Groceteria: Supermarket History

Growing up in Florida, we had a handful of local supermarkets: Publix and Winn-Dixie were big in my town, and I always wondered who shopped at the Piggly Wiggly a few miles to the south. We even briefly had a "Florida's Choice" (operated by Kroger), which was notable for its going-out-of-business sale, which netted my family a freezer full of Indian spices for about five bucks. (It must have taken us four years to work through those, seriously.) Anyway, the supermarket continues to be one of the few stores I physically visit, now that I shop so much online. And like all things, there's an incredibly thorough online resource dedicated to the history of the supermarket: Groceteria.

Groceteria's features include a list of major stores, including history, photo galleries, architectural information, and trivia -- for example, here's a list all the Alpha Beta Stores operating in 1945. In the Places section, you'll find detailed rundowns of some major US cities' supermarket history -- this is where you'll find a decade-by-decade history of supermarket events in Greensboro, North Carolina (where the site's author David Gwynn lives). If you can't find what you're looking for there, consult the vast message board. Here are a few words from Gwynn about his interest in supermarkets:

My friend Duncan used to theorize that the price of a can of tuna could be used as the basic measure of any given city's cost of living. He was right. You can learn an awful lot about a place by visiting its supermarkets.

Supermarkets are one of the most important and overlooked elements of American life. I'm fascinated by them, and my road trips always include visits to the local chains, from Winn-Dixie in the south to Giant in Baltimore, from Cub Foods and Rainbow in Minneapolis to Kohl's in Wisconsin. Harris Teeter, Alpha Beta, Piggly Wiggly, and the "holy trinity" of Safeway, Kroger, and A&P: I've done more than my share...

See if your childhood supermarket is on the list, and read up!

(Link via Your Daily Awesome.)

Futuristic New Street Toilets Are Coming to San Francisco

San Francisco’s streets are getting shiny new additions: futuristic-looking public toilets. Co.Design reports that San Francisco’s Department of Public Works has chosen a new design for self-cleaning street toilets by the architectural firm SmithGroupJJR that will eventually replace the city’s current public toilets.

The design is a stark contrast to the current San Francisco toilet aesthetic, a green knockoff of Paris’s Sanisettes. (They’re made by the same company that pioneered the Parisian version, JCDecaux.) The tall, curvy silver pods, called AmeniTREES, are topped with green roof gardens designed to collect rainwater that can then be used to flush the toilets and clean the kiosks themselves. They come in several different variations, including a single or double bathroom unit, one with benches, a street kiosk that can be used for retail or information services, and a design that can be topped by a tree. The pavilions also have room for exterior advertising.

Renderings of the silver pod bathrooms from the side and the top

“The design blends sculpture with technology in a way that conceptually, and literally, reflects San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods,” the firm’s design principal, Bill Katz, explained in a press statement. “Together, the varied kiosks and public toilets design will also tell a sustainability story through water re-use and native landscapes.”

San Francisco has a major street-poop problem, in part due to its large homeless population. The city has the second biggest homeless population in the country, behind New York City, and data collected in 2017 shows that the city has around 7500 people living on its streets. Though the city started rolling out sidewalk commodes in 1996, it doesn’t have nearly enough public toilets to match demand. There are only 28 public toilets across the city right now, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

These designs aren’t ready to go straight into construction first—the designers have to work with JCDeaux, which installs the city’s toilets, to adapt them “to the realities of construction and maintenance,” as the Chronicle puts it. Then, those plans will have to be submitted to the city’s arts commission and historic preservation commission before they can be installed.

[h/t Co.Design]

Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten
Dutch City Will Become the World's First to Build Inhabitable 3D-Printed Concrete Houses
Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten
Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten

A new 3D-printed concrete housing development is coming to the Netherlands in 2019, CNN reports. The structures will be the first habitable 3D-printed concrete houses in the world, according to Project Milestone, the organization behind the initiative.

While architects and engineers have been experimenting with 3D-printed buildings for several years, most of those structures have just been prototypes. The Dutch development, located in Eindhoven, is expected to be ready for its first residents by mid-2019.

Project Milestone is a collaboration between the city of Eindhoven, Eindhoven University of Technology, the contractor Van Wijnen, the real estate company Vesteda—which will own and manage the houses—the engineering consultancy Witteveen+Bos, and the construction materials company Weber Beamix.

A rendering of boulder-like homes in the middle of a field
Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten

The five planned homes will be built one by one, giving the architects and engineers time to adjust their process as needed. The development is expected to be completed over the next five years.

The housing development won’t look like your average residential neighborhood: The futuristic houses resemble massive boulders with windows in them. The first house, scheduled for completion in 2019, will be a 1022-square-foot, three-room home. It will be a single-story house, though all the rest of the homes will have multiple stories. The first house will be built using the concrete printer on the Eindhoven University of Technology’s campus, but eventually the researchers hope to move the whole fabrication process on-site.

In the next few years, 3D-printed houses will likely become more commonplace. A 3D-printed home in Tennessee is expected to break ground sometime later in 2018. One nonprofit is currently trying to raise money to build a development of 100 3D-printed houses in El Salvador within the next two years. And there is already a 3D-printed office building open in Dubai.

In Eindhoven, residents appear to be fairly eager for the development to open. Twenty families have already applied to live in the first home.

You can learn more about the construction process in the video below.

[h/t CNN]


More from mental floss studios