Posted in Abandonment, Furniture, Sculpture by RADDblog on December 31, 2009

Mercado Negro meaning Black Market in spanish is a 12 week project that deals with reclaiming an ordinary, everyday object and transforming it into a whole new object. At the same time hinting at the lack of parks and recreational functions in Los Angeles. Swing, chair, table and lamp.


A 5000 acre farm for Detroit? by Hantz Farms

Posted in Abandonment, Apocalypse, Ecology, Economy, Landscape, Planning, Reoccupation by RADDblog on December 30, 2009

Hantz Farms plans to farm up to 5,000 acres within the Motor City’s limits in the coming years.

from Hantz Farms:


It’s our dream to rejuvenate our city by returning to our agrarian roots, by creating the world’s largest urban farm right here in Detroit, a sustainable producer and seller of homegrown fruits and vegetables as well as clean energy. Owned, operated and staffed by Detroiters, Hantz Farms will provide:

  • Hundreds of “green” jobs for local residents, with on-the-job education. We’ll help Detroit progress to the mixed economy that’s so important for our future.
  • A generous supply of fresh, local, safe produce for our families and the region.Hantz Farms will be a year-round operation, providing spring vegetables, a bounty of summer produce, pick-your-own pumpkins and Christmas trees. Not only will we grow for Detroit, but we’ll also be able to export our produce.
  • A cleaner, greener environment for our children.We’ll clear away the garbage, the blight, the debris, and in their place grow healthful crops and produce non-polluting wind energy. In every aspect of Hantz Farms, we plan to use only recyclable materials and aim to reduce waste to nearly zero. We’ll also reintroduce Detroiters to the beauty of nature.
  • Synergy for local businesses. Tourists coming in to Detroit to visit Hantz Farms—not just for an annual event, but on a daily basis—will patronize other businesses as well.
  • Consolidation of city resources. Detroit’s fire, police and public works departments can better serve city residents when freed from the burden of nearly abandoned neighborhoods.

via Archinect and Hantz Farms Detroit

Michael Kenna Photography

Posted in Abandonment, Apocalypse, Photography by RADDblog on December 28, 2009

via trinixy

“A Defensive Architecture” by Nicholas Szczepaniak / RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards 2009

Posted in Abandonment, Apocalypse, Architecture, Ecology, Landscape, Social by RADDblog on December 5, 2009

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) today announced the winners of the 2009President’s Medals Student Awards.

RIBA has been awarding the President’s Medals since the 1850s and the awards were established in their current format in 1984. The aim of these prestigious awards is to promote excellence in the study of architecture, to reward talent and to encourage architectural debate worldwide. Students from RIBA recognized schools in the UK and overseas aspire each year to be selected by their school to enter for the medals and for the opportunity for their work to be recognized and publicly exhibited.

Two student projects, “A Defensive Architecture” and “An Augmented Ecology of Wildlife and Industry”, were awarded Medals, as well as the dissertation “The Art of Skew Bridges: The Technique and its History Explored”.

Nicholas Szczepaniak on “A Defensive Architecture”:

This thesis is intended to expose unexpected readings of the built environment in the future if we don’t take more drastic steps to deal with climate change. Set in the Blackwater Estuary in Essex, the project envisages a set of militarised coastal defence towers that perform multiple functions:

1. The principle role of the towers is to act as an environmental warning device. The architecture is alive, dramatizing shifts in environmental conditions; breathing, creaking, groaning, sweating and crying when stressed. Air-bags on the face of the towers expand and contract, while hundreds of tensile trunks are sporadically activated, casting water on to the heated facades to produce steam. An empty watchtower at the top of each tower gives them the impression that the fragile landscape below is constantly being surveyed.

2. Across the estuary, a bed of salt marshes provides a natural form of flood defence and habitats for wildlife. Due to rising water levels and adverse weather conditions, the salt marshes are quickly deteriorating. The proposal suggests how megastructures can be integrated and used to encourage the growth of natural defence mechanisms against flooding in order to protect the erosion of fragile coastline areas and our most important cities. Over time, sand is collected at the base of each tower to form a spit across the mouth of the estuary, absorbing energy from the waves.

