Tag Archives: design

Canadian Lessons for Winter Cities

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As the mercury begins to rise above zero in many Canadian cities in March, it’s tempting to pretend that we’ll never again have to bundle up and suffer through frozen-numb faces and temperatures colder than Mars. Though probably required to alleviate our collective cabin fever, in reality about one quarter of our lives in northern cities is spent dealing with winter and its many discontents. This annual recurrence of snow and slush, blizzards and black ice, has largely and traditionally been ignored by urban planners and designers whose work tends to focus on making our cities and spaces livable and functional for only three quarters of the year. Lately, however, a movement has been gaining momentum that is challenging this seasonal myopia and is seeking innovative solutions to combat this oversight.

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Living under a rock

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The Andalucian town of Setenil de las Bodegas looks like something from the set of a culturally adventurous fantasy film, but cave dwelling is actually common in Andalucia; being so close to the African continental plate, geological forces threw up mountain ranges and volcanoes that are perfectly suited for habitation. The rocks and caves make for surprisingly easy settlement, and the nearby Cueva de la Pileta shows evidence of a human presence up to 25,000 years ago.

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Photo by manuelfloresv from flickr CC

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Alley of Light

alley of lightDuring the 2014 Amsterdam Light Festival, the dutch-based design offices of Serge Schoemaker Architects and Digiluce have created the “Alley of Light”, a 12-meter long passage surrounded by a 4-meter high three-dimensional matrix of 2000 handmade bulbs. The work is defined by its illumination. Recalling the typical narrow alleys of red and grey bricks in the historic center of the city, the installation visualizes the theme of this third annual event in an unorthodox way. Continue reading

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The Trojan Egg of Porto

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Portuguese architect Camilo Rebelo installed this wooden egg large enough for several people to hide inside beneath the vaulted ceilings of the Porto city hall atrium. Described by Camilo Rebelo as a “trojan egg”, a reference to the mythical wooden horse that the Greek army hid in to enter the city of Troy, the pod is intended as a place for silence and contemplation.

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Silo City, Buffalo NY

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They serve as a monument to a bygone era; monolithic structures standing by the water’s edge waiting for freighters that will no longer come. Today, all except a few of these enormous buildings are abandoned and serve the industry for which they were designed. Despite their decrepit state many now flock to these silos uncovering Buffalo’s history; repurposing these massive silos as a place for learning and artistic expression. Continue reading

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Park and Slide in Bristol


Back in March, we reviewed a story about The Park and Slide, a project seeking funds via the crowdfunding website Spacehive.  The artist, Luke Jerram proposed the installation of  a 90 meter waterslide on central Bristol’s Park Street – a notoriously steep hill – allowing 360 people to slide down, one after another. Continue reading

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