Pape Bird Observation Tower is a glorious marriage of a birds nest and a jewel box

December 11, 2017 by  
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This charming bird observation tower looks like a mix between a bird’s nest and a jewel box. Berta Risueño Muzás and Manuel Pareja Abascal designed the structure to provide visitors of Latvia ’s Pape Nature Park with protection from the elements while also blending perfectly into its natural surroundings so as not to disrupt the local wildlife. The project, selected as the winner of the  Pape Bird Observation Tower Competition , combines timber and rope to achieve a sense of protection and privacy. The use of rope as a sustainable and economical material that is easy to transport, simplifies the fabrication of the structure. The tower can be completely assembled off-site, it is easy to maintain and replace. Related: Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve Different-sized aluminum frames are placed in the shell, creating openings that connect the interior of the tower with the surrounding landscape. A light timber frame envelops the tower with a double function– it strengthens the structure and frames the façade. + Pape Bird Observation Tower Competition

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Pape Bird Observation Tower is a glorious marriage of a birds nest and a jewel box

Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

September 12, 2017 by  
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Mother Nature has reclaimed a former gravel extraction area in Maasvalley Riverpark, a 2,500-hectare nature reserve straddling the Belgium-Netherlands border. To help visitors fully experience the revitalized area, De Gouden Liniaal Architecten designed a small observation tower that blends into the landscape with its rammed earth walls. Built of locally excavated materials, the Observation Tower Negenoord is the first public earthen building in the Benelux region. The 46-square-meter observation tower is located on a small hill in the heart of the former gravel mine, Negenoord. Although the tower features a sandblasted concrete core, it is clad in external walls built of locally sourced ochre-colored earth, clay, and gravel created with rammed earth building techniques and stabilized with mortar made of volcanic rock. Over time, the external walls will slowly erode away to reveal the gravel aggregate; the gravel content is also visible in the sandblasted concrete core. “To guarantee the quality of the construction, the design team was supported by an international team of experts: Cratterre/ Vessières&Cie/ BC Studies,” wrote the architects. “The earth-consultants analyzed different local materials, tried different mixes and evaluated them on compression force, abrasion, color and appearance. The chosen mix consisted of 20% gravel, 40% ochre-colored earth, and 40% clay , stabilized with Trasslime. Through its materialization, the building tells us about the location it’s built. and becomes strongly anchored in its environment.” Related: Giant timber periscope tower offers lakeside views to everyone — even those with disabilities Roughly triangular in plan, the observation tower features three staircases with landings that offer different views of the landscape. The rammed earth construction took seven weeks to complete, with about 20-meters-cubed of rammed earth finished every week. + De Gouden Liniaal Architecten Via ArchDaily Images by Filip Dujardin

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Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

This humble home in South Korea features an observation tower for amazing views

December 29, 2016 by  
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Imagine buying a plot of land with a stellar view for your future home, only to see the construction of multi-family developments on the neighboring sites, threatening to block out the dreamy scenery. That’s exactly what happened to ON Architecture ’s client near Gimhae, South Korea. In order to preserve scenic views of the nearby city, while fulfilling the client’s desire to have a small home, the architects devised Tower House, a unique modern structure with an unexpected vertical element in the form of a raised gallery. From there, the homeowner can soak up the precious view, unscathed by nearby developments. Tower House was designed by ON Architecture and built in 2015. The home sits just outside the city of Gimhae in South Korea ’s South Gyeongsang Province, in the southeastern corner of the country’s main island. Designing a small house that could compete with neighboring multi-family dwellings was a challenge, but the architects carefully crafted a plan that would give their client everything they wanted, and possibly more. Related: Parametrically designed Louverwall house maximizes winter sunlight To provide a place for cityscape-gazing, the architects devised an observation tower that would hold the home’s living room. Additionally, a connected foyer serves as a vertical gallery where the homeowner can display their ornamental rock collection and potted plants. The resulting foyer is the centerpoint of movement inside the house, linking all the individual rooms. ON Architecture’s client requested a small house, despite the spacious plot of land they had to work with. In response, the architects created a corresponding outdoor space for each room of the house, thereby stretching the usable area and facilitating a kind of communication between the indoors and the outside world. To achieve this goal, the home’s overall footprint was designed in an X configuration, maximizing the opportunity for “in-between spaces” outdoors that can be used independently. The positioning of the rooms within the house puts the living room and master bedroom on the south-facing wall, ensuring those spaces would be flooded with natural light during the day. Tower House also features a terrace, in front of the living room, inspired by Numaru, a Korean traditional loft floor structure. + ON Architecture Via Architizer Images via ON Architecture

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This humble home in South Korea features an observation tower for amazing views

