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Updated: 2018-03-23T17:30:00-04:00


Peek into the dazzling sets from new Wes Anderson film ‘Isle of Dogs’


(image) Jack Hems via The Spaces" data-has-syndication-rights="1" data-focal-region="x1:432,y1:350,x2:594,y2:512" src="" />

Everything is handcrafted

You can’t talk about a Wes Anderson movie without talking about its sets, which are so distinctively colorful and whimsical that people have begun filing real life places with a similar aesthetic under “Accidental Wes Anderson.” With the arrival of the director’s latest film, Isle of Dogs, moviegoers can once again expect to see stunning backdrops rich in detail.

Set in a dystopian Japanese city of the future, Isle of Dogs is a stop-motion animation about a 12-year-old boy who journeys to save his dog Spots, just one of countless canine pets who’ve been exiled to a garbage-filled “Trash Island.” From the glittering cityscape to a rusting animal testing facility to a lantern-lined noodle bar, all of the sets were handcrafted especially for the film.

And just in time for the film’s release, London’s the Store X and Fox Searchlight Pictures have come together to open an exhibition featuring some 17 original sets and puppets from the movie. The noodle bar has even been recreated in life-size and visitors can enjoy some ramen or sake there.

Take a peek into the exhibit, running through April 5, in the photos below, courtesy of The Spaces.

(image) Jack Hems
The animal testing facility.
(image) Jack Hems
The life-size noodle bar.
(image) Jack Hems
A close-up of the cityscape.
(image) Jack Hems
The mayor of Megasaki in an auditorium.

Via: The Spaces

How California builders are adapting to state’s super-strict energy mandates


In San Diego, one builder sees solar-ready as cost-competitive As Jimmy Ayala, Division President of Pardee Homes San Diego, leads me through a series of model homes at his company’s new Weston development in Santee, California, he explains that this master-planned community is both a vision of the future, as well as the last of its kind. A four-neighborhood, 415-home, 204-acre project in the booming East County area outside San Diego, Weston might be one of the region’s last housing developments done at this scale. A co-development between TRI Pointe Home Solutions and Pardee, this project was a decade in the making, owing to challenges securing permits and arranging parcels. As Ayala takes me through a series of different-sized model homes, ranging from the $500,000s to the high $700,000s, all decorated with bright contemporary decor and lots of outdoor furniture, he also explains how Weston represents California’s future, specifically a turn towards increased solar power. Weston is Pardee’s first master-planned community to offer solar for purchase or lease on every single home. This feature foreshadows a significant change in California’s building code, going into effect in 2020, that will make the state the first in the nation to mandate all new homes are net zero ready, meaning they’re built to use as much or less energy than they can generate with renewables. Passed last year, the updated code will also require that rooftop solar panels be installed on all new single-family homes and low-rise multi-family buildings to offset the expected annual electricity use. “Consumers want solar,” says Ayala. “The difference is that now, we can build it at scale and make it more affordable.” According to Ayala, these systems, and Pardee’s new solar-ready development, makes financial sense. Each home will come with SunPower solar system, ranging from 3 to 5 kilowatts, which can generate up to 8,000 kilowatt hours based on home orientation, which estimates suggest will cover 80 percent or more of a home’s energy usage. The renewable focus is part of Pardee’s LivingSmart branding, developments with smart home features, energy efficient construction, and access to on-site trails and parks (Weston is near a series of lakes and outdoor trails). The exact savings of these installations will vary with a family’s home energy usage. Buyers can purchase or lease the systems, and those who make the investment will receive a 30 percent federal tax credit and an exemption from California property taxes. Shutterstock Rooftop solar has gone from fantastical to financially viable When the state’s new energy efficiency rules for new construction were initially proposed in 2008, they seemed fantastical. But now, the aspirational idea of a home in sunny California efficient enough to meet its own energy demands is more than doable, it’s a pillar of the progressive state’s plan to reduce carbon emissions. Today, roughly 5.5 million homes in the state are solar powered, and prices for solar have fallen by 55 percent over the last five years. The Solar Energy Industries Association predicts residential installation will continue to rise through 2023. Many California builders have complained that in a market with sky-high construction and land acquisition costs, and an acute shortage of affordable housing, these additional efficiency requirements will potentially add $25,000 or more to the cost of every home. Meeting these new standards requires a combination of better insulation, energy-efficient lighting and appliances, and double- or triple-paned windows, as well as renewable energy generation. “Depending where you are in the California, you’re in the hole by at least $50,000 before you even put a shovel in the ground,” housing analyst Alan Ratner told Builder Online. “That makes it really challenging to build an affordable product there.” Just as some builders are arguing higher efficiency standards and solar-ready requirement mean hi[...]

