All items from Web Urbanist

Dystopia Now: Office-Oriented “Blinkers” Serve as Horse Blinders for Humans

[ By WebUrbanist in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

As workers become increasingly packed in modern, open-plan offices and coworking spaces, designers keep working on high-tech solutions to allow employees to focus, often with the unintended effect of highlighting office layout shortcomings.

The latest of these gadget-based solutions is a set of “blinkers” from Panasonic’s “Future Life Factory,” designed to block out sights and sounds from the wearer’s sides so they can hone in on what’s in front of them.

These Wear Space units, they believe, will help keep work environments distraction-free. They were created in collaboration with Japanese fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga. Somehow, though, the photographs just reinforce a sense of dread, with humans arrayed in front of small screens like captured cattle. But who knows: maybe they will prove useful barring other spatial redesigns.

Cloud-like Circular Staircase Stands at the Center of This Chinese Villa

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Floating staircases always make a big impact, but rarely do they actually look like they’re just wisps of clouds spiraling through a living space. Prior to renovation, the three floors of this home weren’t connected by a single staircase, leading the basement walkout level to feel distanced from the first and second floors. KOS Architects and Atelier Zerebecky wanted to give the villa a sense of liberating weightlessness, a space that feels fresh and light amid the noisy clamor of urban China.

Chinese City to Replace Street Lights with Orbiting Artificial Moon by 2020

[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

Within two years, the city of Chengdu aims to swap out its ground-based street lighting with the soft glow of an artificial moon, casting light across 50 square miles of the urban landscape.

Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, announced the news at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship event earlier this month.

Reflective panels on board the machine will pick up and redirect the sun’s rays. The satellite will actually glow multiple times brighter than the moon itself, creating a dusk-like atmosphere on demand. The precise illumination can be varied in different sections of the city as well.

Glass Houses: The Lure of Transparent Materials in an Era of Waning Privacy

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

We seem to have reached a new era of human civilization in which people marvel over the lack of privacy to be found in a completely transparent glass house while also revealing every last intimate detail of our lives to strangers over the internet. We tend to think of loss of privacy in terms of invasion, but just as often we’re inviting the eyes of strangers in. How are our ideas of privacy evolving, and what does it mean for the housing of the future? Will we live in increasingly closed-off quarters while even more of our details are exposed, or will we embrace a new kind of ‘radical transparency?’

Architect Ordered to Demolish New Award-Winning Apartment Building in London

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Normally, a new structure is safe from the wrecking ball so long as it is structurally sound, but not so with 15 Clerkenwell Close, a housing block that is at issue for reasons of appearance rather than engineering (and despite recently winning an RIBA award). Designed by architect Amin Taha, the six-story facade features raw quarried limestone stone (with exposed fossils) that the Islington Council argues was not adequately represented in planning documents, and therefore never properly approved. Taha also lives in the threatened building.