A very interesting construction takes place on the lake Titicaca
(between Peru and Bolivia). In fact, the Uros
people regularly build up islands with rushes and mud. The islands are then floating and probably drift a little bit with the current.
These islands can also recall the British Project Habakkuk
during the Second World War which was proposing to build aircraft carrier islands made out of wood and ice !
Whoever travels in Laos can visit at some point Akha
villages hosting surprising elevated little houses as you can see on the pictures. Those houses called “love huts”, are built by the village’s male teenagers in order for them to invite girls for a celebration of their young libidos.
I ignore why those huts need to be elevated but their particularity is pretty compelling.
As short as great article on Deconcrete entitled Suspended Bivouac Shelters…
Also see BLDG BLOG‘s last article about this strange Michigan triangle…
More articles very soon
I’ve been visiting the beautiful city of Chicago recently and I’ve been particularly impressed by the beauty of those tall buildings’ emergency staircases. No one seems to have been really thought trough or designed and that’s maybe why their delicateness and their infinite ascension triggers the imagination…
Sociable Weavers are birds living in the Botswana desert (which is the site of Catherine Ingraham current seminar at Pratt) and they have the ability to build up amazing sophisticated nests on a given support. Not only those nests propose an interesting system of temperature regulation but they even host other species of birds that thus live in symbiosis with the weavers.
thanks Aurana !
If Hell is a place where fire never stops to burn, Centralia (Pennsylvania) might be this place…
In fact this little town is burning since 1962 when a fire began inside the mine and spread all over the place by tunnels and fault. Since then, the town has to live with smoke, toxic gas and its road being distorted by the heat…
Here is are some pictures from amazing growing root bridges in India. A beautiful application of Gille Deleuze’s mouvement en train de se faire
describing Leibniz’s philosophy.
Here is the little text on Living Root Bridges:
The living bridges of Cherrapunji, India are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree. This tree produces a series of secondary roots from higher up its trunk and can comfortably perch atop huge boulders along the riverbanks, or even in the middle of the rivers themselves.
Cherrapunji is credited with being the wettest place on earth, and The War-Khasis, a tribe in Meghalaya, long ago noticed this tree and saw in its powerful roots an opportunity to easily cross the area’s many rivers. Now, whenever and wherever the need arises, they simply grow their bridges.
n order to make a rubber tree’s roots grow in the right direction – say, over a river – the Khasis use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems.
The thin, tender roots of the rubber tree, prevented from fanning out by the betel nut trunks, grow straight out. When they reach the other side of the river, they’re allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time, a sturdy, living bridge is produced.
The root bridges, some of which are over a hundred feet long, take ten to fifteen years to become fully functional, but they’re extraordinarily strong – strong enough that some of them can support the weight of fifty or more people at a time.
Because they are alive and still growing, the bridges actually gain strength over time – and some of the ancient root bridges used daily by the people of the villages around Cherrapunji may be well over five hundred years old.
Fingal’s cave is situated on Staffa’s island in Scotland an its characteristics consist of presence of Basalt Organs. These basalt columns results from solidification and thermic contraction of a basalt stream a very short time after its emission. You can observe some of them in Island, Ireland, Scotland and France.
ville souterraine près de Tungkwan (Chine)
Exposition au MOMA (NY) en 1964 par Bernard Rudofsky sur l’architecture vernaculaire “autocréée” dont la fonction est la seule motivation pour exister. Si vous cherchez le livre (édition originale !), vous pouvez le trouver sur http://www.abebooks.com (6$+13$ de frais de port soit moins de 15€).
Anticoli dans les Sabines (près de Rome)
ville Dogon au sud de Tombouctou (Mali)
Another example of self-construction in Bernard Rudofsky’s Architecture without Architects
Dwellings below, fields upstairs
One of the most radical solutions in the field of shelter is represented by the underground towns and villages in the Chinese loess belt. Loess is silt, transported and deposited by the wind. Because of its great softness and high porosity (45 per cent), it can be easily carved. In places, roads have been cut as much as 40 feet deep into the original level by the action of wheels.
The photographs show settlements of the most rigorous, not to say abstract, design near Tungkwan (Honnan). The dark squares in the flat landscape are pits an eighth of an acre in an area, or about the size of a tennis court. Their vertical sides are 25 to 30 feet high. L-shaped staircases lead to the apartmments below whose rooms are about 30 feet deep and 15 feet wide, and measure about 15 feet to the top of the vaulted ceiling. They are lighted and aired by openings that give onto the courtyard. “One may see smoke curling up from the fields” writes George B. Cressey in his Land of the 500 million: A geography of China, even though there is no house in sight; “such land does double duty, with dwellings below and fields upstairs.” The dwellings are clean and free of vermin, warm in winter and cool in summer. Not only habitations but factories, schools, hotels and goverment offices are built entirely underground.
