Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing

August 28, 2017 by  
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Architect Charles Wee didn’t have grand plans to save the world—but that’s exactly what his incredible LifeArk could do. Designed for disaster relief, LifeArk is a prefabricated, modular building system for quickly deployable and affordable housing that can operate 100% off the grid . These self-sustainable life-saving homes, which can be scaled up into communities, can pop up virtually anywhere to float on water or be anchored on land. Thanks to its innovative HDPE materials and production methods, LifeArk clicks together like LEGOs in just a few hours and slashes the total design and construction time for prefabricated architecture in half. LifeArk was recently honored as a 2017 BFI Fuller Challenge Semifinalist . Charles Wee’s architectural career spans a start at AECOM to the founding of international firm GDS Architects . In recent years, however, he began thinking about changing his focus in architecture. “I was sick of conventional architecture,” Wee told Inhabitat in an interview. “Then I had a conversation with a family member that became a light bulb moment. Twelve years ago, my cousin moved to Santa Rosa Island in a part of the Amazon River near the borders of Brazil and Peru to work as a missionary. It’s an area of extreme poverty. I didn’t know much about his work until 2013, when my cousin came out to California and we talked about the way the community lives.” “Their entire existence revolves around fighting flooding. It can flood up to 8 meters high—that’s like 3 stories tall. For 8 months out of the year they must live above water in stilt houses but most of the time the water will come way above that. I saw that in person and understood it as a design and engineering problem. I began to think of floating architecture and buoyant solutions—trying to solve this problem is really what started LifeArk.” His meeting and visit with the people of Santa Rosa opened the doors for Wee to see the worldwide need for floating prefabricated housing. “I couldn’t believe the number,” he said. “There are hundreds of millions of people along floodplains around the world who live under threat.” Wee then assembled a team of experts and engineers to create a sustainable modular solution that could be mass-produced, easily deployable, and assembled. Their solution became LifeArk. The LifeArk components are prefabricated using rotational molding technology; their California factory is expected to stamp out 10 modules a day with around 20 components each. The 60-square-meter modules would then be sent to a second factory to be fitted with the fixed features, such as a kitchenette and off-grid elements like solar panels, before the components are packed into a shipping container for transit. Once onsite, each module can be quickly assembled using unskilled labor and standard tools in as little as 2 hours. Approximately 20 to 24 modules would be needed to construct a house, and the modular buildings can be scaled up and infinitely configured to form a community. Related: Peru plans to dam Amazon River’s main source and displace thousands “They’re like LEGOs,” explained Wee. “You just ‘click, click, click’ and you can bolt the parts together. They all fit together in a shipping container and can be transported to site. While manufacturing is being done we would prep the site, and then it’ll be say to bolt the module on top. All the machinery will be inside already so the only skilled labor needed on site is connections to sewers. But there’s also the option for 100% off-grid capability.” After four years of research and development, the LifeArk team is about ready to deploy their first prototype in March 2018. Three or four buildings will be prefabricated in California and installed on a lake near Dallas, Texas, along with an attached hydroponics farm. Wee also plans to sell LifeArk buildings to cities and organizations looking for affordable homeless housing . Profits will fund the construction and deployment of LifeArk buildings across the world for refugee housing, disaster relief, and other humanitarian purposes. LifeArk was selected as one of 17 proposals to advance in the semifinals for the 2017 Buckminster Fuller Challenge , an annual honor known as “socially responsible design’s highest award.” + LifeArk

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Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing

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

Mysterious tiny hut ‘floats’ under a railroad bridge in Bohemia

February 14, 2017 by  
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It’s not often that a piece of architecture truly creeps us out, but the Black Flying House has a distinct spookiness to it. Created by H3T Architekti , the tiny black hut hangs from an arch under an old railroad bridge in the Czech Republic, giving the impression that it’s floating in midair. The floating cabin , which is suspended by steel cables connected to the bridge, is accessible by ladder. However, the ladder is hidden from view purposely to confuse anyone who may happen to come across the installation while wandering in the surrounding forest. Anyone brave enough to find and use the ladder will find a tiny loft area and stove on the interior, which is lit with a single window. Related: Spend Halloween night with 6 million Parisian skeletons in world’s creepiest Airbnb According to the architects, the tiny cabin, located just outside the Czech city of Pardubice, was purposely designed to create a mysterious atmosphere of a military complex. Indeed, the black hut with its pitched roof hanging in midair must be quite the site to behold in person. + H3T Architekti Via Archdaily Photography by Martina Kubešová

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Mysterious tiny hut ‘floats’ under a railroad bridge in Bohemia

Urban Rigger: affordable floating dorms made from shipping containers in Copenhagen

