Monday, April 6, 2009

The VD Guide - part V

Visiondivision gives you a brief tour of inspiring projects and phenomenon around the world.If you have more suggestions, dont hesitate to contact us at: For more VD Guide >>>
Esther Williams pool - A Florida shaped pool for a moviestar
Birth: 1950s

Location: Cypress Gardens, Florida, USA
Architect: Esther Williams
VD says: This is what a pool should look like

Florida's first theme park, Cypress Gardens, was the brainchild of Richard Downing "Dick" Pope Sr. With his wife, Julie Downing Pope, he transformed a marshy, lakeside property in Winter Haven into a magnificent garden. The park's first visitors in 1936 toured pathways surrounded by lush plants from around the world. Two years later, electric boats meandered through the park's winding, hand-dug canals. Water ski shows commenced in 1942, and the park became the "Water Ski Capital of the World." The Florida-shaped Esther WilliamsSwimming Pool still graces the shore of Lake Eloise. The park was a set for dozens of short feature films, a stage for beauty pageants, and a site for special television broadcasts.The Esther Williams Swimming Pool was built in the shape of the map of Florida, projecting out in Lake Eloise as a set for MGM technicolor movie filmed at Cypress Gardens.

Cueva de los Cristales - The Sistine Chapel of crystals

Birth: A long time ago
Location: Naica Mountain, Chihuahua, Mexico
Architect: Earth
VD says: Outstanding natural wonder that once again proves that Earth still is the best architect so far

Buried 300 meters below Naica mountain in the Chihuahuan Desert, this astonishing cave was
discovered by two miners in 2000.
Mexico's Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals) contains some of the world's largest known natural crystals - translucent beams of gypsum as long as 11 meters.
The cave reminds of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.
New studies report that for thousands of years the crystals thrived in the cave's extremely rare and stable natural environment.
Temperatures hovered consistently around a steamy 55 degrees Celsius, and the cave was
filled with mineral-rich water that drove the crystals' growth.
The Cave of Crystals is a horseshoe-shaped cavity in limestone rock about 10 meters wide and 30 meters long.
The volcanic activity that began about 26 million years ago created Naica mountain and filled it with high-temperature anhydrite.
When magma underneath the mountain cooled and the temperature dropped, the anhydrite began to dissolve. The anhydrite slowly enriched the waters with sulfate and calcium molecules, which for millions of years have been deposited in the caves in the form of huge selenite gypsum crystals.
The humidity is 100% inside the cave which in combination with the extreme heat, you cannot visit this wonder without a heat resistant suit. That is also cool.

Place Djemma El Fna - A mythical square in Morocco
Birth: Thousand year ago or so
Location: Marrakesh, Morocco
Architect: Unknown

VD says: Magicians, storytellers, monkeys and snakes, how can you not love this place.

Djemma el Fna, the "Meeting Place of the Dead", a suitably chilling phrase which conjures an aura of exoticism and savage justice to an otherwise fully functional public square, has continued unabated for centuries. By day it serves as a venue where magicians, fortune tellers, herbalists, acrobats, monkey handlers, snake charmers, dentists, astrologers, numerologists, and sorcerers create intriguing displays of bewitching spectacle. By night, the square transforms into a symphony of mystical brotherhoods and night musicians: the Aissoua, Derkaoua, Hamadasha, Jilila, and Gnaoua. Free from the restrictions and expectations of light entertainment for a tourist crowd, this "Rendezvous of the Dead" is where the performances animate the audience and musicians alike into an elevated spiritual congress colliding in sonorous ecstacy.

Mickey's Trailer - A great show-off gadget

Birth: 1938
Location: Movie screen

Architect: Disney
VD says: One of the best Disney inventions

Mickey's Trailer is a animated short film by Walt Disney productions. It stars Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy on a trailer vacation. The trip is an architectural showoff of custom made details. The most genius gadget would be the fan construction that can be unrolled for nicer scenery. The picture has also become a classic cartoon on Swedish Christmas television for several years, teaching the Swedish youth how to be inventive. The results may vary.

Däckshus - A Swedish modernistic classic
Birth: 1960
Location: Smörgatan 23 Kallebäck, Gothenburg

Architect: Erik Friberger
VD says: Probably the building with strongest modernistic concept ever erected in Sweden.

Many architects has thought about 3d stacked villas with gardens but this is the only realized project we know about. The “Däckshus” by the Swedish subversive modernist hero Erik Friberger is a three story concrete construction where villas are placed later on. The distance between the decks is 4 meters and the plots varies from 144 m2 to 210 m2 and all installation is put in the circulation space. The idea was that the villas would expand with a growing family. Most of the houses was however already fully built from the beginning.

Crazy Horse Mountain - An epic mountain transformation
Birth: 1948-
Location: Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
Architect: Native Americans with Korczak Ziółkowski
VD says: You have to admire the dedication of these people, the result will be overwhelming in scale if they ever complete the project.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction in the Black Hills of South Dakota, in the form of Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance.
The memorial consists of the mountain carving (monument), the Indian Museum of North America, and the Native American Cultural center. The monument is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain on land considered sacred by some Native Americans, between Custer and Hill City, roughly 10 km away from Mount Rushmore.
The sculpture's final dimensions are planned to be 195 m wide and 172 m high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 27 m high; by comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 18 m high.
The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is still far from completion. If finished, it will be the world's largest sculpture.

Barbershop Mall - A mall with a Guggenheim ramp with just barbershops in it
Birth: around 1980
Location: Valparaiso, Chile
Architect: Unknown
VD says: Next time you should have a haircut, go to this mall.

This mirror clad mall with a Guggenheim-like ramp has only barbershops in it, we counted them to around 80, the cheaper ones are higher up. What also enhances this insane mall is the tacky Darth Vader character that walks around, making it a South American Star Wars feeling over the whole place. A must see.

