Subterranean Homesick Blues

Anker Steinbaukasten, or Anchor stone blocks, were the Lego of the nineteenth century. Download a host of neo-classical designs or browse George Hardy’s expansive Richter’s Anchor Stone Building Sets pages (which apparently runs to 6GB of data). Links include these animated Ankersteins, another devoted blog, a UK retailer and a site dedicated to architectural toys.


Cold War Tourism. This month’s Metropolis tells the story of Girard B. Henderson’s Las Vegas house. ‘A wealthy financier with a yen for underground living (he owned another large bunker complex in Colorado) and an abiding dose of nuclear paranoia,’ Henderson built a ‘16,000-square-foot bomb shelter – complete with ranch house, guesthouse, pool, yard, and barbecue’ – on a subterranean plot beneath his house. The photographs are by Robert Polidori. The story of the house comes from the new book Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People Into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack (Pointed Leaf Press). The irony is that the internet, designed during the Cold War as a multi-tentacled thing that could withstand nuclear attack, has become the main mode of disseminating the material and propoganda that helped prop up the whole era.


Check the Henderson-sponsored Underground World Home concept from the 1964 New York World’s Fair: ‘HEALTHIER, CLEANER, QUIETER LIVING – asthma, sinus, allergy and chronic cold sufferers receive almost instant relief in abundant, dry, stimulating filtered air. It can be pressurized to any altitude – much like a plane cabin.’

‘Finally, what became of the Underground World Home when the Fair closed? Was it destroyed or just left in place, sitting silently awaiting for someone to unearth it again? So far, no definitive word has been found as to what happened after the end of the Fair. Considering the cost that would have been incurred to rip a structure of this size out of the ground, and the lack of any real motivation to do so, it’s highly likely that the exhibitors simply pulled down the surface structures, emptied out the contents of the house and headed back home. If this was the case the building is probably flooded, but it could be a World’s Fair legacy yet to be seen again.’


Anatomy of a twitter hoax / a nice mention at the Dabbler / Go For Launch! Space Shuttle The Time-Lapse Movie / unpalombaro, a tumblr / Meretricious, an art-focused tumblr / solace du soleil, a tumblr / things are hidden underground in Manchester / rube goldberg, a tumblr / Human’s Scribbles, an architecture weblog (with a snappy critique of MVRDV, increasingly reduced to purveyors of one-liner SketchUp architecture) / We are Beautiful, a tumblr / Eye Magazine on the pervasive visual language of science fiction.


Brusselsprout’s continues its graphic driven exploration of Dubai with the Dubai Graphic and Visual Encyclopedia. The earlier Dubai Manifesto (pdf) already has the feel of a historical document, with its relentless emphasis on the cult of personality and the strange, almost perverse juxtaposition with the avant-garde lite of the parametric era.


You can now buy things magazine at New Found Original. Or via this website.

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