3. Internally, the towers serve as a vast repository for mankinds most valuable asset; knowledge. The architecture is a knowledge ark, which protects books from culminative and catastrophic deterioration.

via Bustler

Russian Antarctic Station Photography by Anton Chekalin

Posted in Abandonment, Photography by RADDblog on November 20, 2009

Photographer Anton Chekalin recently visited a Russian Antarctic Station and shot some pretty amazing images. Above is an abandoned water well used by the station, and below is an abandoned truck from the era of Soviet Antarctic exploration.

via English Russia

THE CITY AND ITS FLOODED DOUBLE / Aqualta by Studio Lindfors

Posted in Abandonment, Apocalypse, Architecture, Ecology, Illustration, Landscape, Reoccupation, Theory by RADDblog on November 14, 2009


Studio Lindfors—of Cloud Skippers and Cloud City fame—have released a stunning new series of images in which we see New York City and Tokyo after a catastrophic flood.

Called Aqualta, the project is an exquisitely produced tour of a hydrologically transformed metropolis. Gondolas float through a still-blazing Times Square; people fish atop gravel banks that have built up beside inundated skyscrapers; and an aerial network of blimps, catwalks, pedestrian skyways, and cable cars passes and sways above the Venetian streets.

Similar in spirit to Squint Opera’s earlier look at a Flooded LondonAqualta is hard—if not impossible—to separate from the context of melting ice caps and global climate change. However, it deserves visual attention in its own right, even outside such politically charged discussions.

Far from stoking fear about a coming catastrophe, both of these projects—Studio Lindfors and Squint Opera—offer a vision in which people, and the cities they live in, have learned to adapt to the overwhelming presence of water. Indeed, Times Square, in Studio Lindfors’s vision, is radiant, markedly improved by the reflective waters that now flow through it. Of course New York should be at least partially flooded, one might be tempted to think; of course the future of urban planning involves designing with water.

via BLDGBLOG (high res images HERE / BLDGBLOG flickr)


20th Anniversary of the Fall of Berlin Wall / Walls Still Standing or Built Since Nov9/89

Posted in Abandonment, Apocalypse, Reoccupation, Social by RADDblog on November 9, 2009

As part of the recognition of the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC News has taken a look at other such walls around the world that are either still standing, or have been built since Nov 9th, 1989. Some of these are detailed below.


West Bank Barrier


The barrier which separates Israel from the West Bank is a mixture of fences, barbed wire, ditches and concrete slabs up to 8m (26ft) high.

Some sections also include sensors, sand – to help identify footprints – patrol roads and “buffer zones” up to 60m wide.

The Israeli government approved the construction of the wall in 2002.

According to figures released by the UN in July 2009, the proposed boundary is now 58.3% complete, with 10% currently in the process of construction, leaving 31.5% still to be built.

The Israeli Ministry of Defence issues emergency military decrees to landowners in order to obtain the land on which the wall is to be built – 85% of it is built on occupied Palestinian land.

Only 15% of the barrier follows the so-called “Green Line”, the internationally-recognised border.

In 2004, the barrier was deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Israel’s official position is that the barrier is a “security fence”, defending its citizens from attacks by Palestinians.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, view it as an “apartheid wall” which threatens their human rights, and believe that its true aim is to expand Israeli territory.


Operation Guardian – US / Mexico Border


The border between Mexico and the United States is 3,200km (1,988 miles) long.

The US government has built a metal wall along a third of it, at an estimated cost so far of $2.5bn (£1.5bn), to prevent the arrival of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America.

The first barriers actually began to appear in 1991, but in 1994 the US officially decided to step up their surveillance and expanded the wall under Operation Guardian.


According to the Mexican National Commission of Human Rights, more than 5,600 illegal immigrants have died trying to cross the border in the subsequent years.

The majority died as a consequence of the high temperatures in the desert.

As well as the wall itself, there are also three metal fences in some places along the border, preventing any kind of contact at all. Its average height is 4-5m (13-16ft).

Construction of a “virtual wall” has also recently begun.

This comprises a series of technological devices such as infrared sensors, cameras, radar, watch towers and ground sensors.


