Earlier this year, it was reported that Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya, two women from Ahmedabad in East India, had come up with an imaginative solution to stop cars and let pedestrians cross the road without the aid of traffic lights. Their "zebra crossing"— rectangular volumes drawn in perspective—appeared to do the trick. While Thakkar and Pandya may have thought they were pioneering new techniques, this strategy had already been realized in Taizhou and Xingsha in China some eight years prior. Using bright and bold colors, these "3D" roadblocks-cum-crossings span China's roads to deceive drivers. Here, instead of using the road surface as a color like in India, blue or red is added to amplify the three dimensional effect. So far the 3D zebra crossings have been a success. "Pedestrians can now feel safer when crossing the street. It’s a great idea," said cyclist Lee Wu. "It is so magical! It looks more like a roadblock watching from afar, and I could not help to slow down before I found out it is nothing but a zebra crossing,” said a driver. “It works well so far, as more and more passers-by tend to walk on this new zebra marking and more drivers give way to them,” added a traffic policeman from Changsha county. Naturally, there are some are skeptical of the 3D road marking's ability to implement safer conditions for pedestrians. Would not such a feature cause drivers to stop suddenly—and dangerously—in their tracks upon realizing that they're careering into a red, white and yellow cuboid? However, part of the success may not be down to the fact that drivers are being fooled into thinking that there is a real 3D object in their path. This illusion can only be achieved from a certain perspective. As drivers by nature are moving, this optimum perspective exists for only a few seconds, if that. Instead, motorists are more distracted by the presence of something brightly colored and abnormal on the road and slow down to inspect it. A spokesman for the local traffic police in Taizhou said: "We want the new crosswalk to become a real safety belt for pedestrians and vehicles." In Ahmedabad, authorities have deemed the markings successful, although in China, one manufacturer is already selling a stick-on 3D solution. As featured on asia-manufacturer.com, the B4011X 3D Zebra Crossing is "self-adhesive and reflective" containing "glass beads for good reflection and skid proof effect; rapid and easy installation." The product is made from flexible polymers, pigments and micro glass beads and apparently lasts for up to two years when applied to concrete, asphalt, cement and marble. Such solutions are yet to make it across to Western Europe and the U.S., however, one can already imagine someone painting a depiction of the Beatles striding across a floating zebra crossing if realised.
Posts tagged with "India":
India appear to be copying China's predilection for, well, copying iconic architecture from around the world. The Indian city of Mysore will see a record-breaking clock tower that has a remarkable resemblance to London’s Big Ben constructed next year. “Clock towers symbolize perfection, discipline, and the way we do our work," Ramadas Kamath, executive vice president at Infosys, the company behind the proposal, told the BBC. Based on Infosys’ plans for its clock tower in Mysore, Kamath, it seems, is paying a big compliment to the neo-gothic work from Augustus Pugin who created the Westminster clock tower. Known by pretty much everyone as “Big Ben” (which is actually the name of the ringing bell, not the clock or tower), Infosys' proposed design appears to take much inspirations from Pugin’s work. At a glance, the two structures look almost identical. Only upon closer inspection do they begin to bare any differences, as can be seen with the intricate detailing on the tower’s shaft. Regardless of the similarities with its Western counterparts, the Mysore clock tower will be unique in one respect: size. Soaring to 443 feet, it will trump “Old Joe” in Birmingham, U.K., by 82 feet. In doing so, it would become the tallest free standing clock tower in the world. Big Ben will pushed down to third in the pecking order, standing at 316 feet, followed by the Campanile Tower at UC Berkeley rising to 307 feet. The tallest clock tower in the world, albeit not free standing, is the King Al Ahli on in Saudi Arabia. Construction is set to take around 20 months, with much of the tower being prefabricated in the adjacent state of Tamil Nadu.
Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma, 1852–1860 The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 5th Avenue, New York City Through May 25 In the early days of the British Raj, few people at home in the UK could do anything but imagine the far-away land their nation had conquered and subjected to colonial rule. It would be another 160 or so years before Instagram arrived and the photographic chemistry of the day suffered terribly in the oppressive heat and humidity of the Indian subcontinent. Then along came Captain Linnaeus Tripe. As an officer in the British army working under the auspices of the British East India Company, he traveled with diplomatic expeditions creating a visual inventory of celebrated archaeological sites and monuments, religious and secular buildings (some of which are now gone), and landscapes with peculiar geological formations. Tripe was able to produce astoundingly consistent photographs using large-format wax paper negatives. Between 1854 and 1860, he made several trips to Burma (now Myanmar) and South India, using his training as a military surveyor to set up rigorously composed photos of local highlights that are quite distinct from the picturesque travel photography of the day. The methodical and thorough nature of his work gave contemporary British audiences an unsentimental tour of their new crown jewel, and now the Met has reprised his accomplishments for 21st century audiences.
Modular self-shading system delivers budget-friendly environmental performance.Tapped to design the facade for the HUB-1 office building at Karle Town Centre in Bangalore, India, New York–based Merge Studio faced a two-pronged challenge: crafting an efficient envelope that would beat the heat without breaking the developer's budget. Moreover, the architects (whose role later expanded to include landscape and public space design) aspired to lend the twelve-story tower, the first in the 3.6 million-square-foot SEZ development, an iconic appearance. "The idea was that we bring together the aesthetics of the facade and make it performative as well," explained Merge founder and advisor Varun Kohli. Despite financial constraints dictated by India's competitive development market, Merge delivered, designing a modular facade comprising metal and glass "waves" that cut solar gain while allowing light and air to penetrate the interior. Solar analysis helped dictate Merge's overall strategy for the building envelope. "In this climate, the maximum impact in terms of heat loads happens through direct radiation, as opposed to conductive heat transfers, which meant that the shading aspect was most important," said Kohli. To lower costs, the architects came up with the idea of a modular, self-shading system in which successive "waves," oriented vertically, shade adjacent glazing. They also streamlined construction through a combination of a minimal material palette and off-site prefabrication. Though Merge had to special-order 1.5-meter Alubond panels, "everything else was fairly simple," said Kohli. "We made sure that there's no glazing where the aluminum panels curve." Mumbai's SP Fab manufactured and installed the facade, splitting each "wave" into three prefabricated pieces that were then trucked to the site and hooked on. HUB-1's glazing was carefully plotted according to the solar studies, with windows decreasing in size on the tower's upper levels. The architects also reduced the window-to-wall ratio on the east- and west-facing sides of the building. They selected double-glazed windows with a low-e coating from St. Gobain India. "It's one of the few buildings using the most high performance glass available in the country," noted Kohli. "It was a careful selection of [performance] strategies." Ventilation is provided by operable vertical slot windows between the crest of each "wave" and the adjacent panel. "Studies showed that we would be able to grab more air through those because of turbulence as it moves around the surface," said Kohli. Some of Merge's initial hopes for improved environmental performance were quashed by the financial reality on the ground. "Obviously, we made a number of compromises along the way," said Kohli. "But I think we can still prove that we were able to save energy in the range of 15-16 percent due to the facade alone." The building as a whole, which will be complete this spring, is targeting LEED Gold certification. Kohli also noted the self-shading system's potential, given a different set of circumstances. "When we first started developing this, we had enough variables that we could really manipulate the facade in response to the environment; the curves could be larger or smaller, and other variables," said Kohli. "But given the fact that we're designing in a market that's very tough financially, we had to really dumb it down. There's quite a bit of [room to explore]."
Steven Holl Architects have been selected to design a new addition to Mumbai’s City Museum, besting finalists including OMA, Zaha Hadid Architects, Amanda Levete, wHY, and Pei Cobb Freed, among others. The 125,000 square foot white concrete addition will include 65,000 square feet of galleries, each with carefully calibrated natural light filtering down from overhead. Light is used as a device to draw visitors through the spaces. In addition to providing natural light, cuts in the roof form channels that feed a large monsoon pool adjacent to the museum. Inspired by India’s monumental well architecture, the pool serves a contemporary function: Lined with photovoltaic cells, the pool will generate 60 percent of the museum’s energy. Guy Nordenson & Associates is engineering the project, and Transsolar is serving as sustainability consultants. The international competition was the first ever held for a public building in India. Construction is expected to begin in 2015.
