Breathtaking bamboo building withstands earthquakes and boasts a zero-carbon footprint

August 9, 2017 by  
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Thailand’s eco-friendly Panyaden International School has added a stunning new sports hall to its campus that’s built entirely of bamboo and stays naturally cool year-round in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Designed by Chiangmai Life Construction , the Bamboo Sports Hall features a modern organic design that draws inspiration from the lotus flower. The large multipurpose facility was built to withstand local natural forces including high-speed winds and earthquakes, and boasts a zero-carbon footprint. Completed this year, the Bamboo Sports Hall features a lotus-like organic shape in a nod to Panyaden International School’s use of Buddhist values in its academic curriculum. Its undulating shape also reflects the surrounding hilly topography. The 782-square-meter open-air building is supported with a series of arches and topped with three petal-like round roofs lifted up at the edges to let in natural ventilation and indirect light. The multipurpose facility can accommodate 300 students and includes futsal, basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts, as well as a stage that can be lifted automatically, and storage room for sports and drama equipment. Viewing balconies flank the sporting area and stage. Related: Chiangmai Life Construction creates homes using rammed earth, bamboo and recycled wood Bamboo was selected as the primary building material to maintain Panyaden’s “Green School” mission of a low carbon footprint and to blend in with the school’s existing earth-and-bamboo buildings. “Panyaden’s Sports Hall’s carbon footprint is zero,” write the architects. “The bamboo used absorbed carbon to a much higher extent than the carbon emitted during treatment, transport and construction.” The large openings for natural ventilation, insulation, and use of bamboo help create a comfortable indoor climate year-round. No toxic chemicals were used to treat the bamboo, which has an expected lifespan of at least 50 years. The exposed prefabricated bamboo trusses span over 17 meters. “Here we show how bamboo can create a space that is 15 meters wide and high without any steel reinforcements,” wrote the architects. “From the outside it looks like it has grown there or transformed from one of the rolling hills in the background to become a human artifice. As in fact the Panyaden International School Sports Hall is a combination of careful artistic design, beautiful detailed handicraft and major construction.” + Chiangmai Life Construction Via ArchDaily Images © Alberto Cosi, Markus Roselieb, Chiangmai Life Construction

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BIG unveils Cactus Towers next to a car-free IKEA in Copenhagen

August 9, 2017 by  
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Enormous “Cacti” will soon pop up in the heart of Copenhagen . Architecture firm BIG has unveiled renderings for an eye-catching pair of buildings with a spiny appearance in the city’s Vesterbro district. Created in collaboration with Danish practice Dorte Mandrup Architects , the aptly named Cactus Towers are high-rise residential buildings that will be built next to a new sustainably minded IKEA store. Located next to the waterfront area of Kalvebod Brygge, the 74,000-square-meter site will comprise a new IKEA store, budget hotel, and green space in addition to the two planned Cactus Towers. The pair of buildings gets its name from the striking spiky-looking facade created by rotated floor plates. The corners of those floor plates create overhangs that provide shade. The buildings will rise to 60 and 80 meters tall and feature 500 “youth rooms.” Related: How Copenhagen handles bike jams The new IKEA next door to the towers will not have any parking on cars and will encourage shoppers to take away their smaller purchases on bicycle . The 1,250-room hotel also on site will be spread across two volumes and is expected to be the largest hotel in the Nordic region. The project is set to open in 2019. + BIG + Dorte Mandrup Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Dorte Mandrup Architects , BIG

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BIG unveils Cactus Towers next to a car-free IKEA in Copenhagen

