Henning Larsen Architects brings sustainable Scandinavian design to Minneapolis

May 30, 2018 by  
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Henning Larsen Architects and MSR Design  unveiled their competition-winning designs for Minneapolis’ New Public Service Building — a municipal building that will integrate the Scandinavian ethos with sustainable design. Located across from Minneapolis City Hall, the multi-purpose structure is envisioned as the city’s new face of public service and will offer healthy work spaces for city employees as well as public areas. The building is designed with the hopes of achieving  LEED Gold certification. Expected to include 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of interior space, the New Public Service Building will accommodate hundreds of employees. The project draws inspiration from the abundance of greenery and parks in Minneapolis by incorporating a public landscaped plaza. The green, open space will not only reinforce the new building’s connection to the adjacent City Hall but will also help activate the street level. To minimize energy demands, the architects used climatic simulations and analysis to determine the massing and orientation of the building. “It will truly be a building for everybody,” Henning Larsen Architects said in a statement . “As an urban gesture, the scheme invites the public into the building by placing extroverted and public functions towards Government Plaza. The design approach, influenced by our Scandinavian ethos, focuses on creating collaborative and innovative work spaces, integrated sustainability and highlighting daylight as a human right and contributor to a healthy workplace .” Related: The 2018 Super Bowl stadium in Minnesota offsets 100% of its energy The interior design of the seven to 10-story building encourages collaboration through open stair connections and shared spaces. An optimized facade system will help modulate the amount of natural light in the building, while indoor plants and a natural materials palette will promote employee well-being. Minneapolis’ New Public Service Building is slated for completion by the fall of 2020. + Henning Larsen Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Henning Larsen Architects

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Henning Larsen Architects brings sustainable Scandinavian design to Minneapolis

This whimsical retail store with a mesh wall is home to designer bags in Thailand

May 29, 2018 by  
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Bangkok-based firm  ASWA Architects  created a stunning retail studio for a popular bag brand in Thailand. TA.THA.TA bags are known for being functional and whimsical — a reputation that inspired the architects to create a similar feel for the new store. The front glass facade is covered with a white metal mesh shade system that, along with the extra-tall pitched roof, gives the structure a modern and ethereal atmosphere. The structure stands on a very narrow lot in the center of Bangkok, and the size of the lot forced the architects to utilize vertical space as much as possible. The site’s existing large tree helps provide shade . Inside, the studio is approximately 1,300 square feet and spans three floors. A welcoming retail store is located on the first floor. The second floor houses the design and assembly studio, while guests and employees can enjoy a third-floor lounge space with a mezzanine level. Related: Apple’s new Regent Street store is filled with daylight and living trees The brand’s identity greatly influenced the architectural concept and is noticeable throughout the space. Variations of metal mesh are in many areas, but a bespoke shade system marks the design. Made from white mesh, the screen acts as a double facade for the building’s all-glass front wall. This unique feature allows plenty of natural light to stream into the interior while also providing shade during the searing summer months. The interior design is functional and uncluttered, again a nod to the company’s brand. To add a touch of wellness, the architects added  greenery on every level. Bright drop lamps add extra lighting, and TA-THA-TA designed much of the furniture to leave a final mark of its identity on the structure. + ASWA Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Phuttipan Aswakool  

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A Victorian cottage transforms into a light-filled passive solar abode

May 29, 2018 by  
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Australian modular design and build firm Habitech Systems has breathed new life and improved sustainable standards into an original Victorian cottage in Hawthorn, Australia. In addition to the renovation of the existing home, the designers replaced the existing rear addition with a modern extension that boasts a strengthened connection with the rear garden. The energy efficiency of the new home—named Lawes St Extension – Hawthorn—was vastly increased through improved insulation, energy-saving heating and cooling systems, and the integration of passive solar principles. The existing home had been clad in brown brick in the 1980s, creating a dated look that Habitech Systems rectified with a new street facade made from naturally oiled Cypress timber battening. They also gave the front veranda a modern refresh with a new porch entry, while adding black metal-clad box-bay windows to provide a visual pop of contrast. Inside, the floor plan of the original cottage was kept largely intact; it includes a long entrance hall, two secondary bedrooms, a study and bathroom. After the previous extension was torn down, the designers grappled with height restrictions and the challenging terrain, which slopes down to the north and east at a point lower than the existing floor level. “The two primary challenges were leveraged together to produce the connected but varied arrangement of spaces designed,” wrote Habitech Systems. “The stepped floor level provided an opening up of the space to the northern sun and daylight, while the roof of the addition slopes up to the light.” Related: The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs A lowered laundry room and lobby roof occupies the transitional zone between the existing structure and the extension. Just beyond are the master suite and an open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen awash in natural light. The extension receives direct north solar access and was built with highly insulated Habitech SIPS walls and roof. Double-glazed and thermally broken aluminum-framed windows flood the interior with natural light without letting in unwanted solar gain. Heat reclamation ventilation and floor- and wall-based hydronic heating and cooling also reduce energy demands. Materials from the existing house were reused wherever possible. + Habitech Systems Images via Nic Granleese

