Northern Chinas largest bamboo pavilion covers nearly half an acre

March 17, 2020 by  
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After years of building bamboo houses across rural China, Italian architect Mauricio Cardenas Laverde completed his largest bamboo project yet — the Bamboo Eye pavilion, a 1,600-square-meter structure constructed entirely from 5,000 locally sourced moso bamboo poles. Completed last April for the 2019 International Horticultural Exhibition in Beijing, the new pavilion is the largest of its kind ever built in northern China, according to the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) . The massive pavilion was created to house programmatic activity while showcasing the architectural possibilities of bamboo in modern, low-carbon construction. Created to follow the INBAR Garden’s theme of “Bamboo and Rattan for Green Growth,” the Bamboo Eye Pavilion shows off the tensile strength of bamboo, which is greater than that of mild steel. China, which is home to over 6 million hectares of bamboo, has used bamboo for construction for thousands of years. Modern construction in the country, however, mainly depends on steel and concrete. In an effort to promote the use of bamboo for sustainable development, INBAR teamed up with Laverde to show how bamboo could replace steel and wood and thus reduce pressures on forest resources. Related: Turtle-inspired bamboo shelter contracts to half its size in case of extreme weather “We have to change the way we think about construction,” Laverde said. “If we used natural building materials in cities and changed our mindset, then it would be easy to rebuild every few decades without the huge cost of today.” The organic form of the Bamboo Eye pavilion is achieved with bamboo arches, which span 32 meters in length and 9 meters in height. The arches were bent and formed by fire baking, a process that turns the bamboo to a golden yellow and expands the material’s lifespan to 30 years. Lightweight yet strong, the truss arch structure is also sturdy enough to bear the weight of a green roof , which helps blend the building in with the nearby bamboo forest. The self-ventilating interior houses an auditorium and exhibition area. The Bamboo Pavilion was built for the International Horticultural Exhibition that was held from April to October 2019.  + Mauricio Cardenas Laverde Images via INBAR

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Northern Chinas largest bamboo pavilion covers nearly half an acre

Prefab Birdbox is the perfect retreat for nature-lovers

March 17, 2020 by  
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With a design that can only be described as a “bird box for humans,” this prefab dwelling from Norwegian studio Livit gets its inhabitants as close to nature as possible while still maintaining comfort and a sleek, minimalist style. With its first models utilized as vacation rentals in the Norwegian wilderness, overlooking the majestic Fauske region fjord and the Langeland snow-capped mountains, Birdbox is small and light enough to be placed in unique places with a minimal footprint. The prefab boxes come in two turn-key versions: Birdbox Mini measuring 6 by 10 feet and Birdbox Medi measuring 16.7 by 8 feet. The Birdbox Mini holds a bed and a small seating area while the Birdbox Medi features a bed, a desk, a larger seating area and more substantial windows. There is also an option to add a separate bathroom pod constructed with tinted one-way glass so that occupants can enjoy the view of the surrounding area in privacy while inside. Related: A pair of minimalist cabins is a serene retreat in a Portuguese forest Both models, however, put the most focus on the windows. The Mini’s circular windows and two smaller oval windows highlight the nature outside, and the Medi adds an additional two windows to give occupants more sweeping views. Birdbox can be lifted and installed with a helicopter for more challenging sites and has no need for maintenance, according to the lead designer, Torstein Aa. The resilient design can withstand extreme weather, and there is the option to add solar panels , which the company can provide as well. “Birdboxes will be located across the country where you get a new experience in every place you visit,” said Asbjørn Reksten Stigedal, CEO of Livit. “We are creating an offer where we can showcase our country from its best side where one can experience Norway through Birdbox.” + Livit Images via Livit

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Prefab Birdbox is the perfect retreat for nature-lovers

