Massive handmade bamboo-and-rattan "fish trap" springs up in Taipei

May 31, 2018 by  
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A giant handmade pavilion created in the image of an ancient fishing tool has popped up at the entrance of Taipei’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Rising to a height of nearly 30 feet, The Trap is a temporary installation designed by Taiwanese artist Cheng Tsung Feng that pays homage to the fishing tools and materials used by various ethnic groups in Taiwan. The movement of people through and under the structure is meant to evoke the crowds of fish caught in a fish trap. Completed this month, The Trap was commissioned as part of MOCA’s “The Charismatic Rebirth of Yore” exhibition. Artist Cheng Tsung Feng , who has a history of working with natural and locally-sourced materials, found inspiration in fish traps, an ancient Taiwanese fishing tool made of bamboo and rattan. During his research, FENG discovered huge variations in the traps created by different ethnic groups because of differences in available materials, culture and the type of catch. Despite these differences, he found that the site-specific fish traps were united by common production practices. Handmade from thin strips of bamboo, rattan and steel, The Trap is anchored over the MOCA’s entrance and features arched openings to mirror the historic building’s existing arches. Gaps between the rattan strips give the piece a lightweight feel and let dappled light shine through. The artwork measures nearly 92 feet long and more than 65 feet wide. Related: A twisting infinity-loop roof tops this prefab bamboo pavilion “These intangible cultures hidden behind tangible objects are like living things that can grow in response to the environment,” Cheng Tsung Feng said. “In this installation art, we relocated the fish trap from thousands of natural rivers to Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art, a 100-year-old man-made building. And replaced various kinds of fishes with the crowd of people. What will this traditional wisdom evolve after adapting to distinct environments and prey?” The installation will be on display until July 22, 2018. + Cheng Tsung Feng Images by Sheng Da TSAI

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Massive handmade bamboo-and-rattan "fish trap" springs up in Taipei

This breezy bamboo amphitheater pops up in just 25 days

February 22, 2018 by  
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A beautiful bamboo amphitheater has risen in the lush tropics of Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian studio Bambutec Design crafted the 2,150-square-foot structure with the help of computer modeling in addition to old-fashioned model making by hand. The Bamboo Amphitheater Space Structure was built for the green campus of the Pontifical Catholic University and was assembled in 25 working days. Set on the banks of the Rainha River and screened in by bamboo, this bamboo structure complements its verdant surroundings with its dark green roof and exposed bamboo frame. The 1.4-ton amphitheater was built atop a foundation previously designed by architect Carlos Pingarrilho. Low landscape impact was emphasized throughout the design and build process, which made use of mobile prefabricated modules, pantographic grids, textile membranes, and a mobile lifting device. The ultra-lightweight dome is anchored to the ground with reinforced concrete and six touch-down pylons. Related: Dumping ground reborn as a bamboo and rammed-earth community space in Vietnam “The dome employs a textile hybrid space structure formed by self-supporting treated bamboo bipods, tensile pantographic gridshells and self-stressed active bending beams, avoiding buckling of the structural members,” wrote the design team. “Gridshell modules were disposed discontinuously in overlapping steps 0.5m apart, allowing air circulation and natural lighting. Active bending beams and pantographic gridshells were subjected to prescribed external loads in a process of elastic deformation during assembly.” The project was inaugurated in 2014 and used to host events, shows, and lectures. + Bambutec Design Via ArchDaily Images via Bambutec Design

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This breezy bamboo amphitheater pops up in just 25 days

