Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi set to open in November

September 15, 2017 by  
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Jean Nouvel ‘s Louvre Abu Dhabi – the first universal museum in the Arab world – will open its doors to the public on November 11th. Nestled underneath a huge porous dome, the museum galleries will house an extensive collection of artworks, artifacts and loans from France’s top museums, with a particular focus on shared human stories across civilizations and cultures. The project is part of a 2007 intergovernmental agreement between France and the United Arab Emirates . Its 8,000 square feet of exhibition space will house permanent collections and temporary exhibits, combining artifacts and artworks from France’s top museums. Related: Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is a museum that is its own work of art The museum’s most distinctive feature is its vast dome comprised of almost 8,000 unique metal stars set in a complex geometric pattern. This porous structure filters sunlight and creates a ‘rain of light’ effect reminiscent of overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s oases. Two prestigious events coproduced under the French-Emirati Cultural Program will mark the inauguration week. These events were initiated over a year ago by the two countries and supported by the creative momentum generated by the Louvre Abu Dhabi. + Jean Nouvel + Louvre Abu Dhabi Images by Muhamed Somji

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Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi set to open in November

Sweden is putting stressed-out people in tiny glass ‘chillout cabins’

September 12, 2017 by  
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Can nature really be the cure for stress? Sweden wants to find out – so it’s sending five people in extremely stressful professions to spend three glorious days in beautiful glass-enclosed “ chillout cabins ” on an idyllic island. The 72 Hour Cabin program seeks to investigate the effects of nature on people’s well-being. Led by researchers Walter Osika and Cecilia Stenfors from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the case study explores how Allemansrätten (freedom to roam) affects people’s mental and physical health. The aim of the study is to spread awareness of the unique relationship the Swedish population has with nature , and encourage people around the world to spend more time bonding with Mother Nature. Related: Artist builds incredible stained-glass cabin in the middle of the woods “Year after year, Sweden takes first place in international rankings of countries with the best life quality. Swedish nature, which is clean, vast and easy to take part in, is a part of the secret.” the 72-hour website reads. “The Swedes’ unique relationship with nature is an important part of their well-being, which is why Sweden has created ‘The 72 Hour Cabin’. With the initiative, Sweden wants to acquaint visitors with the special bond that Swedes have with their natural environment, and invite the world to experience it themselves.” The lucky participants include a London broadcaster, a Parisian taxi driver, an event planner from New York, a German police officer, and a British travel journalist. Each will spend three days in their own cabin located on Henriksholm island in West Sweden, experiencing the Swedish “close to nature” lifestyle. All communication with the outside world will be forbidden. For the most part, the participants will be able to hike, fish, cook, swim, and generally enjoy their peaceful surroundings. Researchers will be on-site to measure their well-being based on stress levels, problem-solving ability, and creativity. The results of the study will be presented in October. The glass cabins were designed by Jeanna Berger and built with the help of Fridh & Hells Bygg AB Construction Company . Berger grew up on the island and used the beautiful area as inspiration for the design. The wood-framed structures – which are placed on pillars in order to leave a light footprint – were inspired by the traditional barns found in the area. + 72 Hour Cabin Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Maja Flink  

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Sweden is putting stressed-out people in tiny glass ‘chillout cabins’

Huge circular windows flood Melbourne’s Cirqua Apartments with natural light

August 18, 2017 by  
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Huge circular windows flood the interior of this funky apartment block in Melbourne with natural light. BKK Architects designed the Cirqua Apartments as a series of staggered volumes that reference the region’s historical housing while reinterpreting it in a modern way. The block occupies a steeply sloping site in a residential neighborhood in Melbourne. Its exterior is dominated by huge porthole windows that span almost the full height of the six cubes. The openings bring natural light into the interior and maximize the connection of the project to the surrounding garden. Related: 6,000 Circular Windows Flood Japan’s Kanazawa Library With Light The open-plan interiors feature a lot of natural materials and warm colors, with circular light fittings echoing the circular windows. White walls, marble and wood create a delicate visual balance. Beside its remarkable design features, the project also creates a precedent in the area’s multi-residential market. It was built to appeal to owner-occupiers rather than buy-to-let investors. + BKK Architects Via Dezeen Lead photo by Peter Bennetts

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Huge circular windows flood Melbourne’s Cirqua Apartments with natural light

