Architectural Porn | Fergus Scott’s Southern House

I’m a sucker for indoor / outdoor living houses and Australian firm Fergus Scott Architect’s Southern House has function and style and a 270 degree view. Lots more pics on their site.

h/t Inhabit

Communism vs. Capitalism : See The Difference

You can argue until you’re blue in the face but sometimes a picture is worth much more than a thousand words. These photos are a stunning punch-in-the-gut example to people on the left attacking consumerism and capitalism; THIS is the difference that economic systems make.

The work is by photographer Stefan Koppelkamm and were featured in an article in Der Speigel called A Massive Facelift for Eastern Germany. The before pictures show the scenery from the communist days and were taken in the early 1990s. The after pictures are today after unification.

As the article says:

Although fascinated by his time travelling, Koppelkamm realized in the early 1990s that no one but him was interested in the sights of the unspoilt East. Looked at in the cold light of day, his photos depict buildings with gray facades, broken windows, tattered blinds and bricked-up entrances. In front, temporary scaffolding protects pedestrians and parked cars from falling bricks and bits of masonry.

The widespread decay of East German buildings in the 1980s was clearly visible. Hardly anyone wanted to live in the gray buildings with moldy entranceways, where when it rained the water would pour out of the broken drain pipes and pummel against the outside wall. No one wanted apartments without a functioning bathroom, with coal heating and damp in the walls. People preferred the large residential complexes, which despite being rather bleak and cramped, were at least solid and came equipped with “full comfort,” as it was known in the GDR — central heating and a hot water supply.

Go look at the whole stunning gallery.

All photos copyright Stefan Koppelkamm

Obama’s Double-Dip Disappointment

As a small-business owner, I don’t need to wait for the government reports of leading indicators and indices to know that there’s been a tightening in people’s willingness to spend over the long hot summer of 2010. The day-to-day experience of talking to clients and other business owners confirms that something is choking off spending for many as they hunker down for worse times ahead.

I’m going to lay some of this at the feet of President Obama but it’s more than just a matter of policy. Barack Obama is hurting the economy in a way that would have been hard to predict back in 2008 when even his harshest critics agreed that he showed qualities of charisma and leadership that caused so many to feel confident again in America’s future.

That feeling about whether things are going to be better or worse tomorrow drives people’s economic decisions at a gut level. It’s beyond ideology and party loyalty. What the economy is with dealing with right now is the death of hope.

Read the whole thing on The Huffington Post

Let’s Move To A Bulgarian Illegal Waste Dump!

I’ve never said “Let’s Move To A Bulgarian Illegal Waste Dump!” before — but I’ve never seen this house before.

This striking Large Home Tree is an experiment in self-sufficient housing that responds to its site and draws on local resources for all of its needs. Situated in Zvezditsa, Bulgaria on a reclaimed illegal waste dump, the home features a boxy frame that maximizes living space while an abundance of windows maximize light.

Read more and see more pics: Gorgeous Green Tree Home Takes Root in Bulgaria | Inhabitat