Studio Gang unveils plans to renovate and expand the Arkansas Arts Center

March 14, 2018 by  
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Studio Gang just unveiled plans for a new project that will strengthen the connections between different spaces at the Arkansas Arts Center . The plan comprises a series of glazed pavilions with pleated roofs, and it will refurbish the existing exhibition , education and performance facilities. Studio Gang collaborated with landscape architect Kate Orff of SCAPE Landscape Architecture to deliver a design will increase visitor services by 81 percent, exhibitions and collections management by 25 percent, and education, public programs and the Museum School by 50 percent. The scheme will give a highly visible architectural identity to the Arts Center and reorganize the current program and architectural envelope. Related: Studio Gang is Transforming a Dirty Coal Power Plant Into a Green Arts College Studio Gang designed a pleated, organic building that connects the new north-facing city entrance with a glass pavilion and south-facing park entrance. An open axis public gallery runs through the building, connecting the various components of the AAC. “Starting from the inside out, the design clarifies the organization of the building and extends its presence into MacArthur Park and out to Crescent Lawn,” said Gang. “By doing so, the Center becomes a vibrant place for social interaction, education, and appreciation for the arts.” New public plazas and gardens at the north and south entrances of the center will foster stronger connections with the park. Planted groves along the west side of the building will create a forested edge that blends into the park. A framework of new trees will, over time, merge with the existing canopy to form a forest park. + Studio Gang + SCAPE Landscape Architecture

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10 ways 3D printing is disrupting the architecture industry

