While most property and homeowners might be lucky to erect a small fence, add a new wall, or plant a few trees without applying for a permit or checking local zoning laws, things in Bejing are apparently quite different. For the last six years an eccentric doctor built a sprawling mountain villa on the roof above his top-floor flat in this 26-story residential building, all without asking permission of residents or local authorities. The enormous addition covers the entire 1000-square-metre roof and was built using artificial rocks but with real trees and grass.
It only took six years of complaints from neighbors who suffered from the noise and vibrations of heavy construction machinery, water leaks, and other disturbances to finally get the attention of authorities who recently gave the man 15 days to remove the mountain or else it will face forcible removal. Read more over on the South China Morning Post. (via dezeen)
For their very first date, photographer Nick Olson took designer Lilah Horwitz on a walk in the mountains of West Virginia. While chatting and getting to know each other during a particularly scenic sunset the two jokingly wondered what it would be like to live in a house where the entire facade was windows, so the sunset would never be contained within a small space. Where most people would file the idea away as a dream or maybe an item at the bottom of a bucket list, the newly minted couple were a bit more aggressive. Less than a year later the two quit their jobs and embarked on a road trip starting in Pennsylvania to collect dozens of windows from garage sales and antique dealers. A few weeks later they arrived in West Virginia and built the glass cabin in the exact same spot where they envisioned it on their fist date.
Filmmakers Matt Glass and Jordan Wayne Long of Half Cut Tea caught up with Horwirz and Olson to learn more about the construction of the building and their unusually strong commitment to following through with their artistic visions.
For the last thirteen years Serpentine Gallery has invited a guest architect to design a temporary structure on the London gallery’s front lawn. In what is billed as “the most ambitious architectural program of its kind worldwide,” designs have come from such visionaries as Ai Weiwei in 2012 and Frank Gehry in 2008. This year, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (who at 41 become the youngest to accept the invitation) constructed a large network of 20mm steel poles and latticed metal that covers an area of 3,800 square feet.
While the white pavilion is impressive in its own right, the gallery further commissioned London-based United Visual Artists to create a network of LED lights that are meant to mimic the natural forms of an electric storm. At night the normally grounded structure becomes an electrified geometric cloud that flashes and pulsates with light. The installation is further enhanced by an accompanied soundtrack of precisely timed soundbites including the buzzing of electrical plants, effectively creating an auditory effect of thunder. A somewhat similar intervention took place here in Chicago a few years ago when LuftWerk transformed Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. (via Wired, Huffington Post)
Created in 2009 by Japanese artist Aki Inomata, these fantastic little cityscapes atop hermit crab shells were part of a body of work titled “Why not hand over a shelter to hermit crabs?.” Keeping the welfare of the animal in mind, Inomata studied the needs of the hermit crab to select a compatible shell and used a CT scanner to image the interior of sea shells so she could adapt her own miniature sculptures into suitable homes. The small buildings and skylines were then designed atop the plastic shell forms to mimic the architecture of various cities including New York, Tokyo, Bangkok and elsewhere.
As hermit crabs outgrow their shells it becomes necessary to find a new, larger home. With this project Inomata hoped to draw a parallel to our own need as humans to migrate or find shelter in a new city. Photographs of the final works were on display at Ai Kowada Gallery. (via designboom)
Recently installed at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, this gigantic Gordian Knot was constructed by Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira who is known for his near complete organic transformations of interior and exterior spaces. Titled Baitogogo, the work depicts an architectural grid of columns and support beams that seem to morph into a chaotic tangle of branches or roots. Via the Palais de Tokyo:
Through a kind of architectural anthropomorphism, Henrique Oliveira reveals the building’s structure. At Palais de Tokyo, he plays on the space’s existing and structuring features, prolonging and multiplying pillars in order to endow them with a vegetable and organic dimension, as though the building were coming alive. The artist draws inspiration from medical textbooks, amongst others, and particularly from studies of physical pathologies such as tumors. Through a formal analogy, these outgrowths evoke the outermost layers of the bark of a common tree.
The Reading Nest is a new site-specific installation by artist Mark Reigelman outside the Cleveland Public Library. Reigelman obtained 10,000 reclaimed boards from various Cleveland industrial and manufacturing sites and worked with a team of people over 10 days to construct the nest which was completed earlier this month. From his statement regarding the project:
For centuries objects in nature have been associated with knowledge and wisdom. Trees of enlightenment and scholarly owls have been particularly prominent in this history of mythological objects of knowledge. The Reading Nest is a visual intermediary between forest and fowl. It symbolizes growth, community and knowledge while continuing to embody mythical roots.
Like a mountain chapel or Thoreau’s one-room cabin, Solarium references a tradition of isolated outposts designed for reflection. Each of the 162 panels is made of sugar cooked to different temperatures and then sealed between two panes of window glass. The space functions as both an experimental greenhouse, growing three species of miniature citrus trees, and a meditative environment. In warm months, a 5×8 ft panel on each side of the house opens up to allow viewers to enter and exit the house from all directions. In addition to creating a pavilion like environment, this design references the architecture of a plant leaf, where the stomata opens and closes to help regulate the plants temperature.
Lamson spent weeks testing methods for building the windows and you can watch his process in the video above by Kate Barker-Froyland. See many more views of the building here. All imagery courtesy the artist. (via architizer)
Update: Solarium was deinstalled at the end of 2012 and is no longer on view.