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A Victorian cottage transforms into a light-filled passive solar abode

Airbnb’s swanky new San Francisco office has a sky boat, a castle and 16 international "neighborhoods"

November 3, 2017 by  
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Airbnb may offer thousands of luxury lodgings around the world, but employees won’t want to leave the rental sharing company’s swanky new San Francisco headquarters. Located at 999 Brannan Street,  Airbnb’s own Environments Team and WRNS Studio  designed 150,000 square feet of healthy, light-filled working space with plenty of whimsical flare like a sky boat, a castle and themed floors that represent the company’s international presence. The design of 999 Brannan – just mere steps from its existing San Fran headquarters – began by removing every non-structural element in the corner lot building, essentially creating a massive blank canvas. By scrapping the interior walls and hallways, the focus was put on flooding the interior space with as much natural light as possible. The huge atrium is a light-filled space with a curvaceous stairwell that winds up through the levels. A long mezzanine leads to the various offices as well as think spaces and conference rooms. Related: Airbnb’s brand new Paris office is a loft-like space that feels like home For design guidance, the teams concentrated on the company ethos of “Belong Anywhere” as well as the company’s new feature, Airbnb Trips, which offers users custom travel experiences designed and led by locals around the world. To highlight the new service and the company’s world-wide presence, international design elements were used on every floor. For example, each cafe has been styled according to a different city, such as Buenos Aires, Kyoto, Jaipur, and Amsterdam. The building’s work spaces are divided into 16 “neighborhoods” that house up to 50 employees who spend their days working at the sitting or standing desks , brainstorming at the communal tables, or enjoying down time in one of the many cozy lounges. Aaron Taylor Harvey, Airbnb Environments Executive Creative Director, explains that the design was based on providing employees with a comfortable working environment , “we wanted to bring the same bespoke nuance to this very large space that we brought to the first small office we designed in Portland. We want it to feel like a custom home to every inhabitant.” + WRNS Studio + Airbnb

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Airbnb’s swanky new San Francisco office has a sky boat, a castle and 16 international "neighborhoods"

Steven Holl unveils office clad in colorful photovoltaic glass for Doctors Without Borders

November 2, 2017 by  
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Steven Holl Architects just beat out a slew of other firms with plans for the new Doctors Without Borders headquarters in Geneva. The energy-efficient “Colors of Humanity” building features an innovative facade made of multi-hued photovoltaic glass and it’s topped with a lush green roof . The New York-based architect’s design was chosen over various proposals from architecture firms around the world. According to Mathieu Soupart, Logistics Director for the MSF Operational Centre Geneva, the winning design best represents the MSF ethos of community: “Steven Holl Architects’ project is the opportunity for MSF to integrate its core values like independence, impartiality, neutrality, altruism and dynamism in a challenging new architecture and project itself in the future.” Related: Steven Holl Architects designs LEED Platinum-targeted cultural center for Shanghai The massive photovoltaic facade , which is 40% transparent, pulls double duty: it produces up to 72% of the building’s energy needs and creates an interior framework for the community inside. Solar panels will also be installed on the building’s roof, sharing space with a large roof-top garden . Additionally, the innovative glass wall system is “open ended,” which means the building could be expanded in the future if need be. The inside layout is focused on the needs of the MSF community, and each individual space is designated by its color. Designed to foster interaction , the building has various circulation paths where workers and visitors can take a break in one of the many seating alcoves. This design feature was strategic to encourage community collaboration: “These centers serve as a friendly catalyst for interaction, acting like social condensers within the building.” + Steven Holl Architects Via Archdaily

