LEGO Releases Guggenheim Museum Set to Celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright's 150th Birthday

Not every architecture buff can follow in the footsteps of Frank Lloyd Wright, but thanks to LEGO, they can now build a small-scale replica of one of his most important public works. As Dezeen reports, the toy brand has released a brand-new set of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to celebrate the architect’s 150th birthday on June 8.

A LEGO set of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright

The 744-piece collection is part of the company’s LEGO Architecture series, which includes models of famous buildings and landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai.

The set depicts the museum’s dramatically curved façade, along with the 10-story limestone tower that was added to the building in 1992. In front of the museum, mini yellow cabs whiz along a plastic Fifth Avenue.

A LEGO set of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright

For the uninitiated, the Guggenheim Museum in New York opened to the public in 1959, just six months after Wright’s death at the age of 91. Critics gave it mixed reviews, with one describing it as “the most beautiful building in America,” and another referring to the structure as “less a museum than it is a monument to Frank Lloyd Wright.” Others likened it to an "inverted oatmeal dish," or a "hot cross bun." Today, the Guggenheim is celebrated as the last major work of Wright's career, and as a pioneering work of modernist architecture.

A LEGO set of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright

Technically, this isn’t LEGO’s first Guggenheim set: They released a smaller model of the museum in 2009, but the new one is reportedly more precise. It’s currently available for purchase on LEGO’s website, or from Target. And if you want to celebrate Wright’s legacy in person in New York City, the Guggenheim is hosting a day-long celebration on June 8, complete with a special reduced admission fee of $1.50.

[h/t Dezeen]

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SmithGroupJJR
Futuristic New Street Toilets Are Coming to San Francisco
SmithGroupJJR
SmithGroupJJR

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
SmithGroupJJR

“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]

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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]

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