New green school in Kibera slum replaces original started by concerned Kenyan mothers

September 28, 2017 by  
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A group of concerned mothers started the Anwa primary school in Kibera, Kenya , where extremely disadvantaged children previously lacked access to education. Over time, the school has grown in attendance and needed a new facility that would replace the original 2-story ramshackle building. Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) designed the new main building in close collaboration with the school community as a model for sustainable, context-based design. The architects used sustainably-sourced and certified timber framing, wattle and daub mud-walls on the ground floor and mabati (steel) sheeting on the first floor. This references traditional Kibera construction techniques while reflecting a connection with the local identity. Related: Mobile school “walking classrooms” are helping change lives in Kenya KDI carpentry trainees built the doors and windows using bamboo and timber. All materials used were locally-sourced, while the techniques and building methods were transferable to the local community. The next phase in the project will focus on creating a suitable access to the upper storey and a sustainable landscape for the school grounds. The design firm issued a statement: “At KDI, we co-design and build what we call Productive Public Spaces (PPS) – formerly underutilized, unsafe or polluted sites that are transformed into active, attractive community hubs.” + Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI)

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New green school in Kibera slum replaces original started by concerned Kenyan mothers

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

Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

March 20, 2017 by  
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The far reaches of northern Vietnam are beautiful but heartbreakingly poor. Children of the Hmong ethnic minority who live in the villages routinely suffer from lack of access to healthcare and education. Vietnamese architecture firm 1+1> 2 has provided a ray of hope for those in Lung Luong village in the remote Thai Nguyen Province with the construction of a beautiful new school made from local materials including rammed earth and bamboo. The school’s beautiful swooping and colorful form is an inspiration to the village and serves as a welcoming haven protected from the harsh elements. The Lung Luong elementary school is sited on a mountain peak and constructed to replace a poorly insulated structure that was piercingly cold in days of heavy rain and draught. Under the leadership of architect Hoang Thuc Hao, the villagers excavated part of the peak to create an even foundation. The excavated soil was recycled into rammed earth bricks used to build the school’s structure. The soil bricks’ thermal properties help maintain a temperate indoor climate year round. Locally sourced timber and bamboo were also used in construction and existing trees were protected during the building process. The elementary school is spread out across the mountaintop, covering an area of over 1,400 square meters. The orientation and placement of the buildings and the swooping colorful bamboo canopy above optimize natural lighting, ventilation, and sound insulation. The school comprises classrooms, playgrounds, gardens, multipurpose rooms, a medical room, library, kitchen, toilets, and dormitory. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier “The goal of this project is to create a school with conveniences striving against the harsh nature,” write the architects. “The classrooms are compatible with the mountain, spaces between them are slots which makes everything appears like an architectural picture pasted on the terrain. The corridor connects all functional areas. The foundation of the buildings respects the natural terrain which means that they wind up and down as the mountain path.” + 1+1> 2 Via ArchDaily Images © Son Vu

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

Giant glowing bamboo orbs create a magical hideaway in Taiwan

February 9, 2017 by  
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Bamboo weaving is an ancient and endangered craft but a visionary Taiwanese artist has revived the art with a modern, community-oriented project. Cheng-Tsung Feng , a designer who specializes in bamboo craft design and art, completed Beside, a public art installation featuring two giant and globular installations made from Taiwanese Moso bamboo. These sculptural pieces, installed in Taiwan’s Teng Yu-Hsien Music Culture Park in Qionglin Township, were created with the help of 60 local residents and are lit at night to glow like beautiful paper lanterns. The Beside public art installation comprises two bamboo spheres, the larger of which measures approximately 12.25 square meters in area and 4.3 meters in height, while the smaller measures one square meter and 1.35 meters in height. The sculptures are large enough for adults and children to enter and provide a beautiful space for relaxation day and night. Each steel-framed bamboo sphere was made using circle weaving and random weaving techniques. The porous, lace-like pattern with differently shaped and sized holes allows for views and airflow. Related: Artist Weaves Together Massive Basket-like Bamboo Tunnel for Australian Music Festival Feng designed and constructed the sculptures with help from the community . “If they can participate together, then there will be more feelings attached,” said Feng. The sixty locals who participated in the project had no prior experience with bamboo weaving, however, they were taught easy and simple “random weaving” techniques in as little as a couple hours. “This project enables an opportunity for the residents to be in contact with the endangered traditional weaving culture, which is fading away from our daily life,” wrote the artist. “By means of the co-production with the residents, the traditional craft art is no longer a professional skill, but an approachable wisdom for ordinary people.” + Cheng-Tsung Feng Images by LIN, CI-XIA

