This minimalist timber writers studio in Switzerland is suspended in mid-air

July 18, 2018 by  
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Most writers need a quiet space to gather their thoughts and work. Tapping into this need for solitude, Oslo-based Rintala Eggertsson Architects designed ‘In Praise of Shadows,’ a minimalist writer’s studio  built primarily of timber and suspended in the air on the grounds of the Maison de l’Écriture, a literature institute in Montricher, Switzerland. The compact timber cabin takes inspiration from the cross in the Swiss coat of arms for its geometric form and is lifted into the air beneath a curvaceous and porous roof. The In Praise of Shadows cabin was developed as part of the Maison de l’Écriture’s writer’s residency program. Rintala Eggertsson Architects was invited — along with 16 other architecture practices — to take part in an international design competition; a total of six designs were chosen. Rintala Eggertsson Architects’ studio was built with a structural steel frame fitted with three layers of insulation to ensure energy efficiency. The cladding and the interior walls were made entirely from lightweight timber. “Shaping a space for a writer is a demanding task, as it has to stimulate the creative process on one hand and represent a firm framework for the physical needs on the other,” Rintala Eggertsson Architects said. “These seemingly distant opposites don’t need to out-compete each other, but rather enter into a dialogue where the shift from black to white is a journey in itself. In our design proposal, we tried to emphasize this connection between the bodily functions of the inhabitant and the mental tasks he or she will take on.” Related: Dreamy light-filled writer’s studio pops up in a lush Brooklyn garden The interior is split into four half-levels with floor space varying from 86 square feet to 183 square feet. The service areas, which include the water and heating equipment, are located on the lowest level. The toilet and kitchen are placed on the next half-level near the entrance, while the living room is just above. The writer’s room can be found on the top-most floor. The cabin’s windows were carefully oriented to allow natural light and views while preserving privacy. + Rintala Eggertsson Architects Images by Valentin Jeck

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This minimalist timber writers studio in Switzerland is suspended in mid-air

Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii’s coastline with the birth of a new island

July 18, 2018 by  
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Mount Kilauea may have disappeared from the news for a while, but it isn’t done surprising us yet: the Hawaiian volcano has officially created a new island in the Pacific Ocean. Geologists working at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have reported the appearance of a tiny islet, measuring 20-30 feet in diameter, off the eastern shore of Hawaii . The new island was first seen by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) when it conducted a fly-by of the volcanic area on Friday, July 13. Records from the USGS mark the island’s inception and official birth date as July 12. As of Monday, July 16, the baby island has been declassified, forced to abandon its status after a tether to the mainland developed over the weekend. The official term for the new congealed lava structure is ‘tumulus’. Tumuli evolve as slow-moving molten lava forces newly formed crust upward. Related: Hawaii’s Kilauea is creating its own weather The most reasonable explanation for the accumulation is the overflowing of lava from the volcano’s East Rift Zone. This molten river has continued its advance into the ocean for over a month, creating a submerged segment of new-but-unstable territory that stretches almost a half-mile outwards from Hawaii’s shoreline. Other scientists attribute the new island to Fissure 8, the most active of Kilauea’s volcanic fissures. In the future, it would be no surprise to see more changes to Hawaii’s coast. Kilauea, whose name means ‘spewing’ in Hawaiian, has been continuously erupting since 1983, with records dating back to the early 1800s. In fact, Kilauea tops the charts as one of the most active volcanoes in the world despite being one of Hawaii’s youngest. The 2018 eruption marks Kilauea’s 61st official incident. Regardless of the newbie island’s complicated classification status, Hawaii will eventually boast a newer, slightly larger coastline for tourists and environmental enthusiasts to admire. In fact, many visitors have already posted selfies with the volcano on social media despite warnings against it. However, it’s safe to assume that most of us are waiting for a less perilous way to explore Hawaii’s new treasures. Perhaps a good old Google Maps update is in order? + USGS Via Earther Images via USGS

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Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii’s coastline with the birth of a new island

Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store glows like a paper lantern in Macau