C.F. Mller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design

July 6, 2017 by  
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The built environment has a huge impact on shaping on lives, especially when it comes to learning. With that principle in mind, C.F. Møller Architects designed and recently completed the Herningsholm Vocational School, a Danish school that focuses on the creation of optimal learning and study environments. Green space, designed by C.F. Møller Landscape, is woven throughout the school to provide opportunities for outdoor work and learning. Winner of a 2014 architectural competition , the design for the 4,700-square-meter Herningsholm Vocational School is an independent building placed within an existing campus cluster of educational buildings . The school comprises three building volumes of varying scales under one roof arranged in an angular layout. Diverse and flexible learning spaces were created to match opportunities for alternative learning styles and unconventional uses. Mobile furnishings allow teachers and students to mold their learning space to their needs. Related: C.F. Møller unveils eco-conscious highrise in Sweden Outdoor urban and learning spaces tie the buildings together and include the Plaza, a quiet green study garden, and a semi-public front garden. A variety of common study spaces dot the school and range from more open environments for workshop uses to quieter nooks for individual study. Natural light fills the school through carefully oriented glazed facades optimized for energy efficiency. In a nod to environmental sustainability, two depressed pockets of greenery in the Plaza offer seating in the dry weather but double as natural infiltration and retention basins to relieve the sewers during rainfall. + C.F. Møller Architects Images by Martin Schubert

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C.F. Mller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design

3D-printed ovaries let infertile mice give birth

May 18, 2017 by  
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Three-dimensionally printed organs are pretty old hat by now. But while the technology has been applied to everything from artificial ears to replacement brain tissue , working ovaries have been outside the realm of possibility—until now, that is. Scientists from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering have developed “bioprosthetic” ovary structures that allowed infertile mice to not only ovulate but also birth and nurse healthy offspring, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications . Composed of rapid-prototyped gelatin scaffolds, and primed with immature eggs, the bioprosthetic ovaries successfully boosted the hormone production necessary for restoring fertility in the mice, researchers said. “This research shows these bioprosthetic ovaries have long-term, durable function,” Teresa K. Woodruff, a reproductive scientist and director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at Feinberg, said in a statement. “Using bioengineering, instead of transplanting from a cadaver, to create organ structures that function and restore the health of that tissue for that person, is the holy grail of bioengineering for regenerative medicine.” Related: Organovo’s Bioprinter Technology Could Lead to 3D Printed Human Organs Woodruff and company plan to test the structures in pigs, with an eye toward human trials in the future. The technology could have significant implications for women with fertility issues, particularly cancer patients who often lose their ovarian function after intensive chemotherapy. “What happens with some of our cancer patients is that their ovaries don’t function at a high enough level and they need to use hormone replacement therapies in order to trigger puberty,” said Monica Laronda, co-author of the study and a former post-doctoral fellow in the Woodruff lab. “The purpose of this scaffold is to recapitulate how an ovary would function. We’re thinking big picture, meaning every stage of the girl’s life, so puberty through adulthood to a natural menopause.” + Northwestern University Photo by Duncan Hull

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Former concrete factory begins anew as an alternative high school with no curriculum

March 30, 2017 by  
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A former concrete factory west of Copenhagen has taken its first steps towards transformation into an experimental Danish folk high school. Designed by MVRDV and Cobe , the Roskilde Festival Folk High School that’s broken ground will include a 3,000-square-meter learning center for art, music, leadership, and activism, as well as 2,600 square meters of student housing. The former industrial appearance of the factory will be largely preserved wherever possible. Inspired by the ideals of the Roskilde festival and by Danish author and teacher N.F.S.Grundtvig’s beliefs on education, the Roskilde Festival Folk High School will differ in many ways from the typical high school and will be the first newly-established folk high school of its kind in Denmark in 45 years. The alternative school has neither curriculum nor exams, and both students and teachers will live on campus during the school year. Education will usually be focused on creative and humanistic topics, as well as on common life at school. Designed to accommodate around 150 students, the Roskilde Festival Folk High School will be organized into three main learning zones: the Mind, which caters to writing, debate, and leadership training; the Body, for dance and music education; and the Hand, with facilities and classrooms for the visual arts, architecture, and design. These zones will be housed within boxes inserted into the renovated factory. One of the boxes will include a 150-person auditorium. Students will be encouraged to decorate the industrial interiors with their art. Related: MVRDV and COBE to Transform Danish Concrete Factory Into Rock and Roll Museum The folk high school is part of the 11,000-square-meter ROCKmagneten masterplan that will transform the on-site cement factories into a district for “rock music, creativity and youth culture.” The Roskilde Festival Folk High School is slated for completion in fall 2018. + MVRDV + COBE Images via MVRDV

