissions may also include interviews or practitioner reflections or lessons learned.
Manuscripts should range from 2,000 to 3,000 words.

Book, Media and Exhibition Reviews -For those are interested in writing book/media/exhibition reviews for IJIA , please submit your CV and your areas of expertise and interest and the books/media/exhibition you wish to review to Nancy Um, the Reviews Editor ( for consideration. Unsolicited reviews will not be accepted. The length of the reviews should generally not exceed 1000 words for one book review essay and no more than 1800 words for an essay that reviews multiple books.

Seminar and Conference Reviews -Seminar and conference review papers provide an overview and analysis of seminars and conferences that focus exclusively and partially on architectural and urban development, history and theory; and on the latest research and findings in Islamic art and architecture. Seminar and Conference review manuscripts should not exceed 1000 words.

Email the editors at for any additional questions. For information and guidelines on submission please visit theIJIA website:,id=204/

Sunday, March 27, 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS: Ethics & aesthetics of architecture & the environment

July 11th-13th 2012 – Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
The subject of aesthetics is often taken as dealing with questions of mere beauty, where the word ‘aesthetic’ is colloquially interchangeable with beauty and liking. Someone might, for instance, explain their liking the look of a particular object on the basis of its ‘aesthetics’. Interestingly, even within the specialised architecture discourse, the aesthetic is largely discussed on the basis of an object’s appearance. Yet, the aesthetic is not limited and should not be limited merely to the way things look. Any philosophically informed aesthetician, will contest this limited view, saying something along the lines of ‘the aesthetic is everything’. The aim of this conference is therefore in part to address this discursive limitation in architecture and related subjects by broadening the aesthetic discourse beyond questions relating to purely visual phenomena in order to include those derived from all facets of human experience.
In taking on the aesthetic in manner that pushes its considerations beyond the realm of mere beauty, questions of ethics often arise. Indeed Wittgenstein is quoted as saying, “ethics and aesthetics are one and the same” (1921: §6.421). Questions as to why, for instance a building’s form takes the shape it does, not only raises the more conventional aesthetic questions but also questions about what purpose or meaning the building serves beyond purely visual stimulation. Does the form for instance relate somehow to a social ideal or economic ideal? And if so, is this ideal something that its inhabitants subscribe to or are even aware of? In an effort to draw thinkers’ attention to the ethical role architecture plays as well as the ethical function architects play, the second part of this conference call addresses this often overlooked dimension of architecture.
Calling both philosophers and architects to grapple with questions regarding the ethical and aesthetic qualities of architecture, the hope is to propel the discourse beyond the limitations of a purely visual understanding of the architectural experiences. Such questions might include:

what is/ought to be pleasurable architecture and environmental experience?
how do/ought our experiences impact the aesthetics of architecture and environment?
how do/ought we appreciate architecture and environment?
how does/ought the ethical and aesthetic inform the understanding of architecture and environment?
what is/ought to be a good architect?
what is/ought to be a good architecture?
how does/ought architecture embody societal and cultural ethical codes?
Paper Abstracts should clearly address one of the highlighted themes above and be no more than 500 words.

Additionally please see the conference’s strand pages for more information about the Ethics and Aesthetics of Landscape and the Ethics and Aesthetics of Professional Practice as well as the Posters page for more information regarding poster submissions. Please see each strand’s themes and submission guidelines (same deadlines apply through out).
Wittgenstein, L. (1921 ) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Abdingdon: Routledge.

