Recycled bedsprings transformed into an art pavilion at Dubai Design Week

November 23, 2017 by  
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Old copper bedsprings have been transformed into a surprisingly chic exhibition space at this year’s Dubai Design Week. Fahed + Architects designed Pavilion Abwab (“doors” in Arabic) to house a curated selection of 47 designs by design talent from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA). The cloud of mesh metal made of locally sourced materials takes inspiration from nature and showcases the firm’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices. The temporary Abwab pavilion consolidates all the designs into a single space, unlike Dubai Design Week’s former practice of commissioning independent pavilions for six MENASA countries. Designers from 15 different MENASA countries were represented this year at the exhibition that was split into eight categories: interpretation, mimicry, intersection, geometry, tactility, artisanal, nostalgia, and re-use . Related: Beautiful timber pavilion unfolds like origami Fahed + Architects sourced the used bedsprings from local waste management company bee’ah . A series of interconnected posts supported the cloud of mesh. “Set against a large mass of buildings within the d3 corridors, the structure’s silhouette will be reminiscent of impetuous ocean waves, coral clusters in a reef and clouds in the sky, referencing the practice’s environmental commitment,” reads a statement on Dubai Design Week . “The pavilion will distill daylight to create patterns on the exhibited works and on the ground.” + Fahed + Architects Via Dezeen Images by Photo Solutions

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Recycled bedsprings transformed into an art pavilion at Dubai Design Week

This rammed earth school in Ghana school cost only $13,976 to build

November 13, 2017 by  
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This amazing school in rural Ghana was built in 60 days for just $13,976. The new InsideOut School replaces the only school in the area, which was destroyed by strong winds. Architects Andrea Tabocchini & Francesca Vittorini designed the non-profit project and built it with the local community and volunteers from 20 different countries. The team had to work without electricity, which meant they had to build the structure by hand. They moved 58,000 kg of and crafted materials available on site. Local soil was compacted to create staggered walls, while a lightweight wood structure lifts the roof to allow zenithal light into the building. The skylight also facilitates natural ventilation. Related: Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower The result is an affordable school that can be replicated anywhere with a similar climate. Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Andrea Tabocchini

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This rammed earth school in Ghana school cost only $13,976 to build

This cozy off-grid cabin shows beauty on a budget in upstate New York

November 8, 2017 by  
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Manhattan studio JacobsChang shows off beauty on a budget with their completion of the Half-Tree House, a one-room cabin tucked into the forests of upstate New York’s Sullivan County. Located on a remote 60-acre site, the 360-square-foot structure operates off-grid and was built by amateur weekend builders with a limited budget of $20,000. Despite the challenging steep slope, the architects and builders achieved an elegant result that dramatically juts out into the landscape. JacobsChang kept construction costs for the Half-tree House low by sourcing most of the materials on-site , including the timber cladding made from locally felled pines. To minimize site work and use of retaining walls , the architects anchored the building on one side with simple concrete footings and then used the existing trees to support the other side with a Garnier Limb anchoring system. Related: Prefab tiny cabin perched on a granite rock to minimize environmental impact Traditional Scandinavian pine tar was used to give the cabin a dark facade, which contrasts with the whitewashed interior. Three floor-to-ceiling pivoting windows open the cabin up to the outdoors, letting in ample natural light and ventilation. Say the architects: “The space is heated with a highly efficient Jotul wood stove and power, if needed, is drawn from a portable generator. The entire construction was performed by its two owners, and in the true spirit of New England barnraising, with a team of dedicated weekend support.” + JacobsChang Via ArchDaily Images © Noah Kalina

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This cozy off-grid cabin shows beauty on a budget in upstate New York

