Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwicks tree-covered mountain architecture in Shanghai

August 8, 2017 by  
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Shanghai’s “tree-covered mountains” are coming to life as evidenced in #donotsettle project’s latest video. Filmed with a DJI Mavic Pro drone, architects Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost’s footage shows a sneak peek into the construction progress of the Heatherwick Studio-designed project for M50, the city’s contemporary art district. The six-hectare plot will feature staggered, mountain-like volumes enveloped by 1,000 trees. Par for the course for Shanghai’s futuristic cityscape, this unusual 330,000-square-meter mixed-use development will comprise housing, offices, retail, a hotel, and a school. As seen in the drone footage, trees have already been installed on the undulating building’s columnar planters. The planting will help soften the appearance of the concrete volume once they mature. Related: Heatherwick Studio wants to build a tree-covered mountain in the middle of Shanghai “Conceived not as a building but as a piece of topography , the design takes the form of two tree-covered mountains, populated by approximately one thousand structural columns,” said Heatherwick Studio . “Instead of being hidden behind the facade, the columns are the defining feature of the design, emerging from the building to support plants and trees.” The development is slated to open in 2018. + Heatherwick Studio Via ArchDaily Images via #donotsettle

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Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwicks tree-covered mountain architecture in Shanghai

Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

August 7, 2017 by  
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Windows are much more than just panes of glass in Anders Berensson Architects’ latest project in the Stockholm archipelago. The architects recently completed Look Out Lodge, a house extension built of locally sourced materials that functions like a standalone cabin. Custom-made prefabricated windows were added in the second phase of the project and define the areas for sleeping and working, all the while immersing the owner in nature. Clad in timber inside and out, Look Out Lodge was built on-site using local materials and building techniques. The two window additions—a Sky Tower and desk window—were prefabricated on site and slotted into place after the primary structure was completed. The small house extension is just large enough to accommodate a sleeping area and workspace. “Another goal with the design was to redefine the idea of a window as a flat readymade glass piece into an architectural element that creates its own space with a clear focus towards the outside,” wrote the architects. “This goal led to the design of a sky tower one can crawl into when being in bed totally dedicated to the sky and one corner window with a desk inserted to it that creates a work space on the inside and table for flowers on the outside with a clear focus and direction to the outside field.” The architects designed the Sky Tower to give the homeowners the countryside luxury of falling asleep beneath a starry sky. Topped with a round skylight and lined with spruce , the Sky Tower wraps around a custom-built bed and provides the perfect space to read during the day and for stargazing at night. The exterior draws on the local tradition of jigsaw facades and is punctuated by a pattern of native fauna and flora including large animals, amphibians, birds, flowers, and fish. Related: Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse The Desk Window prefabricated element is a corner unit that frames views of a wildflower meadow, one of the most beloved features of the Stockholm archipelago. The desk unit features a solar shade and a red terra-cotta concrete slab with holes for flower plants on the outside of the window, while a curved birch plywood tabletop with a round cut-out for sitting is located on the interior. Holes drilled into the desk are made for different purposes, including ventilation, cables, lamps, pencils, and even for pencil sharpening. + Anders Berensson Architects

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Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

