Henning Larsen breaks ground on BEAM Platinum-targeted Shaw Auditorium in Hong Kong

April 23, 2019 by  
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Shortly after completing the “greenest school” in Hong Kong , Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen has broken ground on yet another sustainability-minded project— the Shaw Auditorium for The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Designed with modular seating, the multipurpose auditorium will be a flexible space that can accommodate a wide range of cultural events from concerts and musicals to conventions and exhibitions. The elliptical building will also feature climate-optimized design for reduced energy consumption and is expected to become the first of its kind in Hong Kong to achieve the city’s BEAM (Building Environmental Assessment Method) Platinum sustainability rating. Located on a hilltop overlooking Sai Kung Bay, the Shaw Auditorium will serve as a gateway to the university campus and a hub where academic and student life intersects. The building consists of three concentric rings stacked together to optimize panoramic views of the landscape through walls of glass that illuminate the interior with natural lighting. The facade will be painted white to reflect sunlight; the stacked rings are slightly offset to create balconies that double as sunshades . “Our design aims to become an example of a sustainable subtropical architecture, hopefully influencing the construction industry in this region to design with more consideration to our climate,” Partner and Design Principal at Henning Larsen, Claude Bøjer Godefroy explains. “We also aimed to create the most transformative and innovative auditorium in this region to match the reputation of the University, and to make sure the venue will be lively at all times.” Related: Hong Kong’s “greenest school” champions environmental stewardship Shaw Auditorium’s modular seating can be adapted to fit a variety of programs and is able to seat 850 to up to 1,300 visitors, while the hall can also be turned into a large flat floor area. As a result, the auditorium can take on different “modes” and morph from its default “Learning Commons” setup to accommodate concerts, conferences, theater productions, banquet halls, exhibitions and congregations. The curved auditorium walls can even be used as a 360-degree projection screen for an immersive audio-visual experience. The building also includes auxiliary classroom spaces, public furniture and an integrated cafe. The project is slated for completion in 2021. + Henning Larsen Images via Henning Larsen

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Henning Larsen breaks ground on BEAM Platinum-targeted Shaw Auditorium in Hong Kong

This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Chilean city of Pucón, Santiago architect Alejandro Soffia has recently completed a prefab home that visually pops against its wooded surroundings. Fittingly named the Yellow House after its bright yellow facade, the modular residence is elevated off the ground for reduced site impact and to create a treehouse-like feel. The home’s modules were strategically connected with wooden joints and punctuated by full-height glazing to frame views of Lake Villarrica on one side and the Villarrica volcano on the other. Built from a series of SIP modules that Soffia designed himself, the prefabricated Yellow House spans just under 1,100 square feet and consists of a long hallway that connects an open-plan living room, kitchen, library and dining area on one end of the house to the two bedrooms on the other side. The house also opens up to an outdoor terrace built from wood. “The hypothesis is, that if you create a prefabricated system which has a good architectural design, then you can reproduce this quality as much as you need it, within the laws of short/long production series,” explains Soffia, who adds that he prefers prefabrication due to its reduced site impact and speed of construction without compromising quality. “And if in the serial industrial production of buildings you get bored, you can also customize form and function through the system. More benefits when you fasten the building process and have more control over quality and cost.” Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park Full-height glazing fills the interior with light and creates an indoor/ outdoor living experience that immerses the owner in the forest. In contrast to the bright yellow corrugated facade, the interiors are lined in wood, with some sections left unpainted and others painted black. Minimalist decor keeps the focus on the outdoors. + Alejandro Soffia Via ArchDaily Images by Juan Durán Sierralta, Mathias Jacobs

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This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

