Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bee hives in New York: for honey or for concrete production?

The Rosslyn Chapel hives; photos courtesy of the Times

Amidst all type of solutions for urban farming, it disturbes me to image thousands of bees on the rooftops. More than this, there is an article about bees that could produce concrete, if they are manipulated as "special bees." See what I've found:
Organic rooftop farming is all the rage these days, with places like Roberta's and Brooklyn Grange growing vegetables and other produce just a few hundred feet above street level. And now it seems that one of the city's swankiest hotels is looking to get into the mix: the Waldorf-Astoria New York has recently installed beehives on its roof, with plans to harvest honey and help pollinate plants in midtown.
Sweet Lord!
The Episcopal bishop of New York welcomed the newest members of his congregation yesterday: a hive of 15,000 bees he hopes will provide a harvest of tasty honey and help pollinate gardens.
“May the sweetness of their honey remind us of the sweetness of your [God’s] love for them,” the Right Rev. Mark Sisk said in prayer yesterday as he blessed the hive at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Last month, over at Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel, it was announced that "builders renovating the 600-year-old chapel have discovered two beehives carved within the stonework high on the pinnacles of the roof. They are thought to be the first man-made stone hives ever found."

    It appears the hives were carved into the roof when the chapel was built, with the entrance for the bees formed, appropriately, through the centre of an intricately carved stone flower. The hives were found when builders were dismantling and rebuilding the pinnacles for the first time in centuries.
As the article goes on to point out, "Although human beings have collected honey from wild bee colonies since time immemorial, at some point they began to domesticate wild bees in artificial hives, made from hollow logs, pottery, or woven straw baskets. The Egyptians kept bees in cylindrical hives, and pictures in temples show workers blowing smoke into the hives, and removing honeycombs. Sealed pots of honey were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb." 

But, combining all these stories, what about bees that make concrete honey, artificially bred and housed inside hives in the spires of buildings? Hives that they themselves have printed? 

High up on the roof of St. John the Divine sit six symmetrical stone hives, inside of which special bees now grow, tended by an architecture student at Columbia University; the bees are preparing their concrete to fix any flaw the building might have. No longer must you call in repair personnel to do the job; you simply tap the sides of your concrete-mixing beehives and living 3D printers fly out in a buzzing cloud, caulking broken arches and fixing the most delicate statuary. 

Nearby homeowners occasionally find lumps of concrete on their rooftops and under the eaves, as if new hives are beginning to form. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Golden Moon. By LEAD archs

I'm sharing part of the great post at, an amazing temporary structure by LEAD archs.


Architects: Kristof Crolla, Adam Fingrut
Year: 2012
Photographs: Kevin Ng, Grandy Lui, Pano Kalogeropoulos, Courtesy of , Courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

" The Golden Moon is a temporary architectural structure that explores how Hong Kong’s unique building traditions and craftsmanship can be combined with contemporary design techniques in the creation of a highly expressive and captivating public event space. It is the 2012 Gold Award winning entry for the Lantern Wonderland design competition organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board for the Mid-Autumn Festival and was on display for 6 days in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park." 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Euro´s sculpture reflections

Trying to set aside the economic crisis, I´d like to share the beauty of the Euro´s sculpture reflections:

The European Central Bank (ECB) sculpture is reflected in a window in Frankfurt, Germany. Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

The Euro sculpture is partially reflected in a puddle on a cobblestone pavement in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank.—Reuters Photo

