Museum of underwater art to open on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Submerged sculptures and others that appear at low tide to be installed at several Queensland sites, as part of a project that also aims to rehabilitate sections of the reef From a colour-changing figure warning of warming seas to a sunken skeletal greenhouse encrusted with coral, a new museum of underwater art in Australias Great Barrier Reef marine park aims to raise awareness of the threatened ecosystem and rehabilitate parts of the reef. Created by British sculptor and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor, the deCaires Taylor hopes the museum will help to shape public debate and inform environmental policy. Our oceans are going through rapid change, and there are huge threats, from rising sea temperatures to acidification, and a large amount …

Unbuilt Tokyo: ‘depthscrapers’ and a million-person pyramid

Had the creators of the underground skyscraper had their way, the Japanese capital might have looked very different indeed Protected by cylindrical walls of reinforced concrete, the steel and glass depthscrapers extend hundreds of metres underground. Only a single floor of each inverted 35-storey skyscraper is visible at ground level. Giant mirrors mounted directly above the central wells reflect sunlight to the apartments below. Prismatic glass ensures even light throughout the day, while fresh, conditioned air is pumped down from the surface. The whole structure, in case of an earthquake, will vibrate together, resisting any crushing strain, declared a 1931 edition of Everyday Science and Mechanics that called the design the product of the best engineering brains of Japan. The …

Italy’s new ruins: heritage sites being lost to neglect and looting

Overgrown and weathered, many historical monuments are disappearing as public funds for culture fail to match modern Italys inheritance Legend has it that the grotto hidden among the craggy cliffs on San Marco hill in Sutera in the heart of Sicily holds a treasure chest full of gold coins. In order to find it, three men must dream simultaneously about the precise place to dig. Treasure or no treasure, the grotto itself is an archaeological gem, its walls adorned with a multi-coloured Byzantine-esque 16th-century fresco depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saints Paulinus, Luke, Mark and Matthew. One of the first mountain oratories in the world, it was built by Basilian monks in the 9th century. But time has weathered …