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Stripes Building – Art by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Art, Tags: , , , , , , , ,

G. Stolyarov II
March 27, 2017

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The Stripes Building – a Minecraft creation by Mr. Stolyarov – is the next step in the beautification of the unfinished Aqueduct Plaza of the Minecraft Imperial City, a collaborative project coordinated by users Rigolo and Comeon, and freely downloadable here.

The most current version of the Imperial City, as expanded by Mr. Stolyarov, is downloadable here.

The Stripes Building replaces a former dark rectangular cavern. As its name suggests, this structure is characterized by distinctive striped motifs at various scales. It represents an attempt at a new esthetic in a new era – an era of great contrasts and the recurrence of both glorious and tragic developments both on an individual level and for the world at large. At the same time, this building endeavors to respect the architectural elements of great historical styles, while combining and illuminating them in a way that hints at a futuristic outlook.

The Stripes Building is situated on the opposite side of the Aqueduct Compound – its taller, airier, more optimistic cousin, which represents the forward-looking spirit of an earlier era. The Stripes Building is more nuanced and suggests that the future might turn out in a variety of ways, but there is still value in a structured, rational way of contemplating it.

Left-click for a full-image view of each screenshot. Right-click to download the image.

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Aqueduct Compound and Staircase Buildings – Art by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Art, Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance HatG. Stolyarov II
November 16, 2016

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Aqueduct Compound and Staircase Buildings

This set of structures was created to begin the beautification of a desolate plaza beside an unfinished aqueduct in the Minecraft Imperial City.  The main 15-story building replaced a previous cavernous outcropping (whose counterpart can still be seen on the other side of the plaza) and connects the aqueduct to the gardens on the other side. The building has an open floor plan on the inside, and one can see all floors simultaneously from most vantage points (clearly a structure meant for observation rather than routine occupancy – but the views are quite intriguing).

To render the plaza accessible, large staircases were constructed, doubling as roofs for three geometric conference centers featuring some experimental ornamentation.

This was the sporadic work of approximately 10 months. Everything you see in the airy/translucent white/turquoise/blue motifs was built by me one block at a time! These are actually some of the least traditional buildings within the Imperial City world, and this is possibly the stylistic direction in which modernism would have gone in an alternate, more rationalist-driven universe where the Enlightenment influence still predominated.

This structure was created within the Imperial City map in Minecraft, a collaborative project coordinated by user Rigolo and freely downloadable here.

Left-click for a full-image view of each screenshot. Right-click to download the image.

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Artisanopolis – Seasteading City Concept by Gabriel Scheare, Luke Crowley, Lourdes Crowley, and Patrick White

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Categories: Art, Politics, Technology, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance HatGabriel Scheare, Luke Crowley, Lourdes Crowley, and Patrick White
August 8, 2015
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Artisanopolis, created by Gabriel Scheare, Luke & Lourdes Crowley, and Patrick White of Roark 3D and Fortgalt as a gift to The Seasteading Institute, in conjunction with the Institute’s Architectural Design Contest.

Description by The Seasteading Institute: Based on the foundational vision of The Seasteading Institute and DeltaSync, these works of art constitute an attempt at communicating the essence of what the infrastructure of sea-based civilization might look like in the near future. In this age of limited governance options, we intend to suggest an alternative model that allows new communities to form beyond the limiting jurisdictions of existing nation states in order to promote freedom and competition in the marketplace.

Each floating platform can be towed via tugboat from location to location and they can interlock to form sprawling formations over the water’s surface. Ballasts are used to adjust the depth at which the platforms sit in the water and coupling latches lock them together to form larger, cohesive footprints for convenience and stability. Modeled after those found at the seaport of Brighton, England, a large modular wavebreaker surrounds the city to shelter it from rough waters and wind while energy is supplied by renewable means like photovoltaic panel arrays and wave-driven turbines. Aquaponics greenhouse domes provide locally grown food, seawater is desalinated on site to provide drinking water, organic waste is removed via tankers to an off-site composting location, and inorganic waste is recycled. With so much focus on efficiency and sustainability, The Floating City Project promises to serve as a viable template upon which other seasteading projects can be modeled in the future.

