Zaha Hadid-designed Morpheus Hotel with worlds first high-rise exoskeleton opens in Macau

June 15, 2018 by  
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Macau has officially opened the doors to Morpheus, a sculptural, 40-story luxury hotel that also boasts the “world’s first” high-rise exoskeleton—a curvaceous lattice-like covering that gives the building its iconic appearance. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects , the sleek and sinuous structure serves as the new flagship hotel for the City of Dreams resort. The $1.1-billion architectural icon is one of the last projects that architect Zaha Hadid worked on before her untimely death. Morpheus Hotel is the latest addition to Macau’s City of Dreams, an integrated resort that includes a casino , two theaters, a shopping district, 20 restaurants and four hotels on the Cotai Strip. Taking inspiration from China’s rich traditions of jade carving, the architects crafted Morpheus with flowing curves that define the exterior and interior design. “Conceived as a vertical extrusion of its rectangular footprint, a series of voids is carved through its centre to create an urban window connecting the hotel’s interior communal spaces with the city and generating the sculptural forms that define the hotel’s public spaces,” wrote Zaha Hadid Architects in a statement. The Morpheus’ exoskeleton wraps around a pair of towers and a central atrium that soars to a height of 35 meters, while its ground level is connected to the City of Dreams resort’s surrounding three-story podium. A series of sky bridges traverse the atrium, while twelve glass elevators offer spectacular views of the hotel’s interior and exterior. The hotel houses 770 guest rooms, suites and sky villas as well as civic spaces, meeting and event facilities, game rooms, three restaurants, a spa and rooftop pool, and back-of-house areas and ancillary facilities. Related: Zaha Hadid Unveils Plans for “City of Dreams” Hotel Tower in Macau The use of an exoskeleton allowed for the creation of expansive interiors uninterrupted by supporting walls or columns. “Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form,” adds Viviana Muscettola, ZHA’s project director. “The design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Virgile Simon Bertrand

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Zaha Hadid-designed Morpheus Hotel with worlds first high-rise exoskeleton opens in Macau

A prefab hotel with lakeside views pops up in northern Russia

June 11, 2018 by  
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St. Petersburg-based architecture firm Rhizome group designed and built Tochka na Karte Hotel, a prefabricated structure crafted to embrace the outdoors. Located in the northern Russian town of Priozersk in Leningrad Oblast, the hotel complex is a sleek and modern getaway nestled among mature pine trees. The use of modular technology has helped reduce construction waste and minimize site impact , including the preservation of existing trees. Located just a two-hour drive north of St. Petersburg , the Tochka na Karte Hotel (Russian for ‘a point on the map’) is set on the shore of Lake Ladoga on the border of the Republic of Karelia. Due to its proximity to St. Petersburg, historical points of interest and abundance of pristine nature, the area has long served as a major tourist destination for Russians and foreigners alike. The hotel taps into the region’s natural beauty by using floor-to-ceiling glazing to frame outdoor views from every room, thus blurring the line between indoors and out. The prefabricated building comprises three two-story blocks with 32 standard rooms, detached suites (built of two modules) and a reception building (assembled from three modules and some prefabricated elements). The modules, which measure 3.5 meters by 7 meters, were constructed in a factory and then assembled on site. Stairways and terraces connect the modular blocks. The facade was built of timber and dark metal to tie the building into the wooded landscape. To further blend the hotel into its pine forest backdrop, the structures were “dispersed” among existing mature pines near where the Vuoski River meets Lake Ladoga. Related: This minimalist prefab hotel offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps “We believe we succeeded in achieving the essence of a place inherent to modern Nordic architecture,” the architects wrote. “Terrain forms, trees layout and our strive to provide a view of the shore from every room constitute the buildings’ location on the site.” + Rhizome Images by Dmitry Tsyrencshikov

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A prefab hotel with lakeside views pops up in northern Russia

