Tag: manufactured-landscapes

From Infoniac.com

3D Print a New House in One Day

3D printing technology is become more accessible, more affordable, and more useful every day. From factory tooling to movie props, 3D has countless applications – and now, you can even print your own house! In this TED talk, University of Southern California professor Behrokh Khoshnevis talks about scaling up the processes already used in rapid prototyping technology, and working with a 3D printer that can print the structure of a 250 square meter house using concrete.

A major limitation of the technology is that it only prints on a single level. Enrico Dini’s British company D-shape hopes to expand on the possibilities of large-scale 3D printing, and has managed to print a two-level structure, but not a livable home yet. It raises the question of which direction this technology is headed – in the future, will we print taller, leading to constructive new methods of city-building, or will we print wider, increasing the already-rapid pace of suburban sprawl? And if it does lead to sprawl, who will print roads and sewer lines to serve the houses?

Michigan Central Station
Manufactured Landscapes

Turning Detroit into Farms and Forests

The story of Detroit is a familiar one for anyone living in the so-called rust belt of the USA, where the once-mighty automotive manufacturing industries have left many towns and cities shadows of their former selves. Now bankrupt, Detroit’s population has halved over the last fifty years. No one actually knows just how many buildings are abandoned, but it is estimated at over 1/3 of all structures. In the midst of this urban decay, farming has started to fill the hole left by industry.

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shopping mall

Why Shopping Malls Are Confusing

You walk into a shopping mall, your intentions firmly focused on finding a sensible pair of shoes or a replacement t-shirt. You glance around, suddenly disorientated by the visual cacophony of stores, carts, water fountains and crowds. Hours later, you leave the mall laden with bags of stuff you didn’t plan on buying. What happened?

The Jerde transfer refers to shopping center design that is intentionally confusing and overstimulating. According to the sociologist Giandomenico Amendola, “Amplification, bombardment of the senses, entertainment, are the means by which City Walk or Fremont Street change the modern flaneur into an addicted consumer… Design principles [of the Jerde transfer] are chaos and incoherence…” Commercial structures that might seem designed for utility or convenience are actually created in order to manipulate us into opening our wallets. Welcome to the natural habitat of capitalism.

Image via The Daily Mail.

Manufactured Animals

Wild Ones

Typically when we look at nature we exclude ourselves. Finally there is a book looking at people looking at animals (in America).

"Wild meadow" - in the middle of the Ruhr industrial region, new forms of nature are on the rise

Anthropo-scene #5: Industrial Wilderness

Go back 100 years at exactly this location, and you would hardly be able to breathe and stand the noise. The Hattingen ironworks are an icon of the Ruhr region, one of the early centers of the Industrial Revolution. Starting in 1854, iron ore was extracted here and smelted with the help of local coal to produce high-grade steel of all sorts. When the local ores were depleted, the company in charge used imports from all around the world. In 1987, however, operations were so unprofitable that they came to a halt. Then, a post-industrial revolution began, a natural one.

Plants from China, South Africa and other countries that had been brought along with the ores started to take over the site and rare birds like Peregrine Falcons began to breed here. A hill, created with slag, became so overgrown that you can mistake it for something completely natural. And local eco-enthusiasts now use this momentum to create a “post-industrial wilderness” – with this “Wildwiese” (wild meadow) as one element. There’s even an exploratory route in the Ruhr region linking 19 sites of “industrial nature”. Don’t be surprised to see more rare plants and animals there than in places you consider to be proper “nature”.

Other installations in the Anthropo-scene series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


Plastic makes the world go round

Cockroaches will inherit the world after humans are gone? Maybe not. Seeing plastic as the new moss, or algae, photographer Jeanny Kaethoven makes this beautiful pictures of plastic left behind.

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Gardening on the Roof of a Bus

In the streets of Girona, a sunny town near Barcelona, ?you can find an eco-friendly bus with a garden on the roof. It’s not an artistic work, but an experiment to expand the urban green area, in order to reduce CO2. Called Autocultural, it’s a classic bus with a thin layer of hydroponic components on the top, allowing the plants to grow without overloading to the vehicle’s structure with the weight of the soil. Public transporters drivers can now add green thumb to their CV.

Source: The Sunday Times

Nature is here to stay

Anthropo-scene #4: Longing for Nature

Nature, anybody? Heidelberger Platz is one of the more brutal urban spaces in Berlin. It is torn apart by the city highway and train lines. The few buildings that surround it look pretty ugly. There’s no feeling of a social fabric here, just a constant flow of people moving through. The whole experience of being here is pretty filthy. Except for the animals. Here they are, a dolphin and a turtle swimming in bright blue water, a happy chick and a healthy-looking ice bear, plastered on the walls of a drive-thru car wash under the highway bridge. The owners of the car wash could show race cars here or pictures of sexy women, but no: people get to see a pictorial zoo. An optimistic reading of this bizarre sight is that it exploits an in-built human longing for being in and with nature. If we feel happy hanging out with dolphins even in our car washes, humans will surely look after the well-being of Earth in the Anthropocene? The pessimistic reading goes like this: we’re fed Orwellian images of an abstract natural purity so we get distracted from how ugly human-made spaces can be. Either way, Nature is here to stay.

Aerial view of agricultural fields

A Stroll Through the Bubbles of Chemicals and Men

In flipping through the future shock images of biosynthetic speculation, it’s easy to miss the historical trajectory to which biosynthetic practices belong. Etienne Turpin takes a look at the long twentieth century of ‘bubble-expanding’ invention and the underlying drive to maintain our sphere of seven billion people, in order to understand this trajectory. He regards proto-biosynthetic techniques like the Haber-Bosch process, which caused an agrarian revolution by synthetically introducing ammonia-produced fertilizer to farm fields, as a key to understanding the dynamics of living in this brave new biosynthetic world. 

This essay was originally published in Volume magazine issue #35. Get your copy here.

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