All design contest images on this page are under the Creative Commons Attribution License. It means that you are allowed to redistribute and modify images but that you must attribute the original designer when doing so.

Note: Left-click on the images to see them in higher resolution.

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World’s First 3D-Printed Bridge Brings New Age Of Architecture – Article by John Vibes

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The New Renaissance HatJohn Vibes
June 29, 2015
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A new bridge is being planned in Amsterdam, which will be constructed by robots that will utilize a 3D printing technology. The project will be completed by Heijmans, the Dutch company responsible for building the solar roadway and other revolutionary projects that are creating positive change.

Jurre van der Ven, Heijmans’ Innovation Manager recently explained how this idea could change how large building projects like bridges are constructed.

Construction and design are currently rather separate factors in construction – the architect designs something and the constructor interprets the design and builds what he thinks is needed, but using 3D printing for a bridge makes design and construction operate hand-in-hand. For instance, both activities are done at the same time, instead of first building the structure and then adding the design later. This means we will also have to start looking at design in a completely different manner,” Jurre van der Ven said.

Joris Laarman, one of the designers, said that the project was a “fantastic metaphor for connecting the technology of the future with the city’s historic past, in a way which would reveal the best aspects of both worlds.”

A location has not yet been set for the bridge, but it will definitely be built somewhere in Amsterdam.

Below is a video showing how the bridge will be created.

John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter-culture and the drug war.

This article (World’s First 3D Printed Bridge Brings New Age Of Architecture) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

The article was originally published on TrueActivist.com.

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A Short History of German Colonialism in Africa (2003) – Essay by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Culture, History, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
July 22, 2014

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Note from the Author: This essay was originally written in 2003 and published in two parts on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007.  The essay earned over 11,000 page views on Associated Content/Yahoo! Voices, and I seek to preserve it as a valuable resource for readers, subsequent to the imminent closure of Yahoo! Voices. Therefore, this essay is being published directly on The Rational Argumentator for the first time.  ***
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~ G. Stolyarov II, July 22, 2014
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Four major regions of Sub-Saharan Africa had been colonized by Germany. They are today’s Tanzania, Namibia, Togo, and Cameroon.

Tanzania was acquired via the efforts of Dr. Carl Peters of the German Colonization Society from 1884 to 1885. Promising protectorate status to the various tribes inhabiting its territory, Peters rapidly accomplished the subordination of the realm to Kaiser Wilhelm I.

Namibia was purchased by Germany shortly after the 1884 Berlin Conference. Its de facto occupation began in 1889, when 25 German troops in tourist garb, under the leadership of Major Curt of Francois, crossed through British territory near the port of Walvis Bay and occupied the colonial capital of Winterhoek (Windhoek).

The first German involvement in Togo occurred in 1884, when Dr. Gustav Nachtigal, a representative of Chancellor Bismarck, signed a protection contract (similar to those undertaken by Peters in Tanzania) with King Mlapa of Togo City. In 1888 Curt of Francois conducted an exploratory journey into the interior, and a permanent research station was founded at Bismarck Castle by Dr. Wolf. In 1891, Germany assumed direct control over Togo.

Cameroon was acquired by Dr. Nachtigal in 1884 via protection contracts with coastal peoples. The remainder of Cameroon was gradually assimilated via expeditions into the southern reaches by Captain Kund in 1887 and Captain Morgen in 1890. In 1898, rich rubber deposits were discovered in southeast Cameroon, and the area became an economic powerhouse.

Major conflicts with natives flared up in Tanzania from 1891 to 1898, when Chief Mkwawa of the Hehe systematically raided German settlements, protectorates, as well as columns of German troops. In 1898, realizing the futility of his struggle, Mkwawa shot himself over a fire.

The Maji Maji Rebellion in 1907 was sparked by natives believing that drinking a sacred water rendered them immune to bullets. They suffered devastating losses at the hands of German artillery.