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Former concrete factory begins anew as an alternative high school with no curriculum

Solar-powered skin could help prosthetics imbue sense of touch

March 23, 2017 by  
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Engineers from the University of Glasgow have developed a synthetic skin that could help amputees regain their sense of touch. Clad in graphene, a form of graphite just one atom thick yet tougher than steel, the “electronic skin” even uses photovoltaic cells to harvest power from the sun. “This could allow the creation of an entirely energy-autonomous prosthetic limb,” said Ravinder Dahiya , head of the School of Engineering’s Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies group and the author of a paper on the subject in the current issue of Advanced Functional Materials . Graphene and solar cells are ideal bedfellows because of the former’s unique physical properties, Dahiya said. The material’s optical transparency, for instance, allows 98 percent of the light that hits its surface to pass through. Graphene is also electrically conductive, which means it can channel power to sensors that measure attributes like temperature, pressure, and texture. “Those measurements mean the prosthetic hand is capable of performing challenging tasks like properly gripping soft materials, which other prosthetics can struggle with,” Dahiya said. Related: Thought-controlled robotic arm returns the sense of touch to amputees Because the new skin requires only 20 nanowatts of power per square centimeter, even the lowest-rated photovoltaic cell on the market will suffice. The energy generated by the skin’s cells cannot be stored at present, but the researchers are exploring ways of diverting any unused energy into batteries that can be drawn from at a later time. Beyond prosthetics, the breakthrough could fuel further advances in robotics—a boon for an increasingly automated world. “Skin capable of touch sensitivity also opens the possibility of creating robots capable of making better decisions about human safety,” Dahiya said. “A robot working on a construction line, for example, is much less likely to accidentally injure a human if it can feel that a person has unexpectedly entered their area of movement and stop before an injury can occur.” + University of Glasgow

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

March 20, 2017 by  
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The far reaches of northern Vietnam are beautiful but heartbreakingly poor. Children of the Hmong ethnic minority who live in the villages routinely suffer from lack of access to healthcare and education. Vietnamese architecture firm 1+1> 2 has provided a ray of hope for those in Lung Luong village in the remote Thai Nguyen Province with the construction of a beautiful new school made from local materials including rammed earth and bamboo. The school’s beautiful swooping and colorful form is an inspiration to the village and serves as a welcoming haven protected from the harsh elements. The Lung Luong elementary school is sited on a mountain peak and constructed to replace a poorly insulated structure that was piercingly cold in days of heavy rain and draught. Under the leadership of architect Hoang Thuc Hao, the villagers excavated part of the peak to create an even foundation. The excavated soil was recycled into rammed earth bricks used to build the school’s structure. The soil bricks’ thermal properties help maintain a temperate indoor climate year round. Locally sourced timber and bamboo were also used in construction and existing trees were protected during the building process. The elementary school is spread out across the mountaintop, covering an area of over 1,400 square meters. The orientation and placement of the buildings and the swooping colorful bamboo canopy above optimize natural lighting, ventilation, and sound insulation. The school comprises classrooms, playgrounds, gardens, multipurpose rooms, a medical room, library, kitchen, toilets, and dormitory. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier “The goal of this project is to create a school with conveniences striving against the harsh nature,” write the architects. “The classrooms are compatible with the mountain, spaces between them are slots which makes everything appears like an architectural picture pasted on the terrain. The corridor connects all functional areas. The foundation of the buildings respects the natural terrain which means that they wind up and down as the mountain path.” + 1+1> 2 Via ArchDaily Images © Son Vu