It’s time to delete Uber from our cities


Uber’s self-driving program has never played by the rules, and now our safety is at risk Uber’s self-driving program arrived in Arizona under odd circumstances. About a week after the company’s self-driving pilot program launched on the streets of San Francisco in December 2016, the California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked Uber vehicles’ registrations because the company hadn’t filed a $150 permit. Instead of following California law, Uber loaded its 16 self-driving cars onto a flatbed trailer and drove them to Arizona. As they were en route, the state’s governor, Doug Ducey, issued a statement: “Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads,” it read. “While California puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation, Arizona is paving the way for new technology and new businesses.” The flagrant flouting of California’s regulations, the dramatic, professionally photographed exodus—it all seemed less like the actions of a responsible global corporation and more like a bratty kid yanking away his toys after picking a fight. “It’s not about picking a fight,” Anthony Levandowski, Uber’s self-driving program director, said at the time. “It’s about doing the right thing. And we believe that bringing this tech to California is the right thing to do.” A year later, Levandowski himself was accused of not doing the right thing. Levandowski, who had worked at Uber competitor Waymo when its self-driving operation was still part of Google (it’s now part of Alphabet), was named in a lawsuit for trying to steal Waymo’s technology. The case was settled within a week—Uber agreed to give Waymo’s parent company Alphabet about $245 million in equity. But even more importantly, as Recode reported, the settlement came with a guarantee for Waymo—“that Uber won’t use their self-driving tech.” The technology that Waymo claims Uber was trying to steal is the technology that makes its cars much safer than any other self-driving cars on the road: One of the most powerful parts of our self-driving technology is our custom-built LiDAR — or “Light Detection and Ranging.” LiDAR works by bouncing millions of laser beams off surrounding objects and measuring how long it takes for the light to reflect, painting a 3D picture of the world. LiDAR is critical to detecting and measuring the shape, speed and movement of objects like cyclists, vehicles and pedestrians. Now, however, the performance of Uber’s own proprietary tech, and how well it detected and measured the movement of a pedestrian—specifically a person walking a bike—is under intense scrutiny after one of Uber’s vehicles struck and killed Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday night. Uber has poisoned the well for a nascent industry that has largely done the right thing up until now. The National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Safety Administration are currently conducting a full investigation, and the results will likely take months. But just using the the basic information about the crash, including a dashcam video shared by Tempe police, most autonomous vehicle experts interviewed about the crash—by the Wall Street Journal, Wired, the Arizona Republic—agree that Uber’s self-driving system failed. The technology not only failed, but Uber is also responsible for the death, writes The Drive’s Alex Roy in a very strongly worded and thorough examination of Uber’s culpability. “Even if you believe self-driving cars may someday reduce road fatalities—and I do believe that—this dashcam video is an icepick in the face of the argument that anyone at Uber gives a damn about anyone’s safety, including that of their own test drivers.” The safety of Uber’s autonomous vehicle testing has been cited as a concern before. Mere hours after Uber’s San Francisco self-driving trial began, The Verge reported that one of Uber’s cars ran a red light, nearly hit[...]