September 22, 2016 by  
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Copenhagen icon and world-renowned architect Bjarke Ingels designed the Urban Rigger units, but the idea was the brainchild of Kim Loudrop, an entrepreneur who founded the Urban Rigger startup. Loudrop sought to create a “revolutionary and innovative floating dwelling system” that took advantage of unused prime real estate—the water. The urgent student housing shortage galvanized the entrepreneur, who also noticed that 80 percent of major universities in Europe were centrally located in cities, with many near bodies of water. The floating Urban Rigger dorms built on the water seemed like a natural solution. Copenhagen was used as the first testing ground—the city is one of the ten costliest cities in the world to live in—but the startup has hopes of expanding the patented concept worldwide. Flexible, floating, and undeniably cool, the mobile Urban Rigger units offer waterfront living at a fraction of the normal cost. BIG’s 680-square-meter modular design comprises nine stacked shipping container units organized in a circle to frame a centralized winter garden and common area. Each modular shipping container dorm houses 12 students, who have their own bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, but also have access to a 160-square-meter common green courtyard, kayak landing, bathing platform, barbecue area, and 65-square-meter communal roof terrace. Related: 7,500 affordable floating homes could help fight London’s crippling housing crisis To meet carbon neutral status, the floating dorms are powered by solar energy and a hydro-based heat-exchange system that draws on seawater as a natural source of heat. NASA-developed aerogel is used to insulate the interiors, while Grundfos energy-saving pumps are installed for wastewater, heating, circulation, and drinking water. Urban Rigger says the shipping containers, made entirely of Corten Steel, are upcycled to save on materials, energy, and cost . According to Fast Company , each energy-efficient shipping container dormitory is manufactured at a Polish shipyard for $700 to $800 per square foot. Urban Rigger has already begun plans to build their next 24-unit project in Sweden and is fielding requests from North America. But the success of the startup will depend on the willingness of cities to open up their waterfront properties to the affordable floating dwellings. Fortunately, the company and Ingels are optimistic. “We might be in a situation where the goodwill of addressing an issue that is important to the government means that we’d get some access to the key waterfront sites under their control,” Ingels told Fast Company . The architect also sees potential in the experimental model for future applications in refugee housing and his firm even has plans of building Urban Rigger housing for their interns. + Urban Rigger Via Fast Company Images via Urban Rigger and BIG

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Urban Rigger: affordable floating dorms made from shipping containers in Copenhagen

Amazing floating restaurant in Mexico shaped like a bird’s nest

August 25, 2016 by  
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“Nido”, which translates to “nest” in English, is one of three restaurants at the striking Mar Adentro Hotel in San José del Cabo, Mexico . Mimicking bird nests one might find in nature, the restaurant looks like an otherworldly structure surrounded by water. Related: Floating solar-powered Waternest eco-home is nearly 100% recyclable A network of walkways connect the pool, hotel and restaurant and create a beautiful promenade from which people can take in the architecture. The interior of the nest is surprisingly simple, with chairs, bar tables and lounges designed as minimalist pieces. Visually, the furniture doesn’t compete with the roof structure. Instead, it complements it with subtle textures and patterns. + Miguel Ángel Aragonés Via Contemporist Photos by Joe Fletcher

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Amazing floating restaurant in Mexico shaped like a bird’s nest

Floating urban greenhouse produces clean energy and organic food

April 7, 2016 by  
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Futuristic oceanscapers are floating villages 3D-printed from algae and plastic waste

December 28, 2015 by  
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German scientists design state-of-the-art floating home for Europe’s largest artificial lake district

December 8, 2015 by  
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This angular house combines two things we really love – floating architecture and self-sufficient design. FreiLichtHaus can produce its own water, electricity and heat and is currently being developed by scientists for the largest artificial lake district in Europe located in Germany. The project coordinators claim these state-of-the-art green homes can boost the regional economy and transform the lake district, which is currently poorly served by utilities. Read the rest of German scientists design state-of-the-art floating home for Europe’s largest artificial lake district

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German scientists design state-of-the-art floating home for Europe’s largest artificial lake district

Tiny Floating SAFE+ Tsunami Shelters Double as Karaoke Booths in Non-Emergencies

April 28, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Tiny Floating SAFE+ Tsunami Shelters Double as Karaoke Booths in Non-Emergencies Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: emergency shelters , floating architecture , floating pods , floating shelters , natural disasters , natural disasters emergency shelters , open source design , Solar Power , Tajima Motor Corporation , Tsunami Floating Shelter , Tsunami Floating Shelter SAFE+ , tsunami japan , tsunami shelters , tsunami-resilient design

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Tiny Floating SAFE+ Tsunami Shelters Double as Karaoke Booths in Non-Emergencies

Floating Arctic Harvester Farm Uses Water from Melting Icebergs to Feed Greenland

March 4, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Floating Arctic Harvester Farm Uses Water from Melting Icebergs to Feed Greenland Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: architectural competition , Arctic Harvester , Climate Change , floating architecture , floating structures , French architects , futuristic design , futuristic floating farms , global warming , Greenland local food , hydroponic farm , hydroponic farms , iceberg melting , Jacques Rougerie Competition , polar caps melting , student architecture projects , water issues        

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Floating Arctic Harvester Farm Uses Water from Melting Icebergs to Feed Greenland

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