Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where the streets have no name: an ¨artistic¨ enclave in Dubai

Image from CNN Traveller
From CNN Traveller:
While Qatar and Abu Dhabi vie for the title of the Middle East’s art hub, there is a dusty corner of Dubai that has quietly created a scene of its own. That the area, Al Quoz, should find itself as a creative hub at all is something of a surprise.  This is part of Dubai you don’t see in the tourist brochures. The district, a few square kilometres in size, is home to cement factories, car showrooms and much of the city’s labouring population. Its streets are half-built and have numbers rather than names; growling cement trucks weave dangerously around unfinished roundabouts and grim worker’s accommodation lines the roads. When the wind picks up it carries the dust and the grit making it far from pleasant to venture outside.Yet despite this, Al Quoz is the centre of a thriving art scene, one that – unusually for Dubai – is completely organic. While Abu Dhabi is bringing over big players such as the Louvre and the Guggenheim, Al Quoz is home to names you won’t recognise: the Third Line, b21, the Jam Jar, the Shelter; entities that are just as important when it comes to creating a viable, sustainable arts scene in Dubai.
One of the first to see the potential in the area was Sunny Rahbar, the co-owner of The Third Line. An Iranian who grew up in Dubai, she, like other ‘Dubai kids’ studied abroad. When she returned to the emirate she and her friends realised that it wasn’t as cool as they thought. ‘There was a cluster of us who studied abroad all over the world and when we got back to Dubai, we began talking about how it would be cool if Dubai had this and that.’ Some got into music, some into publishing. Rahbar, who had experience in the arts, opened a space in Al Quoz. ‘Instead of just talking about it, we did something,’ she says. ‘Then other people started popping up who felt the same way, which was something we weren’t aware of, and slowly a scene started to grow.
Keep on reading:

Where the streets have no name. U 2, live at Slane Castle

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name
I want to feel, sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
I want to take shelter
From the poison rain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We're still building, then burning down love
Burning down love, and when I go there
I go there with you, it's all I can do
The city's a flood and our love turns to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust
I'll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We're still building, then burning down love
Burning down love, and when I go there
I go there with you, it's all I can do
Our love turns to rust
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind, oh, and I see our love
See our love turn to rust
Oh, we're beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind
Oh, when I go there, I go there with you
It's all I can do

Interesting selection of pictures

Antonina Makarova. Picture by Sergei Loiko
Picture by Dave Smith. From
Vanishing Russia. Picture by Sergei Loiko.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Haitian Refugees at Risk

Of the 450 displaced persons camps around Port-au-Prince that are filled with people left homeless by the Jan. 12 earthquake, the flood risk is most extreme in the spontaneous camp on the steep, bare hills of the Petionville Golf Club where 45,000 people now reside.

Designing for Disasters

ENR's Washington Bureau Chief Tom Ichniowski moderates a panel at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. on building codes in the wake of earthquakes in Chile and Haiti.

Haitian Government Launches Housing Design Competition

The initial submission deadline has been extended from June 28 to July 5.
On June 17, the Republic of Haiti unveiled “Building Back Better Communities,” which invites architects and non-architects alike from around the globe to create homes for a 12-acre former sugar plantation on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Because the site was not affected by the quake and is city owned, it is an ideal place for government officials to study different housing types before commissioning them for destroyed neighborhoods, according to competition organizers.
The competition, which will have multiple winners, is divided into two parts to attract the greatest variety of ideas, officials say.
For the first, contestants are asked to create prototype houses for an exposition to be held from October to January on the northern half of the site. Those 50 or so houses will be clustered village-like around a tented enclosure that will serve as a meeting space during the exposition, which will resemble a trade show.
During the expo, Haitian officials will browse among the houses, along with representatives of foundations that will potentially underwrite their construction, and select their favorites. When the event is over, those houses could be turned over to local citizens, though details are still being worked out.
The competition’s second part invites contestants to design homes for a new 1,000-resident village that is to be constructed on the site’s southern half. This village, which will probably have 150 homes of a few different designs, is to be paid for by Digicel, a regional telecom company, and Deutsche Bank. It is to be completed by the end of this year. 
To compete for either part, or both, contestants must submit a letter of interest plus a description of qualifications by Monday, July 5, to London-based Malcolm Reading Consultants, which is managing the competition, though the deadline could be extended if initial interest is weak.
Winners, who will be announced on July 2, will then travel to Port-au-Prince for meetings before actually producing homes, which should be able to cool themselves passively and store rainwater, according to details spelled out in the government’s request for proposals. The homes’ construction should also, when possible, generate local jobs.
While design firms have previously proposed houses for Haiti, where 1.3 million people are reportedly still displaced from the January 12 quake, there hasn’t yet been an effort of this size, or coordinated by the government. And it comes not a moment too soon, says architect John McAslan, founding principal of London-based John McAslan + Partners, who helped organize the competition.
“It’s the rainy season, and half a million people are still living in tents,” says McAslan, who has worked in Haiti for two years. “There is an urgent need.” (Article by C. J. Hughes)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Land use and legalization of Marijuana

