Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Creative street art has posted 70 amazing examples of street art, I´m showing a couple of them and leave the link for you to enjoy:

Monday, May 28, 2012

The bus stop of the future in Paris

Paris´ bus stops of the future. Designer Marc Aurel

This experimental station at boulevard Diderot is not just a place to wait for a bus. Covering an area of ​​80 m2, it was designed as a multi-purpose public space ... . Here you can buy a bus ticket, get information about the neighborhood, have a coffee, borrow a book, play music, recharge a phone, buy a meal to take away, rent an electric bike, stay warm while eating a sandwich, or set up a bag on a shelf to do your makeup. Variable light adjusts for day and night conditions. This project will also be the first urban test of materials and technological innovations ... such as ceramic furniture invented by Marc Aurel, and a sound design integrated into the fabric of furniture ...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

About the term ¨grandfathering¨ in architecture and urbanism

Freedmen voting. South Carolina (1868) Google images

In the USA the term ¨grandfathering¨ is very important for those who want to build or remodel in old properties (lots, houses, commercial, residential) and are affected by the new Codes.
I know about a very difficult case. A woman that bought a commercial retail and its license was expired. After 6 months of the expiration, and without any new business replacing the previous one, the property was under R1 Residential. And the lot was so small that it was impossible to comply with the parking requirements to build a house. In consequence, unless the owner bought an adjacent lot the property would be absolutely empty, worst of all, the City didn´t want to expropriate.
I´ve found a very interesting and clear explanation about the term ¨grandfathering¨, written by attorney Edward J. Ledogar. Here, some paragraphs and the link below to read it in full.

 “Grandfathering/Single and Separate Ownership.” I came here to talk about grandfathering rights of single and separate ownership, but there is 3 distinction to be made between the two. First, let me make excuses for the sexist term, “grandfathering.” It’s just that “grandmothering” doesn’t just ~sound right, it sounds like the right to wear a shawl. The term is grandfathering. Black’s law dictionary defines the term “grandfather clause” as “an exception to a restriction that allows all those already doing something to continue doing it even if they would be stopped by the new regulation.” The term grandfather or grandfathering also has a  derogatory connotation. Unfortunately, it was a term used by white supremacists in the South in the early days of  reconstruction. They would claim to have  held on to their rights of voting as opposed to others who came along later trying to exercise those rights; so that’s thrown back at us sometimes when we talk about grandfathered rights. The first thing to remember about grandfathering, is that grandfathered rights don’t give you the right to do anything you couldn’t have done legally when it was legal. That’s the problem, of course, with those people down south. They were trying to get away with something they didn’t really have the right to do. Do you realize that a young, pretty, eighteen-year- old girl can be a grandfather? It’s true. Grandfathering simply means that you had a property right that preceded a new law or rule or regulation. Let’s take this lovely, eighteen-year-old girl. Her aunt died a few  years ago, leaving her a nice half-acre parcel of land just out- side of town in d brand new subdivision, or newer subdivision. Let’s say her aunt bought it some twenty, twenty- five years ago hoping someday to build a house, but unfortunately she died a spinster. The trouble is the area has more recently been zoned to one acre lots. The local building inspector is telling our lovely eighteen-year-old girl and her boyfriend, who hope to be married soon, that  they can’t build a house on this property. that they have to buy an adjoining half-acre lot. True or false? Well, it’s false. The reason is this eighteen-year-old girl is grandfathered. She has the same rights that her aunt  had to build on that half-acre parcel. The fact that they upzoned the area to one acre is like an ex post facto law. An ex post facto  law is a criminal term. It’s a law passed after the fact. They can’t get you for spitting in the sub- way when you did it at a time when it was legal. If they change the law, they can’t say, well, you’ve been spitting in the subway for twenty years, we’re going to put you in jail. Aha! I haven’t done it since it became illegal. I haven’t done it after the fact. Well, when aunt  Bertha bought this property, twenty, twenty-five  years ago it was perfectly legal to build on this half-acre lot. So she and her heirs are grandfathered with regards to that lot. Now, let’s suppose that Aunt Bertha had bought two adjoining half-acre lots. She left one to her niece and one to her nephew.  Are they both grandfathered? The answer, unfortunately, is probably no, unless the aunt died before the zoning-to one acre took affect. Because we have in our zoning laws  a merger situation. If you have an acre divided into two half-acre lots, it now becomes merged into one acre and you have to conform to the one-acre laws. There may be some exceptions to that. The nephew and niece may be able to use the half-acre parcels under the vested rights theory. Vested rights expire if they’re not used promptly. Single and separate ownership rights or grandfathered rights, however, are rights at law, because they come under the United States Constitution, which says that we can not be deprived of private  property without due process of law.