Abstracts: 28 October 2011
Notification of Acceptance: 06 January 2012
Full Papers: 30 March 2012
Early Registration: 30 April 2012

Organising Committee: Dr. Carolyn Fahey and Kati Blom
Advisory Board: Prof. Andrew Ballantyne, Dr. Ian Thompson, and Dr. Nathaniel Coleman
Administrative Support: Karen Livingston, Kim McCartney and Anne Fry

50th Anniversary of the Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture‏: schedule for meetings

The creation of light. From
The group will celebrate this history with two gatherings, slated for Thursday, May 12, and Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12. Save these dates if you can be in the NYC area.
Thursday, May 12, 7pm A Wine Cellar Conversation: An ARC Tradition
Theopoetics and Poets: Scott Holland and poetry readings
Apt. at 120 E 81st St., NYC.
Friday, November 11, 8pm Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, 54th and Lexington, NYC
Birthplace of ARC in 1961
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Concert--Mark Harvey, Director
Specially Composed Works
Saturday, November 12, 9am-5pm Exhibition, conversations and performances--Saint Peter's
Tobi Kahn, Nessa Rapaport, Ena Heller (MOBIA, NYC), Terry Dempsey (MOCRA, St. Louis), and many others.
6pm Gala Dinner--location tba.
Further details and registration information to be availagle later. Please call or write with any questions or concerns. See also their Facebook

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Delhi's Silent Witness

Illustration by arch. Matteo Pericoli.

What follows next, is a beautiful description of a busy street in Delhi, by Rana Dasgupta. From the New York Times, section ¨Windows of the World¨, published February 5th, 2011:

I have come to realize that I do not love solitude as much as I think. It is always with happy anticipation that I arrive in my study: alone, at last, to write! But once the door is closed I have a paradoxical sense of loss, as if I am cut off from my source. Is this why I spend such an unreasonable amount of time staring out the window?
The rampant energy of Delhi, this city of almost 20 million people, presses in on my leafy street. Most families around here arrived as refugees from the horrors of India’s partition in 1947. To protect themselves from such a thing ever happening again, they built solid rows of houses — which are nonetheless turning to vapor in the white heat of the city’s 21st-century economic boom. One of the houses in this drawing has already disappeared, to be replaced, inevitably, by another block of flats. In the top left you can see the steel zigzags of Nehru Stadium, centerpiece of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, whose preparations involved a stupefying scale of destruction and rebuilding around the city.
The street is always active. A young turbaned Sikh paces unceasingly on the balcony opposite, talking on his mobile phone. Migrant laborers working on the new buildings have built lean-tos around the corner; their wives forage for firewood downstairs while their children play with a ball nearby. Passing vegetable sellers sing their wares. Dogs bicker. An old man sits outside in the sun to get a shave from a barber. Neighbors argue over parking spaces.
The silk cotton tree at the center of my view, however, is mute. It saves its energy for the spring, when its vast, red, syrupy flowers will rain, indecently, over everything.

— Rana Dasgupta
Rana Dasgupta is the author, most recently, of “Solo.” Matteo Pericoli, an artist, is the author of “The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York.” This series inspired students in Boulder, Colo., to write and draw their own views from their windows.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Driving in Delhi: a hazardous experience

Delhi. Picture: Alamy. For The Independent
"Not too fast. Mind the cows," says the instructor, trying to remain calm. "Yes, there are lots of cows in India."
We edge around the half-dozen hump-backed creatures merrily eating the contents of an overflowing rubbish skip. The wheels rattle, the car shakes. We pass a handful of shop-fronts, stray dogs and children before turning into what seems like an impossibly narrow back street. Surely we're not going to drive down there? "It's very narrow, very slowly," the instructor says unnecessarily. "Now go straight."
In India, driving is not for the faint-hearted. The roads are crowded and cluttered and filled with a rare energy. There is noise and dust and heat and honking and pushing. Barely anyone obeys either the traffic rules or else the most basic rules of common sense as they jostle for position. Sometimes it feels like Rollerball, the futuristic, full-contact "sport" that gave its name to the 1975 movie starring James Caan. Frankly, it is terrifying.
Yet it is only going to get worse. In economically buoyant India, a newly prosperous middle-class is taking to the roads like never before. Last year alone India's car fleet increased by at least a million as this new consumer class ditched its motorbikes and bicycles and opted to get behind the wheel of a car.(...)
If India is an awful place for driving, Delhi must surely be among the worst of the worst. The bursting capital of 16 million people has around 5.3 million vehicles. Every day another 600 legally registered vehicles join the throng, plus an untold number of illegal additions. During the evening rush, driving just a few miles can take several hours.
It is dangerous too. Rohit Baluja, president of India's Institute of Road Traffic Education, says each year there are at least 2,000 road traffic deaths in the city. Nationally, with 100,000 fatalities and one million injuries, he believes India has a worse record than any other country. "Such a position is worrisome and much needs to be done to reduce these figures," he says.
And yet at times there are few alternatives to a car. While Delhi's new metro system is efficient and clean, its geographic reach is still limited. And the city's bus services – the usual means of transport for the masses – are hugely inadequate and frequently deadly. There are often no pavements, even though millions of people still walk or cycle. Taxis often have no air-conditioning – a brain-searing setback when the summer mercury soars to 46C – and riding in a rickshaw feels like playing Russian roulette with five bullets in the chamber.