Watch 7 ancient ruins come to life before your very eyes


GIFs recreate pyramids, temples, and forts from around the world Ever wonder what ancient ruins looked like in their heyday? Thanks to a series of fun GIFs by Expedia “recreating” a few iconic monuments including the Parthenon in Greece, the Luxor Temple in Egypt, and the Nohoch Mul Pyramid in Mexico, you can see them come to life before your very eyes. First up is the Parthenon in Athens’s Acropolis. Perhaps the most recognizable example of Classical Greek architecture, the Doric temple was built as a monument to the goddess Athena and was completed in 432 BC. It’s hard to imagine that the temple boasted painted friezes and other details—until you see it. The Nohoch Mul Pyramid is located in the ancient Mayan city of Cobá in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Measuring 137 feet tall, it’s considered the tallest Mayan pyramid in the region. It dates back to around 100 AD, when Cobá was first believed to have been settled. Visitors can climb up its 120 steps for a view of the site. The Temple of Jupiter was built in 150 in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed in 79 AD with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Milecastle 39 was a small fort found on Hadrian’s Wall near Once Brewed, a village in Northumberland, England. Dating back to the 1st century, Hadrian’s Wall functioned as a Roman defensive fortification meant to protect the borders of the Roman Empire. Luxor Temple, which is located in the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, was built between 1600 BC and 1100 BC, but not for a specific god or a king, unlike the other temples in the region. Rather, it was dedicated to the “rejuvenation of kingship.” The Pyramid of the Sun was established circa 200 BC in the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan in central Mexico. Here’s a recreation of Temple B, one of four ancient Roman temples found in Largo di Torre Argentina, a square in Rome. The circular temple dates back to 101 BC and was built by consul Quintus Lutatius Catulus as a dedication to the Battle of Vercellae. Via: Expedia (h/t ArchDaily) [...]

Safer roads in cities are possible, but politics holding us back, says report


A new World Research Institute report study explores the barriers to reducing road fatalities Released the same week a fatal Uber crash in Tempe, Arizona highlighted questions of road safety and design, a new report suggests that politicians and policymakers often have the solutions to safer streets, yet lack the political will to create meaningful change. “Cities Can Have Safer Roads; The Misperception That They Can’t Is Killing Us,” a joint product of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), examined the political obstacles to building safer streets and enacting broader, pedestrian-friendly reforms. One of the core issues researchers found in cities across the globe was prioritization. Every year, 1.25 million people are killed and 50 million are injured in traffic collisions, mostly poor, working-age males in lower income countries walking, biking, or cycling to work. According to World Health Organization data, road fatalities are the leading cause of death for those age 15-29 across the globe. In response, planners and policymakers in many cities have devised so-called Safe System, or Vision Zero, plans to prevent these deaths and make roadways more secure. Yet, as the report detailed, the issue of safe streets often remains a low priority, sidelined in favor of politically expedient campaigns to build new roads, and even considered a barrier to efforts to reduce gridlock, congestion, and drive times. Shutterstock Bogota, Colombia The report suggests that the idea of having to choose safety over other issues is a false choice. It’s one that often made based on an incorrect narrative, specifically blaming individual users, as opposed to a holistic approach that questions design, policy, and planning. Victim-blaming normally takes precedence over asking why infrastructure and safety features are lacking. “We are increasingly equipped with better knowledge about the types of interventions that can reduce fatalities and serious injuries caused by traffic collisions,” said ODI researcher Daniel Harris, one of the report co-authors. “These deaths and their enormous social and financial tolls are not inevitable, yet we have seen little progress.” A companion to a study from earlier this year that looked at the scope of the road safety crisis, this report concluded that safer roads are a very achievable goal held back by politics and policy. To truly create safer streets and reduce pedestrian deaths, the report suggests reframing the way leaders talk about road safety, declaring it a public health issue and linking it with issues like economic growth and job access, equality, and education. Road safety should be an integrated part of tackling other tricky transportation challenges, such as congestion, and research should be expanded to support a data-driven approach. And to truly make a difference, local governments also need to form alliances for regional and national leaders, and make sure to create plants with short-, medium-, and long-term objectives to build momentum and show constituents that changes to transit infrastructure are paying off. “It’s clear that there is a political dimension to reducing road deaths,” said author Anna Bray Sharpin, transportation associate at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. “It is important that those trying to improve road safety focus as much on building the political case as on the technical solutions.” The report delves into the story of three cities trying to tackle road safety issues: Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai, India; and Bogota, Colombia. All of these cities have significant traffic safety issues, and in every one, pedestrians account for half of road deaths. Bogota’s success may be the most dramatic, and the case studywith the most relevance to U.S. policymakers. By reframing road deaths as a public health issue, and creating an integrated approach t[...]