Keep on reading

Friday, May 25, 2012

Seleccion of architectural pictures from National Geographic

Photograph of the holy Quran taken at dusk inside the Nakhoda Masjid, Calcutta. (Photo Courtesy Indrajit Bhattacharya/National Geographic Your Shot)

Before sunrise this woman from the Mising Tribe on Majuli Island draws water from the communal well. In the dry season this area is hot and dusty; during monsoon the place is transformed and these people, who live in stilted houses, can only get around by boat. (Photo Courtesy Jamie Furlong/National Geographic Your Shot)

This picture   of a great horned owl in an old house that has been in the wind for a lot of years has been  taken in  in Southern Alberta.

(Photo Courtesy Emily Bruce/National Geographic Your Shot) 

Visiting the 14th-century Alcazar Palace in Seville I was struck by the amazing colors of the hammam and the light playing on the arches with their reflection in the water. Photo and caption by James Birch

Fallen Roof Ruin in Road Canyon, Cedar Mesa, Utah. Photo and caption by Sarah Chah

House in the middle of the Drina River near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia. Photo and caption by Irene Becker

Enjoy much more:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The first archaeological evidence of the city of Bethlehem

(Reuters) - Israeli archaeologists said on Wednesday they had discovered the first physical evidence supporting Old Testament accounts of Bethlehem's existence centuries before the town became revered as the birthplace of Jesus.
 The proof came, they said, in a clay seal unearthed near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem and imprinted with three lines of ancient Hebrew script that include the word "Bethlehem".
 Eli Shukron, who directed the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said the seal apparently had been placed on a tax shipment of silver or agricultural produce sent from Bethlehem to the King of Judah in nearby Jerusalem in the 8th or 7th century BC. 
"This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible in an inscription from the First Temple period," Shukron said in a statement, referring to the years 1006 BC to 586 BC. The coin-sized remnant of the seal proves that Bethlehem - first mentioned in the Book of Genesis - "was indeed a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly also in earlier periods", he said. Bethlehem is located on the West Bank, just south of Jerusalem. 
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Pravin Char)

The clay seal

REFERENCE: text and pictures from

Léalo en español:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

72 Hour Urban Action. Stuttgart 2012

72 Hour Urban Action is the world's first real-time architecture competition, where 10 international teams have 3 days and 3 nights to design and build projects in public space in response to local needs. 72 Hour Urban Action is working together with local partner, Kunstverein Wagenhallen after a major public protest around the development and re-purposing of the Stuttgart 21 area. The Post 21 program suggests a series of events in response to the local planning crisis and the ongoing public outcry that were the result of the Stuttgart 21 plan. Through it we seek alternative approaches to city planning and different tactics for engaging residents in place-making.
Read more

Monday, May 21, 2012

OPEN CALL – Projects for Zaragoza City

 Call closes: June 15th, 2012
Prize Money: Three projects will be selected (the People’s Choice Award and the two Jury Awards). Each awarded work will receive EUR 2000 €, and a wide diffusion and visibility. Subsequently, one of the awarded projects will be chosen to be produced between 2012 and 2013 as one of the first works shown at the Etopia_Center of Art and Technology in Zaragoza (opening scheduled for beginning of 2013). Background information:
 Zaragoza City of Knowledge (Zaragoza ciudad del conocimiento) has got assistance from Ars Electronica EXPORT in Zaragoza March 2012 as the Spanish foundation launches its PASEO PROJECT, an effort to jointly seek creative new ideas for communication in and with a city. At a symposium that presented Ars Electronica and its impact on Linz as a best-practice example, participants had the opportunity to consider other interesting models developed by artists and creative engineers as interventions in a real or virtual cityscape. The event also served as the setting for the debut of an idea platform designed to collect new creative models of city representation. Artists and creative technologists are now invited to submit existing projects as well as new project ideas, that are dealing with the topic “NEW CREATIVE MODELS TO EXPERIENCE THE CITY“. Having the city of Zaragoza as a place of intervention will be a plus. 
Further information:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Top ten buildings in North America

