This tent-shaped chapel in Portugal is in tune with nature

January 18, 2018 by  
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This open and inviting tent-shaped chapel by Plano Humano Arquitectos was designed to take full advantage of the majestic views and natural surroundings of Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal. The chapel is a new addition to the National Scout’s Activities Camp (CNAE), and its doors are open to anyone looking for shelter or a space for contemplation and introspection. The chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, takes the form of a large tent . The gable roof is lower and narrower at the entrance and it stretches forward and upward towards the rear of the chapel. Related: Modern chapel makes a powerful but minimalist statement in the Austrian countryside The design of the building is aligned with the spirit of communion with nature. Both early morning and late afternoon sunlight illuminate the interior to sustain visitors’ engagement with the space. In fall and winter, the light emphasizes the tranquility of the place and the unadorned symbiosis between building and landscape. A water channel runs through the space on a path that winds past the altar – the central place of any Christian celebratory space – and then into the landscape, directing the user to the cross, which is located outside the chapel. Twelve wooden beams – a reference to the 12 Apostles of the Bible – aims to translate the Biblical numerical symbolism into simple forms, construction principles, and natural building materials . +Plano Humano Arquitectos Photos by João Morgado

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This tent-shaped chapel in Portugal is in tune with nature

China wants to destroy space junk with giant lasers

January 18, 2018 by  
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Not only do we need to worry about pollution on Earth, but also in space . A team of six scientists in China are working on a very science-fiction-sounding solution: zapping that space trash with lasers . Could a space-based laser really help clean up the tens of thousands of pieces of junk orbiting our planet? From magnetic tugs to long tethers , the ideas of how to deal with our space mess have been imaginative but haven’t given us a firm solution yet. Could lasers offer an answer? Researchers from the Air Force Engineering University and Institute of China Electronic Equipment System Engineering Company published their work in the journal Optik last year on space-based lasers to tackle space debris. Related: ESA unveils magnetic space tug to corral broken satellites drifting in space According to the paper’s abstract, the scientists utilized numerical simulation to explore the “impacts of orbital elements of space-based laser station” on Earth-orbiting trash. Per Wired , a space laser could be mounted on a satellite , and in orbit “emit short bursts of near-infrared light:” 20 bursts a second over the course of a few minutes, which could be sufficient to break down the trash into smaller, less dangerous pieces. The scientists said in the abstract their work offers a “theoretical basis for the deployment of space-based laser station and the further application of space debris removal by using space-based laser.” The idea of space lasers isn’t wholly new – a 2015 paper cited by Gizmodo said there’s recently been a renaissance for the notion. That article says a laser would work by imparting energy into hunks of garbage so they could plummet out of orbit and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere . But would the rest of the world accept one country deploying lasers in space? Physicist Victor Apollonov of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ General Physics Institute told Gizmodo such technology could be put to military uses and “due to that, it is questionable.” He said people have been discussing the concept since the early 2000s, and there should be world-scale talks as a first step towards space lasers. Via ScienceDirect , Wired , and Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons and ESA

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China wants to destroy space junk with giant lasers

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

Architects create exquisite home addition out of reclaimed barn wood and local stone

January 2, 2018 by  
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Montana-based JLF Architects recently updated a gorgeous home in Jackson Hole with a spacious addition built out of reclaimed barn wood and local stone. The home design is straight out of a fairy tale, with rustic wood paneling and a glass-enclosed interior walkway leading from one end of the existing structure to its new extension. The home is located deep in the Teton Pines community, surrounded by thick forest. The homeowners were looking to add space to host visiting family during the summer and holidays, but they wanted to retain the existing home’s aesthetic. Working with local firm, Big-D Signature , JLF Architects created a design that would enhance the home’s size, but without sacrificing its beautiful rustic character. Related: Dilapidated 1800s dairy barn resurrected into a stunning home in Wyoming According to the architects, the design was focused on extending the original design rather than adding on an independent addition, “Our design-build approach allowed our team to look at the design of this home holistically to create continuity and quality within the architecture,” explains JLF Architects principal Logan Leachman. To find the appropriate materials, the architects searched various local log yards for reclaimed timber and stone that would match the original structure. Luckily, they found Montana moss rock and rough-sawn fir panels as well as 20th-century chestnut hardwood floors, all of which were used in the construction of the 700-square-foot addition. To connect the old space with the new addition, partners Big-D Signature crafted a beautiful glass entryway that connects the two structures. The glass walls allow for natural light to flood the interior and provides some seriously stunning views of the natural surroundings. The walkway is bookended by two stone walls that, along with the glass and timber passageway, brings the exterior into the interior. + JLF Architects + Big-D Signature

