Japan’s House of 33 Years was once two separate buildings in two different towns

May 15, 2017 by  
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The past and the future coexist in this daylit house in Nara, Japan . Tokyo-based architecture studio ASSISTANT designed the house as a cluster of small buildings for an elderly couple who places great value on preserving memories. The result is a steel-framed structure that was built in several different locations and then assembled on-site to create several overlapping spaces. Local carpenters in Aomori built the main quarters of the house using locally available materials . The project was initially installed as part of the “Kime to Kehai” exhibition at the Aomori Contemporary Art Centre. After the exhibition, the team disassembled the structure and loaded it on a truck to transport it to Nara, where it was reassembled as the House of 33 Years. Related: Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads Students at the Sendai School of Design built the rooftop pavilion as an homage to Philip Johnson’s Ghost House. Before becoming a permanent part of the house, the pavilion was installed in the courtyard of a university campus and used by the students as a space for growing vegetables. + ASSISTANT Via Archdaily Lead photo by Shinkenchiku-sha

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Japan’s House of 33 Years was once two separate buildings in two different towns

Green-roofed Cantilever House floats above the Malaysian rainforest

May 2, 2017 by  
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This green-roofed house juts out over the lush rainforest of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Architecture firm Design Unit Sdn Bhd envisioned the Cantilever House as a “forest” of industrial steel columns that create a weightless-looking volume. Passive House design features – including an adjustable envelope – minimize the building’s impact on the environment. The house consists of two independent structures constructed of exposed structural steel and concrete, framing a large courtyard with a swimming pool . A long ramp connects the “steel box” to the ground. The opaque appearance disappears once inside– the double glazed full height sliding glass screens and adjustable glass louvers bathe the interior in natural light. This operable envelope wrapped in external sunscreens made from perforated stainless steel provides optimal natural ventilation and allows views of the surrounding rainforest . Related: Futuristic green city design runs like a real rainforest in Malaysia The two structures of the house serve different functions– one with living areas and bedrooms, and the lower one accommodating an art gallery and cinema. The grass-covered roof establishes different micro-climates and creates gardens for relaxation. These spaces allow occupants to enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle which maximizes contact with nature while minimizes disturbance to the site. + Design Unit Sdn Bhd Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Lin Ho Photography

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Green-roofed Cantilever House floats above the Malaysian rainforest

This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

April 21, 2017 by  
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From beneath this traditional thatched roof in the Netherlands emerges a stunning glass greenhouse. Lochem-based Maas Architecten conceived the Modern Countryside Villa as two contrasting volumes: an opaque, timber-clad space, and a transparent glass structure that lets the outside in. The Modern Countryside Villa, located on the edge of the town of Berlicum in North Brabant, has an H-shaped plan with contrasting wings that house different amenities. The timber-clad volume accommodates a garage and storage space , while a greenhouse-like structure protruding out from underneath the thatched roof functions as a studio space. The second wing houses the main living areas. The wooden volume in front of the living area houses a kitchen, pantry and toilet, while the master bedroom has direct access to the sheltered courtyard with a swimming pool and terrace. Related: DAPstockholm’s Energy-Efficient Villa Midgard is Nestled Into the Swedish Countryside The transparent parts of the house are sheltered by a grove of trees that lines the plot towards the nearby road. Large glazed surfaces provide an abundance of natural light and expansive views of the picturesque surroundings. + Maas Architecten Via Dezeen Photos by Edith Verhoeven Save

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This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

Huge "light cannons" funnel daylight deep within this ultra green eco city in China

April 20, 2017 by  
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Giant “light cannons” funnel natural light deep within this new high-tech “eco city” in China. NBBJ designed the Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Center as an incubator for innovative technology and environmental companies. To strengthen the project’s sustainability, the design team included green roofs , water retention systems, natural ventilation , responsive facades and geothermal conditioning. The Nanjing Eco-Tech Park includes an exhibition hall, research offices and residential buildings. The Exhibition Center welcomes visitors a they approach the island from downtown Nanjing. The peaks on the building’s roof each have an oculus that funnels natural light inside the structure. The complex consists of eight, pentagon-shaped office buildings with large interior courtyards. Related: Amazon’s biosphere domes are slowly taking shape in Seattle The architects conducted light studies to come up with optimal daylighting and shading strategies for different times of the day and year. Light gets diffused by the cone geometry of the light cannons, while the overhangs function as passive solar shading devices. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The Exhibition Center is the first structure to be built on the island, and it has received the MIPIM Asia Best Chinese Futura Project Bronze Award. + NBBJ Via World Architecture News Lead photo by Paul Dingman

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Huge "light cannons" funnel daylight deep within this ultra green eco city in China

