The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is considered one of the crowning examples of organic architecture, a philosophy credited to Frank Lloyd Wright that promotes a harmony between the natural world and human habitation. The non-denominational chapel was designed in 1980 by an apprentice of Wright’s, architect E. Fay Jones, who employed the use of steel and glass to create a weightless, almost translucent structure that offers sweeping views in all directions of the surrounding Ozark habitat. In keeping with the organic design of the chapel Fay asked that no construction element be larger than what two people could carry through the woods by hand.
Recently a power company has applied to build a 48-mile high voltage transmission line through Northwest Arkansas that will cut through the woods right next to the chapel, shattering the views and serenity offered by the extremely unique building that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. For those interested, the Arkansas Public Service Commission is accepting comments from the public regarding the proposed power line construction. You can also read much more over on Hyperallergic.
When looking at the problem of bird populations shrinking in urban areas due to loss of habitat, Nethlerlands-based product designer Klaas Kuiken was struck with the idea of improving a common bird home: residential roofs. In consultation with the Vogelbescherming (the Dutch bird association) Kuiken designed a ceramic birdhouse that adheres to the ubiquitous roof tiles found throughout the country. The house contains a removable basket to aid in maintenance after mating season and is made with materials that can resist extreme cold in the winter. First designed in 2009 the birdhouses have finally gone into production and 100 are now available for sale. See more over on designboom.
In her delicate crafted porcelain sculptures conceptual artist Kate McDowell expresses her interpretation of the clash between the natural world and the modern-day environmental impact of industrialized society. The resulting works can be equal parts amusing and disturbing as the anatomical forms of humans and animals become inexplicably intertwined in her delicate porcelain forms. Via her artist statment:
In my work this romantic ideal of union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment. These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats.
Jody Xiong of DDB China in conjunction with the China Environmental Protection Foundation created this wonderful outdoor campaign to create a subtle visual reminder of the environmental benefits of walking versus driving. Enormous white canvases with a bare tree were placed across 132 crosswalks in 15 Chinese cities. As pedestrians crossed their shoe soles were imprinted with a small amount of green paint, leaving behind a trail of leaf-like footprints. BBD estimated that nearly 3,920,000 people passed through the installations, and the final posters were eventually hung has billboards in several urban locations. Awesome! (via moeity)
Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos uses environmentally safe pigments to paint the trunks and limbs of trees in urban areas to help raise awareness of the nearly 32 million acres of forests lost each year around the world. Via 4culture he says:
Through my work I am striving to address global issues and provide a visual platform to effect change. So many universal concerns seem larger than an individual’s power of influence and I want to evoke in people the idea that we can all contribute to change in a positive way.
Dimopoulos has painted trees in Melbourne, Vancouver and Virginia and will be coming to Seattle this week. (via tree porn)
For the past several years Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have been collecting tons of plastic debris off a small stretch of beach near their Norther California home. The plastic is cleaned, categorized and stored before its utilized in their assorted projects including sculptural work, photography, large-scale museum installations, jewelry and art prints. Learn more here. (via vimeo)
When checking out the Blindspot Gallery site I almost skipped right over these photographs by Jiang Pengyi thinking they were nothing more than ruin porn, but a closer glance revealed something quite different. Amongst the filthy detritus in Pengyi’s photographs, entire miniature cities emerge from the shadows, as if the evolution of cockroaches had dramatically accelerated resulting in the construction of bug-sized skyscrapers and transit systems. Though the photos aren’t meant as commentary on wildlife, but rather the excessive urbanization, redevelopment and demolition in the city of Beijing. Many more images here.