Giant twisting staircase revealed in Schmidt Hammer Lassen-designed solar-powered office

January 18, 2018 by  
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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has unveiled designs of a new sustainable office campus in Oslo for the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), Norway’s largest geotechnical specialist community. Topped with green roofs and solar panels, the approximately 30,000-square-meter campus comprises two modern structures that will accommodate up to 300 employees. Both buildings will be flooded with natural light, while the larger of the two features a dramatic spiral staircase that winds its way up a light-filled atrium. Winner of a 2016 competition, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects’ designs for the new NGI campus aims to expand Oslo’s science community and increase public engagement. Approximately 20 percent of the campus will be open to the public with cafes, shops, and meeting spaces occupying the ground floor. The campus’ location at a busy intersection and the addition of a new public green space will also tie the campus in with the neighborhood. The area will also see the addition of a new cycling and pedestrian bridge in 2019. “The campus is designed with a modern expression and a strong identity with respect to its context,” said Kim Holst Jensen, senior partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “The campus buildings will stand prominently in the local skyline and will reciprocate the voluminous Ullevål Stadion, Norway’s national football stadium located directly across the street.” Related: Energy-conscious library that doubles as a “living room” breaks ground in Shanghai The office complex will be built to BREEAM NOR environmental certifications and draw energy from renewable sources. Ample glazing promotes transparency, optimizing natural light and views of the outdoors. In addition to the ground-floor public areas and a spacious atrium with a spiral staircase, the buildings will also include advanced laboratories, a central canteen and dining area, offices, meeting rooms, courtyards, and basement parking. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Giant twisting staircase revealed in Schmidt Hammer Lassen-designed solar-powered office

Hairy micro-office teleports you to a world of calm

January 18, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen our fair share of unusual architecture , but this “hairy” building is a first. UK-based 2hD Architecture Workshop designed a surreal structure called “Mission Control” that’s entirely clad in brown bristles and appears to be mysteriously void of any doors or windows. Created as a micro-office and haven for concentration, the workspace located in a Nottingham garden is described by the architects as “an exercise in teleportation, designed to take us from the everyday hurly burly to another world, one of calm, quiet, and focus.” Built to replace a derelict glazed shed of the same size, Mission Control was constructed as a freestanding workspace extension of 2hD Architecture Workshop’s home office . Unlike the collaborative home office environment, Mission Control functions as an isolation chamber for uninterrupted concentration. The architects describe the short walk from the home office to the new micro-office—a distance of 13 feet—as an important “ceremonial commute” for leaving distractions behind and getting into the working mindset. “We built this custom-designed structure as the antithesis of a ‘contemplation space with landscape views and flowing inside-outside space’,” said the architects. “In contrast, we needed an almost monastic cell, removed from physical context and worldly distraction, where we could retreat to immerse ourselves in brain work.” Related: You can build one of these tiny backyard offices in less than a week for under $7000 Interlocking natural coco-fiber broom heads cover the outer facade of the 75-square-foot micro-office and create a visually seamless surface with a well-hidden door. The “hairy” exterior sheathes a pitched structure with a sloping roof made with polycarbonate and punctuated by an operable skylight to let in natural light and ventilation. Inside, whitewashed plywood clads the walls and ceilings that are wrapped with sheep’s wool insulation. Two back-to-back desks are placed beneath the low ceiling. + 2hD Architecture Workshop Images by Thibaut Devulder and Tom Hughes

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Hairy micro-office teleports you to a world of calm

Green-roofed office is the first large-scale CLT structure in southeast Europe

January 12, 2018 by  
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Instead of concrete or metal, this striking eco-friendly office building in Romania features a sturdy timber skeleton in what’s claimed as the first large-scale CLT structure in southeast Europe. Romanian firm Tecto Arhitectura designed the building as the new office for HSR factory in Reci, Covasna. Designed for long-term sustainability, the office building draws on geothermal energy, uses energy-efficient technologies, and is topped by an extensive green roof. Shaped like a cross in aerial view, the HSR timber office stretches horizontally from northeast to southwest and is intersected by a two-story volume with a northwest-southeast orientation. A stairway and a double-height atrium are located at the heart of the office that accommodates around 60 people. Built to minimize thermal loss, the office is built mainly of industrially prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels and gluelam elements. Given Romania’s freezing winters, the architects inserted passive house-standard mineral wool insulation into the walls, slabs, and flat roofs and optimized solar gain in winter. Natural cross ventilation and daylighting is optimized and pass through operable triple-glazed windows and doors. Related: Nation’s first large-scale mass timber residence hall breaks ground in Arkansas Colorful aluminum cladding wraps around the building’s airtight envelope and thick CLT walls. The facade colors are echoed in the interior, as is a celebration of timber that is featured throughout. Natural lighting is optimized and complimented by LEDs. A biomass cogeneration plant provides heating and electricity for the radiant heating and cooling system, as do geothermal heat pumps and a heat recovery ventilation system. An extensive green roof covers the building. + Tecto Arhitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Tecto Arhitectura , by Cosmin Dragomir

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Green-roofed office is the first large-scale CLT structure in southeast Europe

