This candy-colored school in Spain disappears into the sky

November 6, 2017 by  
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  The upper floor of this candy-colored school in the city of Salamanca, Spain, disappears into the sky. Locally based design studio ABLM Arquitectos used mirrored panels to make the upper floor “almost invisible,” while covering the lower story with playful  ceramic stripes. The school is located in a neighborhood on the periphery of Salamanca, which is going through a process of industrialization. Its playful design contrasts this trend, with stripes of colors introducing an element of fun and ease into the area. Related: Japanese kindergarten features awesome green courtyard where kids can run and climb The entrance canopy is covered in the same material as the upper floor of the building. This dematerialization of the structure is achieved thanks to the use of mirrored panels of composite aluminum . Another intent in using reflective materials is to reflect the surroundings and visually reduce the scale of the building. Spanish ceramicist Toni Cumella chose the colors for the lower level, deciding on a wide spectrum of colors–from pink to maroon and green. The interior contrasts the façade and features neutral colors and materials. Related: Barcelona’s Beautiful Martinet School Boasts a Sun-Shielding Ceramic Facade “The almost invisible school proposes a reflection on the domestic scale of this kind of infrastructures, where the little ones must find spaces that they can catch, and places with which they can dream,” said architects Arturo Blanco and Laura Martínez of ABLM Arquitectos. + ABLM Arquitectos Via Dezeen Photos by Miguel de Guzmán

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This candy-colored school in Spain disappears into the sky

A puzzle-like aluminum faade wraps around Bergens National Academy of the Arts

October 16, 2017 by  
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Snøhetta ’s recently completed National Academy of the Arts in Bergen is wrapped in an innovative prefab façade made of raw aluminum elements . The new facility is built to withstand the rainy climate of the Norwegian west coast and offer a durable, robust space where KMD’s 350 art and design students can learn and collaborate under one roof. The building replaces the former Bergen Academy of Art & Design (KHiB) and assembles the previously scattered faculty buildings under one roof. It has two main axes–one internal, dedicated to students and staff, and one external, open to the public. Related: Snøhetta unveils spectacular makeover for nation’s second-largest waterfall The most prominent features of the building are in the large project hall situated at the point where the two axes cross. The entrance is connected to a large outdoor plaza which makes the building inviting and engaged in a dialogue with Bergen’s city center. Related: Iridescent hand-folded metal panels clad Snøhetta’s Learning Center at Toronto’s Ryerson University Prefab raw aluminum elements clad the building’s exterior, with 900 varied sized seawater-durable crude aluminum elements protruding from the wall at varying distances. Large cantilevered box-shaped windows punctuate the rhythm of the metal surface. The crude aluminum surfaces can withstand the rainy coastal climate and will gradually weather and oxidize, heightening the variations in colors and textures. + Snøhetta Lead photo by Trond Isaksen

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A puzzle-like aluminum faade wraps around Bergens National Academy of the Arts

Floating, solar-powered ‘dragonfly’ bridge can sail to new locations

August 10, 2017 by  
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This floating pedestrian bridge  can sail along rivers and oceans like a boat. Designer Margot Krasojevic conceived the bridge as a flexible structure that can be folded, stacked and expanded so that it can be moored along quaysides, sailed to different locations, or permanently positioned. The Ordos government commissioned Krasojevic to design a pedestrian bridge which would cross the Wulanmulun River, located in Ordos city, Kangbashi district Mongolia. The SailBoat bridge consists of a main floating section, three expanding walkways, and a carbon fiber triple sail. The sail can be lowered and raised by a buoyancy rotator and allows the bridge to function as a sailboat in order to reach new locations. Cylindrical cross-flow turbines function as rafts and help stabilize the primary structure. Related: Margot Krasojevic designs Belgrade trolly system powered by piezoelectricity A hydraulic telescopic secondary structure supports the pedestrian walkway which expands and contracts into the main body of the structure. The walkways are flexible and can adapt to different spans. Caisson foundations and screw-in moorings can be used to permanently stabilize the bridge. A rotating Mobius ballast chamber hydraulically operated by a thruster and powered by photovoltaic cells rotates the sails which are made from lightweight aluminium and carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. + Margot Krasojevic Architecture