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This solar-powered cabin is a dreamy green getaway in the Colorado Mountains

December 29, 2017 by  
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Perched on a rocky cliff at 10,000 feet, this pair of solar-powered cabins offer unique views of Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Collegiate Peaks, and the South Platte River. Renée del Gaudio Architecture designed Big Cabin | Little Cabin to capture the essence of traditional cabin vernacular with a modern twist. The site is bordered to the north by a thick forest that provides the cabins with a sense of privacy and protection. Gabled roofs and rustic materials echo the area’s vernacular architecture, while the exterior cedar siding helps the cabins blend into their wooded surroundings. A similar material palette dominates the open-plan interior of the project, with plywood interior walls and ceilings lending a rustic quality. Related: 7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather High-efficiency electric appliances and LED lighting keep energy consumption to a minimum, while closed and open cell foam insulation, double and triple pane windows with low-e glass , and rolling barn door shutters keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The project also features a 96% efficient boiler, radiant floor tubing set in a concrete slab, and a high efficiency wood-burning stove . The project is wired for a 3kw photovoltaic array , which is expected to fully meet the cabins’ energy needs. + Renée del Gaudio Architecture Via Dwell Photos by David Lauer

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This solar-powered cabin is a dreamy green getaway in the Colorado Mountains

Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest

December 22, 2017 by  
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Flying cars seem to be moving from the realm of science fiction to reality – and Richard’s Architecture + Design (RA+D) helmed by architect Richard Moreta Castillo has already designed a net-zero tower pioneering drone car infrastructure. The Smart Power Long tower, a condominium building planned for Shanghai , features landing pads for flying cars. The futuristic concept is super green, according to RA+D, and will feature a vertical forest in which 50,000 trees and shrubs could scrub the skies. Dubai started testing flying taxis earlier this year, and RA+D also pointed to Nevada officials seeking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration for flying passenger drones as evidence the futuristic vehicles could soon be soaring the skies. RA+D first came up with the drone car tower concept in 2015 with their Moscow Tower, and they said the Shanghai tower’s construction could occur faster than expected – between 2018 and 2020. Related: Futuristic power plant complex generates clean power through wind, solar and geothermal energy The condominium tower draws design inspiration from Chinese dragon art. Docking stations for drone cars wind up the exterior. The building could clean the air naturally, as plants take in carbon dioxide , and could also have 180 carbon dioxide extractors, according to RA+D. The air could then be expelled from the top in numbers corresponding with the hour, illuminated with an LED spotlight to create an appearance similar to fire, to create what RA+D described as the “first smoke and chromatic clock for the reference of the Shanghai community.” Clean technologies are also part of Smart Power Long’s design, such as a recycling water plant utilizing ultraviolet disinfection treatment. A vertical electrical power plant will draw on solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy. The multi-use building could also contain a convention center, water river biology laboratories, and residences. Smart Power Long is designed for Shanghai’s Pudong District with a budget of $600 million. + Richard’s Architecture + Design Images courtesy of Richard Moreta Castillo

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Architects use local materials to turn an abandoned resort in Beijing into a remarkable hotel

December 20, 2017 by  
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An abandoneded resort in  Beijing has been transformed into a gorgeous luxury hotel that highlights the surrounding natural scenery. SYN Architects amplified the sensation of “natural wilderness” at The Creek Park Hotel using locally-sourced natural materials such as firewood, pebble stone and wood. The hotel is located in Beijing’s Pinggu District, just over 9 miles away from the Jinhai Lake International Resort. It replaces an abandoned resort estate, expanding and rebuilding the property into a high-end luxury destination surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Related: Vertical forest Mountain Hotel will clean the air in Guizhou, China The architects created an extensive 360° panoramic view effect in order to immerse visitors into the landscape. They inserted open rectangular terraces of different sizes with mountain-like features in between original structures, with a panoramic restaurant and a scenic glass platform delivering a unique atmosphere. The roof, structurally independent for other volumes, allows sunlight to come in through. Related: World’s first MUJI hotels to open in China and Japan Vertical arrangements of wood surround the terrace to strengthen the feeling of “natural wilderness”. The use of natural materials helped reduce construction costs and deliver the appearance that mimics the look of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. + SYN Architects