Artist turns recyclable cardboard into strikingly lifelike human sculptures

November 8, 2017 by  
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That Amazon delivery box you’ve chucked in the recycling bin might not mean much to you, but in the hands of artist James Lake cardboard takes on almost limitless possibilities. The talented UK sculptor has been working with cardboard for 20 years, manipulating the medium into human sculptures and other objects full of expression and detail. James, who describes cardboard as a “brilliant material to work with,” challenges viewers to see the extraordinary in things often dismissed as mundane. When James was 17, he developed bone cancer that ended with the amputation of his right leg. Despite, or perhaps because of, these struggles, he developed a passion for the arts that he’s channeled into sculpting cardboard. “When I first started making sculpture I decided to use cardboard as my medium of choice,” says James on his website . “I wanted a medium that can be used to sculpt beyond traditional material and without the need of an arts studio. The end result was the fine crafting of an inexpensive common place and recyclable material. I manipulate cardboard into taking a form which is vastly beyond its original function as a container to transport food and commercial goods.” Related: Modular Wikkelhouse wrapped in 24 layers of cardboard snaps together in a day In addition to his personal work and commissions, James’ work has been displayed in schools and as part of community projects. His use of cardboard goes beyond its cost-effective advantages; James believes the use of a ubiquitous material makes his sculptures more accessible “and blur the boundary between high art and low art.” As a self-described “diversity/inclusion artist,” James regularly holds art workshops with disadvantaged members of the community and provides resources to local schools and colleges. + James Lake Via Colossal

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Artist turns recyclable cardboard into strikingly lifelike human sculptures

Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air

October 19, 2017 by  
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Water scarcity doesn’t just affect those in arid climates—areas in humid tropics also lack access to freshwater sources. National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) students in Taiwan tackle these water issues with AQUAIR, a portable fog-harvesting device that pulls potable water out of the air. Designed for use in remote mountainous areas in tropical latitudes, AQUAIR can be easily assembled with the addition of locally sourced materials with future aims of open source production. Though AQUAIR’s water collection system has widespread uses, NCKU design students Wei-Yee Ong, Hsin-Ju Lin, Shih-Min Chang, and Marco Villa created the workable prototype in response to Honduras’ water crisis. As the second poorest nation in Central America, Honduras is home to a large number of subsistence farmers and rural communities that lack access to clean water due to drought and groundwater contamination—issues also felt in rural mountainous Taiwan. Like most fog harvesting systems, AQUAIR collects water with a mesh waterproof fabric stretched across a bamboo structure to maximize airflow. The key to AQUAIR’s design is the fan and small centrifuge that use gravity—a 30-kilogram weight is attached to the structure—to draw collected water vapor down a tube and into a bucket. The collapsible structure can be assembled by hand, while locally sourced rocks and bamboo can be used for the weight and tensile structure, respectively. Related: Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments The design students plan to take their working prototype to Honduras in February where they’ll work together with the local community. “We also want the project to be easy to build and assemble, so the local people can easily access the parts or create their own versions of AQUAIR,” said Marco Villela. “We do not want the parts to be 3D printed, because the material is not strong enough, so the best and cheapest option would be to create a mold and use plastic or ABS injection techniques. In regards to the gears, we want to get more sturdy and durable gears, so while the cheaper parts of the system can be replaced, the gear box can last for as long as possible. The project is designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble, also if any part is defective, it is easy and cheap to replace.” AQUAIR recently received a Design Mark for innovation in environmental and humanitarian issues as part of the 2017 Golden Pin Concept Design Award . + Golden Pin Concept Design Award

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Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air

Go way off-grid in this beautiful bamboo hut in tucked into Bali’s lush mountains

September 25, 2017 by  
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Adventurous travelers looking to go way, way off grid will love this beautiful bamboo haven located deep in Bali’s mountainous region of Gunung Agung. The Hideout Bali Hut , designed by Jarmil Lhoták and Alena Fibichová, sits adjacent to a peaceful riverbank and is just steps away from picturesque rice fields, letting guests experience the Balinese countryside. The Hideout Bali Hut is made completely out of locally-sourced bamboo. Jarmil Lhoták and Alena Fibichová used this sustainable material to create an incredibly durable structure with a low construction footprint. The bamboo used in Hideout’s construction is from the nearby Karangasem Mountains and it’s considered to be one of the best types of bamboo for building. Thanks to its growing height – usually about 800 meters above sea level – the flesh of the bamboo stalks have lower sugar levels, which results in a greater density and durability. Before construction, the stalks were treated with smoke and non-toxic products to increase their longevity. Related: Beautiful bamboo building withstands floods and storms in Vietnam The A-frame hut is supported by six pillars and topped with a thatched roof . The triangular shape of the house led the architects to install large triangular windows on the upper level, which provide stellar views while flooding the interior with natural light . The rest of the house is closely connected to its natural surroundings, and the garden features an outdoor shower surrounded by overhanging trees. + Hideout Bali Via Archdaily

