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Sharon Lam

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From Buffy to Breaking Bad, Sherlock to Stranger Things, Here are 8 Floor Plans from Cult TV Shows

Courtesy of homes.com
Courtesy of homes.com

Floor plans of favourite television shows tell an interesting story, offering the viewer an extra dimension of a world they are already familiar with. A new series of poster-ready plans from Homes.com continues this with some of the most followed television shows both old and new—featuring Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, Mr Robot, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sherlock and Stranger Things, there's something in this set for TV viewers of all tastes.

Metropolis Magazine Asks: Could Refugees "Save" America’s Rust Belt?

The "Rust Belt," a region of north central United States, is well known as an area where once thriving industrial cities have declined in economic health and population. As a result, many of the region's cities have been subject to grand proposals that aim to fix these city's problems--but could such schemes also provide a way to intervene in other serious global issues? In a recent article, Metropolis Magazine’s Web Editor and former ArchDaily Managing Editor Vanessa Quirk argues that refugees could reinvigorate such cities, describing how refugees are “boosting American’s legacy cities,” but simultaneously “encountering resistance from residents.”

7 Scary Architectural Elements That Wouldn't Meet Building Code Requirements Today

The Skull Chapel in Czermna, Poland. Image© <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Poland_-_Czermna_-_Chapel_of_Skulls_-_interior_06.jpg'>Wikimedia user Merlin</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY 3.0</a>
The Skull Chapel in Czermna, Poland. Image© Wikimedia user Merlin licensed under CC BY 3.0

Architecture is often the backdrop, rather than the subject, of the scary. For example, The Shining owes much to the Overlook Hotel, “haunted” is often followed by “house,” and Victorian architecture has come to be associated with the creepy. In a less supernatural manner however, architectural elements themselves have proven over history to be scary in their own right. With the clarity that only retrospect can offer, it’s easy to look back on the following macabre materials, bleak utilities, and terrifying technologies in horror... but perhaps what is most scary is to consider which aspects of architecture we might blindly accept today that will also become glaringly frightening with time.

The Unreliable Utopia of Auroville’s Architecture

Near Pondicherry in Southern Indian is Auroville, an experimental township devoted to the teachings of mystic philosopher Sri Aurobindo. The 20 square kilometer site was founded in 1968 by Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa. Otherwise known as “The Mother,” she saw Auroville as a place “where men of all countries would be at home”.

© Auroville Foundation. <a href='http://www.auroville.org/contents/3112'>Used with permission</a>. ImageTemple Tree Retreat © Auroville Foundation. <a href='http://www.auroville.org/contents/3112'>Used with permission</a>. ImageThe original "Galaxy" masterplan for Auroville © Auroville Foundation. <a href='http://www.auroville.org/contents/3112'>Used with permission</a>. ImageFuture School © Auroville Foundation. <a href='http://www.auroville.org/contents/3112'>Used with permission</a>. ImageThe Vikas Settlement + 20

This New Code Ensures Buildings Designs are Internet Optimized

When looking at a building, how good its internet is, is probably not one’s first thought. But for the tenants and companies inside it, it’s a key building service that they rely on daily.

As Arie Barendrecht explains, “it’s vital to tenants of buildings and critical to attracting and maintaining new tenants – it’s a non-negotiable design component."

Barendrecht is the co-founder and CEO of WiredScore, a company that ranks commercial buildings on their connectivity. Beginning in New York, the company has provided wired certification to over 300 buildings in the city, with further operations across several other US cities as well as London and Manchester in the UK. The company’s work is instrumental in showing architects how their designs need to prepare for the 21st century and acknowledging those that already do.

Mapped Movies: The Architecture and Settings Behind Film's Greatest Moments

Stories have a way of clinging to places, charging buildings and spaces with an effect only perceptible to those who know what they once staged. Film is the most visual storytelling medium, and their environments often play memorable and vital roles in creating the movie's character and identity. The popularity of film tourism is testament to this phenomena. While the bulk of film tourism stems from blockbuster movies and their exposure and celebrity, the blog Filmap takes a more humble approach in highlighting the stories of everyday places.

For the past three years, the blog has laboriously tracked the locations of hundreds of movie scenes using Google Streetview, pairing stripped-back street views right next to their cinematographic counterparts. The resulting contrast elevates the everyday while also grounding fiction to our very streets, a reminder of the built environment’s role as a vessel of imagination.

A selection of Filmap’s posts are shared below – how many movies can you recognize from their real-life settings alone?

The Strange Habits of Top Architects

Well-known architects are easy to admire or dismiss from afar, but up close, oddly humanizing habits often come to light. However, while we all have our quirks, most people's humanizing habits don't give an insight into how they became one of the most notable figures in their field of work. The following habits of several top architects reveal parts of their creative process, how they relax, or simply parts of their identity. Some are inspiring and some are surprising, but all give a small insight into the mental qualities that are required to be reach the peak of the architectural profession—from an exceptional work drive to an embrace of eccentricity (and a few more interesting qualities besides).

