Monday, October 22, 2012

Machu Picchu

No list of lost cities is complete without Machu Picchu. This old Inca city sits on a peak in the Andes. It was only inhabited for a short period of time, likely 1450-1572 AD, before being abandoned as a result of the Spanish conquest of South America. Since Spaniards never found the city, and locals did not reveal its location, Machu Picchu only came to the attention of the West in the early 20th century. Debate still exists as to whether Machu Picchu was a regular settlement, a Royal retreat, or a religious sanctuary. To reach the site itself is now incredibly easy, with regular buses and trains. This has led to worries about the sustainability of large numbers of visitors there. However, given the wonderful views and the ruins themselves it is easy to see why people flock to Machu Picchu.

Timgad - the archetypal lost city

Timgad, or Colonia Marciana Ulpia Traiana Thamugadi to Latinists, is the archetypal lost city from adventure stories. Once a vibrant city founded in the desert on the orders of the emperor Trajan it survived the upheavals of the empire and grew to a large trading city. After being sacked in the 5th century it was reborn as a center of Christian life. A second major sacking in the 7th century by Vandals led to the complete

Tikal - the capital city of a Mayan kingdom

The Mayan city of Tikal was once the capital city of a Mayan kingdom and a major city of the New World. The site was occupied from ~200-900 AD. Thanks to the almost perfect preservation of the city much is known about the grandeur of Tikal at its height, as well as the powerful kings who ruled there. While the site is sometimes – like other New World ruins – listed as ‘mysteriously’ abandoned, research is showing that the land could not support the large number of people congregating in the city. Abandonment occurred over a number of years and the city was left for the jungles to grow over. It seems, however, that some locals knew of its existence during those years, for rumors of a lost city in the area persisted. The first organized expedition found the city in 1848. What they found was one of the largest surviving New World archaeological sites. There are pyramids up to 70m high, royal palaces, monumental stele and a playing arena for the Mayan ball game.


The discovery of Akrotiri

The Minoan civilization of Crete is named for the mythical King Minos, builder of the labyrinth. There is scant written material left from the Minoans, so we do not know what they called themselves. The entire civilization was largely forgotten until the turn of the 20th century. With the discovery of the great palace at Knossos the glories of the Minoans were rediscovered. Instead of the well known Knossos, I have included a Minoan outpost, Akrotiri on the island of Santorini. Santorini, or Thera, is the home of the Thera volcano. It is now thought that the explosion of Thera around 1600 BC, one of the largest eruptions in recorded history, brought about the collapse of the Minoan empire. The discovery of Akrotiri, in 1967, brought to light exceptionally well preserved frescos, homes up to three stories high, and a complex planned settlement. The water supply system suggests the people of Akrotiri had access to running hot and cold water, with the hot water provided by the very volcano which would destroy them.

Cliff palace

The Pueblo people, the Native Americans of the US southwest, are named for the villages (Pueblos) they construct. While there are still vibrant pueblo communities today, the Anasazi, an ancient pueblo society, flourished between 900 and 1200 AD. ‘Cliff Palace’ was constructed in this Golden age of the Anasazi; dendrochronology dates most of the buildings at the site to ~1200 AD. Occupation of the site was short lived and it was abandoned by 1300 AD. It remained undiscovered in the desert, until 1888. While out

Friday, October 19, 2012

Parasitic Insertions

 The Los Angeles basin is a place that has seen the third highest number of oil drilling points in the era when industrialization had flourished in the Unites States. This tale was during the late 1800s and 1950s when the LA basin flourished with a huge number of oil drilling units, also known as oil derricks. Today, when oil drilling has found a resurrected life with all kinds of technological boons electrifying and energizing its existence, these oil derricks seem to have faded off in their hugeness of prominence. However, this may not be very true. Here is a reason to remain on the positive side of the debate.

Croatian Firm to Design Istanbul’s First Disaster Prevention and Education Center

 Natural disasters, time and again serve as reminders of the fact that despite the advancements that humans have made in terms of technology, the nature's fury retains the power to reduce man made creations to rubble. The effect is even more pronounced in a state of unpreparedness which is very often due to a callous attitude towards the might of nature. Preventing these disasters is not quite in human hands but if considerable effort is put in, to train people in facing such situations and to put the technology available to use, the damage can certainly be minimized. Turkey's first Disaster Prevention and Education Center in Istanbul is a step in the same direction, given the kind of damage to life and property the recent earthquakes in Turkey brought about.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

How to efficiently use human waste

 If you see how nature works, then you will notices that nothing is wasted in nature, apart from what is man made. Whatever is naturally produced, becomes one with the Earth after its life cycle is over. Similarly, after humans consume food the excrement should also ideally become a part of nature. However, this is not so in today's modern way of living as human excrement finds its way into water and pollutes our valuable water resources.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Agricultural singularity

 The LOFT Vertical Farming competition of 2011 had some very interesting entries. One of them was what was termed as Vertical Symbiosis and it lay stress on a harmonic co-existence between humanity and its sustenance. It is a proposal for vertical farming. The concept has gained lot of ground because of the rapidly diminishing real estate available for agriculture.

