Europes tallest modular tower snaps together in north London

April 20, 2017 by  
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The last module has slotted into place on Europe’s tallest modular tower. Designed by multidisciplinary practice HTA Design LLP , the record-breaking Apex House is a new student housing development that rises to the height of 29 stories in the Wembley Regeneration Area. Completed in just 12 months, the modular high-rise makes use of highly advanced prefabrication techniques and boasts energy-saving systems to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent. Developed by Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems , the Apex House comprises 679 modules with over 580 rooms that’ll be ready for students to move into this fall. The modules were prefabricated in Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems’ factory 60 miles away in Bedford with all the furniture, windows, electric wiring, and plumbing installed before they were transported to the site. The modules were stacked to a height of 90 meters in just 13 weeks. Related: Apartment Tour: Inside the world’s tallest modular building “Modular construction provides a much faster alternative to traditional construction without compromising on the quality of the building, or the versatility of the design,” said Christy Hayes, chief executive officer at Tide Construction, according to WAN . “Modular produces 80% less waste, requires fewer onsite workers and provides certainty of cost and time. Apex House is a shining example of what modular construction can bring to UK property, whether its hotels, residential apartments, build to rent or student accommodation .” The Apex House is the second tallest modular building in the world. + HTA Design LLP + Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems Via WAN Images via http://www.visionmodular.com , photos by Richard Southall

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Europes tallest modular tower snaps together in north London

Architect Jim Olson spent 55 years renovating this breathtaking Puget Sound cabin

April 5, 2017 by  
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It would be safe to say that architect Jim Olson from Olson Kundig Architects is an incredibly patient man. In a world where architects strive to build skyscapers at record-breaking speed , the award-winning architect took his time with the construction of his own lake house, as in 55 years. Olson began to build the cabin, located in Longbranch, Washington, in 1959. What began as a mere 14-square-foot bunk house has been patiently and lovingly transformed over the years into a breathtaking lake-side cabin . Starting the cabin construction when he was just 18-years-old, Olson has worked on the structure for decades, always adding new features to the design. However, the word “renovation” doesn’t adequately describe the cabin’s decades-long transformation; rather it was a creative layering process that always incorporated the cabin’s past features into its more modern present. Related: Enproyecto Arquitectura’s Spanish Coastal Stone Cabin Holds More Than a Few Surprises Details hidden among the modest cabin mark each remodeling stage, architecturally revealing the cabin’s design history. Distinct textures and color schemes make up the impressive living space which lies under the exposed glulam beams. Steel columns mark the living space divisions and impressive floor-to-ceiling windows allow for incredible full-frame views of the Puget Sound. In addition to the architect’s sophisticated design features, there are various signs of Olson’s love of nature within the home. Fir flooring extends throughout the living room onto the exterior deck, seamlessly connecting the interior with the exterior. The outdoor deck was also built around three large trees that grew up during the long construction period. Olson wanted to make sure that they were able to continue to grow uninterrupted no matter what new construction may come to the house. + Olson Kundig Architects Via Gessato Images via Olson Kundig Architects  

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Architect Jim Olson spent 55 years renovating this breathtaking Puget Sound cabin

This futuristic metal-clad residence is segmented like a lobster tail

April 5, 2017 by  
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This futuristic residential building in Luxembourg has a segmented facade that resembles the tail of a lobster or an exotic insect. Design studio Metaform sought to eliminate some of the major problems that occur in multi-family housing projects – such as the lack of privacy, natural light , and open space. Metaform approached the project in an experimental way in order to respond to the steep topography and preserve the existing three-century-old trees located on the plot. These elements inspired the form of the building, which is split into six smaller, vertically shifted blocks. This allowed the designers to preserve the required density while providing residents with a sense of belonging, identity and human scale. Thanks to the resulting layout, the units receive ample amounts of natural light and have panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and the city. Related: Innovative Gap House in Seoul saves space with communal living areas The ventilated facade is clad in triangular aluminium panels . Passive house design features work together with a well-insulated facade and glass elements coated with anti-UV film that protects the interior from overheating. Solar panels and living roofs round out the home’s green building strategies, ensuring low-energy performance. Related: Belles Townhomes is SF’s First LEED Platinum Multi-Family Housing The design eliminates long, horizontal circulation routes, which can often be dark and acoustically problematic. Three vertical cores connect underground parking directly to the apartments–an element that allows the units to have three-sided orientations. Apart from offering privacy, the architects also wanted to give residents the possibility to meet and get to know each other in common shared indoor spaces like kitchens and living rooms. + Metaform Via v2 com Photos by Steve Troes Fotodesign

