Here’s a look at what the Untapped Cities staff is reading and sharing this week, ranging from the world’s smallest museum, the architecture of cults, “parkcycles” (yes, it’s what you think it is), forgotten WWII barriers in NYC, and the architecture of cults.
World’s Smallest Museum, dubbed The Mµseum in Somerville, MA
This new museum in Somerville, Massachusetts may be the smallest in the world at 10 inches tall, 16 inches wide and 8 inches deep. Called “The Mµseum” (the Greek letter meaning ‘micro’), it’s built into an unused wall between a Subway and a bar. It’s got an adorable mini neoclassical pediment and fluted doric columns as a nod to the architecture of full-sized museums. Fast Company writes that “While it would be easy to dismiss the Mµseum as a trifle, [curator Judith] Klausner’s work deserves more credit. It’s a museum that, by virtue of being small, is designed to be accessible. [Fast Company, The Mµseum’s official website].
Good News: New York Public Library Will Keep Historic Stacks
New York Public Library finally caves under pressure from scholars, architectural critics and the public and decides to keep its famous stacks. In a complete 180, the stacks will in fact be incorporated as a prominent feature in the renovation. FYI, the stacks contain 125 miles of shelving. We’ve got an urgent question though: will they keep their pneumatic tube system too!? [Curbed, WSJ]. Also read our article on the Secrets of the New York Public Library.
Forgotten WWII Barrier in NYC
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development reveals that up for discussion during Hurricane Sandy was the option to use a WWII barrier that would have closed off the mouth of the Hudson River tunnels but would have flooded Penn Station. Officials opted to let the tunnels flood. According to WNYC, ” the barriers were designed in the middle of the century to protect Penn Station from flooding in the event of something like an explosion in the tunnel or World War II sabotage.” [Jalopnik via WNYC]
A Paris Tower Reopens After 500 Years, Briefly
Image via Flickr user john weiss
The Tour St Jacques, a free-standing tower in the Marais, used to be part of a church that was destroyed during the French Revolution and its bells melted down for metal. After an $11 million restoration, the city has been giving tours up to the top but just until September 15th. To make it a year round attraction will require more renovations such as “higher safety railings at the top, which would detract from the tower’s unique atmosphere.” A final note, the renovation also required the removal of lots of pigeons and their poop! (something that will have to happen if Queens’ Creedmore Psychiatric Hospital is ever renovated). [via MSN]
It’s a Bike, it’s Park, it’s a Swarm of Parkcycles!
It was only a matter of time before bikes and pop-up parks were combined together somehow. We hope we’ll see some of these in the upcoming 2013 Park(ing) Day. Landscape architect John Bela, ASLA, at Rebar and artist Tim Wolfer at N55 have created what they’re calling Parkcycle Swarm. That’s right, little mobile parks on bicycles. [Design Boom, Sustainable Cities]
The Architecture of Cults
Architizer looks at the architecture of cults (aka “cult-itecture) in the United States, with a photo and essay covering Spahn Ranch (home to the Mansons, though they were unaware it was a former film set for Bonanza, Zorro, and The Lone Ranger), Rajneeshpuram, Earthship, The Family (who fit 140 people into a 3-bedroom house), and FLDS Temple. Though the latter included a waste treatment plant, interior photos look more like a new age spa.