Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

It was exactly 01:23:45 AM (UTC+3) on 26 April 1986 when reactor #4 at the Chernobyl plant, near Pripyat in the former U.S.S.R., exploded and sparked a chain reaction ending up with what we know today as the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history. A huge plume of highly radioactive fallout, 400 times more than during the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Wikipedia), was exploded into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area. But 23 years later, for Swiss decay photographer Timm Suess the Chernobyl ground-zero is also the stuff dreams are made of. At least his dreams.

Like Stalker in Tarkovsky's sci-fi masterpiece, filmed 7 years before the Chernobyl disaster, Suess takes us to a stunning photo-journey into one of the most horrific, abandoned and destructed areas on the surface of earth. While the "Zone" parts in Tarkovsky's fiction film where shot at a deserted hydro power plant on the Jägala river near Tallinn, Estonia, Suess' Chernobyl Journal is an overwhelming HDR photo documentary project chronicling a two-day trip taken in March 2009 through the real thing – the Chernobyl zone of exclusion. Packaged into an online presentation on Suess' website, the must see collection includes approx. 450 photographs as well as a few short videos. Below are a few samples we find particularly interesting.

The Road to Chernobyl

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Road towards Chernobyl town, still outside the zone (Source). More from this set, including pictures taken in the town of Chernobyl nearby Suess base camp, here.

Red Forest

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Panorama of the Chernobyl power plant, view from the railway bridge (Source). More from this set, taken around the Red Forest area near Pripyat, Chernobyl, here.

Pripyat Center

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The Pripyat city administration building. The radioactivity sign was probably placed there after the accident (Source). More from this set, taken in the city square of the ghost town of Pripyat west of Chernobyl, here.

Apartment Building

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Another corridor in an apartment block in the ghost city of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken around an apartment block in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Amusement Park

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The Ferris wheel in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken around the amusement park in the ghost city of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Swimming pool

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The public swimming pool in the ghost town of Priypat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in a public swimming pool in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

School Greenhouse

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Greenhouse of a school in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in and around the greenhouse of school #1 in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Ship Graveyard

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Liquidator boats at the ship graveyard north of Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in the North of Chernobyl, where the old liquidator ships went to die, here.

Around Reactor Island

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Cooling tower of the unfinished Chernobyl reactors 5 and 6 (Source). More from this horrifying and thrilling set of pictures from and around the Chernobyl Reactor Island, including reactors 1-4 and unfinished reactors 5 and 6, here.

For more see Chernobyl Journal:
http://timmsuess.com/chernobyl-journal/

Monday, June 15, 2009

Manhole Cover Designs: Urban Industrial Artworks under Our Feet



Manhole design has been around for many years, since the era of ancient Rome to be exact, when people began using sewage and drainage systems. An extraordinary ahead-of-its-time book by Mimi and Robert Melnick is most likely, however, to be the first attempt to define and document manhole covers and their place in (American) culture as an urban industrial art. As described by MITpress in the book intro:
"They lie underfoot, embellished and gleaming. They seal off and provide entry to an underground world of conduits, water mains, power lines, and sewers. They appear by the thousands in our cities, but very few people ever look at them or think about them as art. At once completely ordinary and totally unexpected, manhole covers present an infinite variety of design in the commonplace as well as a record of defunct utility companies, forgotten business firms, and obsolete foundries."


Manhole cover design varies greatly from city to city, with each municipality particular approach for budget versus art. According to ManHole.ca, a website dedicated to Fine Sewer Art and Manhole Cover Photography - some cities, such as Seattle, opted for a clever street map design on their covers while others go for city logos or seals. A few cities, such as Vancouver, Seattle, New York and Tokyo, went even further and pursued commissioned designer covers. Furthermore, in competitions to find the best designs, these cities have had their communities actively participating in waste awareness. Above: "In Direct Line With Another & The Next", taken in Downtown, New York by Jenna, via Jason Eppink.



With their own astonishing variety depending on locality, utility type and manufacturer but often including a symbol specific to an area or town as part of the overall design, Japanese are considered amongst the most extraordinary manhole covers. In Kyoto, for example, a turtle symbolizing wisdom and longevity is the main motif. In other cases local landmarks, festivals or flora and fauna are used (japanvisitor.com). Above: manhole cover in Himeji by tickle_tickle. The following are a few of the most interesting cover designs as photographed and collected by people in Japan, USA, Germany, Canada and Mexico. If you have any photos of other interesting manhole covers from around the world please send them over or post their links here as a comment. Enjoy!

Manholes in Japan


Kobe (1), Japan
By Alexis Lê-Quôc [Source]


Kobe (2), Japan.
By Janne Moren [Source]


Kobe (3), Japan.
By Janne Moren [Source]


Takaoka, Japan.
By Trane DeVore, Troutfactory [Source]


Fukuoka, Japan.
By Trane DeVore, Troutfactory [Source]


Toshogu, Japan.
By Trane DeVore, Troutfactory [Source]


Fire hydrant cover at Hanahaku park with the character from the flower exhibition in 1990.
By Janne Moren [Source]

Manholes in USA


Seattle, USA.
By JR Conlin [Source]


San Francisco, USA.
By mr.nunez.sfo [Source]


East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, USA
By Nick Sherman [Source].

