Tuesday, April 29

Architecture from around the net

When Gehry's Guggenheim museum in Bilbao opened in 1997, it immediately became a tourist attraction and revitalised the surrounding area, putting the Basque region "on the map" and winning praise from veteran architect Phillip Johnson as the "greatest building of our time". But the audacious, radical contours of it's shape also highlighted the vital importance of digital mediation in the practice - they would be "nearly impossible" to build without CAD and CATIA (Computer Aided Three Dimensional Interactive Application) visualisations.

Lebanese architecture firm Atelier Hapsitus joins the dozens of high profile, high flying proposals currently underway in the UAE and Dubai, with it's fantastical Cloud building. And while the architects state (perhaps half seriously) that the project "is a dream, suspended between artificiality and reality", their cunning digital visualisations might just enable the Cloud to get off the ground.

Design boom has an extensive overview of dozens of other skyscrapers, 5 star hotels, and concept buildings currently under development. All prominently feature digital modeling and visualisation, some even basing their shapes entirely from algorhythmic forms. The Da Vinci rotating tower, with each story independently controlled, allows thousands of possible combinations, each able to be predicted by a computer simulation. The Dubai Hub One - a cultural and arts sphere - has been designed using "special programing scripts, creating a dense structure of spaces."

Buzzcut, a blog formerly focused on videogames, recently made the (not so) giant leap to focusing on virtual architecture, examining a range of digital and unrealised spaces, from SimCity to Second Life, Debord to Dubai. Virtual Suburbia continues in the same vein, focusing on the metaverse of SL and the dozens of innovative and unusual 'builds' from SL artists. Recent spaces include a replica of the Korova Milk Bar from A Clockwork Orange, historic snapshots of the early days of Second Life, and two major university student projects from Stockholm and Australia.

Not Possible IRL stays with the metaverse, staunchly concentrating on "well conceived and realised content creation in Second Life which would not be possible in real life". Not Possible recommended two spaces which still stand out to me as exceptional - Nathan Babcock's topographic terrain and AM Radio's wheat fields.

Finally Share Architecture and Best and Worst bring us firmly back to solid ground. Both sites are relatively new, the former highlighting new and innovating buildings globally as well as in New Zealand. Both sites also use the digital space as a sounding board - getting feedback via comments, forums, and polls, that will (ideally) come full circle, shaping the waterfronts, public spaces, and apartment buildings of the immediate future locally.

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