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MODERNITY IN THE CHILEAN DESERT

The Atacama desert, in northern Chile, is the driest desert on earth a startlingly brutal place where jagged red rocks give way to huge sand dunes and desolate open salt flats. Yet Atacama is also a soothing place for its still, open spaces, its strings of snow-capped volcanoes, its clear night skies, and the pervasive silence. At the oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama, in the heart of this Andean moonscape, is the ultra-modern, Explora hotel, designed by one of Chile's leading architects, German del Sol. Next week, Sophie Arie will present this feat of Spartan but sensual design, where travelers can take refuge from the inhospitable surroundings and savor the serenity of the place.

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VIRTUALLY ARCHITECTURE

In his introduction to Cyberspace: The World of Digital Architecture, Mark Burry writes: "'Cyberspace' denotes the idea of digitally represented realms, at once realistic and paradoxically elusive. Whether in flux or still, digital landscapes, architectural environments, and even worlds, conjure up ideas of new movements architectural, philosophical, and spatial. Of course it is the sense of spatiality that is the core ingredient of cyberspace, but how new is cyberspace in terms of its meaning?" Stop in next week for a suggested answer in the form of two examples from Australia and the Netherlands.

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THE NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

The New England Aquarium in Boston has long been on the cutting edge of both aquarium design and public education about our aquatic world. In 1969, a new building provided the model of presenting animals together in a naturalistic setting. The Cambridge Seven Architects' innovations changed the course of modern aquarium design forever. The New England Aquarium was equally influential in the massive redevelopment of the then-decrepit Boston waterfront. Next week Evan H. Shu, FAIA will explore the institution's tradition and status as a "networked" aquarium, and place in that context the proposed East Wing addition (pictured), planned to create a microcosm of the Gulf of Maine.

 
 
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