Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the worst shoe design ever

I had heard about toe socks before, but not toe shoes until today when I saw an asian dude on the subway sporting something that looked like this:

Upon googling, I found that they're called Vibram Five Fingers. I guess I shouldn't knock them till I've tried them, but in my mind, there's an obvious reason why street shoes are made like mittens - they protect your toes, which you don't need to use individually anyways. If you're rock climbing, maybe it's a different story.

Monday, June 28, 2010

unintentionally art

Smashed window in downtown Toronto by G20 protesters...

Photo by Sagan Bolliger

toronto star G20 political cartoon

So... when do we get to find out what the meeting actually accomplished? Obama? Harper? Bueller?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Apparently there is a movement to make houses that sustain themselves independent of public utilities like power, water supply, and water treatment. So in the US,  there came the Earthship, a solar-powered home insulated with tires packed with earth and decorated with recycled materials like bottles.

 Would I live in a house like this? Yes, I would.  Do I think it has to look like a hippie spaceship? No, I don't.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

ancient energy efficient refrigerator

 a yakhchal

As early as 1700 BCE in Persia, people were storing ice underground in yakhchals (ice pits). They would collect ice from mountaintops and put them in the underground pit insulated by a special mortar. Windcatchers also helped to keep the yakhchals cool. Windcatchers were an architectural device that trapped cool air in from the wind and let hot air out. I'm still trying to figure out how this works, but if it could keep things cool in the desert, it should be really easy to operate in Canada. It makes me wonder why we burn so much fossil fuel to cool refrigerators and buildings when we could just use insulated pits and windcatchers. I think the houses of the future will all have giant pits in the middle... like so:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

a skyscraper that rotates

Architect David Fisher is building a "dynamic" skyscraper. Every floor can rotate independently of the other floors, and if you're wealthy enough to own one of these floors you can control the speed and direction of rotation by touch or voice command. Each floor can rotate at a maximum speed of 1 complete rotation per 90 minutes (I feel sick already). Also you can drive your car into an elevator and have it carried up to your apartment. Fancy.

This building is also an eco-innovation. It generates its own electricity via wind turbines between the floors and solar panels on the roof. It will even generate enough electricity to power other buildings!

The first skyscraper built in Dubai is supposed to be finished later this year, while the Dynamic Architecture website proposes more be built in London, Paris, New York, and Moscow. I'm a little unclear as to whether these projects are really underway or if they're just a dream.

This shows some different possible configurations of the buildings. I imagine it would really look like the third picture once everyone starts the rotating, but I wonder if sometimes they will lose control of their rotations so that the building can look awesome.