In Namibia, German forces were considerably crueler to the Herero natives. In 1904, enraged by almost haphazard killing of their people at the hands of settlers, the Hereros erupted in war. They were defeated by the forces of General Lothar von Trotha at the Battle of Hamakari on August 11, 1904, and were pursued through stretches of barren desert until all but 6000 of a population of 50000 perished of starvation or skirmishes. This is widely considered to be the first twentieth-century genocide.

All German possessions in Africa were confiscated by a superior Allied military presence from 1914 to 1918.

German Language and Architecture in the Former German Colonies of Sub-Saharan Africa

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Although Germany lost possession of its African colonies in 1918, traces of the German language and architecture remain there to this day. A visit to Namibia, Togo, and Tanzania especially will reveal numerous aspects of German culture, legacies of the colonial era.

German is widely spoken in Namibia, although it is not an official language. Namibia also maintains one of the only German-language newspapers in Africa.

All Germans were expelled from Tanzania in 1918 by a decree of the League of Nations. In 1925, many were allowed to return and rebuild their livelihoods. Today, under 2% of Tanzanians are Europeans (many of them Germans) who largely inhabit the urban centers

The Church of Christ in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, was designed by the architect Gottlieb Redecker and constructed in 1907. Its Neo-Romanesque design is almost unique on the entire continent, and within it is contained a valuable replica of Reuben’s’ “Resurrection of the Lazarus.” The original painting had been destroyed in Berlin in 1945.

Other German monuments remain in the former African colonies today. The “Old Fort” in Windhoek is the oldest building in the entire city. It was constructed in 1890 by Curt of Francois and the 32 men under his command and for some time served as a barracks the headquarters of the German occupation in Namibia. Today it is the country’s National Museum.

The Windhoek Railway Station was built in 1912 and is still in use. It is ideal in representing German colonial architecture, and displays in front a locomotive, the Illing, which had traversed a total of 271,000 miles between Swakopmund and Otavi from 1904 to 1939.

Heinitzburg Castle in Windhoek was formerly a lavish private residence constructed for the Count of Schwerin in 1914 by the architect W. Sander. Today it is a prestigious private restaurant.

Of course, no visit to Namibia is complete without visiting the statue of the man who almost single-handedly colonized the country, Major Curt of Francois.

Lome, the capital of Togo, contains a governor’s palace, which was completed in 1898, displaying an adaptation of German aesthetic tastes to the extremes of tropical climate. This building displays many of the simple angular features of indigenous African architecture.

Although the German colonial presence in Africa has been non-existent for the past 89 years, the language and architecture of Germany that remains in Namibia, Togo, and Tanzania serve as reminders of these countries’ past.