These are separate excerpts from the article ¨Placemaking for pot smoking¨, by Josh Stephens, for Planetizen. To make us think how far planning issues sometimes are beyond our imagination.
Make no mistake: 74 years after the film Reefer Madness cemented the connection between deviance and getting high, medical marijuana is already quasi-legal. But if the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 passes November 2, it would strip away the medicinal veneer of cannabis use and simply make it legal for anyone over age 21 to possess, grow, and use marijuana, hemp, and related products. The measure, which has been officially approved for the ballot after backers submitted the more than 400,000 required signatures, would also authorize the state to impose taxes on the sale and cultivation thereof, and would give local jurisdictions broad leeway to permit, prohibit – and tax – its cultivation and sale.
After California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996, the drug-cum-medicine gained further legitimacy in fits and starts until, in 2008, California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued guidelines confirming that marijuana collectives could in fact operate as retail establishments as long as they served only members and did not reap inordinate profits. This announcement, coupled with the proliferation of "prescriptions" that recommended the use of marijuana for everything from anorexia to anxiety to insomnia, the marijuana "dispensary" was born. Some cities, however, were not prepared to regulate a nonexistent land use.
In Los Angeles, the regulatory void was filled by equal parts compassion and profiteering. It's estimated that up to 800 dispensaries proliferated throughout the city.
Los Angeles' quick rise to the position of retail marijuana capital of the world forced the city council to play catch-up earlier this year and pass an ordinance that would close roughly 600 rouge dispensaries and place complex restrictions on those that were allowed to remain.
City planners estimated the appropriate number of dispensaries per each of the city's 35 planning areas and came up with between two and six, depending on the respective areas' populations. Dispensaries may not locate near residential areas or places where children congregate, and they may be no less than 1,000 feet from each other. They must have controlled entries and cannot use flashy signage or advertising.
"The recommendations we came up with ensured that there would be potentially medical marijuana collectives located within all the community plan areas in the city," said Alan Bell, senior planner at the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, who led the crafting of the marijuana ordinance. "We'd limit the number so that we could have a limited number that we could enforce and monitor."
Cities that choose to both regulate marijuana sales and cultivation without stifling them need not re-invent their land-use laws but can instead follow the model of bars and restaurants. Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who authored Measure F, said that Oakland’s embrace of marijuana relies in part on the issuance of special activity permits, which, she said, give the city the oversight it needs to ensure that the businesses are conforming to the city's regulations. "Which is different from something that’s handled as permit that comes with the land, which can often be in perpetuity," said Kaplan. "That has allowed us to have a level of rigorous oversight because the facilities have to come in every year for a hearing where there’s an opportunity to take that permit away."
In Los Angeles, once the City Council and City Attorney determined their optimal number of medical dispensaries the task fell to the Department of City Planning was directed to keep dispensaries away from residential areas and places where children congregate, including school and playgrounds. But, fearing that these restrictions would lead to the clustering of stores into cannabis ghettos, city planners have also required that they be spaced at least 1,000 feet apart, and they have prescribed a limited number of dispensaries per each of the city's 35 plan areas, according to the plan areas' respective populations. While this approach reflects the troublesome side of marijuana, some believe that it stigmatizes what is, ostensibly, a legitimate medicine.
Read about the perfect cannabis
Read the whole article:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Radar imaging reveals ancient Egyptian underground city

