Amazons incredible plant-filled biospheres open in Seattle

January 30, 2018 by  
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Amazon has finally opened its stunning new downtown Seattle office and it’s unlike any workspace we’ve seen before. Amazon Spheres, which celebrated its grand opening yesterday, is part greenhouse and part office housed within three glass geodesic domes. Designed by NBBJ , the $4 billion “mini-rainforest” campus will house over 800 Amazon employees in addition to more than 40,000 plants in an ecosystem built to emulate a verdant cloud forest. Located at the corner of Lenora Street and 6th Avenue, Amazon’s giant geodesic domes are made with a steel frame holding 2,643 laminated glass panels made up of four-layered low-iron glass to minimize heat loss. The largest of the three domes measures 90 feet tall and 130 feet in diameter with five floors (and a four-story-tall living plant wall that grows 200 plant species). Retail space occupies the ground floor and part of the first floor. Over 400 species of plants from more than 30 countries are represented in the domes and are cared for by a full-time horticulturalist. Nearly all of the plants were grown in a suburban greenhouse for the Spheres project. The flora centerpiece is a 55-foot-tall Ficus tree (nicknamed Rubi) that weighs almost 36,000 pounds and was craned into the space through the roof. The plantings are mostly organized in either the Old World garden that features African and Asian plants, or in the New World garden with a focus on the Americas. An architectural highlight is undoubtedly the “bird’s nest,” a timber treehouse suspended 30 feet in the air that serves as an intimate meeting space. Related: Amazon’s biospheres spring to life with first planting in Seattle The interior temperature will be stabilized at 69 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit with 60 percent humidity, and the climate will vary throughout the space. Recycled heat from the nearby data center is used to heat the Spheres. The project is on track for LEED Gold certification. The public is welcome to take a free tour of the facilities but must first book with Spheres Discovery at Understory . + NBBJ Via Bloomberg Renderings via NBBJ, photos via Amazon

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Amazons incredible plant-filled biospheres open in Seattle

Ruins of Swedens oldest church put on a new A-frame shelter

January 30, 2018 by  
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Medieval history meets modern architecture at Kata Farm, a ninth-century church that now serves as a shelter and exhibition hall in Varnhem, Sweden. Designed by Stockholm-based AIX Arkitekter AB , a new 300-square-meter timber A-frame structure sits atop the remains of Sweden’s oldest Christian church that’s also thought to be the country’s oldest building. Glue-laminated timber was used as the primary material for the new structure. Located on the grounds of Varnhem Abbey, Kata Farm was named after the woman who ruled the farm and allowed the church to be built. The new timber structure, which was built to protect the farm foundations from the elements, is raised on a series of pillars to minimize site impact . An elevated walkway with a glazed railing and signage wraps around the exposed stone ruins and is punctuated by glass panels allowing for top-down views of the burial sites, including Kata’s tomb that dates back to the mid-1000s. Related: Stunning chapel in Japan brings a fractal forest indoors The glue-laminated timber trusses are exposed and timber left unpainted for a minimalist look to complement the excavated grounds. In contrast to the light-colored interior, darker tar-treated pine planks clad the sloped exterior. The building can be accessed via a staircase that leads up to an outdoor deck or a glazed elevator on the opposite side of the building. + AIX Arkitekter AB Via ArchDaily Images © Antonius van Arkel

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Ruins of Swedens oldest church put on a new A-frame shelter

London architects infuse dated Victorian townhouse with tons of modern personality

January 9, 2018 by  
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This refurbishment project in North London emphasizes the home’s history while infusing it with modern personality. Architecture firm LLI Design enhanced and restored features of the Victorian townhouse to honor its past, and completely redesigned the rear kitchen extension with a new contemporary aesthetic. The original layout of the house had nicely proportioned rooms, a delightful garden and a handsome exterior which the design team enhanced by stripping out some of the dated features and reinstating others to bring out more of the Victorian feel of the property. Related: Jewel-like glass box deftly extends a Victorian house in London’s Mile End The ground floor of the 2500 square-foot house has a generous hall leading to 2 connecting reception rooms. At the end of the hall sits an extended kitchen that juts out into the garden. The team decided to leave the cellar as it was and use it for additional storage and reinstate the stained glass in the fanlight window above the front door and side window. They re-tiled the entrance hall in crisp black and white period tiles with a border pattern, which lightened and visually expanded the space. A dramatic copper and glass pendant light by designer Nigel Tyas now hangs from the top floor ceiling down to the ground floor. The living and dining rooms were refreshed with bespoke pale grey lacquer joinery and asymmetrical shelving lit with individual accent spotlights. The designers installed folding sliding doors in dark grey aluminium in the kitchen extension in order to give it a stronger connection to the garden. Upstairs, re-designed dressing room and master suite feature elegant new finishing and fixtures with delicate lighting solutions. The nursery suite was redesigned, with playfully illustrated roman blinds and colorful watercolor dot wallpaper. + LLI Design

