Singapore’s jaw-dropping new airport has the world’s largest indoor waterfall

June 21, 2017 by  
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Air travel is usually a nightmare, but Singapore’s new Jewel Changi Airport extension is taking the sting out of the experience with a lush jungle and the world’s largest indoor waterfall. The 131-foot-tall waterfall, conceived by water design firm WET and Safdie Architects , will be the centerpiece of “Forest Valley,” a lush indoor garden nestled under a large glass dome. The waterfall, dubbed the Rain Vortex, will be housed in a huge glass toroid, and will fall though the hole in the middle of the structure. At night, choreographed light shows will make the waterfall glow, illuminating the interior in an array of different colors. Related: World’s Largest Outdoor Pool to be Built Within a Canal in Japan The architects and engineers conducted a series of airflow studies on the glass dome in order to prevent the buildup of humid air that would naturally occur around this amount of falling water. The team came up with a solution that alters the way turbulence affects the surrounding air. Several built models helped determine the behavior of the design. The 134,000 square meter addition to Singapore‘s main airport is expected to wow travelers with an environment unlike any other. It is currently under construction, expecting completion in early 2019. + WET Design + Safdie Architects Via Archdaily

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Singapore’s jaw-dropping new airport has the world’s largest indoor waterfall

Gargantuan lace sea urchins light up the night along Singapore’s marina

June 12, 2017 by  
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A swarm of gigantic, glowing sea urchins recently appeared on Singapore’s waterfront for the iLight Marina Bay Festival. Choi+Shine Architects constructed the larger-than-life creatures as “lacy rooms” that invite visitors to walk inside and enjoy their intricate structure and visual effects. The structures are inspired by sea urchin shells, which are elnclosed yet lightweight and porous. The architects recreated the intricate patterns of urchins using white double-braided polyester chord woven in 20 segments and attached to a metal frame. It took 50 people to assemble the structures by hand over a period of two months. Related: Robots helped build and sew together this amazing sea urchin-inspired pavilion Each sea urchin measures 56 feet in size and weighs around 220 pounds. The lacy pavilions are illuminated by white spot lights, creating the illusion that they glow in the dark. The calming effect and simplicity of the installation visually contrasts Singapore’s skyscrapers and celebrates the city’s cultural diversity. + Choi+Shine Architects Photos © 2016, 2017 Choi+Shine Architects

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Gargantuan lace sea urchins light up the night along Singapore’s marina

Naturally cooled Otunba Offices has a small footprint but a large social impact

June 9, 2017 by  
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This low-cost sustainable office building in Lagos, Nigeria, can be easily and affordably replicated anywhere in the world. With its minimal footprint and ample public space, the design allows work productivity to flourish while nurturing a sense of community. The innovative space by Domaine Public Architects  features passive house principles including natural ventilation and the clever use of vegetation to minimize energy use. Affordability and replicability were the main ideas behind the Otunba Offices, a new low-cost office building prototype that can be built anywhere with minimal financial impact on project budget. The building lessens its impact on the environment by minimizing its footprint and expanding upper floors. This design approach allowed the architects to form communal areas that communicate with the neighborhood and the city and provide multi-purpose areas for social interaction. Related: WOHA revamps Singapore office with lush ‘pocket parks’ The project utilizes passive house principles to achieve a high energy performance. Its orientation provides natural shading, while a double layer of vegetation, flexible louvers and natural ventilation lower the reliance on mechanical cooling systems. The concept, currently under construction, has received commendation by the jury of AR Future Projects Awards, in the “Offices” category. + Domaine Public Architects Via v2com

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Naturally cooled Otunba Offices has a small footprint but a large social impact

