All items from Web Urbanist

Ukraine’s Endangered Brutalist Architecture Gets a Closer Look in Short Film

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Some of Ukraine’s most stunning Soviet Modernist landmarks are at risk of demolition, including the State Scientific and Technical Library, better known as the ‘UFO Building.’ Grandiose and imposing, these concrete wonders may be fascinating to many of us who live outside of former USSR territories, but they can also be a reminder of a painful history, and to some, not worth maintaining. Many of these structures have already begun to crumble, nearly overtaken on all sides by slick modern malls and other developments.

A new short film called ‘Soviet Modernism, Brutalism, Post-Modernism: Buildings and Projects in Ukraine from 1960-1990’ takes a closer look at the Soviet-era gems found in cities like Kiev. Inspired by a book of the same name, which is due to be published this October, the film examines the architectural importance of these structures, particularly those built in the 1960s.

Virtual Atlas: New Book Explores Digital Cities Inside 40 Video Games

[ By WebUrbanist in Gaming & Computing & Technology. ]

Spanning 40 years of gameplay and 40 different games, this new volume dives into the design and history of dozens of virtual realities, acting as a travel guide to imaginative places that only exist in cyberspace.

Game developer and writer Konstantinos Dimopoulos’s upcoming book is called Virtual Cities: An Atlas & Exploration of Video Game Cities and features classic virtual environments from Fallout to Silent Hill, including some that overlap in uncanny ways with reality (like New Vegas).

Maps and illustrations will accompany commentary from the author, who has a PhD in urban planning and geography and designs spaces for games, making him well-suited to explore the layouts of these places.

Dementia Villages: The Delicate Art of Designing to Deceive

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

You take a stroll down a sunny street, wave to the smiling vendor at the flower stall on the corner, chat with a friend by the fountain at the center of the town square and head back to your picturesque cottage with a baguette tucked under your arm. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that all the streets hit a dead end. You don’t know that the clerks in all the stores are actually nurses. As far as you’re concerned, it’s 1959, the year you graduated from college, and your high school sweetheart could be coming by at any moment. You’re content in that thought – even though it’s actually 2018, and your village is really a care facility. You’re allowed to live in the mental and physical space that makes you the most comfortable.

To some, this kind of trickery might seem cruel, recalling the plots of movies like The Truman Show (in which the protagonist, unbeknownst to him, lives in an artificially constructed environment and life.) But advocates of these ‘dementia villages’ say they grant patients a lifestyle that has a lot more in common with their pasts in the real world than a potentially cold and unfriendly nursing home ward.

Wipe Left: Getting A Handle On The Roll Front Toilet Seat

[ By Steve in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

The Bog Standard Toilet Seat Roll Holder may be the sanitation solution nobody asked for but British designer Henry Franks really doesn’t give a crap.

“Bog Standard” is an oak wood toilet seat with a TP roll holder deliberately and seamlessly integrated into the front of the seat. Now this is where most folks would insert the classic, crying-anime-girl “why would you do that??” meme but bear with us: there’s a method behind (pun unintended) Franks’ madness.

Reinventing the Cat: Mobile Succulent Planter Robot Seeks Out Sunlight

[ By WebUrbanist in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

This robotic “smart” planter wanders around on six articulated legs to make sure your precious greens get enough natural light, prompting the observation: “This is called a cat. You’ve invented a cat.”

And there’s something to the comparison — cats self-regulate, so why not plants? Heliotropism draws plantlife naturally to the sun for nutrients, causing owners to shift around their habitats, but there’s no need with this bot. It can even stomp to demand water, like an impatient pet.

Developed by Vincross in China, the self-optimizing micro-robot can walk around and make sure any houseplant gets sufficient sun or shade. The HEXA was originally a simple walker, until its inventor put a pot into it.

Bike Route 66: Historic Roadway Open to Two-Wheeled Adventurers

[ By SA Rogers in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

The loneliness of mostly-abandoned Route 66 is all the more cutting for the towns that once thrived along its 2,448-mile length, many of which declined or dried up altogether when it was decommissioned in the 1970s and ‘80s. The famous route that brought migrants west during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and served as a symbol of the open road in later decades became irrelevant with the construction of new highways, and while some states have incorporated it into local roadways, many stretches were left to crumble. Now, the United States Bicycle Route 66 is set to revive it, following roughly the same course.

The Gardenway