Daily digest: The Washington Monument closed after being struck by lightning, IKEA will start selling electricity, and more

Shocking Developments

Daily digest: The Washington Monument closed after being struck by lightning, IKEA will start selling electricity, and more

The Washington Monument, which is struck by lighting twice a year on average (Caleb Fisher/Unsplash)

Welcome back to another mid-week breather, complete with news stories to help you get through to Friday.

Here’s what you need to know today:

The Washington Monument closed this weekend after being struck by lightning

Despite the spire-like shape of the Washington Monument, it isn’t actually good for the D.C. obelisk to be struck by lightning. On Sunday night, the monument suffered a direct hit that took out the structure’s elevator system, forcing its temporary closure. The surrounding stonework didn’t suffer any damage and the iconic tower will reopen to the public once the elevator is back in service. The spire is hit by lighting about twice a year, but the aluminum rods mounted to the marble capstone typically redirects the oncoming strike and mitigates the damage.

H/t to Artnet News

Skanska will 3D print part of its massive high-speed rail project in the U.K.

Multinational construction company Skanska is planning on using 3D printing to help realize the latticework of its HS2 project, a $147 billion high-speed rail stretching across England and Scotland. Construction on the first phase, which will travel from London to Birmingham in the West Midlands, began in September of 2020 and is expected to open in 2026 (it’s estimated the entire project will require 20 years to realize). Skanska, with Costain and contractor Strabag, will print its concrete structures on-site to help minimize waste and transportation costs, as well as cut disruptions to traffic along the route to a minimum.

H/t to Construction Dive

A major Vancouver sculpture will be moved because birds keep pooping on it

Marcus Bowcott’s and Helene Aspinall’s Trans Am Totem sculpture, a commentary on the taking and industrialization of Native lands in Vancouver, is currently being relocated after pigeons and starlings took up roost. The 33-foot-tall sculpture, which consisted of five crushed cars atop the carved trunk of a 150-year-old cedar tree, had sat at the intersection of Quebec Street and Milross Avenue since the 2014–2016 Vancouver Biennale. However, over the years birds befouled the installation to the point of disrepair, and now the entire sculpture has been removed for cleaning. After being spruced up, Trans Am Totem will need to find a new permanent home in the city.

H/t to The Art Newspaper

A new Afro-Latin Music and Arts Center is revealed for East Harlem

The New York City Department of Housing Development and Preservation (HPD) has revealed plans for two new mixed-use developments in East Harlem, one largely residential and the other the site of the new Afro-Latin Music and Arts (ALMA) Center. The ALMA center will rise between East 118th and 119th Streets on Park Avenue; 330 residential units are planned for above the center, which will offer community music education courses and performance spaces. The other project will add 250 residential units behind the existing East Harlem Multi-Service Center at 413 East 120th Street, with one-third of the units set aside for the formerly homeless.

H/t to New York YIMBY

IKEA starts selling renewable energy in Sweden

Furniture behemoth IKEA, not content to selling air purifiers, speakers, and gamer accessories alongside their mainstay furniture, is branching out into clean energy. On August 17, Ingka Group, which owns three-quarters of all IKEA stores worldwide, announced that it will start reselling solar and wind power purchased through the Nordic power exchange Nord Pool directly to customers in Sweden, who can track their energy purchases through an accompanying app. IKEA also sells solar panels in 11 markets and those who produce solar power can sell it back to the grid through the same app.

H/t to Reuters

The first phase of Atlanta’s largest park opened yesterday

After 15 years, the first phase of Bellwood Quarry’s transformation into Atlanta’s largest park finally opened to the public yesterday. Once fully complete, Westside Park is expected to span 280 acres and link up to the Westside BeltLine Connector via a series of hiking trails.

H/t to Urbanize Atlanta