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This futuristic metal-clad residence is segmented like a lobster tail

The original Brexit: ancient Britain’s geological split from Europe

April 5, 2017 by  
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Brexit – or Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – remains controversial even as Prime Minister Theresa May begins the process of leaving. But it turns out this process may not have been the first Brexit ever. Research led by Imperial College London scientists found evidence of an ancient geological Brexit – “the Brexit nobody voted for” – in the Dover Strait. According to their research a land bridge once existed between England and France . Ancient Britain, regardless of the lack of cities and people, might have been almost unrecognizable according to geophysical and seafloor data. In this Britain, which could have existed 450,000 years ago during an ice age, the whole English Channel would have been a frozen tundra crossed only by small rivers. Britain may have been physically connected to Europe by a chalk rock ridge spanning the Dover Strait that held back a proglacial lake , or lake in front of an ice sheet according to Imperial College London, in what is today the North Sea. Giant waterfalls from the lake could have contributed to erosion that breached the ridge. Related: UK’s Brexit vote could reverse environmental protections and contribute to climate change The data shows a valley system and huge holes on the seafloor. In France, there are around seven of these holes, or plunge pools, around 328 feet deep in a solid rock line between Dover and Calais. The straight line backs up the idea the holes were created by waterfalls cascading over a ridge about 328 feet high and around 20 miles long – the land bridge – to hit the ground below and erode rock. Catastrophic flooding is thought to have finished the ancient Brexit. The researchers found evidence of megaflood processes, which could have carved the valleys. Imperial College London professor Sanjeev Gupta, co-author on a paper published online yesterday in Nature Communications , said in a statement, “The breaching of this land bridge between Dover and Calais was undeniably one of the most important events in British history, helping to shape our island nation’s identity even today. When the ice age ended and sea levels rose, flooding the valley floor for good, Britain lost its physical connection to the mainland. Without this dramatic breaching Britain would still be part of Europe. This is Brexit 1.0 – the Brexit nobody voted for.” Via Imperial College London Images courtesy Imperial College London and Wikimedia Commons

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The original Brexit: ancient Britain’s geological split from Europe

New solar-powered mini lamp produces 2 types of light for 4 hours

April 5, 2017 by  
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Olafur Eliasson is renowned for creating solar-powered lamps that help people living without reliable energy, and now he’s got a new mini lamp lighting the way. With Little Sun Diamond, the designer builds on his previous solar lamps with a more sophisticated diamond-esque variety that can produce two types of solar powered light for up to four hours – after just five hours of charging. Unveiled at a recent Design Indaba event in Cape Town, the artist’s follow-up lamp is elegant and minimalist, distinguishing it from the original Little Sun , which had a thick yellow frame. The subsequent Little Sun Charge was similar in style to the original, but doubled as a charger. However, feedback from these two lamps suggested that they were too similar to a child’s toy. Related: Olafur Eliasson’s Solar “Little Sun” LED Lamp Lights Up Lives Around the World Shooting for a more mature look, the artist has given the Little Sun Diamond version a sleek metal frame. Still compact enough to fit into a pocket, the diamond-like solar lamp can now provide two types of light, a reading light and a “magical, sparking glow” similar to a disco ball. Although the lamps are small, so far, their impact has been great. Aside from providing the basic necessity of light, the solar lamps also provide an alternative to petroleum-based services. According to Eliasson, “[Because of Little Sun] $55 million was released for things other than petroleum. So this is such a small lamp. And yet it is the biggest project I’ve started on.” + Olafur Eliasson Via Dezeen

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New solar-powered mini lamp produces 2 types of light for 4 hours