“Carrito”, en el Festival Internacional de Diseño. Buenos Aires

El proyecto Carrito realizado por Normal se articula en el marco del IVº Festival de Diseño de Buenos Aires 2012, organizado por el Centro Metropolitano de Diseño de la Ciudad Buenos Aires. El proyecto busca estudiar y redefinir lo que quizás es la tipología gastronómica porteña de mayor popularidad, El Carrito de Choripanes. Se podrá visitar del 19 al 21 de Octubre de 2012 en el CMD. Carrito un proyecto que busca estudiar y redefinir lo que quizás es la tipología gastronómica porteña de mayor popularidad, El Carrito de Choripanes. El proyecto la adopta para reaplicarla a nivel formal y funcional, buscando fomentar las disciplinas de diseño en el marco del Festival Internacional de Diseño de Buenos Aires, a llevarse a cabo en Octubre de 2012. 
Mediante el “tuneo” de un Carrito existente, se plantea desarrollar un móvil que recorra la ciudad, buscando impregnar el caracter popular del referente al fomento de las disciplinas del diseño local. El Carrito se transforma entonces en una plataforma móvil que lleva el diseño a la calle y por ende a la gente a través de una programación acorde a su contextura tipológica y formal.

Compartido desde:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brett Herbst´s maize landscape art vs Nazca Lines

These pictures posted at (Via Wired) caught my attention. Being a fan of archaeology, they vaguely reminded me of the Lines of Nazca in Peru, with the exception of the technology. Let´s read some paragraphs of two different posts to compare:

Spotted over at Wired Design, Brett Herbst might just be the King of Corn. He made his first corn maze in 1996, and since then he’s created over 2,000 spectacularly elaborate labyrinths as the founder of the company MAiZE. Using computer software, GPS technology, and a heck of a lot of imagination, Herbst has reinvented the traditional, autumn pastime into a work of art. As the one-time holder of the Guinness World Record for largest corn maize and the mastermind behind hundreds of sites across the country, Herbst has proven that he is head and shoulders above the rest of his field. As a Master of Maize, Brett Herbst puts an incredible amount of thought into each of his amazing pieces. Beginning with GPS coordinates and CorelDRAW design software, he marks out fields on a grid system that ranges in size from anywhere between 8-60 acres. Once marked out with flags, he spray-paints dots on the ground to indicate where the cuts in the corn crop should be made. Herbst’s crew then carves out the pathways with rototillers and riding lawn mowers. As if gigantic vegetable portraits of President Obama or Star Wars scenes were not enough to impress, Herbst also features words in the overall design of his mazes. He sometimes even uses “reverse cuts” in which the cornstalks themselves form blocked letters, creating positive space in the overall image.

The Nazca Lines are a series of geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches 53 miles or more than 80 kilometers between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana in Peru. They were created by the Nazca culture between 200 BC and AD 700. There are hundreds of individual figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys and lizards. The Nazca lines cannot be recognized as coherent figures except from the air. Since it is presumed the Nazca people could never have seen their work from this vantage point, there has been much speculation on the builders' abilities and motivations.
Since their discovery, various theories have been proposed regarding the methods and motivations underlying the lines' construction. The archaeological explanation as to who made them and how is widely accepted; namely that the Nazca people made the lines using simple tools and surveying equipment. Wooden stakes in the ground at the end of some lines (which were used to carbon-date the figures) and ceramics found on the surface support this theory. Furthermore, researchers such as Joe Nickell of the University of Kentucky, have reproduced the figures using the technology available to the Nazca Indians of the time without aerial supervision. With careful planning and simple technologies, a small team of individuals could recreate even the largest figures within a couple of days.


Nazca Monkey. Picture by Maria Reiche

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Europe's Most Advanced Wooden Architecture - international conference in Umeå 21st-22nd November

Around the world, the construction industry begins to understand the value of wood, a renewable material that grows just outside our doorstep. What role will wood play for sustainable architecture, industry, science, economy and societies? It is about time for Sweden to look into the process from plant to product! These issues are dealt with in WOOD 2013, which opens at Virserum Art Museum 5th May 2013.

At the international conference at Umea School of Architecture you can listen to the idea of some of the foremost in Europe on wood and wooden architecture. Walter Unterrainer, Hubert Reiss, Herman Kaufmann, Véronique Klimine and Pekka Heikkinen are some of the speakers. Wood and wooden architecture in sustainable cityplanning is another issue.