India and Pakistan Border


The border between India and Pakistan is one of the most volatile on the planet.

Walls, barbed wire fences and barricades stretch almost half the 2,900km (1,800 mile) boundary line.

Delhi has said it intends to extend the barrier along almost the whole border.

At the end of the 1980s, India began erecting barriers in the states of Punjab and Rajastan, saying they needed to combat terrorism.

An additional cause of tension is the use of barbed wire fences combined with mines and other high-tech devices along almost all of the so-called “Line of Control”, the de facto border between Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.


Western Sahara Wall


The Sahrawi and Moroccans who inhabit the Western Sahara have been disputing the rightful ownership of the land since Spain ended its occupation of the area and withdrew in 1976.

In 1980, having attained the land for themselves, the Moroccans began building a wall in the desert.

It said the wall was to defend itself from the Polisario Front – a political and military movement which seeks independence from Morocco and autonomy for the Sahrawi people.

The wall, completed in 1987 is in reality a collection of six different defence walls.

Its total span is more than 2,700km (1,677 miles), and is made up of a mixture of sand and stone, barbed wire, ditches and mine fields.

Human rights organisations refer to it as the “wall of shame” and condemn the use of anti-personnel landmines along its length.

The Moroccan government, for its part, says that it has cleared the desert of mines and deactivated 65,000 of them.


Rio de Janeiro Favela Walls


Since the beginning of the year, Rio de Janeiro has been building walls around some of its favelas, the shanty towns that crowd the hills around the city.

In total, 13 favelas will eventually be surrounded by concrete with a total length of 14km (8.6 miles) and a height varying between 80cm (32 inches) and 3m.

The aim is to prevent the precariously-constructed communities spilling over into the forest and destroying the surrounding vegetation of the Tijuca Park, one of the largest urban nature reservations in the world.

Officials say the Atlantic forests in the region have already lost an estimated 90% of their surface area.

In Santa Marta district, 600m of wall has already been erected, while in Rocinha the government has reached an agreement with the 200,000 residents to limit the wall to those areas at risk of landslides.

The rest will be made up of ecological paths and parks.

Some critics think Rio’s walls are an attempt to separate the poor areas from the richer ones situated between the favelas and the sea.

Others say they are intended to limit drug trafficking, as part of a planned regional government clamp down.


via BBC News

Finders Keepers / Blu Dot Chairs Hitting the Streets

Posted in Abandonment, Installation, Performance, Social, Technology by RADDblog on November 6, 2009


New York City is one of the few places where it is socially acceptable, and even encouraged, to rummage through curb-side trash. There is no shame in this. All New Yorkers know someone who has found a treasure on the curb: a rare first-edition book, say, or a good-as-new couch. The question is inevitably the same: “Who would throw this out?”

For the next two days, Blu Dot is honoring this cherished urban pastime with the Real Good Chair Experiment. In collaboration with mono, Blu Dot will place chairs all over the city, free for the taking. But there is a slight catch: most of these chairs, valued at well over $100, are GPS-enabled. Blu Dot will use the devices to track the chairs’ voyage for a documentary debuting this December, to mark the one-year anniversary of the company’s Soho store.

But don’t worry: GPS or no, if you happen to stumble across one of the chairs, it’s finders keepers! The rest of us will have to be content to track the chairs’ progress at realgood.bludot.com.

via metropolis

Taking the Capital Out of a City / De-capitalizing Tehran

Posted in Abandonment, Apocalypse, Architecture, Planning by RADDblog on November 5, 2009


from BBC News:

Iran’s rulers are considering plans to relocate the country’s capital. They say Tehran is in danger of being struck by a major earthquake. So how easy is it to move a capital out of a city, and where might Iran’s go? Penny Spiller reports.

Tehran is a sprawling metropolis at the foot of the Alborz mountain range. It is home to some 12 million people, and is the largest city in the Middle East.

Not only is it the political and economic heart of the country, the city has a cosmopolitan air with its museums, art galleries, parks and universities. It has been Iran’s capital since 1795.

But now a powerful state body, the expediency council, has approved plans by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to end Tehran’s days as a capital.

These plans are not new. They are part of a long-term strategy to see the capital moved by 2025, and will need approval from many more government bodies before any relocation begins.