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Floating, solar-powered ‘dragonfly’ bridge can sail to new locations

Muppet set designer’s Tower House is a psychedelic escape made from repurposed materials

June 2, 2017 by  
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This one-of-a-kind house near Woodstock has a history that is as unique as it is. John Kahn, the home’s creator, was friends with the late Muppet mogul Jim Henson and designed sets for the show. The secretary for the Grateful Dead also lived in the home for several years. Kahn built the Tower House over 15 years using re-purposed and locally available materials . If you want to experience the psychedelic home for yourself, you can nab the 3,518 square-foot building  for a cool $1.2 million. The Tower House sits on a wooded 5.5-acre estate located near Woodstock. In 2007, Kahn sold the house to its current owner, former secretary to the Greatful Dead, who was married to Owsley Stanley, a known 1960s music producer and sound engineer. John Kahn used repurposed materials including slate, copper, aircraft-grade aluminium and redwood, as well as local wood and bluestone to build this cylindrical structure that includes a guest house, a sauna, a large studio building and three storage buildings. Related: Small town restaurateurs transform former church into a stunning cafe The three-bedroom home looks different from practically every angle and resembles a set from a TV show. Each room in the house has a different visual theme, with artwork scattered all over the place. The eclectic use of materials was inspired by the Catskills wilderness, dotted with the artist’s sculptures . Via 6sqft Photos via Keller Williams Realty

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Muppet set designer’s Tower House is a psychedelic escape made from repurposed materials

These amazing terrarium lamps grow plants in even the darkest rooms

June 2, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever longed to have a lush garden inside your home, your wish is granted – thanks to these beautiful LED-lit Globe Terrariums . The hanging glass orbs, created by designer Richard Clarkson , are hand blown and come with an integrated LED light that lets the plants survive even in darker rooms. An integrated dimmer lets you create a green garden or a dark mystical rainforest inside your home. The suspended globes come in two sizes: 12″ and 8″ diameters, and look great as individual pieces or grouped together. The globe’s power cord is hidden inside a slim stainless steel cable that lets the globe “float” in the air from any height. Of course, for those with no interest in gardening, the globes can be also used as a stand-alone light source or a unique LED art display . Related: How to Make an Edible Terrarium Snow Globe Various greenery can be planted in the globes, including ferns, cacti, moss, succulents, and even aquatic fauna. Like most terrariums, creating a layered system is recommended for optimal planting. A few handfuls of small stones or gravel at the bottom of the globe will help with drainage and adding charcoal will assist with water filtration. Top that bottom filtration layer with soil suited to your plants of choice and you’re ready to go. The dimmable LED bulbs provide optimal control for the plant life inside the globe. As an adaptable light source, it can be adjusted at any time to meet the specific requirements of the greenery. + Richard Clarkson

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These amazing terrarium lamps grow plants in even the darkest rooms

How Copenhagen handles bike jams

June 2, 2017 by  
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Bikes outnumbered cars in Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen for the first time in 2016 – a huge win for the environment . But all those bikes have led to two-wheel traffic jams that needed fixing. So the city has come up with an innovative solution: electronic information panels that help cyclists chose a clearer route. 265,700 bicycles enter Copenhagen daily, as opposed to 252,600 cars. So the city is planning to set up five electronic panels at strategic points, according to state broadcaster Danmarks Radio. Copenhagen has a 240-mile bike lane network. The five screens could help cyclists reroute to reduce bike congestion . The capital’s city hall is calling this move the first of its kind in the world. Related: Copenhagen now has more bikes than cars Head of Copenhagen’s technology and environment department Morten Kabell said, “There’s a need for improved accessibility for the growing number of cyclists who unfortunately in many places are now having to fight for space on the bike lane. We’re hoping with these new information boards to give cyclists the opportunity to choose the least congested route through the city.” The electronic panels will cost around $633,494. They’ll offer information on special events, roadwork, slow-moving traffic, and the distance to destinations. They’ll also highlight alternative routes. The screens aren’t the only way Copenhagen is looking to slash bike congestion. They’ll improve infrastructure by widening lanes already in place, improving intersection signaling, and constructing more bike-only bridges (the city currently has 17). They already have a route-planning app, ibikecph , which recently saw an update from the city on quieter, greener routes. 41 percent of people in Copenhagen bike to and from school or work. They racked up nearly 870,000 miles a day by bike in 2016. Over the past 20 years, bike traffic has increased by 68 percent in the capital. And if forecasts are correct, daily bike traffic across the city could increase by 25 percent by 2025. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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How Copenhagen handles bike jams