Road hell: mind the cows! The Independent, January 15th 2008

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The geographical and sociological imaginations

Buenos Aires. Digital art, by Myriam B. Mahiques

¨The general pint should be clear: the only adequate conceptual framework for understanding the city is one which encompasses and builds upon both the sociological and the geographical imaginations. We must relate social behavior to the way in which the city assumes a certain geography, a certain spatial form. We must recognize that once a particular spatial form is created it tends to institutionalize and, in some respects, to determine the future development of social process. We need, above all, to formulate concepts which will allow us to harmonize and integrate strategies to deal with the intricacies of social process and the elements of spatial from.¨ (1973:27)
Cited by Edward Soja in his book ¨Postmetropolis¨. Page 107, chapter 4 Metropolis in crisis.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Japan: the psychology of recovery

Japan´s evacuees. NYTimes
A few days ago, my son asked me if it was crazy to go back to the place where one belonged, after a catastrophe. I told him everybody comes back, the feeling for own´s territory is so strong, it´s part of our lives. Without territoriality, we feel like nothing.
I was not mistaken in my answer, let´s read some excerpts from the great article by Benedict Carey:
¨JAPAN is in the middle of a catastrophe that transcends any talk of trauma and resilience, the easy language of armchair psychology. There is no reintegrating with friends and social networks now scattered or lost in the sea; there is no easy rebuilding of communities washed away, swallowed by the earth or bathed in radiation from ruptured nuclear plants.
Few can doubt that the country will eventually repair itself; that’s what people do, none more so than the Japanese. But some scientists say that recovering from this disaster will be even more complicated.
In dozens of studies around the world, researchers have tracked survivors’ behavior after disasters, including oil spills, civil wars, hurricanes and nuclear reactor meltdowns, as well as combined natural-technological crises, like what’s happening in Japan. One clear trend stands out: Mental distress tends to linger longer after man-made disasters, like an oil spill or radiation leak, than after purely natural ones, like a hurricane.(...) many people in Japan have begun to doubt the official version of events. “The mistrust of the government and Tepco was already there before the crisis,” said Susumu Hirakawa, a psychologist at Taisho University in Tokyo, referring to the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns the leaking nuclear plant. “Now people are even angrier because of the inaccurate information they’re getting.” (...)
Japanese psychologists say, is that many of their countrymen will attempt to manage their anger, grief and anxiety alone. In the older generations especially, people tend to be very reluctant to admit to mental and emotional problems, even to friends; they’re far more likely to describe physical symptoms, like headaches or fatigue, that arise from underlying depression or anxiety.
Not that medicine can repair the deepest losses. The quake, tsunami and radiation have destroyed or defiled what may be the islands’ most precious commodity, land, dealing a psychological blow that for many will be existentially disorienting.