First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy

May 30, 2017 by  
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This weekend, Singapore welcomed its first Apple store in a beautiful glass-fronted building that blends minimalist design with nature. Designed by Foster + Partners and Apple, this long-awaited flagship store—called Apple Orchard Road—takes cues from Singapore’s lush environment and features mature trees inside and outside the shop. Home to the world’s largest Genius Grove, Apple Orchard Road is considered one of Foster + Partners’ “greenest Apple spaces yet” and is entirely powered by renewable energy. Welcomed with extreme fanfare and a ten-hour-long, 2,000-person queue, Apple Orchard Road is the first official Apple Store in Southeast Asia . The two-story building is located in the heart of the Singapore, known as the garden city, along tree-lined Orchard Road. Inspired by the city’s garden themes, the designers crafted the building with a strong focus on community and connection to nature. Eight mature trees were planted in front of the store to create a shaded “green orchard” that serves as a new public gathering space. The 120-foot wide glazed storefront blurs the boundaries between inside and outside, an illusion strengthened by the installation of mature trees within the shop. A thin, white canopy cantilevers out 25 feet to provide solar shading . Related: Watch Apple’s incredible new store in Dubai change shape before your eyes “This is one of our greenest Apple spaces yet – not only does all the energy come from renewable sources, but it is filled with lush trees,” said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “It also breaks down the boundaries between the inside and outside, with the greenery cascading through the store from the mezzanine to the ground floor and out to onto Orchard Road, creating the most welcoming civic gesture.” Beautiful curved staircases hand-carved from Castagna stone by Italian artisans frame the interior. The world’s largest Genius Grove on the mezzanine contains twelve Ficus Ali trees. The Forum, which serves as a gathering place for Creative Pros, also boasts Apple’s widest video screen in the world. + Foster + Partners Images © Nigel Young and Apple

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First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy

Retro electric motorbike with 40-mile range fits in the trunk of a car

May 22, 2017 by  
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Urban mobility is seeing something of a renaissance. As cars congest and pollute cities, people are rethinking how to get around. One company based in Singapore , seeks to inject a little fun and imagination into urban travel. Vanda Electrics is offering a small electric motorbike called the Motochimp that they claim will open your eyes “to the surreal in everyday spaces, as you meander through streets and dreamscapes.” The future of urban mobility isn’t all sleek electric cars or pioneering flying cars . Vanda Electrics infuses a sense of playfulness into a commute with their Motochimp, a foldable motorbike that can be packed into a car trunk. The unconventional vehicle was designed to celebrate spontaneous joy rides and “defy boredom and faceless urban transport.” From the website, it appears the motorbike will come in at least three bright colors: red, blue, and yellow. Related: Hyundai foldable electric Ioniq scooter will make your commute awesome The bike’s draw isn’t only its funky design , but the nearly 40 mile range it can get on one charge. The company also says the battery charges rapidly. The zero emissions vehicle will be able to cruise through the streets at speeds of 20 miles per hour. Jonny Smith of YouTube channel Fully Charged drove the Motochimp around and said the quirky vehicle is like the “child of a tube of toothpaste, Lego, and a packet of Pez candy.” He also likened the bike to a 1960’s coffee machine. According to Treehugger, the motorbike is expected to enter production in 2017 and could be released in the United Kingdom and possibly the United States by 2018. The price is yet unclear; Smith said the Motochimp could cost around $1,600 while Auto Express put the price tag closer to $2,000. Treehugger pointed out with prices that expensive, the Motochimp isn’t likely to be a vehicle for the masses, but could offer a fun alternative for those who want to ditch their cars. + Vanda Electrics + Motochimp Via Treehugger Images via Motochimp Facebook

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Retro electric motorbike with 40-mile range fits in the trunk of a car

China claims major energy breakthrough with ‘flammable ice’