Glowing Maggies Center by Steven Holl Architects opens in London

December 28, 2017 by  
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Just in time for the holidays, Steven Holl Architects completed the latest Maggie’s Center, a building the U.S. firm describes as having “a new joyful, glowing presence.” The luminous building at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London is one in a network of drop-in centers with the charitable purpose of helping anyone who has been affected by cancer. Filled with natural light during the day and lit from within at night, this new Maggie’s Center is a sculptural beauty that takes inspiration from the church’s medieval heritage. Founded by Maggie Keswick Jencks and Charles Jencks in 1995, the Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Trust and the network of Maggie’s Centers seek to help those affected by cancer with free support, information, and advice. Located on the grounds of NHS hospitals, the buildings that house Maggie’s Centers also double as uplifting design destinations, having been designed by leading architects such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Snøhetta. At the Maggie’s Center at St. Barts, Steven Holl Architects fashioned a curved three-story building—one of the few centers with a more vertical rather than horizontal profile—that draws the eye with its glowing matte glass facade decorated with colored glass fragments that evoke the “neume notation” of 13th century Medieval music. The glass facade is also organized in horizontal bands like a musical staff. “Interior lighting will be organized to allow the colored lenses together with the translucent white glass of the facade to present a new, joyful, glowing presence on this corner of the great square of St. Barts Hospital,” wrote the architects. Related: Light-filled cancer center harnesses the healing power of nature The architects continue to say that the building was envisioned as a “vessel within a vessel within a vessel,” referring to the glass cladding as the outer layer on a branching concrete frame that holds an inner layer of perforated bamboo . The inner bamboo shell wraps around an open curved staircase and is bathed in colored light that changes over time and by season. The ground floor welcomes visitors with a rest area, counseling room, kitchen, and dining area. The first floor comprises a library and two additional rooms, while the topmost floor opens up to a public roof garden with flowering trees and a multipurpose space for yoga, Tai Chi, meetings and more. + Steven Holl Architects Images by Iwan Baan

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Glowing Maggies Center by Steven Holl Architects opens in London

Bamboo grove creates an oasis of calm atop a busy Chinese mall

December 8, 2017 by  
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A bamboo “forest” wraps around this unique oasis-like space hidden atop a Chinese shopping mall. Beijing-based V STUDIO designed the Bamboo Rooftop Room, a minimalist, all-white space for a client who wanted an intimate space for business and leisure purposes. Designed as a quiet refuge, the rooftop project stands in purposeful contrast to the bustling urban landscape. Located on the eastern end of the roof , the 220-square-meter Bamboo Rooftop Room consists of a glazed rectangular volume enclosed by a high wall for privacy. Set against a white backdrop, bamboo planted around the main volume gives inhabitants the illusion of being in a bamboo forest. Gaps between the wall and main volume are used as private courtyards and allow indirect natural light to reach the interior. Related: Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain To emphasize the project’s oasis-like character, the all-white interior is kept minimalist. Furnishings are made from timber and upholstered in fabrics of muted colors, while views of the bamboo grove can be enjoyed through full-height glazing from every room. The interior is split into meeting spaces of varying sizes with a kitchen and dining room at the core. A bedroom is located on the east side. + V STUDIO

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Bamboo grove creates an oasis of calm atop a busy Chinese mall

Beautiful bamboo archways add dramatic flair to a Xiamen restaurant

December 6, 2017 by  
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Our favorite Vietnamese architecture firm is nearing completion on a gorgeous bamboo restaurant in Xiamen, China. As reported in ArchDaily , Vo Trong Nghia Architects is close to finishing the Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant, a striking building with capacity for 200 people. The sculptural restaurant champions the beauty and strength of bamboo, used in its 14 fan-shaped support columns. Bamboo is a favorite material of Vo Trong Nghia Architects. The firm’s eco-friendly work is helping to increase popularity of a renewable material that many Asian architects and developers dismiss as flimsy. At Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant, the bamboo used is treated with traditional Vietnamese techniques to naturally improve the material’s strength and durability. The reinforced rods are grouped into 14 “quadrilateral” columns that fan out near the top to create dramatic archways down the center of the restaurant . The sculptural columns, spaced eight meters apart, support a pitched roof with a maximum height of 6.4 meters. Long overhanging eaves provide extra protection from the elements. The restaurant will also be slightly curved in plan so that a person standing at one entrance wouldn’t be able to immediately see the entrance on the opposite end. A smaller green-roof ed building that sits behind the restaurant will be built of local brick and house the bathrooms, kitchen, staff room, and storage. A pond is located to the south of the main building. Related: Luxurious bamboo beach bar and restaurant bolsters spa in Vietnam Despite its open-air appearance and the architects’ proclivity for breezy buildings, the restaurant will rely on air conditioning, not natural ventilation , for cooling, per the client’s request. Custom-cut glass will be fitted into the archways and skylights installed to let in extra light. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Vo Trong Nghia Architects

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Beautiful bamboo archways add dramatic flair to a Xiamen restaurant

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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Giant glowing bamboo orbs create a magical hideaway in Taiwan

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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Sleep in sustainable luxury inside this eco-friendly jungle treehouse

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