This sinuous, green-roofed Media Library in France looks like it floats in mid-air

March 28, 2018 by  
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With a sinuous, meandering form that blurs the line between interior and exterior, the new Media Library in Thionville, France , is a unique  public space . Dominique Coulon & Associates designed the building by combining irregular, typically independent systems, creating tension in the space and in how it is read. The building aims to promote a new kind of media library – one that allows members of the public to create and curate their own experiences. It offers a variety of activities and spaces that blend into each other, including music studios, a café and restaurant, and exhibition areas . Related: Gorgeous LEED Gold library was designed with the help of Facebook and Twitter The façade resembles an opaque ribbon that rises and falls to conceal or reveal the building’s interior. At the point closest to the street, the ribbon reaches ground level, then rises up again at points that sit further back on the plot. This construction not only plays with the idea of interior and exterior space, but also brings natural light all the way into the heart of the project, where it’s most needed. Taken as a whole, the project questions the physical and psychological limits of what constitutes public space and follows a design that eludes the Euclidean interpretation of built space. A garden ramp offers another connection to the outside, leading upwards to a summer bar that serves as a culmination of the architectural promenade . In addition, the presence of multiple routes offers constantly renewed viewpoints. The “bubbles” within the building contain specific parts of the library, such as a storytelling area, language laboratories, places for playing video games, and a plastic arts room. + Dominique Coulon & Associates Lead photo by  Eugeni Pons

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This sinuous, green-roofed Media Library in France looks like it floats in mid-air

First international Serpentine Pavilion will open in Beijing

February 1, 2018 by  
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The Serpentine Pavilion is going global, with its first international debut in Beijing , China. Launched by London’s Serpentine Galleries and Beijing’s WF CENTRAL, this major international collaboration will be designed by multidisciplinary Chinese practice JIAKUN Architects. The inaugural co-commission will be modeled on the Serpentine’s annual pavilion program in London’s Royal Park of Kensington Gardens. Every year since 2000, the Serpentine Galleries invites an international architect who has not completed a building in England at the time of the invitation to design a temporary pavilion on its grounds. The inaugural Serpentine Pavilion Beijing took a different approach to architect selection, and instead began with a competition brief seeking designs sensitive to Beijing’s historic and social context as well as the Serpentine Pavilion’s 17-year history. A selection committee that included representatives from the Serpentine Galleries, Hongkong Land, and Made in China, chose JIAKUN Architects’ design. The winning design draws inspiration from Confucianism and the Chinese philosophical term of junzi, used to describe the ideal man. According to the press release: “The design is characterized by the figure of the Archer, in the form of a curved cantilever beam that incorporates the forces of elasticity through cables stretched between steel plates. Although modern architecture in Beijing has developed a series of powerful techniques to fight the external forces of fierce winds and unpredictable earthquakes , the Pavilion’s integral structure aims—like the Tai Chi Master—to conquer the harshness of those forces with softness.” Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today The inaugural Serpentine Pavilion Beijing will launch in May 2018 at the opening of WF CENTRAL on Wangfujing in Beijing’s Dongcheng District, just 600 meters away from the historic Forbidden City. The temporary public pavilion will be on display for six months. + Serpentine Galleries Images via Serpentine Galleries

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First international Serpentine Pavilion will open in Beijing

Gorgeous street library in Bulgaria for 1,500 books uses parametric design

November 30, 2017 by  
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Nature inspired this stunning street library in Bulgaria , but it was computers that made the design possible. A team of young architects and designers created Rapana, the first street library in the city of Varna, using parametric design tools Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. The Rapana street library is built from 240 CNC-milled timber pieces fitted together into a curvaceous pavilion that provides shade, seating, and room for 1,500 books. The team of designers—Yuzdzhan Turgaev, Boyan Simeonov, Ibrim Asanov and Mariya Aleksieva—created the Rapana library in response to what they perceived as a diminishing interest in books in the digital age. Rapana was funded by the European Youth Capital , which had awarded the city of Varna with this year’s title. Varna’s seaside position and reputation as the “marine capital of Bulgaria” inspired the designers to craft the library into the shape of sea snail shell. “The design was inspired by nature and its organic shapes,” wrote the designers. “The installation takes into consideration the most important aspects of the city’s identity – the sea and its value to Varna’s citizens. The abstract construction unravels from a single focal point and develops into a semi-circle whilst creating a public space and shelves for placing books at the same time.” Related: Parametrically designed Louverwall house maximizes winter sunlight The team used 3D modeling to test over 20 concept designs before choosing a final design that fit the budget and conveyed the open library concept. The curvaceous library features two openings, seating, a tiny stage for performances, bookshelves, and a latticed shade structure. + Rapana Via ArchDaily Images © Emanuil Albert

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Gorgeous street library in Bulgaria for 1,500 books uses parametric design

