The Industrial Cutaways of Frank Soltesz

Born in Pennsylvania in 1912 and active from the 1930s to the 1960s, Frank Soltesz was a versatile commercial illustrator who had a love for large cutaways. He spent part of his career working for the BBD&O advertising company.

Among his best work is a series of 29 advertising cross-sections published between 1947 and 1951 to show how the Armstrong Cork Co. company’s products were utilized. These illustrations appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and show lavishly detailed images of buildings and factories with their walls partially removed.

The more you look at the scenes and the tiny human figures as they move about, the more engaging they become. Each illustration has an inset with the key. They had a drawn frame and title and readers could request 21 by 22 inch copy suitable for framing or even a free booklet with some of the illustrations. (Via


City of Light

Con Ed’s “The City of Light” was the largest diorama up to that time. The fourteen-minute show presented the illusion of watching New York City through a twenty-four hour cycle. Originally designed to be continuous, a break of a few minutes was required as visitors tended to stay and watch the subway cars wiz by.

Walter Dorwin Teague designed the diorama which consisted of 4,000 buildings built to perspective, with the Empire State Building the tallest, taking up twenty-two feet to represent its 102 stories.

(Text via Con Edison City of Light Images via NYPL)

Stump House by PARA Project

When is a house more than just a house? For Stump House, Brooklyn, N.Y.–based Para Project’s latest commission, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, the firm was faced with a series of unique constraints—as well as some unique possibilities—that obliged principal Jon Lott and team to work beyond the typical remit of the residential designer. On the one hand, the architects had to contend with local building ordinances that limited construction on the 10-acre parcel to a single 1,200-square-foot domicile, no taller than 40 feet, with an additional 1,000 square feet permitted for an adjoining “uninhabitable” structure. In a sly move, the team responded by stacking one structure atop the other, designating the lower level as an art studio (ergo, uninhabited) and embedding it halfway into the sloping terrain. The result is a combined live-work space under a single roof that still accords with both the building height and usage regulations.

(Via Architect)

Librarian Transforms 110-Year-Old Tree into Jaw-Dropping Little Free Library

Talk about a “giving tree”! When a 110-year-old cottonwood tree in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, needed to be removed, Sharalee Armitage Howard—a librarian, artist, and former bookbinder—transformed it into an amazing Little Free Library. Now, instead of providing shade, the tree will share books.

The not-so-little Library, which stands in Sharalee’s front yard, features inviting stone steps, a sloped roof, a large green door, and warm interior and exterior lights. The details of the Library are exquisite, with miniature wooden books—like Call of the Wildand Nancy Drew—trimming the entrance. It is registered with the Little Free Library nonprofit organization, charter #82068, and can be found on our world map. (Via Little Free Library)

Temple of Light by Patkau Architects

“The temple is an invitation to the light,” says John Patkau, cofounder of the Vancouver firm, “both physically, through its strong relationship with the sky and wilderness beyond, and metaphysically, through its invocation of wonder.”

Completed in 2017, for a cost of $2.6 million, the 3,500-square-foot structure (including entry and support spaces as well as the main volume) sits on a high bank beside the lake, on the site of an earlier temple destroyed by fire. The surviving foundation, reused for the new building, and community memories of the eight-sided domed structure that was lost, provided a starting point for the scheme, according to Patkau. The firm’s experimental work in the morphology of materials–such as its plywood Skating Shelters (Winnipeg, 2011)—further informed the design.

Atelier Masomi transforms derelict Niger mosque into library

Atelier Masomi has converted a former mosque into a library and community centre that sits opposite a new mosque it designed for the rural village of Dandaji, Niger.

Niamey-based Atelier Masomi designed the library within the former mosque, which had fallen into disrepair and was no longer large enough to support the village’s growing population, to save it from demolition.
(via Dezeen)

Algorithm by Dimitris Ladopoulos

A procedural algorithm designed to produce random geometric patterns. Dimitris Ladopoulos wanted to create an algorithm that would allow him to produce different random geometric patterns based on a rectangle.

The inspiration came from the type of diagrams called ‘treemaps’.
Ladopoulos implemented a procedure in Houdini, that takes a rectangle and splits it vertically and then horizontally. The number of splits is randomly selected from a given max. The outcome is fed to the loop, again and again, depending on the number of user defined iterations. A seed value and slight alterations of the algorithm produce a variety of results.

A blog curated by Roberto Cruz Niemiec with the best of Architecture, Design and Art.