The feature that I wrote for issue 20 is about personal rapid transit. PRT, as it is called, is a mass transportation concept that swaps high-capacity trains for small "pod cars." These individualized vehicles run on dedicated tracks from origin to destination, bypassing all other stations along the way. Such a system is currently being installed at London's Heathrow Airport and Foster + Partners is developing a PRT solution for its Masdar City project, but the idea has been around at least since the 1950s. In the late 60s and 70s several prototypes were developed and tested for possible urban application, but—aside from a semi-PRT system installed in Morgantown, West Virginia—none of them were ever realized. The one that came the closest was Cabinentaxi, which was to be rolled out in Hamburg, Germany. A recession in 1980 sank the project, but luckily they made this lovely film before falling into the dustbin of history. Enjoy.
Posts tagged with "Germany":
From Germany via Dangerous Minds comes this stunning 3-D architectural illusion: A square building appears possessed, its facade rippling, segmenting and mutating. Giant hands manipulate the building's surface and then dissolve. A wave ripples through the building's bricks as if it were shivering. It's called "How it would be, if a house was dreaming," and it's a trompe-l'oeuil video projection by Hamburg-based creative collective UrbanScreen. The title's perfectly apt, as these look like nothing so much as disjoint visions flitting across the subconscious of a slumbering building. The building in question is O.M. Unger's Galerie der Gegenwart in Hamburg, completed in 1997 as the final wing of the Kunsthalle Hamburg art museum. Its facade is flat, gridded, and largely windowless, severe by day, but a perfect pixellated canvas for UrbanScreen's fantasies by night. A steady stream of passers-by on the sidewalk below—some stopping to watch, others simply going about their business—make the metamorphosing building behind them seem all the more surreal.
Sarah Palin isn't the only one with pipelines on the brain: The Estonian installation in the Giardini recreates a section of Gazprom's proposed Nord Stream pipeline, that would run directly from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. Naturally, some of the Baltic countries aren't wildly enthusiastic about this. Estonia doesn't have a pavilion of it's own, but that may be a good thing. The group placed a 63-meter-long yellow pipe running from the entry of the Russian pavilion: Goes straight past the Japan pavilion (hey, geographical accuracy isn't the point): And spits out—you guessed it—directly in front of the imposing German pavilion: Maybe it's a one-liner, but like every good joke, it is sharp and to the point.