The underground city of Avaris. From
From June 21, 2010. (Associated Press in Cairo)
An Austrian archaeological team has used radar imaging to determine the extent of the ruins of the 3,500-year-old one-time capital of Egypt's foreign occupiers, according to the country's antiquities department.
Egypt was ruled for a century from 1664-1569 BC by the Hyksos, a group of warriors from Asia – possibly Semitic in origin – whose summer capital, Avaris, was in the northern Delta area.
Irene Müller, the head of the Austrian team, said the main purpose of the project was to determine how far the underground city extends. The radar imaging showed the outlines of streets, houses and temples underneath the green farm fields and modern town of Tel al-Dabaa.
Dr Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the computer-generated images of the city, which is still buried under the ground, show a very detailed layout of ancient Avaris. Several architectural features including houses, temples, streets, cemeteries and palaces can be seen.
The team has also been able to make out the arrangement of neighbourhoods and living quarters.
"Using such a special scientific survey to locate such a city is the only way to gain a better understanding of such a large area at one time," Hawass said.
The team has succeeded in identifying a collection of houses and a possible harbour area. A series of pits of different sizes are also visible but their function has not yet been determined.
The Austrian team of archaeologists have been working on the site since 1975. Egypt's Nile Delta is densely populated and heavily farmed, making extensive excavation difficult, unlike in southern Egypt with its more famous desert tombs and temples.
Read more

Old patterns of suburban growth and urban decline are now being reversed

Maps of foreclosures in Chicago region. See the difference between 1998 and 2008. Scary....From New Urban News
I´ve been reading an article at New Urban News, about professor William H. Lucy, who has examined America’s foreclosure epidemic in great detail and has arrived at this conclusion: Decades-old patterns of suburban growth and urban decline are now being reversed. 
This is pretty obvious and you don´t need a complete analysis, though I really appreciate all the investigation.
What was left, the empty neighborhoods, ¨zombie¨ developments, are located mostly in suburban areas, in rural areas where beautiful houses were sold a couple o years ago, much bigger and cheaper than the ones in the cities. Those homeowners could enjoy lakes, landscapes, but now, it´s  very difficult for any body to afford the expenses related to far away neighborhoods, beginning with access to supermarkets, long travels to work –if they were not fired-, more than one car as everybody has  to drive to populated cities.  Now, people look for job openings in urban areas, as always, they can find more opportunities.
And where do foreclosure former homeowners go? To rent, anywhere, obviously rental apartments are not in suburban or rural areas. Or even they relocated in another states, with their families.
This is the real city I see everyday, what is not shown in the books, properties in crowded neighborhoods, with illegal constructions ready to be rented. If somebody buys a property with illegal rooms, he can ask for a price reduction. Then, he should take care of it, demolish or legalize. But, people keep on renting them until an inspector from the City shows up. This is another attraction from cities………
Illegal construction for rent, in Los Angeles. Picture by Myriam Mahiques
People also rents motor homes in the city. What cannot be seen from the street....Picture by Myriam Mahiques 
This is an excerpt from the article  at New Urban News:
“The years leading up to the 2008-2009 crises may be seen in retrospect as the last hurrah of the exurban extreme of the American dream,” says Lucy, a professor of urban and environmental planning at the University of Virginia. Increasingly, people with choices and financial resources want to live in cities. 
The residential foreclosures that spiked in the past three years have been highly concentrated. Sixty-two percent of foreclosures in 2008 occurred in just four of the 50 states: California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona. Forty percent clustered in 16 counties within 10 metropolitan areas, nearly all of them in the Sunbelt, which have more than their share of semi-abandoned tracts — referred to by Lucy as “zombie subdivisions.”
The foreclosure crisis has taken most of its toll on metropolitan areas’ edges — places that in many instances depended heavily on real estate activity for their economic well-being, according to Lucy. His findings appear in Foreclosing the Dream: How America’s Housing Crisis Is Reshaping Our Cities and Suburbs, a 208-page paperback from the American Planning Association’s Planners Press 
Lucy attributes much of the foreclosure crisis to these factors:
• Federal policy aimed at increasing the homeownership rate above the 64 to 66 percent range where it had stayed from the 1960s to the 1990s. President Bill Clinton boosted the rate to 67.7 percent. President George W. Bush’s goal of getting 5.5 million more Americans to own homes — pushing the rate to 71.4 percent —resulted in a further easing of financial standards. 
• A long-term decline in the incomes of most Americans and an increase in the gap between the rich and the rest of the population. Many who were enticed to buy houses couldn’t afford them. 
• Credit that started out cheap but jumped to a higher rate within a few years.
• The recession. “The foreclosure crisis was triggered in those states where house prices to income ratios widened the most,” led by California and Nevada and then Arizona and Florida, Lucy says.
Back to the city
Unaffordable houses and a severe recession weren’t the only influences, Lucy says. “Something else was also afoot. … The whole pattern of metropolitan development was quietly moving in reverse.” 
Through a detailed examination of census records, Lucy shows that the condition of quite a few cities stabilized by 1990 and then improved. “During the 1990s, something remarkable began to happen,” Lucy says. “Cities were attracting people with money.” In the 40 central cities of the 35 metropolitan areas ranked as America’s largest in 1980, the decline in average per capita income halted. 
Why the change?
“The revival of interest in cities on the part of middle-class whites had a lot to do with a fondness for older homes,” particularly their craftsmanship and character, Lucy maintains. By 2000, neighborhoods with housing built before 1940 were no longer the poorest in their metropolitan areas. They were attracting inhabitants with greater means. 
At the same time, neighborhoods made up of housing that had been built between 1950 and 1970 started to lose their privileged status. Areas developed from 1950 to 1970 were “most likely to be dominated by small houses [whose appeal was waning], far from shops and other needs.”
In other words, both the nature of the houses and their construction and their closeness to, or distance from, everyday needs and services precipitated a profound shift. Urban living gained in popularity. 
Keep on reading