March 8, 2018 by  
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3D printing , or additive manufacturing as it’s sometimes called, is poised to change the world as we know it. Many have hailed the technology as the coming of the third industrial revolution. That’s because it effectively puts the support and creation of a wide variety of products and goods in the hands of anyone that owns a 3D printer. But the technology is going to make the greatest impact in the fields of manufacturing, development and architecture. Designers and architects can now 3D print items out of materials like masonry, concrete and even wood. China-based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering actually constructed an entire 3D-printed building — a five-story apartment block — so the technology is there. Read on for a closer look at some of the ways 3D printing will transform the future of architecture. 3D-printed bridge by Heijmans 1. More realistic scale models and concepts 3D printing is commonly used to generate or develop models of properties and commercial real estate structures. It makes sense because you can design and build with the technology and create a working, realistic representation of any object or structure. It’s the advancement of this application that will especially change the game going forward. Just as a virtual representation of a building will be able to take you on a small tour — think digital walkthroughs — 3D-printed models will soon afford the same luxuries. Imagine looking at a scale model of a building, sliding open a hatch in the side and peering into the structure. More importantly, imagine a development and engineering crew that has access to a full-scale model of the structure they’re building. It offers more than just a resource and reference point — they can see the results of their work before anything is put in place. This could effectively be used to trial new possibilities and designs, or even test the durability of a structure before it’s made. 2. New Building Locations and Opportunities Much larger structures and objects are created using a variety of prefabs, bit by bit. A commercial or residential building, for example, would be printed room by room, for instance. Unlike traditional construction, this would allow teams to assemble and build in a variety of new locales, environments and even hard-to-reach locations. The building or structure could be designed and printed elsewhere and then hauled to its destination to be assembled. Imagine emergency housing after a huge natural disaster: Builders could construct whole models outside an affected area before moving the finished product to where it needs to be. 3. New Designs Due to the nature of the technology and how items are created using printers, developers and engineers will need to come up with new and innovative ways to create modern structures. More importantly, the designs and modeling of said structures will change considerably. In the case of the Chinese company that 3D printed an entire apartment building, the structure was printed and developed at the rate of a floor per day. Starting from the bottom and working their way up, the company printed the building piece by piece and then assembled it on-site. 3D-Printed Bloom Pavilion by Ronald Rael and UC Berkeley 4. Print More Than Walls When looking at manufactured housing, you’ll notice a lot of the furniture and fixtures are built right into the main support structure. The entire piece of a building or structure is moved and everything inside goes right along with it. The same can be said of 3D-printed structures. Imagine accessories and items like fixtures, internal walls, floorboards, ducts and more printed right into the building. This will do one of two things: The building itself will be highly efficient and integrated. as all the components are attached and built right into the main framing, and it will speed up development because everything is already embedded within the prefabs. 5. Crowdsourced Printing Similar to software-as-a-service, as printers become more accessible, a variety of companies and brands will crop up that allow anyone and everyone to print from a service-based system. It’s easy to see how this will transform retail and regular shopping channels. We could potentially print any item we can dream up and then pick it up from a printer or service center. Does the world really need more stuff? That’s a valid question. But it could be useful in construction and architecture, specifically when it comes to design. With 3D printing, one feeds a digital blueprint or file of the desired item into hardware. This file can be designed or created by just about anyone. There are entire databases dedicated to 3D printing files and blueprints such as Thingiverse . Now, consider something similar except on a much grander scale, and with residential and commercial property blueprints. What if you could go to a service printer and have your entire home created in little to no time, cutting out nearly all the middlemen? This isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s certainly a process that will be made more possible with this technology’s rise. 6. Dynamic Players The crowdsourced scenario also reveals something a shift in the industry’s primary players. The digital construction economy will develop on its own, with hardly any insight from current professionals. That means workers in the construction, engineering and design industries will need to redefine their roles and find new uses for their skills. That’s not to say traditional construction and development will disappear overnight. However, we can expect construction to evolve, especially once organizations and teams realize how efficient and cost-effective 3D printing can be. New business opportunities will arise and need to be assessed, and what we know of the average contractor could change radically over time. 3D-printed Office of the Future in Dubai 7. Commercial Development It’s easy to dismiss 3D printing as a residential or smaller-scale operation, but that’s not the case. Dubai recently announced the completion of the world’s first 3D-printed office building . It is a full-scale, commercial office building with people actually working and operating within. This is not a concept, model or mere figment of someone’s imagination. The printer used to create the structure was 20-feet-high, 120-feet-long and 40-feet-wide. Using a unique cement mixture, the printed created an entire building that is now used daily. It took 17 days to build and assemble — a near record timing for a structure of its size. The takeaway is that 3D printing technologies will be viable across nearly every facet of the construction industry, including commercial and residential. 8. More Work By proxy, the faster rates at which a structure can be printed and assembled means more work over time. As more organizations and parties come to realize the benefits of printed structures, we’ll see the popularity grow, which will also mean an increase of opportunities for companies at the forefront of this movement. It’s likely we’ll see 3D printing construction become mainstream, with a seemingly endless list of opportunities for companies that adopt the technology. It is estimated the 3D printing or additive manufacturing market will fetch up to $26.5 billion by 2021 . That’s a huge leap from $8.8 million in 2017, so the market is growing steadily. 9. Design Values Will Change In traditional manufacturing and construction, a designer or engineer comes up with a building concept and sells it to the customer. This design is largely exclusive and is often bought outright by the client or company in question. With 3D printing designs and blueprints, things are a little different. There’s still the opportunity for designers and architects to create exclusive models for a company, but they can also create universal or publicly accessible designs that can be used by just about anyone. This opens up new opportunities for revenue in terms of selling designs, but it also may allow new avenues of experimentation. Imagine being able to create an unorthodox design that gets picked up, used and deployed in the real world by someone or an organization. Some may argue, however, that such a free market for design may not be advantageous. 10. Automated Construction With the convergence of 3D printing, modern AI and analytics, as well as advanced robotics, it’s increasingly likely that construction and development will be automated and computerized. Construction teams would enjoy greater efficiency and precision, not to mention higher safety ratings. Projects could be completed sooner and with less resources wasted or deployed. Mockup miniatures will be available through BIM or building information modeling, with the final product built entirely from the ground up using advanced machinery, with little to no human input. That too may make some readers squirm, as automation threatens human jobs. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed that one MIT robot can print an entire building in just under 14 hours . Now scale that up to include an army of these machines working in tandem to create larger, commercial-sized buildings, and the future truly looks amazing. Lead image via 3D-printed Curve Appeal house by WATG Urban

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10 ways 3D printing is disrupting the architecture industry

Skinny 91 inch-wide house in London gets tons of sun thanks to multiple skylights

