The old city of Al-’Ula, Saudi Arabia, built in the 13th century. In the 20th century the new town center was established beside the old town and eventually the people left the old buildings. The last inhabitants left in 1983.
Model for a City for Pilgrims, Mina, Kenzo Tange/Kenji Ekuan, 1974
Radisson Blu Iveria: A Luxury Hotel That Became a Refugee Camp
The Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel is located at the center of Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi. Built in 1967, it was Georgia’s finest hotel and a popular place to stay for its excellent location and sweeping views of the city. Then in the early 1990s, soon after the collapse and subsequent breakup of the USSR, civil war broke out in Georgia. Tbilisi was flooded with refugee ethnic Georgians coming in from the disputed territory of Abkhazia on the west of Georgia. More than 200,000 refugees poured into the city and the government was faced to deal with their reallocation. Many buildings in Tbilisi, including Hotel Iveria, were reallocated for housing the displaced. A thousand of them wound up in the hotel’s 22 floors where they would remain for the next ten years.
The hotel had been lying vacant at that time, unable to do business after the collapse of the Soviet Union and associated collapse of Georgia’s tourism industry. The monumental Soviet building that dominates the Georgian capital’s skyline became a pitiful sight, with broken windows patched up with cellophane, broken railings, crude plywood constructions on the balconies and a gaudy miscellany of washing hung everywhere.
This model of a self-assembling protein nanocage was designed by researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle; UCLA; and HHMI’s Janelia Farm. Such cage-shaped proteins could act as nanoscale containers; for example, drug-filled nanocages could deliver therapies directly to tumor cells.
Credit: Vikram Mulligan; Nature 2014, DOI: 10.1038/nature13404
BIG’s combined power plant and ski slope is “turning science fiction into fact” (dezeen)
Alvar Aalto, Three Exterior Views of the “Helsinki House of Culture”, (1958)
The House of Culture in Helsinki is Aalto in his ‘red brick period’. He achieves the free-form curves of the concert hall walls using wedge-shaped bricks, arranged variously with their shorter edge facing inside or outside the wall. The impact of the solid brick walls must be seen in the context of what had gone before. In Finland, the National-Romantics had used wood and granite to show closeness to Finnish nature, while the modern movement (as elsewhere) used more abstract white plaster surfaces (which did not wear well particularly in the Finnish climate). Aalto’s red brick was therefore a bigger statement than it now seems: a man-made material that keeps its individuality and local personality.
An attitude has arisen which says, “Before, there was crime and emptiness; now we’ve got galleries and coffee. You’re telling me you actually preferred crack dens?” This shuts down debate by asserting that art and cafés for incomers were the only viable antidotes to lawlessness and poverty, when in fact they merely shunt them elsewhere. It erroneously suggests that creative uses of urban spaces are an end point, and reveals the ugly undertone beneath much talk of neighborhood change: That these inner city areas are just too good to be squandered on the low-income people being displaced from them.
[Image: Wikimedia Commons/Graeme Maclean]
(vía BLDGBLOG: Buffer Space)
An acoustic buffer grooved into the landscape around Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, by landscape artist Paul de Kort
A paradox of non-place: a foreigner lost in a country he does not know (a ‘passing stranger’) can feel at home there only in the anonymity of motorways, service stations, big stores or hotel chains. For him, an oil company logo is a reassuring land-mark among the supermarket shelves he falls with relief on sanitary, household or food products validated by multinational brand names.Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity - Marc Augé (1992). (via besieging)