Skyscrapers for the urban people

 Sky is the limit and nobody ever touched the sky. It seems that architects and urban landscape designers are taking the idea seriously. At least, vertical green spaces on the high-rise towers are saying so.
If you are living in any growing metropolis for couple of decades you must have noticed the ever-receding greenery in the urban vicinity. We need offices, schools, health centers, conference blocks, housing and so many facilities. So, we keep on cropping the parks and gardens. This is sad but unavoidable.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Breathing Building: Garden as Building

 A reflection and response to the green revolution, The Breathing Building is a conceptual design that enjoys and celebrates life. Meghan Dufresne has crafted this design very thoughtfully and has finally made it a top submission for the Parkitecture Competition organized by the Dwell Magazine. Reflecting a garden as building, this design runs on the concept of creating such a structure that acts as a nurturer to the environment, as well as acts as a functional support for an automobile. The Breathing Building is a small container for the nature, which is able to self-power by generating energy from renewable sources like water and sunlight.

Regeneration of Life through this TREE OF LIFE KLCC

 The talented designer Koh Hau Yeow has come up with an exclusively green design for the proposed development at Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) park in Malaysia. This is the design for an architectural wonder named TREE OF LIFE @ KLCC. The rich landscape at this location allows for an interactive space between an urban and a natural formation where an innovative design could easily fit in. This creative life tree design is proposed to utilize the flowing area from the park into the construct, thus developing an ecological habitat for the residents while also well-accommodating retail areas, parking facilities and workplaces.

LEED Platinum Eco Building by Geotectura

 Israel is all set to become an international example when it comes to housing environmentally friendly buildings. The country will house a LEED Platinum certified building in Tel Aviv University (TAU). Around three years back, Geotectura, an architectural firm focusing on sustainable architecture, won a competition of international repute together with Chen Architects and Axelrod-Grobman Architects for designing a green building for Porter School of Environment Studies (PSES) located in TAU. And now, the trio have started laying ground work for the building.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sustainable masterplans for green cities of the future

 Nowadays, everything is about renewable energy sources and greener lifestyles. People are looking out for homes in eco friendly neighborhoods that have facilities which contribute towards greener lifestyles. There are some housing community projects that are yet to be implemented, but are designed for the purpose of greener communities. These designs have been made for the comfort of all the economic and social levels within the society and have also incorporated community centers like hospitals, schools, libraries, office buildings and so on. Here is a list of five such designs which have been planned.
1. Tian Yi Town Master Plan
Tian Yi Town Master Plan

Active tissue building to celebrate ingenuity

 Remarkable architecture is testament to the ingenuity and imagination of today’s designers. A beautiful edifice stands proud against the skyline as one of the landmarks of the technology age. Re:con:active Tissue is an pioneering endeavor in building design. This pavilion utilizes the most important properties of vinyl, durability and longevity, to create a strong concept, wherein the structure is reactive. It is based on the ideas of local Toronto architect and thinker Philip Beesley, who demonstrated in experimental exhibits how modern technology can infuse contemporary architecture with the ability to be responsive to its surrounding and an internal stimulus.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple’s new Cupertino campus

The mega structure
As new details emerge about Apple's proposed campus in Cupertino, it becomes increasingly evident that the structure will be nothing short of awe-inspiring. The spaceship campus, a name it gets for its shape, is mammoth in terms all the parameters one can think of. The structure is in some way intended to lend the perfection as is evident in Apple products to the workplace where these products are designed and worked upon. It is in sync with the kind of precision Steve Jobs sought in Apple products. The sheer scale of the numbers marks the rising of a new megastructure on the horizon.
New Apple Campus

Monday, October 1, 2012

Underwater architecture

 A human underwater habitat is now a reality. Here humans can live for a longer period of time and also carry out most of their daily functions just as easily as on land. This underwater structure is designed in a way that people living in it can work, eat, rest, sleep and maintain personal hygiene as they would do on land. The term 'habitat' is normally used to understand the interior of the structure of its immediate exterior and fixtures, but does not mean the structure's surrounding water and marine environment.
Underwater architects can produce self sufficient food


 The 99 K house seeks to make people aware about the green awareness strategies applicable to people who can afford such housing. The houses can both be made and sold for $99,000 or even less. There was a lottery for the housing. Entrants were selected from a group representing 29 U.S states and 16 countries. Five finalists were finally chosen from 182 entrants for the 99K sustainable, reasonably priced house that surely addresses the needs of an even low income family especially in the Gulf Coast region. The five finalists will be awarded a $5,000 award, next the competition will go on to stage II.