March 7, 2018 by  
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Houses built on extremely skinny plots are becoming a serious real estate trend in cities with expensive property markets. The Slim House by design studio alma-nac is one such dwelling, clocking in at a mere 91 inch-wide. While some skinny dwellings suffer from feeling dark and gloomy, The Slim House’s interior is flooded with natural light thanks to a series of cleverly-placed s kylights . The three-story home occupies a plot that was previously an empty alleyway. The architects increased its length and introduced a sloping roof that compensates for the lack of lighting on the side walls. In order to avoid the feeling of claustrophobia, the team made sure to allow natural light to penetrate the deepest recesses of the interior via skylights. Related: Super skinny Horinouchi House might be the most efficient use of space ever Two reception rooms, kitchen and dining areas occupy the ground floor, while the second floor contains the master bedroom with dressing room and a bathroom with shower, as well as another bedroom. The third floor houses two more bedrooms and a larger bathroom with tub. + alma-nac Via New Atlas

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Skinny 91 inch-wide house in London gets tons of sun thanks to multiple skylights

Green walls are great, but they need to work efficiently

March 1, 2018 by  
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You may have heard about green walls or even seen a few. Also called living walls , live walls, eco-walls and vertical gardens , these structures are essentially walls covered in vertically grown plants, and they can appear either inside or outside. The idea has been around for a while, and it’s really caught on lately due to their environmental and health benefits, as well as appealing aesthetics. But not all green walls are made equal. Read on to learn how a green wall should be designed in order to be useful and friendly to the environment. How Do They Work? There are several types of green walls. Some might consider regular walls covered in ivy as a green wall, while others would limit the definition to walls specifically designed to hold vegetation. The latter type can be constructed in various ways . They might consist of panels with pre-planted vegetation, or replaceable trays that fit into slots in the wall, enabling easy removal if necessary. Vertical gardens also vary in terms of how they function. The simpler models require hand watering, while others have self-watering pipe systems. Many green walls rely on hydroponic systems that use drip irrigation. Based on the desired aesthetics and effects, you might choose different types of plants. You can include many varieties of plants, including groundcover, ferns, shrubs, flowers and more. Benefits Green walls have become popular in urban areas where people want to make their space greener but don’t have a lot of room to do so. Vertical gardens ensure the benefits of green space without taking up too much space. They also improve air quality, which is advantageous for people as well as animals and the overall environment. Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen. They also filter out various contaminants, creating cleaner air, and can remove up 87 percent of airborne toxins inside a home within just 24 hours. This helps people breathe easier, especially indoors where air quality is notoriously bad. Ecowalls can reduce the urban heat-island effect and improve thermal insulation, reducing a building’s energy costs. They can also absorb noise and provide mental health benefits. Research has shown that having plants around can reduce stress and increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Challenges Critics have identified several potential issues with green walls. If the designer doesn’t adequately plan for their project, they say, the costs might outweigh the benefits. Maintaining a green wall requires more work and resources than a regular wall, especially if it doesn’t have a self-watering system. You’ll have to manually water the plants, and even with a self-watering system, the plants will need care at some point. Green walls typically require large amounts of water, which can be unsustainable if supplies are low and the wall isn’t equipped with water recycling equipment. Operating a living wall also requires energy. Producing this energy can have a negative impact on the environment if derived from fossil fuels. How to Make a Green Wall More Efficient A green wall’s efficacy depends on how it’s constructed, operated and maintained. Drip irrigation systems appear in walls that use panels and hydroponic systems, while walls with replaceable trays use tank systems. Drip irrigation tubing is typically about 85 percent more efficient than tank systems. They connect to the building’s plumbing system, while tray systems require manual watering. Drip irrigation systems can also automatically recycle water. You could use recycled water in a tank system from an air conditioning system or another source, but you’d have to do so manually. Because tray systems require more water and use soil, they can attract bugs and form mold, fungus and even introduce pathogens. Due to this possibility, they don’t comply with strict health, safety and hygiene codes in places such as healthcare facilities. These buildings would need to use a hydroponic system. For these reasons, the soil in tray systems must be replaced about every month, which can be costly. Panel systems don’t require this and therefore don’t need as much maintenance. Another factor that can impact a green wall’s efficiency is the type of vegetation with which it is populated. Drought-resistant and local plants need less water than other types of vegetation, so they’re more water-efficient. Plants also, of course, require sunlight. Placing a living wall in an area with a lot of natural light will reduce the amount of artificial light needed and, therefore, the amount of energy it requires. The Importance of Truly Green Green Walls For a green wall to be truly beneficial, you need to use an efficient watering system, put it in the proper place (with ample natural light), and plant vegetation that’s easy to maintain and requires minimal irrigation. Anyone interested to install a green wall, as well as the architects and engineers in charge of designing them, ought to consider the efficiency of the system in addition to their benefits and aesthetics. Photos via Depositphotos , Scott Webb on Unsplash , Mike.dixon.design  via Wikimedia Commons , Kaldari via Wikimedia Commons , AlejandroOrmad via Wikimedia Commons , and Terry Robinson via Wikimedia Commons