One of self-construction’s motivation comes from the fact that it is difficult for the authority to control and thus, sometimes its illegal existence for a more or less important time. That is one of the topics tackled by Robert Neuwirth in his book, Shadow cities. A billion squatters, a new urban world
. In fact, for his research, this author lived for a while in one of Rio’s favelas and other illegal district in Nairobi (Kenya), Mumbai (India) and Istanbul (Turkey). For each city, he is interested in observing how these districts’ inhabitants manage to negociate with their environment’s illegal existence thanks to a bypass or an interpretation of the law, which allow their juridical eviction to be more difficult. That is how we learn that, a Turkish law affirms that an illegal building in construction can be destroyed immediately whereas, an achieved building could only be demolished after judiciary proceedings. Therefore a lot of buildings are built very quickly during the night, to limitate as possible the vulnerability period. It is then interesting to observe how the bypass of law influence architecture and become a collective tacit knowledge which rules the district organisation.
In Architecture without Architects
, Bernard Rudofsky presents this example of a Pakistan city, Hyperabad Sind where a bunch of unique air-conditionners:
These unusual roofscapes are a prominent feature of the lower Sind district in West Pakistan. From April to June, temperatures range above 120°F, lowered vy an atternoon breeze to a pleasant 95°. To channel the wind into every building, “bad-gir”, windscoops are installed on the roofs, one to each room. Since the wind always blowns from the same direction, the position of the windscoops is permanently fixed. In multistoried houses they reach all the way down, doubling as intramural telephones. Although the origin of this contraption is unknown, it has been in use for at least five hundred years.
This month’s thematic would be about self-construction.
Self-construction always takes place in an interesting debate for the reason it questions the role of the architect. Moreover, it often succeed to achieve an amazing architecture and urbanism in the pureness of a necessary function, to inhabit. Does that mean that the architect could be considered as a luxury supplier, more or less hidden behind a pseudo artistic or intellectual discourse ? It must not be that simple, but beyond the flagellating exercice of the architect of being amazed by architecture without architects, this same architecture ask some real questions about where to stand as an architect.
We will thus try to see a bit clearer during this month.
That’s Tokyo sewers, it’s just incredible!
(it’s a old series of photo already publish on a lot of blogs and websites)
IMAGES COPYRIGHT 2005 EDOGAWA RIVER OFFICE, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
After this post
about Tadashi Kawamata’s workshop in Versailles’ school of architecture, here is his own installation in La Maréchalerie. Like the students’ work, Kawamata uses crates and little plastic joints. In the inside, in order to create a new volume, crates are linked to a net hung by cables to Maréchalerie’s wooden beams.
Exhibition is open until december 13rd but the outdoor installation will be took apart on october 6th.
While we are amazed by fancy shaped architectures, some other people are inventing clever devices with almost no money. Sistema Arde has been designed by Alejandro Villareal and Pedro Martinez to build in a cheap way self constructed low incomes houses in Mexico.Here is the text in Design like you give a damn:
“Cheap and widely available, concrete masonry unit (CMU) block has become one of the most commonly used materials in low-income construction. With this in mind, Alejandro Villareal developed Sistema Arde, a patented building system that combines the ease of building with cement-block with the warmth and variety of traditional construction.
Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, each blocklike element is designed to solve a particular construction problem. For example, sewage lines, electrical systems, or other utilities can be run through specialized “chase” blocks. Blocks designed as key pieces simplify wall intersections and other connection points, while structural accessories such as planters and stair pieces combine to humanize the building’s façade and interiors.
There are three basic groups identified within the block system: “basic technology”, such as the inner walls, joists and various other inner structural elements; “finished structural elements,” which form exterior load-bearing walls and create façades with a variety of finished masonry textures; and “structural accessories” such as planters, windows, steps, closings, and decorative elements. The blocks have been used to construct a number of projects in San Miguel de Allende and other parts of Mexico.“
Maintenant que la Tour Saint Jacques se soit progressivement déshabillée de son bel habit, c’est au tour du Palais du Sénat d’interroger malgré lui, le lien qu’entretient ce qu’on appelle le patrimoine avec une contemporanéité (excusez le barbarisme). L’hybridation ne durera qu’un instant, alors profitons-en !
Lorsque l’architecture s’autocréer, nous sommes tous au chomage technique mais c’est beau !
Ceux là ne sont pas architectes mais ils ont du faire face à l’élaboration rapide et fonctionnelle d’un abri urbain pour un groupe de personnes relativement important. Les médias n’en parlent plus mais les “street squatters” de la rue de la banque sont toujours là et attendent toujours d’obtenir un logement fixe. Cela fait maintenant plus de deux mois que ces gens vivent dans la rue et qu’ils ont réquisitionné une partie de l’espace public. L’abri en question est constitué d’une grande bache bleue qui laisse le vent le pénétrer et ainsi créer des mouvements assez superbes. Cette réquisition est une illustration de l’appropriation de l’espace public en une architecture, qui là encore (cf article Architecture without Architects), trouve son esthétique dans sa prénominance de sa fonction vitale.