Updated Victorian with Italianate opulence asks $2.6M in California


It’s the home of ‘Sopranos’ actor Michael Imperioli Have a nomination for a jaw-dropping listing that would make a mighty fine House of the Day? Get thee to the tipline and send us your suggestions. We’d love to see what you’ve got. Location: Santa Barbara, California Price: $2,649,000 This carefully restored and updated Queen Anne Victorian in Santa Barbara, California, goes the extra mile in making it, well, extra. Put on the market by actor Michael Imperioli, best known for his role as Christopher Moltisanti in The Sopranos, the 1890s house boasts a mix of period details like crown molding and millwork and some opulent Italianate decor. The corner residence measures just over 3,000 square feet and features a charming wood construction marked by a pale blue facade with white trim, a covered front porch, and a sunroom balcony. Inside, generously proportioned formal living and dining rooms, a library, family room, marble kitchen, five bedrooms, four and half baths, and more unfurl across three floors. Each room is dressed to the nines, beginning with the living room trimmed in gold and topped with a canopy ceiling and whose tall windows are draped in satin, followed by the matching dining room, then the gold-themed sunroom (also with a canopy ceiling), and the numerous bedrooms. The attic space has been converted into a salon-like studio. Located at 1600 Olive Street and designated by the city as a “Structure of Merit,” the property is listed for $2.649 million. Take a look. Courtesy of Village Site [...]

These AR stamps bring historic architecture to life



So cool!

The Statue of Liberty is a fine mascot for postage, but it pales in comparison to these next-level architectural stamps from Hong Kong, first shared by Post Crossing. Developed by the city to promote the revitalization of its architectural heritage, the stamps feature illustrations that come to life when you hover over them with your smartphone’s camera.

(image) Hong Kong Post Stamps
This AR-enhanced series was released in 2017 as a sequel to a 2013 series also focusing on the revitalization of historic buildings in Hong Kong.

With the HKPostStamps App, each stamp animates into a dimensional pop-up that viewers can rotate and explore as if it’s a physical object. The animated renderings look like digital Polly Pocket worlds with architectural detail taken from the illustrations. The augmented reality trick is more than a clever gimmick, though—it allows each stamp to act as its own mini architecture tour. Some of the buildings in the release are Stone Houses Family Garden, a row of vernacular homes built in the 1940s, and the former clubhouse of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

Viewers can also tap interactive buttons inside the rendering to learn about the building’s history, and the app will display the building’s hours and website, as well as photos. A stamp worth well more than its face value if you ask us.

Watch this video to see how it works.

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Via: PostCrossing

Indoor-outdoor modern home lives the off-grid dream in Hawaii


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Transforming furniture included

When LifeEdited showed off its first shape-shifting Manhattan apartment years ago, the internet collectively broke down from envy. Understandably: The NYC micro-dwelling transformed 420 square feet into a reasonably livable space thanks to some very clever cabling and transforming furniture.

Now, the design consultancy, which has built a business of making clever tiny homes, is back with a new, larger project that draws on many of the same space-saving tricks. This time it’s a two-story, 1,000-square-foot home in Haiku, a community on the Hawaiian island of Maui, built for LifeEdited’s founder, Graham Hill. The home is off-grid and designed to produce more energy than it consumes thanks to a series of rooftop solar panels and battery system.


