Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain // Getty Images
Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain // Getty Images

Gaudí’s Accidental Death: Why The Great Architect Was Mistaken For A Beggar

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain // Getty Images
Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain // Getty Images

Born in Spain in 1852, architect Antoni Gaudí became famous for working at the forefront of Catalan Modernism, an artistic and literary movement that sought to establish Catalonia as distinctly modern and urban. Throughout his career, his bright, audacious designs stood out from the long-standard building practices. For Barcelona’s Park Güell, he used natural, organic shapes paired with colorful mosaic tiles. The family homes he designed, such as the Casa Calvet and Casa Milà, were just as bold. His Casa Batlló, for example, features elongated windows, a scale-like roof, curved entryways, and undulating ceilings, giving the home a surreal, psychedelic effect.

Gaudí was well-known and respected, and he made good money designing homes and public spaces. In 1883, Gaudí began designing Sagrada Família, the enormous Roman Catholic basilica in Barcelona most associated with his name.

The Sagrada Família circa 1940. // Getty

Nicknamed “God’s architect,” Gaudí stated that he designed and built all his work for the glory of God. He didn’t marry or have children, instead focusing steadfastly on his work and his Catholicism. As he got older, Gaudí became more religious, attending Mass and praying each day. He engaged in extreme fasting, shunned meat and alcohol, and reportedly ate only lettuce dipped in milk for a typical lunch. After several of his close friends, relatives, collaborators, and patrons died in the early 1910s, he threw himself further into his work. He moved into his workshop inside the Sagrada Família, gave up all other work in 1914, and turned down interviews. His hygiene habits also went sharply downhill; he wore shabby, ragged clothing, and stopped shaving.

On June 7, 1926, during his daily walk to confession, Gaudí was hit by a tram along the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. Because of the 73-year-old's unkempt appearance (and the fact that he didn’t have identification in his pocket), people who witnessed the accident thought he was a beggar. Gaudí lost consciousness, but taxi drivers wouldn’t bother taking a beggar to the hospital. A doctor who lived along the Gran Via, Dr. Ferrer Solervicens, was alerted to the accident and went to examine the old man, but he concluded that nothing could be done. A police officer eventually took the gaunt, injured Gaudí to the Hospital de la Santa Creu, where he got only the rudimentary care that a pauper would receive.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

It wasn't until the next day that the chaplain at the Sagrada Família recognized the beggar as the famed architect, but it was too late—Gaudí died two days later, on June 10, 1926. The residents of Barcelona mourned Gaudí’s death, lauding his divinely inspired work; his funeral procession snaked through the city, ending at his immense, unfinished church. He was laid to rest in the crypt of the Sagrada Família, underneath the continued efforts to finish his elaborate, colossal sanctuary.

That work is still underway, 90 years later. Current projections expect the Sagrada Família to be finished in 2026, in time for the 100th anniversary of the great architect's death.

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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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