These charming timber cabins in South India are a retreat for nature lovers

May 22, 2018 by  
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If your dream getaway involves nature excursions in a tropical environment, prepare to fall in love with the Cardamom Club resort in Thekkady, India. Recently renovated by Bangalore-based Kumar La Noce , this boutique resort features a series of elevated tiny cabins primarily built from sustainably sourced Bangkirai hardwood. Combining contemporary design with traditional elements, each 430-square-foot cabin rests lightly on the landscape and blends in with the verdant surroundings. Set within an eight-acre cardamom plantation, the Cardamom Club resort features a nearly 50-foot-long infinity pool and spa block — both of which are raised on stilts and also built with extremely durable Bangkirai wood. The hardwood’s reddish tones provide a striking contrast to the lush green backdrop. “Our first response upon visiting the spectacularly lush site was to ‘tread gently,’ which led us to imagine the built structures as light-weight volumes floating within a sea of green,” said Bhavana Kumar, the principal architect and co-founder of Kumar La Noce. The cabins have a minimalist interior filled with  natural light that pours through the plentiful windows. Rooms are dressed in handcrafted textiles and furnishings made with natural fibers — such as  rattan chairs and rice-paper light fixtures — that emphasize the resort’s back-to-nature aesthetic. Operable windows, ceiling fans and linen shades allow guests to control the interior microclimate. The bathrooms are fitted with black granite countertops; a small porthole window looks out over the lush landscape. The hotel rooms also extend out to private terraces. Related: Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel with minimal impact In addition to Kumar La Noce’s elevated cabins  — dubbed the ‘Mountain-View Cottages’ — the hotel also offers ‘Garden-View Cottages’ designed to match a Western aesthetic. The retreat offers 13 rooms in total as well as a variety of experience packages, from spa and massage programs to bird watching and visits to an elephant sanctuary. + Kumar La Noce Images via Kumar La Noce , by Kumar La Noce and Vivek Muthuramalingam

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These charming timber cabins in South India are a retreat for nature lovers

3XN breaks ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building on Toronto’s waterfront

May 22, 2018 by  
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Toronto’s new buildings are quickly cementing the city’s status as an architectural icon, and its latest gorgeously green residential tower is no exception. The city has just broken ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building with multiple tiers of green roofs. Designed by Danish architecture firm  3XN , the residential building has multiple outdoor spaces integrated into the design to enhance the well-being of the residents. Looking to serve as an icon for the revitalized Bayside Toronto waterfront area, the multi-tiered design will house 174 residential units. Large balconies and terraces rise up in an “L” shape from the first floor, creating a strong connection to the outdoors. These spaces not only enable residents to enjoy fresh air and incredible views of the lake, but also illuminate the apartments’ interiors with natural light . Along with the private homes, the complex will include a community center, a basketball court, retail spaces, and plenty of restaurants and cafes. Related: Toronto’s waterfront to undergo major futuristic redesign thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs According to the architects, their vision of creating a “complex yet elegant sculptural form” inspired the final design of rising terraces. Like many of 3XN’s projects, Aquabella was based on Scandinavian design principles , which typically have a strong emphasis on providing outdoor spaces for healthy lifestyles. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Nielsen described his firm’s role in creating an architectural design that would foster a strong sense of community: “3XN is thrilled to be part of helping Toronto to reclaim its industrial waterfront and integrate it into the city. Inspired by the scale and intimacy of a family home, we envision this new project as a vertical neighborhood on the shores of Lake Ontario. The design puts people first, paying particular attention to the quality of views, space and lifestyle. The development will command extraordinary views of the water, neighboring parks, and the city skyline.” + 3XN Architects Images via 3XN Architects

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3XN breaks ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building on Toronto’s waterfront

Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills

May 18, 2018 by  
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The Catskills area will soon welcome the Eastwind Hotel , a 1920s bunk house that has been converted into a gorgeous boutique hotel and accompanying tiny cabins. The space is geared toward outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy the lush Windham Mountain area. For those really looking to get back to nature, the hotel offers a series of tiny A-frame huts that provide guests with a solitary off-grid experience. The 14-by-14-foot Lushna Cabins are tucked into the landscape overlooking Windham Mountain — just a two hour drive north from New York City. With a simple aesthetic, the cabins are designed to return guests to nature. The huts are insulated to withstand the seasons, and each structure has a single window that offers  natural light and incredible views of the surroundings. Related: Couple builds tiny A-frame cabin in three weeks for only $700 The wooden cabins are equipped with a simple queen-sized bed with top-of-the-line linens, a wooden chest and plenty of wildlife journals to take while exploring the area. Visitors can also make use of the provided camping kits, complete with grilling equipment to use in the fire pits. The hotel’s goal is to meet the needs of all types of guests. For those who’d like a little bit more luxury, there are boutique suites that offer the best in amenities. Visitors will also be able to choose from various events and activities including outdoor movie screenings in summer, game nights in winter, concerts, classes and outdoor excursions. Eastwind Hotel & Bar is slated to open for business this June. + Eastwind Hotel & Bar Via Dwell Images via Eastwind Hotel & Bar

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Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills

The Truck Surf Hotel is a traveling retreat that hits the best surf spots in Europe and Africa