Chinese space station could plummet back to Earth in March

January 4, 2018 by  
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China lost control of their first space station Tiangong-1 in 2016 – and now pieces of it could come crashing back down to Earth. Research organization Aerospace Corporation recently predicted the station could re-enter our planet’s atmosphere sometime around the middle of March. Around 2,000 to 8,000 pounds of the almost 19,000-pound station could hit the surface. Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, was the first station China built and launched. They sent it to space in 2011, and two manned missions to the station were completed. Tiangong-1 wasn’t supposed to last much past 2013, but China decided to lengthen its lifespan. Then they lost control in 2016. The station’s orbit has been gradually degrading, so its re-entry will ultimately be uncontrolled, according to The Verge . Related: ESA unveils magnetic space tug to corral broken satellites drifting in space All this may sound like really bad news. And it’s true that thousands of pounds of Tiangong-1 could make it back to Earth. But multiple space agencies have been tracking the station, and think it may crash down between 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitude – a region largely covered in ocean. Most of the land in that area is also unpopulated. In the Aerospace Corporation’s map shown above, there’s a zero probability of trash re-entry in blue areas; green areas have lower probability and yellow areas have a higher probability. But the organization said, “When considering the worse-case location (yellow regions of the map) the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.” This also won’t be the first time an object as big as Tiangong-1 – or even larger – has made an uncontrolled re-entry. Phobos-Grunt, an almost 30,000-pound Russian spacecraft intended for a trip to Mars failed and plummeted to Earth in 2012. And NASA’s almost 160,000-pound Skylab, their old space station, also made an uncontrolled re-entry, according to The Verge. Humanity has been launching rockets for around 50 years – and a single person is known to have perhaps been struck by space trash in all that time. In 1997, Lottie Williams was taking a walk in Tulsa, Oklahoma when metal fragment hit her shoulder , and according to Wired, NASA confirmed the time and place were consistent with the re-entry of a second-stage Delta rocket – although the shard wasn’t ever positively identified, and Williams wasn’t injured. Via The Verge , Business Insider , and Aerospace Corporation Images via CMSE via Phys.org , Aerospace Corporation , and copyright ESA – D. Ducros

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Chinese space station could plummet back to Earth in March

Stunning green-roofed office harmonizes with the Washington landscape

November 13, 2017 by  
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Stunning, award-winning architecture can be found in unlikely places, even in neighboring areas to industrial processing yards in Yakima, Washington. That’s where you’ll find the Washington Fruit & Produce Co. Headquarters, designed by Graham Baba Architects who describe the project as “an oasis amidst a sea of concrete” that takes cues from the rural landscape. Surrounded by board-formed concrete walls and earthen berms constructed from soil excavated onsite, the light-filled, green-roofed office is filled with natural materials and feels more like a welcoming modern home than a dreary cubicle world. Inspired by the appearance of an aging barn, the 16,500-square-foot Washington Fruit & Produce Co. Headquarters design combines the rural vernacular with a contemporary aesthetic. Exposed trusses and soaring ceilings evoke airy barns, while the 18-foot-tall scissored glulam structural columns—located on the outside for a column-free interior—reinforce the building’s agricultural roots. Full-height glazing wraps the facade to let in light and views of the distant hills while large south-facing overhangs mitigate solar gain. Related: Bloomberg’s new London HQ rated world’s most sustainable office The relatively minimalist interior with its palette of natural materials helps keep the focus on the outdoors, from the berm-wrapped courtyard and accessible green roof to Yakima Valley’s basalt formations and hills. A separate structure houses a 30-foot-long table for communal meals. The Washington Fruit & Produce Co. Headquarters in Yakima won a 2016 Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects. + Graham Baba Architects Images via Graham Baba Architects and Kevin Scott/em>

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Stunning green-roofed office harmonizes with the Washington landscape

Greenery will engulf this pair of metal prefab offices in Madrid

October 30, 2017 by  
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Nature is encouraged to take over this pair of prefabricated metal buildings in a leafy corner of Madrid . Designed by BETA.ø architecture office for a tennis and padel school, these two small buildings use simple pitched-roof geometry to recede into the landscape, so as not to disrupt the existing tree-lined environment. To further blend the architecture into the landscape, a metal mesh is overlaid atop steel cladding to allow vines to surround the building over time. The pair of weathered steel buildings comprises an office, a customer service area, and storage space for sporting equipment. The buildings, prefabricated in an off-site factory, were discreetly placed atop small concrete slabs as foundation to minimize site impact and pressure on tree roots. A metal mesh wraps around the rusty-brown facade, constructed of insulation sandwiched between phenolic panels and sheets of weathered steel. The interior is lined with varnished pine plywood paneling in the office, while waterproof plasterboard and embossed steel is used in the storage unit. Related: Green roof-ready Backyard Room pops up in six short weeks The void between the two steel structures is turned into a new rest space framed by large deciduous trees. The architects write: “Their outward appearance and formal rotundity, together with leisurely contemplation, carry the user’s imagination to the dream of a simple life, in harmony with nature, to the shelter of a solid structure that protects and caresses its occupants, breathing naturalism, balance and peace.” + BETA.ø architecture office Via ArchDaily Images via BETA.ø architecture office

