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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-30 17:08:00
[Image: Here's another image from the same French rare-book seller seen in an earlier post; this one comes from Thomas Alcock's Travels in Russia, Persia, Turkey and Greece, printed in 1831. The scene depicted here equally resembles some strange act of theatrical scenography?a geologic backdrop shaded to resemble urban space?and a horizon-spanning speculative megastructure by Étienne Louis-Boullée (previously)].


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-30 16:44:00
[Image: Sewn geology; photo by Matthew Cox of Kit Up!]. Earlier this summer, packaging and apparel manufacturing firm ReadyOne Industries debuted a new line of products: "moldable camouflage kits that can be customized to mimic virtually any type of rock formation or similar type of terrain." The sewn geological forms seen here?in photos taken by Matthew Cox of Kit Up!?use a …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-30 16:14:00
[Image: A figure and his optical context pop up from the pages of a 17th-century treatise on perspective by Abraham Bosse, defending the ideas of Girard Desargues; taken from the website of a French rare-book seller, via John Overholt. For other interesting spatial book arts on BLDGBLOG, don't miss "The Emperor's Castle" or "Book of Space"].


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-30 15:56:00
[Image: From Ways of Knowing by Daniel Stier, on display at the kulturreich gallery]. Photographer Daniel Stier has a new book out, and an accompanying exhibition on display at the kulturreich gallery, called Ways of Knowing. Skier's photos depict human subjects immersed in, or even at the mercy of, spatial instrumentation: strange devices conducting experiments that function at the scale of …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-30 14:48:00
[Image: "Magnetic Field" by Berenice Abbott, from The Science Pictures (1958-1961)]. An interesting new paper suggests that the ritual practice of burning parts of villages to the ground in southern Africa had an unanticipated side-effect: resetting the ground's magnetic data storage potential. As a University of Rochester press release explains, the "villages were cleansed by burning down huts and grain bins. …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-18 18:59:00
[Image: A sidewalk corner in Los Angeles, albeit not the one for sale; via Google Street View]. If you've been longing for a way to satisfy your inner Gordon Matta-Clark?the artist who, among many other things, once purchased an interstitial empire of "odd lots" throughout New York City, including the spaces between buildings and other "unusably small slivers of land sliced …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-18 17:33:00
[Image: Self-portrait on Mars; via NASA]. Science has published a short profile of a woman named Vandi Verma. She is "one of the few people in the world who is qualified to drive a vehicle on Mars." Vera has driven a series of remote vehicles on another planet over the years, including, most recently, the Curiosity rover. [Image: Another self-portrait on …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-07 16:49:00
[Image: Gruen Day 2015]. One of the most interestingly sinister things I studied a million years ago while writing an undergraduate thesis about shopping and agoraphobia is the so-called "Gruen transfer." Named after Victor Gruen, pioneer of American shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer is the moment at which, confronted by an unexpected array of choices?other products, rival goods, similar services, …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-03 03:02:00
[Image: Reviewing old property deeds and land surveys; photo by Geoff Manaugh]. A story I've been obsessed with since first learning about it back in 2008 is the problem of "ancient roads" in Vermont. Vermont is unusual in that, if a road has been officially surveyed and, thus, added to town record books?even if that road was never physically constructed?it will …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-07-01 15:47:00
[Image: A diagram of the elaborate loops and ribbons of self-intersecting movement allowed by gravity-assisted travel, in this case heading toward a comet; original artist unknown]. Gravity-assisted space travel is when you use the gravitational pull of one planet or other celestial body as a fuel-efficient way to "slingshot" yourself toward another, more distant goal, someplace you could not have reached …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-06-29 19:32:00
[Image: From Project 360º by Frank Dresmé]. Here's an old project by Dutch graphic designer Frank Dresmé. Called Project 360º, it used the idea of the "transect" as a way to map and graphically depict pedestrian movement through urban space. [Image: From Project 360º by Frank Dresmé]. As Dresmé explains, he found existing maps of Amsterdam both navigationally inadequate and conceptually …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-06-29 16:10:00
[Image: Thomas Scholes, Sketch a Day series; view larger]. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted an interview with artist Thomas Scholes about "how concept art is made." Scholes refers to himself as "an environment specialist," and he describes how he develops the architecture and landscapes for games such as Guild Wars 2, Halo 4, Gigantic, and many others. [Image: Thomas Scholes, Sketch …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-06-21 15:04:00
[Image: A motif index for lost mines and treasures applied to redaction of Arizona legends, and to lost mine and treasure legends exterior to Arizona by Byrd Howell Granger]. Several lifetimes ago, I worked as a summer intern at the American Folklife Center down in Washington D.C., where, before my internship officially ended, I spent a few hours making loads of …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-06-09 02:00:00
[Image: The Very Low Frequency antenna field at Cutler, Maine, a facility for communicating with at-sea submarine crews]. There have been about a million stories over the past few weeks that I've been dying to write about, but I'll just have to clear through a bunch here in one go. 1) First up is a fascinating request for proposals from the …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-06-01 16:24:00
[Image: A laser scan of the Pantheon, courtesy ScanLAB Projects and the BBC; view larger!]. ScanLAB Projects, focus of a long article on Wired last month, are back in the news with a BBC documentary exploring the infrastructure of ancient Rome. The show "explores Roman infrastructure and ingenuity, all below ground level": We journeyed via the icy, crystal clear waters of …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-05-31 01:44:00
[Image: New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine under construction, a Piranesian gyroscope of arched masonry and brick; courtesy Museum of the City of New York].


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BLDG BLOG 2015-05-30 17:38:00
[Image: Lüscher yellow]. By sheer coincidence, I was looking back through the archives of a blog called Unurthed the other day?a great, although seemingly now-defunct site written by Greg Pass?where I read about the so-called "Lüscher color test." The test, according to that font of accurate historical insight, Wikipedia, was "a psychological test invented by Dr. Max Lüscher in Basel, Switzerland... …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-05-30 15:47:00
[Image: Cooking with smog at the World Health Organization in Geneva; photo courtesy the Center for Genomic Gastronomy and Edible Geography]. If you're in NYC later today, the Center for Genomic Gastronomy and Edible Geography have teamed up to explore the culinary implications of air pollution with a "smog-tasting cart." [Image: Cooking with smog at the World Health Organization in Geneva; …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-05-30 15:13:00
[Image: Barrel vaults beneath Warren Street, Manhattan; Instagram by BLDGBLOG]. I was walking along Warren Street in Manhattan yesterday evening when I saw what appeared to be a series of brick barrel vaults uncovered by roadworks. There was no one around, so no one to ask whether it was a deliberate historical excavation or just some street repair, but the incision …


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BLDG BLOG 2015-05-06 16:38:00
[Image: Photo by BLDGBLOG]. In the distant summer of 2002, I worked for a few months at Foster + Partners in London, tasked with helping to archive Foster's old sketchbooks, hand-drawings, and miscellaneous other materials documenting dozens of different architectural projects over the past few decades. On a relatively slow afternoon, I was given the job of sorting through some old …


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