Conservation group names America’s most endangered river

April 20, 2017 by  
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The Lower Colorado River is one of the United States’ most vital waterways. Besides providing drinking water to 30 million Americans in cities such as San Diego, Las Vegas, and Tucson, the river also irrigates about 90 percent of the country’s winter-vegetable supply. But it’s in danger of being tapped out, according to American Rivers , an environmental group named it the most “most endangered” river in the nation. The reason is a simple case of demand outpacing supply. Coupled with the trend of intensifying droughts, the Lower Colorado is being depleted faster than it can replenish itself. “The Lower Colorado is the lifeblood of the region and grows food for Americans nationwide, but the river is at a breaking point,” said Matt Rice, Colorado Basin director for American Rivers. “It is critical that the Trump administration and Congress support and fund innovative water management solutions.” Related: The EPA just spilled 1 million gallons of mustard-colored mine waste into a Colorado river Proposed federal cuts , plus Trump’s determination to roll back environmental regulations set by his predecessor, offer no recourse. “Americans must speak up and let their elected officials know that healthy rivers are essential to our families, our communities and our future,” Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, said. “We must take care of the rivers that take care of us” Other rivers under similar duress include California’s Bear River, Washington’s South Fork Skykomish River, and Alabama’s Mobile Bay Basin. Via U.S.A. Today Photos by Denny Armstrong and Sharon Mollerus

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Times Square now has double the public space

April 20, 2017 by  
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The most visited destination in the United States now has double the public space—an amazing feat unimaginable just ten years ago. When New York City temporarily closed part of Broadway Street at Times Square to traffic and created a pedestrian plaza in 2009, many dismissed the experiment as foolish. But the removal of cars in favor of public space proved an incredible success and with the pilot project turned permanent, Times Square was forever reinvented. Today, the city announced the official completion of their reconstruction project: a 2.5-acre permanent pedestrian-only public plaza on Broadway designed by architecture firm Snøhetta. With an average of 45 million visitors each year—many of who look up at the billboards instead of the path in front—Times Square is notorious for its pedestrian traffic. Before the addition of pedestrian plazas, the exposure to vehicular traffic, slow-moving pedestrians , and small sidewalks made visiting Times Square an unpleasant, polluted, and sometimes unsafe experience. However, with the re-direction of vehicular traffic and the return of public space to pedestrians, Times Square dramatically transformed into a welcoming civic space. Pedestrian injuries decreased by 40 percent and crime in the overall area decreased by 20 percent. Air pollution has even fallen by as much as 60 percent. This week marks the official opening of the completed Times Square reconstruction project, designed by Snøhetta and completed in 2016. Together with the NYC Department of Transportation , Department of Design and Construction, and the Times Square Alliance, the architecture firm carved 2.5 acres of pedestrian space out of a project site known as the “Bowtie” in the heart of the Times Square Theater District, bounded by Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets. The first phase of the pedestrian street opened to the public in spring 2014. An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers and visitors agreed that the plaza has enhanced Times Square and made it a more pleasant place. Related: Snøhetta Selected to Design A New Car-Free Times Square “Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” said Craig Dykers, Architect and Founding Partner of Snøhetta. The Bowtie is designed to accommodate multiple speeds of pedestrian circulation—330,000 people move through Times Square on average every day—using subtle design cues. Street furniture and other design elements also create a welcoming space to linger. Conceived as “an outdoor room right in the heart of Manhattan,” the plaza includes ten fifty-foot-long granite benches plugged into the city’s power grid and connected to 400-amp, 200-amp, and 20-amp power sources. The reconstruction project also allowed for major overhaul of outdated infrastructure, including the sewer lines below. + Snøhetta Images © Michael Grimm

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Floating ring-shaped memorial celebrates Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai

February 16, 2017 by  
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This ring-shaped memorial dedicated to internationally renowned Kenyan environmental political activist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, celebrates human rights and environmental conservation. Boogertman + Partners architects designed the circular form to emphasize the notion of “walks and talks”, solidifying Wangari’s enduring legacy. A long timber-decked route leads visitors over a body of water to the main entrance of the memorial located beneath the structural floating ring. The underside rests on the terrain which envelops an auditorium at the rear. The simple circular form unfolds the life of Wangari as a conversation en route, referencing her legacy and a childhood sense of wonder. Related: Inhabitat talks with NYC’s 9/11 Memorial designer Michael Arad The building houses the main exhibition space , library, conference centre and functional areas. The courtyard , enveloped by the ring, contains an amphitheater , a mausoleum and a subterranean space. + Boogertman + Partners  Via v2com

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Floating ring-shaped memorial celebrates Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai

"Extraordinary" levels of pollution found in deepest parts of the ocean

February 16, 2017 by  
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To paraphrase the immortal words of Diana Ross and the Supremes, ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough to keep us from mucking it up. Case in point? The Pacific Ocean’s Mariana and Kermadec trenches, both tens of thousands of feet deep, remain two of the planet’s most inaccessible reaches. But even they are not immune to environmental damage from humans. Samples of amphipods—tiny, shrimp-like scavengers who call these dark, impenetrable depths home—have revealed “extraordinary levels” of persistent organic pollutants , according to new research. These included long-banned or restricted chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, both of which are thought to cause neurological, immune, and reproductive issues, or even cancer. As published in the latest edition of Nature Ecology & Evolution , the findings offer a stark reminder of the extent of mankind’s impact. The Mariana and Kermadec trenches are 4,300 miles apart, yet toxic compounds were found “in all samples across all species at all depths in both trenches,” the researchers wrote. Startlingly, the amphipods they sampled contained levels of contamination similar to those found in Japan’s Suruga Bay, a hotbed of industrial pollution. In the Mariana, the highest levels of PCBs were 50 times more concentrated than those found in crabs living in flooded plains fed by one of China’s most tainted rivers. “We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” Alan Jamieson, a biologist from Newcastle University who led the study, said in a statement. Related: James Cameron completes historic dive into deepest point on the planet How the pollutants found their way into these extreme locales, which are characterized by immense pressure and a lack of light, is still a matter of conjecture, though the scientists have their suspicions. The chemicals may have found their way to the trenches through contaminated plastic waste and animal carcasses, which, like everything else in the ocean, eventually sink to the floor, where they’re devoured by resident fauna. Because pollutants accumulate through the food chain, by the time they reach the deep ocean, they’re many times more concentrated than they were in shallower waters. The compounds could recirculate back to the surface as scavengers like amphipods fall prey to larger predators. (To quote another song, it’s “the circle of life.”) “This research shows that far from being remote the deep ocean is highly connected to the surface waters. We’re very good at taking an ‘out of sight out of mind’ approach when it comes to the deep ocean but we can’t afford to be complacent,” Jamieson said. “The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants in one of the most remote and inaccessible habitats on earth really brings home the long term, devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet.” He added: “It’s not a great legacy that we’re leaving behind.” + Newcastle University

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Five small buildings and a shared courtyard create a stunning summerhouse in Denmark

January 4, 2017 by  
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This summer house is Denmark, built for a family of five and a dog, is split up into five separate buildings organized around a spacious courtyard . Jarmund/Vigsnæs Arkitekter drew inspiration from traditional farm buildings in order to provide privacy to each of the residents and create a variety of valuable open spaces where the family can come together and enjoy the outdoors. The house is located in a windy village on the northern tip of Sjælland, the largest and most populated island in Denmark . Laid out in a star shape, the five separate houses house different functions-there is a kitchen building, parents building, children’s building, guest building and utility building. Each of the volumes have roofs with different angles, while the ridges and cornices are kept on the same height. Related: Tiny Wedge-Shaped Writer’s Cottage Hangs Off a Hillside in Norway In addition to providing privacy to the occupants, this pavilion-like layout also has a practical purpose–it shields the courtyard from strong winds, thus enabling the family and their guests to spend more time outdoors. The roofs and walls of the buildings are clad with corrugated sheets of aluminium , the gable walls are clad with Siberian Larch, while the inner courtyard features dark stone paving to store heat from the day throughout the evening. + Jarmund/Vigsnæs Arkitekter Via Contemporist Photos by Torben Petersen

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Five small buildings and a shared courtyard create a stunning summerhouse in Denmark

Turkish dairy factory turns cheese production into a 360-degree experience

December 30, 2016 by  
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The Farm of 38° 30°, an iconic boutique dairy factory designed by architectural studios Slash Architects and Arkizon Architects , is more than a simple production space. The architects designed the building as a cheese showroom and museum that allows visitors to observe the production of cheese in a unique 360° space. The circular building encloses an inner courtyard from where visitors can observe all sequences of production. The main entrance leads guests to a green courtyard where cocktails and events are organized. Most spaces are transparent, with Corten steel sun blinds rendering those used by staff semi-transparent. Vertical slits carved into the exterior facade offer views of the surrounding countryside and allow natural light to reach the interior. Related: Foster + Partners unveils new winery for Château Margaux in Bordeaux The architects combined locally-sourced materials such as natural Afyon stone with Corten steel to emphasize the building’s contemporary industrial identity. This rich material palette lends an element of modernity to the facility’s monumental form. + Slash Architects + Arkizon Architects

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