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Go way off-grid in this beautiful bamboo hut in tucked into Bali’s lush mountains

Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

August 7, 2017 by  
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Windows are much more than just panes of glass in Anders Berensson Architects’ latest project in the Stockholm archipelago. The architects recently completed Look Out Lodge, a house extension built of locally sourced materials that functions like a standalone cabin. Custom-made prefabricated windows were added in the second phase of the project and define the areas for sleeping and working, all the while immersing the owner in nature. Clad in timber inside and out, Look Out Lodge was built on-site using local materials and building techniques. The two window additions—a Sky Tower and desk window—were prefabricated on site and slotted into place after the primary structure was completed. The small house extension is just large enough to accommodate a sleeping area and workspace. “Another goal with the design was to redefine the idea of a window as a flat readymade glass piece into an architectural element that creates its own space with a clear focus towards the outside,” wrote the architects. “This goal led to the design of a sky tower one can crawl into when being in bed totally dedicated to the sky and one corner window with a desk inserted to it that creates a work space on the inside and table for flowers on the outside with a clear focus and direction to the outside field.” The architects designed the Sky Tower to give the homeowners the countryside luxury of falling asleep beneath a starry sky. Topped with a round skylight and lined with spruce , the Sky Tower wraps around a custom-built bed and provides the perfect space to read during the day and for stargazing at night. The exterior draws on the local tradition of jigsaw facades and is punctuated by a pattern of native fauna and flora including large animals, amphibians, birds, flowers, and fish. Related: Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse The Desk Window prefabricated element is a corner unit that frames views of a wildflower meadow, one of the most beloved features of the Stockholm archipelago. The desk unit features a solar shade and a red terra-cotta concrete slab with holes for flower plants on the outside of the window, while a curved birch plywood tabletop with a round cut-out for sitting is located on the interior. Holes drilled into the desk are made for different purposes, including ventilation, cables, lamps, pencils, and even for pencil sharpening. + Anders Berensson Architects

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Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

UK man builds highly sustainable Passivhaus-standard home for his elderly parents

July 17, 2017 by  
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A UK man has built his parents the ultimate gift: a highly sustainable home where they can comfortably live out their lives in one of their favorite places on Earth—and it’s also a house that’s won numerous awards to boot. The loving son is Richard Pender, who began the self-built project, called Shawm , as a master’s student studying renewable energy at Newcastle University. Richard worked in collaboration with Dan Kerr of MawsonKerr Architects to create a beautiful airtight home in rural Northumberland that’s built to Passivhaus standards. Richard’s retired parents, Tony and Anne Pender, previously resided in a traditional farmhouse but needed a more modern home where they could comfortably age in place. To allow his parents to continue living in the beautiful yet wild landscapes of rural Northumberland, Richard lived and worked onsite to design and build a custom home with minimal environmental impact. Though Richard isn’t an architect, he drew on his experience with conventional property development projects and dedicated three years to research to meet the highest standards of energy efficiency and detailing. Related: Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house The new Shawm home is located within a former farmyard behind the existing farmhouse. The timber-frame new-build is attached to an existing stone wall and features a traditional barn-like silhouette with a clean and contemporary appearance. Materials were sourced locally, such as the larch cladding from Borders and the bespoke furnishings built from trees felled onsite. Richard also manufactured the entire timber frame with a specially designed jig in an old hay shed. Since Shawm was built with Passivhaus principles, the low-impact and low-energy home features highly insulated fabric with airtight construction, thus doing away with any need for a space heating system. The house also includes mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, ‘passive’ solar gain through the south, and use of local and low-carbon materials wherever possible. However, because the site on which Shawm is built is oriented to the north, the home was unable to attain Passivhaus certification. A small biomass pellet boiler provides space heating and domestic hot water in the winter. A solar array powers the house year-round, while rainwater is stored and pumped around the home for non-potable uses. Shawm is also disability friendly and includes ramps, electric blinds, and intercom front door control. The Shawm house won four Regional RIBA Awards, a National RIBA Award, and is long-listed for the RIBA House of the Year 2017 . + Shawm House Via Dezeen Images via Shawm House , by Renderloft