A prefab home in Sydney celebrates indoor-outdoor living

February 8, 2019 by  
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Constructed in a Melbourne factory in just 12 weeks, this elegant, prefab home in Sydney offers indoor-outdoor living without compromising thermal comfort. First designed by Sydney-based architectural practice Fox Johnston, the home’s concept was later refined by Australian design/build firm Modscape while honoring the architect’s design intent and the client’s demands. The prefabricated, two-story family home taps into solar design principles to prevent solar heat gain and to ensure comfortable indoor temperatures year-round. Spanning an area of 340 square meters, the modern, prefabricated home was commissioned by clients who needed extra space for their growing family and wanted to take better advantage of the property’s proximity to the beach in Tamarama, NSW. Taking cues from the original dwelling, the architects designed the new home with a similar footprint but added large expanses of glass to strengthen the building’s connections with the front and rear gardens . The existing sandstone plinth has also been integrated into the house to anchor it to the landscape. The material palette echoes the environment with its abundance of timber, which can be seen from the movable timber battened screens on the exterior to the light wood surfaces woven throughout the interior. “As soon as you walk in the front door, you’re welcomed by a generous double-height foyer featuring a staircase that reflects the timber battens used externally,” Modscape explained in a project statement. “In the living room, timber extends up the wall and across the ceiling to help to subtly define the space and beautifully complement the oak flooring. Opting for quality materials that will withstand heavy use from the children rather than ‘showy’ finishes ensure the result is a design that is durable and humble yet elegant and timeless.” Related: A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience The living spaces are located on the ground floor while the upstairs sleeping quarters consist of five bedrooms and two bathrooms. To mitigate Sydney’s harsh summers, the home is punctuated with numerous windows and skylights that maximize light and cross ventilation. The home was prefabricated at Modscape’s Melbourne factory in 12 weeks and then transported in 10 modules to the site, where the home was completed after an additional six weeks’ time. + Modscape Images by John Madden via Modscape

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Flat-pack treehouse offers "extreme wilderness" glamping with a light footprint

February 8, 2019 by  
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British company Tree Tents International has unveiled its most innovative and adaptable glamping structure yet. Meet the Fuselage, a flat-pack treehouse that can be set up almost anywhere, even on the most challenging terrain. Dubbed by the firm as an “extreme wilderness cabin,” the cylindrical dwelling takes inspiration from modern aerospace design for its durable and lightweight structure. Designed with a triple-layer insulated skin, low-voltage radiant heating and a micro wood stove, the solar-powered Fuselage has been precision-engineered for thermal comfort in a wide variety of climate conditions, including the wintry environment of Northern Sweden, where one of Tree Tents’ first Fuselages was installed just a few hundred miles below the Arctic Circle. “I designed the Fuselage to access some pretty extreme environments — allowing people to stay in these amazing locations with a structure that is both lightweight in construction but as tough as old boots,” Fuselage designer Jason Thawley said in a press release. To minimize the environmental impact of the Fuselage, the structures are flat-pack and modular so that no heavy machinery is required onsite for installation. Built from sustainably sourced wood and recycled aluminum , the units can be suspended from trees or mounted on stilted feet without need for large foundations. The firm even uses the waste from the manufacturing process to make camping accessories, such as stools and rucksacks, as part of its commitment to sustainable design. Related: Pinecone-shaped treehouse provides stunning 360-degree views of dense Redwood forest Assembled from a kit, the Fuselage features a fully insulated wood-and-aluminum structural frame with an aluminum outer shell. The interior, which measures 3 by 5 meters, includes quality marine ply hardwood flooring and birch liner as well as a lockable entrance door and double-glazed windows . Each bespoke unit also comes with furnishings and can be upgraded with different custom offerings. The base price for Fuselage starts at £26,000 (about $33,672 USD), not including valued-added tax or installation costs. + Fuselage

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Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdus Jincheng Lake

November 26, 2018 by  
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Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi of the firm NLÉ Architects recently unveiled his third iteration on the award-winning Makoko Floating School, a prefabricated building system aimed at addressing “the challenges and opportunities of urbanization and climate change” through sustainable and alternative building typologies. Dubbed the MFS IIIx3, the thought-provoking collection of structures has been set afloat on a lake in Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province. The project was created in collaboration with local Chengdu partners Fanmate Creative Furniture Company and Chengdu Keruijiesi Technology Company. Located on Jincheng Lake in Chengdu’s new ecological belt, MFS IIIx3 marks NLÉ Architects’ fourth prototype of the Makoko Floating School. The first prototype floating structure was built in 2013 for and by the historic water community of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, an area considered at-risk for climate change . Although the initial project has met its demise , the architects have gone on to improve and reiterate their designs. In 2016, the Waterfront Atlas (MFS II) was launched in Venice, Italy, as well as the Minne Floating School (MFS III) in Bruges, Belgium. In their latest take on the Makoko Floating School, the architects have recreated the modular building in three sizes — small, medium and large. All structures were prefabricated from wood and locally sourced bamboo . The collection of floating buildings includes an open-air concert hall, an indoor exhibition space and a small information center. All three spaces are organized around a communal plaza. Related: Sustainable Makoko Floating School in Nigeria is finally complete “MFS IIIx3 is introduced into the dynamics of a 2,200 year-old history of water management expertise, originating from the Min River (Minjiang) and from Dujiangyan — an ingenious irrigation system built in 256 BC, and still in use today — keeping the southwestern Sichuan province free of floods and drought and making it one of the most fertile and economically developed urban and agricultural areas in China,” the architects explained. “MFS IIIx3 offers an approach to and revives an ancient yet contemporary civilizational relationship with water, originally inspired by the water community of Makoko in Lagos, and now adapted for the water city of Chengdu.” + NLÉ Architects Images via NLÉ Architects

