CLOSE
Vimeo, GMP
Vimeo, GMP

The Final Chapter For the So-Called Up House

Vimeo, GMP
Vimeo, GMP

According to a spokesman for Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios, the charming yellow home that lifts off thanks to a bevy of balloons to set in motion the 2009 film Up is not based on any real residence. But this hasn't stopped people from calling an unassuming bungalow in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle the "Up House." Well, unassuming in all ways save one: Since 2006, the home has been surrounded on three sides by the concrete walls of tall commercial buildings.

Built around 1900, the 600-square-foot was bought by Edith Macefield some many decades ago. Her mother lived in the home while she was abroad in Europe—rumor has it she was serving as a spy for the British Allies. Upon her return to Seattle, Macefield took up residence and moved her mother to a retirement facility. Aghast at the conditions there, Macefield moved her mother home to Ballard, where she died in the house the very next day. After that, Macefield became committed to living the remainder of her life in the home where her mother died, come hell or high rises.

Her refusal to sell as development encroached on her neighborhood turned Macefield into a legend. She reportedly turned down a $1 million offer to sell the two-story home and allow it to be demolished.

Locals began getting tattoos to honor her "steadfastness," a Ballard music festival was named after her, a nearby bar started serving the "Edith Macefield," and a beautiful documentary, part of which you can see below, captured how much she captivated and inspired Ballard-area residents.

The Legend of Edith Macefield - STEADFAST by Caffe Vita (Chapter 1) from GMP on Vimeo.

Macefield died in 2008. In the final years of her life she formed an intense and ironic friendship with Barry Martin, the superintendent of the construction project she so pointedly and passively resisted. It started with the occasional hello and, by the end of her life, Martin was not only driving Macefield to her hair or doctor appointments, he was scheduling them as well. When she passed, Macefield willed the house to him.

He sold the home for $310,000 in 2009 to a developer whose project fell through. When it went to foreclosure auction earlier this year, the house that could have sold for $1 million failed to attract any bids, although fans from around the country brought balloons to brighten the metal fence out front.

Now, it is listed for sale without an asking price, but listing agent Paul Thomas said a buyer will be chosen this week. Although it's almost certainly destined for demolition—the residential zoning has lapsed—the buyer will need to do more than just match the paltry auction bids. The applications to purchase the home will need to include a plan to memorialize Edith Macefield, and the merit of those memorials will be considered when selecting a new owner.

The now-barren interior of the home can be see in the video from the Washington Post below:

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas
arrow
architecture
Step Inside This Stunning, Nature-Inspired Art Gallery in Tulum, Mexico
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

Upon closer inspection, this building in Tulum, Mexico, doesn’t seem like a suitable place to house an art exhibit. Everything that makes it so visually striking—its curved walls, uneven floors, and lack of drab, white backgrounds—also makes it a challenge for curators.

But none of these factors deterred Santiago Rumney Guggenheim—the great-grandson of the late famed art collector and heiress Peggy Guggenheim—from christening the space an art gallery. And thus, IK LAB was born.

“We want to trigger the creative minds of artists to create for a completely different environment,” Rumney Guggenheim, the gallery’s director, tells Artsy. “We are challenging the artists to make work for a space that doesn’t have straight walls or floors—we don’t even have walls really, it’s more like shapes coming out of the floor. And the floor is hardly a floor.”

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

IK LAB was brought to life by Rumney Guggenheim and Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel, the founder of luxury resort Azulik. The two properties, which have a similar style of architecture, share a site near the Caribbean coast. IK LAB may be unconventional, but it certainly makes a statement. Its ceiling is composed of diagonal slats resembling the veins of a leaf, and a wavy wooden texture breaks up the monotony of concrete floors. Entry to the gallery is gained through a 13-foot-high glass door that’s shaped a little like a hobbit hole.

The gallery was also designed to be eco-conscious. The building is propped up on stilts, which not only lets wildlife pass underneath, but also gives guests a view overlooking the forest canopy. Many of the materials have been sourced from local jungles. Gallery organizers say the building is designed to induce a “meditative state,” and visitors are asked to go barefoot to foster a more sensory experience. (Be careful, though—you wouldn't want to trip on the uneven floor.)

The gallery's first exhibition, "Alignments," features the suspended sculptures of Artur Lescher, the perception-challenging works of Margo Trushina, and the geometrical pendulums of Tatiana Trouvé. One piece by Trouvé features 250 pendulums suspended from the gallery's domed ceiling. If you want to see this exhibit, be sure to get there before it ends in September.

[h/t Dezeen]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
architecture
Engineers Have Figured Out How the Leaning Tower of Pisa Withstands Earthquakes
iStock
iStock

Builders had barely finished the second floor of the Tower of Pisa when the structure started to tilt. Despite foundational issues, the project was completed, and eight centuries and at least four major earthquakes later, the precarious landmark remains standing. Now, a team of engineers from the University of Bristol and other institutions claims to have finally solved the mystery behind its endurance.

Pisa is located between the Arno and Serchio rivers, and the city's iconic tower was built on soft ground consisting largely of clay, shells, and fine sand. The unstable foundation meant the tower had been sinking little by little until 2008, when construction workers removed 70 metric tons of soil to stabilize the site. Today it leans at a 4-degree angle—about 13 feet past perfectly vertical.

Now researchers say that the dirt responsible for the tower's lean also played a vital role in its survival. Their study, which will be presented at this year's European Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Greece, shows that the combination of the tall, stiff tower with the soft soil produced an effect known as dynamic soil-structure interaction, or DSSI. During an earthquake, the tower doesn't move and shake with the earth the same way it would with a firmer, more stable foundation. According to the engineers, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the world's best example of the effects of DSSI.

"Ironically, the very same soil that caused the leaning instability and brought the tower to the verge of collapse can be credited for helping it survive these seismic events," study co-author George Mylonakis said in a statement.

The tower's earthquake-proof foundation was an accident, but engineers are interested in intentionally incorporating the principles of DSSI into their structures—as long as they can keep them upright at the same time.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios