Healthcare skyscraper wins 2020 eVolo Skyscraper Competition

May 8, 2020 by  
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After receiving nearly 500 submissions from around the world, eVolo Magazine has announced the winners of the 2020 Skyscraper Competition. Established in 2006, the annual award recognizes visionary vertical architecture ideas that push the limits of design and technology. First place was awarded to a Chinese team that designed Epidemic Babel, a rapid-deployment healthcare skyscraper concept for mitigating epidemic outbreaks. Designed by D Lee, Gavin Shen, Weiyuan You and Xinhao Yuan, Epidemic Babel was created in response to the fast spread of COVID-19 that originated in Wuhan, China. Using prefabricated architecture, the steel-framed building can be erected very quickly — the team estimates five days — to create a temporary hospital to bolster a city’s healthcare infrastructure. The modular design allows for flexibility to meet different needs. Related: eVolo announces winners of the 2019 Skyscraper Competition In second place is Egalitarian Nature, a skyscraper by Yutian Tang and Yuntao Xu that reinterprets a high-rise tower as a mountain range. Built around a vertical green space, the skyscraper would serve as a “vertical mountain in the center of a city” that people can hike or climb up; there would be no elevators in the building. Terraces cut into the sides of the building would frame views of the city. The third place winner is Coast Breakwater, designed by Taiwan-based Charles Tzu Wei Chiang and Alejandro Moreno Guerrero. Created in response to rising sea levels, the skyscraper would serve as a “vertical community” for the northwest city of St. Louis in Senegal, near the mouth of the Senegal River. The building would be based on the wooden breakwater system and would comprise modular units that can be easily replicated for a variety of uses, from workspaces for drying fish to a maritime port. The scalability and adaptability of the system would allow the community to largely stay in place and preserve their fishermen lifestyles. + eVolo 2020 Skyscraper Competition Images via eVolo Magazine

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Healthcare skyscraper wins 2020 eVolo Skyscraper Competition

Research center sits lightly near turtle nesting grounds in Australia

April 27, 2020 by  
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When architect Richard Kirk was tapped to lead the design for the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, he knew that his team at the international architecture firm KIRK would need to tread lightly. The project’s coastal site, located in Bargara, Queensland, is home to one of the most significant seasonal nesting grounds for the loggerhead turtle. To minimize landscape impact, the architects designed the center with a prefabricated glulam timber frame that is wrapped in low-maintenance copper and wood to visually blend the building into the surroundings. As one of Australia’s most important turtle nesting grounds, the Mon Repos beach and environs have been used as a key turtle research center for over 40 years. Starting in 2017, KIRK masterplanned the entire beachside in addition to the redevelopment of the Mon Repos Turtle Centre to fulfill the center’s two main roles: an interpretative center during the day and a briefing center at night during the turtle nesting season. As a result, the landscape needed to be reconfigured with a set of pathways and boardwalks to provide safe and non-intrusive access to the beach after dark. Related: Sea turtle rescue center mimics the natural ecosystems in Turkey The structure was also designed for minimal site impact . The center is constructed from prefabricated and locally sourced glulam timber. The external folded copper cladding was selected for its ability to withstand the corrosive sea air and seasonal cyclones for a lifespan of over 40 years. The copper as well as recycled tallowwood cladding and screens will develop a patina over time to blend in with the dune landscape. The building houses a large gathering area, an interpretative space with an immersive theater and research office spaces that all have access to natural ventilation and daylighting. “The superstructure is a 9.6m x 9.6m diagrid,” the architects explained. “This was found to be the most efficient structural design to reduce the overall material use and increase spans between glulam ‘tree’ columns. The diagrid also informed the plan shape, creating a multifaceted series of triangular folds for protected openings to limit light spill while enhancing the mystery of the arrival experience. The diagrid pattern is celebrated throughout the interior and implies the intricate patterns of the turtle carapace.” + KIRK Photography by Scott Burrows via KIRK

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Research center sits lightly near turtle nesting grounds in Australia

Fully circular office can be sustainably demounted and rebuilt in weeks

April 2, 2020 by  
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In its latest example of circular construction, Dutch architecture firm cepezed has completed Building D(emountable), a modern structure that can be fully demounted and is currently located in the heart of Delft. Designed as a building kit of prefabricated parts, the office raises the bar for sustainable architecture in the Netherlands, which aims to make all construction activities fully circular by 2050. Building D(emountable) was created as part of an office complex mostly housed in historic buildings on a centrally located site that cepezed purchased from Delft University of Technology in 2012. Over the years, the architecture firm repurposed the existing historic buildings into offices; however, it opted to demolish the site’s single non-historic structure due to its poor condition and to make way for new construction. Completed in late 2019, Building D(emountable) provides a modern counterpart to its historic neighbors. The building houses office space; the current tenants are app and website developer 9to5 Software and game developer Triumph Studios. Related: Amsterdam’s new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy “Building D(emountable) has exactly the same footprint as the existing building that was no longer good and was demolished,” cepezed said of the four-story building, which encompasses nearly 1,000 square meters. “In addition to being demountable and remountable, the structure is also super lightweight: the use of materials is kept to an absolute minimum. The building is also completely flexible in its arrangement, has no gas connection and is equipped with heat recovery .” Apart from the concrete ground floor, all of the building components are modular and dry-mounted to allow for speedy construction, which takes a little over six months. The building structure — from the steel skeleton to the lightweight Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) floors — was assembled onsite in just three weeks. Double-glazed panels were mounted directly onto the steel structure to create walls of glazing that give the building the appearance of a large, glass cube. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Fully circular office can be sustainably demounted and rebuilt in weeks

Nearly 20 living trees support this lush garden arbor in Japan

March 31, 2020 by  
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After nearly 20 years, Tokyo-based architecture firm APL design workshop recently returned to the Maezawa Garden House in Kurobe, Japan to update the grounds for the Theater Olympic 2019 international drama festival. In addition to updating the outdoor amphitheater that they had completed in 1989, the architects created the new White Flower Arbor, a stunning open-air pavilion, supported by 17 living oak and cedar trees, that blurs the boundaries between nature and architecture.  Located near the Japan Sea, the Maezawa Garden House was created by Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Maki Fumihiko in 1982 for global Japanese company YKK. Surrounded by forest on all sides, the vast property stretches from northeast to the southwest with the house on the east end, an outdoor amphitheater on the west side and a long, undulating lawn with a natural garden in between. The amphitheater , also known as the Open Air Theater, comprises a circular, grassy mound and a semicircular slope with timber steps; the open layout and the long adjacent lawn allows for events that can accommodate anywhere from 300 to 1,000 spectators. Related: A forgotten railway takes on new life as a new cultural destination in France When the outdoor amphitheater was selected as one of the venues for the Theater Olympics 2019, APL design workshop was asked to add stage lighting to the steps — built from reclaimed railroad ties — and temporary dressing rooms, which the architects created from repurposed shipping containers lined with timber.  To provide a rest space for visitors, the architects also designed the new White Flower Arbor, an open-air pavilion with a lightweight roof supported by 26 pillars that include 17 living trees and 9 steel columns. The pavilion, which was meant to be temporary, has now become a permanent feature of the grounds due to popular demand. The architects said, “As this gazebo sits on the foot of a slope covered by a forest — almost like a Japanese Shinto shrine — its entity sinking into the forest looks like a part of nature from the outside, while on the inside, its chilly air and darkness bring the people in the gazebo to a world of myth.” + APL design workshop Photography by Kitajima Toshiharu / Archi Photo via APL design workshop

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Nearly 20 living trees support this lush garden arbor in Japan

Tiny prefab cabins in Brazilian forest assembled in under two days

February 5, 2020 by  
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Brazilian architecture firm  Porto Quadrado  has revealed a serene refuge composed of three prefab cabins tucked into the wilderness of Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul. The Alpes São Chico Housing Complex is comprised of three tiny cabins, all made out of  structural insulated panels (SIP), which were assembled on-site in less than two days. The result is a low impact refuge that lets its homeowners reconnect with nature. According to the architects, they were first approached by a family who was looking to create a single building that would be shared by three families. Once they began to explore the incredibly remote location, however, the plan blossomed into another concept completely. Instead of one large structure with various bedrooms, the remote landscape inspired the designers to create three separate  tiny cabins  that would be oriented to make the most out of the incredible setting. Related: Tiny prefab timber cabin in New Zealand designed to be serene art studio To bring their concept to fruition economically and sustainably, the architects decided to use prefabricated materials. All of the project’s 48  prefabricated (SIP) panels were constructed off-site and brought to the building site to be assembled. Using the prefab model, the team was able to put together three, roughly 376-square-foot cubes all in less than two days. This process allowed the designers to not only reduce time and costs, but also reduce the impact of the entire project. The resulting complex, known as the Alpes São Chico Housing Complex, is comprised of three cubed SIP structures clad in a waterproof metal membrane. Metal was chosen to add extra durability and  resilience  to the cabins. It also helps to insulate the interior spaces, keeping the living spaces warm and cozy during cold or rainy weather. The cabins have all of the basics of a conventional house, but with an extremely strong  connection to the outdoors . The orientation of the modules’ layout was centered around creating a mixed indoor/outdoor space for each cabin that would create a seamless connection between the interior and the exterior. Comprised of a minimalist layout with sparse furnishings, the interior houses a small bed and sofa, as well as a kitchenette and bathroom. At the heart of the tiny cabins,  however, is a small living room that opens up to a large open-air deck that becomes an integral part of the living area. + Porto Quadrado Via Archdaily Photography by Alessandro Quevedo

