Kite Aerial Photography Camera Cradle Kit $155

  • OBJECT LESSON
One of the few sites selling KAP rig kits is brooxes.com, which also offers advice on how to build your own. The Brooks Deluxe KAP Kit can be adapted to a wide variety of cameras. The kit includes all sheet metal frame parts, legs, gears, and hardware, and instructions; add your own camera, timer, and kite. KAP enthusiasts say making the rig is part of the fun. It always reminds me of making architectural models, says Charles C. Benton, an architect whose KAP photos capture façade details, hidden courtyards, and colors in water typically seen only by birds.

    Credit: Brooks Leffler

    OBJECT LESSON One of the few sites selling KAP rig kits is brooxes.com, which also offers advice on how to build your own. The Brooks Deluxe KAP Kit can be adapted to a wide variety of cameras. The kit includes all sheet metal frame parts, legs, gears, and hardware, and instructions; add your own camera, timer, and kite. KAP enthusiasts say making the rig is part of the fun. "It always reminds me of making architectural models," says Charles C. Benton, an architect whose KAP photos capture façade details, hidden courtyards, and colors in water typically seen only by birds.

 

GOOGLE EARTH CAN'T GET THIS CLOSE. Kite aerial photography, known as KAP among enthusiasts, lets you get personal with the tip-tops of buildings. Landscapes take on a new dimension when you can see the big picture but also see details: the tracks of animals that share terrain with humans, for example, or the patterns in grass from a foundation that used to be there.

Most KAP practitioners design and build the cradles that carry their cameras aloft, borrowing advice from a handful of KAP websites on what type of kite, camera, and rig to use for different shoots and skill levels. Options range from a radio-controlled contraption to simple devices that marry garage-sale cameras with Silly Putty to control the shutter release.

Charles C. Benton is a KAP enthusiast and a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, who teaches building science. He sees his hobby as a natural extension of his job. Not only can he get a bird's perspective on how a building weathers, but he can exercise that part of the brain essential to practicing architecture: the imagination. "I watch the camera as it lofts into the air and try to frame what it sees," he says. "You form a hypothesis. When you get the image back, you can compare what you imagined with what it actually captured."

Benton has been working with a microbiologist on a project called "Hidden Ecologies" (arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap2/php/Hidden_Ecologies) that examines the salt ponds in the San Francisco Bay area, documenting change from 10 million meters high—the level of a satellite image—to microscopic levels of one-millionth of a meter. Benton's KAP images hover between 100 meters and one meter high, filling the gap between Google Earth and humans tethered to the ground.

"As designers in the building world, we're trained to visualize relationships," Benton says. "This is a way of literally realizing that."

  • Credit: Charles C. Benton

  • Credit: Charles C. Benton

  • Credit: Charles C. Benton


EXHIBIT

  

  • EXHIBIT
Gabriele Basilico
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Through June 15
Commissioned by SFMOMA, Gabriele Basilico turns his camera-and the characteristic style he describes as a slow-paced gaze-from the ruins of Beirut and other cities in decay to Silicon Valley. Fifty photographs chronicle the impact of the technology boom on the region.
sfmoma.org

    Credit: SFMOMA

    EXHIBIT Gabriele Basilico San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Through June 15 Commissioned by SFMOMA, Gabriele Basilico turns his camera-and the characteristic style he describes as a "slow-paced gaze"-from the ruins of Beirut and other cities in decay to Silicon Valley. Fifty photographs chronicle the impact of the technology boom on the region. sfmoma.org


 

  • EXHIBIT
Titus Matiyane: Cities of the World
AedesLand, Berlin
Through April 3
Fascinated by the growth of townships in his native South Africa, artist Titus Matiyane has been creating large-scale panoramic drawings of cities and landscapes from a bird's-eye view since 1990, eight years before fame would bring his first airplane flight. Included in the exhibit are Matiyane's views of London, Hong Kong, and Pretoria (shown here). 
aedes-arc.de

    Credit: Aedes

    EXHIBIT Titus Matiyane: Cities of the World AedesLand, Berlin Through April 3 Fascinated by the growth of townships in his native South Africa, artist Titus Matiyane has been creating large-scale panoramic drawings of cities and landscapes from a bird's-eye view since 1990, eight years before fame would bring his first airplane flight. Included in the exhibit are Matiyane's views of London, Hong Kong, and Pretoria (shown here). aedes-arc.de


BOOK

  • BOOK
Multi-National City: Architectural Itineraries
By Reinhold Martin and Kadambari Baxi
New York architects Martin and Baxi present a different kind of guidebook for exploring cities today. Tour the architectural monuments of globalization-corporate campuses, high-rise towers, gated communities, and call centers-in New York, Silicon Valley, and Gurgaon (a city outside of New Delhi), which together form a single entity that the architects call a Multi-National City. 
Actar; 29.95

    Credit: Charlie Brown

    BOOK Multi-National City: Architectural Itineraries By Reinhold Martin and Kadambari Baxi New York architects Martin and Baxi present a different kind of guidebook for exploring cities today. Tour the architectural monuments of globalization-corporate campuses, high-rise towers, gated communities, and call centers-in New York, Silicon Valley, and Gurgaon (a city outside of New Delhi), which together form a single entity that the architects call a Multi-National City. Actar; 29.95

  • BOOK
Siena: Constructing the Renaissance City By Fabrizio Nevola 
Politics drive design, or so Nevola argues with a convincing exhibit of antiquated illustrations, historical maps, architectural photographs, and medieval texts that explain the development of Siena, 1400 to 1520. 
Yale University Press; $65