Friday, October 12, 2012

World Habitat Awards

The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 by the Building and Social Housing Foundation as part of its contribution to the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. Two awards are given annually to projects that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems. Every year an award of £10,000 is presented to each of the two winners at the annual United Nations global celebration of World Habitat Day.

How to Enter


Projects & approaches are sought that …
  • Demonstrate practical, innovative and sustainable solutions to current housing issues faced by countries all around the world.
  • Can be transferred or adapted for use as appropriate.
  • View the term habitat from a broad perspective and bring other benefits as well, such as energy or water saving, income generation, social inclusion, community and individual empowerment, capacity building or education.
The World Habitat Awards (WHA) competition has a two-stage entry process:

Stage I submissions need only comprise a summary of the key aspects of the project. From these preliminary submissions, ten projects are selected by an Assessment Committee to go forward to Stage II of the competition.

Stage II submissions are evaluated by an independent advisory group before being put to a panel of international judges, which includes the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Rector of the United Nations University, Tokyo. Evaluation visits are carried out to some of the projects prior to the final judging.

PLEASE NOTE THAT: All Stage I submissions of the 2012 competition have been assessed and everyone who made a submission has been notified about the results.

If you would like to submit to Stage I of the WHA 2013 competition, your submissions must be received by 1st November 2012.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A night in Bangladesh

This picture belongs to Reshad Kamal. I´ve downloaded it from National Geographic as a reminder that not everything is the work of ¨starchitects¨. That´s why I called my blog ¨Thoughts on Architecture and Urbanism¨, I´m not always showing beautiful buildings. This is the real world. From the National Geographic´s ¨Your shot¨:

There is no other space for some people to sleep at night in Bangladesh. They lay down in open places like railway station, bus stop, terminals. This railway station is like that! Here lots of people stay at night to sleep, including the animals. These two individuals are friends by the same condition of living homeless, foodless, and security-less!

Frank Gehry´s design for Toronto

David Mirvish’s proposal for a massive new project by architect Frank Gehry in the heart of Toronto’s theatre district seems to have caught the city off guard. But should it have? Downtown Toronto (indeed, much of the city) is going through a metamorphosis of extraordinary proportions, both in the number of projects now eclipsing other North American cities and in the move to buildings of a scale we haven’t seen before. A flight into the island airport reveals a burgeoning forest of towers bringing huge infusions of new condos as well as new office buildings and new institutions growing and reshaping themselves.
REFERENCE: Text and two first pictures from the article by Ken Greenberg
An image from Frank Gehry’s designs for David Mirvish’s project to remake his properties at King Street West and John St. in Toronto. (Courtesy of Gehry International Inc.)

(The first picture reminded me The Simpsons´ chapter when Frank Gehry rejected Maggie´s requirement for a concert hall in Springfield. When he makes a paper ball of the petition, the idea is born).

Here, the consequences:

Frank Gehry Really, Really Regrets His Guest Appearance on The Simpsons

An interesting data from The New York Observer:

¨The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle takes two crews about three months to clean, and New York by Gehry, a 76-story rental tower on Spruce Street with rippling stainless-steel siding, takes six to nine months, depending on the weather — cleaning crews will stay indoors if conditions are too windy, for example. (Extell Development Company declined to describe its plans for washing windows at its One57 project, which at 90 stories will be the tallest residential building in the city when it is completed.)¨

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Árboles sobrevivientes de Hiroshima

Uno de los árboles sobrevivientes de Hiroshima. Foto de Fogcat en 

Los árboles también son parte de la memoria de un pueblo, de una sociedad. He leído con placer esta nota de Diana Fernandez Irusta y comparto algunos párrafos:

