Dramatic fountain and plaza define Foster + Partners newest Apple Store in Milan

July 30, 2018 by  
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Foster + Partners has unveiled images of Milan’s newest Apple Store—and it’s just as strikingly gorgeous as we expected. Building off of Apple’s “Town Square” retail store concept and the city’s legacy of impressive public piazzas, the Apple Piazza Liberty Store features a new public plaza where locals and visitors can gather and enjoy views of a new dramatic fountain. The store is sunken below grade and includes a spacious, light-filled interior with mature live trees set in raised planters. Located off of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, one of the most popular pedestrian streets in the city, Apple Piazza Liberty grabs attention with its stunning fountain made up of two rectilinear pools and vertical water jets. Visitors can observe the fountain from the broad stone steps of the Amphitheater leading down to the sunken Apple Store or enter the fountain through the 26-foot-tall glass-covered entrance enveloped by dramatic views and sounds of cascading water. “[It’s] an immersive recreation of the childhood game of running through fountains, the experience changes throughout the day as sunlight filters through the water, while at night the glass ceiling creates a kaleidoscopic effect, with the water falling down the walls, and its reflections travelling infinitely up the sky,” explain the architects in their press release. Stefan Behling, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, adds: “The fountain is an expression of child-like excitement that speaks to each one of us. In its simplicity, it echoes the idea of walking into a big fountain without getting wet, and the joy of being alive.” Related: Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store glows like a paper lantern in Macau The fountain’s waterfall effect can be seen below-grade in a second wall of water at the base of the Amphitheater . The Amphitheater steps and surrounding plaza were paved with Beola Grigia, a luminous local stone from Lombardy, and flanked by 21 new Gleditisia Sunburst trees. Inside, the interior is “metaphorically carved from the same stone as the plaza above,” with a stepped ceiling and skylights that let in natural light. + Foster + Partners Images by Nigel Young/ Foster + Partners

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Dramatic fountain and plaza define Foster + Partners newest Apple Store in Milan

Timber wedding venue in China mirrors the mountainous landscape

July 30, 2018 by  
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When charged with adding a multi-functional building to a mountain resort in China, Shanghai-based firm  AIM Architecture used the stunning landscape as inspiration. Located slightly away from the resort’s existing buildings, MuWeCo stands out for its dramatic vaulted roofs that mimic the outline of the mountain range in the background. The Fushengyu Hot Springs Resort is tucked into the remote foothills of the Luo Fu Shan range in Sichuan, China. The resort has multiple buildings, including the main spa building  and various villas and small apartments that cater to guests looking to enjoy the picturesque setting. Related: Elegant Japanese wedding chapel mimics curved leaves The resort management wanted a new building on-site to provide extra space for practical uses such as a wedding hall , exhibition area or conference rooms. However, the building’s design was completely inspired by nature. According to the project description, the architects’ concept aimed to create an open space that put the focus on the majestic, mountainous landscape. To blend the building into this stunning backdrop, the architects created a series of striking sloped roofs that evoke the feeling of being under a tent. The dramatic design continues throughout the interior, where the curved ceiling panels dotted with tiny lights create a vibrant atmosphere. The walls of the building are clad almost entirely with glass panels, allowing optimal natural light to flood the interior while providing endless views of the surrounding scenery. The interior is spacious and open, with warm timber and cork paneling and flooring made out of local river stones, again creating a strong connection with nature. To really soak in the surroundings, guests are invited to enjoy the views from the large open-air deck, which provides 360-degree views of the mountain range in the background. According to the architects, they drew inspiration for MuWeCo’s design from the resort ‘s incredible setting and from the desire to ensure complete and total relaxation for guests: “People visit spas for rest and relaxation, and this design opportunity allowed us to re-imagine nature and landscape as public spaces, and our relationship to both. The architecture provides a contrast for the stunning scenery, and has proven to be a lasting and beautiful space for wellness.” + AIM Architecture Via Archdaily Images via AIM Architecture

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Timber wedding venue in China mirrors the mountainous landscape