May 19, 2017 by  
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China has claimed a major energy breakthrough, but its eco credentials are dubious at best. Researchers say they managed to extract gas from flammable ice in the South China Sea. A frozen mix of natural gas and water known as methane hydrates, the ‘breakthrough’ is expected to revolutionize the future of energy . We’re not sure that’s a good idea. Flammable ice could be our planet’s final great source of carbon-based fuel , according to the BBC. Vast deposits can be found under essentially every ocean. But it’s incredibly difficult to extract gas from flammable ice – in part because it catches fire so easily – a lighter held up next to the ice will do the trick. Related: Japan Successfully Taps ‘Flammable Ice’ as an Energy Source for the First Time Japan so far has led the way in working to mine the potential energy source, but China’s latest efforts could mark a milestone on the path to extracting gas from methane hydrates. Chinese media said the country had succeeded in extracting an average of 16,000 cubic meters of gas per day in the South China Sea. Scientist Praveen Linga of the National University of Singapore told the BBC, “Compared with the results we have seen from Japanese research, the Chinese scientists have managed to extract much more gas in their efforts. So in that sense it is indeed a major step towards making gas extraction from methane hydrates viable.” But Linga warns extraction must be done carefully. Methane could escape from the methane hydrates during extraction, which could harm the planet as methane holds greater potential to affect climate change than carbon dioxide, according to the BBC. It’s hard to tell if flammable ice extraction will fall into the pitfalls of the oil and gas industry, with greed taking precedence over our planet. The BBC also described flammable ice as a very energy intensive source of fuel. Linga says there’s still a long way to go, and he said realistic commercial options might be ready in 2025 at the earliest. Via the BBC Images via William Winters, USGS and U.S. Geological Survey on Flickr

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China claims major energy breakthrough with ‘flammable ice’

The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

May 1, 2017 by  
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House 24 makes the most of a challenging plot by opening up to its idyllic surroundings in Singapore . Park + Associates Pte Ltd designed the multi-generational home to embrace the tropical climate using rhythmic timber screens. A courtyard provides privacy, and a peaceful pool helps to passively cool the home. The house sits on a triangular plot in Singapore, near a lushly landscaped state-owned park. The architects saw the shape of the site as the main design driver and envisioned a courtyard residence that offers privacy while providing expansive views of the surroundings. Related: This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises The project features timber craftsmanship in the form of wooden screens that create patterns of light and shadow that reflect the project’s tropical locality. A row of full height sliding doors along the first-floor corridor opens up to the swimming pool , which helps to passively cool down the air flowing into the home. A series of timber screens line the west-facing walkway on the second floor to protect it from the direct and harsh tropical sunlight. Related: A tropical paradise grows inside this lush Singapore home The team redefined the conventional entry sequence and transformed it by forming a more layered and sequential experience through the use of courtyard screens fronting the street. This space marks the transition between the public and private space and offers a serene atmosphere. The project has won the A’ Design Award in the Architecture , building and structure design category. + Park + Associates Pte Ltd Via A’ Design Award and Competition

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Singapore’s giant vertical farm grows 80 tons of vegetables every year

February 10, 2017 by  
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This vertical farm in Singapore grows a whopping 80 tons of veggies every single year. The farm was founded by Panasonic , and it uses LED lights to quickly and efficiently grow produce indoors without depending on unpredictable weather conditions. Panasonic believes indoor farming is a key to the future that could solve food supply issues worldwide. Panasonic started their indoor farm in a 2,670 square foot space and initially produced 3.6 tons of vegetables per year. But the company’s Agriculture Business Division assistant manager Alfred Tham recently told Business Insider that the farm has quadrupled its square footage and food output. Related: Futuristic Japanese indoor vertical farm produces 12,000 heads of lettuce a day with LED lighting Vertical farming allows Panasonic to make the most of the warehouse space, although they do grow their plants in soil in contrast to many vertical farms. They source their LED lights from a local company. Rather than depending on sunlight or rain showers, the farmers can control the indoor farm’s climate – including pH levels, temperature, and oxygen. 40 varieties of crops grow in the indoor farm – from mizuna to romaine lettuce, mini red radishes and Swiss chard. But the goal is to start cultivating 30 additional varieties by March of this year. Right now the flourishing farm accounts for just 0.015 percent of produce grown in the country, but Panasonic hopes to boost that statistic up to five percent. As Singapore currently imports more than 90 percent of its food, indoor farms could enable the island nation to become more self-sufficient. Panasonic is selling the indoor farm’s produce under the brand name Veggie Life, and a three ounce bowl of greens goes for around $5 in grocery stores. They also sell their produce to local restaurants. Via Business Insider Images via Panasonic ( 1 , 2 )