Trinity Church / H.H. Richardson (1877) Boston, Massachusetts is sharing the Top Ten buildings that changed America. I´m showing my favorite one, click on the link and see the rest of them:

¨PBS has released their selections of the top ten buildings that have changed the way Americans live, work and play. From Thomas Jefferson’s 224-year-0ld Virginia State Capitol to Robert Ventui’s postmodern masterpiece the Vanna Venturi House, each building on the list will be featured in a new TV and web production coming to PBS in 2013.¨

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Architectural Reality. In the words of Rumiko Handa

Bernardo Bellotto´s Cappriccio with the Colosseum. From

The notion that architecture is complete when the construction is finished is problematic because, first of all, it does not reflect the reality. In fact the “afterlife” is the very “life” of the building. Take, for example, the Colosseum in Rome, one of the most celebrated pieces of architecture from antiquity and whose meaning changed from a place for spectacles to a temple of the sun god, a Christian site of martyrdom, and a place of romantic rumination, till it became a site of archaeology, tourism, and entertainment. Its physical properties served as a source of building materials, a backbone for squatter houses and fortresses, a specimen of classical architecture, a medium of growing flora, and a stage for Fascist propaganda. The building changed physically and metaphysically as it took part in politics, economics, and religion through the course of time.

From Learning from the Ruins: Theorizing the Performance of the Incomplete, Imperfect, and Impermanent. By Rumiko Handa

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Orange County: private landscape on the public beach

This is really interesting for me, leaving so close to the seaside of Sunset Beach. I promise to take pictures and complete the post, Sunset Beach seemed to be land of nowhere, between Los Angeles and Orange County, until the annexation to Huntington Beach. Being not so fancy as Newport Beach, the homeowners at the seaside front show respect for the public beach, usually there´s a low tree trunks fence at the property line, and though irregular, one can understand they are not invading the public sands.
Today I´m reading the news at LA Times about Coastal Commission sending letters to homeowners in Newport Beach, and, believe me, a letter from them is scary: 

On the tip of Balboa Peninsula, where multimillion-dollar homes sit snug against the sand and the legendary waves draw crowds of bodysurfers, an unlikely battle is taking shape. At the center are the lawns, lounge chairs, hedges and playground equipment — even a rusty metal shark sculpture — that for years have sprawled out from oceanfront homes onto the public sand. It's all illegal, says the state of California, which has ordered homeowners along some of Orange County's most coveted coastline to rip out the landscaping, sprinklers and all the other upgrades that have crept steadily seaward. The order from the state Coastal Commission reignites the perennial clash between the government and homeowners up and down the coast who have sought to claim the sand next to their homes and, in so doing, given visitors the impression that the public beach is their private backyard. Some of the incursions are extensive. There are full lawns, stone walkways, flower beds, fire pits, birdbaths and colorful displays of cactuses and succulents extending far beyond the public property line. Fences and irrigation systems have been installed, landscapers brought in, gardeners hired. At night, some yards are illuminated with outdoor lights. 
 When Newport Beach put up "public welcome" signs several years ago to remind people whom the beach really belonged to, most disappeared in the middle of the night. "I insisted on those signs being up because I think it's intimidating to the public to see a lawn and a lawn chair and not realize that that's still the public's land," City Manager Dave Kiff said. "And the public has a right to throw a picnic blanket on it and have a picnic." 
 Some neighbors said they are mobilizing as a community and hiring a lawyer to fight the crackdown. One woman, a longtime resident who — like others here — declined to give her name for fear of retribution from the Coastal Commission, said the plot of grass she maintains on the public beach protects her home from blowing sand and shields her from beachgoers. "We know it's not our property, but there's really no reason whatsoever to make us take the grass away. It's nothing," she said. "There's so much beach already that anyone can walk on."