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London architects infuse dated Victorian townhouse with tons of modern personality

Elegant cork-clad artists studio slots into a bijou London garden

December 8, 2017 by  
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A lovely little space has popped up in a north London garden as a shared workspace for a musician and seamstress couple. Cork Study—named after its sustainable cork cladding—is the work of design studio Surman Weston , also known for another charming backyard studio they built in 2014 . Large glass panes and a minimalist approach make the workspace feel surprisingly spacious despite its small 13-square-meter footprint. Surrounded by brick walls and greenery, Cork Study is slotted into a narrow garden with a small amount of clearance on either side. The architects wrapped the boxy volume in beautiful pale cork cladding that provides weatherproofing as well as thermal and acoustic insulation. The thick cork and the wildflower sedum roof help blend the building into the landscape. A large skylight and glazed oak-framed sliding pocket door bathe the interior in natural light. Birch plywood lines the interior and is also used for the custom furnishing that’s cantilevered off the walls. A central vertically oriented window divides the shared desk unit into two. Related: WSD Architecture’s Tiny Writer’s Studio is a Glowing Fairy-tale Haven in London “As a whole, the scheme is a very sustainable project. Timber internal linings, an all timber structural frame and the wild-flower sedum roof are used in conjunction with the fantastically sustainable cork cladding. Formed from the re-harvestable bark of cork-oak trees, the innovative expanded cork blocks are completely additive free and significantly carbon negative .” The Cork Study was shortlisted for a RIBA London Award 2017. + Surman Weston Photography: Wai Ming Ng

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Elegant cork-clad artists studio slots into a bijou London garden

Spectacular rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapores Marina One

November 10, 2017 by  
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Singapore’s new title “City in a Garden” is evident in Marina One, a stunning energy-efficient cluster of four high-rises centered on a spectacular “Green Heart.” Designed by ingenhoven architects in collaboration with local firm A61 and landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman , Marina One, set to open later this year, offers a mix of residences, retail, and offices, but the real draw is the publicly accessible green center that takes inspiration from Asian rice paddy terraces. Planted with over 350 types of trees and planets, the 37,000-square-meter landscaped area mimics a rainforest and provides cooling microclimates and increased biodiversity. Located in Singapore’s Marina Bay Central Business District, Marina One consists of four buildings: a pair of LEED Platinum pre-certified office towers totaling 175,000 square meters and two 34-story residential towers with 1,042 apartments set atop a retail podium. “While the outer face of the four towers strictly follows the city grid, the maximised inner space is a free-formed three-dimensional biodiversity garden,” wrote ingenhoven architects, who say the “Green Heart” garden is the largest public plaza in the CBD. The shape and placement of the garden and buildings optimize natural ventilation and a comfortable microclimate year-round. Related: WOHA’s solar-powered SkyVille in Singapore boasts a deep-green public skypark The sustainability-minded development uses energy-saving systems such as solar shading and high-performance glazing, while solar panels draw renewable energy. Rainwater harvesting and NEWater for toilet flushing reduce water consumption. Marina One will offer direct connections to four out of the six Singaporean MRT lines and bus stations. The “Green Heart” will include 700 trees and is shaped by the undulating terraces that surround it. Wooden walkways traverse the landscape. + ingenhoven architects Via Dezeen Images via ingenhoven architects

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Spectacular rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapores Marina One

Create a Zen Garden for Your Home: Here’s How

September 14, 2017 by  
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Between a busy office, bumper-to-bumper traffic and endless errands, you … The post Create a Zen Garden for Your Home: Here’s How appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Worlds largest book store opens in Tehran, Iran

August 24, 2017 by  
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Book lovers, we’ve found your dream destination – the world’s largest bookstore just opened in Tehran, Iran . The Book Garden is a gigantic green-roofed building measuring 154,000 square feet that has 12 miles of shelves packed with millions of books . The project is part of a larger 700,000 square foot complex that features several movie theaters, science halls, classrooms, a prayer room and a restaurant. The Book Garden aims to encourage Iranian children to be “active and creative through modern methods and equipment,” said Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. “The opening of the Book Garden is a big cultural event in the country, so that our children can make better use of this cultural and academic opportunity,” added Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. Mehr News reports that the Book Garden was first pitched in 2004 to cater to fans of the city’s annual International Book Fair. After construction was completed last spring, organizers spent the past few months stocking the facility it with books. According to RealIran , there are more than 400,000 titles available for kids alone. One of the centers even has shorter shelves to ensure younger kids can reach the educational resources. Related: Chinese watermelon plant yields 131 fruit for Guinness World Record The Book Garden is now the biggest bookstore in the world, according to the Guinness World Records . Until now, Barnes & Noble along Fifth Avenue in New York City held the record. + Kayson Inc Via Mehr News , RealIran Photos via RealIran , Pixabay

