An abandoned Chinese village is reborn as an interactive art destination

May 27, 2020 by  
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With 1 billion people estimated to be living in Chinese cities in 2050, China is seeing hundreds of thousands of its rural villages abandoned. In a bid to bring renewed life to one of its 102 abandoned villages, the Government of Jinxi tapped Dutch firm NEXT Architects to sustainably revitalize the ancient village of Dafang. Created in collaboration with IVEM (Dutch Institute for Cultural Heritage and Marketing), Smartland (landscape design), Total Design (graphic design) and numerous Dutch and Chinese artists, the recently completed Holland-Dafang Creative Village transformed a dilapidated village into a new hub for the arts. Spanning an area of 43,000 square meters, the Holland-Dafang Creative Village serves as an inspiring model of rural revitalization achieved by a multidisciplinary team of Chinese and Dutch architects. Led by the design strategy “adapt to newness,” the entire village of Dafang has been renewed with three main strategies: thoughtful restoration of the architecture and landscape; the construction of new public facilities; and the re-programming of spaces through art and activity. Related: MAD reactivates an abandoned Japanese tunnel using surreal immersive art Although Dafang has over 900 years of history, years of neglect has led to its deterioration. The architects restored the historical architecture with new materials, such as the use of glass roof tiles on the roofs of old houses and the resurrection of an ancient irrigation system with a new, natural helophyte filter for water purification . New construction was also added, including a sculptural watchtower — a throwback to the defense structure popularly used in ancient times — with a twisting form loosely resembling a giant Chinese “dragon column”. The team also included a new camphor tree-inspired public hall set on the former site of a courtyard building that had been destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. The designers also gave the restored landscape and architecture new purposes, from rehabbing old buildings into a new village museum to the creation of a library and artist studios. “Rural revitalization is one of China’s key future developments,” said John van de Water, partner of NEXT Architects in Beijing. “We believe this asks for the design of balance between old and new, living and visiting, history and future.”  + NEXT Architects Images via NEXT Architects

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An abandoned Chinese village is reborn as an interactive art destination

MVRDV unveils pro-bono vision to reopen the lost canals of The Hague

September 27, 2019 by  
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In a bid to restore a lost part of nature to The Hague, MVRDV has unveiled a proposal to reopen the city’s 17th-century canals that were filled in between 1910 and 1970. Created in partnership with the local community, the “Grachten Open” (Canals Open) initiative would restore access to the waterways and would revitalize a run-down part of the historic center by introducing new programming from swimming canals to a gastronomy route with a new market hall. The urban revitalization project would also bring ecological benefits by bringing natural habitat back into the city center. As the seat of government for the Netherlands, The Hague has placed less emphasis on its canal system compared to other Dutch cities historically more reliant on trade. While many of the canals have been drained and filled in, a local grassroots movement to preserve the canal area in the historic city center began to take root in the late 20th century. In recent years, the movement has seen greater community action for revitalizing the area and reopening the lost canals. One of the most notable contributors to the cause is local resident Shireen Poyck, who co-founded the ‘Grachten Open’ and, in 2018, invited her neighbor, MVRDV partner Jan Knikker, to participate. Related: Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagen’s harbor Working together with local neighborhood organizations, MVRDV recently presented a plan to reopen the canals to the city of The Hague. The design proposes restoring the main canals and creating plans for the minor canals, which can be remade into “urban activators” and used as swimming canals, koi carp canals or even surf canals. The main canals would be defined by themed “routes,” that include a green route, creative route, shopping route, culinary route and sport route. “All over the world, neighborhoods like the old center of The Hague form the backbone of tourism and provide an identity to a city, but in The Hague, somehow this ancient and incredibly charming area was forgotten,” said Winy Maas, architect and co-founder of MVRDV. “The area offers the unique chance for an urban regeneration that will improve the local economy and make a leap forward in the city’s energy transition.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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The ‘Dutch Mountains’ will be the world’s largest wooden building

