The Clifftop House is dramatically perched atop a challenging cliff edge

September 27, 2018 by  
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When Brisbane design studio Joe Adsett Architects was asked to redevelop a “poorly constructed ‘character house’” in Teneriffe into a modern abode for a family of seven, the team faced several challenges. One was the existing property, which could not be raised or lifted, meaning that the only buildable land left was a small sliver that lay between the existing home and clifftop. Fortunately, the clients were amenable to the idea of building a three-story cliff-edge extension on the challenging site, which led to the creation of the Clifftop House, an energy-efficient home with dramatic views of the river to the northeast. In spite of a landslide that occurred during the design process, the architects said the clients held fast to the idea of a clifftop home, “recognizing the advantages outweighed the risks.” To accommodate the family of seven, the architects began with the floor plan of the existing home and divided it into quadrants — the rear quadrant connects to the extension — and split the bedrooms between the original house and the extension while placing the main communal areas on the ground floor. An additional family room and accessible green roof are located on the third floor. The extension was mainly built of concrete and set on a very thin slab — a feat accomplished thanks to close collaboration with the engineer and 3D modeling software. The concrete facade was deliberately exposed with a weathered finish, while timber window frames and cladding help soften the Brutalist expression. The use of thick concrete also has the advantage of thermal mass. “Clifftop House makes a meaningful contribution to innovation and excellence in environmental sustainability through the concrete structure being used in a manner similar to ‘reverse brick veneer construction’,” the architects said. Related: Modscape’s Cliff House hangs perilously over a cliff’s edge in Australia To minimize unwanted external heat gain, the cladding is isolated from the walls with timber battens and wall wrap. Recessed windows are fitted with low-E glass and solid timber louvers are also shaded with deep concrete eaves. Natural light penetrates deep into the home thanks to central voids, which also allow for cross ventilation. A 22-meter-long swimming pool placed along the cliff edge also promotes cooling breezes. + Joe Adsett Architects Images by Scott Burrows

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The Clifftop House is dramatically perched atop a challenging cliff edge

MVRDV introduces a psychedelic blend of art and architecture in Paradise City

September 25, 2018 by  
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Dutch design firm MVRDV recently completed its latest project: The Imprint, an art-entertainment complex near Seoul’s Incheon Airport that toes the line between art and architecture. Completed as part of the city’s Paradise City complex, The Imprint features strikingly sculptural facades painted white and gold that can be easily recognized from the sky as passengers land at Incheon Airport. The eye-catching visuals of the windowless exteriors are echoed in the interiors, which were installed with mirrored ceilings and glass media floors for a psychedelic effect. MVRDV’s The Imprint complex includes a nightclub in the building marked by a golden entrance spot as well as an indoor theme park in the other building. Both structures featured dramatic lifted entrances designed in such a way to mimic the look of draped fabric. Despite the facades’ malleable appearance, glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels were used to construct the exteriors, and the 3,869 panels are unique and individually produced from the architects’ 3D modeling files. The panels were painted white to highlight the relief in the design. “Two months ago most of the cladding was done and the client said, ‘this is an art piece,’” said Winy Maas, principle and co-founder of MVRDV. “What is interesting about that is that they are looking for that momentum — that entertainment can become art or that the building can become artistic in that way. What, then, is the difference between architecture and  art ? The project plays with that and I think that abstraction is part of it, but it has to surprise, seduce and it has to calm down.” Related: MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center Connected with a shared central courtyard , the two buildings were heavily influenced by the site context. Features from the neighboring buildings, such as window and door shapes, were replicated in the relief as if they were imprinted on, while the massing and height of the new construction also respond to the existing architecture. + MVRDV Images © Ossip van Duivenbode

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MAD unveils biophilic home of the future that produces all its own energy in China