    Credit: Charlie Brown

    BOOK Siena: Constructing the Renaissance City By Fabrizio Nevola Politics drive design, or so Nevola argues with a convincing exhibit of antiquated illustrations, historical maps, architectural photographs, and medieval texts that explain the development of Siena, 1400 to 1520. Yale University Press; $65

 

  • BOOK
The Endless City
Edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic
For the first time in history, more than half of the world's population resides in cities. Out next month is a 512-page tome, illustrated with close to 1,900 photographs, maps, and diagrams, that surveys the social, structural, and economic forces shaping the 21st century city. Six metropolises undergo analysis: New York, Shanghai, London, Mexico City, Johannesburg, and Berlin. Sudjic, director of the Design Museum in London, and Burdett, director of the Urban Age Project, include essays from participants in recent Urban Age conferences including Herzog and de Meuron and Rem Koolhaas. Together, they examine the changing nature of work, transportation, and social cohesion; the role of conflict in urban development; and how to design cities of the future. 
Phaidon; $59.95

    Credit: Charlie Brown

    BOOK The Endless City Edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic For the first time in history, more than half of the world's population resides in cities. Out next month is a 512-page tome, illustrated with close to 1,900 photographs, maps, and diagrams, that surveys the social, structural, and economic forces shaping the 21st century city. Six metropolises undergo analysis: New York, Shanghai, London, Mexico City, Johannesburg, and Berlin. Sudjic, director of the Design Museum in London, and Burdett, director of the Urban Age Project, include essays from participants in recent Urban Age conferences including Herzog and de Meuron and Rem Koolhaas. Together, they examine the changing nature of work, transportation, and social cohesion; the role of conflict in urban development; and how to design cities of the future. Phaidon; $59.95

  • BOOK
The Functional City: The CIAM and Cornelis van Eesteren , 1928-1960 By Kees Somer
It was the summer of 1933, and a group of 100-odd modernist pioneers calling themselves the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) gathered to decide the future of urban planning. Work first, talk afterwards was the motto of CIAM president Cornelis van Eesteren, an urban planner from Amsterdam who directed the group's analysis of The Functional City. The architects arrived armed with a year's worth of research on 33 cities worldwide, including meticulously hand drawn and hand colored 4-foot-by-4-foot maps. This volume includes the maps and a wealth of archival material from that summer conference, including meeting minutes, candid photographs, and telegrams that tell the story of a remarkable collaboration. Taking all of the evidence of social disarray into consideration, CIAM concluded that cities could be improved by functional segregation. In the rebuilding of Europe following World War II, CIAM's ideas got traction but too often were compromised by tight budgets. 
NAi Publishers; € 59.50

    Credit: Charlie Brown

    BOOK The Functional City: The CIAM and Cornelis van Eesteren , 1928-1960 By Kees Somer It was the summer of 1933, and a group of 100-odd modernist pioneers calling themselves the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) gathered to decide the future of urban planning. "Work first, talk afterwards" was the motto of CIAM president Cornelis van Eesteren, an urban planner from Amsterdam who directed the group's analysis of "The Functional City." The architects arrived armed with a year's worth of research on 33 cities worldwide, including meticulously hand drawn and hand colored 4-foot-by-4-foot maps. This volume includes the maps and a wealth of archival material from that summer conference, including meeting minutes, candid photographs, and telegrams that tell the story of a remarkable collaboration. Taking all of the evidence of social disarray into consideration, CIAM concluded that cities could be improved by functional segregation. In the rebuilding of Europe following World War II, CIAM's ideas got traction but too often were compromised by tight budgets. NAi Publishers; € 59.50

  • BOOK
The Functional City: The CIAM and Cornelis van Eesteren , 1928-1960 By Kees Somer
It was the summer of 1933, and a group of 100-odd modernist pioneers calling themselves the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) gathered to decide the future of urban planning. Work first, talk afterwards was the motto of CIAM president Cornelis van Eesteren, an urban planner from Amsterdam who directed the group's analysis of The Functional City. The architects arrived armed with a year's worth of research on 33 cities worldwide, including meticulously hand drawn and hand colored 4-foot-by-4-foot maps. This volume includes the maps and a wealth of archival material from that summer conference, including meeting minutes, candid photographs, and telegrams that tell the story of a remarkable collaboration. Taking all of the evidence of social disarray into consideration, CIAM concluded that cities could be improved by functional segregation. In the rebuilding of Europe following World War II, CIAM's ideas got traction but too often were compromised by tight budgets. 
NAi Publishers; € 59.50

    Credit: Charlie Brown

    BOOK The Functional City: The CIAM and Cornelis van Eesteren , 1928-1960 By Kees Somer It was the summer of 1933, and a group of 100-odd modernist pioneers calling themselves the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) gathered to decide the future of urban planning. "Work first, talk afterwards" was the motto of CIAM president Cornelis van Eesteren, an urban planner from Amsterdam who directed the group's analysis of "The Functional City." The architects arrived armed with a year's worth of research on 33 cities worldwide, including meticulously hand drawn and hand colored 4-foot-by-4-foot maps. This volume includes the maps and a wealth of archival material from that summer conference, including meeting minutes, candid photographs, and telegrams that tell the story of a remarkable collaboration. Taking all of the evidence of social disarray into consideration, CIAM concluded that cities could be improved by functional segregation. In the rebuilding of Europe following World War II, CIAM's ideas got traction but too often were compromised by tight budgets. NAi Publishers; € 59.50