Star-shaped Schneider Electric building in South Africa aims for LEED Gold certification

February 7, 2017 by  
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The Midrand Waterfall Development in South Africa will soon receive a couple of world-class, energy-efficient additions aiming for the highest green certification in the country. The first among them, the Schneider Electric office designed by Aevitas Group is a star-shaped structure optimized for a superior energy performance, targeting a LEED Gold certification . Located on a five-sided site, the building assumes a star-shaped form. It was designed as a perimeter building with a central, enclosed, quadruple-volume atrium flooded with natural light that penetrates the interior through large skylights. The atrium features landscaped elements and planters that double as public seating. Related: BIG’s battleship-inspired LEED Gold office opens in Philadelphia The architects conducted extensive energy performance studies, analyzing thermal loads on the building. As a result, the facades are single glazed, double glazed and clad in insulated aluminium panels . Thanks to low-flow fittings, the water consumption has been reduced by 30 percent, while the efficient drip-irrigation systems reduce water consumption by 55 percent. An efficient waste management plan reduce the amount of waste generated during the construction. Renewable energy systems, lighting control, BMS, daylighting control and HVAC systems add to the sustainability of the design. + Aevitas Group Via solid GREEN

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Star-shaped Schneider Electric building in South Africa aims for LEED Gold certification

Five small buildings and a shared courtyard create a stunning summerhouse in Denmark

January 4, 2017 by  
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This summer house is Denmark, built for a family of five and a dog, is split up into five separate buildings organized around a spacious courtyard . Jarmund/Vigsnæs Arkitekter drew inspiration from traditional farm buildings in order to provide privacy to each of the residents and create a variety of valuable open spaces where the family can come together and enjoy the outdoors. The house is located in a windy village on the northern tip of Sjælland, the largest and most populated island in Denmark . Laid out in a star shape, the five separate houses house different functions-there is a kitchen building, parents building, children’s building, guest building and utility building. Each of the volumes have roofs with different angles, while the ridges and cornices are kept on the same height. Related: Tiny Wedge-Shaped Writer’s Cottage Hangs Off a Hillside in Norway In addition to providing privacy to the occupants, this pavilion-like layout also has a practical purpose–it shields the courtyard from strong winds, thus enabling the family and their guests to spend more time outdoors. The roofs and walls of the buildings are clad with corrugated sheets of aluminium , the gable walls are clad with Siberian Larch, while the inner courtyard features dark stone paving to store heat from the day throughout the evening. + Jarmund/Vigsnæs Arkitekter Via Contemporist Photos by Torben Petersen

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Five small buildings and a shared courtyard create a stunning summerhouse in Denmark

Soundproof Shell House provides unlimited peace and tranquility in Kazahkstan

June 7, 2016 by  
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The architects used a unique metal framework for the structure, ensuring that natural light penetrates the interior through large floor-to-ceiling windows . Dynamic aluminum panels can be closed using an electronic mechanism, thus completely isolating the house from its surroundings. This design element provides security for its occupants and soundproofs the interior. Related: A gigantic tree lives inside this gorgeous glass house in the mountains of Kazakhstan The aluminum panels are treated with white EIFS plaster, which thermally insulate the house. The interior features a large living room, kitchen, dining area, bedroom, bathroom and a relaxation room, with an upstairs guest bedroom accessible via a spiral staircase . Sigh. We wouldn’t mind a retreat here right about now. + Lenz Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Botagoz Nurgaliyeva

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Soundproof Shell House provides unlimited peace and tranquility in Kazahkstan

AVCI Architects transformed a derelict building into a striking LED-lit company headquarters

October 15, 2015 by  
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