Amber-tinted glass clads Gienckes extraordinary concert hall in Latvia

April 22, 2017 by  
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At the heart of the building lies the Great Hall, a venue that holds up to 1,000 guests for performances by the resident Liepaja Symphony Orchestra or other acts. The space is primed for acoustic perfection and is visually pleasing as well. Sunlight is piped in via sun tubes to give the space a natural glow and the seats’ fabric mimic the variation in hues created by light shining through the amber glass. Related: The world’s first sustainable dance club opens in Rotterdam The hall is also home to the Liepaja Conservatorium, a ballet studio, and an experimental stage. Students and teachers of the arts can also meet and share their imaginative creations in the various instruction and rehearsal rooms available. For the public, a bar and music club attracts those interested in a night on the town and a dose of local culture. It’s no doubt the Great Amber Concert Hall will entertain and inspire for years to come. + Volker Giencke Via Frame Images via Indrikis Sturmanis and Aigars Prusis

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Amber-tinted glass clads Gienckes extraordinary concert hall in Latvia

Elegant bamboo bridge adds unexpected beauty to ancient Chinese town

April 21, 2017 by  
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Most bridges are boring pieces of infrastructure, but Chinese design firm Mimesis Architecture Studio breaks the mold with a hybrid bamboo bridge that adds sculptural beauty to China’s Jiangsu Province. Spanning Lake Taihu in Dingshu Town, the 100-meter-long Wuxi Harbor Bridge is a visual delight with its latticed bamboo structures that frame the road and reference the region’s ancient cultural heritage. Primarily known as the “China Clay Capital” for the rare purple clay found in the nearby mountains, Dingshu Town is also well known for its bamboo craftsmanship. The architects celebrate the bamboo craft with the design of the bridge, which was constructed with help from the local bamboo craftspeople. Built with a curved steel structure, the bridge is framed by large triangular frames made of latticed bamboo poles that were carbonized to improve durability. Related: Amazing transparent bridge seems to disappear into thin air in China’s “Avatar” mountains The geometric bamboo “nets” are lightweight and can be removed and easily replaced if damaged. The bamboo was also used as formwork for concrete , imparting a distinct texture to the deck handrails. “Based on the existing bridge structure, the deck and fence parts are designed,” wrote the architects. “The intertwining images of mountain, river, fog and wind fabricating the site are projected onto the form of the bridge.” + Mimesis Architecture Studio Via Dezeen Images by Jian Jiao, Xing Zheng, Shiliang Hu

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Elegant bamboo bridge adds unexpected beauty to ancient Chinese town

Apples stunning spaceship campus revealed in new drone footage

April 21, 2017 by  
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Apple’s beautiful new campus nears completion and employees are set to move in this month. Videographer Duncan Sinfield’s got the latest visual scoop on the tech giant’s “spaceship” campus—officially named Apple Park—with his stunning drone footage of ongoing construction and a special nighttime close-up of the building interior. Hit the jump for the newest sneak peek into Apple’s futuristic campus. Drone pilot Sinfield has consistently provided the public with monthly visual updates of Apple’s 175-acre park in Cupertino since July 2015. Nearly two years later, his latest drone footage shows the campus transformed with the hilly landscape slowly filling in with trees, although turf has yet to be installed. Once complete, the site’s rolling hills will be covered with grassy fields, jogging paths, and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees. Designed in collaboration with Foster + Partners , Apple Park prides itself on energy efficiency and will be powered entirely by 100-percent renewable energy. Rooftop solar amounts to 17 megawatts in one of the world’s largest on-site solar energy installations. The 2.9-million-square foot main ring-shaped building will be clad in the world’s largest panels of curved glass. The building is also projected to be one of the world’s largest naturally ventilated structures, requiring no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year. Related: Apple’s $5 billion spaceship campus to open in April as “Apple Park” The new 4K drone footage shows a nighttime peek of the interior, where construction workers are working around the clock to prep the campus for occupancy. The process of moving over 12,000 employees into the campus will begin this month and is expected to take over six months while construction continues through the summer. Apple Park will also feature a visitor’s center with an Apple Store and cafe open to the public. Screenshots via Duncan Sinfield

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Apples stunning spaceship campus revealed in new drone footage

This amazing light-filled tiny house packs big style for just $35k

April 20, 2017 by  
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You don’t have to sacrifice style to live a minimal lifestyle. Case in point: this Tiny home may be ultra-compact at just 176-square-feet, but the interior is so sophisticated that its small size goes virtually unnoticed. The best part? It can be yours for just $35,000 This tiny home’s layout and design were optimized to create a comfortable living area. Space-saving features like hidden storage and custom cabinets keep the interior clutter-free. The large sliding glass door, along with plenty of windows, flood the interior with ample natural light . Related: Architecture graduate celebrates her first year living in a tiny home she built herself The compact home, which was designed and built by the owners, has almost everything found in a conventional home minus the extra space. A sleeping loft with enough room to accommodate a full size mattress is reached by a narrow staircase. The living area is spacious thanks to the high ceilings and minimal furniture. Even the kitchen’s small size is hardly noticeable thanks to custom-made cabinets and shelving. Via Tiny House Listings Photos via Tiny House Listings