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Green walls are great, but they need to work efficiently

The Treebox is an amazing modern home set high up in the treetops

February 12, 2018 by  
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This gorgeous wooden home in Texas captures the experience of living high up in the treetops. Designed by Wernerfield , the PH2 Treebox is raised several meters off the ground, and its living quarters are sheltered by the surrounding forest. Wernerfield was commissioned to design an addition to an existing split-level house on a wooded property in Dallas. The team responded with a design that takes its cues from the form of the main house. Related: Microsoft unveils amazing treehouse office where employees can brainstorm in fresh air “The existing home’s split-level plan provides an elevated deck at the rear that is wrapped by the forest,” said the architects. “This sensation of being elevated and floating in the forest was carried forward as the central design concept throughout the project.” Related: Aging Portuguese granary transformed into a serene sanctuary in the trees The architects set the home on 12-foot-high metal columns, creating space for a sheltered parking area below. A metal staircase leads up to the dwelling area. The home’s exterior is clad in charred wood , which is both discrete and durable. The interior comprises a guest quarters and an office space (separated by a breezeway), and it has a minimalist, warm material palette that accentuates the connection to the forest. + Wernerfield Via Dezeen Photos by Robert Yu

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The Treebox is an amazing modern home set high up in the treetops

Chile’s rustic Casa Pollo is made from recycled zinc plates and reclaimed wood

February 1, 2018 by  
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This quirky home in Chile adapts to the terrain to provide expansive views of a beautiful estuary on Chiloe Island. Ortuzar Gebauer Arquitectos wrapped Casa Pollo with reclaimed zinc plates, evoking the aesthetic of old warehouses in Chiloé. The house is composed of spacious areas that can accommodate large groups of people. These spaces are well connected with the outdoors, and a large timber deck that offers views of the canal. From the mainland, the house appears hermetic and opaque, referencing old Chiloé barns and warehouses . However the façade facing the canal is open and features large glazed surfaces. Related: Minimalist timber CML House in Chile features a unique pinwheel layout Reused native woods dominate the interior, creating a feeling of warmth and protection from the elements. The roof forms a sheltered area on the terrace to allow the occupants to fully enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. + Ortuzar Gebauer Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photos by Federico Cairoli

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Chile’s rustic Casa Pollo is made from recycled zinc plates and reclaimed wood

Huge factory turned into a cozy residence with plenty of room leftover for the residents’ hobbies

January 16, 2018 by  
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This former factory in Nobeoka, Japan, now functions as a modern home for a couple who wanted to preserve the industrial legacy of the building. Considering the fact that the building was large enough to house production and manufacturing facilities, Schemata Architects reorganized the layout to include several voids that will serve as areas where the owners can enjoy their future hobbies. The building occupies a corner lot in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan . It grew over time to reach its current total area of 4736 square feet (440 square meters) distributed across two floors. The project started as an initiative organized by a Japanese magazine BRUTUS, which invited readers who wanted to renovate their houses as well as several selected architects, and matched each reader to their favorite architect. Related: Tokyo factory is transformed into an industrial-chic Blue Bottle Coffee cafe Schemata Architects renovated the building working in close collaboration with the client and his wife, who wanted the project to preserve the history of the building. In discussing the design, the team reached the conclusion that the optimal size of the residential part would be as small as 1829 square feet (170 square meters). This meant that there was a large unused floor area that had to somehow be incorporated into the concept. They decided to keep these spaces as voids that will accommodate the clients’ future passions and hobbies. “Such voids, created somewhere between the interior and the building envelope , generate a dynamic space that raises expectations for something to happen,” said the architects. + Schemata Architects Photos by Takumi Ota

