Zaha Hadid Architects designs robot-assisted vaulted classrooms for China

April 19, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled designs for Lushan Primary School that blends forward-thinking construction techniques with deference to ancient Chinese culture. Located in the remote and beautiful countryside 160 kilometers northwest of Jiangxi’s capital Nanchang, Lushan Primary School will serve 12 local villages and offer a curriculum that focuses on the creative arts and STEM subjects. To reduce construction time and demands, the campus buildings will be housed in a series of modular vaulted spaces built with local in-situ concrete techniques and formwork prepared by an industrial robot on site. Created for children aged 3 to 12 years, the Lushan Primary School is expected to accommodate approximately 120 students within 9 classrooms. In addition to teaching spaces, the campus will also include a dormitory and utility buildings, all of which will be housed within a series of barrel and parabolic vaults optimized for landscape views and natural light. The cantilevered roofs help mitigate the solar gain of Jiangxi’s sub-tropical climate and provide a covered space for outdoor teaching. A long central courtyard between the classrooms serves as the school’s main circulation space and play area. “The barrel and parabolic vaults act as the school’s primary structure and enclosure, with each vault performing as an individual structural element,” wrote the architects. “To minimise construction time and also reduce the number of separate building elements required to be transported to the school’s remote location, ZHA proposes to combine the local skills of in-situ concrete construction with new advancements in hot-wire cut foam formwork that can be prepared on site by an industrial robot to create the barrel and parabolic shaped moulds. The modularity of the vaults enables moulds to be used multiple times, further accelerating the construction process and reducing costs.” Related: New images capture Zaha Hadid’s luxury High Line condos in NYC In a nod to the region’s long history with high-quality ceramics dating back to the Ming Dynasty, the vaulted buildings will feature a ceramic external finish laid in a dark gradient of tones that contrasts with the whitewashed interiors. The school is situated on a peninsula and will be elevated five meters above the 50-year flood level. A natural water catchment area surrounds the school for protection and also offers space for outdoor teaching spaces and sports facilities. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Zaha Hadid Architects and VA

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Zaha Hadid Architects designs robot-assisted vaulted classrooms for China

Worlds largest single-domed tropical greenhouse unveiled for France

March 27, 2018 by  
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A lush paradise of waterfalls and tropical plants has been unveiled in Coldefy & Associates’ designs for Tropicalia, the world’s largest tropical greenhouse under one roof. Proposed for Pas-de-Calais, France, the 215,000-square-foot greenhouse will be sheathed beneath a double-insulated dome and designed for energy efficiency and include heat recycling. The $62 million project will feature a variety of tropical landscapes filled with flora and fauna and linked by a one-kilometer walking path. Created in collaboration with energy company Dalkia , the greenhouse project aims to impress with its size and energy efficiency. “Tropicalia was imagined by Coldefy as a ‘bubble of harmony’ perfectly integrated with the local environment, endowed with a new innovation: the project is autonomous – energy producer by the use of a double dome creating a air chamber heated by a greenhouse effect,” wrote the architects. In addition to the double-insulated glass dome that will be constructed of structural steel and ETFE plastic, the greenhouse will be partly embedded into the earth to take advantage of natural insulation and ensure a stable 79-degree indoor environment year-round. Excess heat could be recycled for use in neighboring buildings. Related: Amazon’s incredible plant-filled biospheres open in Seattle In addition to the tropical flora and fauna that include an 82-foot-tall waterfall and Olympic-sized pool with Amazonian fish, Tropicalia also houses an auditorium, restaurant, bed and breakfast, and research area with a conference room, laboratory, and clinic. The project is expected to break ground in 2019 and open in 2021. + Coldefy & Associates Via ArchDaily Images via Coldefy & Associates

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Worlds largest single-domed tropical greenhouse unveiled for France

Anaheim’s elegant new Performing Arts Center was inspired by the city’s former orange groves

March 12, 2018 by  
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Recently unveiled plans for the new Anaheim Performing Arts Center envision an 11-acre complex with a series of cylindrical buildings whose shapes were inspired by the city’s former orange groves. Designed by local firm, SPF Architects, the sprawling APAC campus will have a 2,000-seat concert hall, a 1,700-seat opera hall, and a 600-seat black box theater, all covered in a brilliant perforated copper cladding reminiscent of orange peels. The new complex will replace the existing Anaheim’s City National Grove venue in order to bring a contemporary, world-class arts complex to the city. Along with the concert and opera halls, the sprawling complex will also have a soaring museum tower with a 24-foot observatory, an outdoor amphitheater, two restaurants, office space, a convention hall and lecture auditoriums. The outdoor area will include various open spaces that include fountains, a large reflecting pool and various walking paths that lead between the buildings. The landscaping scheme will use native plants chosen for their resiliency and ability to provide shade. Related: Renderings unveiled for World Trade Center Performing Arts Center show a glowing, lantern-like cube Each of the main buildings on site will be clad in a perforated copper-anodized aluminum. The particular cladding style was chosen not only for its environmental properties, allowing for light and air circulation in the interiors but also as a nod to the city’s agricultural history. Anaheim city was once covered in vineyards, with the local economy based almost entirely on wine production until the vineyards were wiped out by disease in the late 19th century. Later, an investment in citriculture revived the city’s agricultural strength, spurring what is commonly referred to as California’s “second gold rush.” “Anaheim’s socioeconomic driver quickly became the orange, so naturally our design for the center was influenced by it,” says SPF:a design principal, Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA. “We imagined that if we were to roll up the pavement of the parking lot we would find the old spirits of old citrus trees.” To create the circular buildings, the architects studied the design of orange trees, from the trunks to the leaves and even the skin of the oranges. The tiny circular elements found in orange skin inspired the design team to mirror not only the circular shape of the trees but also the porous nature of the fruit’s skin. Even the layout of the complex was designed in a grid system, similar to the common orchard. + SPF:Architects

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Anaheim’s elegant new Performing Arts Center was inspired by the city’s former orange groves

Incredible glass home stays comfortably snug even in extreme temperatures

March 6, 2018 by  
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OFIS Architects tackles the ultimate indoor-outdoor living experience with Glass Pavilion, a retreat with full-height glass structural walls that provides total comfort even in extreme desert conditions. Initiated by Guardian Glass , this thermally efficient prototype home will operate off-grid and offer lucky guests stunning and uninterrupted views of Spain’s Gorafe desert. Completed this year, the compact 215-square-foot Glass Pavilion is part of OFIS Architects’ ongoing collaboration with AKT II structural engineers , where the firms test the structural possibilities of glass and timber in extreme climates. “This project is a response to the local, desert climate conditions,” wrote OFIS Architects of Glass Pavilion. “Instead of focusing only in ‘a glass as a window element’ the concept explored its advanced potentials, e.g. transparent but shading element, a thin but thermally efficient envelope that is also the sole structural support.” Related: Exceptional prefab alpine shelter overlooks mind-boggling mountain views Triple-glazed walls create a thermally efficient envelope, while near-invisible coatings, operable shades, and roof overhangs protect the interior from solar gain . The Y-shaped interior is evenly split between a living area with a kitchenette, a bedroom with storage, and the bathroom. All three rooms open out to a wraparound terrace deck. “The Glass Pavilion will be the setting of a 1-week retreat for a single person or a couple,” added the architects. “The guests will be selected from different tourist sharing platforms.” + OFIS Architects Images @ Jose Navarrete

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Incredible glass home stays comfortably snug even in extreme temperatures

Translucent ‘hugging’ towers could help clean Hong Kong’s air pollution

February 20, 2018 by  
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Architect Suraksha Acharya from Midori Architects has proposed a pair of ultra-green translucent towers for the Hong Kong skyline. The futuristic Aero Hive skyscrapers are clad in an organic facade interspersed with greenery that leads up to the towers’ expansive open-air rooftop gardens . The concept is based on creating an iconic symbol of sustainable design for the city – a unique highrise designed to adapt to the challenges of the local climate and reduce CO2 emissions in the area. Acharya’s design, which recently won the Skyhive Skyscraper Challenge , is meant to provide the bustling Hong Kong skyline with an icon of sustainability. Although aesthetically apt for Hong Kong’s profile of soaring skyscrapers, the Aero Hive is also strategically designed to withstand the local climate. The shape and size of the two towers, as well as the materials, were all chosen to adapt to the city’s subtropical weather and extreme winds. Related: Futuristic floating skyscraper ‘heals’ the effects of climate change According to the architect, the design is meant to change ideas when it comes to green skyscrapers, “Aero Hive aims to challenge the common belief that contemporary tall buildings cannot be ventilated naturally due to their ultra-heights and offers pause from typical hermetically sealed glass-boxes, serving as a model of sustainability” The curvaceous form of the towers is designed to be self-shading, meaning that the angles of the buildings are precisely aligned to allow them to mutually shade each other throughout different times of the day. Additionally, the porous cladding allows optimal air circulation throughout the building. The double glazed windows that make up the cladding are also optimized to bring in diffuses natural light to the interior while restricting direct solar radiation. Topping the twisty towers are two flared rooftops, which will be open to the public as city gardens. The greenery is two-fold – helping preserve the city’s public green space, but also address the “urban heat island” effect common in Hong Kong’s tropical climate. The lush rooftop gardens will help create a natural habitat for local birds, as well as filter pollutants and reduce CO2. + Midori Architects + Midori Architects on Facebook + Midori Architects on Instagram + Midori Architects on Twitter + Midori Architects on G+ Images courtesy Midori Architects

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Translucent ‘hugging’ towers could help clean Hong Kong’s air pollution

Multiple dog foods recalled due to contamination with euthanasia drug

February 20, 2018 by  
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If you feed your doggo and puppers foods made by the J.M. Smucker company (and the list is long), you are definitely going to want to read this. The company has recalled several brands of food because they are contaminated with a drug used to euthanize pets. In case you are thinking to yourself, “haven’t I heard this before?” – yes, you have. A different company had the exact same issue last year. The FDA states that a small amount of pentobarbital was found in foods like Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits and Skippy (see the whole list below). According to the FDA, “Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that is most commonly used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, or for euthanasia.” If you’ve fed your dog one of these brands, the FDA says it is unlikely that the amount of the drug found in the food will make your dog sick, but watch out for “drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner) and inability to stand.” If your dog shows any of these symptoms after ingesting any of the contaminated foods, it’s best to get them to the vet to be safe. Related: The devastating reason Mumbai dogs are turning blue “We take this very seriously and are extremely disappointed that pentobarbital was introduced to our supply chain,” said Barry Dunaway, President of Pet Food and Pet Snacks. In case you were wondering how the heck a drug like pentobarbital is making its way into dog food, it is likely from contaminated cattle meat – all the more reason to take a good, hard look at what you are feeding your pets . The list of withdrawn products the firm provided to the FDA include: Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541 Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542 Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543 Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418 Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417 Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645 Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647 Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380 Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570 Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469 Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250 Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245 Via Gizmodo Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 and 2 )

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Multiple dog foods recalled due to contamination with euthanasia drug

Historic Frank Lloyd Wright building to be destroyed in 5 days – unless it’s bought

January 5, 2018 by  
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For the first time in more than 40 years, we’re about to lose a Frank Lloyd Wright -designed building. The beautiful Lockridge Medical Clinic building in Whitefish, Montana was designed by Wright in 1958 and is one of his last designs before his death in 1958. The building was created as a medical clinic that was comfortable enough to feel like a home, complete with Wright’s iconic touches. Now, the owner wants to tear it down to make way for a three-story mixed-use development, unless someone pays $1.7 million in cash by the 10th to preserve it. Demolition preparations began on-site earlier this week. “This comes as a great shock to us,” said Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. “Fruitful discussions were still taking place to bring about a successful resolution to this case, which the Conservancy and our local partners have been working on for more than a year.” Related: Woman pays $100,000 for a home and then discovers it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright The Conservancy has plans to preserve the site, with demolition not slated until the end of 2018, giving the organization time to raise funds to save the building. The news that demolition was beginning early felt like a “gut punch” to those working to save the endangered building, which housed a law office until recently. At just 25 miles from Glacier National Park , the building is perfectly poised for tourism, but the Conservancy fears that unless a buyer saves the day at the last minute, the building will be lost. + Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Images via Wikimedia and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy

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Historic Frank Lloyd Wright building to be destroyed in 5 days – unless it’s bought