Read the full story:

Monday, May 7, 2012

A book on Frank Lloyd Wright´s graphic designs

I´m sharing an excerpt of the review by Maria Popova on the book Frank Lloyd Wright. Graphic Artist.
I´d love to have this book, I have two already with the works of the great architect, but didn´t know too much about his work on graphic design.

¨Frank Lloyd Wright is considered by many the most influential architect in modern history, but despite his enormous cultural recognition, the full extent of his contribution to design — posters, brochures, typography, murals, book and magazine covers — remains relatively obscure. In Frank Lloyd Wright: Graphic Artist (public library), Penny Fowler examines Wright’s ingenious and bold graphic work — his covers for Liberty (some of which were so radical the magazine rejected them), his mural designs for Midway Gardens, his photographic experiments, his hand-drawn typographical studies, the jacket designs for his own publications, including The House Beautiful and An Autobiography, and a wealth more.¨

Read the article in full and enjoy more pictures:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A conference on sustainability. Hiroshima, Japan. Call for Papers

The International Advisory Board is pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the Ninth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability and the call for submissions to the peer-reviewed International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. 
 The International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability will be held 23 - 25 January 2013 at the International Conference Center Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan. This interdisciplinary conference is for scholars, teachers, and practitioners from any professional discipline who share an interest in and concern for sustainability in an holistic perspective, where environmental, cultural, economic and social concerns intersect. 
Proposals are invited that address issues of sustainability through one of the following categories: 
 a) Environmental Sustainability: What have been the forms and effects of human interventions on nature? How can we create a viable home for ourselves and the other lifeforms of the planet? 
 b) Cultural Sustainability: How does culture forge a productive diversity for the human species as well as nurture the sources of cohesion in ways of seeing, ways of thinking, ways of meaning, ways of relating to each other, ways of connecting with nature? 
 c) Economic Sustainability: How can we create economic systems which are environmentally, culturally, and socially viable? 
 d) Social Sustainability: What allows for all our participation as autonomous yet social beings? How do we promote good citizenship and ensure justice? How do we integrate the four fundamentals of environment, culture, economy and society so we can address our human futures and live to the full our human potentials? Proposals for paper presentations, workshops, posters/exhibits, or colloquia are invited. 
 The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 24 May 2012. Future deadlines will be announced on the conference website after this date. Full details of the conference, including an online proposal submission form, may be found at the conference website - 

 Presenters may also choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International reviewed International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for refereeing and possible publication, as well as access to the journal. We look forward to receiving your proposal and hope you will be able to join us in Hiroshima in January 2013.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A design competition on “Spiritual Space in a Contemporary World”

This new annual competition from anonymous.d wishes to challenge creative individuals and teams from around the world to re-imagine the design of a spiritual space in the 21st century. The design of a religious/spiritual building is a highly complex task. Different eras symbolize different architectural manifestations based on their spiritual affiliation. A Japanese temple and a Gothic Cathedral are both structures designed and built for man in service to his spiritual philosophy. But one is humanly scaled and harmoniously integrated in oceans of nature; the other is richly ornamented and heroically scaled structure showcasing power and technical genius. Along history, religious spaces were always a place for architectural and structural investigations. A place where new aesthetics were born and new technologies were introduced. Some are known for their extraordinary structural performances , some showcase the balance between mass and void and others express their spiritual philosophy by a minimalistic use of light and shadows. Some of the world's most renowned structures are places of worship. 
 The task is to examine social, cultural, economical and historical aspects related to different faiths and societies and propose an architectural response that takes into consideration the effects of globalization, advances in technology and sustainability and other architectural and urban strategies. The proposed work should investigate ideas related to the technical complexity of the building, the symbolic expression of the space and the role of spiritual places in our society and implement them to current and future experiences, spatial organizations, functionalities and aesthetics. 
 Spiritual spaces - Where should we integrate them in our cities if at all? In what configuration? Should they be part of our homes or public infrastructures? should they be a vacation destination?... The purpose of spiritual.(d) annual competition is to encourage creative individuals and teams from around the world to participate in an open architectural and philosophical debate, to nurture the architectural evolution of our environment and to redefine the role of the spiritual space in the contemporary world. 
 For more visit the website:


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