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Sleep in sustainable luxury inside this eco-friendly jungle treehouse

January 25, 2017 by  
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Travelers looking to indulge in a different perspective of the beautiful Yucatán coastline will do well by ascending the eco-friendly Treehouse at Papaya Playa Project . As the newest addition to the luxury resort’s 85 casitas and cabañas, this hotel room nestled in the heart of the jungle offers luxury with an environmentally friendly twist. Elevated on stilts to minimize site impact , the Treehouse was built of locally sourced materials and recycled wood using age-old Maya construction techniques. The Papaya Playa Project is a resort that stretches across 900 meters on the Caribbean coast in the Mexican town of Tulum, around 130 kilometers south of Cancún. Like all of the resort offerings, the recently unveiled Treehouse is ecologically built with local materials such as thatched palapa roofing, wood-and-plaster composite walls, and bamboo window coverings. Unlike most of the cabañas, however, the Treehouse is removed from the coastline and instead offers a retreat deep in the verdant jungle though views of the azure Caribbean Ocean can still be enjoyed from its panoramic windows. Related: Eco-friendly resort in Australia mimics the surrounding sand dunes “Sustainability means life for future generations and integrity for the current one,” says Emilio Heredia, owner of the Papaya Playa Project. “Elevating the structure encourages the growth of jungle plants around the treehouse and ensures the building does not interfere with nature. We wanted to show the utmost respect to all the wildlife living in the jungle when building the treehouse.” Experiencing sustainable luxury in the 35-square-meter treehouse won’t come cheap however—one night at the Treehouse can set you back $1,400 for two. + Papaya Playa Project

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Plant-covered bamboo structure in Vietnam offers low-cost sanitation and food

November 25, 2016 by  
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The project is based on the same principle as the firm’s previous project in Son Lap, aiming to provide a low-cost sanitation solution that can be easily and quickly constructed and transported across the country. Toigetation 2 lightly touches the ground with a layer of vegetation on its four sides. This layer of foliage helps regulate indoor temperatures and functions as a food source. Related: Vo Trong Nghia Unveils Lovely Low-Cost Housing Made from Locally Sourced Palm Trees Local craftsmen used locally-sourced materials to construct the building. Solar panels provide energy for the lighting, while rainwater and waste water are used for cleaning and irrigating the adjacent garden. Efficient, low-cost construction methods and the use of local materials make this project replicable in areas experiencing a severe shortage of proper sanitation facilities , including schools in rural Vietnam . + H&P Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Nguyen Tien Thanh

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Extraordinary national park gateway in China opens to a sea of bamboo

October 24, 2016 by  
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The park gateway is located in Zhuhai National Park in Guizhou province, South-West China. Hidden among the Bamboo Sea, the gate plays with the elements to create an iconic park entrance. Its support system is made of concrete and bamboo hung from the glass roof that protects the bamboo from rain. Related: Studio Mumbai unveils handmade pavilion crafted from seven kilometers of bamboo In order to mitigate the effects of high humidity and temperature fluctuations on the material, the architects steam-treated the bamboo to take out its natural oil and prevent decay. The team has also built a water pond directly under the gate to facilitate the creation of fog which envelops the structure, giving it an otherworldly appearance. Via  Archdaily Photos by Jingsong Xie, Martina Muratori, Haobo Wei

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BIG releases video sneak peek of Hyperloop designed to connect Abu Dhabi & Dubai

