A hotel suite inside a shipping container hovers over the landscape in Brazil

October 16, 2019 by  
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Brazilian architecture firm Bruno Zaitter arquiteto has once again given new life to a shipping container with the Bosque Refuge, one of the Hotel Fazenda Cainã suites in Balsa Nova, Brazil. Fitted with massive walls of glass to blur the line between indoors and out, the modern suite immerses guests into nature with breathtaking views and a natural materials palette. The recycled container is elevated on stilts and carefully sited to minimize landscape impact. Nicknamed Baruch Spinoza after the famous 17th-century Dutch philosopher, the compact hotel suite measures 58 square meters and features an open floor plan. The building was strategically placed for both privacy and views — the suite backs into a large native forest in the southwest and opens up to dramatic mountain views on the northeast side. The 12-meter-long container was modified to include the washroom facilities on one end, the kitchen on the other and the bedroom and living area in the middle. The container footprint was expanded with a precast metal structure to make room for the living space, entrance and an outdoor seating area. Related: 3 stacked shipping containers create a diving tower in Denmark “The outer connection — nature — and interior — refuge — forms the main inducing element of the design process of the refuge,” explained Bruno Zaitter in a project statement. “The concept of causing minimal impact to the natural environment made it possible to reach the formal architectural party where the purity of the right angles of volumetry and the facades with few elements further value the living and dynamic atmosphere of the environment.” To soften the building’s appearance and to create a cozy atmosphere, timber was used to the line the interiors and exteriors. The green wash on the exterior facade helps the building blend into the forested landscape. + Bruno Zaitter arquiteto Via ArchDaily Photography by Sergio Mendonca and Ale Carnieri via Bruno Zaitter arquiteto

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A hotel suite inside a shipping container hovers over the landscape in Brazil

A striking new gateway to Copenhagen celebrates green transit and Danish design

October 14, 2019 by  
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Earlier this summer, Copenhagen officially opened Køge Nord Station, a stunning new transportation landmark that raises the bar for beautiful urban infrastructure. Designed by COBE and DISSING+WEITLING architecture , the transit hub features a futuristic 225-meter-long covered footbridge that connects the new double-track high-speed rail line between Copenhagen and the city of Ringsted with the existing commuter urban-suburban S-train line. The 9-meter-wide footbridge spans the width of the Køge Bugt Highway and is punctuated with multiple windows to provide 180-degree panoramic views of the highway and the cultural landscape. Completed in less than three years after its groundbreaking, the Køge Nord Station is the result of an international competition that drew 38 submissions from around the world. Described by COBE and DISSING+WEITLING architecture as a “unique example of Danish architecture and engineering,” the firms’ winning design includes a vision plan, a train station, parking and transit facilities and the project’s crown jewel — the eye-catching covered footbridge . Installed in six sections, the footbridge is clad in 48,000 square meters of anodized aluminum panels and can carry up to 1,800 people. Related: Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagen’s harbor To provide a comfortable and attractive commuter experience for the 8,000 passengers expected to use the station daily, the interior of the covered bridge is lined with cozy timber and emphasizes a sense of continuous flow with curvaceous lines and open views to the north as well as with smaller south-facing apertures in the interior wood panels.  ”People spend many hours of their life in transit ,” said Jesper B. Henriksen, architect and partner at DISSING+WEITLING architecture. “That’s why we sought to give the footbridge a quality that goes beyond the purely functional and practical. The interior space is covered with wooden slats that provide a warm, tactile experience in transit and waiting situations. It is, quite simply, a welcoming and inviting space, unlike what you often see in stations and transport facilities. The interior space is contrasted by the smooth, cool aluminum exterior that enters into a dialogue with the infrastructural expression of the place.” + COBE + DISSING+WEITLING architecture Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST via COBE

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A striking new gateway to Copenhagen celebrates green transit and Danish design