ZHA completes LEED Gold-targeted building with worlds largest atrium in Beijing

November 22, 2019 by  
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In China’s capital city, Zaha Hadid Architects has completed the Leeza SOHO tower, a 45-story skyscraper that boasts the world’s largest atrium at 194.15 meters in height. Designed to anchor the new Fengtai business district in southwest Beijing, the futuristic tower is wrapped in a double-insulated unitized glass curtain wall system that curves around its twisting, sculptural form. In addition to double glazing, the Leeza SOHO incorporates water collection, low-flow fixtures, a green roof , photovoltaic panels and other sustainable measures to meet LEED Gold standards. Set atop an underground subway service tunnel, Leeza SOHO was strategically sited next to the business district’s rail station at the intersection of five new lines that are currently under construction. The tunnel that bisects the tower splits the building into two halves; the resulting void in between has been turned into an atrium that acts as a new public square. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects designs BREEAM-targeted terminal for electrified Rail Baltic In addition to providing panoramic views of the city, the rotated atrium also brings daylight deep into the building and doubles as a thermal chimney with an integrated ventilation system to bring clean air to the interiors. Indoor comfort is further achieved with the low-E, double-insulated glazing that ensures stable temperatures. To meet LEED Gold standards, Leeza SOHO features an advanced 3D BIM energy management system to monitor real-time environmental control and energy efficiency. Energy-saving measures include heat recovery from exhaust air; high-efficiency equipment such as pumps, fans and lighting; low-flow water fixtures and gray water flushing. Low-VOC materials were selected to minimize interior pollutants. Occupants and visitors can also enjoy plenty of bicycle parking, with 2,680 spaces available, as well as lockers and shower facilities. Underground, there are also dedicated charging spaces for electric and hybrid cars. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Hufton+Crow / Zaha Hadid Architects

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ZHA completes LEED Gold-targeted building with worlds largest atrium in Beijing

MAD Architects to transform an ancient Chinese courtyard into a kindergarten with a "floating roof"

November 14, 2018 by  
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Beijing-based design practice MAD Architects has broken ground on the Courtyard Kindergarten, a striking adaptive reuse project that transform a traditional siheyuan courtyard from the 1700s into the site of a creative and colorful kindergarten. Located in Beijing, the project aims to preserve the cultural heritage of the site while injecting fresh life through the addition of new structures, including a “dynamic floating roof” that surrounds the historic courtyard. As with many of the firm’s projects, the design features curvaceous elements and is evocative of a Martian landscape. “There is a saying in old Beijing when children are naughty: ‘if you go three days without being punished, the roof will cave in,’” said MAD principal Ma Yansong of one of the inspirations behind the eye-catching rooftop , a place the firm describes as “full of magic — a playful escape for the children that is a symbol of freedom and endless imagination.” Designed as the primary space for children to engage in outdoor sports and activities, the multicolored floating roof will curve around the siheyuan’s existing hipped roofs and tree canopy and will also feature an undulating landscape of several small ‘hills’ and ‘plains.’ Classrooms, a library, a small theater and a gymnasium will be located below the roof in a new building with an open-plan layout that’s surrounded by walls of glass to let in ample natural light as well as views of greenery and the historic buildings next door. The building will also wrap around three existing ancient trees, creating miniature courtyards where children can connect with nature. The Courtyard Kindergarten will accommodate 400 children between the ages of two and five. Related: A 650-foot-long running track tops this space-saving elementary school in China The design aims to reconcile new and old elements, from the existing modern building on-site that was built in the 1990s to the nearly 400-year-old courtyard. Having just broke ground this month, the Courtyard Kindergarten is expected to be completed and operational in the fall of 2019. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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Penda unveils a futuristic micro-cabin inspired by Beijings hutongs

October 26, 2018 by  
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The micro-apartment concept has been sweeping cities around the world due to overcrowding and rising housing prices. But out of the need to provide solutions for urban housing issues, some designers are looking toward the future. Known for its innovative housing concepts, Penda has just unveiled the MINI Living Urban Cabin, designed to achieve “maximum quality of living within a minimum space” by forgoing walls almost completely. The 160-square-foot,  pod-like cabin is a futuristic, circular volume with a sleek, white facade. Designed as a temporary living space, the micro-apartment was conceptualized to offer a high degree of flexibility within a compact, open-air structure. Related: Penda unveils temporary nature-filled “village” for the Beijing Horticultural Expo Penda co-founding partner and architect Sun Dayong sought inspiration for the design in Beijing’s architectural history , specifically the city’s beloved hutongs. By putting a modern take on traditional Beijing architecture, the open-air cabin is meant to connect the residents to the community. The cabin features various volumes jutting out from the upper layer of the structure. Lined in a reflective gold cladding, these volumes have cut-outs that give the structure a playful, futuristic appearance but also allow natural light to filter into the living space. Inside, the design is divided into two living areas on either side, each separated by thin columns. In the middle of the living areas, a sitting hammock swings from the roof, inviting activity and conversation as well as providing a place to relax and read. Elsewhere in the home, transforming furnishings were chosen for their space-saving techniques that offer the ultimate in flexibility . In fact, much of the furniture was built with push, fold and rotate mechanisms to provide various uses. Even the front door folds outward, reminiscent of a spaceship. + Penda Via Archdaily Photography by Xia zhi, Laurian Ghinitoiu via Penda

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Penda unveils a futuristic micro-cabin inspired by Beijings hutongs

Can China become a powerhouse in green manufacturing?