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UK man builds highly sustainable Passivhaus-standard home for his elderly parents

Biomimetic Eye_Beacon mimics deep-sea creatures in a hypnotic light show

July 17, 2017 by  
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UNStudio and MDT-tex have tapped into the ocean’s murky depths for their design of the Eye_Beacon, a sculptural pavilion for the Amsterdam Light Festival. Illuminated with LEDs to create a hypnotic pulsating light show, the colorful art installation draws inspiration from the bioluminescence of deep-sea creatures. The pavilion was created as the festival’s ticketing and information booth, and follows this year’s theme of biomimicry . Installed on the western side of the ‘Blauwburg’ next to the river Amstel , Eye_Beacon is an eye-catching pavilion that serves as the first stop for visitors to the festival. The structure also connects the ‘Watercolour’ canal route with the ‘Illuminade’ land route. The sculptural pavilion comprises two interconnected cube forms that are twisted to create a dynamic shape with 316 uneven panels. The designers used parametric optimization to determine the pavilion’s openings and complex, curved shape. MDT-tex developed the 2D and 3D tensile textile modules that make up the pavilion. Focused LED projections on the inside of the tensile structure turn the pavilion into constantly morphing composition of light and color ranging from orange sunset hues to neon greens and blues. Related: Amsterdam’s Light Festival Sets the City Aglow With Magical LED Installations “Similar to deep sea creatures that use bioluminescence to signal, attract and inform, the Eye_Beacon uses choreographed light sequences to alert visitors to its dual function as both a sculpture and an information point for the festival,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. “Along with the effect of the pavilion partially overhanging the Amstel River, the twist that connects the two halves of the structure emphasises the crossing point between the land and water routes of the festival.” + UNStudio + MDT-tex Photo credit: Janus van den Eijnden

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Biomimetic Eye_Beacon mimics deep-sea creatures in a hypnotic light show

Shipping container delivers heightened drama to a modern island home

July 12, 2017 by  
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A shipping container brings a sense of drama to this beautiful modern home on the tropical island of Lombok east of Bali. Indonesian architect Budi Pradono designed the Clay House, a luxury residence elevated on concrete stilts with views overlooking the Indian Ocean, paddy fields, and tropical forest. The building, which was conceived as a landmark for the island, is topped with a large shipping container placed at a sharp angle to appear as if it were slipping off. Located on a hill in Selong Belanak, the Clay House (nicknamed Seven Havens) comprises two elevated structures built with locally sourced materials . The 2.2-meter-tall shipping container, for instance, was sourced from the port of a nearby island and was placed at an angle of 60 degrees, creating a tall ceiling for the master bedroom to bring extra natural light indoors. The architect also built the 30-centimeter-thick walls from clay collected 20 kilometers from the site that was mixed by local craftsmen with sand, cement, straw, and cow dung. The board-marked clay walls help keep the interior naturally cool. Related: Modern recycled container house in South Africa operates 100% off grid The contemporary interior is grounded by the use of a natural materials palette that also helps complement the heavy building materials. Flattened bamboo lines the interior, while stone tiling is used throughout. The home is organized with open layouts and positioned to optimize views of the outdoors. + Budi Pradono Via Dezeen Images via Budi Pradono

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Shipping container delivers heightened drama to a modern island home

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