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Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdus Jincheng Lake

Calgary Central Library is wrapped in a striking, snowflake-like facade

November 7, 2018 by  
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Calgary’s new Central Library has just opened its doors to the public — and it’s a thing of elegant, energy-efficient beauty. International architecture firm Snøhetta teamed up with North America-based multidisciplinary design firm DIALOG to create the new main branch of the Calgary Public Library, one of the largest library systems on the continent. Wrapped in a dynamic, triple-glazed facade overlaid in an intricate, hexagonal pattern, the eye-catching library provides 240,000 square feet of expanded facilities in a contemporary and light-filled environment. Located in downtown Calgary and elevated above the Light Rail Transit Line, the $245 million CAD Calgary Central Library is the city’s largest public investment since the 1988 Olympics. Opened on Nov. 1, 2018, the library is expected to welcome over twice as many annual visitors and offer a strengthened role as a public gathering space with new areas dedicated to social interaction and exchange as well as sufficient spaces for studying and learning. The outdoor landscape has also been designed to facilitate public gatherings with outdoor amphitheaters and an entry plaza that unites the Downtown and East Village, two neighborhoods previously split by the Light Rail Transit Line. The outdoor planting plan references Calgary’s mountains and prairies with a palette of native flora. The crystalline geometry of the building facade dramatically stands out from the urban fabric while fritted glass cutouts provide views into the building from afar. “From these shapes emerge familiar forms: parts of the pattern might resemble an open book, snowflake-like linework or interlocking houses, anchoring the ideas of the collective and community,” the firm explained. “Most importantly, the entire building volume is enclosed in the same pattern, allowing all sides to function as the ‘front’ of the building. This visual vocabulary continues inside, expressed in the design of CPL’s new visual identity and wayfinding signage in the building, unifying the library’s goals of inclusivity.” Related: Snøhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change Inside, the library is spread out across six floors and lined with wood throughout. The floors are organized “on a spectrum of ‘fun’ to ‘serious’” with the more active programming, like the Children’s Library, placed on the lower floors and the quiet study areas and jewel box-like Great Reading Room on the upper floors. + Snøhetta + DIALOG Photography by Michael Grimm via Snøhetta

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Calgary Central Library is wrapped in a striking, snowflake-like facade

Breezy, prefab cafe blends contemporary and traditional styles in Thailand

July 24, 2018 by  
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BodinChapa Architects designed Pasang, a contemporary, prefab cafe built with modular elements near the verdant city of Chiang Rai, Thailand . Envisioned as a community space where visitors and locals can interact and learn about the region’s relationship with pineapple farming, the cafe references the landscape with its natural material palette. Fitted with operable wood and glass louvers, the building can also be opened up to cross breezes for natural ventilation. Located in a “sufficient economy village” and slightly hidden away from sight, the 90-square-meter Pasang takes its architectural cues from the country’s Lanna vernacular architecture, which used prefabrication in the construction of houses and temples. Constructed with a steel frame fitted with glass, the cafe was designed to embrace the surrounding landscape of fields, fruit orchards, stream and mountains beyond. To mitigate the region’s tropical climate and harsh solar gain, the architects partially wrapped the glass facade with screens of operable louvers . The glazed casement windows can also be opened to let in cooling breezes. “Designed to span the pillar every 1 meter with wood louvers and glass louvers between, the structure can serve as both the wall of the building and voids for natural ventilation ,” explained the architects in a project statement. “By opening all the louvers, [one] can clearly see the form of the architecture and connection of the interior. The building has conveyed a locality in a contemporary style, which is a combination of traditional local wisdom and modern construction technology.” Related: Colossal cardboard temple pops up in Chiang Mai in just one day The cafe is topped with gabled roofs to echo the surrounding architecture. The light-filled interior is divided into split levels to allow for views and to avoid obstructing the flow of natural light and breezes indoors. The kitchen and main seating area are located on the ground floor, while the bathrooms are housed in a freestanding concrete structure. Additional seating can be found on the upper level. + BodinChapa Architects Images by Rungkit Charoenwat

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Adorable prefab nursery in Greece mimics a tiny urban village