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Futuristic art center in China has detachable rooms that can bike around town

December 19, 2017 by  
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People’s Architecture Office just unveiled a futuristic cultural center in China that is equipped with detachable room that serve as “cultural satellites.” The incredible building – called the People’s Station – uses the flexible mini-structures to add extra space when necessary. When not in use, the mini-buildings can be collapsed and transported by bike to other locations. The architects used their own prefabricated system to manufacture the building, which took just three months to construct. Located in a quiet region of Yantai, the building’s design was created to attract visitors to the historic center of the city. Its funky angular volume is comprised of wide open entryways and various sections that seem to float off the ground. Related: China’s new futuristic library is unlike any we’ve seen before On the inside, the exhibition rooms are the first two floors are expansive, with high ceilings that are staggered up diagonally up to the second and third floors. Triangular glass panels flood the interior with natural light . On the top floor, visitors can enjoy a lounge area with a bookstore and a cinema. Throughout the building, there are various outdoor terraces that offer beautiful views of surrounding cityscape, as well as the ocean in the distance. + People’s Architecture Office Via Archdaily Photography courtesy PAO  

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Cannabis walls add warmth to this eco-friendly home in Israel

December 4, 2017 by  
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Cannabis is good for more than just medicine—industrial hemp has its uses in eco-friendly architecture too. Haifa-based studio Tav Group built Ein Hod, an eco-minded home for artists, using hempcrete, a bio-composite made from hemp hurds, hydrated lime, and water with desirable thermal properties. Located on a hillside in a rural Israeli artist’s village, the beautiful terraced home is optimized for passive solar and ventilation to further minimize energy demands. The use of natural materials and external lime plaster helps blend the 250-square-meter Eid Hod home into the rocky terrain. Concrete is avoided save for the mandatory safety room and foundations. Locally excavated stone make up the lower floor walls, while hempcrete, set between wood framing, makes up the walls of the upper levels. Interior walls are built of rammed earth and earth-based plaster is applied throughout the light-filled interior to create a warm and comfortable non-toxic environment. Timber ties the rooms together and can be seen in the rustic furnishings, stairways, window frames, and exposed ceiling beams. The architects say the Ein Hod home is the first structure in Israel built of hempcrete , a fire-resistant plant-based material with carbon sequestration benefits. The use of lime coating also adds to hempcrete’s anti-microbial and anti-fungal advantages. However, hempcrete is no replacement for concrete; the material isn’t suitable for structural use but is an eco-friendly insulation choice, albeit a pricey one depending on where it’s used. Related: Hemp-based insulation makes a comeback in Belgium In addition to the use of hempcrete and passive solar principles , Ein Hod is also equipped with solar panels and rainwater collection as well as graywater purification systems to minimize water use. + Tav Group Images by Yoav Etiel

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Abandoned house transformed into a gorgeous sanctuary on a remote Chinese mountain

November 29, 2017 by  
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This rustic sanctuary nestled in a remote village in China combines modernity and vernacular design to extraordinary effect. Architecture studio RSAA approached the home renovation with a strong sense of respect for the history of the building and its stunning natural surroundings. The original house, nested on the top of a mountain in the north of Anhui Province, China , was uninhabited for years until the owner decided to renovate it into a modern residence. The design team introduced dramatic changed to the space, cutting, lowering and rebuilding parts of the house to facilitate optimal views of the surroundings and accommodate new functions. Related: Decrepit cave transformed into a beautiful modern home in China New and old coexist in the renovated house, with semi-private and semi-open areas creating a more complex spatial flow. At the core of the structure is an outdoor atrium that was once an indoor space. Here, the original gable has been transformed into a decorative wall that blocks vertical views of the living room and bedrooms. Old bricks were used to rebuild one of the original walls at the site. In the process of rebuilding the wall, many old bricks were cut into slices and used as traditional decoration to hide the steel structure inside. The architects emphasized the junction between different kinds of materials and employed local craftsmen who used traditional building techniques . + RSAA Via Archdaily Lead photo by SU Shengliang

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