South Africas first Green Star museum is an eco-friendly literary treasure

June 27, 2017 by  
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One of South Africa’s literary treasures has transformed into an eco-friendly gem. Designed by Intsika Architects , the National English Literary Museum is the first five-star Green Star-certified Public & Education building in the country. Located in the university town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, this eco-friendly museum meets impressive energy and water-saving targets, and also met social objectives through local job creation in construction. The 10,812-square-meter National English Literary Museum was completed in June 2016 for R145 million. Set with a park within a pedestrian-friendly area, the massive building is broken down into smaller elements, while selective massing responds to human scale. As a true community resource, the new library offers numerous public gathering spots and amenities such as a mini-theater, outdoor amphitheater , exhibition area, archives, library, and museum offices. Visual displays about the building’s sustainability initiatives teach visitors about the library’s water and energy savings, as well as green roof efficiency. To meet targets of reducing potable water consumption by more than 95% below benchmark, the library harvests and reuses rainwater from the roof for irrigation, toilet and urinal flushing; features xeriscaped indigenous landscaping to reduce irrigation needs; and installed water meters to monitor water consumption. Stormwater detention ponds capture and slowly release stormwater to prevent erosion in the river system. Daylighting is maximized indoors and a low-energy heat-recovery system provides cooling and heating simultaneously to different parts of the building. Where possible, materials were recycled and sourced locally, and include recycled rubber, recycled bamboo flooring, low-VOC paints, coconut mosaic wall cladding, and recycled plastic carpets. The green roof helps insulate the interior—the green-roofed archives tucked below ground don’t need air conditioning—and gabon walls and natural stone cladding used as thermal massing stabilize indoor temperatures. + Intsika Architects Images by Rob Duker

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South Africas first Green Star museum is an eco-friendly literary treasure

Amber-tinted glass clads Gienckes extraordinary concert hall in Latvia

April 22, 2017 by  
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At the heart of the building lies the Great Hall, a venue that holds up to 1,000 guests for performances by the resident Liepaja Symphony Orchestra or other acts. The space is primed for acoustic perfection and is visually pleasing as well. Sunlight is piped in via sun tubes to give the space a natural glow and the seats’ fabric mimic the variation in hues created by light shining through the amber glass. Related: The world’s first sustainable dance club opens in Rotterdam The hall is also home to the Liepaja Conservatorium, a ballet studio, and an experimental stage. Students and teachers of the arts can also meet and share their imaginative creations in the various instruction and rehearsal rooms available. For the public, a bar and music club attracts those interested in a night on the town and a dose of local culture. It’s no doubt the Great Amber Concert Hall will entertain and inspire for years to come. + Volker Giencke Via Frame Images via Indrikis Sturmanis and Aigars Prusis

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Amber-tinted glass clads Gienckes extraordinary concert hall in Latvia

Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

March 23, 2017 by  
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Toronto-based superkül architects designed a vacation home for a family of six transitioning back to Canada after living abroad. Set on the grassy plains of Mulmur, Ontario, the 4,300-square-foot dwelling is a striking all-white building that prioritizes low maintenance, natural light, and energy savings. The energy-efficient home was built in two phases, the first of which was certified LEED Gold . Created as a spacious weekend home, the Compass House comprises two volumes arranged in an L-shaped plan with multiple bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room at the heart. The dwelling was constructed with locally sourced fieldstone and other low-maintenance materials such as the white cement-board siding, aluminum windows, and steel roof. In contrast to the hardy, weatherproof exterior, the interior emanates warmth with white oak and knotty white cedar floors and walls. Related: Superkül Designs Canada’s First Active House Skylights and large windows fill the home with natural light and ventilation. The ample glazing also frames views of the varied landscape, from the forests to the west to the 100 acres of fields in the north and east. An outdoor courtyard extends the indoor spaces out. “Through its siting, tectonics and materiality, it balances intimacy and expansiveness, light and dark, land and sky — orienting and heightening one’s experience of the surrounding environment,” wrote the architects. Use of geothermal -powered heating and cooling, natural daylighting, passive ventilation, and high insulation values help keep energy demands low despite the building’s large size. Construction waste was also kept to a minimum. + Superkül Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Studio

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Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