The upcoming 2014 Venice architecture biennale, Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014, will question the notion of national identity in architecture and investigate the degree to which national styles have been "sacrificed to modernity." To the credit of the Venice curators, they asked national pavilions to investigate ways in which this "seemingly universal architectural language… in significant encounters between cultures... can find hidden ways of remaining 'national?'" Clearly the internationalization—and some would say flattening—of culture is one of the more complicated forces in contemporary culture. It will be interesting to see how the various pavilions in the Venice giardini answer or grapple with this problem. Of course, architectural theorists (Kenneth Frampton, Alexander Tzonis, and Liane Lefaivre, etc.) have long seen the problems and potential of the national or local and the modern, but a new exhibition has just come to our attention that grapples with this problem in a direct and completing way. The exhibit Samskara at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi is a project created by the Be Open Foundation and the Indian architect Anupama Kundoo, whose two-year research initiative Made in...India investigates craft in the modern world. The exhibit, like Kundoo's practice, claims to be driven forward by the past and creates an exhibit space that is a "reflection of the potential for heritage skills not to be swept away by technology and business, but to move forward, hand-in-hand with them, and shape the future." Kundoo points to the inclusion in Samskara of an exhibition plinth created by a community of granite stone-chippers in Tamil Nade. These artisans "originally produced the grinding stones found in every Indian household for grinding fresh masalas—another endangered product in an urbanising India," but today electric grinders are increasingly replacing them. Kindoo's designed stone plinths are created by the workers "tirelessly chipping away at hard slabs of local grey white granite, in order to achieve a very specific effect, which would be impossible to achieve by a machine." This technique naturally creates distinct textured surfaces, quite the opposite of the shiny, reflecting granite surfaces that machines deliver. It is such a beautiful convincing display of a modern idea that drives the traditional and hand-made forward.
At its 37th session held from June 16 to 27, 2013 in Phnom Pehnh and Siem Reap-Angkor, Cambodia, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added 19 sites to the World Heritage List. The new additions bring the list to 981 noteworthy destinations. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of exceptional universal significance and satisfy at least one out of ten selection criteria, which are frequently improved by the Committee to reflect the advancement of the World Heritage notion itself. The following cultural sites have been inscribed on the World Heritage List. · Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, Qatar · Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora, Ukraine · Bergpark Wilhemshöhe, Germany · Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China · Fujisan, Japan · Golestan Palace, Iran · Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India · Historic Centre of Agadez, Niger · Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong, Korea · Levuka Historical Port Town, Fiji · Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany, Italy · Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Canada · University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia, Portugal · Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region, Poland & Ukraine · El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, Mexico · Mount Etna, Italy · Namib Sand Sea, Namibia · Tajik National Park, Tajikistan · Xinjiang Tianshan, China
The BMW Guggenheim Lab is taking its show on the road one more time, after jaunts in Manhattan's East Village and Berlin, Germany. This time to Mumbai, India, where starting in December, an international group of experts and innovators will lead six weeks of free programs, public discourse, and experiments exploring a range of topics related to contemporary urban life. Mumbai, a city of 20.5 million people—the fourth most populous city in the world—represents a unique challenge for the Mumbai Lab Team, who have created a series of projects, studies, and design proposals that respond to issues including transportation, infrastructure, governance, and housing. To get a sense of the types of discourse that will be going on, check out 100 Urban Trends, a glossary of 100 of the most talked about trends in urban thinking, compiled during the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s trip to Berlin in June. A 36-column bamboo structure, designed by Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow and inspired by a traditional Indian Mandapa—a pillared outdoor hall for events—will serve as a mobile pavilion and hub for the happenings. Atelier Bow-Wow designed all three BWM Guggemheim Lab pavilions, part of a collaboration between the museum and the car company. The pavilion will be built at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum and will open on December 9, 2012. Pop-up sites are also planned throughout the city.