MINIs tiny innovative home for three purifies the air in Milan

April 5, 2017 by  
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How do we cope with the increasing shortage of attractive housing in today’s cities? Car manufacturer MINI teamed up with New York architects SO – IL to tackle this challenge by producing an innovative solution: MINI LIVING — Breathe. Unveiled at the Milan Salone del Mobile 2017, the tiny housing prototype reinvents urban living and offers owners a refreshing garden-like environment and the freedom to move and adapt their home. Located on a previously unused 50-square-meter urban plot, the MINI LIVING — Breathe installation comprises six compact living spaces and a roof garden for three people inside a five-meter-wide microhome. Built with a modular metal frame, the home can be easily disassembled, moved, and reassembled or expanded upon in a new location. A flexible and light-permeable outer skin wraps around the metal skeleton instead of opaque walls. The light-filled housing prototype follows MINI’s principles “Creative use of space” and “Minimal footprint.” MINI Living — Breathe’s forward-thinking design is centered on the idea of a house as an active ecosystem. The translucent outer skin, which can be replaced with different fabrics depending on the urban climate, features a special coating that filters and neutralizes the air. The ten-meter-tall home acts as a giant air filter and helps improve the surrounding microclimate with its lush rooftop garden with plants that help clean toxins from the air. “The approach we took with MINI LIVING – Breathe extends far beyond purely a living concept,” says Oke Hauser, Creative Lead of MINI LIVING. “We view the installation as an active ecosystem, which makes a positive contribution to the lives and experiences of the people who live there and to the urban microclimate , depicted here by the intelligent use of resources essential to life – i.e. air, water and light.” The kitchen, located on the ground floor, serves as the main entry area and social gathering point of the home. Living spaces are located in the above three levels, while the sleeping areas, a potential wet area, and a roof garden are placed in the uppermost floors. Textile walls divide the living areas and allow for privacy while still permitting light to seep through. A water catchment system on the roof harvests rainwater for reuse in the tap. Related: A rolling garden on wheels recently popped up in the middle of Milan SO – IL writes: “By making living an active experience, the installation shines a spotlight on environmental awareness and encourages visitors to confront our tendency to take resources for granted. Instead of a traditional organization with rooms dedicated to specific functions, this house is composed as a loose stack of porous realms. A variety of atmospheres and spatial experiences are generated through the manipulation of light, air and water.” MINI Living — Breathe is open to visitors of the Salone del Mobile on Via Tortona 32 in Milan, Italy from April 4 to April 9, 2017. + SO – IL Architects Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu

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A 10K tiny house 3D-printed in 24 hours

March 1, 2017 by  
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Building a house typically takes months, exacerbating the housing crisis so many people face worldwide. Apis Cor , a San Francisco-based company that specializes in 3D-printing , decided to tackle that crisis with a groundbreaking mobile 3D-printer that can print an entire 400-square-foot tiny home in just 24 hours. What’s more, doing so costs just over $10,000 – a steal compared to most modern homes. On their website, Apis Cor says the construction industry may be sluggish now, but they will persevere in disrupting that industry “until everyone is able to afford a place to live.” Their revolutionary mobile 3D-printer is small enough to be transported, so assembly and transportation costs can be slashed. Although their mobile printer only needs a day to print a home from a concrete mixture, the company says their buildings will last up to 175 years. Not only is their process speedy, but environmentally friendly and affordable too. Related: New 3D house printer cranks out 1,000 square feet a day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xktwDfasPGQ The Russian house offers a promising beginning. Located at the Apis Cor test facility in Stupino, around 60 miles south of Moscow, the home was printed as a whole rather than assembled with pre-printed pieces. Apis Cor printed components like the building envelope, self-bearing walls, and partitions right on location. Winter couldn’t even stand in the little mobile printer’s way. Apis Cor printed the home last December, which was no big deal for their printer because it can function in temperatures down to negative 31 degrees Fahrenheit. The concrete mixture does require temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit, however, so Apis Cor erected a tent over the tiny house site to plunge forward in cold weather. White decorative plaster finished the tiny home’s exterior, allowing the team to paint it in bright colors. The interior is bright and furnished with modern appliances from Samsung. In total, the house cost $10,134, or around $275 per square foot. + Apis Cor Via Curbed Images via Apis Cor

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A 10K tiny house 3D-printed in 24 hours