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The Rejection of the Practical-Moral Dichotomy in Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” (2004) – Article by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Fiction, Philosophy, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
July 19, 2014
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Note from the Author: This essay was originally written in 2004 and published on Associated Content (subsequently, Yahoo! Voices) in 2007.  I seek to preserve it as a valuable resource for readers, subsequent to the imminent closure of Yahoo! Voices. Therefore, this essay is being published directly on The Rational Argumentator for the first time.  
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~ G. Stolyarov II, July 19, 2014
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Howard Roark was never a man to conform to “mainstream” attitudes. At the Stanton Institute of Technology, Roark refuses to design Tudor chapels and French opera houses, instead exercising his individual reasoning in the creation of aesthetic features that fortify the individual integrity of his buildings. Upon entering the professional field, Roark signs building contracts on one crucial condition; that he be permitted to erect his structures exactly as he had devised them. At first, it seems that Roark is treading a path destined to ruin his career and prospects for success, for his acts counter the conventional “wisdom” that man can either be practical or moral, “flexible” or principled, fulfilled in body or in spirit, but not both. He is expelled from Stanton, and attracts few clients to his office. However, in Ayn Rand’s novel, The Fountainhead, Roark’s ultimate triumph demonstrates a staunch rejection of the practical-moral dichotomy and the possibilities that liberation therefrom can bring the individual creator.
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Roark’s success is rooted in a proper identification of practicality and morality. Roark refuses to superfluously ornament his buildings at the expense of structural efficacy. He recognizes unique qualities to every building material and refuses to make “copies in steel and concrete of copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood,” not wishing to blindly follow the obsolete techniques of the past like sacred doctrine (24). When Roark develops the Heller House, he endows the building with elements that blend together its function and appearance, including no false pillars or deceptive facades. Roark thinks that “a house can have integrity, just like a person, and just as seldom” and Heller agrees that every slightest routine performed in such a consistent dwelling is filled with “dignity and honesty.” (136) Roark’s notion of practicality is one of strict purpose and reason. He crafts his buildings giving objective consideration to all the facts and tools at his disposal. His Monadnock Valley Resort, for example, seems a natural extension of its landscape. Roark employs his brilliant skills in mathematics and structural engineering to bring forth sensible structures that captivate their residents. Though the Monadnock Valley Resort had been intended to fail by the firm that contracted Roark, from its very opening, it is filled for a year in advance. Despite initial difficulties, Roark’s perseverance enables him to find clients who appreciate his love of coherence and principle. Jimmy Gowan and John Fargo request that Roark create a gas station and store, buildings which would attract consumers as a result of their originality and convenience. Roger Enright, a self-made businessman, offers Roark to construct his home, and is immensely pleased with the results. Eventually, even the great newspaper magnate, Gail Wynand, selects Roark to build those structures that represent Wynand’s actual values and individual character, his home, which is meant as a tribute to Wynand’s wife Dominique, and the Wynand Building, “a monument to [his] life” (593).

Roark’s architectural career is ultimately a grand triumph due the fortitude of Roark’s moral principles and approach toward work. Roark is a staunch egoist and individualist. He summarizes his philosophy: “I’m never concerned with my clients, only with their architectural requirements.” (578) He builds not for the sake of appeasing the public, or gathering prestige, or riding the accomplishments of others as does the second-hander, but rather due to his ardent devotion to the creation itself. He recognizes that “to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences. The work, not the people. Your own action, not any possible object of your charity.” (578) In his moral quest, Roark pursues the fulfillment of his ego’s designs; everything else is a means to this end. Thus, Roark refuses to modify his designs for the sake of pandering to others’ petty whims and blind tradition-worship. When the government initiates a low-rent housing project for the poor, Roark sees no inherent nobility in sacrificing public funds for such an endeavor. However, he is interested in the problem of cost-efficient homes and yearns to see his solution materialized. He therefore strikes an agreement with his ex-competitor, the second-hander architect Peter Keating, in which he allows Keating to turn in Roark’s work as Keating’s own, if Roark is promised that Cortlandt Homes will be designed exactly as planned. Despite Keating’s best efforts, however, the arch-collectivist Ellsworth Toohey, who informally controls the project, transforms it into a “cooperative job,” allowing two more architects to meddle with Roark’s design and rob it of much of its efficacy by adding costly, useless ornamentation. This is a colossal moral infraction that Roark cannot sanction. He responds to the desecration of his work by detonating the entire building complex.

Justifying his action at his trial, Roark states that “the form was mutilated by two second-handers who assumed the right to improve upon that which they had not made and could not equal.” (683) He is outraged at those who would sacrifice a creator’s autonomy for any “greater purpose,” who would turn a mutually profitable exchange into the enslavement of one for the sake of others. His entire prior career, his selective approach toward clients preserved his freedom to build intact, but when the pseudo-morality of altruism attempts to turn him into a vehicle for the whims of collectives, Roark responds with a forthright affirmation of his right to exist for his own sake and no one else’s. He is exonerated and, because of his unequivocal, firm approach to both practicality and morality, able to win in both matter and spirit. Enright purchases the Cortlandt site for Roark so that Roark’s design can indeed come into existence. The book ends with Roark atop the Wynand Building, at the highest point in New York, symbolic of his triumph over all obstacles and his attainment of the most exalted success and happiness possible, standing upon the work of his own mind.

