Spectacular town hall doubles as a bridge in Denmarks Faroe Islands

August 21, 2018 by  
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When Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects was tapped to design the Town Hall in Eysturkommuna, the firm knew that there would be no point in trying to compete with the sublime Faroe Islands setting. Sculpted by wind and volcanic forces, the lush Nordic landscape instead provided inspiration for the building, which doubles as a bridge over a river and appears as a green-roofed extension of its surroundings. Blurring the line between nature and building, the Town Hall pays homage to traditional Faroese architecture with a new contemporary twist. Located in the village of Norðragøta, the Town Hall in Eysturkommuna is a subtle addition to the lush landscape that was created to help revive the local community. With an area of 750 square meters, the building is remarkably small for a town hall , yet what the structure lacks in size it makes up for in dramatic views. Doubling as a bridge, the angular building unites what used to be two separated municipalities and is partly wrapped in full-height glazing to frame stunning vistas of mountains and water. A circular mirror-lined glazed opening was also inserted into the floor to allow views of the rushing river below. “A central theme in traditional Faroese architecture is the blurred line between nature and building, the fact that the spectator has difficulties distinguishing where the landscape ends and the building begins,” explains Ósbjørn Jacobsen, Partner at Henning Larsen. “The primary conceptual idea behind the design of the town hall is driven by the notion of this fleeting line between landscape and building. I believe that could be one way to approach modern Faroese architecture.” Related: Danish architects deck out Viborg town hall with green roofs and solar panels The public is not only invited to enjoy the interior of the Town Hall, but they are also welcome to use the terraces and green roof for picnics or to even swim in the river. To heighten the building’s connection with the site, artist Jens Ladekarl Thomsen created an exterior sound and light installation that draws from the sounds and structure of the local neighborhoods and nature and “lets passersby believe the ‘house speaks’ of its surroundings.” + Henning Larsen Architects Images by Nic Lehoux

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Spectacular town hall doubles as a bridge in Denmarks Faroe Islands

This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops

August 20, 2018 by  
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A new pagoda-like library in China’s megacity of Shenzhen sweeps visitors above the tree canopy with an elevated walkway. Located in Xiangmi Park, a densely forested area originally used as an agricultural research center, the Xiangmi Park Science Library celebrates its verdant surroundings with a “treetop walk” and an abundance of glazing. International architecture and design firm MLA+ led the design of the library and visitor center, and ZEN landscape architects handled the landscape design. Completed in 2017 in Shenzhen’s central Futian District, the Xiangmi Park Science Library covers an area of 1,500 square meters. The park had been protected from urban encroachment for 35 years and includes a large lychee orchard on a hill, fishponds, a flower market and a rich diversity of local flora and fauna. The architects have compared the site to an “undiscovered treasure box in the middle of a metropolis” and thus aimed to preserve and enhance the natural environment as much as possible. Drawing inspiration from classical Chinese garden architecture, the pagoda-like library building is made from steel and glass for an airy and lightweight feel; the cantilevered elements provide solar shading and reference local architecture. In addition to library stacks, the building includes a meeting room, a reading area, terraces and administrative offices. Related: BIG completes an energy-efficient sculptural skyscraper in Shenzhen “Perched in between the trees , the building offers an ever-changing experience of its surrounding landscape,” the firm said. “This experience varies from floor to floor. With its dematerialized ground floor, it becomes a part of the shaded forest floor. Structural elements blend with the surrounding tree trunks. Upper levels sit in between the dense canopy of leaves and therefore have a more enclosed, intimate feeling. The very top floor offers the views of the surroundings and the city. Experiencing the library is like climbing a tree — a tree of knowledge.” + MLA+ Images © Vlad Feoktistov

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This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops

This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

May 23, 2018 by  
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When a client with a large family reached out to ACDF Architecture for an extension of their rustic country cottage in Quebec , the Montreal studio responded with a modern building that provides a visually arresting contrast to the historic house. Dubbed the Chalet La petite soeur, the addition mirrors the original building’s dimensions with a sharply gabled roof. Unlike the existing cottage, however, the new building is clad in white-painted timber and a sheet metal roof for a crisp and modern appearance. Located on Lake Ouareau near the town of Saint-Donat in Quebec, the charming 1,400-square-foot countryside cottage and its new addition are designed to optimize enjoyment of the outdoors and views of the lake. The architects took inspiration from the surrounding landscape of birch trees when designing the new space, described as a “refined version of the existing house.” The chalet’s smooth, white-painted wood cladding mimics shiny birch bark and recalls the whitewashed walls of rural barns, while providing a sleek contrast to the natural silvery patina on the facade of the existing home. An elevated glass bridge connects the old cottage to the chalet and lies on an axis between the kitchen of the old building and the new living room. Glazed on both sides, the bridge overlooks views of the landscape and garden. The floor and ceiling of the bridge are finished in timber that matches the warmth of the existing home’s old wood planks. Both ends of the bridge are framed in wood, evoking the appearance of large picture frames. Related: Dreamy cabin is the perfect lakeside escape for large families An open-plan family room dominates the ground floor and overlooks spectacular views of the lake through large windows. The minimalist interior is dressed in polished concrete floors and natural wood details, like the central fireplace with a black-slatted wood surround. Hidden storage inside the built-in benches helps reduce visual clutter. The new master bedroom is tucked into the lower level, which is built of concrete. + ACDF Architecture Images by Adrien Williams