Helping each other in Japan. NYTimes
Iwate prefecture. NYTimes
Milk not delivered. NYTimes
Prayers in Japan. NYTimes

“In rural communities especially, there’s a very strong feeling that the land belongs to you and you belong to it,” said Kai Erikson, a sociologist at Yale who studied mining towns of the Buffalo Creek hollow in West Virginia, where more than a dozen towns were destroyed and at least 118 people killed when a dam burst in 1972, unleashing a wall of water as high as 30 feet that swept down the hollow. “And if you lose that, you’re not just dislocated physically, but you start to lose a sense of who you are.”
Rikuzentakata, Japan. NYTimes
A shelter in Japan. NYTimes
Read the full article:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What is ¨ethnoburb¨?

Whoever has lived in California long enough, will associate immediately some cities to ethnic groups, I´m not only talking about population, but food, advertising and so on. Sometimes I feel in Santa Ana like being in Mexico, or Westminster like being in Vietnam.... Here is an excerpt from the article by Timothy Egan, at The New York Times: ¨The rise of ethnoburbs¨:
The new narrative comes from the ethnoburbs, a term coined in a 2009 book by Arizona State University professor Wei Li to describe entire cities dominated by a nonwhite ethnic group. They are suburban in look, but urban in political, culinary and educational values, attracting immigrants with advanced degrees and ready business skills.
Monterey Park, just to the south of here, is considered the first suburban Chinatown. And with 61,571 people, it’s much more than a “town.” Now there are eight Asian-dominated ethnoburbs sprawling through a 25-mile stretch of the San Gabriel Valley. Here, you’ll find one of the largest Buddhist temples in the hemisphere, and a string of Boba drink shops, often called the Starbucks of the valley. (Boba is a drink flavored with small tapioca balls.)
Ethnoburbs are not limited to California. Bellevue, Washington, long dismissed by Seattle residents across the lake as a series of white bread cul-de-sacs and high-end malls, is now Washington State’s most diverse big city, primarily because Asians make up 27 percent of its 122,363 residents. Quincy, Mass., is going through a renaissance, driven in part by the 22 percent who are of Asian descent.
Well to the east of San Gabriel is the urban laboratory of Riverside County, the fastest growing in California, expanding by 41.7 percent in the last decade to 2.2 million people. In Riverside, where Home Depots are seeded throughout the land, whites are now a minority, at 36 percent of the population, and Latinos, with 45.5 percent, are the largest ethnic group.
Riverside County is a Latino version of Li’s smaller Asian ethnoburbs. Forget the stereotypes emanating from small-minded places like the Phoenix statehouse or any right-wing talk-radio station: In Riverside County, more than one in five businesses is Latino-owned, and median family income is well above the national average.
Read the book review:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thoughts on Japan´s nuclear power

Fukushima emergency, 2011. From
Image from Dudley´s article
¨I hadn’t been previously aware of the extent to which Japan had invested in nuclear power: 55 reactors in 17 sites providing about a third of the nation’s electricity. When we think of the Japanese cityscape, throbbing with neon lights in every direction, it is sobering – and now, even sickening – to think of what the cost of such extravagence may turn out to be.
While beautiful, these displays entailed lethal risks that hardly crossed our minds. Yet, had a regime of greater conservation, renewables and efforts to reduce light pollution been a part of that country’s energy policy for decades, would it really have been necessary to to build 55 reactors? Would there even be reactors burning now at Fukushima?
I realize this is being highly speculative. And I certainly don’t mean to single out Japan for being uniquely profligate with its energy consumption. My own Canada clearly stands out shamefully in this regard, with our citizens ranking among the greatest per capita energy users in the world.
But Fukushima -- like the Deepwater Horizon blowout before it -- shows that our energy policy debates need to include the potential for global catastrophe in the balance sheets. Is maintaining our energy consumption as it presently stands really worth running such terrible and terrifying risks? Is all of the future to pay for our ability to run the lights all night long and power our "vampire" appliances?¨
Michael Dudley. From his article Fukushima, Earth Hour and Sacrifice

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Selection of pictures. Diario La Nación

