Chinese urban planning has often been criticized for its ruthless demolishing of older areas in favor of new monotonous blocks. China is not respecting its own heritage, is often suggested. This phenomenon, however, to the contrary can be seen as the result of China’s persistence in maintaining its traditional way of thinking about planning, for too long. Continue reading
“Less is More”, a famous German architect once said. Nonsense, of course; Less is just less.
With an area of over 3500 m2, Dean Gardens Estate was, at the time of its completion in 1992, the largest residence in Atlanta. The owner, software tycoon Larry Dean, put it back on sale again just two years later. Finally, after17 years it sold for $ 7 million, a fraction of the original construction costs. Why? Continue reading
According to art historian Wilhelm Worringer the chosen style in art (or architecture) reflects not only the current state of society, but also is the fulfillment of a desire for something that is lacking. The dominant style in art and architecture tells us something about (the future of) a given culture. Continue reading
The city of Rotterdam is putting up 11 so-called “Skaeve Huse”. Skaeve Huse is crooked Danish for “crooked houses”. These are container homes for maladjusted people who in recent years have misbehaved in such a way that they no longer qualify for a regular apartment in Rotterdam housing associations. The choice is: either move to another town or to the Skaeve Huse where, under supervision and at a safe distance from civilization, they will be prepared for a return to a “normal” home. Can dwelling be learned? Continue reading
Interesting reseach was done recently at the University of Wageningen, about the occurring of so-called heat islands in cities during the summer. On hot days certain places in the city can become up to 8 degrees hotter than the temperature in the countryside. This is due to the presence of much stone surfaces and little green in the city. Houses and buildings warm up during the day and capture the heat in the streets. During the night the stored heat is then radiated back. The higher the density in the city, the greater this effect becomes. Up to a certain extent at least, because the research also shows that the higher the buildings and the narrower the streets are, the smaller the heat island effect in summer.
Manhattan of the Desert
In the construction of Shibam, an ancient town in Yemen, also known as the “Manhattan of the Desert”, one apparently was already aware of this. The houses here, in fact apartment towers, are built out of clay, up to 11 storeys high. Continue reading
Until recently building on the beach was limited to beach clubs, rescue stations and the occasional surf school. Now there is a new phenomenon on the Dutch coast: beach huts. Continue reading
Students in general have little money, spend much of their time in public spaces and are less demanding in terms of comfort. They must, however, be housed, preferably as cheap as possible and in places where they cause the least possible inconvenience to the indigenous population. Continue reading