One of a series of metro stations named after Russian literary heroes, Dostoevskaya features murals that depict scenes from his famous novels such as Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot and Crime and Punishment, as well as a stern portrait of Fyodor himself.
The wall art is austere, featuring black and white silhouettes of the books’ characters in action: a man is raising a gun to his head. Another holds an ax above his, waiting to bring it down on a women nearby. Continue reading Arts and Punishment
Along with the new trend of “bright flight“, American city developers are feeling the capacity crunch, and auto-auto-lots have begun to appear here as well.
Although the first of these facilities — built in Hoboken, NJ in 2006 — was plagued by technical glitches and failures (little things, like dropping an unoccupied Cadillac 6 stories…), the technology has advanced quite a bit since then. Working automated lots are in use in Washington DC and New York City, with more planned for other locations.
The compact, underground lot was crucial in getting the luxury, single-residence-per-floor tower approved and built. The small space, just off of Rittenhouse Square behind the Curtis Institute, had been a surface parking lot owned by Philly-based Parkway Corporation for the past several decades.
Parkway teamed with Scannapieco Development Corp and asked Cope Linder Architects to come up with a design that would maximize potential of the parcel. The group’s plan was to fit into the historic neighborhood and keep the tower’s footprint relatively small and set-back by incorporating an underground automated garage.
1706 Rittenhouse’s is the most advanced model on the market, designed by German manufacturer Wohr, who have been building automated garages since the 1970s. “It’s run by incredibly sophisticated software,” said Cope Linder partner David Ertz.
As residents of the building swipe a fob past a reader next to the elevator, the garage robot searches out their car, slides its pallet onto a lift, moves over to the entrance and raises the selected car to ground level, facing the street. A rep from Quality Elevator, in charge of maintaining the system, estimated the time it takes the car to arrive at 60 seconds or less. “It’s really just a big elevator,” he said. [6ABC has a video of the process]
The parking lot, like the rest of the tower’s design, is understated. The limestone facade that echos design cues of the older buildings on the small alleyway transitions to concrete on the upper floors, and is so minimal it’s in danger of being boring. But the 360-degree windows on each level and the attractive curbside koi pond and garden make up for it.
And they certainly look better than a gaggle of automobiles, sunning on the surface.
In fact, the product website for this 2008 entry into the recreational vehicle market doesn’t even showcase it very well. This hybrid of a motorcycle and a convertible looks much more impressive in person.
With its “Y-frame” and three wheels, the vehicle is more agile than a car, but much safer than a traditional bike, with anti-lock brakes and traction and stability control. With an average rating of 35 miles per gallon and a small parking footprint, it could be an environmentally friendly alternative for auto commuters. Prices range from $16,000 to $26,000.
Today, the manufacturer, BRP — Bombardier Recreational Products — is better known for the Sea-Doo, one of the most popular brands of wave runners, but they’ve been making innovative vehicles for almost a century.
The company has since made a name for itself with flashy motor-vehicle products. Some motorcycle enthusiasts decry the Spyder’s unusual handling, but are, however, enthused about its “style and grace.” These wheels are perfect for cruisin’ down city streets or beachfront boulevards.
You can take a Can-am Spyder out for a spin at a dealer or at a tour event; find one near you with BRP’s handy online map/schedule.