LAVA unveils greenery-infused Garden Island to revamp Sydney Harbour

October 20, 2017 by  
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Australia-based firm LAVA just unveiled a stunning proposal for converting an inaccessible plot of land near Sydney Harbour into a sustainable waterfront community. The ambitious Garden Island proposal envisions a vibrant green public space with eco-friendly residential towers and multi-use buildings that would host activities throughout the year. Although the area is currently used by the Royal Australian Navy, the proposal hopes to completely overhaul the area in order to convert it into a new waterfront community. Using a sustainable model , a breezy cityscape would be built along the existing coastline that would include residential and multi-use buildings operating with green technology. The various towers, which would offer stunning views of the harbor, would all be installed with plenty of rooftop terraces and surrounded by public gardens . Related: LAVA’s Winning Design for Masdar’s City Center LAVA’s proposal also includes implementing various adaptive reuse methods where possible. For example, a former dry dock would be converted into a floating market that would have room for public baths, shopping, and performance spaces. The development would also install a number of amenities throughout renovated space such as a waterfront promenade, museums, and various social facilities that would aim to foster a strong sense of community. + LAVA Images via LAVA

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LAVA unveils greenery-infused Garden Island to revamp Sydney Harbour

This company wants to turn food waste into building materials heres how

October 20, 2017 by  
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What do peanuts, rice, bananas, potatoes, and mushrooms have in common? In addition to being delicious, they could be transformed into building materials. In a report entitled The Urban Bio-Loop , the Arup group proposes to use food waste (something developed nations have an abundance of) to develop low-cost and eco-friendly materials for use in construction. The authors of the report aim to demonstrate ‘that a different paradigm for materials in construction is possible.” Because first-world nations, such as the United States , waste up to 40 percent of all food , the goal is to turn the waste into a resource for the creation of “construction, engineering, and architecture products,” reports Archinect . This could be done by modifying the traditional waste management system. Discarded organic materials that could prove useful include peanut shells, which could be used to create low-cost partition boards that are resistant to fire and ice; rice , which could be turned into ash and mixed with cement to eliminate the need for fillers; bananas, a fruit whose leaves can make rugged textiles as a result of high-strength fibers; mushrooms, which can be used to grow buildings ; and potato peels, which can be cleaned, pressed and dried to produce a light, fire-resistant and water-repellent insulating material. The group argues that using food waste for building would contribute to a circular economy where organic waste is put to use, rather than tossed into landfills . Repurposing food waste would also reduce the amount of methane that is produced when fruit and vegetable scraps slowly decompose. The gas contributes to global warming , a phenomenon which results in warming temperatures, rising sea levels, and worsening natural disasters. Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger Arup’s goal is to ameliorate rising levels of waste and a shortage of raw material. Using the low-cost, low-carbon materials would go a long way towards this goal. + “ The Urban Bio-Loop” Via Archinect Images via Wikipedia , Arup Group

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This company wants to turn food waste into building materials heres how

MVRDV unveils plans for the biggest urban development project in Scandinavia

September 8, 2017 by  
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MVRDV and BSK Arkitekter have grand plans for Gothenburg, Sweden. The two architecture firms just unveiled Magasin 113, a proposed transformation and extension of an existing waterfront warehouse in Gothenburg’s future Frihamnen RiverCity —the largest urban development project in Scandinavia. Once renovated and expanded, the multistory warehouse will offer 16,500 square meters of office space, an art center, pop-up spaces, a cafe, tourist information, retail, restaurants, and studios. Magazine 113 is one of the few remaining historic warehouses in the area. The mixed-use adaptive reuse project blends old and new, and will serve as a public hub for a livable neighborhood. The interior is organized into zones and connected via large freight elevators as well as a family of different types of stairs. An outdoor staircase on the waterfront -facing facade connects the different loading balconies with the main public plaza. The architects plan to expand the concrete building’s footprint with the addition of three new levels of timber-framed floors above. A new public space will join the existing structure and new extension, visually uniting the two and attracting public activity from outside. The original brick facade and interiors will be restored, repaired, and displayed beneath a glazed facade to show off Magazine 113’s industrial heritage. The glazed facade that wraps around the existing concrete warehouse and new timber-framed extension provides insulation and a protective “raincoat.” “This will add an exciting blend of a building that is ‘old’ and new, raw and smooth, and solid and transparent at the same time,” wrote MVRDV. Related: The Sax: MVRDV unveils plans for a ‘vertical city’ in Rotterdam “Magasin 113’s location will become a public node through its close connections to other public spaces in the area,” added the architects. “Combined with the nearby park and pool, it aims to attract a wide range of tenants and services, which in turn will help to create an inviting and desirable neighbourhood.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV unveils plans for the biggest urban development project in Scandinavia