Brooks + Scarpa completes forest-like kinetic sculpture ringed with rain gardens

August 7, 2017 by  
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Public art should do more than decorate. Brooks + Scarpa targeted a triple bottom line with their design of the recently completed Gateway Sculpture at Pembroke Pines City Center in southern Florida. Constructed to enhance user experience, the sculpture is made up of four yellow stainless-steel tree columns topped with kinetic canopies that create the effect of dappled light as visitors walk beneath. Environmental and economic sustainability were considered for the project, which is designed for low maintenance, optimal environmental comfort, and landscape conservation. The eye-catching Gateway Sculpture welcomes locals and visitors to the new Pembroke Pines City Center that comprises a public plaza , a 3,500-seat performing arts hall, city hall, and The Frank Art Gallery. Prior to this new development Pembroke Pines had no downtown or community space. Working with a limited budget, Brooks + Scarpa crafted a beautiful community anchor that framed the pedestrian thoroughfare to the public plaza. The sculpture evokes an experience of a subtropical hardwood forest with its tree-like columns topped with canopy-like perforated plates that spin in the continuous breeze of south Florida. The sculpture provides much-needed shade for seating underneath, while programmable uplighting enhances the experience at night. Stainless steel was chosen for its durability in the heavy saltwater-laden coastal environment and ability to withstand 175 mile-per-hour winds. Related: Rolling green ‘ribbons’ proposed for new urban park in downtown LA “A triple-bottom-line approach was conceived of that worked within the clients abilities and budget,” wrote Brooks + Scarpa. “This is achieved through material durability where stainless steel was used over mild steel to insure the longevity of the structure. A durable paint that is environmentally sensitive was also employed. Lastly, large planting areas surround the structure collecting stormwater from the entire building and impervious hardscape of the plaza. Essentially rain gardens , these planters include native facultative landscape material with vibrant color to enhance user experience and provide critical refuge and habitat to native wildlife.” + Brooks + Scarpa Images via Brooks + Scarpa

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Brooks + Scarpa completes forest-like kinetic sculpture ringed with rain gardens

LAVA breaks ground on sustainable energy tower in Heidelberg

August 4, 2017 by  
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A dynamic new icon of sustainable energy is rising in Heidelberg, Germany. Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) just broke ground on a new energy storage tower for Stadtwerke Heidelberg (SWH) that will be the Heidelberg’s tallest building and symbolize the city’s transition towards renewables . Designed to replace an existing gas tank, the new tower will be wrapped in a dynamic multi-layered facade made up of “energy loops” to render renewable energy visible to the public. The 56-meter-tall energy storage center with 19,500-cubic-meter capacity will be accompanied with a 10,000-square-meter park, both of which are slated for completion in mid-2019. Solar and wind energy will be harnessed and used to heat up the water and sold as heat energy. “This ‘knowledge store’ will replace a previous gas tank, a symbol of energy policy in the 1950s,” said Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA. “Formally and geometrically the new water tank will not be much different from its predecessor. So this raised the challenge for us: How can the parameters of energy regeneration, decentrality, networking, flexibility and adaptivity be made visible in the design of the outer shell? How can an adaptive, dynamic system be produced without extreme technical control? Our task was to transform a big heavy industrial tank into a dynamic object.” Related: Futuristic green city design runs like a real rainforest in Malaysia The renovated tower is made up of a multi-layered facade with a spiral helix staircase that wraps around an insulating inner layer of mineral wool panels painted varying shades of blue. A cable network fitted between the annular supports creates the outer facade. Around 11,000 diamond-shaped stainless steel plates—the same number of households supplied with energy by the network—also clad the structure and can rotate up to 45 degrees horizontally in the wind. At night, the tower’s inner envelope is illuminated by LEDs that glow blue, green, and white that signify the filling up or emptying of the water storage tank. The publicly accessible tower features two elevators and roof-level event spaces, bistro, and viewing terraces. + Laboratory for Visionary Architecture

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LAVA breaks ground on sustainable energy tower in Heidelberg

Trees to grow on the balconies of Pendas timber high-rise in Toronto

August 3, 2017 by  
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A new kind of “vertical forest” has been envisioned for Toronto where trees would grow on every balcony. Architecture firm Penda teamed up with Canadian company Timber to design the Toronto Tree Tower, an 18-story mixed-use tower covered in greenery and built of cross-laminated timber. The large and modular balconies are staggered to look like branches of a tree and to optimize views for every resident. Designed to appear as a giant tree in the city, the Toronto Tree Tower is covered in plants and greenery and clad in wooden facade panels. The tower’s modular cross-laminated timber units would be prefabricated and assembled off-site, and then transported and stacked around the building’s trunk-like central core. The building would comprise 4,500 square meters of apartments as well as a cafe, children’s daycare center, and community workshops. Related: China’s first vertical forest is rising in Nanjing “Our cities are a assembly of steel, concrete and glass,” said Penda partner Chris Precht, according to Dezeen . “If you walk through the city and suddenly see a tower made of wood and plants, it will create an interesting contrast. The warm, natural appearance of wood and the plants growing on its facade bring the building to life and that could be a model for environmental friendly developments and sustainable extensions of our urban landscape.” + Penda Via Dezeen