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Worlds largest book store opens in Tehran, Iran

House by the Forest gets a retro remodel that helps it blend into its surroundings

August 8, 2017 by  
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Architecture firm kaa-studio used classic building materials and techniques to reconstruct a simple suburban house in Czech Republic and revamp it as a retro-styled weekend getaway. With its dark grey-brown facade, the House by the Forest blends into its natural surroundings and channels the simplicity of rural living. The architects preserved as much as possible of the original structure and focused on reorganizing its interior to open it up towards the garden and bring natural light inside. They decided to demolish the original vestibule, reorganize the entrance area and only keep the central supporting wall and the staircase on the ground floor. This allowed a more contemporary layout of the living space and reintroduced the connection to the main garden. Related: Skylights stream light into tiny cantilevering home in German forest A strip of window was made across the entire width of the building in order to provide natural lighting and views of the neighboring forest. Similarly, a strip of large roof windows brightened the attic. The height difference between the main entrance and access to the garden was solved using field banks/green hills reinforced with rough stone. + kaa-studio Photos by BoysPlayNice

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House by the Forest gets a retro remodel that helps it blend into its surroundings

Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

August 2, 2017 by  
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Acclaimed architect Kengo Kuma has crafted a stunning cross-cultural home that combines the best of American modern amenities with traditional Japanese design principles. Located in Oregon’s NW Natural Street of Dreams in Portland, the sustainably built SUTEKI home promotes healthy living with its strong connection to the outdoors in both its use of natural materials and garden surroundings. The master-built home is the first of its kind constructed by Japanese homebuilder, Suteki, in the United States. As with many of Kuma’s architectural projects, nature is a big theme in the SUTEKI home. A natural materials palette used throughout the home shows off sustainably harvested wood , from the soaring Olympia wall built of timber to the regional Alaskan yellow cedar in the louvre walls. Natural stone and tile are also prominently featured. A high level of detail and craftsmanship is seen around the home, especially in the origami-inspired ceiling that creates a feeling of fluidity and movement. To deepen the connection with the outdoors and create a restorative living experience, Kuma incorporated seamless indoor and outdoor living spaces built around nature. Large openings frame views of the outdoors and every view is optimized inside and out. Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama designed the garden and used “borrowed scenery” principles to incorporate the surrounding landscape—a giant oak and sequoia tree, and a stream that runs along the property. Related: Kengo Kuma unveils nature-filled Eco-Luxury Hotel for Paris “My collaboration with Suteki is owed to our shared view of the sublimity of nature,” said Kuma. “Embracing the surroundings, insisting on natural materials, sustainability and transparency creates a space where people can experience nature more completely and intimately.” The placement and orientation of the home contributes to its energy efficiency . The Suteki company plans to build more sustainably built homes in the Portland market in the near future. + Street of Dreams Images by Justin Krug Photography

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Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

Madrid’s new ‘Desert City’ is a spectacular home for over 400 species of cacti

August 1, 2017 by  
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Madrid’s dry heat may not bode well for lush flower gardens, but the hundreds of cacti in the city’s new cactus park are sure to thrive. Designed by GarciaGerman Arquitectos , the massive 54,000-square-feet Desert City is an educational, sustainable , and ecological complex aimed at educating visitors about the vibrant world of the xerophytic plants. Located on a formerly vacant lot in the Madrid suburb of San Seastián de los Reyes, the expansive complex includes a large garden space as well a massive indoor greenhouse . The park – one of Europe’s largest spaces dedicated to cacti – grows over 400 xerophytic species. The complex also includes exhibition space as well as a shop and a restaurant. Related: Cactus Park in Taiwan draws architectural inspiration from prickly succulents At the heart of the complex is an extended glazed “billboard building,” which is elevated over the ground level. It connects the greenhouse space to a cloister-like outdoor garden with a shallow water pond. Additional spaces located in the greenhouse will be used for presentations, exhibitions, workshops, etc. The architects used a number of green building strategies in the park’s construction such as prefabricated materials, photovoltaic glass, and geothermal power. The greenhouse and gardens were also installed with a high-tech water recovery system that helps the park reduce its water usage. + Desert City + GarciaGerman Arquitectos Via Curbed Images and video courtesy of Imagen Subliminal

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Madrid’s new ‘Desert City’ is a spectacular home for over 400 species of cacti

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