Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun

July 12, 2018 by  
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San Antonio’s idyllic Confluence Park just became a little greener and more scenic, thanks to a collaboration between firms Lake Flato and Matsys Design with the support of landscape architect Rialto Studio . The riverfront park now boasts sweeping sculptural pavilions that provide shade from the fierce Texas sun as well as an elegant method for collecting rainwater. Confluence Park is located where the San Pedro Creek merges into the San Antonio River. Covering just over three acres, the public park now features a main pavilion , three smaller pavilions and a classroom. Flowing water and confluence served as strong influences these new structures, which imitate the sculptural atmosphere of the surrounding landscape. The team strategically designed these additions for minimal site impact . The focal point of the park is the main pavilion. This structure is constructed from 22 concrete pieces resembling petals, which were made on site and lifted into place. The pieces form giant archways that are illuminated at night with subtle accent lighting that merges seamlessly into the swooping petal formations. The main pavilion as well as the smaller pavilions are both beautiful and functional. The petal shapes help to funnel rainwater that is collected in the park’s catchment system. This system serves as the park’s main water source. In addition to collecting water, the pavilions provide a cool respite from the fierce summer heat that often plagues southern Texas . The Estella Avery Education Center stands near the main pavilion. This structure generates 100 percent of the energy it uses through solar panels while offering a space for the city’s residents to learn more about the San Antonio River watershed and surrounding environment. The green roof that tops the classroom is planted with native grasses and allows for passive heating and cooling through thermal mass. Thanks to the new classroom and pavilions, Confluence Park now offers more opportunities for park-goers to learn and explore the local environment . “Confluence Park is a living laboratory that allows visitors to gain a greater understanding of the ecotypes of the South Texas region and the function of the San Antonio River watershed,” Lake Flato architects said. “Throughout the park, visitors learn through observation, engagement and active participation.” + Lake Flato + Matsys + Rialto Studio Via Dezeen Images via Casey Dunn

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Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun

Go stargazing in this galaxy-inspired cluster of tea rooms in Japan

June 6, 2018 by  
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With a name that translates to “beautiful stars,” Bisei is a town in the Okayama Prefecture of West Japan that has long boasted a reputation as a popular stargazing destination. Now, a newly-added cluster of tea rooms in the Bisei countryside is making the nighttime activity even more enjoyable. Designed by Japanese architecture firm Moriyuki Ochiai , the sculptural Constellation of Stargazing Tea Rooms was completed earlier this year and offers stunning sky views. Extended across the rolling hills of Bisei, the Constellation of Stargazing Tea Rooms draws inspiration from the region’s status as a stargazing destination and as the birthplace of Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist priest who is believed to have introduced green tea to Japan. Commissioned by Pasona Group and irbisei, the open-air structures are painted a variety of striking colors and provide shelter and connection with the outdoors. “The Japanese tea room was developed as an enclosed microcosm called a “enclosure,” and as such, each unit is designed as a spatial installation where one can perceive minute changes in its natural surroundings and experience the wonder and mystery of natural phenomena,” wrote the architects at Moriyuki Ochiai. “Painted with stellar colors, each volume presents polygonal openings from which can be taken in the beautiful offerings of nature such as light, rain and the starry night sky. Moreover, mirrors placed on the exterior walls reflect the ever-changing outdoor environment like the water surface of rice paddies scattered across Bisei, thus modifying the look and perception of the constructions throughout the day.” Related: ARCHSTUDIO inserts a modern teahouse into an ancient Chinese structure The open arrangement of the “galaxy of tea rooms” is also conducive for a variety of events. The site is expected to host gatherings and performances hosted by the Astronomy Club, the Tea Ceremony Club, as well as other groups throughout the year. The layout also responds to the undulating terrain and is crafted to look like an extension of the landscape. + Moriyuki Ochiai Images by Fumio Araki

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Go stargazing in this galaxy-inspired cluster of tea rooms in Japan

Japan’s House of 33 Years was once two separate buildings in two different towns

May 15, 2017 by  
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The past and the future coexist in this daylit house in Nara, Japan . Tokyo-based architecture studio ASSISTANT designed the house as a cluster of small buildings for an elderly couple who places great value on preserving memories. The result is a steel-framed structure that was built in several different locations and then assembled on-site to create several overlapping spaces. Local carpenters in Aomori built the main quarters of the house using locally available materials . The project was initially installed as part of the “Kime to Kehai” exhibition at the Aomori Contemporary Art Centre. After the exhibition, the team disassembled the structure and loaded it on a truck to transport it to Nara, where it was reassembled as the House of 33 Years. Related: Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads Students at the Sendai School of Design built the rooftop pavilion as an homage to Philip Johnson’s Ghost House. Before becoming a permanent part of the house, the pavilion was installed in the courtyard of a university campus and used by the students as a space for growing vegetables. + ASSISTANT Via Archdaily Lead photo by Shinkenchiku-sha

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Japan’s House of 33 Years was once two separate buildings in two different towns

Japanese food artist carves fruits into incredible masterpieces using just an X-Acto knife

