Architecture students transform an old Alabama bank into a town library

December 14, 2017 by  
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A historic bank in a tiny Alabama town has been reborn into a surprisingly elegant library with looks rivaling a chic retail store. The project, called Newborn Library, was completed in 2013 as part of Rural Studio , an Auburn University student design-build program with a focus on community design. The adaptive reuse and expansion project preserves much of the historic architectural elements while using modern construction technologies, such as CNC techniques, to create a contemporary interior. Located in the historic downtown of Newbern, a town with fewer than 200 people, the Old Bank Building was donated to the community by a local family who wanted the building turned into a library . Rural Studio, which follows a philosophy of providing good design to both rich and poor, was a fitting choice for the adaptive reuse project. The vision was to transform the bank into a social center that provided “after-school programming, computer access, and the first public Internet point in the community.” Related: Students design beautiful homes for mass-production at just $20,000 each To this end, the architecture students gutted the interior and expanded the footprint of the building while leaving the bank’s white brick exterior and glazed front intact to preserve its historical context. Timber lines the interior, from the CNC-milled birch plywood shelves to the patterned ceiling panels also made of birch. The old pine floor was preserved and elements of the past punctuate the space like the bank vault door and original bricks repurposed as paving and low walls. A 700-square-foot boxy cypress -clad extension was added to the back of the building, while a small outdoor space to the north provides an outdoor reading space. + Rural Studio Via Dezeen Images via Timothy Hursley

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Architecture students transform an old Alabama bank into a town library

Flexible greenery-covered prefab pops up in just 3 months in Vietnam

December 14, 2017 by  
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Brick and concrete dominate Vietnam’s built landscape, but Module K is helping to usher in a new contemporary building type that’s prefabricated, flexible, and transportable. The Vietnamese design studio recently completed Serene House HCMC, a modular steel structure in Ho Chi Minh City that only took three months to realize from concept to completion. Located in the hipster district Thao Dien, this modern building mixes modernist style with Indochine influences. Nestled between classic and French-inspired villas, the three-story Serene House HCMC is a mixed-use building with built-in flexibility to cater to the changing needs of the tenants. “We chose a prefabricated steel structure solution, quite uncommon in Vietnam where the traditional construction is bricks and concrete,” said Jade Nguyê?n Kim Ngo?c, design director of Module K. “It’s cost effective, easy to erect and disassemble, extremely flexible and very light and airy. We can easily break it up when our ten-year lease ends and move it to a new location for another serene house of our own. It also helps preserve the initial capital investment.” Related: Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain Described as a “three-dimensional puzzle,” the interior features both double-height ceilings and lower mezzanines and currently houses a coffee shop, furniture showroom, apartments, and office space, as well as a rooftop terrace. Glazing wraps around the operable facade to let in plenty of natural light and blur the line between inside and out. Tropical plants punctuate the interior and grow around the building from the climbing plants that drape down from the roof and window planters to the ground-floor garden. Locally produced LAVA -designed furnishings and lighting are featured in the rooms. + Module K Images by Hiroyuki Oki

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Flexible greenery-covered prefab pops up in just 3 months in Vietnam

Gorgeous street library in Bulgaria for 1,500 books uses parametric design

November 30, 2017 by  
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Nature inspired this stunning street library in Bulgaria , but it was computers that made the design possible. A team of young architects and designers created Rapana, the first street library in the city of Varna, using parametric design tools Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. The Rapana street library is built from 240 CNC-milled timber pieces fitted together into a curvaceous pavilion that provides shade, seating, and room for 1,500 books. The team of designers—Yuzdzhan Turgaev, Boyan Simeonov, Ibrim Asanov and Mariya Aleksieva—created the Rapana library in response to what they perceived as a diminishing interest in books in the digital age. Rapana was funded by the European Youth Capital , which had awarded the city of Varna with this year’s title. Varna’s seaside position and reputation as the “marine capital of Bulgaria” inspired the designers to craft the library into the shape of sea snail shell. “The design was inspired by nature and its organic shapes,” wrote the designers. “The installation takes into consideration the most important aspects of the city’s identity – the sea and its value to Varna’s citizens. The abstract construction unravels from a single focal point and develops into a semi-circle whilst creating a public space and shelves for placing books at the same time.” Related: Parametrically designed Louverwall house maximizes winter sunlight The team used 3D modeling to test over 20 concept designs before choosing a final design that fit the budget and conveyed the open library concept. The curvaceous library features two openings, seating, a tiny stage for performances, bookshelves, and a latticed shade structure. + Rapana Via ArchDaily Images © Emanuil Albert

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Gorgeous street library in Bulgaria for 1,500 books uses parametric design

Chinas new futuristic library is unlike any weve seen before

November 3, 2017 by  
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MVRDV just completed the Tianjin Binhai Public Library, a spectacular cultural center that’s unlike any library we’ve ever seen. Created in collaboration with local architects TUPDI, the 33,800-square-meter library features floor-to-ceiling bookcases that cascade in curves around a luminous spherical auditorium. The undulating bookshelves and layered ceiling gives the cavernous library a distinctive sci-fi feel accentuated by the giant illusion of an eye visible from the outside. Built in record-breaking time of just three years, the Tianjin Binhai Library was constructed as part of a cluster of five cultural buildings in the Binhai district all connected by a glass-roofed public corridor. The library design is centered on the massive ball-shaped auditorium behind the information desk. Bookshelves are arranged on either side of the auditorium and ripple outwards and double as seating and stairs. These undulating contours continue to the ceiling where they’re embedded with lighting to create “illuminated topography,” and are echoed on the glass facade as curved louvers . “The Tianjin Binhai Library interior is almost cave-like, a continuous bookshelf. Not being able to touch the building’s volume we ‘rolled’ the ball shaped auditorium demanded by the brief into the building and the building simply made space for it, as a ‘hug’ between media and knowledge” says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “We opened the building by creating a beautiful public space inside; a new urban living room is its centre. The bookshelves are great spaces to sit and at the same time allow for access to the upper floors. The angles and curves are meant to stimulate different uses of the space, such as reading, walking, meeting and discussing. Together they form the ‘eye’ of the building: to see and be seen.” Related: Energy-conscious library that doubles as a “living room” breaks ground in Shanghai The library’s first two floors comprise reading rooms, books, and lounge areas, while the upper floors house meeting rooms, offices, computer and audio rooms, and two rooftop patios . Although MVRDV designed for access to the upper bookshelves, the client decided to go against the original design due to the construction timeline. Instead, perforated aluminum plates printed to represent books were installed on the inaccessible upper shelves. Cleaning is down with ropes and movable scaffolding. While the upper reaches of the library are out of reach, visitors don’t seem to mind; the Tianjin Binhai Library has been a massive hit with the public who have been coming to visit in droves. + MVRDV All photos (c) Ossip van Duivenbode

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Chinas new futuristic library is unlike any weve seen before

Donkey-drawn mobile libraries bring books to people in Zimbabwe

October 5, 2017 by  
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It’s not always easy for people in rural Zimbabwe to visit a library , so Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program (RLRDP) brings the library to them. Donkeys power their mobile libraries that can carry around 1,200 books . Out of the organization’s 15 donkey cart libraries, three are outfitted with solar panels that can power a computer. RLRDP founder Obadiah Moyo designed the donkey cart libraries and began trotting them out in 1995. The two-wheeled, roofed carts can carry up to three riders, and are separated into compartments that can lock up. Three donkey libraries have electricity from solar power for charging phones, printing, and accessing the Internet on a computer. The carts serve more than 1,600 people apiece, stopping at schools or community sites. 12 of the mobile libraries are devoted to children’s books . The organization has also facilitated 120 book delivery bicycles . Related: One-woman traveling bicycle library delivers free books in San Francisco Moyo said school pass rates have greatly improved since mobile libraries started bringing the books to rural areas. In a blog post for Book Aid International, he said O-Level pass rates at Inyathi Secondary School, that RLRDP supports, were six percent in 2009, but last year were 75 percent. Moyo said in the blog post, “We believe that to pull these rural communities out of poverty we need to surround children with books and knowledge, and give them the tools they need to improve their lives.” Financial contributions are often most helpful for RLRDP – Moyo says it costs around $150,000 a year to operate the organization. Books mainly come from charity Book Aid International , and RLRDP can get discounts from publishers. The organization would like to stock their donkey-powered libraries with more books written by Zimbabwean authors, especially ones in the languages of Ndebele or Shona. + Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program Via Literary Hub and Book Aid International Images via Book Aid International and Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program

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Donkey-drawn mobile libraries bring books to people in Zimbabwe

Green-roofed Albion Library in Toronto feels like an extension of your living room

August 31, 2017 by  
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It’s no surprise that the Albion Public Library is one of the busiest libraries in Toronto—its welcoming and light-filled atmosphere makes it feel like an extension of a cozy living room. Perkins+Will completed the new 29,000-square-foot library to serve the city’s Rexdale neighborhood, a diverse community with many immigrant families. The new building also incorporates innovative sustainable principles and includes a sloped green roof, energy-saving technologies, and stormwater management strategies. The Albion District Library is the culmination of numerous community workshops that informed the decision for a new-build, rather than a renovation of the existing building. The new facility was built on the underutilized parking lot so that the existing library could stay operable until construction competition, after which the old site was converted into a lush public plaza with a landscaped parking lot and space for a market square. The architects wrote: “The new parking lot will also be designed as a multi-use space, functioning as a parking lot during the day for normal operating hours and serving as a community event space for special occasions.” Related: World’s largest bookstore opens in Tehran, Iran The new library includes a Children’s Area, a Computer Learning Center, and a Digital Innovation + Maker Space with a 3D printer and Urban Living Room. The contemporary building catches the eye with its colorful polychrome terra-cotta screen and glazing that lets in ample natural light. Greenery is woven into the design, from the sloped green roof atop the building to the interior courtyard gardens and pavilions. The library was completed in 2016. + Perkins+Will Via ArchDaily Images via Perkins+Will