This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive

August 27, 2019 by  
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Every gardener and plant enthusiast knows that plants grow best with access to sunlight, either direct or indirect. But one German company has expanded the options for people and places that don’t have access to plenty of light with the Mygdal Plantlight. Nui Studio designed the vessel to provide all the moisture and light a plant needs — it can successfully grow plants in a sunless urban basement or even in the long dark days of northern winter. With temperature control and easy setting adjustments, the Mygdal Plantlight is an option for every home or office. The combination of design and technology means plants receive optimal water and light for the perfect growing conditions. The glass-enclosed hanging pendant is hermetically sealed, creating a circular ecosystem so plants do not require watering. The cycle of condensation and evaporation provides enough moisture for the plants to thrive. Related: Rotating indoor garden grows up to 100 herbs and vegetables every month LED lights provide both light and adequate warmth to feed the environment and the plants. Schedule when and how long you want your plant to receive light. Plus, the Mygdal Plantlight serves as an attractive, additional source of light for any room. Adjustments for length of sunlight, intensity and even the color is controlled by a smartphone or tablet without the need to open the vessel. If you do need to access the plants, the pendant’s aluminum disc bottom is easy to remove. The Mygdal Plantlight offers versatility with a variety of plants ranging from lush to jungle to zen styles. The unit comes in two sizes for visual and spacial variety, and plants can easily be replaced when you’re ready for a change. The studio said, “The combination of plants and light inside Mygdal’s mouth-blown, hand-finished glass shade creates a soothing atmosphere. Its name is a tribute to glassmaker Peter Kuchinke from Mygdal in northern Denmark and means, loosely translated, ‘fertile soil.’” Nui Studio maintains a philosophy that a marriage between traditional craft and modern technology combined with regional manufacturing produces timeless and multifunctional furniture for everyone to enjoy. + Nui Studio Via Yanko Design Images via Nui Studio

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This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive

Casa I combines traditional courtyard typology with modern construction in Chile

August 27, 2019 by  
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Santiago-based architects Alfredo Thiermann and Sebastián Cruz of architecture office Thiermann Cruz Arquitectos have completed a home that celebrates Chile’s once-popular courtyard housing typology — a residential style that has faded away in popularity since the second half of the 19th century. Rooted in a tradition of embracing outdoor space, the residence — simply dubbed Casa I — is also decidedly modern in design and construction and makes use of prefabricated elements such as cross-laminated timber and precast concrete panels. Spanning an area of 300 square meters, Casa I is located in a former suburb of Santiago on a lot that has been subdivided into three smaller pieces due to the pressures of urban densification. To make the most of its 20-by-40-meter site, the residence was conceived as a long and rectangular volume that, unlike its more conventionally designed neighbors, is flanked by usable outdoor space on all sides.  Related: A 1970 home gets a modern, light-filled revamp in Santiago Sliding and pivoting glazed doors blur the line between the indoors and outdoors and create a seamless connection to the courtyards to make the home feel much larger than its footprint suggests. The open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen also features sliding doors for a flexible layout. In contrast to its exposed concrete base and prefabricated black concrete paneling, the interior of the light-filled home feels warm and inviting thanks to the use of timber throughout. “Each interior space is connected, at least, with two exteriors, which are treated simultaneously as interiors though their large built furniture and materiality,” the architects explained. “Negotiating the irregular shape of the plot with the regular geometry of the house, its limit is set back a few meters behind the property line, and a walled courtyard elbows out from the continuous line defining the sidewalk. Overcoming the regulations promoting a garden city, the facade becomes a walled courtyard, bringing life to the edge of the otherwise lifeless suburban street.” + Thiermann Cruz Arquitectos Photography by Erieta Attali and William Rojas via Thiermann Cruz Arquitectos

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Casa I combines traditional courtyard typology with modern construction in Chile

Glowing, celestial-inspired shelter communes with nature in Denmark

August 8, 2019 by  
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The Munkeruphus Art Museum on the coast of Denmark has recently gained a striking new addition — the Observatory, an organic pavilion by Danish designer Simon Hjermind Jensen . The commission, which was supported by the Danish Arts Foundation and Knud Højgaards Fond, marks the start of the museum’s long-term vision for integrating art and nature-related projects on its grounds. Crafted with 3D modeling and CNC technology, the curvaceous pavilion has a cave-like interior that encourages visitors to gather within and reconnect with nature. When Jensen received the commission for the project, he started the design process with a 24-hour stay on the site to observe the landscape conditions from dawn to dusk as well as the trajectories of the sun and the moon. The site-specific study inspired the placement of the Observatory as well as the architectural design, which began with a ceramic model he crafted on-site. Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork Back at his studio, Jensen refined his concept with additional ceramic models before overlaying a construction pattern on top that was 3D-scanned for computer modeling . Finally, the pavilion shell was CNC-cut from plywood and polycarbonate, bent into place and fastened together with custom, leaf-inspired joinery. Thanks to parametric modeling, the Observatory is optimized for strength and material use. Measuring nearly 19 feet in height, the Observatory features an asymmetrical teardrop shape topped with an oculus angled toward the south, framing views of the moon and creating more access to natural light . Inside, the curved interior is weighed down by a gravel floor and includes a built-in wooden bench that accommodates 25 people as well as a concrete podium. The central fire pit, when lit, makes the pavilion glow at night. “Like the characters of our surroundings changes and shift from day to night, the Observatory changes too, especially when a bonfire is lit after nightfall.” Jensen said. “The inside spatial experience changes with the light coming from the ground and, seen from the outside, the upper part glows in a pink color created from the light from the flames.” + Simon Hjermind Jensen Images via Simon Hjermind Jensen

