BLDGBLOG Goes To California…

Well, BLDGBLOG has taken to the road, now typing to you from California. 10 days in LA, Death Valley, Owens Lake, San Francisco… back March 8th, assuming my plane doesn’t crash. Till then, in lieu of regular posting, I’ve put together a table of contents for new readers, old readers, bored readers, impatient readers – so click around, see what interests you, leave comments, forward to others, have fun. And if you have tips for what to do out here, of course, leave a comment below… Thanks!

Dismantling Gothic cathedrals arch by arch, on the beaches of an equatorial island!
The world’s largest diamond mine!
Rollerskating alone at night through subterranean knots!
A seed vault to avert planetary apocalypse!
Listening to the arched foundations of London instrument!
A man exactly reproduces his old apartment using colorful nylon sheets!
Weird geometries in the Kansas farmscape!
Slow landscapes of silt and the J.G. Ballard who loves them!
The lost gods of Europe hurl spheres at each other in space!
Valves, drains, and tunnels in the self-connected topology of underground London!
Entire cities snowing diamonds from Baroque domes!
Is that architecture or just a soundtrack hovering in space?
Helicopter photographs in the sububs of self-similarity!
The 7 New Wonders of the World!
Southeast London transformed into a maze of rooftop gardens!
A temporary public park – complete with bench and parking meter!
Lunar electricity!
The poet Shelley sets sail for a volcanic archipelago made entirely of glass!
A London superstadium full of ring magnets will capture the Northern Lights!
Beautiful maps!

The churches of Christopher Wren, transformed into a geomagnetic harddrive!
The World Trade Center was actually a gigantic tuning fork!
Jurassic park, Russian conservation style!
James Bond thwarts a San Franciscan attempt at tectonic warfare!
Slum dwellers and modular parasites of the urban world, unite!
An abandoned island off the coast of Japan!
Unearthly landscapes swarming with alien bacteria!
The suburbs: raw mounds and earthworks, before construction arrives!
Extraterrestrial life rained down on India!
The internal volume of Notre-Dame, Paris, carved into the surface of the moon!
The landscape architecture of Hell, its subsurface faults and magmatic geology!
Why not live inside your garage?
Is that a suburb growing out of your spine, or are you happy to see me?
3000km of concrete tunnels installed beneath the deserts of Libya!
The robotic, neverending cinema of Los Angeles traffic control!
A house of landslides, filled with geese!
Hypnotic films of motorway orbitals now available on DVD!
Measuring astronomy – solstice and stars – with a city modeled on Stonehenge!
Unbelievable maps and diagrams of interstellar astral incidence!

Then we hiked alone for a thousand years, and we renamed all the constellations!
The averaged images of suburban ennui!
Food! Cake!
Have you seen this hull before?
New Arctic seaways promise Lovecraftian visions to come!
On the colors of dismantled landscapes, photographed from the air!
Famous architecture, blurred!
Photographs of Chernobyl, including an abandoned alphabet!
Morocco double-exposures!
The Earth in 7.5 billion years!
Fossilized cities!
The art of reforesting continents through tree bombs!
The deserts of the world are musical instruments!
Venice resonates with voices!
Huge and amazing maps of California hydrology!
The city as an avatar of itself!
The wonderfully weird, self-observing urban world of CCTV!
Sci-fi instant cities built above working limeworks pits!
The abandoned malls of Chicagoland!
WWII British sound mirrors used to musicalize mountain storms!

All hell is breaking loose in middle America!
San Jellocisco!
Catching near-earth asteroids using a gigantic baseball mit!
If you’ve got nothing else to do, why not go camping in an abandoned mine?
Inbred, zombified ex-idealists stumble through pressurized undersea utopias, listening to Mozart!
Biking through glass tunnels suspended above metropolitan Toronto!
An inflatable hotel – in deep space!
Folk maps of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal!
Cool bridges!
Houses, churches, places to hang: it’s the afterlife of the Quonset hut!
A man jumps from a balloon, free-falls 20 kilometers through the stratosphere, and captures the whole thing on film!
King Kong!
Complicated volcanic pipe networks will extrude cathedrals directly from the earth!
Huge, interconnected white towers in the middle of Beijing!
Arches National Park, Manhattan branch!
Will the International Space Station soon be turned into a sculpture gallery?
An Indonesian mine and the technicolor stalactites it will form in a million years!
In a wilderness of mirrors we lost our own reflections!
Recording the secret music of bridges!
Amazing tree houses by Andrew Maynard!