Fractal spheres

Sphere 2C. By Myriam Mahiques
Safe Creative #1006116564794
Sphere 3. By Myriam Mahiques
Safe Creative #1006116564817

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

London. By William Blake (1757-1827)

Image from
I wander through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet 
Marks of wakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant´s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear:

How the chimney-sweeper´s cry
Every blackening church appalls,
And the hapless solider´s sigh
Runs in blood down palace walls.

But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot´s curse
Blasts the new-born infant´s tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage hearse.

Paolo Soleri´s amphitheater in New Mexico may be demolished

Picture from the Architect´s Newspaper blog
From The Architect´s Newspaper blog:
An earth-formed concrete amphitheater designed by Paolo Soleri may be demolished later this summer. One of only a handful of structures built by Soleri, the open-air theater (known as the “Paolo”) is on the campus of the Santa Fe Indian School, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The school commissioned Soleri to design the theater in 1964, and though it has been used for graduations and concerts since that time, the school now believes that it costs too much to maintain, and says it brings drunken crowds onto the campus during events.
Built using student labor from the school, the structure was designed to “frame the sun and the moon,” and operate like an Elizabethan theater with bridges and ramps that allow performers to access various levels above, below, and behind the stage. A dramatically arched form over the stage covers the principal performance area, and according to Soleri was created of “trenched earth that captures the shape and consistency of the earth itself.”
On June 11, New Mexico’s Cultural Properties Review Committee urged the school to rethink its plans to raze the structure, and the Santa Fe City Council has also called for the theater’s salvation. Soleri, who will turn 91 on June 21, has been rallying admirers of the earthen structure, noting in a statement, “I am willing to do anything to support the preservation of the theater.” His Cosanti Foundation is working with a variety of organizations to prevent its demolition, as well as raising funds to help the theater continue to serve the Santa Fe Indian School students and the broader Santa Fe community.
Behind the stage. From the Architect´s Newspaper blog
Soleri, whose best-known vision is the project Arcosanti in the Arizona desert, drew upon the past to design the future in the Ampitheater, planning it for the Indian School theater department as an interpretation of the Elizabethan stage.  "We were hoping actors would not just use the stage, but also the area above it, and that's why we designed the bridge and other platforms ....with action taking place on different levels...,"  was how Soleri described the design process in a Cosanti Foundation press release made public last week.