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Glowing, celestial-inspired shelter communes with nature in Denmark

Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes

June 21, 2019 by  
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Copenhagen-based architectural firm COBE has just unveiled what are possibly the most beautiful and sustainable electric vehicle charging stations in the world. Built entirely from recyclable materials and powered by solar energy, these ultra-fast charging stations not only recharge a vehicle in just 15 minutes but also offer drivers a welcoming place to rest and relax. The first COBE-designed EV charging station was installed on the E20 motorway in the Danish city of Fredericia, with 47 more planned along Scandinavian highways: seven more in Denmark, 20 in Sweden and 20 in Norway. Created in partnership with Powered by E.ON Drive & Clever, the COBE-designed EV charging station consists of a series of “trees” made primarily from certified wood. The tree-inspired structures feature a canopy that provides shade and protection from the elements, while also providing space for a green roof and solar panels. The modular structures are scalable so that multiple “tree” structures can be combined into a “grove.” The Fredericia charging station features a “grove” of 12 “trees” with a 400-square-meter canopy. The Danish Society for Nature Conservation helped select the plantings that surround the charging station to enhance biodiversity and create a calming, “zen-like” atmosphere radically different from a traditional gas station setting. Related: World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden “ Electric vehicles are the way of the future,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE. “With our design, we offer EV drivers a time-out and an opportunity to mentally recharge in a green oasis. The energy and the technology are green, so we wanted the architecture, the materials and the concept to reflect that. So, we designed a charging station in sustainable materials placed in a clean, calm setting with trees and plantings that offer people a dose of mindfulness on the highway.” The firm’s design of the ultra-fast EV charging station won the infrastructure award of the 2018 Danish Building Awards and is being implemented across Scandinavia with support from EU Commission projects Connecting Europe Facility and High Speed Electric Mobility Across Europe. + COBE Images via COBE and Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

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TREDJE NATUR proposes angled timber housing that meets UNs sustainability goals

June 13, 2019 by  
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Copenhagen-based architectural firm TREDJE NATUR has unveiled an urban housing proposal that ticks all the right boxes for beautiful and sustainable design. Created to follow the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals — a blueprint of 17 goals ranging from affordable and clean energy to responsible consumption and production — TREDJE NATUR’s proposed mixed-use development is estimated to save 30 to 50 percent of carbon emissions compared to conventional housing construction. Named “New Angle” after the timber townhouses’ sharply pitched rooflines, the site-specific housing development emphasizes safe and low-carbon community living, biodiversity, flexibility and protection from the elements and traffic noise. Created as part of a feasibility study for the Copenhagen Metropolitan Area, New Angle comprises nearly 130,000 square feet of housing and a little over 160,000 square feet of office space. The development has been proposed for a commercial site sandwiched between two different motorways and a ring road. TREDJE NATUR’s design is a direct response to the site conditions, particularly the noise nuisances from surrounding traffic. The layout and shape of the houses create an inward-looking development that ensures optimized daylighting for all residents, ample green space and protection from traffic noise. Set on a parking plinth, the townhouses are arranged in an L-shaped ring with steeply sloped roofs angled toward the central common green space that can be used for urban gardening and recreation. The angle of the roof profiles not only shields residents from traffic noise, but also allows for integrated solar panels with maximum performance and rainwater collection systems. The renderings show the housing would be built primarily from timber with a strong emphasis on the outdoors and neighborly connection. Related: World’s first upcycled high-rise is proposed for Copenhagen “The CO2 savings happen through the building design, choice of materials, systematic solutions, focus on climate and biodiversity and overall by creating a framework for a strong community and a sustainable lifestyle,” explained the architects, who said the design is a more sustainable alternative to the conventional multistory building. “Apart from significant CO2 savings, calculations also show that the project is economically sustainable and can be constructed with low establishment costs compared to similar housing units.” + TREDJE NATUR Images via TREDJE NATUR

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Free at last: Canada passes Act to prohibit dolphin and whale captivity

