February 2011
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Month February 2011

London 2012 Velodrome

Via Dezeen

London firm Hopkins Architects have completed the Velodrome, the first of the five permanent venues on the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Velodrome has been designed with the aim of creating the world’s fastest cycling track by tailoring the track geometry and setting the temperature and environmental conditions within the venue to create record-breaking conditions. The venue has also been being designed with seating all the way round the track to create the best possible crowd atmosphere during events. Renowned track designer Ron Webb oversaw the design and installation of the 2012 track having previously worked on the Sydney and Athens Velodromes.

A team of 26 specialist carpenters installed the track over a period of 8 weeks. 56km of surface timber from a sustainably-sourced Siberian pine was laid to form the track surface, fixed into place with more than 300,000 nails.

The building has been designed to be lightweight and efficient to reflect the efficient design of a bicycle. The use of abundant daylight through strategically positioned rooflights reduces need for artificial lighting, and natural ventilation is achieved through openings in the external timber cladding of the venue.

Heating and ventilation systems to meet cycling environmental requirements, allowing the highest performance by the elite cyclists, whilst maintaining high energy-efficiency. Compact design minimises energy consumed to heat the main arena. Water saving fittings and collection of rainwater for reuse in building are built into design to help reduce water consumption. Lightweight cable-net roof structure weighs 30kg/m2 compared to 65kg/m2 for the Beijing Velodrome, helping create a highly efficient building.

The Velodrome design team were chosen following a design competition in 2007. Shortlisted architects were assessed by a jury which featured leading names from the architectural world and Olympic Champion Chris Hoy. This ensured design excellence would site alongside the best possible facilities for cyclists.

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House of Tapes

Via ArchDaily, by Emmett McNamara, of the Edinburgh College of Art

The project is an exercise in re-use as emphasis was placed on developing a new function for an abundant waste material. McNamara gathered over 7,000 tapes from charity shops, friends, and tape dealers in the local vicinity to construct the structure.

For McNamara, selecting the tapes as the waste product also has an emotional value. ”I wanted to build something that evoked emotional memory attachment in conjunction with the practical re use of an abundant waste material. Tapes have a special place in a lot of peoples hearts. I remember making mix tapes for girls I liked. The first album I bought was a tape. When someone sees a tape they perceive it in these terms. The associated cognitive imagery is part of a deeper emotional part of us.”

Werner Herzog: Cave of Forgotten Dreams

By Nate Calloway

The Master Chart of Fashion Influence

From WSJ, by Ray A. Smith and Maryanne Murray

The fashion world may often inhabit its own bubble, but fashion doesn’t exist in its own vacuum. Designers are influenced by other designers, past and present, whether they realize it or not—and whether they admit it or not.

There are varying degrees of osmosis, homage paying, and “borrowing” during fashion week as well as camps and schools of thought. Ideas run from designer to designer, especially from one generation to the next.

Some younger designers, like Prabal Gurung, have formal mentors. His is Carolina Herrera. Each attended the other’s show this week and it’s clear there is some link between Mr. Gurung’s polished elegance and that of his mentor as well as lions like Oscar de la Renta. Derek Lam worked at Michael Kors and surely some of Mr. Kors’ aesthetic seeped into Mr. Lam’s own.

Runaway Star Plows Through Space

Via PhysOrg, by Whitney Clavin

A massive star flung away from its former companion is plowing through space dust. The result is a brilliant bow shock, seen here as a yellow arc in a new image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

The star, named Zeta Ophiuchi, is huge, with a mass of about 20 times that of our sun. In this image, in which infrared light has been translated into visible colors we see with our eyes, the star appears as the blue dot inside the bow shock.

Zeta Ophiuchi once orbited around an even heftier star. But when that star exploded in a supernova, Zeta Ophiuchi shot away like a bullet. It’s traveling at a whopping 54,000 miles per hour (or 24 kilometers per second), and heading toward the upper left area of the picture.

As the star tears through space, its powerful winds push gas and dust out of its way and into what is called a bow shock. The material in the bow shock is so compressed that it glows with infrared light that WISE can see. The effect is similar to what happens when a boat speeds through water, pushing a wave in front of it.

This bow shock is completely hidden in visible light. Infrared images like this one from WISE are therefore important for shedding new light on the region.