September 25, 2018 by  
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Beijing-based MAD Architects recently completed its “home of the future” prototype, a net-zero energy pavilion that aims to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Created in collaboration with Chinese renewable energy company Hanergy, the “Living Garden” features a curvaceous, latticed roof topped with Hanergy solar panels that are angled for optimal solar conditions and generate enough electricity to satisfy the daily needs of a household of three. The futuristic structure was installed as part of the 2018 China House Vision Exhibition located next to the Bird’s Nest Stadium inside Beijing’s Olympic Park. Conceived as an experimental model, “Living Garden” does not have much in common with a traditional house. Rather, the structure was built like an airy pavilion filled with lush green space and seating. The nature-inspired structure consists of three main parts: a series of angled solar panels, a latticed timber roof structure and columns and various living spaces and gardens on the ground level. The grid-like roof is inset with translucent, waterproof glass to provide shelter from the rain. Hard angles were eschewed in favor of organic curves, while the addition of feathery grasses and trees help soften the overall look. “Defying notions of the traditional home, where walls and roofs form boundaries, MAD’s design envisions an ‘en-plein-air’ atmosphere,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Maintaining an openness toward the sky and its surroundings, ‘Living Garden’ sees life, ( solar ) energy and nature coincide, seamlessly blending together to create an architectural ‘living’ landscape — one that emphasizes humanity’s emotional connection with nature.” Related: MAD reactivates an abandoned Japanese tunnel using surreal immersive art MAD Architects and Hanergy’s “Living Garden” installation will be on show until Nov. 6, 2018. Launched as a cultural research project by Japanese graphic designer and curator Kenya Hara, the 2018 China House Vision Exhibition commissioned the design and construction of ten 1:1 scale “home of the future” pavilions. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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Spiraling timber temple revealed for Burning Man 2018

January 8, 2018 by  
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A massive spiraling temple of timber is set to rise in the middle of a Nevada desert for Burning Man 2018. Designed by London-based French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani of Mamou-Mani Architects , the winning 2018 Burning Man Temple design is titled Galaxia as a nod to the cosmos from which the structure takes inspiration. The 65-foot-wide temporary pavilion will be made of timber modules twisted and lifted to converge into a central tower rising 200 feet in height. 3D computer modeling tools were used to design Galaxia, which will be made up of 20 timber triangular trusses. The trusses are twisted to frame a central space where a large 3D-printed mandala will be placed. Burning Man attendees will be able to enter the temple and sit in small alcoves built into the timber structure. Related: First designed for Burning Man, foldable Shiftpods now shelter refugees around the world “Galaxia celebrates hope in the unknown, stars, planets, black holes, the movement uniting us in swirling galaxies of dreams,” wrote Mamou-Mani Architects. “A superior form of Gaia in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, Galaxia is the ultimate network, the fabric of the universe connecting living beings into one entity.” Galaxia will be ritually burned at the end of the event. Burning Man 2018 will take place August 26 to September 3 in Nevada’s Black Rock City . + Mamou-Mani Architects Via Dezeen Images via Mamou-Mani Architects

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Gorgeous street library in Bulgaria for 1,500 books uses parametric design

November 30, 2017 by  
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Nature inspired this stunning street library in Bulgaria , but it was computers that made the design possible. A team of young architects and designers created Rapana, the first street library in the city of Varna, using parametric design tools Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. The Rapana street library is built from 240 CNC-milled timber pieces fitted together into a curvaceous pavilion that provides shade, seating, and room for 1,500 books. The team of designers—Yuzdzhan Turgaev, Boyan Simeonov, Ibrim Asanov and Mariya Aleksieva—created the Rapana library in response to what they perceived as a diminishing interest in books in the digital age. Rapana was funded by the European Youth Capital , which had awarded the city of Varna with this year’s title. Varna’s seaside position and reputation as the “marine capital of Bulgaria” inspired the designers to craft the library into the shape of sea snail shell. “The design was inspired by nature and its organic shapes,” wrote the designers. “The installation takes into consideration the most important aspects of the city’s identity – the sea and its value to Varna’s citizens. The abstract construction unravels from a single focal point and develops into a semi-circle whilst creating a public space and shelves for placing books at the same time.” Related: Parametrically designed Louverwall house maximizes winter sunlight The team used 3D modeling to test over 20 concept designs before choosing a final design that fit the budget and conveyed the open library concept. The curvaceous library features two openings, seating, a tiny stage for performances, bookshelves, and a latticed shade structure. + Rapana Via ArchDaily Images © Emanuil Albert