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Huge factory turned into a cozy residence with plenty of room leftover for the residents’ hobbies

Seattle’s new Angle Lake Transit Station looks like a long-exposure photo of a dancer in motion

January 11, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm Brooks + Scarpa just completed construction on the new Angle Lake Transit Station and Plaza at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The building’s design was inspired by dance, and the architects wrapped the structure an undulating transparent envelope that mimics the motion of the human body. The team drew inspiration from an improvisational dance piece by famous contemporary dance choreographer William Forsythe. In it, dancers connect their bodies by matching lines in space that could be bent, tossed or otherwise distorted. Thanks to the use of ruled surface geometry and straight aluminum elements, the architects were able to achieve complex curved forms that look like a long-exposure portrait of a dancer. Related: Brooks + Scarpa completes forest-like kinetic sculpture ringed with rain gardens The seven-acre 400,000 square foot mixed-use complex features a seven-story cast-in-place and post-tensioned concrete structure. Its exterior façade is composed of over 7,500 custom-formed blue anodized aluminum panels. Brooks + Scarpa segmented each element into standardized sizes for the most efficient structural shape and material form, while maximizing production, fabrication and installation cost efficiency. This made it possible to install the façade on-site in less than three weeks without the use of cranes or special equipment. + Brooks + Scarpa Lead photo by Benjamin Benschneider

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Seattle’s new Angle Lake Transit Station looks like a long-exposure photo of a dancer in motion

Beautifully renovated Norwegian cottage combines old and new under one pitched roof

December 20, 2017 by  
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This fifty-year-old cottage designed by architect Atle Sørby was renovated entirely by Local craftsmen in Time, Norway. Norwegian design studio bark arkitekter redesigned the home while taking care to balance modern functional requirements with the original architecture. The Selestranda House occupies a relatively flat site surrounded by long sloping fields, dunes and beaches, separated only by narrow roads and old drystone walls . It features a pitched roof with pulled-down gables which the original architect used to reinterpret the traditional housing typology of the region, which is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions . Related: Snøhetta Turns Old Wooden Boathouse into a Sweet Camping Retreat in Norway The renovated cottage comprises two volumes–a new annex that contains a bedroom, a bathroom and a storage room, and the main volume that houses a large common room, a shared kitchen, and eating and living areas. Local craftsmen carried out every part of the renovation process. The roof tiles, created by local brick-factories in Sandnes, were carefully taken down, stored and put up again, one by one. In order to create an open-plan layout, the architects decided to take down the walls and ceiling in the common area. This also provided enough space for a ribbon window that offers panoramic views of the landscape. + bark arkitekter Via Archdaily Photos by Lise Bjelland

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Beautifully renovated Norwegian cottage combines old and new under one pitched roof

Minimalist Revugia retreat is nestled amidst Germany’s Black Forest

December 15, 2017 by  
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Revugia is new wilderness retreat designed for Germany’s Black Forest and Harz Mountains. It consists of a series of beautiful cabins and treehouses designed to have minimal impact upon the environment. Designed by architect Matthias Arndt, founder of lichtecht , for German developer TIDEVAND Bau , the resort will be built using wood, natural stone and glass. The Revugia resort will offer 50 suites in the main building and over 30 additional lodgings spread throughout the forest. Its architectural style champions simplicity and minimalist forms so as not to draw attention away from nature. Related: Inflatable spiky pinecone-shaped roofs top this forest resort in Latvia Revugia will offer spaces for recreation as well as venues for corporate events, meetings, presentations and seminars. It is expected to break ground in the second half of 2018, and is slated to open near the end of 2019. + Lichtecht + TIDEVAND Bau Via Fubiz Images by lichtecht

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