May 3, 2018 by  
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Good news, surfers! The surf is always up at the ultra-cool Truck Surf Hotel – a converted Mercedes Actros truck that has been revamped into an expandable two-story retreat. The hotel on wheels has an innovative hydraulic system that enables the walls and sealing to expand upwards and outwards once parked, offering surfers a front-row accommodation to hit the waves in some of the best surf spots in Portugal and Morocco. The Truck Surf Hotel offers a unique accommodation for active travelers who want a little flexibility in their vacation plans. When fully expanded, the truck hotel has two stories. The living space on the first floor has a kitchen, social room, and bathroom with shower. On the upper floor, there are five bedrooms – four shared double rooms with bunk beds, and one private double room. Related: This dreamy boutique hotel in California is made up of 11 refurbished Airstreams Large windows flood the interior with natural light. There’s also a long, outdoor terrace with plenty of bean bags where guests can sit and take in beautiful views of the sea. Guests will also enjoy a buffet breakfast every morning, along with a variety of packages to choose from, all geared towards making the most out of the truck’s roaming capabilities. After years of traveling to the best surf locations in Europe and Africa, the truck’s owners – Daniela Careiro and Eduardo Ribeiro – were inspired to create a retreat on wheels that would help other surfers explore uncrowded surf spots with the best waves. The hotel’s many packages on offer include options for new surfers or expert wave riders. According to Ribeiro and Careiro, “Every morning we wake up with the best view, serve the buffet breakfast on board, surrounded by nature in rural tourism farms and natural camping parks. We take you to amazing places in Algarve and Alentejo, according to the experience you’ve chosen, either…surfing on different beaches along the coast or explor[ing] the spectacular nature with different outdoor activities.” + Truck Surf Hotel Via Uncrate Images via Truck Surf Hotel

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The Truck Surf Hotel is a traveling retreat that hits the best surf spots in Europe and Africa

Portable 3D skin printer can form skin tissue to heal deep wounds in minutes

May 3, 2018 by  
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Need medical assistance after a blaster fight on a spaceship? This new handheld, portable 3D printer could help. Scientists at the University of Toronto created the 3D skin printer that feels like it came straight from a science fiction movie. The device, according to the university , “forms tissue in situ, depositing and setting in place, within two minutes or less.” This new portable 3D skin printer looks like a white-out tape dispenser, in the description of the university, but instead of a tape roll, the printer includes “a microdevice that forms tissue sheets.” Bio ink comprised of protein-based biomaterials like collagen and fibrin runs along the tissue sheets in vertical stripes. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the dermis, and fibrin, another protein, is part of wound healing. Navid Hakimi, study lead author and PhD student, said in the statement, “Our skin printer promises to tailor tissues to specific patients and wound characteristics.” Related: New 3D-printed algae could revolutionize the way we make things Many current 3D bioprinters are “bulky, work at low speeds, are expensive, and are incompatible with clinical application,” according to associate professor Axel Guenther. In contrast, this handheld printer is about as big as a small shoe box and weighs under one kilogram. The university said the device “also requires minimal operator training and eliminates the washing and incubation stages required by many conventional bioprinters.” The journal Lab on a Chip published the research last month; researchers from the Ross Tilley Burn Center at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center contributed. The team’s work isn’t finished — they aim to add multiple capabilities to the skin printer such as “expanding the size of the coverable wound areas.” They’re also planning further in vivo studies with the Sunnybrook team, and are shooting for clinical trials in humans in the future. + University of Toronto + Lab on a Chip Images via Liz Do and courtesy of Navid Hakimi via GIPHY

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Portable 3D skin printer can form skin tissue to heal deep wounds in minutes

These timber tiny houses use bold pergolas to shade against the glaring sun in Israel

April 13, 2018 by  
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These beautiful tiny houses designed by Israeli-based Ron Shenkin Architecture provide relief from the glaring sun thanks to their dynamic pergolas. Located on the northern coast of Israel, the Dor Holiday Bungalows offer a serene seaside retreat for those looking to get away from it all. The cabins are built with horizontal timber slats and they feature pergolas that provide shade from the hot summer sun. The open-air decks offer views of private gardens and the sea in the distance. Related: Charming timber-clad bungalows blend into Portugal’s bucolic landscape From the deck, large sliding glass doors lead into the interior, which is illuminated during the day with an abundance of natural light. Inside, a spacious living area leads to the kitchen. The bathroom, complete with a hot tub, is located in the back. The timber bungalows are available in various sizes with studio layouts or separate bedrooms. Cozy furnishings make the living spaces quite comfortable and welcoming. Behind the bungalows, guests can enjoy a shared pool and lounge space. The compact cabins were prefabricated off-site and built on concrete slabs to reduce their footprint on the landscape. + Ron Shenkin Architecture Via Uncrate Photography by Albert Adot via Ron Shenkin Architecture