Projections on the Sidney Opera House
Coliseum. Italy´s 150o Anniversary
Washing clothes in Bangladesh
March 19th 2011, the full moon in Madrid

Saturday, March 19, 2011

La gigantesca araña de Bourgeois ya habita en el barrio de La Boca

La obra Maman fue instalada en la explanada de Proa con una grúa.  / Foto Miguel Acevedo Riú
Las buenas noticias, tomadas del artículo de Silvia Premat para La Nación:
A la típica postal de La Boca que incluye puentes, barcos y edificios multicolores, se sumó desde ayer una araña gigante. De bronce, mármol y acero inoxidable, nueve metros de alto y diez de ancho, la obra capital de Louise Bourgeois que se expuso en los museos Guggenheim de Nueva York y de Bilbao y en la Tate Gallery de Londres, llegó a Buenos Aires.
Hasta el 19 de junio, Maman , la araña con la que la artista francesa fallecida el año pasado quiso homenajear a su madre -"ella era una gran tejedora"-, permanecerá en la explanada de la Fundación Proa como prólogo de la primera muestra individual de Bourgeois en América latina. "Louise Bourgeois: el retorno de lo reprimido", se denomina la exhibición de unas 75 obras que muestran la incidencia del psicoanálisis en la vida de la escultora, que se volcó al arte luego de la muerte de su madre y fue marcada a fuego por la infidelidad de su padre.
Continúe leyendo:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview with Jaime Lerner. His bright solutions for Curitiba, Brazil

Favela. From

I´ve selected a couple of questions and answers regarding the environmental clean up work and portable streets, but the full interview is a ¨must read¨:

Jaime Lerner

¨Beginning in 1971, Jaime Lerner was elected Mayor of Curitiba, re-elected two more times, and then served as Governor of Paraná, Brazil. Lerner has won a number of major awards for his transportation, design, and environmental work, including the United Nations Environment Award; the Prince Claus Award, given by the Netherlands; and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, given by the University of Virginia. In 2002, Lerner was elected president of the International Union of Architects.

Fisherman onshore collecting garbage. Image credit: Jaime Lerner Associated Architects
When you were mayor of Curitiba, you devised a number of low-cost solutions that turned your city into a model green community where people also have incomes 60 percent higher than the Brazilian average. What kind of investments did you make in green space? What do you see as the relationship between livability and sustainability?

If you want creativity, cut one zero from your budget. If you want sustainability, cut two zeroes from your budget. And if you want solidarity, assume your identity and respect others’ diversity. There are three main issues that are becoming important, not only for your city, but for the whole of mankind. These relate to three key issues in cities: mobility, sustainability, and tolerance (or social diversity).
On infrastructure, there’s always the assumption that the government has to provide public transport. Every time we try to create a solution, we have to have a good equation of co-responsibility with the public. That means it’s not a question of money and it’s not a question of skill; it’s how do we organize your equation of co-responsibility?
For example, when I was governor we had to work hard to avoid reduce pollution in our bays. Of course, it’s very expensive to do environmental clean-up work and we didn’t have the money. Another region had taken out a huge loan from the World Bank, about $800 million. For us though, the question wasn’t about money; the question was about mentality. We didn’t have that money so we started to clean our bays through an agreement with fishermen. If the fisherman catches a fish, it belongs to him. If he catches garbage, we bought the garbage. If the day was not good for fishing, the fishermen went to fish garbage. The more garbage they catch, the cleaner the bays became. The cleaner the bay is, more fish they would have. It that’s kind of win-win solution we need. We need to work with low-cost solutions. And, of course, in public transport, we also organized a good equation of co-responsibility with the public.

You were also known for innovations in the delivery of city services. One program to clean up dirty, narrow streets that were inaccessible to trash collectors gave residents bags of groceries or transit passes in return for their garbage. You decentralized garbage collection. How well did this program work? Have other cities taken up this approach?