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Trees to grow on the balconies of Pendas timber high-rise in Toronto

New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

August 3, 2017 by  
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Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter just won a competition to design a new cultural center for one of the oldest settlements in Denmark . The winning proposal, called Kornets Hus (“Grain House”), will be an activity-based learning center in Hjørring focused on the importance of grain to Jutland—a region believed to have been populated 10,000 years ago. Kornets Hus will be of a minimalist and modern design built largely from brick and timber that takes inspiration from the region’s diverse landscapes, folk culture, and agricultural heritage. Commissioned by Realdania , the L-shaped 680-square-meter Kornets Hus is set on a site with an existing farm and bakery. The learning center will offer visitors as well as locals and employees engaging educational experiences about the region’s rich food and farming culture. In addition to educational and exhibition spaces, the building will also include a cafe, store, and offices. Related: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain The building features a simple and flexible plan to accommodate a wide variety of activities. Two brick-clad light wells , reminiscent of baker kilns, bookend the structure’s two ends. Skylights and large windows also help maximize access to natural light . Glazing on the west facade frame views of wheat fields and connect to an outdoor terrace. A large bread oven forms the heart of the public spaces. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images via Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

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New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

August 2, 2017 by  
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Acclaimed architect Kengo Kuma has crafted a stunning cross-cultural home that combines the best of American modern amenities with traditional Japanese design principles. Located in Oregon’s NW Natural Street of Dreams in Portland, the sustainably built SUTEKI home promotes healthy living with its strong connection to the outdoors in both its use of natural materials and garden surroundings. The master-built home is the first of its kind constructed by Japanese homebuilder, Suteki, in the United States. As with many of Kuma’s architectural projects, nature is a big theme in the SUTEKI home. A natural materials palette used throughout the home shows off sustainably harvested wood , from the soaring Olympia wall built of timber to the regional Alaskan yellow cedar in the louvre walls. Natural stone and tile are also prominently featured. A high level of detail and craftsmanship is seen around the home, especially in the origami-inspired ceiling that creates a feeling of fluidity and movement. To deepen the connection with the outdoors and create a restorative living experience, Kuma incorporated seamless indoor and outdoor living spaces built around nature. Large openings frame views of the outdoors and every view is optimized inside and out. Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama designed the garden and used “borrowed scenery” principles to incorporate the surrounding landscape—a giant oak and sequoia tree, and a stream that runs along the property. Related: Kengo Kuma unveils nature-filled Eco-Luxury Hotel for Paris “My collaboration with Suteki is owed to our shared view of the sublimity of nature,” said Kuma. “Embracing the surroundings, insisting on natural materials, sustainability and transparency creates a space where people can experience nature more completely and intimately.” The placement and orientation of the home contributes to its energy efficiency . The Suteki company plans to build more sustainably built homes in the Portland market in the near future. + Street of Dreams Images by Justin Krug Photography

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Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

Score one of 4 solar-powered Voltaic Converter backpacks in Inhabitats Back to School Contest

