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First Christian Church (1942) by Hadley Fruits
First Christian Church (1942) by Hadley Fruits

Attention Modernist Architecture Lovers: Visit Columbus, Indiana

First Christian Church (1942) by Hadley Fruits
First Christian Church (1942) by Hadley Fruits

If you want to see architectural gems by world-famous Modernist designers, the 44,000-person city of Columbus, Indiana might be your best bet. The unassuming Midwestern town has an incredible number of buildings by celebrated designers like I.M. Pei and Eero Saarinen, as Co.Design reports.

The city has more than 80 buildings, landscapes, and pieces of public art by world-famous architects and artists, with seven buildings classified as National Historic Landmarks, according to Exhibit Columbus, an arts festival designed to showcase the town’s architectural gems.

Much of this design heritage is due to the endeavors of Joseph Miller, an industrialist whose family founded the Cummins Corporation, a manufacturer of engines and power generators. In 1954, as chairman of the company, he founded a corporate foundation that has supported public architecture ever since. Miller’s goal was to turn Columbus into a town that could attract the best and brightest employees, starting with making sure that it had beautiful schools. In 1957, the foundation began offering grants to pay for architecture fees associated with buildings schools. Later, the foundation began offering grants for all public buildings.

Bartholomew County Public Library (1971). Photo by Hadley Fruits.

Asa result, Columbus was able to commission award-winning, world-renowned designers like Robert Venturi and John Rauch, who built a firehouse; Richard Meier, who built an elementary school; and Robert A.M. Stern, who designed a county hospital expansion. (The full list of grant winners is on the Cummins website [PDF].) Other notable mid-century buildings in town were designed by Eliel Saarinen (with furniture by Charles Eames), his son Eero Saarinen, and I.M. Pei.

“The influence of architecture with which we are surrounded in our youth affects our lives, our standards, our tastes when we are grown, just as the influence of the parents and teachers with which we are surrounded in our youth affects us as adults,” Miller, who died in 2004, once explained of his passion for good public design.

Exhibit Columbus, in its inaugural year, hopes to invigorate interest in great architecture and design in the city by awarding grants to artists to design and install temporary installations inspired by one of the historic buildings in Columbus.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy Landmark Columbus.

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Luke Hayes, Asif Khan/Getty Images
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architecture
Vantablack Pavilion at the Winter Olympics Mimics the Darkness of Space
Luke Hayes, Asif Khan/Getty Images
Luke Hayes, Asif Khan/Getty Images

British company Surrey NanoSystems disrupted the color spectrum when it debuted Vantablack: the darkest artificial substance ever made. The material is dark enough to absorb virtually all light waves, making 3D objects look like endless black voids. It was originally designed for technology, but artists and designers have embraced the unique shade. Now, Dezeen reports that British architect Asif Khan has brought Vantablack to the Winter Olympics.

His temporary pavilion at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea has been dubbed the darkest building on Earth. The 33-foot-tall structure has been coated with Vantablack VBx2, a version of Vantablack pigment that comes in a spray can.

The building’s sides curve inward like shadowboxes. To break up the all-consuming blackness, Khan outfitted the walls with rods. White lights at the ends of the sticks create the effect of stars scattered across an endless night sky.

Child next to wall painted to look like the night sky.
Luke Hayes, Asif Khan/Getty Images

Khan told Dezeen that the piece is meant to give “the impression of a window cut into space.” He was only able to realize this vision after contacting the scientists behind Vantablack. He told them he wanted to use the color to coat a building, something the pigment wasn’t designed for originally. Sculptor Anish Kapoor securing exclusive rights to artistic use of the color in 2016 further complicated his plans. The solution was the sprayable version: Vantablack VBx2 is structurally (and therefore legally) different from the original pigment and better suited for large-scale projects.

The pavilion was commissioned by Hyundai to promote their hydrogen fuel cell technology. The space-themed exterior is a nod to the hydrogen in stars. Inside, a white room filled with sprinklers is meant to represent the hydrogen found in water.

The area will be open to visitors during the Winter Olympics, which kick off in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday, February 9.

[h/t Dezeen]

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Shari Austrian
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Design
You Can Order a Stunningly Detailed LEGO Replica of Your House on Etsy
Shari Austrian
Shari Austrian

LEGO blocks can be used to construct fictional starships and works of abstract art, but there's something comforting in replicating what's familiar to you. That's the concept behind Little Brick Lane, an Etsy shop that promises to custom-build detailed LEGO models of real homes.

Designer Shari Austrian tells Apartment Therapy that the idea came to her when her family was building their real-life house. Her twin boys had recently gotten her interested in LEGO, so she decided to construct a scaled-down, blocky replica to match their new home. She enjoyed the project enough to launch a business around LEGO architecture on Etsy at the end of 2017.

Austrian bases her designs off interior and exterior photos of each house, and if they're available, architectural plans. Over eight to 10 weeks, she constructs the model using LEGO pieces she orders to match the building design perfectly, recreating both the inside and outside of the house in the utmost detail.

To request a custom LEGO abode of your own, you can reach out to Austrian through her Etsy shop, but warning: It won't come cheap. A full model will cost you at least $2500 (the exact price is based on the square footage of your home). That price covers the cost of the materials Austrian invests in each house, which can add up quick. "The average LEGO piece costs approximately 10 cents," she tells Mental Floss, and her models are made up of tens of thousands of pieces. But if you're looking for something slightly cheaper, she also offers exterior-only models for $1500 and up.

For your money, you can be confident that Austrian won't skimp on any details. As you can see in the images below, every feature of your house—from the appliances in your kitchen to the flowers in your yard—will be immortalized in carefully chosen plastic bricks.

A bedroom made of LEGO

A kitchen model made of LEGO

The exterior of a house made of LEGO

[h/t Apartment Therapy]

All images courtesy of Shari Austrian.

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