Madison, Wisconsin commits to 100% renewable energy

March 23, 2017 by  
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Madison just became the first city in Wisconsin and the largest city in the Midwest to commit to 100 percent clean energy in just the latest example of how President Donald Trump can’t stop the renewables revolution. The state capital and college town is the 25th US city to commit to the transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy following Tuesday’s city council vote. The vote allocated $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 for city operations to achieve goals of 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, including electricity, heating and transportation. “Madison’s historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy shows that we are determined to lead the way in moving beyond fossil fuels that threaten our health and environment,” Madison Common Council Alder Zach Wood said in a statement. “The benefits of a transition to 100 percent clean energy are many. These goals will drive a clean energy economy that creates local jobs, provides affordable and sustainable electricity, and results in cleaner air and water. I am proud to be a part of this council that has made the historic commitment that will lead our community to a more sustainable future.” Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy Abita Springs, Louisiana also voted on Tuesday to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. The Sierra Club said that Madison and Abita Springs both committing to 100 percent clean energy demonstrates that there is bipartisan support across the country for a renewable energy future because liberal Madison voted for Hillary Clinton while conservative voters in Abita Springs went for Donald Trump. “Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy, and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs,” Greg Lemons, mayor of Abita Springs, said in a statement. “Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense. By establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal, we have an opportunity to use solar power that we can control in our community, for our community. Clean energy is a way that we can save money for Abita Springs both today and in the future.” Other American cities that have made the 100 percent renewable energy pledge include Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; the California cities of San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose; Rochester, Minnesota; St. Petersburg, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; East Hampton, New York; Greensburg, Kansas; and Georgetown, Texas. Via Sierra Club Image 1 , 2 via Good Free Photos

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Madison, Wisconsin commits to 100% renewable energy

Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces

February 27, 2017 by  
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Spark Architect’s Tent House is a seasonal shapeshifter. Situated close to Australia ’s famed Sunshine Coast, the house’s location in a rainforest clearing called for a unique design that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. Limited by the natural size of the clearing and surrounded by a forest wall, the tent home was carefully planned to make maximum use of all available space. A large, open area houses a kitchen , a dining area complete with an accommodating table, and a living “room”, all with a welcoming flow that makes the home ideal for entertaining and for family living. A continuous corridor links the common spaces to hang-out nooks and multiple bedrooms, including two situated at either end of the house that feature picturesque views of the surrounding greenery. Although the area generally welcomes warm temperatures year round, the house was crafted for easy transitioning according to weather. The homeowners can manually slide open walls to welcome the fresh air as they wish; the roof also retracts to reveal the translucent tent canopy and expansive sky above. The tent buffers the home from sun exposure while still allowing for plenty of light to filter through. The space between the tent and the box-like structure’s insulated roof  encourages natural air flow. In addition to offering shade, the pitched tent canopy extends the home’s boundaries for play and relaxation. With the walls/doors open, the entire house becomes an open-air sanctuary, a perfect exploration ground for children and adults. Nature surrounds the Tent House in the form of trees, a river, and a garden area, but it is also reflected within the sleek space: a warm wood floor inset brightens up the concrete floor, and underneath the bar area, wood panels peek out to contrast with the industrial metal counter. The ultimate result is a shelter that looks like our childhood camping dreams grew up and made room for family and friends to join in on the indoor/outdoor fun. Via Uncrate All images © Christopher Jones

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Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces

Architects tack massive, locally-sourced bluestone box onto old Victorian Home

January 6, 2017 by  
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In what certainly could never be called a subtle upgrade, Australian firm Hook Turn Architecture has tacked on a massive tessellated bluestone box to the backend of an old Victoria home in Brunswick East, a suburb just outside of Melbourne. Although the renovation process for the Quarry House called for retaining the original 1880s Victorian brick facade in the front, the architects decided to get playful with the back yard addition, plopping a locally-sourced bluestone cube with a gaping window on top of the original structure. The second story box is virtually undetected from the front of the house, but once around back, the new addition is quite the eye-catching feature. However, the large blue box does have a local significance. The architects chose to go bold with the bluestone in order to pay respectful homage to the surrounding area’s history of brick and bluestone quarrying . Related: Renovated Victorian House in Toronto combines the best of rural and urban living Using that as a starting point, the architects envisioned a design of two stacked boxes, one brick box on the ground floor that blended in nicely with the original brick structure , and one massive bluestone box on the upper floor. The top box extends out over the ground floor in order to provide the interior with shade during the hot summer months. As for the exterior of the stone box, a tessellated pattern was used to give the new addition some depth and character. The large window was carved out using folded zinc panels on the border to give off the appearance of eroded columnar basalt, leaving the window looking like gaping hole from the outside, but letting in optimal daylight into the new master bedroom. As for the rest of the home, the interior is daylit from a central courtyard built into the design. + Hook Turn Architecture Via Design Milk

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Architects tack massive, locally-sourced bluestone box onto old Victorian Home

Xomali House in Mexico City makes clever use of a tiny 115 square foot lot

January 5, 2017 by  
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DMP Aquitectura built the Xomali House on a tiny plot of land of just 115 square feet in Mexico City . They carefully designed it to make the most out of the reduced space while keeping material costs down. Filled with hidden storage everywhere and built with standard affordable materials like wood, ceramic tiles and concrete, the home also keeps the neighbors close with a communal courtyard .

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Xomali House in Mexico City makes clever use of a tiny 115 square foot lot

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