Maria Elena Moersen

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Move over, Jesus: skateboarders convert a historic Spanish church into a “temple of urban art”

The Spanish Church of Santa Barbara, designed by Asturian architect Manuel del Busto in 1912, faced severe deterioration from years of abandonment, until Church Brigade skate collective slid in. The collective's transformation, Kaos Temple, is a skate park completely immersed in geometric street art. With support from online fundraising and energy drink maker Red Bull,…
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To reduce their carbon footprint, four European cities introduce drastic traffic regulation plans

Amidst the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, numerous cities announced questionably large goals to reduce carbon emissions. However, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Madrid, have backed their goals with concrete plans for extreme traffic regulation, ranging from a car-free city center in Oslo to free public transportation in Madrid. Oslo's City Center to Be Car-Free by…
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See how a pipe organ played by waves transformed Zadar’s concrete shoreline into a popular public space

During World War II, Allied bombing almost entirely destroyed Zadar, Croatia, 3,000-year-old city on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Redevelopment introduced a long, concrete shoreline—unpopulated and uninviting, until 2005, when Croatian architect Nikola Bašić installed Sea Organ. The installation includes marble steps that descend into the sea, and narrow channels, carved into…
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Taipei activates space below a rail viaduct with 1,000 twinkling balloons

In November, Taipei was overtaken by a giant anemone lurking beneath a rail viaduct. One thousand six-foot-tall, cylindrical balloons wobbled under the city's Shilin Metro Station. The 650-foot-long, inflatable, public art installation, Walking in the Balloons, was built for the Shilin Light Festival. City Yeast, a Taipei-based design firm, executed the project.

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West 8 transforms a town plaza beneath an elevated highway in Belgium

For years, Engels Plein, an "English Square" on the perimeter of Leuven, Belgium, has been dominated by viaducts overhead, making the square poorly accessible, dark, unsafe, and, consequently, rundown. To better connect the surrounding homes and commercial spaces, West 8 transformed the industrial space into an outdoor lounge…
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Architects propose a Ferris wheel hotel in Paris, and it might actually happen

French architecture firm SCAU has designed a "water wheel hotel" on the Seine River, currently under consideration in Paris. During its six-month installment, people would be able to sleep in the slowly moving hotel for 300 euros a night. The water wheel structure would be built of wood and only take four days to assemble, meaning the hotel can easily be re-erected elsewhere.…
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Digital artist Miguel Chevalier syncs science and spirituality at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge

Paris-based digital projection artist Miguel Chevalier turned the University of Cambridge’s 16th century King’s College Chapel into an intellectual hypnosis chamber during the recent Dear World… Yours, Cambridge charity event. As each speaker presented, Chevalier illustrated their points with projected lights designed specifically to the chapel’s interior. For example, when hearing of Stephen Hawking’s research…
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MVRDV’s Flower Building in Shanghai is Complete

In 2013, Rotterdam-based MVRDV won the competition to design and masterplan the so-called Sustainable Business Park at Shanghai Hongqiao. With the firm's design set to open in early 2016, the first and main structure of the masterplan, the Flower Building, is now complete. MVRDV designed the Flower Building to…