Provided by JPL/NASA

2011 UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Mens Keirin Final

Kodaly Centre

Via Dezeen

Location: PÉCS /Hungary/
Client: the city of PÉCS
Interior design: László (f) Rádóczy, Zsolt Tolnai – PÉCSÉPTERV
Acoustics: Éva Arató, Anders Christian Gade, András Kotschy
Landscape: Sándor Mohácsi, Borbála Gyüre – S73
Design period: 2007 – 2010
Gross area: 11.200 m2
Completion date: December of 2010

The Hungarian city of Pécs was selected as European Capital of Culture for 2010. The new Kodály Concert- and Conference Centre is one of the main projects for this event. There are two identities constituting the units of our world: inside and outside. Object and space. Extrovert and introvert. Active and passive.

Community life and internal silence. The building that we can walk around, and the hall where music surrounds us. The building itself is vivid, moved by the dynamic symmetry of golden ratio. The hall itself is tranquillity filled by the symmetry of intellectual serenity. It all derives from the mathematical basis of our world.

“Music that conveys universal truths itself, shows more direct connections with the physical and spiritual world order.
There are two sequences appearing significant in the sythesis of our world. As demonstrated below, both begin with the number 1 and 2.

In the first sequence, each number is multiplied by 2 to get the next one, while in the second sequence, each remaining number is the sum of the previous two. Both sequences can be found in European music.
The first sequence is represented by the symmetry of classical music. It is filled by pursuit of balance. 
Not like in case of the second sequence.

The Fibonacci-sequence is the most common presentation of golden ratio by integers. Golden ratio is usually called dynamic symmetry. Its most beautiful realisation in music is perhaps the 1st movement of Music for Strings, Percussions and Celeste by Bartók. Golden ratio as a characteristic of the living world is perfectly efficient to express fight, struggle and tension of existence, just as balance to express the intellectual serenity.

Bartók composed his most impressive pieces – Music, Sonata for Two Pianos – implying the sphere of golden ratio in the 1st movements, then principle of classic symmetry in the last movements. The two systems relate to each other just like two worlds – more precisely, as two faces or sides of the same world. The first one applies balance as a guiding principle, the second one applies tension. They are connected in mutual presupposition and exclusion, they compose unity and contrast.”
/after Ernő Lendvai and Erzsébet Tusa.

The architectural characteristics of the concert hall are in close harmony with the common principles of design and musical composition. Dynamics and balance. Two sides of the same world.
The building elements: stone and wood. Hard and soft. Cold and warm. Age of myriads and centuries. Enduring and intimate. The ancient white stone snail slowly embraces the concert hall lined with pure wood. As if we were listening to music inside a gigantic wooden shape or instrument.

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Young Prisms, These Daze

By EyeBodega

Official video from the Mathemagic / Young Prisms 7″
From Atelier Ciseaux

The World’s Largest Social Network

From Wired

Linguists to Re-Think Reason for Short Words

Via PhysOrg, by Lin Edwards

Linguists have thought for many years the length of words is related to the frequency of use, with short words used more often than long ones. Now researchers in the US have shown the length is more closely related to the amount of information the words carry than their frequency of use.

A link between the length of words and how frequently they are used was first proposed in 1935 by George Kingsley Zipf, a Harvard University linguist and philologist. Zipf’s idea was that people would tend to shorten words they used often, to save time in writing and speaking. The relationship seems intuitive and it seems to apply to many languages with short words such as “the”, “a”, “to”, “and”, “so” (and equivalents in other languages) being frequently used.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), led by Steven Piantadosi, tested the Zipf relationship by analysing word use in 11 European languages. They analyzed digitized texts for correlations between words by counting how often all pairs of words occurred in sequence. This information was then used to estimate the probability of words occurring after given previous words or sequences of words. They made the assumption that the more predictable a word is, the less information it conveys, and estimated the information content from information theory, which says the information content is proportional to the negative logarithm of the probability of a word occurring.

Piantadosi said if the word length is directly related to information content this would make the transmission of information through language more efficient and also make speech and written texts easier to understand. This is because shorter words, carrying less information, would be scattered through the speech, essentially “smoothing out” the information density and delivering the important information at a steady rate.

The studies suggest that the short words are in fact the least informative and most predictable words rather than the most often used, and that word length is more closely related to the information the words contain.

The paper is soon to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Steven Piantadosi belongs to the PhD program with MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

© 2010 PhysOrg.com

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