Solar-powered Farm From a Box is a compact farm kit that feeds 150 people

December 28, 2016 by  
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Two acres of land is enough to farm a sustainable food supply for as many as 150 people, and now a San Francisco startup is making it even easier to get that farm growing. Farm From a Box is a shipping container kit that holds all the essentials for setting up a two-acre farm (except the land, of course). Founders Brandi DeCarli and Scott Thompson got the idea after working on a youth center in Kenya where shipping containers were being used to substitute where infrastructure lacked. That project didn’t address food insecurity , though, which led DeCarli and Thompson to found their own venture specifically for that purpose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlcijvWRJGU Farm From a Box is a kit designed to make it easier for all types of organizations to start growing sustainable food . Nonprofit humanitarian agencies, schools, community groups, and even individuals can buy a $50,000 kit, which comes with a complete water system including a solar-powered pump and drip irrigation system. Together, those features help conserve water by using it more efficiently, delivering water directly to the roots of growing plants. All of the kit’s components are solar-powered, so the kit also includes 3 kW of solar energy capacity which is enough to power the water pump as well as WiFi connectivity that makes it possible to monitor the farm conditions remotely. Because the built-in solar power technology generates more than enough energy to power the farm’s equipment, the farm is suitable to run completely off the grid. Related: Top 10 cities in the US for urban farming All the prospective farmer needs to have is viable land, of course, and seeds. Luckily, the Farm From a Box team realizes that farming is largely about skill and science, so the kit also includes three stages of training materials on sustainable farming, farm technology and maintenance, as well as the business of farming. In a recent interview with Smithsonian Magazine, DiCarli explained that the farm kit was designed to “act as a template” and that it’s possible to “plug in” components that specifically fit the farm’s local climate and the farmers’ needs. Those options include internal cold storage, to help preserve crops between harvest and consumption or sale, and a water purification system, if needed. So far, Farm From a Box has deployed one prototype at Shone Farm in Sonoma County, California. A project of Santa Rosa Junior College, the farm is part of a larger outdoor laboratory in which students learn how to cultivate crops in drought conditions, and then the harvest is used to supply the farm’s own community-supported agriculture (CSA) program as well as the college’s culinary arts program. DiCarli said the Shone Farm prototype turned out to be “more efficient than we had even planned,” with “really high” production and energy output. Farm From a Box has a number of other potential sites lined up already, in Ethiopia, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan, as well as additional test farms in California and a veteran-partnered site in Virginia. Via Smithsonian Magazine Images via Farm From a Box

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Solar-powered Farm From a Box is a compact farm kit that feeds 150 people

Egypt’s new Science City International – an oasis of knowledge in the desert

September 1, 2016 by  
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The complex will be located on the western edge of Cairo called “6th of October City”. Nestled underneath a series of white dishes is a variety of interactive exhibitions , a museum, a planetarium , and observation tower , research and development facilities, workshops and a conference center . Related: eL Seed’s latest calligraffiti covers 50 buildings in Cairo’s “Garbage City” The competition brief called for “a set of buildings and spaces that must be inspiring on the outside and motivating and exciting on the inside to visitors and employees alike.” Out of 446 contestants, including Zaha Hadid Architects who took third place, the panel of leading academics and science entrepreneurs has chosen the entry designed by Weston Williamson+Partners as the winner. Chris Williamson, co-founder of WW+P said, “We are proud to have won. Needless to say that Egypt has a unique cultural heritage, but we were also attracted by the ambition of the project, clearly expressed through the brief. We look forward to developing the design and creating something worthy for Egypt’s future generations.” + Weston Williamson+Partners Via World Architecture News

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Egypt’s new Science City International – an oasis of knowledge in the desert

Giant timber periscope tower offers lakeside views to everyone even those with disabilities

July 8, 2016 by  
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Commissioned by the City of Seinäjoki, the Periscope Tower was created in collaboration with SWECO Seinäjoki and constructed by students of the local vocational school SEDU. The observation tower is built entirely of wood and comprises three prefabricated modules stacked together vertically and topped with a roof. The large-scale periscope forms the inner core and is constructed with cross-laminated timber . Stairs made from larch circle around the periscope to reach the raised viewing platform. The external wooden frame, also made of larch, serves as the load-bearing structure. Related: Accessible sail-shaped viewing tower hovers over the edge of Denmark’s Aarhus harbor “The idea was to create a simple wooden structure of high quality in a way that supports learning and reflects a commitment to empowering and strengthening the local community,” write the architects, “One can either climb up the stairs to enjoy the view over the lake and into the surrounding landscape from the viewing deck, or simply stay on the ground and get the view through the periscope mirror.” The Periscope Tower was created as part of a larger landscape design project to revitalize the area around Lake Kyrösjärvi, a man-made lake that helps with flood control and generates energy for an electric power plant. The observation tower opened today to the public. + OOPEAA Via Dezeen Images via OOPEAA

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State-of-the-art power plant in Dsseldorf doubles as an observation tower

June 13, 2016 by  
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The structure is not a simple power plant, but a landmark that dominates the southwestern boundary of the city. Thanks to its modular construction, the power plant can adjust to various functions. Its largest frame element envelops the existing smokestack-the highest point of the building complex. Related: Dubai to build the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant Situated approximately 45 meters (148 feet) above ground level, a viewing platform offers views of the rest of the plant and the city center through a glass facade . The rhythm of the facade and the modular construction are best observed at night. + kadawittfeldarchitektur Via Yanko Design

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State-of-the-art power plant in Dsseldorf doubles as an observation tower

Calatrava’s Dubai observation tower resembles the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

April 13, 2016 by  
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Wind tower amplifies the howls and whistles of the coastal breeze

March 2, 2016 by  
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The “world’s first vertical cable car” will climb to a height of 138 meters in the UK

January 19, 2016 by  
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