June 13, 2019 by  
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This week, Canada’s parliament passed a long awaited Act that will prohibits whales, dolphins and porpoises from being bred or contained in captivity. Originally proposed in 2015 by then Senator Wilfred Moore from Nova Scotia, the legislation received broad support from the public and considerable pressure from animal rights groups. “Nothing fantastic ever happens in a hurry. But today we celebrate that we have ended the captivity and breeding of whales and dolphins. This is news to splash a fin at,” Humane Canada said in a tweet. The Senate voted to pass the “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act” last year, and on Monday the House of Commons finally approved the legislation. The fine for breaking the new law is about $150,000. Related: German circus goes cruelty gree by replacing animals with holograms The legislation does contain exceptions, including mammals that are already held in captivity, those contained for injury rehabilitation and those held for licensed scientific research. Hopefully, these exceptions will have effective oversight that will not lead the way for companies to exploit as loopholes. The legislation will impact a few sites in Canada, including Marineland, which currently has 61 whales, dolphins and an orca. Marineland originally opposed the Act but has since agreed to go along with the legislation. The Act will also impact the Niagara Falls Amusement Park and a zoo . The Vancouver Aquarium also announced last year that it would no longer display dolphins and whales after public pressure. “The public told us they believed the continuing importation and display of these intelligent and sociable mammals was unethical and incompatible with evolving public opinion and we amended our bylaws accordingly,” said the Vancouver Park Board in a statement. In the U.S., amusement parks like SeaWorld continue to host dolphin shows despite protests . Animal rights activists have been campaigning for this change in Canada and throughout the world under the hashtags #freewilly and #emptythetanks. Via NPR Image via skeeze

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Free at last: Canada passes Act to prohibit dolphin and whale captivity

US stops Arctic Council joint statement over climate change language

May 8, 2019 by  
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On May 7, the Arctic Council released a statement of various priorities, but for the first time it could not publish a joint declaration, reportedly due to push-back from the U.S. over climate change language. The Arctic Council is comprised of indigenous leaders and eight nations, including the U.S., Canada, Finland, Russia, China, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland. After meetings in Rovaniemi, Finland, the group released its disjointed statement, but it could not agree on a declaration of urgent challenges and strategies for the next two years. “A majority of us regarded climate change as a fundamental challenge facing the Arctic and acknowledged the urgent need to take mitigation and adaptation actions and to strengthen resilience,” the chair of the meeting, Finnish Minister Timo Soini, said in the statement. Minister Soini refused to point fingers at which nations would not acknowledge climate change as a fundamental challenge. Related: 1 million species are at risk of extinction, says new UN report Indigenous leaders argue that climate change is indeed the most pressing issue in the Arctic and should be a primary focus. Scientists suggest that temperatures are rising twice as fast  fast in the Arctic region than in the rest of the world. Melting ice is contributing to sea level rise in low-lying countries, but it is also creating new shipping routes and opening access to undiscovered oil reserves. The Arctic contains 13 percent of the world’s untapped oil and 30 percent of natural gas reserves. This fossil fuel wealth makes it a controversial region, and development there is highly sought after, particularly by world powers like the U.S., China and Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed too many versions of the declaration as the reason the Council could not reach an consensus, and spent most of his floor time pointing fingers at Russia and China for going against previous agreements and rendering them ineffective. + Arctic Council Via Reuters Image via  Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard / U.S. Geological Survey

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Former concrete factory is reborn as a unique music-inspired high school in Denmark

February 26, 2019 by  
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Dutch architecture firm MVRDV and Denmark-based COBE Architects have just finished construction on the Roskilde Festival Folk High School, an unconventional school built inside a former concrete factory in Roskilde’s Musicon creative district just outside Copenhagen. Created to further the “lifelong learning” values of the world-famous Roskilde Music Festival that takes place every year in the small town, the high school follows an immersive and “non-formal adult education” championed by the Danish system of folk high schools and is the first purpose-built school of its kind in Denmark in 50 years. The Roskilde Festival Folk High School marks the final phase of the 11,000-square-meter ROCKmagneten masterplan, also designed by MVRDV and COBE, and includes the school — set inside a former concrete factory — two new modular blocks of student housing, a building for staff housing and a series of adaptable shipping container-based structures that will host an ever-changing group of innovative startups, many related to the music and youth culture. To complement Musicon’s creative character, the buildings are fitted with playful geometric shapes and vibrant colors along with different materials inspired by the music festival. “Our design, just like the school itself, was inspired by the spirit of the Roskilde Festival . It is all about music, art, activism — but most of all, freedom,” says Jacob van Rijs, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. “The Roskilde festival combines ‘having a good time’ with innovation in an informal way, giving a special vibe that we wanted to capture in the design of the interior of the school.” Related: COBE Architects to transform Copenhagen’s Paper Island into a bustling cultural hub For the school, the architects used a “box-within-a-box” concept to divide the factory’s large industrial space into smaller usable spaces. The colorful modules can be used for a variety of programming including a 150-seat auditorium  — named the Orange Stage after the main stage of the Festival — a music studio, a workshop, and classrooms for dance, art and architecture. The recently completed school and housing joins the rock museum Ragnarock, completed in 2016, that’s wrapped in a striking facade of gold-colored aluminum in an expression of youth culture. + MVRDV + COBE Architects Images by Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST and Ossip van Duivenbode

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