Manholes in Germany


Berlin, Germany
By Ted Stevens [Source]


Freiburg i.Br., Germany
By madcrow [Source]

Manhole in Canada


Vancouver, Canada.
By Fecki [Source]

Manhole in Mexico


Unknown, Mexico
By Avi Dolgin [Source]

Manhole Collections

Host, aka Puppenspieler
Janne Moren aka Jannem
Trane DeVore, aka Troutfactory (Also see Japan’s beautiful manhole covers)

Top montage

Left: "In Direct Line With Another & The Next", taken in Downtown, New York by Jenna, via Jason Eppink, Manhole in Mexico by Avi Dolgin [Source], Manhole in Freiburg i.Br., Germany by madcrow [Source], Right: Manhole in Takaoka, Japan by Trane DeVore, Troutfactory [Source].

Saturday, May 16, 2009

895 Feet Long Mural Painted by Community

Kfar Netter Wall Mural

While technically a mural can be any piece of artwork on a wall, ceiling, or other large permanent surface (Wikipedia) some of us tend to associate murals with ancient masterpieces made by masters painters and artists rather than with ordinary people and suburb communities. Yet, a small suburbs community in an Israeli village named Kfar Netter, has recently collaborated on a unique project, mixing self-expression, fun and community relationships into a gigantic wall mural next to a walkway crossing the village. Made from 70 separate elements, all designed and painted by the residents, this impressive mural measures 895 feet (approx. 273 meter or about 0.17 miles) long and 6 feet high.

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Panoramic view full

Environmental art or casual creative entertainment, call it as you like - the people of Kfar Netter seem to have liked the idea and about half of them - approximately 400 people - have attended the single day gathering. It was hot. Music was loud, cold drinks were all over and within a few hours the mural was done, accept for a few minor segments which were taken care of later on.

Kfar Netter Wall Mural

OK, we know what you are thinking. Since most of us like to paint but not everyone is a painter, here are just a few words about how it was practically done: First a date for the special gathering day was set and announced. Each family was then invited to come up with its own masterpiece and provide it to the event organizers in the form of a standard A3 paper sheet.

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element Template

A special company was hired to cover the entire wall with a primary paint and then sketch the outline drawings based on the given residents' input. Above is an example of such an outline prior to the paint job. Below: a Google earth snapshot showing the exact location of the wall and the mural (kmz file here).

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Google Earth View

Here are a few selected photos taken during the painting gathering.

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Couple

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Couple

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Group view

Kfar Netter Wall Mural: Element

Photos by CultCase

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Carmel Tunnels Project: Israel's Longest Tunnel Dug



Haifa is about to join larger cities such as Tokyo, Paris and Stockholm where underground tunneling helps to reduce ever-growing urban traffic. Project franchisee, Carmelton, has completed digging the westbound tunnel in the eastern portion of the Carmel Tunnels project - a set of road tunnels currently being constructed inside Mt. Carmel - under and around the city of Haifa, Israel.



Amazingly, the idea for the megalomaniac project was originally conceived over 100 years ago by the Turks during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Today the Carmel Tunnels project is considered the second largest BOT project ever undertaken in the Middle East. The tunnels will have three portals: one from the west, near the MATAM Advanced Technology business park, one in the center off Rupin Road and from the east leading to the Kerayot interchange also known as the "Checkpost". The project aims to connect Israel's Coastal Highway (Road 2) at the southern entrance of Haifa with the northern entrance, bypassing the city center.



The western portal near the the MATAM Advanced Technology business park




The Rupin Road portal




Bridges enter the eastern portal, leading to the Kerayot interchange.




The completed 1,650-meter long westbound tunnel is the longest tunnel ever built in Israel and the most ambitious construction project of its kind ever preformed in Israel. According to Israel's leading financial newspaper "Globes" this is "a historic date" as the link of the first tunnel is "an important milestone toward the opening of the tunnels to traffic within two years."




The Carmel tunnels are built as a BOT (Build, operate, transfer) project so driving in the tunnels will require paying a toll. The project has already gone through many difficulties and was almost terminated more than once. Carmelton has already obtained financing for the project in 1999 but construction was delayed until 2002 due to objections and other legal matters. The project was once again delayed in September 2008 due to the International climbing constructions costs. Eventually, the cost is estimated with 1.25 Billion NIS (approximately $300 million) including 4.7 kilometers of tunnels and 6.5 kilometers of routs altogether.




The Construction of the tunnels began in early 2006 and they are due to be open to traffic by the end of 2010. Above: updated view into the tunnel near the western portal. Here are a few more details from the official Carmelton website:
  • Tunnel height: 6.5 meters
  • Tunnel width: 10 meters
  • The tunnels are dug 100-200 meters under populated areas of Mt. Carmel.
  • Every day 4 additional meters and 2000 cubic meters are dugg using 100-200 trucks
  • Planning took 10 years from 1996 to 2006.
  • Estimated total duration of implementation: 4 years.
  • Concession period: 35 years
  • Time required for crossing Mt. Carmel via the tunnels: 6 minutes (driving 60 KPH)
Here is an Interactive map of the Carmel Tunnels where you follow the tunnel path across the mountain. Below a sketched top-view map and side profile showing the tunnel rout through the mountain. The Mediterranean sea is on the left.





For more see http://www.carmelton.co.il