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Steven Holl unveils office clad in colorful photovoltaic glass for Doctors Without Borders

Foster + Partners Bloomberg HQ opens in London as worlds most sustainable office building

October 25, 2017 by  
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Bloomberg’s new European headquarters—billed the “world’s most sustainable office building”—opened yesterday in London. Designed by Foster + Partners , the 3.2-acre Bloomberg HQ achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating with a 98.5% score that the architects say is the “highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development.” The nine-story headquarters is estimated to save 73 percent in water consumption and 35 percent in energy consumption when compared to typical office buildings. Clad in nearly 10,000 tonnes of English sandstone and bronze, the massive Bloomberg HQ mitigates its size by carving out a public pedestrian arcade between its two buildings, while bronze fins give the buildings human scale and also allow for natural ventilation and protection from solar gain. Located between the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral, the city block-sized development is also meant to blend in with and respect its historic surroundings. In addition to the pedestrian Bloomberg Arcade, the building features three public plazas and ground-floor restaurants to engage the urban fabric. Site-specific art installations, from artists like Cristina Iglesias and Olafur Eliasson , punctuate the development. Related: Bloomberg’s new London HQ rated world’s most sustainable office “From day one, we talked with Mike Bloomberg about creating an elegant stone building that responds to its historic setting yet is clearly of its own time and which would be a good neighbour in the City of London in every sense of the word,” said Lord Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners. “We wanted the building to have an integrity and continuity of expression both inside and out, creating an inspiring, innovative, dynamic and collaborative workplace for Bloomberg that embodies the core values of the company. Above all, we had a shared belief with Bloomberg that we should provide the highest standards of sustainability and wellbeing for its occupants, as well as create major new public spaces at ground level, making a significant contribution to the daily life of the City of London and its inhabitants.” + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , photos by Neil Young

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Foster + Partners Bloomberg HQ opens in London as worlds most sustainable office building

Chinas rival to AirBnB opens new Beijing office with cutting-edge interior design

February 15, 2017 by  
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Airbnb’s biggest rival in China, Xiaozhu , just opened their latest office in Beijing, a diverse and flexible work environment that bears similarities to an Ikea showroom. The office space, called Sliced House, is the work of People’s Architecture Office (PAO) and People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO), and is largely inspired by the diversity of the home-sharing startup’s online listings. The office’s collection of domestic spaces creates a casual and playful setting that fosters spontaneous interactions. PAO credits Xiaozhu’s need for a flexible work environment to the startup’s rapid growth—the five-year-old startup is valued at over $300 million and could possibly be bought out by AirBnB in the near future. The office is mostly open plan but also includes private meeting rooms, a conference room, and lounge. Most of the workspaces can be rearranged into different configurations, from the jigsaw-like worktables that can break away into individual desks to the conference room that uses room dividers to transform one long conference table to three smaller tables in separate rooms. The fixed meeting rooms are built to look like cozy living rooms and kitchens. Related: Airbnb launches nature-filled Tokyo office that feels like a beautiful cozy home “Sliced House is conceived as a house that has been divided and its parts dispersed throughout an otherwise banal office interior,” write the architects. “Shared interior finishes between split spaces make apparent that adjacent portions refer to a single room. These sliced samples of domesticity include kitchen, living room, and bedroom and double as ad hoc meeting areas. Such spaces reflect Xiaozhu’s rental offerings, providing users with a wide spectrum of settings to choose from.” PIDO custom built the transforming furniture , which include workspaces and a mobile trishaw-like meeting area made from converted tricycles . This wheeled workspaces were inspired by Xiaozhu’s Tricycle House listing and the tricycle’s long history in China. + People’s Architecture Office Via ArchDaily

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Chinas rival to AirBnB opens new Beijing office with cutting-edge interior design

WOHA revamps Singapore office with lush ‘pocket parks’