Portuguese winery transformed into a minimalist and modern home

September 8, 2017 by  
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A 20th century winery has traded barrels of grapes for family gatherings thanks to the efforts of Extrastudio . The Lisbon-based architecture firm transformed the former winery into a light-filled home in Azeitao, a small village in southern Portugal. The architects retained the gabled structure’s original building footprint, but refreshed its look with a red-colored render that gives the building its new name—the Red House. Built in the 20th century by the client’s grandparents, the winery has been overhauled into a minimalist and modern dwelling complemented with a black-bottomed pool. Despite its contemporary interior, the home exudes rustic appeal thanks to its gabled roofline and uneven application of red-colored render. The facade’s patchy and pinkish appearance, which changes over time, echoes the look of the original weathered walls. “A natural red pigment was added to the mortar, to reinforce the building’s presence, allowing the house to age gradually and changing its tonality, without ever requiring a coat of paint,” said the Extrastudio, according to Dezeen . “Over the days and months, the colour of the house alters, lighter or darker depending on the humidity, almost black when it rains.” The render derives its color from powdered brick and heat-treated clay, a material that protects the facade against weathering damage. Related: 100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs Natural light fills the Red House, which is dominated by white-painted interiors, pale concrete floors, and tall ceilings. Mirrors line the living room to further reflect light. Full-height black glass doors stretch the width of the garden-facing facade on the ground floor and slide completely open to expand the living space to the outdoors. The ground floor comprises the communal areas, arranged in an open-plan layout, while the bedrooms and bathrooms are placed on the floor above. A small room occupies the attic. + Extrastudio Via Dezeen Images via Extrastudio

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Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

August 18, 2017 by  
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A “green lung” in Qatar’s desert landscape is helping people stay healthy and active, and reconnecting them to nature. Erik Behrens and James Haig Streeter of AECOM recently completed Oxygen Park, a unique public space in Doha’s Education City. Built to promote exercise and social gatherings, Oxygen Park is partly buried underground and features undulating, organic forms masses inspired by the desert’s wind-eroded rocks and landscapes. Oxygen Park derives its name from the elemental life-force of oxygen , which the park also produces with its tree-studded green landscape. The designers wrote: “Oxygen Park is a man-made ‘green lung’ with a design inspired by nature. It is an antidote to the generic indoor gym environment and helps people to get back to nature, while fostering social engagement and promoting active healthy lifestyles.” A series of “balloon lights” float above the subterranean landscape to draw attention to Oxygen Park from afar. Related: SOMA Architects’ luxury Shaza Hotel breaks ground in Doha The park’s exercise features include shaded running trails, subterranean pitches for team sports, and equestrian facilities. More passive recreational areas also punctuate the park in the form of water plazas, sensory gardens, shade gardens, play gardens , and a series of soundscape -filled, folly spheres. The use of water and shade are seamlessly integrated into the design to provide relief from the hot climate. At night, a beautiful lighting scheme illuminates the park and water to create a safe and attractive environment for workouts and strolls after sundown. + AECOM Images by Markus Elblaus

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Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

Historic Amsterdam park gets new life with a funky climbing "blob"

August 16, 2017 by  
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Design and engineering firm  Carve  breathed new life into one of Amsterdam’s oldest parks with a playful new blob-like  playground design. The eye-catching structure is a gigantic white and lilac abstract shape that just begs for children to climb aboard its weirdness and explore its many fun features. The firm was charged with creating a new playground area in the park’s existing basketball court, which is surrounded by an abundance of greenery. In addition to creating a fun play area for local children aged 0-6, the new structure also needed to be a vibrant meeting place for park goers. So the designers created an eye-catching “organically shaped sculpture that incorporates various play functions.’’ Related: Basurama transforms landfill trash into playgrounds in Taipei The unique structure is a large voluminous form whose curious shape invites children to explore the interior where they’ll find plenty of places to run, climb, slide, and swing. The large blob, which is painted a bright lilac on the interior, was designed with plenty of dynamic areas such as a web of climbing nets, a metal slide, and a tube swing hanging from one end. On the exterior, the structure has a mirrored wall on one side, which reflects a distorted view of the surrounding greenery. On the other side, kids will find a soccer goal painted on the wall, begging for a strong penalty shot. A sunken trampoline adjacent to the structure further encourages a fun, energetic environment around the park’s new landmark. + Carve Photography by Marleen Beek via Carve  

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Historic Amsterdam park gets new life with a funky climbing "blob"

A lush hilly park tops the Nanning Planning Exhibition Hall in China

January 16, 2017 by  
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The green roof of the new Nanning Planning Exhibition Hall in China is an elevated urban park that that brings institutional architecture back to the people. Designed by Zhubo Design Zstudio , the building acts as an artificial mountain that expands the existing park and adds a new public space for city dwellers. Instead of acting as a symbol of the Chinese governmental power, like most urban planning halls in the country, the new Nanning Planning Exhibition Hall aims to be a building for citizens. The project preserves the existing park and introduces now public spaces to the site. By merging architecture, landscape and daily life, the building establishes a stronger connection between the government and the citizens and promotes human-oriented values. Related: This green-roofed visitor center will be nestled under a hill in Denmark Dozens of trumpet-like steel structures comprise the roof, providing support for the topography and creating a large, column free space inside. These steel elements also facilitate rainwater collection and house all the interior staircases and equipment rooms. + Zhubo Design Zstudio Via Archdaily

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A lush hilly park tops the Nanning Planning Exhibition Hall in China

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