March 16, 2018 by  
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The Netherlands is famously flat—but a massive green mountain is rising up in the Dutch city of Veldhoven. The Dutch Mountains project will be the world’s largest wooden building, combining natural materials with high-tech design to create a state-of-the-art, self-sustaining development. The ambitious project will include several offices and work spaces, as well as various conference centers. It will also feature a hotel located on site and short-stay facilities for out-of-town visitors. The main building will be constructed of solid wood and, once completed, will be the largest wooden building in the world. Related: Eindhoven unveils plans for a solar-powered city block with living roofs and urban farms The Dutch Mountains master plan envisions an entirely self-sufficient complex, with closed cycles for energy, water, waste and materials. The architects chose timber as the principal building material in order to create system that reduces CO2 emissions. Additionally, they plan to integrate the building’s facade with a smart technology that reduces energy usage. The project envisions a future where the building can be updated with greener materials that help improve the building’s sustainability. For example, the building’s temperature-regulating facade will be one of the most innovative on the market, but if a smarter facade is created in the future that produces more energy, it can easily replace the old version, which will be recycled or repurposed. Built with optimal flexibility in mind, the structure’s individual spaces will be adaptable to future uses. For example, if more office space is needed, the conference spaces can be converted, or vice versa. The complex will not only use sustainable building materials, but also provide an abundance of green space to create a vibrant, healthy atmosphere. From green roofs and a large park to an artificial marshland, the complex will be virtually covered in vegetation. + Dutch Mountains project + Studio Marco Vermeulen Images via Studio Marco Vermeulen

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These mesmerizing kinetic objects float like giant soap bubbles

February 16, 2017 by  
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Dutch designers Martens & Visser created a collection of mesmerizing kinetic objects that rotate and reflect light and color like massive soap bubbles floating through the air. The ‘Reflecting HOLONS’  may look like fragile bubbles that could pop at any moment, but they are made from razor-thin iridescent plastic strips attached to an axis. As the axis rotates they change shape, revealing all colors of the rainbow in a constantly-evolving light show.

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See-through Porta Palace tiny home “feels bigger than expected”

January 12, 2016 by  
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The humble mussel is as important and threatened as bees

January 12, 2016 by  
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The world is in need of some mussel building. The humble mussel is not only a delicious seafood dish, it also is one of the most important species in the sea (and various salt-free bodies of water). Mussels act as a natural filtration system by pulling excessive nutrients from the water, which might otherwise have contributed to algal blooms and “ dead zones .” Researchers from the University of Porto in Portugal and the Technical University of Munich have compiled the first comprehensive database of mussel populations in Europe’s freshwater, which they hope will be used to protect these essential mollusks. Read the rest of The humble mussel is as important and threatened as bees

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14 inspiring designs from Eindhoven Sectie-C

November 30, 2015 by  
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Two architectural teams redesign the fourth ugliest place in all of Holland

November 12, 2015 by  
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What happens when you challenge two teams from the same architectural firm to create an amazing residential design? Designer Maarten Baas was determined to find out as he led two separate teams from Dutch-based firm Van Aken Architecten to create residential designs for De Bakermat Plaza in Eindhoven, once voted the fourth ugliest place in all of Holland. Read the rest of Two architectural teams redesign the fourth ugliest place in all of Holland

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Bizarre giant art village is the largest Atelier Van Lieshout installation ever

August 28, 2015 by  
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Christian Boer Designs New Font Especially for Dyslexics

November 11, 2014 by  
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For the roughly 10 percent of the world’s population who have dyslexia, reading can be a real chore. Standard fonts are deliberately made to look alike — the ‘b’ flips around as a ‘d’ and ‘n’ becomes ‘u’ — in an effort to keep them neat and aesthetically pleasing. But it is exactly this that makes it so hard for dyslexics to distinguish between different letters, since they are prone to flip words, mirror them, or rotate them in their minds. As a graphic designer who also grapples with dyslexia, Christian Boer designed a new font called Dyslexie that addresses these design issues, and one publisher has already published 40 books using it. Read the rest of Christian Boer Designs New Font Especially for Dyslexics Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Christian Boer , Design for Health , dutch design , dyslexia , dyslexics , Dyslexie , font for dyslexics , Istanbul Design Biennial , typeface design

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