the way we live

photo friday: the bean

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here’s a shot i love: the reflection of the chicago skyline along south michigan avenue as seen through annish kapoor’s marvelous “cloudgate,” affectionately referred to as “the bean.”   the way the skyline is warped and bent through the seamless reflective sculpture gives the image an ethereal watercolor like quality.  in a way it’s almost like a rea-life salvador dali painting.  this photo was taken using kodak ektachrome professional plus 100 speed film.

7 March 2008 Posted by | photo, urban planning | 2 Comments

ice cap goodbye

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the other day i spotted an even scarier assessment of the current climate crisis our planet is facing.  treehugger had an article in which they were citing a new calculation that claimed the arctic ice cap could be gone by as earlier as this summer.  while earlier estimates ranged from 5 to 100 years, two of the more well known are 2013 and 2030.  of course the process by which the polar ice caps disintegrate is exponentially sped up by increasingly lower and lower local and global albedo levels.  that is to say, as the ice melts by means of a hotter climate due to global warming, less and less bright white, reflective ice remains on the globe to reflect large quantities of sunlight.  in turn, more and more dark bodied water is exposed that absorbs more and more of the sun’s heat, thus speeding the process exponentially.  when the polar ice caps disappear there will be little to nothing left to stem the tide of global warming: fears of dramatically rising sea levels inundating coastal cities, desertification of the subtropics, unpredictable and violent weather patterns (not to mention the exposure to increasingly vast amounts of ultraviolet rays and heat in general), and biological effects galore such as species collapse.

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of course not everything is doom and gloom; no arctic ice cap means the opening of the famed northwest passage including increased coastlines at the poles.  the world’s food producing locations and robust economies will surely shift poleward as well.  of course, the precious few benefits come at devastatingly alarming costs.  regardless, let’s all hope we can get our acts together and stem the tide of global warming.

5 March 2008 Posted by | green, society, technology | Leave a comment

mile high v2.0

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coming just days on the heels of the hyder consulting announcement that they are working on a mile high skyscrapper comes the announcement that populararchitecture is also working on a mile high tower of their own. if built, the populararchitecture tower would be located in london. unlike the hyder structure, populararchitecture has released renderings that show the immense scale of such a building, a scale that as i accurately hypothesized before, is completely out of touch with everything human. according to inhabitat, the tower would rise some 500 stories and, “would contain schools and hospitals to shops and pubs, and everything else under the sun.”

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additionally, this structure is to be environmentally friendly, though any skeptic would be quick to point out the sheer absurd abundance of materials, resources, and energy required to build and maintain such a structure. though it is true, such a design emphasizes efficiency in the way we live and minimizes our literal footprint on the earth’s surface as a function of living vertically as opposed to horizontally. personally, i don’t see any way either of these towers get the go-ahead anytime in the near future. regardless, i should hope at the least these proposal generate discourse about the way we live and how we should be living. are towers of this size necessary? despite being green, what are their environmental impacts? how do incredible dense footprints such as this affect the vibrancy of the neighborhoods surrounding them? surely though possible, the designers don’t actually intend the residence never leave the structure? while certainly fascinating ideas, i for one prefer not to see these built for fear of shattering delicate urban fabrics and destroying the delicate scalar balance of human existence.

1 March 2008 Posted by | architecture, green, modern, society, technology, urban planning | 3 Comments