July 10, 2018 by  
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Foster + Partners has unveiled a new Apple Store in Macau  — and it’s very different from the all-glass buildings we’ve come to expect from the company. In response to the hustle and bustle of the port city known as the “Las Vegas of Asia,” the British international architecture studio crafted Apple Cotai Central as an oasis of calm housed in a glowing cube surrounded by bamboo. Instead of the Apple brand’s iconic full-height glazing, the architects applied a “first-of-its-kind” glass-stone composite facade that appears to glow from within. Located in the Sands Cotai Central resort, the Apple Cotai Central store opened late last month and is the second Apple store in Macau. Foster + Partners created the design in collaboration with the Apple design team led by chief design officer Sir Jonathan Ive as well as with senior vice presidency of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts. The new store continues Apple’s embrace of POPS (privately owned public spaces) in that the grounds also include a large new event plaza nestled within a bamboo forest. “We wanted to create something very simple and pure — a beautiful and elegant building that complements the sounds, sights and colors of Macau, while embodying a sense of clarity and quietude,” said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners. “The design creates two distinct spaces, one inside and one outside, imbued with a sense of authentic beauty arising from the innovative use of natural materials .” Related: Foster + Partners’ Apple Park Visitor Center opens to the public The Apple Cotai Centra gets its “paper lantern” effect from the glass-stone composite facade made up of extremely thin layers of stone attached to five layers of glass, which creates the effect of translucent stone walls evocative of stained glass. To achieve a sense of lightness, the structural frame is only supported on three corner columns clad in mirrored stainless steel. The airy interior features a glazed facade with a skylit central atrium surrounded by bamboo. A pair of grand stone staircases leads to the upper level that is also flooded with natural light. + Foster + Partners Images by Nigel Young/Foster+Partners

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Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store glows like a paper lantern in Macau

Krill fishers partner with Greenpeace to protect Antarctic wildlife

July 10, 2018 by  
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An unlikely alliance has formed between krill fishing companies and environmental protection groups over a common cause: protecting the Antarctic Ocean and its marine life. Greenpeace is teaming with members of the Association for Responsible Krill Harvesting (ARK) to ensure wildlife sustainability of the southern ice cap. The agreement was announced during the Greenpeace Antarctic 360° event in Cambridge. The individual fishing companies honoring the agreement are all ARK members, representing 85 percent of the Antarctic krill harvesting industry. Related: The world’s largest wildlife sanctuary proposed for Antarctica Under the pact, the fisherman will honor “buffer zones” in known penguin breeding grounds in order to protect the wildlife. In addition, major portions of the Antarctic Peninsula will be out-of-bounds for the ARK membership. The partnership will also see ARK support scientific endeavors to study the area’s natural inhabitants. Working with scientists and environmental organizations, the groups will end fishing operations in environmentally sensitive areas, permanently closing these locations to fishing in 2020. The prohibition is part of a plan to create permanent protection zones throughout the Antarctic and reduce the potential for wildlife damage . The movement to protect Antarctic wildlife has grown in popularity in the last decade. According to Greenpeace, more than 1.7 million people worldwide have signed the organization’s petition to create stricter protections and maintain wildlife conservation in the southernmost waters. Krill is an important part of the Antarctic ecosystem . The shrimp-like crustacean is a food source for many of the South Pole’s animals, including whales, penguins and seals. By creating the wide protection zones, both Greenpeace and ARK hope to ensure long-term sustainability for animals. “Through our commitment we are showing that it is possible for no-fish zones and sustainable fisheries to co-exist,” Kristine Hartmann, executive vice president at krill fishing company Aker BioMarine, said in a statement. “We are positive that ARK’S commitment will help ensure krill as a sustainable and stable source of healthy omega-3s for the future.” The ARK-Greenpeace partnership is one part of a global plan to help preserve marine life. The multi-nation Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources will meet in October to decide on sanctuary status for parts of the ocean. + Greenpeace Via  The Guardian Image of krill via Uwe Kils

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Krill fishers partner with Greenpeace to protect Antarctic wildlife