Robotically woven hexagonal pavilion heralds revolution in architecture

March 1, 2017 by  
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An exciting fusion between robotics and architecture is on the rise, and the potential of digital fabrication is wonderfully expressed in the stunning Elytra Filament Pavilion. Designed by a team at the University of Stuttgart , the robotically woven structure is now on view at Germany’s Vitra Design Museum after its premiere at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London . The experimental pavilion is an artistic exploration between architecture, engineering, and biomimicry principles, weaving carbon fiber into fibrous structures inspired by beetles. Installed as part of the Vitra’s “Hello, Robot. Design between Human and Machine” exhibition, the 200-square-meter Elytra Filament Pavilion shows off the power of robotics in architecture. The University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) developed a unique robotic fabrication technique to create the pavilion’s 40 modular hexagonal units, each of which weigh 45 kilograms and take about three hours to make. A computer algorithm determined the pavilion’s design, which was then produced with the help of a robot. Taking cues from the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra, the computer-programmed Kuka robot spun resin-soaked glass and carbon fibers into hexagonal scaffolds and densely wound fibers into the canopy. The entire pavilion weighs 2.5 tonnes and is “exceptionally lightweight,” weighing less than 9 kilograms per square meter. Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London “With Elytra Filament Pavilion we aim to celebrate a truly contemporary and integrative approach to design, engineering and production, resulting in a distinctive spatial and aesthetic experience,” said Achim Menges, an architect behind the project. “The canopy grows in response to real-time sensing data, showcasing the profound impact of emerging technologies and related new alliances between the fields of design, engineering and natural science. Through this we seek to provide visitors with a unique experience that offers a glimpse of novel architectural and engineering possibilities, which may transform our built environment in the future.” + University of Stuttgart Images by Julien Lanoo

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Robotically woven hexagonal pavilion heralds revolution in architecture

Donald Trump would probably hate this crossable border wall

March 1, 2017 by  
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As a tongue-in-cheek response to Donald Trump’s mission to build a wall along the US and Mexico border, Rotterdam-based Atelier ARI has created an art installation called Open Border. Created for the annual Winnipeg Warming Huts event, the bright orange 9-foot-tall, 120-foot-long “wall” is made of vertical plastic strips that easily let people pass through to the other side. The Winnipeg Warming Huts event is an arts competition that sees various designers install their art works along a long stretch of the Red River Mutual Trail. The open-air architecture gallery is known for having a number of fun, avant-garde designs, but this year, Atelier ARI’s winning installation is speaking volumes about Trump’s hard-line immigration policies. Related: Trump will give architects just five days to submit proposals for a Mexican border wall Visually, Open Border ‘s bright orange strips are in stunning contrast to the snowy landscape, inviting curious visitors to walk through from one side to the other. Although fun in nature, the protest art installation makes reference to a seriousness of the worrisome xenophobic international policies being demonstrated not only by the USA’s current administration, but worldwide. “Creating a wall or border on a route is one the most radical and unnatural architectural statements one can make, which was something we liked a lot,” de Grauw and den Berg told Co.Design . “The moment we came up with the wall we realized this would be a political act as well, relating to the speeches of Trump, but also refugee problems in Europe. [It’s] something you can pass through and a place to gather and warm up.” The design was strategically crafted to make people contemplate the issue as they pass through the orange curtains. The semi-opaqueness of the PVC strips cause people to be indistinguishable as they pass through, a metaphorical statement on the equality of the entire human race. Atelier ARI explains the significance, “Everybody in the wall becomes dark-red silhouettes. Everybody becomes the same.” + Atelier ARI Via Lost at E Minor

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Donald Trump would probably hate this crossable border wall

Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces

February 27, 2017 by  
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Spark Architect’s Tent House is a seasonal shapeshifter. Situated close to Australia ’s famed Sunshine Coast, the house’s location in a rainforest clearing called for a unique design that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. Limited by the natural size of the clearing and surrounded by a forest wall, the tent home was carefully planned to make maximum use of all available space. A large, open area houses a kitchen , a dining area complete with an accommodating table, and a living “room”, all with a welcoming flow that makes the home ideal for entertaining and for family living. A continuous corridor links the common spaces to hang-out nooks and multiple bedrooms, including two situated at either end of the house that feature picturesque views of the surrounding greenery. Although the area generally welcomes warm temperatures year round, the house was crafted for easy transitioning according to weather. The homeowners can manually slide open walls to welcome the fresh air as they wish; the roof also retracts to reveal the translucent tent canopy and expansive sky above. The tent buffers the home from sun exposure while still allowing for plenty of light to filter through. The space between the tent and the box-like structure’s insulated roof  encourages natural air flow. In addition to offering shade, the pitched tent canopy extends the home’s boundaries for play and relaxation. With the walls/doors open, the entire house becomes an open-air sanctuary, a perfect exploration ground for children and adults. Nature surrounds the Tent House in the form of trees, a river, and a garden area, but it is also reflected within the sleek space: a warm wood floor inset brightens up the concrete floor, and underneath the bar area, wood panels peek out to contrast with the industrial metal counter. The ultimate result is a shelter that looks like our childhood camping dreams grew up and made room for family and friends to join in on the indoor/outdoor fun. Via Uncrate All images © Christopher Jones

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Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces

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