Twice As Tall…

Someone in Saudi Arabia wants to build a building that is twice as tall as the recently completed tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I appreciate the impulse to build bigger and better. On the other hand, it's stupid; a mile high is too big.

The designer is set to be Adrian Smith of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture who worked on the Burj Khalifa while at SOM. While he's likely the most capable and qualified person to build this thing, I doubt the building will ever be completed.

See UPDATE here.

Via @Gary_Hustwit.

Business - YES

Taken from a really, really exceptional article about Coudal, if this line doesn't make you want to walk away from everything and spend all of your time making cool things, then nothing will.

"Well, do we wanna build up this whole thing again and go chase business that we don't want and get into pitches and win or not win business based on the whims of people who are stupider than we are? Or is there another way?"

This statement summarizes the way I hope to practice architecture one day, and it's the way that I think every architect should practice.

Unqualified blanket statement: All exceptional architects should also be developers. If we know cities and design and love them both well, then shouldn't we be the most fecund builders in the world? Yes, we should. I plan to write about this more at length soon. Stay tuned.

Via Joshua Blankenship.

Arcade Fire Won a Grammy

They heard me singing and they told me to stop:
"Quite these pretentious things and just punch the clock."
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
can we ever get away from the sprawl?

Living in the sprawl,
dead shopping malls rise
like mountains beyond mountains,
and there's no end in site.
I need the darkness;
someone please cut the lights.

Lyrics from The Suburbs track #15, "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)", winner of the Grammy for Album of the Year (2011). I've been listening to and enjoying Arcade Fire since college. I'm pleasantly surprised they won, and I love that I can tag a post about them with #urbanism.

Braddock, Pennsylvania and Urban Pioneering

"On Wood Street, Jack Samuel, the 25-year-old straight-edge vegan punk rocker and Levi's model, was hanging out in one of the two houses he and the six other members of the Some Ideas Collective bought last year. The group wanted an inexpensive "live-work" space where they could play music, write and work on bikes. They bought a house for $6,000 from a filmmaker who was moving on. It was run-down, but for kids whose goal was to "make life cheap enough" so they could "binge work and then be free," it was just fine.

"My goal is to build for myself a life that meets my needs most effectively," Samuel explained last summer. "So that means the lowest possible overhead costs day to day [...]"

This quote is from an interesting article that you should probably read. It's about a small town with a radical governor who's been trying to cultivate some sort of indie, organic mecca to revitalize the town.

It's a great(ish) idea and not necessarily original, but what's great about the article is that it has a lot to say about the people who are actually there struggling to make it work.

Also, I love the idea of "binge working".

Via Epicenter.

Introducing Devour

This video isn't unlike the trololololo video I posted a long time ago (here) — there's something really special about it, but I totally understand if no one else thinks it's funny. My favorite part is how the baby seems to think that there's nothing out of the ordinary happening. She is completely comfortable, enjoying an opulent meal in her natural habitat.

Also, by way of introduction, Devour is a fairly excellent curated YouTube feed. I've been visiting regularly for about a month now, and at least 80% of the videos they've posted in that time have been worth watching.

Via Devour.

Surrounded by Books


Love it.

Via Eyebeam.

Irony: Environmentalists versus “Cape Wind”

First of all, I'm not without some sympathy for the environmental movement. I am LEED accredited and I think that green building is great, but not because I think that we're going to cook the earth and die. Like most reasonable people, I think that pollution and waste are inherently bad, and that they are often the result of bad design, so I'm against them. That said, I don't think that the government should legislate sweeping sustainability reforms, force me to eat organic, or round up and murder all of the SUV's. Generally speaking, I don't like it when environmentalists try to force people to save the earth. But the point of the story is that I think it's funny when environmentalists get pushed around by other environmentalists. Bobby Kennedy Jr., himself a prominent green advocate, has come out strongly against the wind farm proposed off of Nantucket Sound (SEE ALSO). This may or may not be because of the ocean view enjoyed by the Kennedy's Nantucket estate.

Here's a group of green advocates urging him to change his position:

"Nothing threatens the Earth's most special places more than global warming. The changes being wrought by our warming of the atmosphere are melting the Arctic tundra, overheating the Amazon rainforest, and heating the oceans. We are, simply put, in a state of ecological emergency. Constructing windmills six miles from Cape Cod, where they will be visible as half-inch dots on the horizon is the least that we can do."

The letter ends with "...we urge you to reconsider your position..." and so on followed by a ridiculously long list of the people who got together to pen the letter. I like that it has a subtle petition component to it — here's a long list of people who are mad at you. So the environmentalist gets called out for NIMBYism and is bullied and guilted into submission by his peers.

No one likes to be bossed around or guilted into things, so it's funny to see the pusher get pushed every now and then. It's easy to support abstractions like ocean wind farms to create clean, sustainable energy, but things can get hairy pretty quickly: Where do they go? Who's in charge? Who's paying for it? What if x, y, or z happens? I like that one of the people telling everyone that they need to buy a hybrid, recycle, and picket polluting mega-companies is getting served an angry letter urging him to do his part to save the world. Isn't the view from your family summer home a small price to pay to save our Mother Earth? Maybe it's not funny, but I laughed.

SEE ALSO: He actually compares the Sound to Yosemite. HA!