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

Bold incisions grant new life to historic New Hampshire school

February 1, 2017 by  
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A meeting of art and architecture can have energizing results. Rather than demolishing two unusable upper floors of a historic building in New Hampshire, Joseph Cincotta of LineSync Architecture proposed a different approach to the school’s renovation , borrowing inspiration from the work of artist Gordon Matta Clark. And then, in order to further celebrate the building’s rich history, cinematographers Chibi Moku captured the renovation process in a video – check it out after the jump. https://youtu.be/xEgDrH7ZMCE The building has a long and complicated history: it was built as a residence in the late 19th century and altered several times before it became the Hampshire Country School for gifted students with learning differences. Its upper floors were condemned by unsafe stairways while the lower floors lacked organization and natural lighting . Related: New solar-powered Massachusetts college center is as green as a building can be The architects, taking cues from Gordon Matta Clark’s “building cuts”, strategically placed two-storey incisions into the building, adding safe stairs, natural light, and ending clutter in one deft swoop. The modern section of the house references the original design, and the building is now heated with locally-produced wood pellets that lowers its energy consumption. Newly introduced windows infuse the interior with natural light. LineSync Architecture’s interventions granted new life to this beautiful example of historic New England architecture and made it more compatible with its current use. + LineSync Architecture Photos and video by Chibi Moku

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Glowing bamboo pavilion promotes ecological design in Hong Kong

November 22, 2016 by  
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The approximately 350-square-meter ZCB Bamboo Pavilion was built using Cantonese bamboo scaffolding techniques and made from 475 large bamboo poles bent onsite and hand-tied together with metal wire. The pavilion sits adjacent to the Zero Carbon Building (ZBC), a three-story plus-energy office building constructed in 2012 and topped with solar panels. In contrast to the ZBC’s square edges, the bamboo pavilion is curvaceous with a large diagrid shell structure that folds down into three hollow columns atop concrete footings. The geometrically complex structure is lightweight and made with digital form-finding and real-time physics simulation tools that mitigate inconsistencies in the bamboo. A tailor-made white tensile fabric is stretched over the structure and its transparent quality creates a glowing effect when the pavilion is lit from the inside. The pavilion has a seating capacity of 200 people. Related: Studio Mumbai unveils handmade pavilion crafted from seven kilometers of bamboo “Bamboo is a widely available, environmentally friendly material that grows abundantly and at remarkably high speeds in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and the Americas,” says a statement on the Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Architecture website. “It is an excellent renewable natural resource which captures CO? and converts it into oxygen. It is strong, light and easy to process and transport. In Hong Kong, bamboo mostly appears in temporary theatres, scaffolding, or structures for religious festivals. Globally, it is usually applied as a surrogate for wood or steel, rather than in ways that utilise the material’s unique bending properties and strength. In contrast, the ZCB Bamboo Pavilion presents an alternative architectural application that maximises these latent material properties.” + Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Architecture + World Architecture Festival Images via Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Architecture

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World’s first 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip could help end animal testing

October 25, 2016 by  
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When it comes to medical breakthroughs, the most exciting advances tend to involve technology that can lead to better and earlier diagnoses of various health problems , but breakthroughs that save animals are pretty good too. A team of Harvard University researchers has done just that by developing an entirely 3D-printed “heart-on-a-chip” that may some day eliminate animal testing in medical research. The innovation, which makes it possible to monitor heart performance, is the latest in a medical technology trend of building functional, synthetic replicas of living human organs in an effort to better understand how they work, or—more to the point—how they fail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHhMlL9flMY Each organ-on-a-chip (also known as a “microphysiological system”) is constructed from a translucent, flexible polymer. The 3D-printed organs mimic the biological environment of our internal organs, and give scientists an up-close look at how they function. The heart-on-a-chip developed at Harvard can help researchers collect reliable data for short-term and long-term studies. Because the device is 3D-printed , scientists can easily customize its design to meet the specifications of their research, and the chips can be fabricated quickly. Related: See-through microchip organs help scientists test new drugs “This new programmable approach to building organs-on-chips not only allows us to easily change and customize the design of the system by integrating sensing but also drastically simplifies data acquisition,” said Johan Ulrik Lind, lead author and postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Other Harvard research teams have developed microphysiological systems that mimic the microarchitecture and functions of lungs, hearts, tongues, and intestines. These synthetic organs could replace animal testing with a customizable and completely humane alternative that may also lead to more accurate results. Unfortunately, the cost for fabricating these organs-on-a-chip is still quite high, and the process is also time-consuming. Researchers are continuously pushing forward to improve their methods, though, in the hopes of making this a viable and cost-effective alternative toward the cruel practice of animal testing. The results of the team’s research were published this week in the journal Nature Materials. Via Gizmodo Images via Harvard University

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