Posted on January 28, 2010 by mtidry
Brightly-lit Times Square in NYC
Dubai's building plan for the tallest LED screen in the world
LED screens are becoming more and more popular in downtown areas of even rural communities. The sometimes garish colors and flashing images are certainly more attention-demanding than the surrounding brick or steel or glass. Take the ultimate example, Times Square in New York City: with all those competing screens, Hawthorne asserts that “we look at the cityscape not just with divided but with fully fractured attention.” LEDs have become the “super ornament,” adorning office buildings, churches, schools and shops. They’re often not included in the building plans, but added later by the owners of the building. But what if we take it one step further (and this is indeed the case), designing and building structures that are essentially one big screen?
The image on the left is of Dubai’s plans for a skyscraper that sports the largest LED screen in the world. What does that say about buildings’ histories, about their inherent qualities? Are there any? With constantly changing, ever-contemporary façades, what happens to “historical districts?” As the architectural past of a city grows dimmer, it will have to find other ways to connect to its history, and that loss may not be one we’re willing to sustain.
Filed under: Daily Dose of Masonry | Tagged: architecture, daily dose, Dubai, history, LED screens, linkedin, ornamentation, Times Square | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 27, 2010 by mtidry
Light-emitting wallpaper design by Jonas Samson; Image courtesy of Nuno Michael Ferreira on sbkinc.com
Lomox’s glowing walls are achieved through use of a chemical coating that is triggered by a small electrical current. Since only 3-5 volts of electricity are required to power the product, the walls remain safe to touch and can even be powered by solar panels or batteries. The company claims that this technology is 2.5 times more efficient than energy-saving light bulbs. Consumers can buy pre-treated wallpaper or paint the chemical directly on the walls. Regular dimmer switches control the level of light produced. A natural sunlit glow fills the room, providing a full range of color and eliminating the shadow and glare associated with traditional forms of lighting.
There have been mixed responses to this news release. Some potential consumers are worried about the toxicity of the chemical and how concerned they should be about crumbling paint. Others are less-than-enthusiastic about the prospect of no shadows, citing fear of a sterile, cold atmosphere. Technophiles, on the other hand, see only bigger and better possibilities for the lighting. Think of the patterns you could create in your homes! Jonas Samson, designer, has already released light-emitting wallpaper, demonstrating just a small spectrum of possibilities. One commentator even suggested glow-in-the-dark pages for books. Good luck getting the kids to sleep when “lights out” isn’t as easy as it sounds!
Filed under: Daily Dose of Masonry | Tagged: daily dose, glowing walls, interior design, LED light, light bulb, linkedin, wallpaper | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 26, 2010 by mtidry
"Around the Corner"; University of Southern Indiana, 2003; Image courtesy of Doyle Dean
"Paradise Gate"; Smith College Museum of Art, 2001; Image courtesy of Stephen Petegorsky
"Close Ties"; Brahan Estate, Scottish Highlands, 2006; Image courtesy of Fin Macrae
"The Summer Palace"; University of Pennsylvania, 2009; Image courtesy of Rob Cardillo
Filed under: Daily Dose of Masonry | Tagged: architecture, construction, green building, linkedin, nest houses, Patrick Dougherty | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 21, 2010 by mtidry
Porter House Museum Wall
Gypsum Desert Rose
First off, let’s look at desert rose. Formed from the minerals gypsum or barite together with sand, this geometric, angular rock suggests maze-like ultra-modern construction. Think staircases and skywalks – now that would be fun building to explore.
Next up: pyrite suns. Pyrite, as you may well know, is commonly referred to as “fool’s gold,” but I bet you haven’t seen it in this radial formation before. Pyrite suns are found in shale near Sparta, IL. One theory holds that they’re actually formed when the pyrite replaces the fossilized remains of a yet un-identified organism. I’d love to see these used in an exterior veneer! Unfortunately, they’re extremely fragile and would be nearly impossible to keep intact.
Finally, I suggest Petoskey stones. The unusual pattern on these rocks is actually revealing of the stone’s prior form as coral. When glaciers came through the area, they broke off and smoothed pieces of the bedrock – the petoskey stones. They’d be great material for buildings in rainy climates. Why? These chameleon rocks resemble chalky, dull limestone until wet – that’s when their intricate designs are made evident.
I’ve voiced the need for brilliancy of color in new architectural creations, and now I’m suggesting texture and pattern as well. I look forward to the new buildings!
Filed under: Daily Dose of Masonry | Tagged: daily dose, desert rose, linkedin, masonry technology, petoskey stone, Porter House Museum, pyrite sun | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 20, 2010 by mtidry
Litracube, translucent concrete; Image courtesy of Blaine Brownell on core77.com
Developed in 2001 by a Hungarian architect, translucent concrete has taken its time hitting the press. However, it deserves all the accolades it’s now garnering, and more. The optical fibres that run parallel to one another throughout the material allow light and color to pass through walls of concrete up to 20 meters thick! The fibers’ thicknesses can also range from 2μm (micrometers) to 2mm, depending on how much light the consumer wants to allow through. It may be some time before translucent concrete is perfected (modifications to speed the production process have already begun), but once it hits the popular market, I predict it’ll be in a big way.
Trees seen through translucent concrete; Image courtesy of cmuarch2013.wordpress.com
Filed under: Daily Dose of Masonry | Tagged: concrete, daily dose, light-transmitting, linkedin, masonry technology, translucent concrete | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 19, 2010 by mtidry
Pumice is a volcanic rock whose variably sized holes are formed by escaping bubbles. The fast cooling and depressurization of the lava/water combination traps the bubbles as they move through the material, leaving permanent voids in the hardened rock. Pumice is a relatively soft, light stone that has been used to make lightweight concrete since antiquity. A finer grain of the rock called pozzolan is mixed with lime to create a workable substance similar to plaster. The Romans used this form of concrete for the Pantheon’s dome and many aqueducts. Pumice stones’ abrasive qualities make them useful for pencil erasers, exfoliants and making stone-washed jeans. Ancient Greek and Roman citizens also used pumice stones to remove unwanted hair.
I don’t know that I’d recommend trading in your shaving implements for a rock, but maybe the next time your teenager begs for new jeans that are strategically “worn,” you can hand them a pumice stone instead… hey, it’s worth a try.
Filed under: Daily Dose of Masonry | Tagged: concrete, daily dose, history, linkedin, masonry technology, Pantheon, pumice stone, Roman architecture | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 18, 2010 by mtidry