May 15, 2017 by  
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Playing with your food is generally frowned upon, but Japanese artist Gaku elevates humble fruits and veggies into art with his skilled and gorgeous carvings . With a simple X-Acto knife, he expertly embellishes radishes, papaya, apples, taro root and more. Honoring and exploring the Japanese and Thai traditions of food carving, Gaku makes precise cuts into his chosen fruit or vegetable. His designs often take on traditional Japanese floral and wave patterns and are amazingly detailed and intricate, especially considering the ephemeral nature of his creations . Some of his elaborate works incorporate real and fantastical animals , such as a crab design carved into an apple or dragons carved into eggplant or a banana. As bananas are cheap and readily available, Gaku says they are an good option for practicing food carving. Gaku’s attention to detail and careful cuts are truly impressive. This self-taught food artist began food carving as a hobby, and he is also a chef. Related| Extraordinary banana art etchings are inspiring and edible One of the most amazing elements of these designs is how quickly Gaku must work. As any foodie knows, bananas, apples, and avocados are fickle, turning brown and less visually attractive within mere minutes. Gaku’s pristine photos, which he chronicles on Instagram , barely show any sign of the dreaded oxidation . Almost 60,000 followers anxiously await his next mukimono-style food carving. In addition to apples and lemons, Gaku has carved pumpkins, carrots, zucchini, and some type of leaf or stalk, which he transformed into grasshoppers. One of the ideas behind these food carvings is to appreciate the beauty of simple fruits and vegetables, and we love how the stunning images instantly expand viewer’s artistic imaginations. We also love Gaku’s not-so-precious approach to his creations when they are done: he eats them. You can watch some of Gaku’s process here in this mesmerizing Instavideo. + Gaku on Instagram Via Booooooom and This is Colossal

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Japanese food artist carves fruits into incredible masterpieces using just an X-Acto knife

Beautiful Sea Song home in California is completely self-sustaining

August 30, 2016 by  
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The residence is located on a cantilevered podium in Big Sur on the coast of California. Flowing parallel to the existing topography, the pavilions are evocative of marine life, ranging from sea shells, crustaceans and Manta Rays. A full array of sustainable techniques was deployed in the design of the building which recently won first place at the International Design Awards. Related: Northern California Church Boasts One of the Largest Rainwater-Collection Systems in the U.S. Thanks to the presence of self-cleaning glass , rainwater retention cistern, and xeriscaping, the project ensures a sensible use of water. The xeriscaping reduces the need for supplemental water from irrigation and reinforces the idea that the project emerged from the site itself. The organization of the spaces creates spatial flow free of corridors, with the three structures scaled differently to accommodate different functions. The enclosed concrete slits house bathrooms, walk-in closets and laundry, leaving the rest of the space as column-free areas offering beautiful vistas. The public quarters occupy the bigger volume, while the master bedroom and a studio are located in the middle volume. + Form4 Architecture Via Archdaily

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Beautiful Sea Song home in California is completely self-sustaining

LEED-certified Meadow Farm is a small organic farmstead in northern California

January 30, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of LEED-certified Meadow Farm is a small organic farmstead in northern California Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: farms , green architecture , LEED certified building , LEED platinum , Meadow Farm , modern farm , Northern California , organic farming , pavilions , sustainable farming , William McDonough Partners

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LEED-certified Meadow Farm is a small organic farmstead in northern California

Thermal Glass Igloos Offer Views of the Northern Lights at Finland’s Hotel Kakslauttanen

January 30, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Thermal Glass Igloos Offer Views of the Northern Lights at Finland’s Hotel Kakslauttanen Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , aurora borealis , eco design , Finland , finland architecture , Green Building , green design , hotel kakslauttanen , igloo village , igloos , northern lights , sustainable design , thermal glass , thermal glass igloos

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Thermal Glass Igloos Offer Views of the Northern Lights at Finland’s Hotel Kakslauttanen

Iceland’s Ion Hotel Offers Dramatic Views of the Northern Lights

January 30, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Iceland’s Ion Hotel Offers Dramatic Views of the Northern Lights Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , floor to ceiling windows , geothermal energy , Iceland , icelandic art , icelandic landscape , ion hotel , LAVA , minarc architects , mnmMOD , mount Hengill , natural daylight , northern lights , Prefab , reclaimed wood

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Iceland’s Ion Hotel Offers Dramatic Views of the Northern Lights

Richard Martinet of Affine Design designs five shell-like pavilions in Monte-Carlo

January 22, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Richard Martinet of Affine Design designs five shell-like pavilions in Monte-Carlo Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Affine Design , aluminium , aluminium facade , demountable pavilion , green architecture , mix-use building , monaco , monte carlo , pavilions , Richard Martinet , Shell , shell-like pavilions

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Richard Martinet of Affine Design designs five shell-like pavilions in Monte-Carlo

Thomas Phifer and Partners wins 2015 AIA award for LEED Gold Utah courthouse design

January 22, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Thomas Phifer and Partners wins 2015 AIA award for LEED Gold Utah courthouse design Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aia awards , art installation , green architecture , LEED gold , natural lighting , responsive facade , salt lake city , smart facade , solar design , solar facade , Thomas Phifer and Partners , United States Courthouse Salk Lake

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