It’s been working for more than 20 years in Curitiba. In many cities, there are places where it’s difficult to provide trucks access to collect garbage. In many cities, if the slums are on the hills or deep in valleys, they’re difficult to access. In these places, people are throwing away their garbage and polluting the streams. Their children are playing in polluted areas. In 1989, we started a program where we said, Okay, we’re going to buy your garbage as long as you put your garbage in a bag, and bring it to the trucks, where it’s more accessible. In two or three months, all these areas were clean, and these very low-income people had an additional source of income.
We also started a public education programs on the separation of garbage because we realized that we could transform one problem if we separated garbage in every household. We started teaching every child in every schools. Children taught their parents. Since then, Curitiba had the highest rate of separation of garbage in the world for more than 20 years. Around 60 or 70 percent of families are separating their garbage at home.

Portable Streets. Image credit: Jaime Lerner Associated Architects
At the street level, you’ve been experimenting with portable streets, which you say can enable vendors to set up easily anywhere, creating informal and spontaneous market street life. Why do we need this infrastructure?

Some places in some cities have become decayed. There’s no life. When that happens, it’s very difficult to bring back life because people don’t want to live in a place like that. However, the moment we bring street life, people will want to live there again. That’s why we designed the portable streets. On a Friday night, we can deliver a portable street and remove it Monday morning. We can put a whole street life in front of a university or any place, bringing street life back.

Read the full interview at The Dirt:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

If We Want To. An exhibition on the role of the forest in a sustainable future. Sweden

Sweden forest. From

Welcome to the VIP-viewing and inauguration of "If We Want To" at 5 pm on Friday, March 18 in the Skellefteå town hall. The travelling exhibition If We Want To is produced by Virserum Art Museum.
As one of the chosen cities of Wooden City 2012, Skellefteå is the obvious choice to host If We Want To. The exhibition will focus on the importance of wood as well as create a dialogue on how climate friendly timber construction can contribute to a sustainable society.
When Virserum Art Museum embarked on their third major exhibition on wood and wood architecture, the issues of sustainability and the climate were impossible to ignore. There was a sense that these issues had lost focus following the COP15 climate change conference in Copenhagen. Which made the issues even more pertinent. The future will look very different. But in what way? The exhibition ”If We Want To” presents the international call for an Architecture of Necessity. The exhibition is accompanied by a rich, hardbound catalogue in both Swedish and English. ”If We Want To” will now go on a tour.
1. We’re screwed. This scene describes climate change and its consequences for humanity through various fluorescent graphs and scatter diagrams.
2. The lure of the city. An installation that depicts a typical slum-dwelling.
3. At night I dream. Climate disaster creates climate refugees.
4. Kisses or growth. This scene deals with the pursuit of happiness
and wealth. The consumer hysteria that leads to a wasteful use of resources.
5. The architect’s room
6. Sustainability
7. The forest will save us
8. Sustainable countryside
9. Wood construction today
10. The world’s premier wood architecture
Henrik Teleman
This touring exhibition will possibly go to Canada this autumn

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS Modern Catholic Space Symposium — London, 9-10/12/2011/

Catholic Church of the Transfiguration. Project for Lagos, Nigeria. Image from
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. From
Symposium dates: 9 and/or 10 December 2011
Venue: Mount Street Jesuit Centre, London
Modern architecture for the Roman Catholic Church in the twentieth century could be experimental, transgressive or progressive, comforting or shocking; sometimes it appeared within a culture of intense theoretical and theological dialogue between architects and clergy, and sometimes it challenged orthodoxy and innovated at the fringes of the Church’s complex structure. At various significant moments, modern architecture was either repressed and quenched, or welcomed and widely adopted. Architects could be concerned with the symbolic potential of modern architecture to evoke newly emphasised ideas in theology. In church architecture throughout the twentieth century, the liturgy was a central focus of development, as space and ritual were intimately connected. Monastic life was subject to modern interpretations of ancient ideals. Mission stations far from Rome might echo modern architecture’s development of a ‘critical regionalism’. Conventionally, the Second Vatican Council has been seen as a pivotal moment in the shift towards a modern form of church space, but increasingly scholarship is revealing the Council to have been only one marker of broader trends. More recently, architects have sought continuity and reattachment to the past instead of innovation.