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This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

The National Park System just got its first Dark Sky Sanctuary

April 24, 2018 by  
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While there are numerous Dark Sky-certified National Parks across the US, the stunning Rainbow Bridge National Monument just received the world’s fourth official Dark Sky Sanctuary designation – the first ever for a National Park System site. Rainbow Bridge already boasted one of the darkest skies on Earth, but with its new status, you can continue to see Rainbow Bridge’s night sky as it’s meant to be seen, free from the light pollution that has become a mainstay of modern life. The International Dark Sky Association is a non-profit organization working to stop light pollution and mitigate its harmful effects on our health. The organization also helps identify places where you can see the night sky with reduced or no light pollution. On April 16, the association awarded its “sanctuary” designation to Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument, ushering it into an exclusive list of the most light pollution-free places in the world. Related: Switching to outdoor LEDs has made light pollution worse — without saving energy Rainbow Bridge provides a particularly stunning natural environment. Dark Sky designated parks, reserves and sanctuaries must be remote enough that they aren’t impacted by light pollution nearby, and they must also adhere to strict lighting standards, such as shielding fixtures so light doesn’t escape upward and using warmer bulbs. But even amidst all the Dark Sky designations, sanctuaries are exceptional, with their status meant to increase awareness of the sites in order to preserve them for future generations. “We’re thrilled to be the first National Park Service unit to receive this specific designation, as this will only fuel our night sky preservation efforts,” Rainbow Bridge National Monument superintendent William Shott said. If you want to visit this special place, you will need to have a boat to cross Lake Powell in Southern Utah, or get permission from the Navajo Nation to cross the tribe’s land. Via Earther Images via NPS and Unsplash

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The National Park System just got its first Dark Sky Sanctuary

Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores

April 24, 2018 by  
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Maryland just became the second state in America to ban pet stores from selling puppies and kittens. Animal rights advocates say the move will help cut demand for animals from puppy mills . The bill, HB 1662 , also encourages pet stores to work with rescue groups and animal shelters to promote the adoption of homeless animals, according to The Humane Society . Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan signed the legislation into law with bipartisan support. The state already has regulations in place requiring stores to reveal breeder information, and stores cannot use breeders that the United States Department of Agriculture has cited in the last two years. But delegate Benjamin Kramer, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, told The Washington Post the regulations aren’t enough to protect animals. Related: California bans puppy mills and requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals Pet store owners fought against the law, hoping Hogan would veto it. Just Puppies co-owner Jeanea Thomson said her store doesn’t want animals from puppy mills, and that she and her husband visit their breeders, most in Iowa and Missouri, to vouch for conditions. But Kramer said the farms that store owners describe are abominations, telling The Washington Post, “There is not a single one that is this righteous, beautiful, loving, caring facility where there is room for puppies to roam and for breeding dogs to play.” Humane Society Maryland state director Emily Hovermale described the ban as a lifesaving measure that would close the state’s pet store market to puppy mills. She said, “Maryland has set an important precedent with this rejection of animal abuse that other states will surely follow.” Emily McCobb, a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said a ban could result in a dog shortage, and people might not be sure where to go to get a pet. “There’s a lot of messaging around ‘adopt, don’t shop,’” she said. “But we haven’t done a good job of messaging about how to find responsible breeders.” The law will fully go into effect in 2020. It follows a bill passed in California last year that requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals. + The Humane Society Via The Washington Post Images via Depositphotos and Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

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Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores

