• All the furniture, cabinets, and floors make music in a slightly odd but cool village in New Orleans. The Music Box is a shantytown art installation where the houses—built largely of salvaged materials, including pipes from a church organ destroyed by Hurricane Katrina—are musical instruments to be played. Stop by if you’re in NOLA, or just watch this video (like we did):
• The San Francisco Mint is being steampunked, reviving its 19th-century glory. Charged with its renovation, architecture firm HOK discovered that the building—one of the largest to survive the 1906 earthquake—had brilliant natural ventilation and five-foot-thick walls, making it naturally heat-efficient. Once complete, renovations will preserve and celebrate these qualities as inventions of the Victorian era.
• Meet Wendy, an air-cleaning sculpture designed by HWKN, living in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 this summer. Wendy’s nylon fabric is treated with titania nanoparticles that actively clean the air—at a rate equivalent to removing 260 cars from the road. (Submitted by Francesca M., New York, NY)
• Most of us rarely notice the rush of people on a crowded subway platform. Not so for 57-year-old artist Ming Liang Lu, who cuts tiny paper portraits of New York’s subway riders within minutes. “When you see those subway faces in their totality, it’s a New York portrait,” said Alex Gombach, a student of Mr. Lu. “You’ve got a young black woman, an Orthodox Jew, a white guy. It’s a New York story.”
• Instagram users are competing for a chance to spend Social Media Week (September 24–28) in any of the conference’s 14 host cities, which include Bogotá, São Paulo, and Seoul. The idea is simple: take a great photo of your city and share it on Twitter with the hashtag #InstagramYourCity. For inspiration, check out Social Media Week’s Pinterest highlighting some of their favorite shots.
• Our resident blogger Christine got up close and personal with shipping containers on her voyage across the Atlantic, tracing the route of the Lab’s structure from New York to Berlin. But did you know that, in an ultimate exercise of recycling, there are actually small “cities” built out of these things? In London, Mexico, and Amsterdam, multifamily work spaces and homes have been constructed with shipping containers. Could New York be next?
• Speaking of recycling and unconventional materials for cities, check out Type City, a miniature urban landscape made of reused pieces of movable type by artist Hong Seon Jang.
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