That should hopefully last you a week… but don’t forget the other posts, below – especially the Mars rover film.
I’ll be back!

12 thoughts on “BLDGBLOG Goes To California…”

  1. Hey,

    What day(s) are you passing through SF? If your schedule isn’t already unreasonably stuffed, and on the odd chance you’ll be anywhere within reasonable mass transit distance of the Financial District, I’d happily stake you lunch.

    Drop me a line if you’re interested.

  2. You know, this may sound tacky but you might find yourself needing to go to THE WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE in San Jose. The traffic is just awful in and around San Jose for much of the time but this old mansion, built by an old woman whose family got rich on Winchester repeating rifles. She supposedly based its building plans on the advice of ghosts (people killed by Winchester product). Stairways to nowhere, odd rooms, etc.

    It’s a hokey tourist trap right now (the gift store is where they start and end the tour) but it’s really worth seeing, architecturally and creatively.

    In downtown LA, you need to see the Caltrans building, with weird giant louvers.
    And the recently-refurbished Union Station

  3. Wow, this is great. Tim, I was actually at the MJT about two years ago, loved it, really loved it, and I love the Weschler book about it, which I highly recommend to anyone at all, especially if you like BLDGBLOG. But I didn’t make it this time; we were in LA for about… 14 hours. Some of which was spent sleeping. But I did buy a biography of Philip K. Dick in Santa Monica… And I went to the Nomadic Museum, near the pier. Patrick, funnily enough, the Underground Gardens were actually on the itinerary, but a visit to their website before arriving implies that they’re closed for the season on the day that I would’ve been driving through Fresno. (Driving through… not staying). So I have avoided Fresno now – unfortunately, tonight that puts us in the less than amazing town of Bakersfield, which appears to be a city entirely made of hotels, parking lots and shopping centers, through which you have to navigate using complicated systems of U-turns. I’ve eaten a burrito and found wireless in my hotel. Watching *MythBusters*. Hot times indeed. Yesterday in Death Valley; expect some photos posted soon, I think.

    And, Chad, I’m heading SF-ward and the Bay Model sounds really cool, will consider it. Sounds great, even. Thanks! Didn’t even know about that, actually. Hydrology is my second or third largest secret love affair. And, lab rat, I was actually just talking about the Winchester House, we might go. Traffic and touristy gimmicks aside, it sounds interesting. But I missed LA’s Union Station and the Caltrans building… But thanks for the tips!

    Finally, sz, I’ll send you an email.

    And anyone passing through Death Valley look for the insane mountain on the western flank of the Panamint Range, overlooking the dead lake and facing the Argus Range, it’s all belts, torque and stratigraphy, black marble, a stalled mineral engine, polished loops of earth burning in the air and pressure of constant sunlight. Anyway, thanks again! –

  4. Now is your chance!! See the Salton Sea! See Bombay Beach. Sun yourself amidst the ruins and fish bones of this beautiful man-made disaster… an experience you will not soon forget.

  5. Come and visit Stamen if you have the time. We have real-life examples of the USGS maps you love to drool over (no drooling on the maps, please, they’re paper) & taxicab visualizations & a fridge full of Tecate.

  6. in sf take the muni from civic center outbound on klm, n, or j lines
    tunnels used are snuck into at night by graffiti painters, some pretty good, some dreck
    get a day pass for all transit in sf incl cable cars, muni trains, buses, & bart w/i city at powell street cable car turn around and muni/bart station kiosk just off market st.

  7. And here I thought I’d be clever by hijacking the comments in Geoff’s absence… but I’ve been beaten to it by you lot!

    However, I have an actual post to supplement the reading list, and one that Geoff will wish to develop in his own inimitable way with a fully-fledged series of food-based architecture. Okay, I know there’s already a them on that topic, so here’s one more entry in the field. But lest you think it’s edible architecture that you can nibble your way through, producing voids, indigestion and voids with the products of indigestion, let me tell you that the biscuits are all stale. Well, you’d expect them to be stale, but apparently they’ve been eaten, so Biscuit City is no more.

    “All manner of biscuits and bright jelly bean type sweets have been used in the construction, but wafers seem to be the main building blocks of choice.”

    “Many of the wafers were made by Loacker, an Italian company who seem to specialise in them. These seemed to have been chosen for their length as much as anything, about twice that of a pink wafer, finding their way into various bridges and arches. The Pink wafers had been used sparingly, probably they’re too garish even for use as building blocks.”

    Biscuit City

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