Couple restores an old Airstream into a chic tiny home on wheels

April 24, 2018 by  
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Embracing an on-the-road lifestyle and downsizing your belongings doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing style. Kate Oliver and Ellen Prasse renovated an old Airstream into a chic and sophisticated living space. The ambitious couple, who run renovation company Modern Caravan , had their work cut out for them from the beginning. The camper needed a massive structural renovation including waterproofing, restoring windows, and creating an entirely new interior. Once the stage was set, the couple got to work on a gorgeous interior design for the 200-square-foot home . The couple started the Airstream renovation by gutting the interior and reinforcing the camper’s overall structure. They fixed and waterproofed the rotted windows and gaps to properly insulate the home, and they installed new axles and a solar-powered electrical system on the caravan. Related: 7 retro-chic Airstream renovations From there, Kate and Ellen began to design custom furniture to make the interior space as efficient as possible. Every piece of furniture has its place, resulting in a clutter-free living area. A beautiful rose-colored sofa with hidden storage compartments is at the heart of the living room, which is well-lit by natural light . Although it is fairly compact, the kitchen rivals that of any contemporary home. To make the most out of the space, Ellen cut and fitted the cabinets herself . Nine feet of counter space, a deep sink and plenty of storage make the area extremely functional. After their first Airstream renovation , the couple realized that they had a special talent for designing custom spaces in caravans, and have since turned that design savvy into a business. “We were completely self-taught, and we realized through the process of building that first Airstream that when we work together, we create something exceptional,” Kate said. “Now, four years later, we live in our renovated Airstream that serves as our mobile home and office, and renovate Airstreams on a client-by-client basis all across the country.” + The Modern Caravan Via Dwell Photography by Kate Oliver

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Couple restores an old Airstream into a chic tiny home on wheels

The world’s first 3D-printed steel bridge looks like it came from another planet

April 4, 2018 by  
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Dutch technology company MX3D  just officially unveiled the world’s first  3D-printed stainless steel bridge . It took four robots , nearly 10,000 pounds of stainless steel , about 684 miles of wire, and six months of printing to build the sinuous, undulating structure, which looks like it’s straight out of a science-fiction movie. The MX3D Bridge, designed by Joris Laarman Lab , is around 41 feet by 20 feet, and it’s made from a new kind of steel. 3D-printing created a ribbed surface as robots added layers upon layers; Gizmodo said it could be buffed out, but MX3D plans to keep the unique, rough look. Related: World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands Laarman told Gizmodo it’s strange to glimpse the bridge in their workshop: “It’s a little bit like being in a science fiction story because it looks so different than everything else around. We work in a highly industrial shipyard where everything is geometric in shape, but this bridge doesn’t have a single straight line.” MX3D’s goal for the bridge project is “to showcase the potential applications of our multi-axis 3D-printing technology,” according to their website. They say they serve architecture , maritime and offshore, and heavy duty industry markets. There’s that spark of sci-fi on their About page too: their ultimate vision is robots creating lightweight constructions — not just bridges, or buildings, but Mars colonies as well. The company credits Arup for structural engineering, Heijmans as their construction expert, and AcelorMittal for metallurgical expertise, to name a few; several other companies and universities have been involved in the bridge project. MX3D’s bridge is to be installed over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam , possibly in 2019. Before that, the bridge will undergo load tests. Co-founder Gijs van der Velden told Gizmodo they recently tested it with 30 people, and it behaved as it should. He told Gizmodo, “[Amsterdam city officials] have collaborated with us, Arup, and Imperial College London to define a method for evaluating the safety of the bridge as, of course for a novel production like this, there is no standard code. Their open attitude towards such a new and unconventional project was essential to make this project a success.” + MX3D + MX3D Bridge + Joris Laarman Lab Via Gizmodo Images courtesy of MX3D, Joris Laarman Lab, Adriaan de Groot, Thijs Wolzak, and Olivier de Gruijter

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The world’s first 3D-printed steel bridge looks like it came from another planet

Proposed Swedish bridge offers stellar river views with amphitheater-like seating

February 14, 2018 by  
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Erik Andersson Architects has proposed a new type of bridge for Kalix, Sweden that does more than just connect riverbanks—it also doubles as coveted public space. The Swedish Traffic Administration tapped the architecture firm for the proposal in anticipation of the upcoming 2019 replacement of an existing bridge over the Kalix River. The conceptual bridge extends outwards over the water to form amphitheater-like seating where the public can gather and get closer to the river. Located at the junction between the river and the sea in northern Sweden , Kalix owes much to its rivers, from its name to Kalixlöjrom, a culinary delicacy specific to the area. Thus, the Swedish Traffic Administration asked Erik Andersson Architects to design a new bridge that would also serve as a central gathering place by the riverside. Drawing on their experience with bridge design across Sweden, the firm proposed a design that offered separate routes for vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists , as well as public spaces with seating and shelter. Related: Tree-topped bridge to double as public space for a historic Chinese town “The idea behind the bridge is to turn a simple crossing of the river into an experience and create a warm atmosphere,” said Erik Andersson. “The bridge is a hybrid of an amphitheatre and a bridge. We also wanted to make it possible for people to get near the water surface and enjoy the view, while at the same time giving protection from the weather which can get harsh in this part of the country.” To provide shelter, the architects turned the elevated car and cycle paths into a roof-like structure that provides shelter to the pedestrian pathway below. The bridge’s supporting arches are built outwards to serve as gathering spaces that step down to the water and face south to capture the warmth of the sun. + Erik Andersson Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Erik Andersson Architects