September 14, 2018 by  
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Initiatives in Shanghai and Beijing signal a heightened focus on emissions reductions and coordinated waste management across regions.

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Can China become a powerhouse in green manufacturing?

Heres your chance to stay at the first Airbnb on the Great Wall of China

August 3, 2018 by  
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If the climbing the Great Wall of China is on your bucket list, here’s your chance to check it off and take part in a one-of-a-kind overnight experience. Airbnb has teamed up with the Beijing Tourism Development Committee to bring the Great Wall onto the hospitality service site as a temporary lodging option. However, making a booking is not as easy as it typically is on AirBnB—hopeful guests will have to enter a contest for a chance to win. Working together with historians and preservations groups based in Beijing , the Airbnb team sensitively transformed a centuries-old Great Wall watchtower into a temporary suite complete with a bedroom, bathroom, dining area and living space. The elevated structure offers 360-degree views of the wall and lush scenery. “Known as one of the greatest architectural feats in human history, the Great Wall was built as a border to protect Chinese states against raids thousands of years ago,” reads a statement from Airbnb. “Today, it is widely considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world, bringing visitors from all walks of life together.” This unique Airbnb was created to bring attention to tourism to China by spotlighting its most famous icon and one of the world’s great wonders. Related: The Great Wall of China is slowly disappearing Airbnb will select the four winners (who can bring a guest) from the contest based on their responses to a prompt that asks about boundaries and human connections. During the stay, each winner will have the chance to experience different aspects of Chinese culture, from seal engraving to learning calligraphy. Guests will also have the opportunity to hike the Great Wall and enjoy a multiple-course gourmet dinner accompanied by Chinese music. Winners will be announced after August 11, 2018. + Great Wall of China Airbnb

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We calculated how much money planting trees can save for your city

June 8, 2018 by  
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From Beijing to Cairo to Mexico City to New York.

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We calculated how much money planting trees can save for your city

Chinas first magazine library is housed in a renovated Beijing hutong

December 26, 2017 by  
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Local architects Fon Studio breathed new life into a Beijing hutong , converting the historic residence into a chic neighborhood library claimed to be the nation’s first magazine library. Located next to a picturesque man-made canal, the Spring Whispers Book Club is an adaptive reuse project that preserves parts of the original structure while injecting an undeniably contemporary vibe. Nestled within Dongcheng District, Spring Whispers Book Club is set within a historic Beijing neighborhood full of winding alleys and hutongs, many of which have been converted for new commercial purposes. Spring Whispers Book Club’s original hutong structure was once a traditional three-room house that had fallen into disrepair. Fon Studio constructed a teak and steel framework based on traditional building techniques to reinforce the hutong’s decayed timber-and-brick shell. Clean lines and the use of timber, gray terrazzo, and glass gave the hutong’s facade a modern refresh. Related: ARCHSTUDIO inserts a modern teahouse into an ancient Chinese structure To provide a pleasant reading environment, the architects inserted a floor-to-ceiling window that fills the heart of the library with natural light and frames canal views. Operable timber shutters also let light into the other parts of the library . White steel framing in the interior guide the eye to the bookshelves lined with magazines. Light-colored timber used for the new internal structures and furnishings provides a beautiful contrast to the older dark-colored wood. The interior comprises a variety of seating areas and a bar. + Fon Studio Via ArchDaily Images via Fon Studio

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Chinas first magazine library is housed in a renovated Beijing hutong

Architects use local materials to turn an abandoned resort in Beijing into a remarkable hotel

December 20, 2017 by  
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An abandoneded resort in  Beijing has been transformed into a gorgeous luxury hotel that highlights the surrounding natural scenery. SYN Architects amplified the sensation of “natural wilderness” at The Creek Park Hotel using locally-sourced natural materials such as firewood, pebble stone and wood. The hotel is located in Beijing’s Pinggu District, just over 9 miles away from the Jinhai Lake International Resort. It replaces an abandoned resort estate, expanding and rebuilding the property into a high-end luxury destination surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Related: Vertical forest Mountain Hotel will clean the air in Guizhou, China The architects created an extensive 360° panoramic view effect in order to immerse visitors into the landscape. They inserted open rectangular terraces of different sizes with mountain-like features in between original structures, with a panoramic restaurant and a scenic glass platform delivering a unique atmosphere. The roof, structurally independent for other volumes, allows sunlight to come in through. Related: World’s first MUJI hotels to open in China and Japan Vertical arrangements of wood surround the terrace to strengthen the feeling of “natural wilderness”. The use of natural materials helped reduce construction costs and deliver the appearance that mimics the look of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. + SYN Architects

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