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Chinese fishery installs immense floating solar farm for extra income

February 6, 2017 by  
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A fishery in eastern China now doubles as a solar power station. An immense array of photovoltaic panels has been installed across 300 hectares to generate not only clean electricity , but additional money for the fishery. Lines of solar panels stretch over the waters of a fishery in Cixi City, which is in the Zhejiang Province in eastern China . People’s Daily Online reports with a 200 megawatt (MW) capacity, it is the biggest solar power station constructed on a fish farm in the country. The panels will be connected to the state grid and will provide the fishery with an annual income of 240 million RMB, which is around $34 million. Fish should still be able to thrive in the waters underneath the panels; People’s Daily Online says the panels will provide shade, but PV Magazine also noted they were intentionally spaced out to allow sunlight to filter through, which is necessary for the fish to grow. Related: $11 million floating solar testbed in Singapore will be the largest in the world The huge station can generate enough power for 100,000 households, and could maybe even replace 7.4 tons of coal, according to People’s Daily Online. The solar panels should generate an impressive 220 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. PV Magazine reports there’s a similar 120 MW installation in China in the Jiangxi Province, but clearly the Cixi City project is much larger. The new solar system certainly wasn’t cheap; it cost 1.8 billion RMB, or $260 million. But Electrek reports the floating solar farm will pay for itself in about seven or eight years. The fishery turned renewable energy plant could offer a model for other fisheries or coastal areas around the world; PV Magazine reports construction just finished in late 2016, so it’s time to see how the fish farm functions with solar panels atop their pond. Via Electrek , People’s Daily Online , and PV Magazine Images via Max Pixel and screenshot

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Austin Maynard Architects restores a beach shack in their crusade against McMansions

February 6, 2017 by  
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Austin Maynard Architects is taking a stand against McMansions. Tired of seeing Australia’s handsome old shacks demolished to make way for less culturally interesting housing, the Australian architecture firm completed a beautiful renovation and addition to an old beach shack in the town of Lorne. The restored project, called the Dorman House, is a lovely celebration of the Australian beach shack vernacular with stunning ocean views and a modern and eco-friendly design. The Dorman House comprises two parts: the restoration of an old post-war beach shack that remains mostly unchanged, and the addition of a contemporary new extension. The clients, Kate and Grant, had asked Austin Maynard Architects to preserve the original shack and add an extension that would allow for clear and elevated ocean views without dominating or damaging the existing structure. Although the simplest solution would have been to bulldoze the existing shack and start anew, the architects and clients sought the more sustainable solution. “Modest, humble shacks are being replaced with incongruous and unnecessary McMansions ,” wrote the architects. “Increasingly we see a duplication of the suburban home where once stood the shack. Through this process we not only lose important parts of our built heritage, we also lose a significant part of our social and emotional diversity. We lose parts of ourselves. At Austin Maynard Architects we do our best to avoid the simple temptation of demolishing and replacing. Where extensions are required/desired, we aim to retain and respect the existing shack and its scale.” Related: Gorgeous solar-powered THAT House is an eco-friendly rebel “with just enough space” The new extension is an elevated timber box that sits atop the original shack and comprises an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living room accessed via a spiral staircase. The interior is lined with Silvertop Ash and opens up to gorgeous ocean views and breezes through full-height windows. Most of the glass faces north and all windows are double glazed with thermally separated frames, while solar shades are in place to minimize solar heat gain in summer. The exterior cladding will develop a gray patina over time. The structure directly below the timber box is clad in polycarbonate and is used as a light-filled bedroom. Recycled timber decking was used in the construction and locally sourced materials were also used wherever possible. + Austin Maynard Architects Images via Austin Maynard Architects

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Austin Maynard Architects restores a beach shack in their crusade against McMansions

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