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Proposed Swedish bridge offers stellar river views with amphitheater-like seating

Tree-topped bridge to double as public space for a historic Chinese town

February 8, 2018 by  
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MVRDV has won a competition for Dawn Bridge, a new multi-use bridge near Shanghai that will give locals and visitors the chance to experience a historic Chinese water town in a whole new way. Located near the famous water town Zhujiajiao, this new 80-meter-long landmark will be topped with trees and amphitheater-like seating that overlooks views of the water and riverside architecture. To blend the modern bridge into its surroundings, the architects drew a contextual palette of colors and materials referencing the local vernacular. Located between the 16th century Fangsheng Bridge and the Qingpu Road Bridge, the 24-meter-wide Dawn Bridge will mark a new era of development in the riverfront area. MVRDV’s winning design proposes a bridge that doubles as public space by turning part of the deck into amphitheater -like seating optimized for gatherings, meetings, and beautiful views of Zhujiajiao. The bridge also provides sufficient clearance to the approximately 80-meter-wide active riverbed that’s used for activities year-round. “The vertical alignment of Dawn Bridge defines a sense of lightness and elegance, and our aim was to provide a graceful low curve above the river that also blends with the landscape”, says Wenchian Shi, Partner at MVRDV. “Beyond blending, we wanted to create a bridge that invites public life over and around it and that is accessible to all people whether on foot or on wheels.” Related: World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands The bridge’s pedestrian deck and landings will be painted in the same reddish hue as the wood found in the nearby houses, while the gray roofs and white walls of the local residences are echoed in the bridge’s white structural frame and gray asphalt. Proposed plantings and trees on the bridge mimic the greenery of the riverbanks . Completion is anticipated for 2019. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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Tree-topped bridge to double as public space for a historic Chinese town

Boris Johnson proposes 22-mile bridge to connect UK and France

January 19, 2018 by  
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Could a 22-mile bridge crossing the English Channel help boost transport between the United Kingdom and France after Brexit ? Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson thinks so – he proposed the infrastructure project and spoke about a second link with France’s president Emmanuel Macron . Johnson reportedly said to Macron that it’s ridiculous that two of the largest economies in the world are joined by only one railway line. The publication said Macron “is understood to have responded positively.” Johnson tweeted a picture of the two of them flashing a thumbs-up after what he described as great meetings. En marche ! Great meetings with French counterparts today pic.twitter.com/D73B1rSkd3 — Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 18, 2018 Related: New bridge linking Japan and Russia could enable 8400-mile rail trip from London to Tokyo But some people put the brakes on the idea . The United Kingdom Chamber of Shipping, which represents over 180 maritime industry bodies, tweeted there would be challenges with such an undertaking. CEO Guy Platten told The Guardian the Dover Strait – at the English Channel’s narrowest part – “is the world’s busiest shipping lane” and that the largest ships going through the strait can be around 70 meters, or nearly 230 feet, tall. Others pointed out that such a bridge would be incredibly expensive. Building a huge concrete structure in the middle of the world’s busiest shipping lane might come with some challenges. https://t.co/jYD5O8B19W — UK Shipping (@ukshipping) January 18, 2018 Reuters reported France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire told Europe 1 radio, “All ideas merit consideration, even the most far-fetched ones … Let’s finish things that are already under way before thinking of new ones.” And a spokesperson for prime minister Theresa May said there were “no specific plans” regarding a Channel bridge: “What was agreed yesterday, and I think that’s what the foreign secretary tweeted about as well, is a panel of experts who will look at major projects together including infrastructure.” But according to The Guardian, some engineers said the Channel bridge idea might not be so far-fetched; architect Alan Dunlop pointed to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which is around 34 miles long. Bridge designer Ian Firth told BBC Radio 4’s Today program the project would be entirely feasible, and that before construction of the Channel tunnel there were bridge options being considered. Firth said, “There are bridges of a similar, if not quite the same, scale elsewhere…It would be a huge undertaking, but it would be absolutely possible, and shipping impact issues could be dealt with.” Via The Guardian (1, 2) and Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Boris Johnson proposes 22-mile bridge to connect UK and France

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