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Tiny prefab cabins in Brazilian forest assembled in under two days

The Union Flats is a LEED Platinum-certified housing community

January 22, 2020 by  
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Prefab architecture and energy efficiency go hand-in-hand at The Union Flats, one of the largest completed modular housing developments in Northern California. Located in Union City directly across from a new public plaza and the local BART station, the transit-oriented community celebrates walkability and the outdoors with its amenities and proximity to green space. Completed in August 2018 by David Baker Architects , the solar-powered project has earned LEED Platinum certification and includes 40 flexible live-work lofts — a new housing type for Union City. Spanning an area of nearly 290,000 square feet, The Union Flats is a high-density community with 243 modern, practical rental homes. The project was developed as part of a transit-oriented masterplan that includes the adjacent Station Center Family Housing, an award-winning affordable housing development completed by DBA in 2012. As with Station Center Family Housing, The Union Flats emphasizes an active and vibrant streetscape — a landscaped promenade is shared between the two developments — with features that include raised stoops connecting directly to the sidewalk, widened sidewalks and ground-level patios. A sense of community is fostered by the large central courtyard that features a large swimming pool along with freestanding green-roofed pavilions housing wellness, co-working, residential lounge, and dog-washing spaces, as well as a leasing office. At the rear of the site is an embedded garage with 244 parking spaces for 1:1 parking and 184 bicycle parking slots. The garage is strategically placed to buffer units from the sound of the adjacent rail tracks. The building design has also been informed by solar studies to mitigate unwanted solar gain. Related: Prefab housing pods pop up with speed at Dyson Institute’s modular village The Union Flats was constructed with a variety of prefabricated construction types: modular set on a foundation, modular atop a Type I podium and modular wrapping the Type 1 concrete garage. Guerdon Enterprises fabricated the 388 modular components in Boise, Idaho while foundations were being poured in Union City. A giant crane was used to assemble the components at a rate of about 12 a day. + David Baker Architects Images by Bruce Damonte

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Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future

December 5, 2019 by  
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Italian architecture firm Luca Curci Architects has unveiled the Vertical City, a futuristic proposal for urban development comprising a series of modular, zero-energy skyscrapers anchored into the ocean floor. Envisioned as a completely self-sufficient settlement, the utopian city promises “healthier lifestyles” for the vertical city-building’s residents. The thought experiment was recently presented for the first time at the Knowledge Summit 2019 in Dubai last month. The Vertical City proposal comprises a super-tall, mixed-use residential building at its core surrounded by and connected to three civic-oriented towers and three crescent-shaped leisure buildings. All buildings would be built using modular, prefabricated elements that can be repeated horizontally as well as vertically. The Vertical City can also be expanded in parts and would be anchored into the sea bed close to the mainland. Related: WOHA unveils a lush, net-zero Singapore Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo The cylindrical buildings in the development are clad in photovoltaic glazing and punctuated with hexagonal openings that promote circulation of light and air. The central, 750-meter-tall residential tower would consist of 10 modular layers — each layer consists of 18 floors and includes a mix of homes, offices, stores and other facilities — to host a total of 25,000 people. The building would also offer more than 200,000 square meters of green space, which includes the public garden at the top of the building. “We will build a new way of living,” Luca Curci said in a press statement. “More sustainable . With more interconnected communities programs. Deleting suburbs. Reducing poverty.” In addition to the 25,000 people housed within the central residential tower, the Vertical City would service over 100,000 people who would travel to the city for work, school and medical care in the three adjacent towers that house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities and educational institutions. The three crescent-shaped buildings, called the Moons, offer lifestyle amenities such as hotels, wellness and spa centers, sport centers and shopping malls. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Prefab housing pods pop up with speed at Dyson Institutes modular village

