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Weekly Grind: 3D Jellyfish, Terra Cotta Solar, and Nervous Buildings


China's Terrifying Glass Bridge Closes After Mere 13 Days

The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge is 1,400 feet long and about 1,000 feet above the bottom of the huge hole in the Earth it spans. And like many things made of glass, it is transparent. This has made it a very popular destination for tourists and acrophobes. Designed to bear the weight of 800 people at any one time, the attraction has been so overwhelmed by the volume of visitors, however, the structure has been compromised, and officials quickly closed the bridge to structurally shore it up.  Read more.  

Jellyfish-Inspired Pavilion Will be World's Largest 3D Object

High strength-to-material ratio, clever use of carbon substrate, and a wind-defeating porous design; New York's award-winning  SHoP design firm has produced something extraordinary that just happens to look like an enormous sea slug. And when the two-part pavilion, called Flotsam & Jetsam, debuts at this year's Design Miami expo, it may be officially named the world's largest 3D printed object. Read more.

Italian Company Solves Problem of Solar Panel Blight

A family-run operation in Italy called Dyaqua may have solved the decades-old problem of "Solar Panel Blight"––the tendency of the well-meaning technology to make a mess of a once-beautiful building. The company has devised solar-collection materials that visually mimic slate, wood, and stone. The innovation offers a long-awaited solution to the problem of making historic structures solar-friendly. Read more.

Radio-Controlled Robots versus an  800-ton Metal Column

An 800-ton, 300 foot-long steel column is slowly lifted off a ship, carefully deposited on a 256 wheel radio-controlled trailer, and painstakingly inched around a corner and off a loading dock. The computer model told these guys it was doable. It was, but only just. Read more. 

Ellis Island to Finally Feature Magnificent Second Attraction

120 years ago, France presented the U.S. with the Statue of Liberty. The last documented immigrant group to be processed through Ellis Island, where Lady Liberty stands, was in 1954. Since then, the island hasn’t had much going on, apart from Lady Liberty. 12 acres of dirt and scrub do not a tourist attraction make. The Ellis Island Foundation is about to change all that. Read more.

Top Engineers Reimagine Classic Buildings with Modern Materials

Experts who know and love buildings had a question put to them––the sort of question that only a deeply engaged structural enthusiast could love: if you could remake a classic building using materials available today, what would you do, and how? Their enthusiastic answers may surprise you. Read more.

These Twelve Architectural Icons Harbor Interesting Secrets

From the Greenbriar Hotel's nuclear blast-proof Presidential bunker build-out, to the real reason the Parthenon looks the way it does today, this tour of famous buildings lifts the lid on secrets and surprises you would not have associated with these iconic places. Read more.

Disintegration of Miami Building Under Construction Injures Passerby

A building project on Brickell Avenue in Miami partially disintegrated, injuring 5 on the ground and causing a fatal heart attack in another. One witness describes a general collapse of scaffolding and materials from around the 40th floor. Read more. 

An Architect for the Insanely Wealthy. He Has His Critics, but They are Not the Wealthy.

Richard Landry is not interested in economy of line, ingenious uses of space, or carbon footprints. You want a home that looks like a 5 star hotel? Landry is your guy. Some critics of his opulent, ecology-snubbing designs are talking populist revolution. Read more. 

1901 Victorian Converted to Net Zero Hipster Pad

Back when this place was originally built, the words "carbon footprint" were gibberish. Now a guy named Matt Grocoff has solarized the place and given it a new post-modern, net-zero life. Think Grandma on a hoverboard. Could this reframing of the past be a trend for the future? Read more.

New Technology Promises Helpfully Nervous Buildings

Vibrational sensors in buildings will one day tell us when a structure's soundness has been compromised by an earthquake, or by any pattern of dangerous, ongoing vibration. "Accelerometers" will play a role in building design as regional quake characteristics inform a structure's torque resistance and other stress factors. Read more.

Dubai's Obsession with Tall Continues. Meet "The Tower" 

When Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, recently laid the cornerstone for this marvel, he set in motion a project that, by planned complete date in 2020, will be more than 1,000 feet higher than the World Trade Center building. The architectural and engineering challenges for such a structure are many, not the least of which is how to get visitors to look out the topmost windows without fainting. Read more.


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