Wind power supplied 43.6% of Denmark’s energy in 2017

January 5, 2018 by  
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Denmark set a new renewable energy record in 2017 by obtaining nearly half of its power from wind . The renewable source supplied 43.6 percent of electricity demand, beating the nation’s prior record of 42 percent in 2015 . In just a few years, the country could obtain 50 percent of its power from wind. Denmark’s wind turbines were particularly active in 2017, generating 14,700 gigawatt-hours in 12 months for a new production record, according to Renewables Now . Since 2001, installed wind energy capacity has doubled – even though there are around 20 percent fewer turbines. That’s because today’s turbines are larger and more efficient. The nation has installed 5.3 gigawatts of wind power on land and offshore – and most of the offshore turbines were installed after 2001. Related: Wind energy supplied all of Denmark’s power needs one day last week By 2020, Denmark could obtain around half of its electricity via wind. By then the nation should be able to generate 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources including biomass and solar power . One of the world’s biggest wind turbine companies, Vestas , is headquartered in Denmark, and Danish companies are selling their green technology around the world, according to prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s new year speech cited by Danish Energy. CEO Lars Aagaard said milestones like the 43.6 percent figure help put Danish solutions on the agenda. At the end of 2017, Vestas announced a 96 megawatt order for a wind farm in India. TreeHugger points out that as transportation is powered more by electricity, greener grids are good news. Electric cars and buses are traversing the streets, and electric planes could someday be flying the skies. According to TreeHugger, 52 percent of new car sales in nearby Norway were electric. And while Denmark has quite a ways to go before they hit that target, once they do, those electric cars could run on clean electricity from all the wind power generated in the country. Via Danish Energy , Renewables Now , and TreeHugger Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Wind power supplied 43.6% of Denmark’s energy in 2017

Timber-clad stfold cabin embraces the Scandinavian coastline

November 21, 2017 by  
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Natural light and stunning coastal views fill the enviable Østfold cabin, a cedar-clad dwelling in southeastern Norway. Designed by Norwegian studio Lund+Slaatto Architects , the coast-hugging cabin is undoubtedly contemporary yet its pitched roof pays homage to the local traditional architecture and the former building onsite. Surrounded by pines and rocky terrain, the home features light-colored timber inside and out to help it blend into the landscape. The 60-square-meter Østfold cabin comprises two volumes: a main building and an annex connected via outdoor terrace that wraps around the larger structure. Glazed folding doors open up the southwest-facing open-plan living room, dining space, and kitchen to the terrace as well as views of the outdoors. Large windows and other glazed openings let in copious amounts of natural light, while the roof overhang and timber louvers help mitigate solar gain. Related: Meditative lakeside Prism Cabin reveals Bordeaux through stained-glass windows While the open-plan living area and its stunning vistas are the highlights of the home, the interior also steps up to a secondary sitting area, and leads up to a second-floor study tucked within an attic -like space. The annex contains a bedroom. “Inspired by the rocky coastal surroundings, different levels create natural divisions within the open interior space,” wrote the architects. “The timber cladding, alongside the slim pitched roof, gives the house an almost shelter-like appearance – a sensation of a light and sensible dwelling on the fragile coast.” + Lund+Slaatto Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Marte Garmann

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Timber-clad stfold cabin embraces the Scandinavian coastline

New smart grid solution heals itself amid central grid outages

November 1, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy may offer emissions-free electricity , but it isn’t always easy for electrical grids to integrate that energy. Dutch company Alfen is launching their answer to the dilemma. The Cellular Smart Grid Platform (CSGriP) allows a central grid to be divided into smaller cells that can operate independently, if necessary, and even self-heal . CSGriP provides energy from sources like biogas , solar power , or wind power for local consumers. It includes “a 0.5 megawatt energy storage system and complex algorithm used for local energy management.” Should the central grid go out, local cells would take over to restore power for local customers. According to Alfen, “Once the grid balance within a cell is restored, it automatically reconnects to other cells, and, as such, quickly rebuilds the larger power grid” to reduce the duration of central grid outages. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: How a smart electric grid could reduce emissions by 58 percent in the US Alfen energy storage specialist Evert Raaijen said in a statement, “Unique about this solution is that the local cells are intrinsically stable through self-adjustment of supply and demand based on the frequency of the electricity grid. This makes the grid truly self-healing in cases of central grid outages. The self-healing mechanism based on frequencies sets it apart from many IT-related smart grids that require relatively vulnerable data and ICT connections for balancing local grids.” In developed countries, the point of the platform is to decentralize the grid and make it more ready for renewables. But the platform could also be deployed in developing countries that still need to be electrified, allowing them to avoid constructing central grids obtaining power from large fossil fuel -burning plants in favor of these local cells with storage systems for renewable sources. Alfen has worked in countries from the United Kingdom to the Czech Republic to Nigeria, on projects for electric vehicle charging , transformer substations, energy storage, smart grids, and grid automation. They are currently field testing CSGriP at the Application Center for Renewable Resources in Lelystad, the Netherlands . + Alfen Via Alfen Images via Alfen on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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New smart grid solution heals itself amid central grid outages

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