En la mañana del 6 de agosto de 1945 sólo hubo muerte y horror en Hiroshima. Un fuego abrasador -la inconcebible temperatura de 4000°C, ¿cuántos soles estallaron ese día sobre sus desprevenidos habitantes?- lo calcinó todo.
En segundos, edificios, escuelas, parques, niños, adultos, jardines y mascotas, dejaron de ser lo que eran. La bomba atómica convirtió a la ciudad en una enorme herida abierta: restos informes y carbonizados entre los que se esparcía, invisible y letal, la radiación.
Pasado el primer impacto, mientras la gente seguía muriendo (más de 100.000 personas fueron borradas del mundo, casi en un abrir y cerrar de ojos ), los científicos calculaban los efectos del desastre: al menos 70 años, estimaban, habría que esperar para que algo nuevo creciera en aquella tierra arrasada.
Sin embargo, en octubre de ese mismo año la vida siguió otro curso. Contra todo pronóstico, en el área más castigada por la explosión, comenzaron a asomar pequeños brotes de verde. El milagro tenía nombre: Ginkgo biloba, Diospyros Kaki, Ilex rotunda y Alcanfor. Los árboles de Hiroshima. La silenciosa promesa de continuidad y protección que tanto necesitaban los desolados sobrevivientes humanos.


"¡Llegaron las semillas!" Julio Bernal, integrante de la comisión de padres del Instituto Argentino Japonés Nichia Gakuin, habrá pensado que el azar a veces posee una lógica contundente. El pasado 6 de agosto, en el 67° aniversario de la explosión que cambió todo, la directora del Jardín Botánico de Buenos Aires le concedió el honor de abrir un sobre con un contenido muy especial: semillas de las especies sobrevivientes de la bomba. "Son 170 árboles -explica Julio-. Si vas a Hiroshima, los podés ver. Cada uno tiene una placa que lo identifica."
Hace un año, integrantes de una ONG japonesa (ANT-Hiroshima) comenzaron a recoger estas semillas. Junto con Green Legacy Hiroshima (iniciativa vinculada con la ONU), concibieron un hermoso proyecto: crear, con los descendientes de los 170 sobrevivientes de la bomba, jardines para la paz en diversas partes del mundo. Sobres que contienen semillas cuidadosamente seleccionadas pronto salieron de Japón y viajaron a jardines botánicos y universidades de Rusia, Holanda, Sudáfrica, Colombia y Singapur. Uno de ellos llegó también a la Argentina gracias a las gestiones y el convenio con el Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays, realizados por los padres del Nichia Gakuin.
Tras su largo viaje desde la otra punta del mundo, las 176 semillas destinadas a nuestro país se recibieron con la emoción con que se asiste a un nacimiento. Una parte quedó en el Botánico. El resto está a cargo de Francisco Kitagawa, otro integrante de la comisión de padres, que asegura: "Quisiera que los niños, alguna vez, puedan jugar bajo las sombras de estos árboles". 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Acerca de Pedro E. Guerrero, el fotógrafo de Frank Lloyd Wright

Estaba leyendo un artículo traducido de William Yardley en el diario Clarín, sobre la muerte de Pedro E. Guerrero, quien fuera el fotógrafo exclusivo de Frank LLoyd Wright, y la historia es tan simpática que comparto la primera parte de la misma. Me quedé pensando en lo que es el destino, un muchacho que vivía cerca de Wright y, obviamente, tenía talento para la fotografía:

Pedro E. Guerrero, ex estudiante de arte que había abandonado sus estudios, se presentó en la polvorienta entrada de la casa de Frank Lloyd Wright en 1939, audazmente se autodeclaró fotógrafo y pasó el siguiente medio siglo trabajando estrechamente con él y registrando en película la arquitectura modernista, murió el jueves 13 de aeptiembre en su casa de Florence, Arizona, a los 95 años. Su hija, Susan Haley Smith Guerrero, confirmó su deceso.