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These timber tiny houses use bold pergolas to shade against the glaring sun in Israel

This modern hiking hotel blends into the dark alpine forests of Italy

February 23, 2018 by  
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The darkened wood façade of the award-winning Hotel Bühelwirt is tinted to complement the moody, dark green of the surrounding forest. Pedevilla Architects designed the hotel as an extension of the breathtaking alpine landscape in South Tyrol, Italy. While designing the space, the architects sought to create harmony with the environment and give every room a breathtaking view of the landscape. The 20-room hotel references traditional hiking hotels of the region. Rectangular forms meet an asymmetrical saddle roof and feature diagonally protruding bay windows that offer expansive views of the mountains. Each room in the hotel features stunning views, strengthening the connection between guests and the surrounding landscape. Related: 17th-century farm transformed into amazing hotel in the hills of Norway The minimalist interior features accents that add warmth and a feeling of coziness to the space, while creating focus on the outdoor environment. This is achieved through the use of locally sourced materials such as larch wood . Handcrafted copper lamps and locally manufactured curtains reflect a strong regional connection between the design of the hotel and its locale. + Pedevilla Architects Via Dwell Photos by Gustav Willeit

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This modern hiking hotel blends into the dark alpine forests of Italy

BEEcosystem observation hives can be installed inside or outdoors

February 12, 2018 by  
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Today in the United States there are 3.5 million fewer beehives than there were in 1947, a worrying decline given that bees pollinate one out of every three bites of food. Addressing the need for more bees, and in general new awareness about their crucial role as pollinators, Dustin Betz and Mike Zaengle teamed up to design the hexagonal BEEcosystem observation hive . Safely installed either inside or outdoors, the modular beehive can be stacked for growth in much the same way honeybees expand their combs. The pair first introduced BEEcosystem in 2015 , and now, for 2018, they’ve improved upon the original design with nifty new features. Zaengle told Inhabitat that while customers who received BEEcosystems have been thrilled with their purchase, many wished the hive would open from the front, rather than the back. “This slight change would make the hives that are situated outside easier to maintain,” he said. Instead of having to remove the hive from the wall, it can now be maintained in place. Zaengle adds that they “have already worked through this design modification with our current manufacturer and have started our initial production run for the 2018 beekeeping season .” Another limiting factor for potential BEEcosystem owners is lack of experience. People who are unfamiliar with apiculture may be intimidated to bring bees into their homes, while business owners who want to support the pollinators may simply lack the necessary expertise. In response, Betz and Zaengle have set up a new ambassador program. Betz says the Beekeeper Ambassador Program will allow them to build a network of beekeeping experts who can provide services to B2B customers such as farm-to-table restaurants, vineyards and hotels. “We feel the BEEcosystem hive can add tons of value to eco- and agri-tourism businesses,” he said, “and the Ambassador Program will allow more of those businesses to purchase our product without having to have someone in-house manage the hive – this network will also help to educate the next generation of beekeepers, and greatly increase the reach of our social impact.” Related: The world’s first observation hive to ship with an established colony BEEcosystem has forged a partnership with the Clift hotel and beekeeper Roger Garrison in San Francisco, according to Zaengle, as part of a broader effort to expand their mission with “other hotels with a sustainable and eco-driven mission .” Another new feature that facilitates hive expansion includes unique patent pending vent-to-passageway magnetic connection points. “Because both the hive’s side vents and additional hive bodies attach magnetically, by simply sliding out any one of the four side-ventilation screens, another BEEcosystem hive body can be attached to create a more spacious hive interior—giving your colony room to grow and thrive,” according to information detailed in their latest crowdfunding campaign . “By using magnetic alignment, BEEcosystem units connect together effortlessly—and because we use powerful magnets, they also connect together securely—delivering both peace of mind and ease of installation.” A new mason jar top feeder allows budding beekeepers to supplement feeding when necessary, and removable top bar frames makes it easy to harvest honey. A detachable red acrylic piece ensures bees, which, similarly to humans, operate on a circadian rhythm, can enjoy light-free sleep. And the transport tube, like a bee version of a dog door that allows pollinators to travel outdoors to forage, is sealed in with a magnetic safety clasp. Betz and Zaengle have finessed what was already an elegant, minimalist design to ensure maximum comfort for both bees and their human caretakers. They call theirs the most “user-friendly observation hive ever built.” If you would like to support their efforts to scale up manufacturing and expand their educational initiatives, feel free to check out their Indiegogo campaign . They have lots of worthwhile gifts to share. + BEEcosystem + BEEcosystem on Indiegogo

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