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Zhang Chenxi creates realistic alien creatures that we actually wish existed

August 23, 2017 by  
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When we think of aliens, we usually conjure up images of green-skinned aliens or knobby-fingered creatures like E.T., but one artist let his imagination run wild with a series of 80 digitally-rendered aliens that are probably more realistic – and certainly more appealing – than the sci-fi fantasy. UI/UX designer and 3D artist Zhang Chenxi developed an art series titled “Unknown x Unknown” in which he explored what other forms these intergalactic beings could take – and the results are far from creepy. Zhang Chenxi’s digital illustrations are bursting with color and so much detail you could almost believe these were photographs of deep sea creatures or animals lurking in the Amazon rainforest. The little critters feature bright antennae, soft and squishy tentacles, fungi-like qualities and beads at the tips of their extremities. Some seem inspired by succulents, sea anemone, squids and insects while others are as completely odd as they are mesmerizing. Related: Jill Bliss’ stunning arrangements capture the magical beauty of mushrooms To bring his visions to life, Chenxi used MAXON Cinema 4D , a software program that allows artists to do 3D modeling, animation and graphics rendering. First he sketches his ideas on paper and then works his concept through Cinema 4D before rendering in Octane. He just finished the series of 80 renderings, but you can see his entire collection on Instagram and high-resolution versions on his Behance portfolio . + Zhang Chenxi Via Colossal

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Zhang Chenxi creates realistic alien creatures that we actually wish existed

Snhettas wave-inspired landscape blends land art with functionality

August 15, 2016 by  
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Undulating grassy swells reminiscent of ocean waves dominate the MAX IV Laboratory landscape and are placed in an arc formation radiating out of the circular, Fojab -designed synchrotron facility. Inspired by the rural landscape and perhaps radiation waves, the sinuous landscape is more than just eye candy. The landscape architects used computer models to design a wave landscape that mitigated ground vibrations, optimized cut and fill strategies, and used the valleys of the mounds to manage stormwater onsite, with help from a dry and wet pond. Maintenance is minimized thanks to the use of local native meadow grasses, which can be trimmed with grazing sheep. “The step from advanced geometry to fabrication is still one of the largest challenges we face in design today,” write the landscape architects. “In MAX IV, the process was like having a giant 3D printer producing the project on a 1:1 scale. The high-tech research facility together with the low- tech meadowland creates the iconic image of the waves that protects the research facility from the vibrations. The digital model gets a final analog interpretation through the hand of the machine operator and native meadow grasses maintained by sheep to tell a fun and functional story of this research laboratory.” Related: Christo’s spectacular art installation lets visitors “walk on water” MAX IV is a national laboratory that officially opened on June 21, 2016. The lab is the first phase of a development project that aims to turn the rural lands northeast of Lund into a “Science City”. + Snøhetta Images by Mikal Schlosser

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Extraordinary butterfly pavilion shelters its own artificial rainforest ecosystem

January 12, 2016 by  
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The surprising reason melting iceberg chunks slow down global warming

January 12, 2016 by  
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The Earth has shown us many different ways it tries to heal itself from the destruction we cause. It turns out large chunks of icebergs breaking off of Antarctica are actually countering the effects of global warming by providing sustenance for carbon dioxide-devouring algae blooms. While this can’t completely sop up our manmade emissions, it does create a sizable dent in addressing climate change . Read the rest of The surprising reason melting iceberg chunks slow down global warming

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Architectural Association School of Architecture bamboo workshops in Haiti teach post-disaster construction techniques

December 17, 2015 by  
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The AA School is working with Quisqueya University , the Wynne Farm and ARUP through short workshops to design and build architectural projects contextualized for the climate of the Caribbean and the cultural vernacular of Haiti using bamboo. The country is plagued by a lack of lightweight materials in the built environment, the legacy of disastrous deforestation, and bamboo is a solution to the building supply shortage as well as the damaged ecology. Read the rest of Architectural Association School of Architecture bamboo workshops in Haiti teach post-disaster construction techniques

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