Old shipping container repurposed as a 40-foot-tall parking booth

July 10, 2018 by  
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Columbus, Ohio is now home to what is probably the world’s most unique parking booth. The firm behind the design, JBAD architects , turned an old shipping container  on its end to create a 40-foot-tall red tower that provides a striking contrast with the surrounding buildings. The new city landmark will be used as a parking attendant booth but has additional flexible space that could be used for a variety of services. Glowing bright red in the evening time, the shipping container tower was designed to stand out against the existing Columbus skyline. According to the architects, “This tower presents the parking booth as a new tower on the city’s skyline, realized at a scale both tall and small, its proportions and monolithic nature mimicking the office towers that surround it.” Related: 3 stacked shipping containers create a diving tower in Denmark The architects refurbished the  reclaimed shipping container  off-site to complete its transformation into a glowing “MicroTower.” As part of the renovation, the architects painted the structure a bright crimson with various lights that turn the MicroTower into a beacon in the night. To outfit the first floor as a proper booth, they installed a polycarbonate lift-and-fold garage door that acts as a shading canopy when open. The structure’s bottom floor was specifically designed to provide enough space for the parking booth attendant to keep an eye on the parking lot. The south and west facades of the shipping container tower have windows that overlook the entire parking area. However, there is plenty of space for other uses. As it is currently, the entire booth only takes up two-thirds of the MicroTower’s total floor space. The rest of the ground floor was left vacant to be used for a variety of services, including food, coffee takeout or bike storage. + Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design (JBAD) Via Dezeen Photography by Brad Feinknopf

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Old shipping container repurposed as a 40-foot-tall parking booth

Snarkitectures mind-bending Fun House opens at the National Building Museum

July 6, 2018 by  
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In Washington D.C., a massive, mind-bending Fun House has taken over the National Building Museum to offer an interactive experience that easily lives up to the exhibition’s name. Created by New York-based collaborative design practice Snarkitecture , Fun House is the latest installment in the Museum’s Summer Block Party series of temporary structures. The exhibition also commemorates Snarkitecture’s ten-year history and showcases 42 of the firm’s projects using the framework of a traditional American house. Located in the Museum’s historic Great Hall, Fun House is an all-white interactive installation that comprises a two-story freestanding house with a front and back yard. “A lot of Snarkitecture’s work is about surprise, wonder and disbelief,” explains Italy-based curator Maria Cristina Didero, who worked with the architects to capture the essence of their decade-long work, which has focused on reinterpreting everyday materials in an imaginative new light and challenging people to rethink their surroundings. “We wanted to think back to basics,” continues Didero. “And then, we thought, what is more basic than a house? So, Fun House follows the look of a traditional American house…but if you walk in you’ll see that nothing is as it should be.” Related: Amazing Hive comes alive with sights and sounds in Washington, D.C. Stripped of all color, the all-white Fun House plays with texture and the element of surprise throughout. The installation begins at the front yard, where massive upholstered letter-shaped benches that spell out ‘Fun House’ are scattered in reference to the firm’s 2012 project ‘A Memorial Bowing.’ Behind a white picket fence is the main house, a simple gabled structure which would look fairly normal – that is, if the entrance weren’t completely chiseled away. The doorway, as well as the foyer, is a reinterpretation of Snarkitecture’s 2011 ‘Dig’ project; it explores the architecture of excavation with EPS architectural foam carved away with hammers, picks and chisels to cavernous effect. The EPS foam material will be returned to the manufacturer and recycled at the end of the exhibition. More oddities abound inside the home, which consists of the traditional sequence of rooms including a hallway, playroom, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, study and living room—each carefully crafted to evoke familiarity and surprise while paying homage to Snarkitecture’s past projects. Highlights include the bedroom’s ‘Light Cavern,’ an ethereal space that comprises 30,000 suspended strips of perforated white fabric to elicit porosity and translucency; ‘The Beach Chair’ bathtub ball pit, a throwback to Snarkitecture’s 2015 ‘The Beach’ installation at the National Building Museum; the study that serves as a showroom for various iconic works like the ‘Fractured’ bench and ‘Bearbrick’ sculpture; and the living room that’s made up of giant inflated tubes bundled together to form a ceiling—a reimagined version of the 2012 ‘Drift’ pavilion for Design Miami —and a playful small-scale version of their 2016 ‘Pillow Fort’ down below. Related: Gigantic swimmable ball pit takes over D.C.’s National Building Museum The most popular space, however, is undoubtedly the backyard, where ‘The Beach’ is reimagined as a circular kiddie pool and a larger kidney-shaped pool. Recyclable balls with anti-microbial coatings fill the pools to serve as ball pits shallow enough for kids yet large enough to entertain adults. White astroturf, lounge seating, umbrellas, and a picket fence surround the pools to finish off the relaxing, beach-like setting. “Fun House represents a unique opportunity for us to bring together a number of different Snarkitecture-designed interiors, installations, and objects into a single, immersive experience, ” said Alex Mustonen, co-founder of Snarkitecture. “Our practice aims to create moments that make architecture accessible and engaging to a wide, diverse audience. With that in mind, we are excited to invite all visitors to the National Building Museum to an exhibition and installation that we hope is both unexpected and memorable.” As with the National Building Museum’s previous Summer Block Party installations—which have included collaborations like ‘Hive’ by Studio Gang (2017) and the BIG Maze by Bjarke Ingels Group (2014)—Fun House will be accompanied by a series of programs and events, from behind-the-scenes construction tours to pop-up talks hosted during “Late Nights” on Wednesdays. Visitors will be given a one-hour timed entry ticket to explore Fun House. The ticket includes access to all of the National Building Museum’s exhibitions, including the not-to-be-missed ‘Secret Cities’ exhibit, which explores the history of the Manhattan Project secret cities from their design and construction to daily life inside them and their lasting influences on the American architectural landscape. Fun House concludes on September 3, 2018. + Snarkitecture + National Building Museum Images by Lucy Wang