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Green-roofed Albion Library in Toronto feels like an extension of your living room

Worlds largest book store opens in Tehran, Iran

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

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Worlds largest book store opens in Tehran, Iran

These wooden blocks can be stacked up to create cabins, treehouses, and wilderness shelters

July 31, 2017 by  
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Most cabins lie flat upon the earth – but Ofis Arhitekti just unveiled a wooden retreat that’s stacked up into the sky. The architects worked with C+C , C28 and AKT to create a beautiful library made from modular blocks at Ljubljana’s landmark medieval fortress. The basic modular unit provides accommodation for two people, with a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed and seating. If that isn’t enough space, the units can be stacked horizontally or vertically in order to form different configurations to accommodate a variety of locations and needs. Related: Three stacked spruce ‘shoeboxes’ reimagine a 1934 house in Ljubljana The units can be used as holiday cabins, tree houses, research units and shelters . The cabin can be fixed on the ground either by steel anchors or removable concrete cubes, making the interior space endlessly flexible and adjustable based on changing needs. The unit at Ljubljana Castle will serve as a temporary library, with each floor containing books on various topics. Spaces for reading and rest are tucked underneath the underpasses, and offer stunning views of the city. Both the structure and cladding promote Slovenian woodworking, traditional wood crafts and carpentry. + Ofis Arhitekti Photos by Janez Martincic  

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These wooden blocks can be stacked up to create cabins, treehouses, and wilderness shelters

Washington’s new Tukwila Library is topped with a carbon-negative green roof

June 27, 2017 by  
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Architecture firm Perkins+Will recently announced the completion of King County’s Tukwila Library – a 10,000-square-foot building inspired by the city’s diverse community where over 80 different languages are spoken. The new library showcases a variety of sustainable design strategies – including a green roof with a negative-carbon footprint. The building, built for the King County Library System, is located 20 minutes south of Seattle in Tukwila, Washington. A community-focused ‘mosaic space’ at the library’s center serves as a space for events, performances, contemplation, learning and reading. “In designing the new library , we were inspired by the city of Tukwila’s rich cultural diversity, and set out to create a welcoming space that both services and celebrates it,” said Ryan Bussard, design principal with Perkins+Will. Related: What Does the Interior of the World’s Largest and Most Expensive Family Home Look Like? The building’s facade features charcoal terra cotta, zinc cladding, aluminum sunshades and red- and purple-toned glass finishes, while large windows provide plenty of natural light for the interior spaces. Related: Perkins+Will’s LEED Platinum CTRB Sports a Prismatic Curtain Wall that Refracts Natural Light in Florida One of the building’s most exciting features is its roof, which is made of carbon-negative cross-laminated timber. This wood sequesters the same amount of carbon emitted by 91 cars in one year. Some of the roof is covered in a layer of heat- and drought-tolerant native plants that help regulate indoor temperatures while cutting stormwater runoff by more than 60 percent. + Perkins+Will

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Washington’s new Tukwila Library is topped with a carbon-negative green roof

Gulf of Mexicos dead zone in 2017 could be the largest on record

June 27, 2017 by  
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When humans abuse the environment and dump nitrate-and phosphorous-heavy pollutants into rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, oxygen-deprived “dead zones” form. This is exactly what has occurred in the Gulf of Mexico and is leading to the formation of the world’s largest algae bloom on record. Roughly the size of Connecticut, the substantial “dead zone” should be a wake-up call for consumers to change their habits — hopefully before it is too late. Algae blooms , such as the one disrupting the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico , upset the balance of the food chains in the region. With too many algae in the same area, an abnormal amount dies then sink to the seafloor, where the bacteria that break them down use substantial amounts of oxygen. This results in a huge drawdown of oceanic oxygen and ultimately results in a mass die-off of larger marine life. The occurrence is known as “hypoxia,” and it’s the reason the Gulf of Mexico is in the state it is. According to new research conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the algae bloom in the Gulf of Mexico is becoming progressively worse. In fact, it is now roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. Based on the agrochemical and wastewater runoff expected in the coming months, NOAA now predicts the dead zone will expand to encompass an area the size of New Jersey. To clarify, that is a 47 percent increase in just one year — and that’s a conservative estimate. Related: Mexico-sized algae bloom in the Arabian Sea connected to climate change According to The Washington Post , other researchers in Louisiana predict that the dead zone will actually increase to the size of Hawaii. If that happens, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will become the largest ever recorded. As IFLScience reports, these are only predictions at this present time. However, there is cause for concern, as scientists who set off on patrol boats to measure the size of the dead zone have been scarily accurate with their estimates. Whether the numbers are perfectly accurate or not, the persistent issue of pollution cannot be ignored. If humans fail to remedy their habits, continuing to live with little regard for the environment, environmental phenomenon worse than the present algae bloom in the Gulf of Mexico will result. Via IFLScience Images via SEOS Project , Wikimedia

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