All items from Web Urbanist

Fast Driver: Powerless Auto-Hammer Packs Strip of Nails for DIY Projects

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

Nail guns can be handy but also bulky and awkward, not to mention: limited by the presence of batteries or electrical outlets. A new tool for the kit comes from product designer Michael David Young: the automatic nail-dispensing hammer.

Strips of nails are loaded into the device, a tap sets the nail in place and readies it to be hammered home, speeding up the process while also reducing the risk of injury.

After years of drawing and testing, explains Young, “I finally got it to work after many many prototypes, got my provisional patent and shipped it around to the big tool companies.” He says major brands have expressed interest in his creation.

Graffiti Glam: Surreal Scenes Transform a Baroque Dutch Building

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

Classical meets modern in a surreal mashup splashed all over the walls of the Thomas cafe in the Netherlands, the work of a duo of artists known as Studio Giftig. Highly in demand for their colorful, oversized works of art, Niels van Swaemen and Káspar van Leek were invited to transform the kind of space most muralists only dream of working in, wrapping their imagery around baroque molding and up onto the ceiling.

Thin Facade: Old Small Town Storefront Folds Down into 100-Seat Theater

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Walking down the vintage commercial strip of Lyons, Nebraska, it looks like any other building with shop windows and a front door, sharing walls with neighboring structures, but that’s all a disguise.

In fact, the disguise predates this creative conversion — when artist Matthew Mazzotta came to town, the lot behind the front wall was empty, making it a perfect place to create something new. Now, however, hydraulic cylinders on either side lower a series of platforms with bench seating over the sidewalk and facing into the low-traffic street, turning the town core into a public venue space.

Brutal-ish: Japan’s Long, Dramatic Love Affair with Concrete Architecture

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Japanese architecture may be most closely associated with natural, lightweight materials like wood and paper, but Japan is also home to some of the world’s most incredible concrete architecture, and the two styles aren’t as disparate as they first appear. The nation’s love for a seemingly cold, unyielding material evolved out of resilience after war and natural disasters, and though the character of concrete contrasts with the organic sensibilities of tatami mats, shoji screens and hand-hewn timber, it’s not necessarily at odds with it.

Buildings in Japan are often engineered to be disposable, with an average lifespan of 25 years. Frequent earthquakes and high humidity take a heavy toll on architecture, without a doubt (though this limit was actually imposed by the country’s Land Ministry to boost the economy). Of course, not every building in Japan is razed for a new beginning after a seemingly arbitrary period of time – but the high turnover does increase demand for young architects, stimulating creative experimentation.

Unequal Scenes: Aerials Photos Highlight Stark Lines Between Rich and Poor

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Photography & Video. ]

There are places in the world where a single road, wall or an even thinner, more invisible line separates rich from poor, and those are the kinds of intersections captured by photographer Johnny Miller.

A student of anthropology, Miller started out using images to illustrate wealth disparities in South Africa, but has since gone on to photograph in India, Tanzania and even the United States. He spends much of his time scouring for locations, then charts a path to fly his photography drone.

“The images that I find the most powerful are when the camera is looking straight down—what’s known as ‘nadir view,’ looking at the actual borders between rich and poor,” he says of Unequal Scenes.

Blind Building Facades Become Urban Farms with Scalable Scaffolding System

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Blank, windowless exterior walls that get plenty of sun exposure could become vertical farms with the addition of recycled modular scaffolding. A project called GreenBelly aims to make use of these wasted urban spaces to provide fresh food to the surrounding neighborhood with a system that’s easy to transport, install and remove, and it doesn’t even require hookups to utilities. A six-level GreenBelly system made of reclaimed scaffolding and wooden pallets taking up just 35 square meters of land can produce over 14,000 pounds (6400kg) of vegetables per year.