July 8, 2019 by  
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The future of student housing may mean greater energy efficiency, faster construction times, and less waste if developers follow in the footsteps of the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology’s newly completed undergraduate village in Wiltshire. London-based architectural practice WilkinsonEyre recently completed the student housing development at the Dyson Malmesbury Campus, which was also masterplanned by WilkinsonEyre. Constructed with modular building technologies, the energy-efficient village for engineering students comprises clusters of prefabricated pods that were rapidly manufactured off-site and then craned into place with fittings and furnishings already in place. The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology was created to combine higher education with commercial industry, research, and development. To create an immersive live/work experience, the campus tapped WilkinsonEyre to design student housing that houses up to 50 engineering students and visiting Dyson staff. In addition to the housing pods, the crescent-shaped landscaped site includes communal amenities as well as a central social and learning hub. Related: LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses California’s coastal climate Measuring eight meters by four meters each, the housing pods were prefabricated from cross-laminated timber and then stacked into a variety of cluster configurations ranging from two to three stories tall, with some units cantilevered by up to three meters. Each pod is optimized for energy efficiency, which includes harnessing CLT’s thermal massing benefits, tapping into natural ventilation, and maximizing daylight through large, triple-glazed windows. Aluminum rainscreen panels clad the exterior and some units are topped with sedum-covered roofs. The prefabricated units were fully fitted with bespoke furniture and built-in storage before they were transported to the site. Each cluster consists of up to six prefab units with a shared kitchen and laundry area at the mid-entry level as well as an entry area with reception and storage. “The dynamic variety of configurations lends an informal, residential character to the village,” says the project statement. “Green spaces and pathways determine user movement through the village and mediate connections between the residential accommodation and the communal clubhouse, named the Roundhouse, at the centre.” + WilkinsonEyre Images via WilkinsonEyre

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Prefab housing pods pop up with speed at Dyson Institutes modular village

This minimalist prefab playhouse features locally sourced timber, recycled rubber flooring and all-natural finishes

July 8, 2019 by  
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While many children’s playhouses might be filled with overly complicated bells and whistles, sometimes the minimalist route is the best way to go when it comes to connecting young minds with nature. Already known for its exquisite minimalist prefab structures , Japanese firm Koto Design has unveiled the Ilo Playhouse, a tiny prefabricated cabin made out of sustainable materials. Inspired by the simplicity of Scandinavian log cabins, the Ilo Playhouse was designed to create a space where kids could be inspired by nature. The tiny cabin is an angular volume with a sloped roof, adding a geometric aesthetic to the interior and exterior. Three walls envelope the interior with the fourth wall left entirely open to create a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors. Related: BIG and WeWork design a nature-inspired school for kids in NYC According to the architects, the openness of the design, enhanced by additional cutouts in the walls, was intentional so that the space could be open just enough to not feel isolated. It also makes the structure a fun place to play in inclement weather, providing shelter from light rain, for example. The minimalist layout on the interior allows for children to make the space their own, with furniture, toys, art and craft tables, or to simply take in the fresh air during a good old-fashioned game of tag. In addition to being a nature-inspired design, the cabin is also entirely constructed out of sustainable materials chosen for their durability. The playhouse is clad in an attractive, locally sourced larch wood, and the flooring is made out of recycled rubber . Additionally, all of the paints and finishes used in the cabin’s construction were all sourced from natural products. The structures are prefabricated in the U.K. and can be delivered to nearly any location. + Koto Design Photography by Tracey Hosey via Koto Design

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This minimalist prefab playhouse features locally sourced timber, recycled rubber flooring and all-natural finishes

Chic prefab home annex pops up with speed and efficiency in Mexico

July 1, 2019 by  
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When a client pressed for time approached SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos to design his home annex, the Mexico City-based architectural firm decided that prefabrication would be the best way to abide by the tight construction timeframe. Built offsite in a factory and then transported to the client’s property for final assembly, the modular abode— named Casa Molina—proves that quick construction can translate to beautiful results. Completed in 2015, the chic and contemporary two-bedroom annex embraces a minimalist aesthetic and outdoor living in Mexico. Spanning approximately 1,800 square feet, Casa Molina comprises a set of modules with dimensions— nearly 24 feet by nearly 8 feet— determined by the transport vehicle. The building was prefabricated in an off-site workshop where all the lighting, electrical, plumbing, and finishes of the floors, walls and ceilings were fitted into place before the modules were shipped to the site. A foundation was prepared at the site and the modules were assembled over several days. Related: This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days Set within a steel structural frame and elevated off the ground, the modules are arranged in a roughly L-shaped layout that consists of the larger bedroom wing on the south side and the communal spaces on the north end, housed within three modules. The private and public wings are connected with a centrally located terrace with a wide set of stairs that lead up from the grass to the elevated building. In keeping with the quick construction timeframe, a minimalist material palette was used. The black steel framing was left exposed and paired with gray floor tiles throughout while engineered timber planks add a sense of warmth into the space. The timber furnishings and soft fabrics also soften the industrial feel of the boxy annex. The communal areas are fully exposed to the outdoors, while the bedrooms are enclosed for comfort. + SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos Via Archdaily Images by Cesar Béjar

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Chic prefab home annex pops up with speed and efficiency in Mexico

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