Hallan en Roma los íconos más antiguos de cuatro apóstoles

Foto de Reuters
Artículo de Elisabetta Piqué, corresponsal en Roma, para La Nación:
ROMA.- Gracias a la tecnología láser, los primeros y más antiguos íconos de los apóstoles Pablo, Pedro, Andrés y Juan -imágenes del siglo IV después de Cristo- volvieron a salir a la luz en una catacumba de la periferia de la Ciudad Eterna. El hallazgo tuvo lugar cerca de la famosa basílica de San Pablo Extramuros, en una transitadísima zona de clase media jamás pisada por turistas.
Los antiquísimos íconos, según anunció ayer el Vaticano, fueron descubiertos a cuatro metros de profundidad debajo de un edificio de oficinas de ocho pisos construido en los años 50, cuyos pilares lograron conservar milagrosamente la catacumba, una de las 40 que existen debajo del suelo de Roma, bautizada Santa Tecla.
En verdad la catacumba era conocida desde 1720, pero una sólida capa de material calcáreo había tapado los frescos salidos a la luz ahora. Fue el láser el que logró desvelar este impactante tesoro arqueológico, que fue presentado ayer por monseñor Gianfranco Ravasi, presidente de la Pontificia Comisión de Arqueología Sagrada, junto con expertos y restauradores.
Fabrizio Bisconti profesor italiano muestra una pintura dentro de la catacumba de Santa Tecla en el centro de Roma . Foto Reuters
Todo comenzó hace un año, cuando en un rincón de la misma bóveda los arqueólogos descubrieron el rostro de San Pablo. Entonces, los estudiosos intuyeron que en la misma galería subterránea -que había sido la tumba de una noble romana-, podían ocultarse otros íconos.
"Después de varios intentos fallidos, el láser logró su cometido. Luego de tirar abajo la capa de material calcáreo, descubrimos en los tres ángulos de la bóveda los otros tres apóstoles (Pedro, Andrés y Juan) y, al centro, la imagen del Buen Pastor, Cristo", anunció Fabrizio Bisconti, director arqueológico de las catacumbas, que detalló que se trata de las primeras representaciones de los apóstoles como íconos.
l hallazgo demuestra cómo se había difundido el culto de los apóstoles en los orígenes del cristianismo, destacaron los expertos. Y que los aristócratas fueron los últimos romanos en convertirse a esta religión, visto que los íconos hallados formaban parte de la decoración de la tumba de una noble mujer romana.
En la bóveda también pueden verse imágenes de una matrona romana. "Al final del siglo IV vivió en Roma San Girolamo, que dio vida a una suerte de ascetismo casi monacal e involucró a varias matronas de la ciudad. La mujer sepultada en la bóveda podría ser una de estas aristócratas que, convertida al cristianismo, viajó a Tierra Santa y, a su regreso, ordenó reproducir imágenes de los apóstoles en la tumba", indicó Bisconti.
Los cuatro apóstoles se encuentran pintados en el cielo raso, dentro de círculos con bordes dorados y sobre un fondo color ocre. Barbara Mazzei, responsable de los trabajos de restauración, explicó que existen imágenes más antiguas de Pedro y Pablo, pero pintadas dentro de cuadros narrativos. Las halladas ahora, con sus rostros aislados, enmarcados en oro y colocados en los cuatro rincones del techo, representan en cambio una forma de devoción hacia los apóstoles única, la primera y más antigua.
Si bien la mayoría de las catacumbas romanas se encuentran abiertas al público, por ahora la de Santa Tecla será casi imposible de ver. Para proteger los impactantes íconos sólo podrán ser visitadas, mediante un permiso especial, por grupos pequeñísimos de personas.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer solstice at Stonehenge

Picture by Matt Cardy. Getty Images

From, by John Roach: At sunrise on the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day of the year –the summer solstice- thousands of modern-day druids, pagans and partiers gather in the countryside near Salisbury, England, to cheer as the first rays of light stream over a circular arrangemente of stones called Stonehenge.
The original purpose of the ancient monument remains a source of academic debate. The large stones erected about 4000 years ago are aligned with the summer solstice sunrise, leading scholars to suggest a link to an ancient sun-worshipping culture.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Fourth Form of Error. From the Stones of Venice