August 1, 2017 by  
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With summer coming to a close, it’s back-to-school time for many students – but it doesn’t have to be a drag. We’ve teamed up with Voltaic to give four lucky readers an amazing solar backpack for their return to the studious life! Voltaic’s newly launched Converter backpack charges your phone and other USB devices using built-in solar panels , so you’ll never run out of juice between classes – and a single hour in the sun provides three hours of smartphone use. We’re giving away four backpacks over four weeks of August, so enter today! a Rafflecopter giveaway Voltaic is constantly reinventing itself with some of the coolest solar products out there, and this new backpack ranks high on their list of innovations. At a relatively low price point of $129, the Converter backpack is a great deal for what you’re getting. With a battery in your backpack, and a 5-watt solar panel that can fully charge a smartphone after three hours in the sun, you’ll never run out of juice again. The battery can also be charged via the grid, and the backpack is packed with even more useful features beyond its solar capability. Made of recycled PET , the Converter is large enough to accommodate a 15″ laptop and comes with a couple of extra pockets – including plenty of storage for all your cables and adapters. It’s waterproof, lightweight and UV resistant, and high-density padding in the shoulder straps and back make it super comfortable to wear – even for a day trip in the great outdoors. We’ll be announcing our winners in our newsletter on 8/11, 8/18, 8/25, and 9/1, so sign up now for your chance to take one of these beauties home! That said, we’re only shipping to US addresses, so please keep that in mind when you enter. Good luck! + Voltaic

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Score one of 4 solar-powered Voltaic Converter backpacks in Inhabitats Back to School Contest

Alex Chinnecks mesmerizing crack on a brick building turns heads in London

August 1, 2017 by  
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From a melting house to a floating building, British artist Alex Chinneck has a knack for turning heads—and his latest work is no exception. For his first permanent artwork, Chinneck created an enormous crack down the side of the building in an optical illusion called “Six pins and half a dozen needles.” Created with a group of engineers, steelworkers, and brick-makers, this monumental artwork at Assembly London is officially unveiled to the public today, August 1. Commissioned by AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets , the surrealist Six pins and half a dozen needles artwork is located at Assembly London , a major mixed-use campus on a site that previously housed publishing facilities. Chinneck references the publishing industry in his design, which resembles a torn sheet of paper. “The work was conceived to engage people in a fun and uplifting way,” said Chinneck. “Although we use real brick , it was designed with a cartoon-like quality to give the sculpture an endearing artifice and playful personality. I set out to create accessible artworks and I sincerely hope this becomes a popular landmark for London and positive experience for Londoners. Following 14-months of development, this represents my studio’s first permanent project and we are excited to be working on more. Forthcoming artworks include a trail of four sculptures with a combined height of 163-metres that will be constructed from over 100,000 bricks.” Related: Alex Chinneck Builds a Wax House in London Just to Watch it Melt Six pins and half a dozen needles is constructed from 4,000 bricks and over 1,000 stainless steel components. A crane was used to carefully position the artwork in place at 20 meters above ground level. The installation leans against a concrete facade and weighs approximately ten-tonnes. + Alex Chinneck Images by Charles Emerson

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Alex Chinnecks mesmerizing crack on a brick building turns heads in London

Charming Italian farmhouse hides a surprisingly modern interior in Tuscany

August 1, 2017 by  
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Lenzi + Baglini Architetti architects transformed a 16th-century Italian farmhouse into a beautiful contemporary home without compromising the building’s historic charms. Set atop a hill in the heart of Siena’s Chianti region in Tuscany, this adaptive reuse project preserves the traditional rural architecture on the outside, but hides surprisingly modern spaces in the interior. The renovated farmhouse on the Chianti Hills overlooks vineyards and woodland through new cutouts and apertures in the original stone masonry. The home’s two floors follow the natural topography of the hill, with the two levels connected via a floating staircase. The bedrooms are placed on the ground floor while select communal and work areas are on the first floor to take in elevated landscape views. Related: Gorgeous Washington barn house marries rustic elements with modern style A square-shaped tower with an elegant spiral staircase occupies the heart of the home and connects the ground-floor master bedroom with the living room and private studio located in the attic. White surfaces, including the white chalk-stained vaulted ceiling , reflect light to give the interior a bright and airy appearance. Hardwood floors are used throughout the home. Custom furnishings decorate the rooms. + Lenzi + Baglini Architetti Images by Massimiliano Orazi

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Charming Italian farmhouse hides a surprisingly modern interior in Tuscany

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