College student Kevin Wisbeth, creator of the Youtube series “A Quick Perspective,” puts size in layman’s terms for those who might not be able to conceptualize the true width of a B-2 Bomber’s wings, or understand the immense depth of Russia’s largest mine. Wisbeth digitally composes manmade structures and natural wonders to put into context each of their sizes, seamlessly fitting the world’s largest oil tanker into New York’s Central Park and hovering the M-1 Rocket motor just above a Smart Car.
An enormous object resembling a zeppelin has just been built atop the Dox Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. The 138-foot structure (42-meter) won’t be taking to the sky anytime soon, but will instead be utilized as a public gathering space for readings, performances, and debates about literature. The wooden airship-like building is situated atop a cascade of steps on the Dox center’s roof and should accommodate up to 120 seated visitors.
The alternative meeting space was designed as part of a collaboration between the center’s founder and director, Leos Valka, and architect Martin Rajnis who won the 2014 Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. “Our aim for the world of contemporary art is to spread and get partially interconnected with the world of literature,” Valka shared with the AP at a preview event this week. “It’s a world of pure imagination, a children’s world.” Rajnis recently gave a Creative Mornings talk in Prague titled Embrace the Weird.
The airship has officially been named Gulliver, after the fictional protagonist and narrator of Jonathan Swift’s famous Gulliver’s Travels. You can see more process photos on Pinterest, Google Photos, and on Facebook.
Earlier this summer, Archi-Depot opened within Tokyo’s Shinagawa district, a warehouse museum dedicated to the storage and display of Japanese architectural models. Created by the company Warehouse TERRADA (previously), the cavernous space houses rows and rows of dramatically-lit miniature designs, many of which serve as the tiny precursors to some of the city’s top attractions such as the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo International Airport, and the Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center.
Each of the models stacked within the museum’s 17-foot-tall interior contain a QR code, a feature that provides quick access to further information about the architectural works. Digital details include blueprints, photographs of the finalized building or structure, and examples of other projects the head architect has completed during their career. One architect in particular, Kengo Kuma, has been selected to design the 2020 World Olympics stadium. Although this project is still within its planning stages, a few of his completed projects’ models are stored within the museum. These works include the China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum and the Asakusa cultural center mentioned above. Other architects included in the museum’s collection are Jun Aoki, Shigeru Ban, Wonderwall, Torafu, and many more as the collection is continuously expanding.
In addition to this growing permanent display, Archi-Depot also hosts rotating exhibitions of newer models or more conceptual pieces in its exhibition area. Currently the museum has an exhibition of works by Japanese architecture firm Wonderwall that will be on display through the end of the year. Last month we had a chance to visit the museum, and were blown away by the immense detail put into each of the tiny pieces, especially considering they are often stored away from the public eye. You can have a chance to browse the collection by either visiting the museum Tuesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 9 PM, or visit digitally on their website and Instagram.
Architect Hiroshi Nakamura had always been intrigued by how some crows utilize found coat hangers as a structural element in their nests. With this idea in mind, a unique opportunity presented itself when treehouse builder Takashi Kobayashi contacted him with an unusual site for a tearoom: 10 meters above the ground in a 300-year-old cinnamomum camphora tree growing precariously on the side of a mountain that overlooks the ocean in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Using the coat hangers as a starting point he designed the Bird’s Nest Atami Tearoom using a variety of minimally invasive construction techniques meant to protect the integrity of the tree.
“Hangers are not only durable but also highly elastic, and they offer more hooks to connect than branches and hence are easier to assemble,” he shares. “Crows, flying deftly across the dichotomy of natural and artificial, are creating a functional and comfortable environment.” Thus the tearoom became a lightweight scaffold-type structure that works in harmony with the trees branches instead of being directly anchored to it. From Nakamura’s notes on the project:
For the foundation, we carefully inserted pier type foundations between the roots in order to avoid the use of concrete and large-scale excavation. Using the structure itself as scaffolding, we assembled it by avoiding the branches as birds create their nest, adding or taking out components based on structural analysis. We mortared the room interior to be like a swallow’s nest. The design leaves open the possibility for visitors to experience nest building by picking up branches from the mountain side and fitting them into walls inside.
The Festival des Arcitectures Vives in Montpellier, France grants access to the courtyards of private hotels and other buildings typically restricted to the general public, filling these outdoor areas with installations that reflect the architecture that surrounds the temporary artworks. For the 2016 festival, the French collaborative duo Michaël Martins Afonso and Caroline Escaffre-Faure brought architecture’s universal backdrop down to eye level, floating several large clouds throughout one of the selected courtyards.
The project, which they have titled “Head in the Clouds,” provides a relaxing dreamland away from the bustling city, inviting attendees to sit or stand within the fluffy orbs. Although the symbolism of the piece is direct, the installation does provide a meditative area for those to take a step back and think, dream, or scheme amongst the hovering works.
Artist Rosa de Jong continues to explore the spacious confines of glass test tubes by erecting impossibly small buildings, trees, and other inhabitable structures inside of them. For her series titled Micro Matter the Amsterdam-based artist uses traditional model-making materials and her own handcrafted structures that she suspends inside scientific instruments. You can see some of her latest sculptures on Behance, and she may eventually start selling some of her pieces online, so be sure to signup for an alert.