Front porch of Bourges Cathedral. From
Side elevation of Bourges Cathedral. From
¨The fourth form of error is when the men of design envy facts; that is to say, when the temptation of closely imitating nature leads them to forget their own proper ornamental function, and when they lose the power of composition for the sake of graphic truth; as, for instance, in the hawthorn moulding so often spoken of round the porch of Bourges Cathedral, which though very lovely, might perhaps, as we saw above, have been better, if the old buider, in his excessive desire to make it look like hawthorn, had not painted it in green.
It is, however, carefully to be noted, that the two morbid conditions to which the men of design are liable. The morbid state of men of design injures themselves only; that of the men of facts injures the whole world. The Chinese porcelain painter is, indeed, not so great a man as he might be, but he does not want to break everything that is not porcelain: but the modern English fact-hunter, despising design, wants to destroy everything that does not agree with his own notions of truth, and becomes the most dangerous and despicable of iconoclasts, exited by egotism instead of religion. Again: the Bourges sculptor, painting his hawthorns green, did not prevent any one from loving hawthorn: but Sir George Beaumont, trying to make Constable paint grass brown instead of green, was setting himself between Constable and nature, blinding the painter, and blaspheming the work of God.¨
Landscape with Hagar and the Angel. By George Beaumont. From
The Haywain, 1821. By John Constable. From
From the Stones of Venice, by John Ruskin. In The Literature of England.p. 785. USA, 1966
(Bourges Cathedral is in central France. George Beaumont was a landscape painter and patron of art 1753-1827. John Constable was an English landscape painter 1776-1837)

El Cabildo vuelve a contar la historia

Espectáculo en el Cabildo de Buenos Aires.  Foto: LA NACION   /   Rodrigo Néspolo
A continuación, la reproducción del artículo de Julieta Molina para La Nación. Post homenaje para el día de la Bandera Argentina:
"Impactante." "Espectacular." Fueron los adjetivos que emplearon los observadores del compilado histórico realizado en video mapping que ayer se exhibió nuevamente en conmemoración del Día de la Bandera sobre la fachada del Cabildo.
El cielo color gris opaco fue el fondo ideal para un Cabildo vestido de vibrantes colores que nada podría envidiar a las casas multicolores de La Boca. Pasadas las 7 de la tarde los rodillos frenéticos recorrían el frente: eran los últimos retoques para ocultar defectos y permitir que la proyección fuese perfecta. Lo fue.
Con una demora de media hora y antecedida de algunos silbidos y aplausos impacientes, el espectáculo comenzó con la fanfarria Alto Perú del Regimiento de Granaderos a Caballo General San Martín. El Himno a la Bandera fue tímidamente cantado por los presentes. Hubo tiempo también para el rock, que de la mano de Creedence despertó aplausos en los espectadores, que en ese momento eran 400 aproximadamente.
La proyección, que ya había sido exhibida el 25 de Mayo, se repetirá hasta el lunes próximo inclusive, con funciones a las 19, 20 y 21. Los espectadores de anoche, sin embargo, eran audiencia nueva. "El 25 estuvimos en el Obelisco para ver el desfile de Fuerzabruta. Vimos imágenes de esto por televisión y Facebook y nos vinimos desde La Plata sólo para verlo", explicó Eugenia Gómez, de 36 años, que fue acompañada de su amiga, Marianela Baysee.
El espectáculo, organizado por la Secretaría de Cultura de la Nación, fue producido en 3D-video mapping, una técnica que proyecta imágenes en superficies reales y recorre los 200 años de historia que separan a la Revolución de Mayo de este año, una selección que provocó polémica en su primera proyección.
Todas las personas observaron durante diez minutos compenetradas e ignorando el frío y el mal clima. Acompañados con música y voces grabadas, los sucesivos hitos del pasado generaron en la gente asombro y admiración. Un mapa dinámico con las carabelas de Colón navegando, luces que se apagan con el golpe del 30, vendas en los ojos para evocar los 70 y la voz de Alfonsín para recibir la democracia son sólo algunos de los momentos de este resumen histórico que merece ser observado.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

¨La Cabanon¨ dwelling units for homeless Haitians, by Andrés Duany

See ¨La Cabanon¨, the dwelling units Andrés Duany (Miami) has designed for homeless Haitians.
Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company founding principal Andrés Duany explains one of the prefab homes his firm has designed to house Haitians displaced by January's earthquake.