On March 31, the Wright auction house gingerly dipped into controversy with its sale of 23 lots of office furniture from Chandigarh even as the Indian government launched a belated international campaign to recover the pieces designed by Pierre Jeanneret for the masterwork by cousin Corbusier. The mid-century furnishings, many made of teak, had notoriously been neglected on site, stashed away in storage by officials, or even used as scrap. Since the 1980s, restored pieces have started to show up abroad and attract high prices, as in $54,000 for a pair of chairs. Corbusier biographer and historian, Jean Louis Cohen, called such sales “sad for history” and tantamount to “looting.” In Chicago, the sale attracted an international crowd, but no museums. A pair of upholstered teak chairs from the High Court (estimated $15,000-20,000) sold for a record $104,500. As for how it felt to court controversy, auctioneer Richard Wright, said “What I hope will come out of all this is that India will take steps in the future to protect these pieces but, even more important, the architecture.”
Like its neighbor to the northeast, India is urbanizing at break-neck speed. Much of the resulting development takes the shape of monotonous towers and slabs designed to house the maximum number people as quickly as possible. The innovative Dutch firm MVRDV’s project Amanora Apartment City punches through, twists, and slices off pieces of a monolithic superstructure, to create a new park-side landmark within a largely undifferentiated urban field. The first of three buildings will contain 1,068 naturally-ventilated apartments ranging from studios to villa-sized units, to capture a variety of family sizes and income levels, as well as retail and community facilities. Many units will have garden balconies overlooking a park and city beyond. While the massive, mountain-like building is built of concrete, it will be richly detailed with a variety of materials, including ornamented sunshades, wood cladding on the balconies, and stone facing on passageways through the building. Taken together, the three-building complex will eventually include over 3,000 units, and their multi-peaked, zigzagging forms will create a new urban identity for the rapidly expanding city.
Keeping Cooper. There's a fight brewing over the demolition of the 186-year-old 35 Cooper Square. A demolition permit had been issued and subsequent stop work orders and candlelight vigils. The small federal style structure was once home to descendants of Peter Stuyvesant and beatnik Diane DiPrima. Keep tabs on the little building at EV Grieve and the Bowery Alliance (And in other Cooper Square preservation news, what's going to happen to the Astor Place mosaics under the planned pedestrian plaza upgrades?) Slum for Sale. In the heart of Mumbai, India, the Dharavi settlement is under pressure to redevlop. Polis has a review of a new documentary on the struggles of a "city tearing at the seams" trying to balance capital growth and the needs of its inhabitants. Urban Evolution. Cities are constantly changing, but we rarely take the big step back and look at how an area has evolved over, say, the past 500 years. Aid Watch put together a visual history of one block in New York's Soho neighborhood, from wilderness, to brothel central, to home of high-end retail. (Via Economix.) Infographic. Gothamist uncovers an interesting chart comparing Chicago and New York by the statistics. Categories include miles of transit track, cost of living, and even who has better pizza.
Yesterday AN learned, via ArchNewsNow, that Prince Charles is planning a new town in India that draws its inspiration from the slums and informal settlements of Calcutta and Bangalore. While the Prince has long been a bete noire for modernists, his interest in vernacular, impromptu settlements is in line with modern architects like the members of Team 10 and Bernard Rudofsky. The Prince is no stranger to town building, having created a simulacrum of a medieval village at Poundbury. In India, the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment plans to build 3000 homes--for an estimated 15,000 low income residents--interwoven with schools and small shops. "We have a great deal to learn about how complex systems can self-organize to create a harmonious whole," the Prince said in a statement, according to the Daily Mail. The Prince, widely admired for his work on sustainable agriculture, plans to include green features like rainwater collectors and natural ventilation.