February 15, 2017 by  
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Singapore’s 48 North Canal Road is a dynamic office space designed by the renowned architecture firm, WOHA . Working within local Urban Redevelopment Authority’s guidelines to guard the heritage-protected storefront on one side, the green-loving architects tacked on a vibrant addition to the rear of the building using a contemporary mix of glass, brick and aluminum, and infused the entire program with lush pocket parks . Although the architects had to work within a number of spatial restrictions, they were able to strategically maneuver new open space out of the existing layout. The plan focused on vertically “lifting up” the existing office space in order to maximize flexibility and provide optimal natural light and city views. A curtain wall made of perforated aluminum panels runs the height of the building, serving as an integrated sunscreen to shade the interior atrium space. Related: WOHA’s solar-powered SkyVille in Singapore boasts a deep-green public skypark The building’s design consists of an eye-catching “fractal, triangulated geometry”. Interestingly, this feature was inspired by local city code that requires splayed corners on certain buildings located on corner intersections. Using the requirement to their advantage, the architects carried this theme throughout the design, “chiseling” various disjointed geometric forms and creating little nooks and seating areas along the way. The flat spaces created by this method were converted into green pocket parks throughout the building, including the more spacious rooftop, which was transformed into an outdoor recreational lounge. Visitors and tenants can also enjoy a cafe, break-out areas, and meeting rooms that are all organized around the building’s central green space. + WOHA Via Architonic Photography by Patrick Bingham-Hall

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Architects creatively upcycle waste into a surprisingly chic office space

January 20, 2017 by  
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Tiny budgets can be hard to work with, but they often help us become more creative by necessity. That’s what happened for Indian architecture firm Design Work Group (DWG), which was asked to convert an old building into software company Peacock Technology’s new workspace. To minimize costs without compromising aesthetics, the architects creatively recycled discarded materials—from car tires to old floppy disks—into furniture and decoration. Located in the Special Economic Zone of Icchapor in Gujarat’s Surat city, Peacock Technology’s new office is proof that resourceful upcycling can create a welcoming environment for both work and play. DWG rose to the challenge of sticking to a tight budget by using reclaimed materials that proved to be easy to find since the port city of Surat had many demolished wooden houses, the parts of which were sold in nearby scrap yards. “We found this as the best way to incorporate the architecture of the city in to our interior,” write the architects. Related: Willem Heeffer’s Mandala Office Retrofit Pops With Bold Colors and Recycled Materials The scrap yards provided a bounty of materials, including paper tubes, reclaimed wood , tires, glass bottles, plumbing pipes, and more, that the architects combined with Peacock Technology’s waste that included materials like keyboards, floppy disks, and old CDs . The architects teamed up with art students to transform the materials into furnishings, such as seating made from tires, a CD tabletop, and a receptionist desk made from reclaimed bannister pieces and leftover wood. + Design Work Group Via ArchDaily Images © Bhavesh Raghavani

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Peek inside Booking.com’s envy-inducing new Seattle offices

November 30, 2016 by  
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Booking.com , the interwebs’ go-to site for finding travel deals, now has a spiffy new space of its own in Seattle. Designed by award-winning international design firm Ware Malcomb , the 9,750-square-foot office frames fun spaces (like a game room and well-stocked cafe) in reclaimed materials and design touches that pay homage to the city’s bustling urban energy. Located at 200 West Mercer Street, Booking.com ‘s new regional digs are sprinkled with local flavor and flair. Ware Malcomb used materials such as metal, concrete and reclaimed wood to evoke an industrial feel inspired by Seattle’s iconic Space Needle and EMP Museum. The meeting rooms also pay homage to the city, and center around oversized murals of photos taken by Booking.com employees. RELATED: HOW TO: Green Your Work Place “The team at Booking.com wanted that “wow” effect when you walked into their new offices,” said Alan Lambert, Regional Director of Ware Malcomb ’s Seattle office. ”This was accomplished by applying cutting edge design to create a unique environment inspired by local Seattle icons. Employees and visitors alike are treated to an immersive experience that truly captures the spirit of Seattle, from the vibrant downtown to the beauty of the surrounding landscape.” Undoubtedly one of the employees’ favorite spaces, the game room is the perfect place to blow off some steam with a game of foosball, shuffleboard or ping pong. Those hoping to grab a snack can head to the Pike Place Market-inspired breakroom, which is lined with reclaimed wood and features a custom-made neon sign inspired by the ones seen throughout the famed marketplace. + Ware Malcomb

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