Olympia Theater. Gusman Center

Campaneria, a Miami native and 2010 president-elect of the city's AIA chapter, reveals a "hidden jewel"--an ornate, 1926 theater designed by John Eberson--and renovated by Morris Lapidus.
The building embodies the fantasy life that Miami sold to cold northerners; it was the Disney Worlds before Disney World was invented.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

El profeta de la palabra de Gaudí

Los invito a leer este hermoso artículo de Silvia Premat para el diario argentino La Nación. Etsuro Sotoo, el escultor japonés que continúa la inconclusa iglesia Sagrada Familia, estuvo en la Argentina. De sus conferencias:

Le dicen "el Gaudí japonés", pero él lo niega rotundamente. "Soy un pequeñísimo grano de arena frente al gran bloque de piedra que es Antoni Gaudí", responde con premura Etsuro Sotoo, el escultor de 56 años que desde hace más de tres décadas trabaja para completar la Sagrada Familia, el imponente templo que empezó el arquitecto catalán a comienzos del 1900.
En su primera visita al país, para dar conferencias en Buenos Aires, Rosario y Santa Fe, el artista que se define "un humilde picapedrero", afirmó: "Querría que la gente descubriera la necesidad que tenemos hoy de Gaudí".
Señaló que "el miedo que tiene la humanidad a sobrevivir" desaparecería si se sigue el camino que indicó el catalán: la obediencia a la naturaleza.
En un cerrado español con tonada japonesa dijo que Gaudí encontraba en las fuerzas que rigen a la naturaleza las respuestas a sus problemas.
Precisó que para el artista catalán lo primero en todo lo que hacía no era la búsqueda de la belleza por sí misma, sino intentar que sus obras cumplan la función para las que se las hacía.
Y explicó que en una época en la que no existían los extractores de aire, Gaudí dejó que el viento dictara la forma de las chimeneas, así como la ley de gravedad el diseño de las estructuras y la luz el de las ventanas.
Con 32 años trabajando en el mismo lugar, Sotoo no se cansa: "Gaudí es estructura, función y simbolismo. Sigo mirando la Sagrada Familia y siempre descubro algo nuevo. No sobra nada ni falta nada".
Si fuera por él, seguiría allí por siempre. "No estamos construyendo sino criando una vida, porque el arte, la belleza es algo vivo", dijo en diálogo con LA NACION en momentos previos a la presentación que hizo en la Sociedad Central de Arquitectos, en Buenos Aires, cuyo auditorio fue superado en su capacidad por unas 400 personas, en su mayoría joven.
Uñas de gato, flores inspiradoras del artista. Archivo de
Rescatar el oficio
"En una época de tanto arte conceptual, Sotoo no sólo rescata el oficio de la talla de piedra viva, sino que da un testimonio de transformación personal al trabajar en la obra de Gaudí", dijo el artista plástico Roberto Scafidi al presentar al escultor japonés en la charla organizada por el Centro Cultural Charles Péguy.
Sotoo contó que la trayectoria que lo llevó hasta Barcelona, donde vive desde 1978, "es un poco rara". Relató: "Generalmente se busca ganar dinero, tener trabajo. Yo buscaba acercarme a la piedra y encontré la Sagrada Familia".
Quedó fascinado y, casi sin saber nada sobre la vida de Gaudí, que murió en 1926, logró entrar a trabajar primero como picapedrero y, luego, como escultor.
"En aquella época, todo el mundo decía que Gaudí era más un loco que un genio. Con el tiempo, descubrí que es un genio e intenté llegar a su pensamiento", planteó.
Agregó que en un primer momento se sintió muy triste y desesperado porque no sabía dónde mirar para hacer las esculturas como las hacía el catalán, a quien la Iglesia Católica inició un proceso para reconocerlo como santo. "Después de un tiempo muy oscuro, descubrí que para entender a Gaudí hay que mirar donde miraba él", expresó, y admitió que, siguiendo a quien considera su maestro, se convirtió del budismo al catolicismo.
De todas formas, aclaró: "Cada uno con su oficio, sea budista o católico, puede colaborar con la creación de Dios". Hoy Sotoo dirige un grupo de tres escultores con los que trabaja a la par junto con una veintena de arquitectos que tienen el encargo de mantener y completar el templo que, a simple vista, trae reminiscencias con los castillos de arena infantiles.
Colocar una escultura suya en esa gran obra de arte le llevó a Sotoo siete años. En 1985 puso el primero de quince ángeles y nueve niños de una serie en la que algunos tienen rasgos orientales. "Son los que están mirando hacia el Oriente, hacia donde nace el sol", dijo, y contó que la pregunta que más le repiten los europeos es por qué los japoneses son los más atraídos por la Sagrada Familia.
Entre los cerca de 10.000 turistas que visitan ese monumento a diario la mayoría es japonesa. "La palabra clave es: naturaleza", explicó, y dijo que "naturaleza no son sólo las flores, sino sus fuerzas invisibles gracias a las cuales estamos viviendo".
Su cultura japonesa, comentó, le ayudó a comprender a Gaudí de quien habría que imitar su capacidad de observar y aprender de la naturaleza. "Hay mucha gente que construye un mundo en su cabeza como producto del nihilismo y así la humanidad no va encontrar salida", manifestó.
"Todos quieren ver la Sagrada Familia. Los 9000 o 10.000 que la visitan a diario entran como turistas y salen con una pregunta sobre su humanidad: ¿Adónde vamos? ¿Cuál es el camino? ¿Tengo que cambiar algo?", se preguntó, y agregó: "No es sólo un monumento turístico, sino la posibilidad de abrir una nueva puerta en cada uno".

