Happy Halloween!

31 10 2007

Happy Halloween to everyone!
Nowadays it is celebrated in many ways throughout the world, mainly in english-speaking countries, with parties, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and so on.
But at first, the feast was introduced by the Celtics and the name, come from “All Hallow’s Eve” which stands for: the night before the day of all saints (ie November 1st).


Transportation in Curitiba, Brazil

31 10 2007

Curitiba, Brazil managed to set up an outsanding transportation scheme. Indeed, it is now an exemple for many cities regarding transportation and congestion cities. It has eventually received awards from environnment organizations.

Curitiba is located in the state of Parama. In 2005, the population amounts to 1 757 900 inhabitants. The population increased of a factor 3 in 25 years. Indeed, a plan for urbanization was needed to keep up with the city’s extension.
Transportation was the first field to work on as planning the city and organizing transportation services are slightly linked

A little history…
The rapid growth of the city from the 1950s resulted from the migration from rural areas to urbanized zones.
The Master Plan for the city was launched in 1965. The main idea was to use transportation land use and road systems as integrative tools for Curitiba’s development. By 1970, the original radial model of the city was changed into a linear model for urbanisation throughout a zoning law. One year later, it was the first Brazilian city to introduce a pedestrian network, which is now extended and includes 130 km of roads for bicycles.
Alongside these changes, structural axes were built. These corridors componed of 3 roads, dedicate the two restricted lane of the central road to express buses use exclusively. All the measures taken eventually curbed down congestion in the center and allowed a rapid transit of passengers.

The bus system in detail

The express buses terminals allow a rapid transit of passenger and avoid people getting through without paying the fare

It was designed as a spiderweb to reach every corner of the city. The purpose was to propose an effective and integrated system to the citizens. Therefore, there’s a unique fare for one travel and connection is ensured within the network by modal platforms and terminals.
To sum up its main characteristics, the system
– Is designed as a spiderweb network (roads starting from the center going towards the surburbs linked with circular connection roads)
– Eases transportation for disabled people
– Has restricted bus dedicated to express buses
– Uses extra-long buses (carrying up to 270 passengers) driven by one employee only
– Has a waiting time of 2 minutes maximum

The figures truly reflects the efficiency of the system as:
– It transports 1.8 million people annually.
– 80% of the inhabitants uses the bus even though 28% of them do own a car.
– The air pollution was reduced by 30%.

As for the cost of the project, public investment amounted to 300 million dollars. However, the system now runs independtly of subsidies as for $1 from public investment, there are $4 from private funding. The fare of the tickets cover the global costs of the system except for the infrastructure maintenance, which is taken in charge by the city.
The city is behind the success of the project. As a matter of facts, it designed the lanes, choose the vehicle, installed stations (even in the favelas) and set a unique fare to 15 FB whatever distance is made. Therefore, an easy access is guaranted to everyone.

Curitiba thus set high standards for metropolitan transport systems. The scheme of the Brazilian city has proved its efficiency and is rewarded by several urban organization. It was a model for some cities as it inspired Bogota’s Transmileneo. However, Curitiba not only based its urban plan on transportation and other breakthrough were also made in the fields of environment and waste management, for example.
Therefore, this city can definitively be used as an inspiration to design new transportation plan.

Nils Udo and the Land Art

24 10 2007

I would like to talk to you about my favorite artist: Nils Udo. I am quite sure that you do not know him. Let me introduce him to you.

Nils Udo is connected with the movement of the Land art, appeared in the 60s. These artists wanted to insert the nature into the art, even to consider it as art for sake. They also tried to determine in which measures we all act on the nature, individually (a ston throw in water, a cut leaf). So, they developed a short-lived art, completely constituted of natural materials.

For example, Walter de Maria planted in a field 400 masts of steel ready to receive the lightning to multiply the effect of this one and the spectacle which ensues from it, Robert Smithson built an immense pier in the form of spiral on a lake, Christo packed cliffs of fabric of nylon. And we could enumerate many others example … These artists never met each other but critics grouped them together them under the terms of Land art or Earth Art.




Pictures in order from left to right :
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, Utah, 1970.
Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field, New Mexico, 1977.

Let‘s focus on Nils Udo.

When he speaks about his artistic step, Nils-Udo uses these terms: Nature-Art-Nature (Natur-Kunst-Natur in German).

Natur: ” in the forest. My glance can settle wherever. Everywhere where I look, I could begin a work.” At first, our man becomes soaked with what surrounds him, strolls, observes, admires.

Kunst: then he is inspired by such element, such color, such shape, such place. Then he composes, as we would compose a picture. He plants bamboo assembled with other vegetables, he puts flowers on water, he realizes a bed of berries on the ground … His work is born in the nature.

Natur: but Nils-Udo does not stop there. He composes with the nature, with the seasons, the climate. Then after the artist, the nature is going to intervene in his turn, randomly, is going to resume its position. And so flowers tumble down the brook, and so sculptures are covered by the vegetation or trampled by sheeps, that the work does not consist over the moment but that it is necessary to wait that bamboo grows. Then the sculptor leaves place to the photographer.



Pictures in order from left to right :
Nils-Udo, No title, Reunion Island, Indian Ocean, 1990.
Nils-Udo, No title, Yonne, France, 2000.
Nils-Udo, No title, Central Park, New York, USA, 1991.
Nils-Udo, Cercle de bambou-calumet, Reunion Island, Indian Ocean, 1990.

All plant or mineral is material to create : snow, flowers, leaves, berries, forest, water, stones, desert … But he does not exclude either human of his work and often built nests in the nature to realize then photos of these structures lived by human bodies. This type of creation gave place to numerous state commissions. But we do not cross a sculpture of Nils-Udo in every cornerof garden … On the other hand, you maybe already perceived his universe in advertisements such as the film of launch of the perfume Mahora de Guerlain for whom he intervened in the desert. But the artist does not wait for the orders to create, he can multiply creation at every time.



Pictures in order from left to right :
Nils-Udo, No title, forest of Marchiennes, France, 1994.
Nils-Udo, No title : Vassivière en Limousin, France, 1986.

Nils-Udo, Nid d’eau, Chiemgau, High Bavaria, Germany, 2001.


I hope this trip make you dream. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.