July 18, 2018 by  
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For design collective KLAB Architecture (Kinetic Lab of Architecture), one of the biggest challenges with public buildings in Greece is the lack of architect involvement in the construction process. To circumvent the problem, KLAB Architecture turned to prefabrication for its design of a public nursery in the Athens suburb of Glyfada. Drawing inspiration from a child’s archetypal drawing of a house, the modular gabled structures are clustered together to form the appearance of a tiny urban village. Organized around an open landscaped courtyard , the prefabricated nursery comprises a series of repeating modules of three differing sizes and shapes for visual interest. Each module was constructed in a factory and then transported via truck to the site for quick installation. The nursery follows a minimalist and modern aesthetic with its clean geometric lines and all-white exterior. Timber slatted pergolas provide shade and help mitigate solar gain; once they mature, planted shade trees will also help cool the buildings. Related: WeWork and BIG design innovative new school in NYC “We attempted to employ rather common materials and construction methods in order to create a more complicated structure with a small energy footprint,” KLAB Architecture said. “The exterior walls were constructed 10 centimeters thick, allowing us to maximize the available interior area, and were cladded, along with the roofs, with exterior wall insulation. Thus, by taking also into consideration the construction of wooden pergolas along the careful placement of the windows on the exterior walls, the building is sustainable providing comfort to the children.” Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade The energy-efficient nursery is also filled with natural light and warm natural materials to create a healthy and welcoming environment for the children. In contrast to the white exterior, the interior features bright and colorful wall treatments and furnishings that inject life into the various classrooms. All classrooms are open on three sides to engage the outdoors. + KLAB Architecture Via ArchDaily Images by Mariana Bisti

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This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast

June 5, 2018 by  
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While some architects use various strategies to blend their design into natural surroundings, Santiago-based firm  Felipe Assadi Arquitectos chose to go bold and bright with its design for La Roja. The modular home , which is comprised of four modules stacked on top of each other, is a bright crimson, cube-like structure that rises out of the deep green forest landscape of San José de Maipo, Chile. Although the house was constructed on-site, its materials were fabricated away from the current location. Additionally, the home’s four modular boxes can be transported by trucks and installed on virtually any flat landscape. Related: Modular Gomos homes can be assembled in three days flat The two-story, 936-square-foot home comprises four  prefab modules , with each floor made up of two units. To give depth to the box-like design, the architects added a sloped roof and a beautiful double-height entryway that pulls double duty as an open-air terrace. This large outdoor area enabled the architects to create a bright and airy interior flooded with natural light . The wall that wraps around the terrace is clad in floor-to-ceiling windows, creating a strong connection between the modular home’s interior and exterior. A bright, minimalist interior with a floating staircase leading up to the bedrooms also opens up the space. Traditionally, many architects and homeowners have used natural materials or even mirrored facades to blend their home into such a beautiful landscape, but the team from Felipe Assadi Arquitectos went another route completely. The architects say that the decision to paint the house an eye-catching crimson red was meant to “activate the relationship between the landscape and the project through contrast.” + Felipe Assadi Arquitectos Via Dwell Photography by Fernando Alda

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This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast

The Little House clad in black cedar is nestled among Washington’s evergreens

June 5, 2018 by  
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Seattle-based mw|works architecture + design has completed a modern cabin that offers big views with a small footprint. Aptly named the Little House, the 1,140-square-foot dwelling was built atop an existing concrete foundation. Set within a lush second growth forest that overlooks Hood Canal in Washington, the house is clad in black cedar and blackened cement infill panels to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. The Little House was commissioned by clients who live full time in Houston, Texas and sought a holiday retreat in Seabeck, Washington. After spending many summers with family at a nearby property, the clients fell in love with the wilderness of the southern Canal and desired a compact cabin with a simple and modern aesthetic. They found a 1.7-acre wooded lot with an existing foundation that they wanted to repurpose. “Early design discussions focused on creating a compact, modern structure that was simple and efficient to build,” said mw|works architecture + design. “Intentionally restrained on an existing footprint, the concept grew from this premise — a simple box with large carved openings in both the roof and walls that selectively embrace the views and natural light . The small footprint ultimately served as an efficient tool to govern the design process.” Related: Beautiful Modern Retreat is a Tranquil Oasis on the Puget Sound in Washington The house is clad in taut oxidized black cedar and blackened cement infill panels. Large windows punctuate the north and west sides to frame views of the Canal below and Dabob Bay beyond. In contrast to the dark exterior, the interior features lightly painted panels and soft pine plywood . To further embrace the outdoors, the architects added a spacious patio on the sunny western corner of the home. The streamlined form is free of extraneous detail. The architects said, “The resulting project hopes to capture the essence of the modern cabin — small in size but much larger than its boundaries.” + mw|works architecture + design Images by Andrew Pogue

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