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Greenery will engulf this pair of metal prefab offices in Madrid

Iridescent Monet-inspired Mtropole building catches the light on the River Seine

October 30, 2017 by  
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Fish scale-like colored glass clads the iridescent headquarters of Métropole Rouen Normandie, a stunning new landmark for a “future eco-district” in France. Designed by Jacques Ferrier Architecture , the eye-catching building takes inspiration from the impressionist works of Claude Monet, who produced many paintings of the nearby Rouen Cathedral. More than just good looks, the multifaceted structure emphasizes smart energy consumption with passive thermal protection and rooftop solar panels . Located on the banks of the River Seine , this 8,300-square-meter headquarters manages its massive size by mirroring the landscape and built environment. Its shimmering facade reflects the changing sky and river, while its silhouette and oblique shapes reference nearby industrial buildings and the bows of passing ships. Its fish scale-like facade of subtly colored glass —inspired by Monet’s impressionist paintings—is treated with a layer of metal oxide that creates the colorful iridescent reflection seen on the outside; this effect is unseen in the interior. Related: Iridescent Dragon-Like Scales Wrap Around Avant Garde Office Campus in Paris Natural light fills the interior, while terraces, open to visitors, offer panoramic views over the city and river. The architects emphasized easy navigation in the building layout organized according to use. A double-skin facade enhances passive thermal insulation. “The transparency and depth of the double façade enhance the variations of light and prevent the building from appearing overbearing,” wrote the architects. “The building’s appearance transforms throughout the day. With the light shining through, it appears to float on the quay.” + Jacques Ferrier Architecture Images by Luc Boegly

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Iridescent Monet-inspired Mtropole building catches the light on the River Seine

Biomimicry vs. biophilia: A primer

October 27, 2017 by  
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Nature’s technology inspires human-made innovations in everything from Blue Planet cement to the office of Cookfox Architects.

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"This is unprecedented": Irish Minister of State for Flood Relief on tropical storm Ophelia

October 16, 2017 by  
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When you hear the word ‘ hurricane ,’ you probably don’t think about Ireland . But Tropical Storm Ophelia, which has been downgraded from its status as a hurricane, is on a path towards the country, with warnings of high seas, power outages , and hazardous conditions. Minister for Flood Relief Kevin Moran said at a Dublin press conference, “This is unprecedented.” An Atlantic hurricane has been whirling towards the United Kingdom . Although Ophelia is an ex-hurricane, the Irish Meteorological Service, Met Éireann , is warning of violent and destructive wind gusts that could reach between 120 and 150 kilometers per hour (km/h), or around 75 to 93 miles per hour (mph). They said heavy rain and storm surges in some coastal areas will lead to flooding , posing a danger to human property and lives. Related: How Hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands As many as 100,000 homes and businesses in the country have lost power, as power lines have been knocked down. An Electricity Supply Board spokesperson said earlier today many of the power lines are still live and asked people to stay away. The Met Éireann said at Cork Airport, wind gusts of 124 km/h, or 77 mph, were recorded; at Fastnet Rock wind gusts were 176 km/h, or 109 mph. The United Kingdom Met Office issued an amber weather warning for Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland, Strathclyde, and Wales. They issued yellow warnings for 11 locations, including western areas in England and Yorkshire. A status red weather warning applies to all cities and counties in Ireland, according to prime minister Leo Varadkar, who told people to stay indoors. Speaking of Debbie, the largest storm recorded in the history of Ireland in the 1960’s, he said, “The last time we had a storm this severe 11 lives were lost so safety is our number one priority.” Via The Guardian Images via NOAA/NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team and Met Éireann on Twitter

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"This is unprecedented": Irish Minister of State for Flood Relief on tropical storm Ophelia

Naturally-ventilated glass building looks like a shimmering urban mirage

August 31, 2017 by  
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This office building in Geneva features a complex glass facade that makes it look like a shimmering urban mirage. The new Headquarters of the Swiss Société Privée de Gérance (SPG), designed by Italian firm Giovanni Vaccarini Architetti , appears almost as an immaterial object that glimmers and vibrates in dialogue with the urban landscape around it. The building sits on Route de Chêne, at the gates of the historical center of Geneva. The existing building was converted and extended, starting with a naturally-ventilated glass façade that improves the acoustic and thermal insulation performance of the building. The glass facade also gives the project a dematerialized quality that constantly amplifies, reflects and refracts natural light. Related: South African office building was designed to keep its occupants healthy A triple layer of glass is covered with a ventilated chamber containing micro-perforated Venetian blinds to regulate the light. Brise-soleil screens made of screen-printed glass are anchored on the outside, giving the façade’s external surface a variable modular pattern in terms of both the panel dimensions and the design on their surface. The glass facade, lit by white LED lights at night, softens the perimeter of the building, creating a kind of “nebula” that pulsates and changes to adapt to its surroundings. + Giovanni Vaccarini Architetti Photos by Adrien Buchet

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