Architecture has long had an accessibility problem: You want a bespoke house? You’re gonna have to pony up a lot of money. In the process, good design has become a luxury; a snooty, out-of-reach idea that only the rich have access to, which is actually the exact opposite of what good design should be. But what if architecture behaved more like technology? Can you expand the reach of quality design by applying the same principles behind open source code to architecture? Ask Joana Pacheco, and the answer will be a resounding yes. “We’re trying to bring quality to open source,” Pacheco says. Pacheco, who heads up architecture firm UMA…launched Paperhouses, a platform [bringing] high-quality open source architecture to the masses. READ MORE: Experimental Website Lets You Download Amazing House Blueprints for Free | WIRED
Direct Link: paperhouses.co
Chicago’s first-ever Architecture Biennial served as a staging ground for wild pavilions, exhibits, and installations. The fair also coincided with the debut of a major new artwork: the Stony Island Art Bank. Theaster Gates bought the Prohibition-era Stony Island Trust & Savings Bank building from the city of Chicago for $1. Yes, there was a catch: The artist had to raise the $3.7 million it would take to rehabilitate the building and put it to new use. Gates did the thing that you’re never supposed to do with a historic building: He started pulling it apart, piece by piece. READ MORE: Chicago Artist Theaster Gates and the Stony Island Art Bank | CityLab
Long form, thought-provoking read about change in library services, open governance and the influence of activism.
What went wrong at one of the world’s eminent research institutions READ: The New York Public Library Wars | The Chronicle Review | The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The winners of the 2015 American Institute of Architects Library Awards reflect how libraries are adapting—how they’re investing in technology and trying to reframe themselves as vital community gathering spaces. This year’s winners include a children’s library that teaches kids to grow their own food, a university library that has ditched half its collections to create collaborative work spaces, and libraries that are at the heart of catalyzing redevelopment in their neighborhoods. And they prove that even buildings filled with thousands of objects created from dead trees can be environmentally friendly.
READ MORE AND VIEW SLIDESHOW: 6 Buildings That Are Redefining The Library | Co.Design | business + design.
Also See: 2015 AIA / ALA Library Building Awards
Bookshops are closing down like nobody’s business. So do they need rethinking for the electronic age? Rosanna de Lisle asks four firms of architects and designers to create the bookshop of their dreams
READ: LETS REINVENT THE BOOKSHOP | More Intelligent Life
The Getty Research Institute has just added more than 77,000 high-resolution images to the Open Content Program from two of its most often-used collections.
The largest part of the new open content release—more than 72,000 photographs—comes from the collection Foto Arte Minore: Max Hutzel photographs of art and architecture in Italy. Foto Arte Minore represents the life’s work of photographer and scholar Max Hutzel (1911–1988), who photographed the art and architecture of Italy for 30 years. In recent years, the interdisciplinary use of these photographs has exposed their historiographic significance and their unrealized research potential.
Read more: 77,000 Images of Tapestries and Italian Monuments Join the Open Content Program | The Getty Iris.
A huge pyramid in the middle of nowhere tracking the end of the world on radar, just an abstract geometric shape beneath the sky without a human being in sight: it could be the opening scene of an apocalyptic science fiction film, but it’s just the U.S. military going about its business, building vast and other-worldly architectural structures that the civilian world only rarely sees.
The Library of Congress has an extraordinary set of images documenting the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in Cavalier County, North Dakota, showing it in various states of construction and completion. And the photos are awesome. Read more: A Pyramid in the Middle of Nowhere Built To Track the End of the World | Gizmodo
New York-based Proxy Design Studio has given Gizmodo a first glimpse of its incredible, 3D-printed spherical gear called the Mechaneu, equal parts tactile toy and mechanical sculpture, a mind-bogglingly precise intermeshing of wheels within wheels.
Read: Mind-Boggling Spherical Gear Made from 3D-Printed Moving Parts | Gizmodo
What would a city designed for the blind be like? Chris Downey is an architect who went suddenly blind in 2008; he contrasts life in his beloved San Francisco before and after — and shows how the thoughtful designs that enhance his life now might actually make everyone’s life better, sighted or not.
via Chris Downey: Design with the blind in mind | Video on TED.com.