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This amazing light-filled tiny house packs big style for just $35k

Living out of a van has never looked this good

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

For those who daydream of living the nomadic life, but are afraid of taking the leap, a new company is offering a taste of van life on a temporary basis. Colorado-based Native Campervans rents out converted vans that come with all of the essentials needed for living off-grid and on the road. Founders of the company, college friends Jonathan Moran and Dillon Hansen, say that it was a personal road trip that inspired them to create the business, “A few years ago, we took a trip to New Zealand in a campervan. The trip was amazing. It forced us to observe nature, be present and adventure. A few years later we decided to invest ourselves into that passion and began the business of purchasing, renovating and renting out campervans . The goal has been to give others the same experiences we had that’s both affordable and accessible.” Related: Amazing DIY van conversion boasts a wood-burning stove and chimney Renters have their choice of two sizes, “Smalls” and “Biggies.” The latter are converted 136″ Ram ProMasters , which offer ample interior space. All of the vans were designed to provide comfortable living space as well as optimal maneuverability. The vans come with a queen-size bed, kitchen and seating area, with plenty of storage compartments throughout the van. The Biggies are prewired for solar, and acccording to Hansen, the next step will be installing solar panels on the vans. “[Right now] the vehicles run off an ancillary battery that is charged when the van is moving. One hour of driving charges the vehicle for one day. This supports the lights, refrigerator and inverter so individuals can charge their electronics. No plug-ins at campgrounds necessary.” + Native Campervans Via Treehugger Images via Native Campervans 

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Living out of a van has never looked this good

Huge "light cannons" funnel daylight deep within this ultra green eco city in China

April 20, 2017 by  
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Giant “light cannons” funnel natural light deep within this new high-tech “eco city” in China. NBBJ designed the Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Center as an incubator for innovative technology and environmental companies. To strengthen the project’s sustainability, the design team included green roofs , water retention systems, natural ventilation , responsive facades and geothermal conditioning. The Nanjing Eco-Tech Park includes an exhibition hall, research offices and residential buildings. The Exhibition Center welcomes visitors a they approach the island from downtown Nanjing. The peaks on the building’s roof each have an oculus that funnels natural light inside the structure. The complex consists of eight, pentagon-shaped office buildings with large interior courtyards. Related: Amazon’s biosphere domes are slowly taking shape in Seattle The architects conducted light studies to come up with optimal daylighting and shading strategies for different times of the day and year. Light gets diffused by the cone geometry of the light cannons, while the overhangs function as passive solar shading devices. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The Exhibition Center is the first structure to be built on the island, and it has received the MIPIM Asia Best Chinese Futura Project Bronze Award. + NBBJ Via World Architecture News Lead photo by Paul Dingman

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Huge "light cannons" funnel daylight deep within this ultra green eco city in China

This crazy boot-shaped tiny house could only exist in Texas

April 19, 2017 by  
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Only in Texas, people. This whimsical boot-shaped home may look like a quirky roadside stop, but it’s actually a fully functioning home available for rent . Designed and built by Dan Phillips of Phoenix Commotion – a firm that specializes in building affordable homes using reclaimed materials – the unique 2 bedroom, 1 bath home comes with custom features, a nice yard, and even a stunning rooftop deck “to boot”! The cowboy boot home, which is located in Huntsville, Texas, looks solitary from most angles, but it’s actually connected to a small tin-roofed bungalow with a wrap-around porch. The addition was added on to increase the total floorspace to a compact, but livable 711 square feet . Related: Beekeeper built dream hexagonal house without ‘hateful’ right angles Things are just as curious on the interior as they are outside. Dan Phillips has made a name for himself for building with whatever reclaimed materials he can find, and the cowboy boot house is no different. Throughout the home, the walls are clad in various wood pieces collected from other building sites. Shards of tiles make up the mosaic flooring, and parts of the ceiling are plastered in vintage record covers. The home has two bedrooms (one of which is accessed by ladder,) a single bathroom, and a kitchen clad in undulating metal sheets. A red spiral staircase leads to a rooftop deck located on the highest level of the boot. Although the boot home does have its roadside quality, the people behind the design, Phoenix Commotion, have more than just quirky homes in their portfolio. Since 1997, the company has constructed over 20 eco-friendly, affordable homes using reclaimed materials in the Huntsville area. All of their projects are built with help from future tenants, who tend to be low-income families. + Phoenix Commotion Via New Atlas Images via Har.com

