Are Playable Cities the Future of Urbanism?

Park and Slide in . Image © Flickr CC User Paul Townsend

Who says that playing is just for kids? Bristol, in the United Kingdom, is just one of the many cities around the world experimenting with , creating opportunities to eliminate urban solitude in favour of having fun. In a recent article in The Guardian, Julian Baggini dives head first into Bristol’s playful new initiatives including a 300-foot water slide on the city’s high street, post boxes that converse using text messaging, and city-wide zombie chases. Bristol is leading the way with urban play worldwide, hosting a conference this month entitled Making the City Playable, an opportunity for planners to convene with the creative minds behind the new form of entertainment. Find out more about urban play and the benefits it brings to cities here.

Room 13 / Mitchell Taylor Workshop

© Piers Taylor

Architects: Mitchell Taylor Workshop
Location: , UK
Year: 2008
Photographs: Piers Taylor

A Bad Month for Frank Lloyd Wright Fans

The SC Johnson Administration building, featuring Wright’s (now controversial) desks. Image © Jeff Dean

December has been a month of disappointment for fans of Frank Lloyd Wright: first, a plan to build a house designed by Wright and adapted for the English countryside has been rejected by Wraxall Councillors (Bristol Post), who believe that Frank Lloyd Wright “can’t be that influential”. This was followed by the news that SC Johnson, the company for whom Wright designed the famous Johnson Administration Building, is trying to stop the high profile Sotheby’s auction (ArtInfo) of a desk and chair designed for their building – claiming that the items were in fact stolen from them way back in the 1950s. More on the rejection here and the Sotheby”s controversy here.

Bristol Hospital Competition Finalists

In the international competition to improve the facade of one of ’s most hated buildings, three finalists were just announced which will be narrowed down to an single winner later this summer. The challenge encouraged participants to put forward concepts for a facelift to improve the aesthetics and performance of Royal Infirmary. The shortlisted designs are Veil by Spain’s Nieto Sobejano; Vertical Garden by Swedes Tham & Videgård; and Light and Air by US design office Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu (SO-IL). More images and information after the break.

Spaceplates Greenhouse / N55 + Anne Romme

© Jamie Woodley

Originating from the ‘pure plate’ structure occurring in natural structures such as sea urchins, and based on a hexagonal geometry, the Spaceplates Greenhouse is being used for the first time this term by horticultural staff and students at City of College’s South Skills Academy in Hengrove Park, . Designed by N55, with Architect, Anne Romme, the project is constructed using an innovative building system based on aluminum and polycarbonate and accommodates work, growing and teaching space. More images and architects’ description after the break.

RWU North Campus Residence Hall / Perkins+Will

©2009 Christian Phillips Photography

Architect: Perkins+Will
Location: , Rhode Island
Project Area: 120,000sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Christian Phillips Photography, Anton Grassl/Esto, lesvants.com

M Shed Bristol Museum / LAB Architecture Studio

© Courtesy of LAB Architecture Studio

Architects: LAB Architecture Studio
Location: ,
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 5,300 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of LAB Architecture Studio

Restoration of Buckminster Fuller’s iconic Fly’s Eye Dome at America’s Cup

2010 - Fly's Eye Dome installed in Beacon, New York

Goetz Composites, fabricators of some of the most successful race boats in the world including three of today’s most high profile yachts as well as ten America’s Cup racing yachts completed a historic restoration of one of Buckminster Fuller‘s most iconic structures, the 24 foot Fly’s Eye Dome.

Patented in 1965, Fuller created two prototypes of this structure; a 24 foot and 50 foot dome. Fuller writes in his seminal book, Critical Path that “the Fly’s Eye domes are designed as part of a ‘livingry’ service. The basic hardware components will produce a beautiful, fully equipped air-deliverable house that weighs and costs about as much as a good automobile. Not only will it be highly efficient in its use of energy and materials, it also will be capable of harvesting incoming light and wind energies.”

More images and information after the break.