For Roark, practicality is reason and morality is egoism; the two are compatible and mutually reinforcing. This unity does not exist in the minds of most of the other characters in the book. Peter Keating believes that practicality is conformity. He surrenders his personal aspiration to become an artist to his mother’s urgings that he enter architecture. His entire career rides on borrowing others’ borrowed elements for his buildings or borrowing Roark’s originality. Keating’s greatest “accomplishment”, the Cosmo-Slotnick Building, is built in the Renaissance style (to please Ralston Holcombe, one of the judges, who appreciates only Renaissance buildings) and employs Roark’s structural features. Keating is autonomous neither in his engineering nor in his aesthetics. While with Roark, these disciplines are an inseparable alloy drawn from his mind, with Keating, they are a haphazard mix of something from everything and nothing in particular. At the twilight of his architectural career, the defeated Keating confesses that he has never built anything original in his entire life. Whereas for Roark, morality is forthright pride, for Keating, it is guilty appeasement. Whereas Roark knows his own worth, Keating must constantly find it in the reassurance of others, especially his confidant, Ellsworth Toohey. He is glad to hear that he as an individual is unimportant and that his true purpose is servitude to others and a sacrifice of everything, including his own happiness. For Keating has, through his endless pandering and borrowing, surrendered his ego for absolutely nothing, to be brushed aside by the collectives to whom he paid tribute as soon as “modern architecture” replaces his classical eclecticism. When Toohey finally bares the monstrous essence of altruism before Keating and reveals his true intent to rule the world and crush the human spirit, Keating is horrified, but can do nothing to oppose Toohey or resist his manipulations. While Keating, the “practical” man in the conventional sense of the term, has given up his convictions for fleeting prestige, he left the field of the moral to the sadists of the soul.

In the beginning of the novel, Dominique Francon does not believe that the moral and the practical can be reconciled. She tells of a time when she destroyed a beautiful statue because she thought it incompatible with the essential nature of existence-pain, distortion, and suffering. She appreciates genuine talent in Roark’s buildings, but deems them “too perfect” to exist in a world where every tainted member of the multitudes would desecrate them with his presence. Therefore, she prefers to side with Roark’s persecutors, as she views ultimate power to be in the hands of the immoral. She attempts to sacrifice herself to Peter Keating, the man she would love least, by intentionally marrying him and performing physical favors for others in order to get him commissions. Then she surrenders herself to Gail Wynand, a man who is a moral egoist in his private life but a vehicle for mob sentiments in his public. Though she does not love Wynand, she finds in him an appreciation for her as a woman who recognizes true beauty and morality, even if she views it to be doomed to defeat. Dominique’s outlook changes as she witnesses Roark’s perseverance in the face of societal pressures. Though Wynand loves to break men of integrity for sport, Roark eventually wins Wynand’s devotion, his quest for the right to use his mind, and Dominique’s hand in marriage.

Just as Dominique recognizes that both the moral and practical can triumph in a man of firm convictions, so does The Fountainhead demonstrate the insight that Rand would later express as a groundbreaking discovery in Objectivist ethics: “The practical is the moral.”

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Today’s Skyscrapers Uplift Humanity – Post by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Culture, Technology, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 4, 2012
Recommend this page.
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I was asked the following recently, with regard to whether our era continues to produce architectural accomplishments of a refined, uplifting, and glorious character: “But do we have anything that really compares to Chartres Cathedral?”

While the Chartres Cathedral is undoubtedly a creation of great beauty and impeccable skill, I think that the Burj Khalifa and The Shard are, in fact, more impressive – and far more functional and directly relevant to the improvement of human life. As Howard Roark put it in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead with respect to the emergence of great skyscrapers, “Mankind will never destroy itself… Nor should it think of itself as destroyed. Not so long as it does things such as this.” It always exhilarates me to read of new height records broken by skyscrapers in our time – and to see the new structures depart in increasingly creative ways from the “glass box” paradigm. As long as this kind of innovation keeps taking place, there is hope for our civilization.

The Shard, London Bridge: Photo by Bjmullan, Originally found here.
Shared pursuant to Creative Commons License.