All items from Web Urbanist

Atomic Alchemy: Photographs of Nuclear Landscapes in the American West

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Photography & Video. ]

There’s a quiet sense of foreboding permeating this series of black and white photos of old uranium mining towns and nuclear test sites throughout the West, captured by Australian-American photographer Brett Leigh Dicks. The images depict scenes that once held enormous potential: first for progress, then for danger and destruction. Now they’re just empty. “Atomic Alchemy: Nuclear Landscapes Across the American West” explores how these sites scattered across Utah, Idaho, Arizona and New Mexico rose and fell along with public perception of nuclear power in the early stages of its development and post World War II, after the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Constructivist Cool: Moscow’s Zuev Workers’ Club

[ By Steve in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Workers of the world, relax! The Zuev Workers’ Club building in downtown Moscow was the epitome of Constructivist cool when it opened way back in 1929.

Hipster-sky Hangout

And it’s still plenty chill right now! Indeed, this well-preserved and still fully-functional relic of the Soviet Union’s heady early years would still invoke double-takes – in a good way – should an architectural clone be unveiled today.

Architecture as Cultural Identity: A Town in Bolivia Gets Bold & Bright

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

Whether you love it or hate it, the divisive architectural style taking over the Bolivian city of El Alto is certainly a departure from the norm, injecting bold shapes and colors into an otherwise average cityscape. Local architect Freddy Mamani, who has spent the last 18 years developing the signature style he calls “Nuevo Andino” (“New Andean”), felt that El Alto was too “monochrome.” Each of his buildings is like a unique sculptural work of art aiming to enliven the city and pay homage to ancient indigenous motifs of the area.

50 Years Later: Mysteriously Perfect ‘Tree Circles’ Spotted from Sky in Japan

[ By WebUrbanist in Culture & History & Travel. ]

Like a giant work of long-term land art, a pair of eerily precie circles can be seen over Miyazaki, Japan, made up of cedars planted a half-century ago. As it turns out, though, this was not aesthetic in intent, but scientific: the trees were carefully arrayed to test out a botanical theory.

Specifically, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries secured land in the mid-1970s to create this experimental forest to determine how tree spaces would impact growth speed and height. Trees were planted at ten-degree increments to create ten concentric circles – the closer to the center, the naturally tighter-packed they were, hence the geometry of the results.

Linking Past and Present: Modern Architecture Made of Reclaimed Materials

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Recycled architecture is more than just novelty structures and offbeat buildings made from bottles, cans and tires – though those can be pretty cool in their own right. It’s a way to put recycled materials to use on a large scale, reduce the tremendous amount of waste typically produced during construction and stimulate creativity. In fact, the challenge of seeing salvaged and recycled materials in a new way can help break up monotonous architectural norms, even when applied to major modern projects like community centers and museums.

The act of repurposing reclaimed materials often becomes part of the aesthetic, a conscious choice to highlight the building’s sustainability factor or just raise awareness about the potential of items like shipping containers. But sometimes, you can’t tell by a glance. Materials like reclaimed tiles, recycled concrete, salvaged wood and innovative new synthetics made of waste products enable a little more subtlety and elegance.

None of Your Beeswax: Urban Anti-Hives Designed for Solitary Bee Species

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Guerilla Ads & Marketing. ]

Talk of bees usually conjures images of buzzing hives acting in concert, but most species around the world are actually lowners, hence this series of chic abodes for less social bees. Honey bees and bumblebees work together, and get most of the media buzz, while solitary bees work alone — not producing honey or wax, but still playing an important role as pollinators in the global food system.

“When we talk about bees, we usually imagine the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) when in reality, around 90 percent of the bee species are considered solitary,” explains Gabriel Calvillo of MaliArts, who designed these bee condos.

“The fact that solitary bees do not generate any ‘consumable product’ for humans has meant that they are not given much attention, but recent studies point to the fact that they are possibly the most efficient pollinators in nature.”