The government is said to be reacting to calls from Iranian seismologists, who have long warned that Tehran lies on at least 100 known fault lines, and would not survive a major quake intact.

The devastating earthquake that killed some 40,000 people in the south-eastern city of Bam in 2003 has certainly concentrated minds on the issue.

But the timing of this decision – coming as it does months after some of the worst anti-government riots Tehran has ever seen – is interesting, says Dominic Dudley, deputy editor of the London-based Middle East Economic Digest.

Tehran is very much a liberal enclave in Iran, he says – and it was many of those liberals who took to the streets complaining of fraud when conservative incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared winner of June’s presidential election.

“It is tempting to view anything going on in Iran these days through the lens of that dispute,” Mr Dudley told the BBC. “It certainly wouldn’t hurt the government to move away from the big centre of liberal protests and opposition.”

But where would it move to?

Iranian seismologist Professor Bahram Akasheh told the Guardian newspaper that a new capital should be built between the holy city of Qom and Delijan, in Markazi province.

This is an area, he said, that has not seen an earthquake in 2,000 years.

However, Qom is the spiritual home of Iran’s conservative Islamic establishment. Moving the capital nearer to Qom could be seen as a sign of the conservatives stamping their authority, says Mr Dudley.


Distorted market

Wherever the capital moves to, and for whatever reasons, the government will have some other important considerations to take into account if creating a capital from scratch, says Andrew Jones of the engineering, planning and architectural design firm AECOM.

It is all very well moving government buildings and staff, but the new city will flounder if it has no cultural life and its economy is solely driven by the government.

“Generally, our capital cities are economic powerhouses as well as seats of government. That takes a long time to bed in,” he told the BBC.

“A new city generally takes 10 to 20 years to build, it takes a century or more to mature into something that is an attractive and self-sustaining place.”

Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, might be an interesting example for the Iranian authorities to study.

It was built because the coastal location of the old seat of power, Rio de Janeiro, was deemed too far from large swathes of the country.

So the new capital was unveiled in a remote part of central Brazil in 1961.

Claudio de Magalhaes, senior lecturer in planning and urban regeneration at University College London, said this location suited the military government that came to power three years later.

“One of the things about a new capital is that it tends to insulate the government from the pressures and influences of the big city,” he said.

“The military government found it very convenient to have the political class away from the city. You don’t have any demonstrations on your doorstep. It’s very easy to close the airport and access to the city whenever you see fit, which happened in the early days of the government.”

In the beginning, Brasilia was inhabited mostly by people whose livelihoods depended on the government.

But over the years it grew, and grew, and grew – confounding the planners’ expectations.

“What no-one had predicted was the growth in the satellite areas around the city. These were places peopled by construction workers, cleaners for government buildings, mechanics for employees’ cars,” Mr Magalhaes told the BBC.

In the early days, land in the centre of Brasilia – known as the pilot plan and now a Unesco heritage site – was compulsorily purchased and given to government ministries who were then able to offer homes to staff.

But as these assets were sold off, they reaped huge profits for the buyers as increasing numbers of people moving to the city sought to live in that area, Mr Magalhaes said.

“It distorted the market. And you had this strange situation whereby large houses with swimming pools outside Brasilia were much cheaper than a small flat in the centre,” he said.

‘Remake itself’

The total cost of moving Brazil’s capital from Rio to Brasilia is so huge it has never really all been accounted for, Mr Magalhaes believes.

Even 20 years after Brasilia was created, the government was still having to pay premiums to get people to move there, he adds.

Losing its capital status also had a huge effect on Rio, which had already seen its economy suffer as businesses migrated to Sao Paulo.

“Local politics became very low level and was dominated by its relationship with the drug lords,” Mr Magalhaes said.

Andrew Jones of AECOM believes Tehran will also have a tough period of adjustment if it goes the same way as Rio.

“Although the underlying character of the city will stay, it will lose the added extras that come with being home to the seat of government. It will start to lose cultural institutions and some other components that make it a powerful place,” he said.

“But I think Tehran will survive. It has been a major city for thousands of years, so it will recover and remake itself.”



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