Guerrero tenía unos 20 años cuando su padre, pintor de letreros, lo exhortó a que dejara de holgazanear en la casa familiar de Mesa, Arizona, y probara suerte presentándose ante Wright, que acababa de mudarse a la zona. “Me dijo: ‘¿Por qué no vas a ver a ese fulano Wright en la colina?’”, contó Guerrero en una entrevista con The New York Times en abril. “Cuando me presenté allí por primera vez, Wright quiso saber quién era yo. Le dije: ‘Me llamo Pedro Guerrero y soy fotógrafo’. Nunca me había presentado de esa manera. Él me dijo: “Entra y muéstrame qué puedes hacer’.”


Guerrero, que había estudiado fotografía antes de abandonar los estudios en la Art Center School de Los Angeles (ahora llamada Art Center College of Design), mostró su relativamente reducida carpeta –Wright tomó nota de varios desnudos femeninos- y rápidamente se entendieron. “Al ver las obras del Sr. Wright en el desierto, decidí tratarlas como si fueran esculturas”, agregó Guerrero. “Eso le gustó mucho.”

Durante los siguientes veinte años, hasta su muerte en 1959, Wright puso toda su confianza en Guerrero, considerándolo su fotógrafo exclusivo. Guerrero, a su vez, se enamoró de la obra de Wright y con frecuencia viajó a fotografiar sus edificios. (Dijo que el living de Taliesin, la aclamada casa de Wright en Wisconsin, era la habitación más hermosa que hubiese visto). También tomó una serie de fotografías famosas de Wright explicando los principios de la arquitectura con sus manos.

Su sociedad llevó a otros artistas a convocarlo, entre ellos los escultores Alexander Calder y Louise Nevelson, y la carrera de Guerrero prosperó. A comienzos de la década de 1950, vivía en New Canaan, Connecticut, para estar cerca de Nueva York. En aquella época, muchos arquitectos modernistas se estaban mudando a la zona y construyendo estructuras que serían un hito, como la Casa de Cristal de Philip Johnson en esa ciudad. Guerrero fotografió la obra de Johnson así como la de Marcel Breuer al tiempo que trabajaba en forma independiente para Harper’s Bazaar, House and Garden, Architectural Forum y otras revistas. Sin embargo, cuando Wright lo llamaba, todo lo demás debía esperar.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The visibility of research. CALL FOR PAPERS

Historically, society has recognized architects for their role in the creation of buildings and less so for their role in the production of knowledge. Research advances the discipline of architecture by introducing new ideas, testing questions, defining methodology, developing technology, and promoting critical discourse. Yet exactly how research shapes design and the built environment is not always clear. For many, its contributions remain all but invisible.
The theme of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) 2013 Architectural Research Conference is visibility, in all its possible connotations. The goal of this year’s conference is to interrogate the idea of visibility from a variety of perspectives, in order to bring research itself into sharper focus.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte welcomes researchers, educators, and practitioners in architecture and affiliated design and technical professions to participate.

Call for Paper Abstracts - due October 8, 2012

Note: a call for poster abstracts will be announced October 8th.
The conference committee invites paper submissions on new and continuing research in the following topic areas:
  • POLICY: Educating policymakers, practitioners, and the public
  • CULTURE: Making visible: new ideas, minor voices, and topics on the margins
  • SUSTAINABILITY: Visualizing sustainability and performance in buildings
  • HISTORY: Maps, media, and models in architectural history
  • URBANISM: Technology, connectedness, and the urban environment
  • CONSTRUCTION: Innovations in materials and construction visualization
  • PEDAGOGY: New visions and revisions in architectural education
An open session is available for topics that fall outside these areas. The final organization of this session will be determined in response to the submissions received.
The paper and poster reviews of this conference will be conducted in two stages. The first stage will involve a blind peer review of abstracts. Successful review at the abstract stage will result in an invitation to submit a full paper or poster for a second-stage blind peer review. All materials will be submitted through an online interface and must adhere to conference guidelines. Authors are limited to one submission per session topic, for both papers and posters.


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