After a makeover, this local shack becomes the envy of the neighborhood

July 30, 2018 by  
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Nearly everyone has strolled through a darling neighborhood and suddenly come across an orphan house. Sitting silently, often in the shadows of the prettier houses, there’s a neglected home that once had dignity. A family of four discovered such a home in an Iowa City neighborhood, and with some TLC and help from Neumann Monson Architects , they transformed it into a star of the community. Seeking a tranquil neighborhood near the University of Iowa campus, the family found the unpolished jewel, built in the ’60s, on a quiet street lined with lovely modest homes. It was a smaller, 1,300-square-foot home, and years of high-turnover renters had left their mark, earning the abode the local moniker of “ The Shack .” Related: O2 Studio renovated an old Netherlands home into a gorgeous energy-neutral villa Determined to change that image, the family embarked on a mission of a cosmetic makeover that would also embrace the home’s carbon-neutral potential. After commissioning Neumann Monson Architects for the project, the family wanted to create a guest room and recreation room in the formerly unfinished 500-square-foot basement. Then, the team expanded the ground floor from 1,300 square feet to 2,500 square feet with a slab-on-grade modification. All these upgrades used standard post and beam construction coupled with steel wood framing and steel columns. To sustain the eco-friendly theme, the home’s walls and ceilings were lined with insulated sheathing and foamed-in-insulation, creating R-24 walls and an R-40 roof. Upgraded windows take full advantage of natural light without sacrificing the mid-century spirit. A new tongue-and-groove bleached cedar ventilated rain screen beautified the home’s exterior. Energy-saving renovations also included new super-efficient climate control systems, such as LED lighting , EnergyStar appliances and a closed-loop, horizontally-bored geothermal system with fresh air energy recovery. An 8.4kW photovoltaic array powers the LED lighting, mechanical systems and energy-efficient appliances. The family enjoys the credit they receive from the utility company for their home’s surplus energy, but they love the homey ambiance of the neighborhood even more. A nearby property is undergoing a similar overhaul, so their success appears to be contagious. + Neumann Monson Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Integrated Studio

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After a makeover, this local shack becomes the envy of the neighborhood

Computer modeling informed the whimsical design of this experimental home

July 30, 2018 by  
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At first glance, this house in Prague may look like a fanciful and whimsical work of art with little regard for practicality, but a deeper inspection reveals that careful computer modeling and budgeting actually informed its unusual design. Czech architect and co-founder Jan Šépka of the local practice Šépka Architekti designed this organic abode, called the House in the Orchard, as one of his latest experimental residences in the country. Raised on a stalk like a mushroom, the modernist three-story home was crafted in response to the steeply sloped site and comprises a living area of 861 square feet. Designed for one of Šépka’s old friends on the outskirts of Prague, the House in the Orchard is raised on a concrete pillar to mitigate the steep slope and to avoid the high construction cost of a traditional foundation. The three-story dwelling’s asymmetrical shape was conceived through  computer modeling and is split into triangular spaces for stability. To create the home’s concrete-like appearance, the architect layered a gray, waterproof skin atop polyurethane sprayed on top of plywood sheets; the final effect gives the structure its deceptively heavy look. A ramp on the upper part of the slope leads to the entrance and the first floor, which consists of the living area, kitchen and dining room with a wood-burning stove and a large window that frames views of the landscape to the north. Modernist furniture is mixed with custom plywood furnishings designed by Šépka. Related: Sprawling Villa H in Prague adapts to a steep plot with a creative 3-level layout A plywood staircase with open treads and a metal railing leads up to the second floor where the bedrooms and bathroom are located. The study can be found on the top floor. A large skylight in the study draws natural light deep into the home. + Šépka Architekti Via Wallpaper* Images by Tomáš Malý

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Computer modeling informed the whimsical design of this experimental home

Krill fishers partner with Greenpeace to protect Antarctic wildlife

July 10, 2018 by  
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An unlikely alliance has formed between krill fishing companies and environmental protection groups over a common cause: protecting the Antarctic Ocean and its marine life. Greenpeace is teaming with members of the Association for Responsible Krill Harvesting (ARK) to ensure wildlife sustainability of the southern ice cap. The agreement was announced during the Greenpeace Antarctic 360° event in Cambridge. The individual fishing companies honoring the agreement are all ARK members, representing 85 percent of the Antarctic krill harvesting industry. Related: The world’s largest wildlife sanctuary proposed for Antarctica Under the pact, the fisherman will honor “buffer zones” in known penguin breeding grounds in order to protect the wildlife. In addition, major portions of the Antarctic Peninsula will be out-of-bounds for the ARK membership. The partnership will also see ARK support scientific endeavors to study the area’s natural inhabitants. Working with scientists and environmental organizations, the groups will end fishing operations in environmentally sensitive areas, permanently closing these locations to fishing in 2020. The prohibition is part of a plan to create permanent protection zones throughout the Antarctic and reduce the potential for wildlife damage . The movement to protect Antarctic wildlife has grown in popularity in the last decade. According to Greenpeace, more than 1.7 million people worldwide have signed the organization’s petition to create stricter protections and maintain wildlife conservation in the southernmost waters. Krill is an important part of the Antarctic ecosystem . The shrimp-like crustacean is a food source for many of the South Pole’s animals, including whales, penguins and seals. By creating the wide protection zones, both Greenpeace and ARK hope to ensure long-term sustainability for animals. “Through our commitment we are showing that it is possible for no-fish zones and sustainable fisheries to co-exist,” Kristine Hartmann, executive vice president at krill fishing company Aker BioMarine, said in a statement. “We are positive that ARK’S commitment will help ensure krill as a sustainable and stable source of healthy omega-3s for the future.” The ARK-Greenpeace partnership is one part of a global plan to help preserve marine life. The multi-nation Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources will meet in October to decide on sanctuary status for parts of the ocean. + Greenpeace Via  The Guardian Image of krill via Uwe Kils

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Krill fishers partner with Greenpeace to protect Antarctic wildlife

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