The Tallest Timber Tower Yet: Perkins + Will's Concept Proposal for River Beech Tower

Courtesy of River Beech Tower
Courtesy of River Beech Tower

As part of a masterplan along the Chicago River, the River Beech Tower is a residential high-rise which, if built, would be taller than any existing timber building. The collaborative team behind River Beech consists of architects Perkins+Will, engineers Thornton Tomasetti and the University of Cambridge. Currently a conceptual academic and professional undertaking, the team state that it could potentially be realized by the time of the masterplan’s final phases.

The World's Most Creative Neighborhoods: Metropolis Names Mumbai, Lagos and Lisbon Among Top Ten

From Yaba in Lagos to the suburb of Bandra in Mumbai, Metropolis Magazine provides a scenic tour around the world’s “most creative” neighborhoods. Spread across ten rapidly growing cities like Cape Town and Turin, the article provides a comprehensive glimpse into these lesser discussed hubs of creativity.

White Elephants: Over-Budget, Unsuccessful, and Embarrassing Architecture Projects From Around the World

Not every piece of architecture can be an economic and social success. But there is one dreaded term reserved for only the mot wasteful of projects: "white elephants." The term comes from a story of the kings of Siam, now Thailand, who would reportedly gift sacred albino elephants to courtiers they didn't like. Refusing the gift from the king would have been unacceptable, but being sacred, these animals were forbidden from work, leading the courtier to financial ruin—a fact the kings knew all too well.

Of course, in architecture the term "white elephant" is used frequently to disparage certain projects, and whether a project is deserving of such infamy is usually a matter of perspective. Often eyesores or reminders of poorly spent funds, these projects refuse to be forgotten despite few wanting to remember them. Dotted around the world and across history, they all have the same thing in common: although they may (or may not) have once looked good on paper, they probably should have just stayed on paper.

Could We Soon Be Living in a Metamaterial World?

Simply put, metamaterials are materials that behave according to their structure, rather than their base material composition. By manipulating their internal microstructures, metamaterials can exhibit properties that would not otherwise be found in a naturally occurring material.

To date, the term has mostly been used to refer to materials which can manipulate electromagnetic waves with an unnatural refractive index. But recently, a different way of looking at metamaterials has been studied by a team at the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), who suggest that “so far, metamaterials were understood as materials – we want to think of them as machines.” A series of objects created by HPI that perform mechanical functions through their metamaterial configuration demonstrate this concept of “metamaterial mechanisms.”

This Recreation of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is Built with Shipping Containers

All the world’s a stage – quite literally so, in the case of the Container Globe, a proposal to reconstruct a version of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre with shipping containers. Staying true to the design of the original Globe Theatre in London, the Container Globe sees repurposed containers come together in a familiar form, but in steel rather than wood. Founder Angus Vail hopes this change in building component will give the Container Globe both a "punk rock" element and international mobility, making it as mobile as the shipping containers that make up its structure.

Globe by the Brooklyn Bridge, New York. Image Courtesy of The Container Globe View of Stage from the Yard. Image Courtesy of The Container Globe View from Upper Seating Gallery. Image Courtesy of The Container Globe Globe in Waitangi Park, Wellington NZ. Image Courtesy of The Container Globe + 21

TED Talk: MASS Design Group's Michael Murphy Asks “What More Can Architecture Do?”

In this TED Talk, co-founder of MASS Design Group, Michael Murphy, presents the question “what more can architecture do?” as the springboard philosophy behind the practice. Following a trajectory of MASS’s projects, Murphy reflects upon their practice’s progress in seeing architecture as an opportunity to invest in the future of communities.

This Onsite Pop-up Plant Turns Excavation Waste into Building Material

Excavation is usually a bane for real estate developers. To make way for new buildings, truckloads of excavated waste are removed from site in a noisy, time-consuming and gas-guzzling process. Exploring a more sustainable solution, the California-based company Watershed Materials have developed an onsite pop-up plant which repurposes excavated material right at the job site to create concrete masonry units (CMUs) used in the development. By eliminating truck traffic, reusing waste and reducing imported materials, the result is a win for the environment.

The 5 Types of Professors You’ll Have in Architecture School (And Why They’re All Important)

Tutors (or professors, depending on where you live). Everyone has horror stories about their tutors, just as everyone has stories about a teacherr they truly adored. Ultimately, your tutors are likely to be the single most important element of your architectural education; no matter how much effort you put into learning through other means, these people will probably become formative figures in not only your education, but your life in general.

It's easy to forget, though, that they are just that: people, with all the flaws and foibles that being a person entails. Some you will love to learn from, while others may be a little more difficult—but like Dickens' Christmas Carol ghosts, each type of tutor has their own lesson to impart. Here are the five different types of tutor you'll deal with in your architectural education, and what you should learn from each of them.