Inside, the house is filled with transforming furniture from Resource Furniture that can turn the three bedrooms into an office, dining space, or media room in less than a minute. At 1,000 square feet, the Hill’s house isn’t exactly tiny, but you can bet it still feels a heckuva lot bigger than it looks.


Via: Inhabitat

Rare Noguchi marble table expected to fetch $1M at auction



The hand-carved midcentury design showcases designer’s biomorphic style

A rare work by midcentury designer Isamu Noguchi, a 1948 marble table, is expected to fetch between $1 million and $1.5 million when it heads to the auction block later this year.

A biomorphic tabletop hand-carved in pink Georgia marble, the rare private commission, designed for fashion photographer Milton Greene and his first wife Evelyn in 1948, was well-documented after its creation. Green, who shot for Look, Life, and Charm magazines, among others, even included the table, featuring a central cut out for a steel bowl and an asymmetrical wood base, in some of his work.

The table was “lost” for decades, after Greene sold it during a move from Weston, Connecticut to New York City. It has remained in the possession of a single family, who prefer to remain nameless, since the ‘50s.

The “re-discovery” is notable due to the rarity, and desirability, of Noguchi’s tables. He created only a handful during his career, and they fetch high prices. In 2014, his Goodyear table brought in $4.5 million at auction, while another marble coffee table made for Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dretzin sold for $2.9 million. Even Noguchi tables made for Herman Miller can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For comparison, the aluminum and fiberglass Lockheed Lounge by Mark Newsom set an auction record for a living designer when it was sold for $3.7 million in 2015.

Chicago’s Wright Auctions, which specialized in midcentury work and will put the piece up for bid on June 7, will begin displaying the piece to the public at its New York location beginning May 9.


Transit spending increased in congressional spending bill


Proposed budget takes different direction than Trump plan; Gateway Tunnel may even get funds The $1.3 trillion spending bill Congress unveiled last night offered renewed hope for transit advocates, who feared the steep cuts initially put forth in the president’s budget proposal. The bill, which covers spending through the end of September, includes significant increases in transit funding. The Community Development Block Grant program, which many local governments have used to fund streetscaping, cycling, and pedestrian-friendly projects, would receive a significant boost, rising to $3.3 billion from the $3 billion allocated in 2017. Initially, President Trump’s budget called for eliminating the program. In addition, the bill includes more money for Capital Investment Grants, which help pay for transit projects, increasing spending from $2.4 to $2.6 billion, and would allocate $1.5 billion for the TIGER Grant program, tripling the $500 million spent on the program in 2017. This Obama-era program has been a key tool used by state and local governments to fund new rail and transit expansions. Congress’s plan may even include limited funding for the Gateway Tunnel project, the rail link between New York and New Jersey that’s been a huge point of contention between Trump and many regional leaders. The President has vowed to veto any bill that includes funding for the vital infrastructure project, which many consider the more important infrastructure project in the country. The budget proposal would include $540 million for Amtrak to upgrade the Northeast Corridor. Sources tell Politico that money could be directed towards Gateway. That would be a fraction of the total cost of the project, estimated to be $30 billion. This new infusion of transit funding stands in stark contrast initial White House proposals. Earlier this week, at a press conference held by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), local officials spoke out strongly against Trump’s proposed cuts, saying they would be “debilitating.” Trump’s recent budget and infrastructure proposals would trim, and in some cases eliminate, federal programs for mass transit. The potential $52 billion in cuts would impact the TIGER program and Capital Investment Grants, as well as funding for Amtrak and the Washington, D.C. Metro system. APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said the president’s proposed cuts would endanger 53 projects in the pipeline across the nation, putting 500,000 jobs at risk, including both general construction and related manufacturing jobs. Congress must pass this bill, or a short-term funding patch, by this Friday to avoid a shutdown. [...]