This symposium seeks to present new research on specific manifestations of these larger historical currents. Paper proposals might address the following themes:

- Church architecture and liturgy, at any point in the twentieth century;
- The effects of patronage on architectural production;
- Catholic theology, soteriology and eschatology and architecture;
- Approaches to the past in twentieth-century Catholic architecture;
- New materials and building techniques and their effects on Catholic space;
- New spatial forms of pilgrimage, monasticism, or popular devotion;
- Symbolism and modern art in Catholic architecture;
- Politics, identity, nationality and ethnicity in Church buildings;
- Architecture and ecumenical engagement.

Keynote speaker: Prof. Richard Keickhefer, Northwestern University (tbc)

Proposals for papers of around 15-20 minutes, should be a maximum of 300 words, accompanied by a one or two page CV (to include full contact details and a list of any relevant publications or projects).

Deadline for receipt of proposals: 21 April 2011
Deadline for decision and advice on proposals: 10 June 2011
Symposium dates: 9 and/or 10 December 2011
Venue: Mount Street Jesuit Centre, London

Please send proposal and CV as a single MS Word or PDF file by email only to :

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Galería Nacional de Groenlandia/National Gallery of Greenland

Danish architects bjarke ingels group has won the invited competition to design greenland's new national gallery of art in the capital city of nuuk. a collaborative effort with TNT nuuk, ramboll nuuk, andarkitekti, the proposal was unanimously selected over six other nordic architects including norwegian snøhetta and finnish heikkinen-komonen.Conceived as a projection of a geometrically perfect circle on the sloped site, the new
3000 m2 museum is a courtyard building that combines a comprehensive layout with a sensitive adaption to the landscape. the resulting form resembles a melted ring that follows the natural topography to imply the metaphor of a glacier or drifting snow.

La oficina de arquitectura danesa bjarke ingels group ha ganado el concurso por invitación para el diseño de la nueva galería nacional de arte en la ciudad capital de Nuuk, Groenlandia. Un esfuerzo de colaboración con TNT nuuk, Nuuk Ramboll, andarkitekti, la propuesta fue seleccionada por unanimidad por otros seis arquitectos nórdicos incluyendo al noruego snøhetta and heikkinen-komonen.
Concebido como una proyección de un círculo geométricamente perfecto en el sitio con pendiente, el nuevo museo de 3000 m2 es un edificio con patio, que combina un diseño integral con una adaptación sensible al paisaje. la forma resultante se asemeja a un anillo fundido que sigue la topografía natural que implica la metáfora de la nieve, los glaciares a la deriva.

Siga leyendo:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tokyo: buildings that didn´t collapse thanks to Building Codes

