Tomorrow morning BLDGBLOG rolls itself out upon the American interstate highway system to make its slow way over to the apocalypse of Los Angeles – via Chicago, Denver, Boulder, and Springdale, Utah, where a few pints of Polygamy Porter and some long hikes in Zion National Park strongly beckon – all the while hoping to maintain some sort of regular posting schedule, as I have about 2.173 billion things I want to tell everyone about.
First off, British architect Norman Foster “has been enlisted by the King of Jordan for his most grandiose project yet – a canal carved through the desert to rescue the Dead Sea from environmental disaster.” Foster’s plan “is to carry sea water from the Gulf of Aqaba to replenish the Dead Sea, which has shrunk by a third over the past 50 years and faces total evaporation.” The water will travel through a “sequence of canals and pipelines,” moving “down through the arid Arava valley in southern Israel and Jordan to the salt lake at the lowest point on earth, 415 meters below sea level.”
We wish him luck – then we refer you to the great man-made river of Libya.
Elsewhere, metallic, alcohol-detecting flowers have been “grown in a laboratory in China.” These “spectacular flower-like nanostructures” are each “made up of bundles of nanorods 15nm wide. They were made by blasting a zinc-containing solution with ultrasound.”
This bouquet even conducts electricity: “To make a sensor the researchers wired up two patches of the flowers into a circuit.”
Next up: the flowers escape and cross-breed with uranium, forming an unkillable flowering alloy that soon decimates New York City. Within ten years, the cities of North America resemble a metallized return to the Jurassic era, complete with bio-iron vines and moving fogs made entirely from electricity…
As you ponder that fate, check out Architecture Radio‘s podcast of a talk by Steven Ehrlich, an architect based in Culver City, Los Angeles; then give a listen to AR‘s earlier lecture by border-crossing architect Teddy Cruz. Then, while your ears recover, this video-tour of a data storage warehouse is worth a minute or two of your time.
Equinix Internet Business Exchange centers, we see, “serve as core hubs for critical IP networks and Internet operations worldwide.” They are huge, air-conditioned warehouses full of humming CPUs and bundled cables, watched over by CCTV.
With direct access to more than 200 networks, including all of the top global Tier 1 networks, Equinix’s network-neutral IBX centers and services overcome the limitations of existing data center, network and Internet operations through direct interconnection to the largest aggregation of networks for unmatched service diversity, flexibility and reliability. At Equinix, customers can directly access the providers that serve over 90% of the world’s Internet networks and users.
The NSA will soon stop by.
Finally, Christian Kerrigan wants to grow a living ship from the trees of Kingley Vale forest: “By controlling the manipulation of refined armatures, calibrating devices and designed corsets,” Interactive Architecture dot Org reports, “the system is capable of controlling the growth of a ship inside the forest. The ship will grow over a period of two hundred years and will exist as a hidden architecture inside the trees.”
In other words, using hinged networks of cables and steel restraining belts, the growing branches of trees can be forced to assume the shape of a masted ship.
Is it the self-pruning future of architecture…?
We wish him luck, as well.
More soon… And I’ll try to keep posting from the road.
(Earlier: Quick list 3, et cetera).
13 thoughts on “Quick list 4”
I’ll raise a glass to you as you drive past.
I always wanted to fill Death Valley with seawater. I thought it would make an excellent supervillain plot, and gravity would do all the real work for you.
If that project works out, the dead sea will be a bit less dead when it’s filled back up, then gradually get deader as the pipeline continues to bring dissolved salts.
Hey Ben – Thanks. I’ll raise a glass your way as well.
Vis-a-vis your Death Valley plot: everything’s worth trying at least once… I’ll look for you on CNN.
Death Valley was, of course, once an inland sea fed by glacial runoff from the Owens and Panamint valleys, themselves filled up at the time.
So maybe the best plan would be to cause another ice age, and then wait a few thousand years and then point at the filled-up Death Valley and say, “MUAAAHAHAHAHA!”
As far as Zion: For sure hike up to Angel’s Landing. It’s the best justification for the park’s existence.
If you have time, you should try to hit Bryce as well, which isn’t too far from Zion. I’m convinced that Bryce was the model for the backgrounds in the Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons.
Have a safe trip out to L.A. We’ll keep the city warm for you till you arrive. Maybe you’ll be here in time for the Santa Ana winds, which, as Joan Didion has noted, make us all insane.
Thanks, Octo. I’m in Lincoln, Nebraska – it’s windy as hell here. I think this beats the Santa Ana…
And I was in Bryce last summer – but Zion blew me away. And Springdale, Utah is a really cool little town, whereas Bryce is like having one foot in the void. In a bad way. Which isn’t to say that it’s geologically uninteresting, but that my heart resides in Zion National Park.
More soon – and see you in L.A.
i’m just crazy about this blog but dont use blogspot so i created a feed for Livejournal. just thought you’d like to know!
Thanks, Lexie. Glad you like the blog!
We’re in Denver, now, with two more nights here, hiked in Rocky Mtn National Park today. Utah next. Then L.A.
Utah to LA, eh? I’m trying to remember where it was, during my last east-west road trip, on a 90 mile stretch of highway between hamlets, that I managed to get my rear wheels into some wet clay about two inches deep. I recommend that road for other reasons… but since I can’t recall the location, I’m opting for a reference to Double Negative, off I-15.
Hey e-tat – I would love to see Heizer’s stuff in person, but may have to save it for another day. The already present earthwork of Utah itself is something I’m very much looking forward to, on the other hand. Having already been up the Flatirons, Rocky Mtn National Park, and Royal Arch here in CO, and getting ready to leave for points further west, my obsession with all things geological is picking up pace rather alarmingly… And could take over this entire blog.
Was reading this, and in turn this, which prompted the idea that perhaps the two of you have passed each other on the highway already, and wouldn’t it be novel to have a psychogeographic derive using the nation as a template. Spontaneous meetings in some random place. It could be done with GPS units and some kind of webspace or mobile phone gimmick. An architectual charrette on the road at that burger shop on Rte 20 near Darien, NY. Or wherever.
Anyway, I also had a thought about this comment:
“I would guess that a high percentage of the people who physically build houses in this country are immigrants, and many of them are probably undocumented. And despite the fact that housing costs are finally softening around the country, if you went after home builders using undocumented labor you would raise prices. Those are just two things that could undermine my mission”. (via)
Before thinking of adding that as a topic for yet another itinerary, I wanted to note that Karrie is effectively saying America is utterly dependent on an impoverished labouring class. In that case, why is the nation is such denial over that requirement? Is it something to do with maintaining an illusion of economic opportunity for all? Good material to consider while looking at the sinuous lines of the Arkansas River.
Ar you in LA yet? Or dawdling somewhere nice in the Sierras?
e-tat – Just arrived. A Californian now… Done dawdling in Colorado and Utah. Here among the laboring classes.
Your blog entry was very interesting. I am a realtor specializing in Tampa Bay Florida Real Estate .