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Snarkitectures mind-bending Fun House opens at the National Building Museum

Hurricane-resistant home uses resilient boat-building techniques to weather the storm

June 28, 2018 by  
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In the wake of Hurricane Sandy , American firm Specht Architects designed the Beach Haven House, a contemporary home built to withstand hurricanes and harsh weather. Crafted with boat-building techniques and materials, the resilient beachfront house in New Jersey’s Long Beach Island serves as a weekend getaway for a family of five. The elevated 2,500-square-foot home is wrapped in two types of cedar siding and features a fiberglass roof, stainless steel exterior components and large panes of hurricane-grade glass that frame views of the surroundings. When Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast U.S., Specht Architects had already started on a renovation project in New Jersey’s Beach Haven community. In the wake of the superstorm however, new beachfront regulations enacted by FEMA forced the architects to begin the design anew in order to meet revised requirements. “The challenge was to create something open and light-filled that takes advantage of its beautiful setting, yet uses every available square inch of buildable area allowed by law,” explained Specht Architects, citing the many code-regulated square-footage and height restrictions. The home is elevated on stilts to comply with FEMA’s Base Flood Elevation and sits atop a carport lined with gravel. To allow the home to embrace the outdoors, the architects added large windows, balconies and tear-away panels. A stairway on the south side of the home leads up to the second floor that primarily houses the communal areas. An open-plan kitchen, dining room and living area — which also open up to a shaded balcony — occupy much of this floor. The second floor also consists of a flex room that can be used as an en suite guest room or office space, a TV lounge area and a hot tub. Related: Specht Architects’ Sundial House is a sculptural extension of the desert landscape On the side of the living area is a sculptural open tread timber staircase that leads up to the third floor and overlooks views of the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows. On the east side of the upper floor is the en suite master bedroom that connects to a balcony and faces sunrise ocean views. The floor also houses three children’s bedrooms — each uniquely styled like a “ship’s cabin” — and a shared bathroom on the far west side. + Specht Architects Images by Taggart Sorensen

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Hurricane-resistant home uses resilient boat-building techniques to weather the storm

New resilient waterfront park helps protect NYC from storm surges

June 28, 2018 by  
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Waterfront parks have been springing up all over New York City, including in Long Island City, where Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park just completed its second phase this week. Designed by SWA/Balsley in collaboration with Weiss/Manfredi , this resilient stretch of parkland replaces 11 acres of abandoned industrial sites and boasts spectacular views of Manhattan’s skyline. In addition to a wide array of recreational facilities and equipment, the park was also integrated with salt marshes and native plantings that serve as a natural line of defense against extreme weather and storm surges. As New York City moves full-speed ahead on reclaiming the waterfront for the public, Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park joins an impressive lineup of post-industrial parks including the recently completed Domino Park in Brooklyn . Crafted to feel like New York City’s newest “island,” the new park features lush habitat as well as recreational and cultural features, like New York-based artist Nobuho Nagasawa’s ‘Luminescence’ land art installation. The landscape was sculpted in response to projected flooding patterns and rising water levels of the East River. “It’s a new kind of park,” said lead landscape architect Tom Balsley of SWA/Balsley, for whom the $100 million park project has been 25 years in the making. “Hunter’s Point South is at once resilient infrastructure and contemplative retreat — a dynamic, living platform with extraordinary power to touch the daily lives of so many people.” Related: 10 landscape design projects that turned neglected spaces into incredible parks The first phase, located closer to the ferry terminal, was completed in 2013 and serves as the more active half of the park with bicycle pathways, basketball courts, a playground, fitness equipment and a turf field. The second 5.5-acre phase added more walking trails, a kayak launch, picnicking areas and a  promenade that leads to the Overlook, a 30-foot-tall cantilevered platform with sweeping views of Manhattan skyline and East River. The park officially opened to the public this week. + SWA/Balsley + Weiss/Manfredi Images by Albert Vecerka Esto and Bill Tatham