Matterhorn - The peak of peaks
Birth: A long time ago
Location: Swiss Alps (and to some extent Italy)
Architect: Earth
VD says: Mont Blanc in all its glory, we still think that Matterhorn is the proudest peak of the Alps, the worlds most refined area. It could have been a little higher though.

Although not the highest mountain in the Alps, the Matterhorn is considered as an iconic emblem of the region of the Swiss Alps.
The Matterhorn acquired its characteristic pyramidal shape by natural erosion over the past million years. At the beginning of alpine orogeny, the Matterhorn was only a rounded mountain like a hill. Because its height is above the snowline, its flanks are covered by ice, resulting from the accumulation and compaction of snow. During the warmer period of summer, part of the ice melts and seeps into the bedrock. When it freezes again, it fractures pieces of rock because of its dilatation (Freeze Thaw), forming a cirque. Four cirques led to the actual shape of the mountain.

Xanadu - A movie mansion classic
Birth: 1941
Location: Gulf Coast, USA
Architect: Charles Foster Kane

VD says: "cost: no man can say", maniac mansions always ranks high in our humble office.

"Here, on the deserts of the Gulf coast, a private mountain was commissioned and successfully built. One hundred thousand trees, twenty thousand tons of marble are the ingredients of Xanadu's mountain. Contents of Xanadu's palace: paintings, pictures, statues, the very stones of many another palace - a collection of everything so big it can never be catalogued or appraised; enough for ten museums; the loot of the world. Xanadu's livestock: the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, the beast of the field and jungle. Two of each; the biggest private zoo since Noah. Like the Pharaohs, Xanadu's landlord leaves many stones to mark his grave. Since the Pyramids, Xanadu is the costliest monument a man has built to himself."
From the intro to Citizen Kane

Cave School - A school inside of a cave
Birth: 1984

Location: China
Architect: Unknown
VD says: Amazing setting for a school.

Built in 1984, this school sits in one of three caves inside a mountain.
Nowadays, it accomodates 186 students with a teaching force of 8 staff.
Eerie but cool, we think the kids like their school setting too.

Honghe Hani Terrace - One of the largest alteration of the landscape ever made
Birth: Thousands of years ago
Location: Yunnan Province, China
Architect: The Hani people
VD says: Agriculture that also becomes an artform

On the banks of Honghe River in South China's Yunnan Province are millions of acres of agricultural and ecological wonders - otherwise known as the Honghe Hani Terrace. Making full use of the special geological and climactic conditions in the area, the Hani people have found a perfect combination between human civilization and the environment. In terms of size and coverage, the Hani Terrace is largest in the world.
The Hani People, creators of this wonder, originated from the Tibetan Plateau on the upper reaches of the Yellow River. After centuries of migration, a group of the ancient Qiang people settled down in the Ailao Mountains in Southern Yunnan, and became today's Hani race. About 600,000 Hani people still dwell in the region and their ancestors totally altered the landforms there to grow crops to feed themselves, yet the ecology was not damaged. In fact, they have made the place even more attractive, presenting a perfect testimony to harmony between man and nature. The terrace shows that human intervention doesn't necessarily mean destroying nature.

Viken - A landscape lit up as a painting
Birth: 2007 (temporary)
Location: Alingsås, Sweden
Architect: Jan Dinnebier / Jan Blieske
VD says: The most conceptual and beautiful landscape project made so far in Northern Europe.

The focus of interest is a solitary tree in a marshland at the lakeside.
At first the designers defined the viewpoint of the scene, the idea was to make a scenery like a painting. They used a layer technique to create a picture and worked with nature's own layers to achieve the typical layout of a landscape painting. The basic setup was defined as:
-a diffuse background
-the tree as the focus in the painting
-a foreground giving the scene a defined frame

Bora Bora - "The" tropical island
Birth: A long time ago
Location: French Polynesia
Architect: Earth

VD says: The perfect honeymoon island

The island is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks.
Thirty years ago, Hotel Bora Bora built the first over-the-water bungalows on stilts over the lagoon and today, overwater bungalows are a standard feature of most Bora Bora resorts. The quality of those bungalows ranges from comparably cheap, basic accommodations to very luxurious - and pricey - places to stay.

Noah's Ark - Immense vessel for animals designed by god
Birth: A long time ago
Location: The ocean

Architect: God and Noah
VD says: Being an animal loving office, we like this project because it shows great respect to our fellow friends. The design is a little bit too crude though, you could have expected more from the god allmighty.

The Genesis narrative tells how God, grieved by the wickedness of mankind, decided to destroy the corrupted world. However, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the lord", so God instructs Noah to build the Ark and take on board his family and representatives of the animals and birds. The flood rises to cover the Earth, but at its height "God remembered Noah", the waters abate, and dry land appears. God promises never to do it again, displaying a rainbow as a guarantee.
Great project.

Swiss bunkers - Camouflaged buildings
Birth: 1950-60

Location: Around Switzerland
Architect: The military
VD says: Buildings that tries to look like something else is always fascinating

Who would have thought that peaceful Switzerland could have produced camouflaged architecture during the cold war: fake upper-middle-class houses, fake farmhouses, fake rocks, etc.
Fake buildings are in general always cool in one way or another and that some fake trees actually are a highly sophisticated missile detector are of course supercool.



Anonymous said...

Det finns mycket på vår jord som man inte vet om, häftigt!

Anonymous said...

Your VD Guide is my favorite profesor of architecture:)

Beatriz said...

That Esther Williams pool is so cool, haven't seen that project in ages, I remember LIFE magazine featured it a long time ago.
Great work guys!- -Beatriz