October 24, 2016 by  
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Dutch architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released a teaser video showing off its design of a Hyperloop project that promises to link Abu Dhabi and Dubai . The ultra high-speed capsule transport aims to turn the 93-mile trip between the two busy cities into a minutes-long commute, offering an efficient means of moving both people and cargo. Jakob Lange, a partner and head of BIG Ideas (the design firm’s tech division), leads the video sneak peek ahead of the Hyperloop design’s November 7 unveiling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypab90bc1Yw BIG ’s design is the result of a partnership with Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies), which is one of the two companies racing to build the first working Hyperloop track in the United States. Hyperloop One recently tapped BIG to aid in the design of its Hyperloop plans for the United Arab Emirates, with architecture and engineering firms AECOM and Arup on board to translate the technology into actual infrastructure. Related: Hyperloop One raises $50M and hires former Uber CFO as an advisor “We are in a new time now where you can develop a new transportation system in very few years and change the world,” said Lange in the video. “We’re not waiting for new technology like carbon nanofibers or anything in order to do this. We have everything we need to do it.” BIG’s design involves Y-shaped supports that elevate the Hyperloop itself, a track that carries high-speed passenger pods from one stop to the next at speeds over 700 miles per hour. The technology behind Hyperloop One’s UAE project may not be that different from tests of its propulsion system in the Nevada desert, where the proof-of-concept prototype reached 116mph in a staggering 1.1 seconds this past May. Still, there is a lot we don’t know about how the UAE track will be built, when construction might begin or end, and how much the project will cost. BIG’s teaser video offers an early peek at the design, with more coming on November 7, but even that could change in response to the demands of the still-emerging technology. Via Dezeen Images via BIG

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Floating bamboo domes in Jamaica could keep urban farms safe from rising seas

October 12, 2016 by  
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Jamaica’s agriculture sector suffers from many woes, including natural disasters that caused $14.4 billion in losses between 1994 and 2010, according to Dinesh Ram, the designer of this innovative floating bamboo dome concept. An entrant in Inhabitat’s recent biodesign contest, the Hope Waters Dome is designed to combat the twin dangers of rising sea levels and food scarcity in the water locked nation, and it could be built using locally-available materials such as bamboo and plastic. The dome is designed to provide multiple functions, including growing space and meeting space. The bamboo frame would rest on a platform made with recycled plastic bottles for buoyancy, addressing Jamaica’s burgeoning problem of overstuffed landfills. The upper floors are designed to operate as an “urban agriculture learning center” where food can be grown without risk of inundation from rising seas. Related: ByFusion turns recycled plastic into eco-friendly building bricks “This icon of sustainable development is pre-fabricated, towed to site and can return the location back to its original state,” according to Ram. “Cost to build is roughly half compared to a traditional building of similar dimensions.” Albeit just a concept at this point, the design recognizes that over the next few decades, we are expecting to see a one to two meter rise in sea levels. Given how much Jamaica in particular depends on its coastline for its economic well-being, now is the time to begin devising thoughtful solutions to build the country’s resilience .

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Breezy Vietnamese restaurant shows off the beauty and strength of bamboo

August 24, 2016 by  
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Completed in 2016, the Kim Boi Bamboo Restaurant was built on the bones of a twelve-sided concrete structure that was abandoned and left unfinished for many years due to the economic crisis. The architects worked with the existing concrete columns and beams to build a bamboo bearing structure and connected it to the foundation and existing beams with metal pipes and iron pins. The architects selected a type of solid bamboo, known as t?m vông (iron bamboo), to build the frame and covered the roof with lightweight leaves. The finished 15-meter-tall roof takes the form of a conical hat traditionally worn by Vietnamese women and is punctuated by a skylight in the center that brings in natural light. The restaurant is kept open on all sides to bring in cooling winds and allow for landscape views. Related: Beautiful bamboo playhouse in Kuala Lumpur raises the material’s sustainable profile “The project is the highlight in the ecotourism resort offering charming natural landscape in northern Vietnam,” write the architects. “The investor attaches special importance to preservation of environmental landscape, natural ecology of the region and wishes to build a resort which is typical of Vietnamese villages.” + Tran Ba Tiep Via ArchDaily Images by Hoang Le Photography

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