Shop Houzz: Off-the-Wall Accents (67 photos)

Prank-filled April 1 is the perfect time to get playful with your interior. Add temporary lightheartedness with an eclectic pillow or two, bring levity to a party with outrageous barware or stay wacky year round with outlandish decorative accents. All this tomfoolery is yours for the taking, courtesy...

 

Shop Houzz: Off-the-Wall Accents for April Fools’ Day (68 photos)

Prank-filled April 1 is the perfect time to get playful with your interior. Add temporary lightheartedness with an eclectic pillow or two, bring levity to a party with outrageous barware or stay wacky year round with outlandish decorative accents. All this tomfoolery is yours for the taking, courtesy...

 

Herb Garden Essentials: How to Grow Basil (6 photos)

Basil, native to Asia, has become a seasoning staple in cuisines around the world. The familiar and fragrant sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is grown as a summer annual that generally reaches about 2 feet tall.
Even if you’re already committed to sweet basil as your herb garden mainstay,...

 

Rethinking Architecture to Evade Violence

Khayelitsha township, on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Attempts to make “social improvements” by altering the physical structures of a community don’t always end well. A few years ago, the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire inspired a multibillion-dollar effort to overhaul Mumbai mega-slum Dharavi, the film’s setting. The revamp derailed when local residents complained that removing their homes and informal businesses was unjust. Thirty years ago in America, “broken windows theory” targeted crime reduction through crackdowns on graffiti, vandalism and other minor crimes. The concept is now linked to stop-and-frisk policing in U.S. cities, implicated in discrimination against people of color and community distrust of police.

Alastair Graham hopes Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading, an initiative of the government of Cape Town, South Africa, will end better. He calls the effort, which has been revamping areas around train stations since 2006, part of “a package of potential solutions … either improving safety, or improving socioeconomic situation, or improving quality of life.” The project is aimed at curbing violence by augmenting the public spaces in which violent crime frequently occurs — turning those spaces into places informal workers can conduct business.

One wouldn’t think the architecture of Khayelitsha, a black township near Cape Town, is a battleground for health. In comparison to much of the African continent, where dusty roads and mud-brick houses are typical, the area is somewhat luxurious. Shipping-container shops and tin shacks abound, but there are also paved roads, well-maintained bridges and a tidy train station. A hospital with a World Design City 2014 plaque in the lobby is walking distance from a well-appointed magistrate court; next to that, a swimming pool sparkles blue in the sun.

Yet Khayelitsha is a rather ominous place. Noticing a lone white woman on the street (me — I’m currently here reporting on sexual violence under a Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting grant), locals will stop to warn of violence and robbery. The warnings are no mere paranoia. South Africa has a severe problem with violence, particularly in lower-income areas. Rapes are common. Death by shooting or “necklacing” (a practice of placing tires around the necks of a victim and burning it, and him, in front of a crowd) are also familiar, and xenophobia leads to particularly strident attacks on immigrants.

To remove the threats, Graham says the city has invested in strategic designs to improve public spaces. This includes extending a train line and providing city services to informal settlements that are otherwise deprived. It also means creating space around train stations for formal businesses and informal traders, as well as the transportation that residents need — in short, a vibrant hub where safety can be assured by the presence of crowds.

Khayelitsha’s informal workers show rather muted enthusiasm for the project. “I don’t think it’s working,” says Ola Adeyeye, a lifelong resident who sells small items near the train station. He attributes safety to leaving with all other local sellers at 6 p.m. sharp, but says, “We are struggling to survive.”

An informal business in Khayelitsha

Conrad Mzukesi, who sells fruit on an overpass near the Khayelitsha Hospital, hadn’t heard of the upgrading effort, but isn’t unsure that improved urban design is the answer. “I think [the violence] is worse now,” he says, attributing the issue to “the youngsters. They are doing drugs … [and] alcohol. Alcohol abuse, I think that is the cause of the violence.”

Graham says community concerns are mainly focused around practical aspects of the project: “What portion of the investment coming to the community can we mobilize local effort into the construction … to local subcontractors?” He adds that the city-funded project “has learned a lot” and is committed to improved relations, including through smoother hires of informal construction workers.

The effort intends to include informal workers after construction is done, too, by “identifying the best places for people to do informal trade” and designing the new areas to accommodate these. VPUU’s efforts to bolster their work opportunities, in other words, mean the project is a progressive mix of large-scale construction projects and a tolerance for the smallest and weakest businesses — ones that function in cardboard shacks, or that use no building at all.

This point might be the most progressive of the project’s aims against violence. The violent milieu of South African townships is thought to suppress the informal economy, which, despite South Africa’s sky-high unemployment, represents just one-fifth of the total economy. (In contrast, informal workers make up more than half of the economies of most other African nations.) The informal sector, anthropologist Keith Hart says, is “strongly associated with African immigrants” who often cannot enter formal employment. Although these workers are not the majority of informal workers, international and national migrants (from rural South Africa) are more likely to engage in informal labor than lifelong urbanites — and perceptions that they outcompete locals has left these workers particularly vulnerable to violent attacks.

Graham says the project has collected no data on violent incidents, but says an increase in perceptions of safety reported by surveyed residents is an indicator of success.

But as an answer to the vulnerability of Khayelitsha’s informal workers, the effort may be undermined by a new law that identifies informal workers themselves as a kind of “broken window” — and, seeking to tidy them away, might increase their risk. The Licensing of Businesses Bill would force informal businesses (and other businesses) to apply for licenses from the government. Promoted by politician Lindiwe Zulu with explicit anti-immigrant sentiment, the bill has been opposed for promoting scarcity-obsessed xenophobia — the breeding ground for further violence against informal workers.

A 2013 op-ed captures the irony, and adds a comment about other means of addressing violence: “Contraventions of the provisions of the Bill are punishable by up to ten years imprisonment and undisclosed fines. One wishes South Africa’s rapists were punished as severely.”

 

graft architects finalizes vision for apassionata adventure park in munich


the successful horse entertainment show is set to open its first adventure park in 2016 in munich, designed by graft architects it will feature a show palace and 12 themed pavilions.

The post graft architects finalizes vision for apassionata adventure park in munich appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

fashion brand bread bags and pancake purses by chloe wise


purses, backpacks, handbags and totes by the likes of prada, chanel and louis vuitton and reimagined in pancake, toast, bagel and bread form.

The post fashion brand bread bags and pancake purses by chloe wise appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

۱:۱ Period Rooms by Andreas Angelidakis

Until 6 April 2015, Andreas Angelidakis' spatial installation is on display at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. Architect-cum-artist Andreas Angelidakis throws new light on an exhibition model popular in the late 19 th century.
 

۲ Girls Building by KUD and Samantha Everton

A collaborative project between an architectural firm and a photographer attempts to realise a photograph as a building. An architectural firm and an artist in Melbourne collaborate to realise a photograph as a building.
 

minton housing development realized by DP architects


the design takes full advantage of site topography using open space and landscaping to create distinctively different experiences for a living environment suitable for the entire family.

The post minton housing development realized by DP architects appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

Houzz Tour: Stunning Rooftop Deck Tops a Totally Remodeled Home (19 photos)

Nearly 26 years ago, Geoff Lomax’s brother turned to him as they stood outside the 1929 Mediterranean-style home they had just bought together in Berkeley, California. He pointed to the roof and jokingly said, “That’s where a rooftop deck could go.”

Kidding

...

 



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