Monday, June 14, 2010

Student has a plan to revitalize Oakland MUCH cheaper than the City of Oakland is asking for

This is a photocollage from Mr Jacobson, though San Francisco Chronicle shows it as a ¨render¨, I understand most of my readers know thedifference between a photocollage and a real 3D render.

I will try to be objective. These are the news, San Francisco Chronicle, June 11th 2010, by Chip Johnson:
“The concept of a streetcar connecting Jack London Square with the newer infill development in the Upper Broadway area has been batted about for a few years, but never in this much detail. The city has already collected $300,000 for feasibility studies with little results, while Jacobson's (the student) study reportedly covers all the bases and more.
Chip Johnson reports that Jacobson spent only $987 on his study, which included travel expenses for research trips to Portland and Seattle:
"That's pretty cost-effective, especially when you consider that Oakland city officials paid $300,000 for a streetcar feasibility study in 2005 and applied for an additional $330,000 in feasibility funds this year.
"I could have done it cheaper, but I decided to treat myself to a couple of $12 meals," said Jacobson, almost apologetically."
Stanford University undergraduate Daniel Jacobson is interested in pursuing a career in transportation planning and urban design, and I think it's safe to say he's off to a real good start.
The 20-year-old native of Point Richmond spent nine months of independent study producing a detailed and ingenious plan to revive Oakland's economy: build a 2.5-mile streetcar line that runs through the heart of the city, connecting Piedmont to Jack London Square.
The plan would create up to 24,000 jobs, housing opportunities for an equal number of new residents and breathe life back into downtown Oakland.
Oakland at-large Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who has known about Jacobson's work for a couple of weeks, described it as an "anchor project" with the potential to create a downtown hub that connects newly redeveloped areas of uptown Oakland to the waterfront.”
I don’t have anything against the City of San Francisco or Mr. Jacobson, but I understand he cannot cover all the research himself by almost $1000. What do we need for a general urban analysis (minimum), just to begin with an example:
Analysis of the area and urban/ecological impact.
Preparation and explanation of goals and objectives, in written, meetings and conferences
Preparation of potential projects, and estimated expenditures.
Estimation and documentation (if required) for affordable housing as part of the projects, for low to moderate income households.
Help to remedy the conditions of urban blight, as follow:
Unsafe, deterioted buildings, unhealthy buildings for workers.
Code violations
Defective design or physical construction, inadequate utilities
Analysis of economic viability and use of lots, together with compatibility of uses.
Analysis of lack of parking and substandard design, also related to lots shape and inadequate size.
Analysis of neighborhood commercial facilities and abnormal business vacancies in surrounding areas.
Overcrowding, prevention of non controlled urban sprawl.
Underdesigned landscape and hardscape .
Massive models, renderings, softwares?
And so on.
Because it is not only to design a street car line, but the impact on the zone and what is next, what will be generated after the impact.
I don’t mean the cost of this study has to be over 300000$ but please, do not be so ingenious. Any license, any experience required?  It seems not, just the effort of a journalist to glorify a student against the City needs. A subtle hidden critic, very silly from my point of view. Stanford, a high class society in San Francisco, with a VERY strict city, you don’t need such silly arguments to tell them they are really bureaucrats who need years and spend a lot of money to advance in any project. I think Mr. Chip Johnson has to be more aware of a real  urban analysis next time he writes a note on the subject. And Mr Johnson, submit your project to planners and architects, not politicians who do not understand a thing about a project implications. City council is a group of politicians, they are not professionals of urbanism. Should I laugh or should I cry?
Read the article


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