the other day i stumbled on a couple of architecturally humorous pieces of writing. the always intersting blog part iv has a great open letter to architects, while at the same time, bore me posted a very backhanded design brief. enjoy!
easily one of the craziest architectural images i’ve ever seen. the above is a building currently undergoing demolition in london, except it’s being demolished from the ground up. unbelievable. apparently the p&0 building as it’s known, was built by suspending the floors from a massive beam at the top; consequently, workers must begin demolition from the ground and work their way to the top. the image is great though, an extraordinary balancing act and a abnormal urban encounter. the building is being razed to make room for this new structure designed by lord richard rogers.
on a side note, how does one become a lord?
like the little engine that could, architecture for humanity has been making a big splash as of late. not that long ago they kicked off their brilliant philanthropic open architecture network and just a couple of days ago we discussed their wonderful new funding campaign, the own a day program. today there is a flattering article about their biloxi model home program in the new york times. the article is worth a read. it’s incredible the amount of humanitarian relief that can be accomplished when organized, driven people are connected. the biloxi model home program, being just that, set out to provide those displaced by hurricane katrina with new homes. in biloxi alone over 3,500 homes with more than 12,000 residents were destroyed. mr. sinclair’s group found a way to connect willing semi-local architects with those in need. the process was extremely unique, letting a number of resident choose their architect based upon presentations and schematic designs; it was akin to an, “architectural flea market.” naturally their were a host of various schemes and designs ranging from prefabs to vernacular architecture. currently afh is working on securing funding to build 40-60 homes over the next 3-5 years in biloxi, mississippi. bravo.
back on july 15 the chicago tribune broke the news that oil mega-monster bp obtained a permit from the state of indiana to dump “significantly more” toxic chemicals into lake michigan from their whiting, indiana oil refinery. initial statements claimed these toxins to be ammonia (54% more) and industrial sludge (35% more). as you can imagine this caused quite a stir in chicago and other neighboring cities along lake michigan. further tribune investigations discovered that not only has bp been dumping ammonia, industrial sludge, and suspended solids into lake michigan, but much higher than allowed mercury deposits as well.
“federal records analyzed by the tribune show bp puts 2 pounds of mercury into the lake every year from its sprawling plant 3 miles southeast of chicago in whiting, ind. that amount is small compared with the mercury that falls into the water from air pollution, but mercury builds up in the environment and is so toxic that even tiny drops can threaten fish and people.”
according to 1995 epa standards, bp’s mercury output should not surpass 8/100ths of a pound. not only is 2 pounds of mercury dumped annually significantly more than 1995 standards, it is plenty to threaten local fish and wildlife. and as stated above mercury is a toxin that accumulates through the food chain. my real question is, why is bp dumping any mercury at all? or any toxins for that reason? i can’t help but think william mcdonough’s cradle to cradle:
“to be less bad is to accept things the way they are, to believe that poorly designed, dishonorable, destructive systems are the best humans can do. the ultimate failure of the “be less bad” approach: a failure of the imagination. what about an entirely different model? what would it mean to be 100% good?”