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This crazy boot-shaped tiny house could only exist in Texas

Studio Gang designs massive paper tube Hive for the National Building Museum

April 19, 2017 by  
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The National Building Museum has welcomed giant ball pits , mazes , and icebergs into its historic Great Hall, and this year the Washington, D.C. museum will welcome yet another imaginative creation: the Hive. Architecture firm Studio Gang designed the latest installation for the Museum’s Summer Block Party series that commissions larger-than-life temporary structures. The massive Hive will be built from thousands of recyclable paper tubes stacked to reach 60 feet in height. Built with over 2,700 wound paper tubes , the Hive will soar to the uppermost reaches of the museum and take on a curved form reminiscent of Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis and even a spider’s web. The tubes, which vary in size, are interlocked to create three interconnected domed chambers, the largest of which has an oculus over 10 feet in diameter. The tubes will have a reflective silver exterior and a bright magenta interior. “When you enter the Great Hall you almost feel like you’re in an outside space because of the distance sound travels before it is reflected back and made audible,” said Studio Gang founding principal Jeanne Gang. “We’ve designed a series of chambers shaped by sound that are ideally suited for intimate conversations and gatherings as well as performances and acoustic experimentation. Using wound paper tubes, a common building material with unique sonic properties, and interlocking them to form a catenary dome, we create a hive for these activities, bringing people together to explore and engage the senses.” Related: ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C. The Hive will open to the public July 4 until September 4, 2017. A full schedule of concerts, tours, talks, and programs will be hosted alongside the installation . + Studio Gang Images via National Building Museum

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Studio Gang designs massive paper tube Hive for the National Building Museum

Air-purifying pavilion uses plants to absorb harmful toxins in Hanoi

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A green oasis has popped up in Hanoi , a city choked by smog. Hung Nguyen Architects designed and built the Pavilion of Origins, a greenery-draped structure that uses living plants to purify the air. Set on the terrace of a three-story house in Hanoi, the pavilion is minimal and modern with a simple palette of green leafy plants, white upcycled steed frames, and a light gray pebble floor. Hanoi ranks among the worst in the world for air pollution with traffic congestion blamed as the leading cause. In an attempt to bring a breath of fresh air to the city, Hung Nguyen Architects created a pavilion covered with a wide variety of plants, including the peace lily and snake plant, selected for their air-purifying and decorative qualities. The plants are arranged inside and around a collection of simple white cuboid frames of varying sizes built of upcycled steel. A translucent polycarbonate roof allows natural light to pour through while reducing solar radiation. The white frames and light-colored pebble floor keep the focus on the plants, which grow and spread on multiple levels. White netting on the tops of the larger cuboid frames can be used as hammocks for relaxation. Related: 7 indoor plants that purify the air around you naturally “In Pavilion of the Origins, trees and plants play a role as the main users for the amount of time they spent in this space, while the pavilion owners act as the servants who have the duties to take care of those main users and subsequently be paid in clean, fresh air, as well as experiencing the vivid beauty of the natural origins,” wrote the architects. “This slender structure is just a minimal intervention of human to nature. Architecture, in this sense, acts as a rope to tighten up the interaction and connection between humans and nature.” + Hung Nguyen Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Hung Nguyen Architects

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Air-purifying pavilion uses plants to absorb harmful toxins in Hanoi

San Diego’s spectacular new Aquatic Center is a beacon to sailors entering the bay

April 18, 2017 by  
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Sailors cruising into San Diego Bay will now be met by the sophisticated new National City Aquatic Center . Designed by Safdie Rabines Architects , the elongated building sits embedded in the rocky coastline. The building will serve as a recreational and educational center for the community, as well as a luminous beacon for those entering the Sweetwater River Channel. Located on the southernmost edge of the Sweetwater River Channel, adjacent to Pepper Park and Pier 32 Marina, the 5,500 square foot structure replaces a makeshift facility that was previously housed in trailers. An extended wood-paneled roof looms over large glass panels , offering spectacular views of the surrounding wetlands and San Diego Bay from the interior. Related: Design Flaw Restricts View at Zaha Hadid’s Olympic Aquatic Center Visitors enter the building through a large lobby and activity space , which sits just under the extended angled roof. The rest of the complex stretches towards the back, and includes flexible multi-purpose classrooms, office space and a storage area that houses boat equipment, rest rooms, and locker facilities. There is also allotted space for public art exhibitions . + National City Aquatic Center + Safdie Rabines Architects Via Archinect

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San Diego’s spectacular new Aquatic Center is a beacon to sailors entering the bay

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