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New resilient waterfront park helps protect NYC from storm surges

LEED Gold Cambie Fire Hall is a beacon of sustainability in Richmond, BC

June 25, 2018 by  
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Vancouver-based Assembly Architecture and Alberta-based S2 Architecture recently completed the Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 and BC Ambulance Services Station, a LEED Gold -certified facility that shows how civic architecture can be beautiful, effective and sustainable. Built to serve the City of Richmond in British Columbia, the new building spans over 26,000 square feet and rises to three stories, with room for fire rescue vehicles and up to six ambulance vehicles. The station is illuminated by ample natural light during the day and is built to post-disaster standards. The $20.7-million Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 and BC Ambulance Services Station sports a distinctly contemporary design with its geometric form, clean lines and abundance of glazing . The massing, design and use of transparency throughout were informed by the surrounding residential fabric and help reinforce ties between the new station and the community. The red cladding on the upper level adds a punch of color and is a nod to the red-brick architecture of traditional fire stations . The north stair tower is wrapped in translucent fiberglass panels to create a glowing beacon-like effect at night. “From this notion, we looked at the building as an anchor to the local area and residences, as well as a landmark for the larger region,” explains Robert Lange, Principal-in-Charge in a project statement. “By listening carefully throughout the design process, the design team were able to create a design that immediately resonated with RFR and their vision for Hall No. 3.” Related: LEED Platinum fire station boosts firefighter wellness in Seattle The facility integrates fire-rescue and ambulance services under one roof and prioritizes natural lighting. A glazed outdoor patio, for instance, forms the organizing element around which the offices, kitchen and dining room are placed. The Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 and BC Ambulance Services Station will also serve as a Department Operations Center (DOC) thanks to post-disaster design features, such as the on-site emergency generator and tie-ins for concrete aprons, that keep the building operational even after a seismic event. + Assembly Architecture + S2 Architecture Images by Sunny Jhooty and Liam Wake, Lobby

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LEED Gold Cambie Fire Hall is a beacon of sustainability in Richmond, BC

Mirrored art complex in Bangkok seamlessly co-exists with the surrounding trees

June 21, 2018 by  
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A reflective facade and calculated layout blends Bangkok’s new Naiipa Art Complex into the environment. Designed by Bangkok-based Stu/D/O Architects , the mixed-use building carefully wraps around the existing trees on the property while using its mirrored cladding to camouflage the structure into the lush green backdrop. The Naiipa complex (which means “deep in the forest”) is a 25,000-square-foot building that includes an art gallery, music studio, dance studio and office space, along with restaurants and coffee shops. According to the architects, the plan was to provide a community-focused center that wouldn’t disturb the existing greenery . Stu/D/O said, “The project is named after the concept of concealing the architecture in the forest as the vision of greenery is expanded by using reflective glass all around.” Related: Gorgeous mirrored facade extension allows brick Belgian notary to blend into the landscape To create a subtle volume for the large building and its multiple uses, the design was divided into two main sections separated by a tree-filled courtyard. Building A is an elongated structure that was carefully built around an existing pink trumpet tree to protect its growth. The second building is a cube-like four-story structure. A winding multilevel walkway that connects the two buildings intertwines around the existing trees , giving visitors a chance to truly connect with nature. To disguise the complex within its surroundings, the architects used three different types of glazing to create a mirrored effect : reflective, translucent and transparent. According to the firm, the multiple glazed walls, along with the “rhythmic folding pattern” of the facade, helped accomplish the goal. The east side of the building uses a translucent double facade that helps filter direct sunlight and reduce heat on the interior. As visitors follow this facade to the entrance, the building begins to “fold,” creating a narrow entrance reminiscent of a vibrant forest. Inside, the sun’s rays are reflected off the exterior facade , creating displays of shadow and light throughout the day, again imitating a forest canopy. The structure welcomes visitors with a floating “Bird Nest” gallery that is clad in reflective glass and appears to be surrounded by trees, creating a true feeling of ‘Naiipa.’ + Stu/D/O Architects Via Archdaily Images via Stu/D/O Architects

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Mirrored art complex in Bangkok seamlessly co-exists with the surrounding trees

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