Noda, Iwate. From
From, an excerpt from the article by Diane Pham:
From seawalls that line stretches of Japan’s coastline, to skyscrapers that sway to absorb earthquakes, to unrelenting building codes, there is no other country better prepared for an earthquake than Japan. Over the years, the country has invested billions of dollars developing new technology to aid in protecting their citizens and infrastructure against earthquakes and tsunamis.
Buildings in the country have been built to be earthquake proof, and construction focuses on deep foundation and massive shock absorbers to dampen seismic energy in the event of an earthquake. Another method that is often employed in construction is to create a base for the building that would allow it to move semi-independently from the total structure, in turn reducing the shaking caused by a quake. As seen in the video taken above by an onlooker in the neighborhood of Shinjuku, while the buildings sway, they do not collapse. In fact, not one building in Tokyo fell despite the record breaking magnitude – a true testament to the level of engineering involved in the construction of their structures.
Keep on reading:
The aftermath of the earthquake in Rikuzentakada
From, excerpts from the article by Alan Greenblatt:
¨Japan could not protect its entire coastline against tsunami with its system of seawalls. And with sizable aftershocks still occurring, the final death toll will not be known for some time. But it will be a fraction of the 230,000 deaths seen in Haiti following last year's earthquake.
That's in spite of the fact that the Port-au-Prince earthquake was far smaller in magnitude than Friday's, which was 8.9 — one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded.
"The biggest difference between a place like Haiti and Japan is that in Japan, they experience earthquakes frequently and they build the habits of a high level of earthquake technology into their engineering," says Miyamoto, who is president of a structural engineering firm based in California.
"They get a magnitude earthquake of 7 or 8 every decade, so naturally they get good at it," he says.
ncome inequality rarely matters so much as it does when it comes to surviving earthquakes. Japan is a wealthy nation that can afford to build structures capable of standing up to sustained shaking. But places like Haiti, which was already one of the world's poorest nations before its devastating earthquake struck, can't.
Japan faces enormous recovery and rebuilding costs, but it can afford to pay them, says Roger Bilham, a University of Colorado geologist. "Basically, when you have an earthquake in developing countries, they die," he says. "In the developed countries, they pay."
In poor countries, Bilham says, badly constructed houses are "an unrecognized weapon of mass destruction."
Corruption And Collapse
The type of brittle, poorly mixed concrete often used in Haiti was a major factor in the enormous death toll there last year, with thousands of buildings damaged. According to Bilham, Haiti's earthquake caused more than twice as many deaths as any previous 7.0 earthquake.
Building failures also accounted for the bulk of the nearly 90,000 deaths caused by an 8.0 earthquake in 2008 in Sichuan, China. That earthquake led to loud complaints about corruption and shoddy materials used in school construction.
Bilham co-authored a study published in Nature in January that found 83 percent of quake deaths from building collapse over the past 30 years happened in countries that were especially corrupt.
Builders sometimes find it cheaper to pay bribes than build according to code.¨
Read the full article:

Do streets in Washington DC have hidden symbols in their pattern?

At sunrise, a jogger reaches the top of the 56 steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Photograph by Dan Westergren. National

I´m reading the novel The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown; not that I want to recommend the book, for me, it´s like a copy of The Da Vinci Code, but it´s fun when you don´t want to think hard on real life work. At least, I´ve learnt some interesting facts about the history of Washington DC and its architecture. Of course, I can´t forget the book is fiction, but it was my first time, for example, to learn about George Washington´s Aphoteosis.

The dome showing George Washington´s Aphoteosis.From
The George Washington´s Masonic Memorial. From

Trying to see what is fact an what is not, I´ve come across with an article by Brian Handwerk for National Geographic. There are a couple of questions, based on the intrigues in the book The Lost Symbol that are answered by two Masons and a historian of the ancient Christian order. Here, the excerpt about the streets:

An old map of Washington DC. Google images
Washington, D.C.'s Streets Form Giant Masonic Symbols
It's long been suggested that powerful Freemasons embedded Masonic symbols in the Washington, D.C., street plan designed mainly by Frenchman Pierre L'Enfant in 1791.
The Lost Symbol is expected to prominently feature "Masonic mapping," detecting pentagrams and other symbols by connecting the dots among landmarks. Pre-release clues released by author Dan Brown, for example, include GPS coordinates for Washington landmarks.
"Individually, Masons had a role in building the White House, in building and designing Washington, D.C.," said Mark Tabbert, director of collections at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. "And [small scale] Masonic symbols can be found throughout the city, as they can in most U.S. cities."
But there's no Masonic message in the city's street plan, Tabbert said. For starters, Pierre L'Enfant wasn't a Mason.
And, Tabbert asked, why would Masons go to the trouble of laying out a street grid to match their symbols?
"There has to be a [reason] for doing such a thing," said Tabbert, himself a Mason. "Dan Brown will find one, because he writes fiction. But there isn't one."
Read the full article:


Related Posts with Thumbnails