Massive handmade bamboo-and-rattan "fish trap" springs up in Taipei

May 31, 2018 by  
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A giant handmade pavilion created in the image of an ancient fishing tool has popped up at the entrance of Taipei’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Rising to a height of nearly 30 feet, The Trap is a temporary installation designed by Taiwanese artist Cheng Tsung Feng that pays homage to the fishing tools and materials used by various ethnic groups in Taiwan. The movement of people through and under the structure is meant to evoke the crowds of fish caught in a fish trap. Completed this month, The Trap was commissioned as part of MOCA’s “The Charismatic Rebirth of Yore” exhibition. Artist Cheng Tsung Feng , who has a history of working with natural and locally-sourced materials, found inspiration in fish traps, an ancient Taiwanese fishing tool made of bamboo and rattan. During his research, FENG discovered huge variations in the traps created by different ethnic groups because of differences in available materials, culture and the type of catch. Despite these differences, he found that the site-specific fish traps were united by common production practices. Handmade from thin strips of bamboo, rattan and steel, The Trap is anchored over the MOCA’s entrance and features arched openings to mirror the historic building’s existing arches. Gaps between the rattan strips give the piece a lightweight feel and let dappled light shine through. The artwork measures nearly 92 feet long and more than 65 feet wide. Related: A twisting infinity-loop roof tops this prefab bamboo pavilion “These intangible cultures hidden behind tangible objects are like living things that can grow in response to the environment,” Cheng Tsung Feng said. “In this installation art, we relocated the fish trap from thousands of natural rivers to Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art, a 100-year-old man-made building. And replaced various kinds of fishes with the crowd of people. What will this traditional wisdom evolve after adapting to distinct environments and prey?” The installation will be on display until July 22, 2018. + Cheng Tsung Feng Images by Sheng Da TSAI

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Massive handmade bamboo-and-rattan "fish trap" springs up in Taipei

Hope for mountain gorillas: new census results reveal the population is increasing

May 31, 2018 by  
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Good news for mountain gorillas : the number of the  critically endangered apes residing in the Virunga Massif is up to 604 from 480 in 2010, according to a statement from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International . In fact, the World Wildlife Fund said (WWF) the mountain gorilla is “the only great ape in the world that is considered to be increasing in population.” In 1981, just 242 mountain gorillas lived in the Virunga Massif, a transboundary area spanning Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Several population counts later, though, the numbers are far more encouraging. There are now over 1,000 mountain gorillas in the world when the Virunga population is added to a separate one in Uganda. The population count comes from a recent census coordinated by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration  and in which the Fossey Fund’s Karisoke Research Center participated. The International Gorilla Conservation Program , a coalition program that includes WWF among its partners, backed the census. Related: Wild tigers are returning to Kazakhstan after 70-year absence 60 people took part in the census, walking through the gorillas’ range in two sweeps approximately three months apart. Researchers gathered information like hair and dung samples from night nets to work towards a population count and identify individual gorillas . The mountain gorilla population increase is due to daily protection, according to the Fossey Fund. But the fight isn’t over yet; the great apes are threatened by disease, snares laid for other animals, limited habitat, and climate change . Conservationists called for continued protection. “Dian Fossey thought mountain gorillas would go extinct by the year 2000,” Fossey Fund CEO Tara Stoinski said. “Their survival and continued increase clearly shows that intensive conservation efforts can work. The take home from the mountain gorilla story is that significant financial and time investment is needed for conservation to happen — there are no overnight fixes. We must be in it for the long haul and increase the resources available for conservation if we want charismatic species like gorillas, rhinos , elephants , and tigers to survive.” + Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International + World Wildlife Fund Images courtesy of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

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Hope for mountain gorillas: new census results reveal the population is increasing

Historic rice mill reborn as a natural foods store in Taipei

May 9, 2018 by  
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A flourish of adaptive reuse activity at Taipei’s historic Dihua Street is turning the once oft-overlooked half-mile strip into a hotbed for tourism, creative retail, and cultural education. Case in point: B+P Architects’ renovation of a 19th century rice mill into a natural foods store stocking locally grown and produced products. Carried out over the course of three years, the project—known as Inverted Truss—carefully preserved many historic elements while adding a contemporary and modular design. Completed in 2016, Inverted Truss was created in collaboration with the Yeh Family, who has owned the property for five generations. To minimize damage to the building, the architect created a modular and lightweight timber structure inserted into the front of the building. Designed with built-in lighting and shelving, the new framework of timber trusses and panels injects a contemporary new look to the space and while leaving the original ceiling beams from 1890 exposed. Thanks to its modularity, the structure can also be easily removed and amended. Related: Mirrored shipping container building reflects its natural surroundings in Taipei “We remain considerable amount of existing furniture and grain equipment replaced back to the space to give its presence of the historic context,” wrote B+P Architects. “The timber used for the truss is made from Japanese cypress that is also used to make gain utensils at the time as well.” The store is used to promote the different varieties of rice grown in Taiwan as well as other locally made products such as noodles, soy sauce, craft beer and tea. The back of the building has been converted into an events space with offices and a residential unit above. + B+P Architects Images by Hey! Cheese

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Historic rice mill reborn as a natural foods store in Taipei

Uninspired basement reborn as a chic and light-filled bistro

May 9, 2018 by  
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A poorly lit basement space has undergone a tremendous transformation at the hands of Italian design firm Studio DiDeA . Now home to Palermo’s trendy bistro Cento61, the renovated space combines natural lighting and greenery with eye-catching materials to bring attention to a venue tucked below ground in an early twentieth century building. Formerly an old restaurant with no character to speak of, the site includes a 1,400-square-foot interior that opens up to a large external courtyard . According to Studio DiDeA, the client asked for “a special place with an informal atmosphere that could become a meeting place for Palermo’s people to eat, drink, share and coming back”. To create an airy and attractive atmosphere, the designers brought the outdoors in with potted plants that hang from the ceiling and a color palette that evokes the sky with different shades of blue. Related: HHF Architects’ renovated a group of crumbling buildings to help revitalize an entire neighborhood A white iron grid used in the interior and exterior tie the two spaces together. Inside, the white grid also forms a neutral backdrop for a variety of materials that include timber durmast panels, Calacatta marble , and Niagara blue inserts. “The result is geometric-patterned wall surfaces that match the cobalt-blue sofas and the light blue and yellow colored chairs, adding vibrancy and a sense of playfulness to the otherwise simple space,” wrote the architects. The outdoor dining area—which, like the interior, seats 40—was designed around a 200-year-old Cycas plant and is outfitted with vibrant yellow and blue wire chairs. + Studio DiDeA Images via Studio DiDeA

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Uninspired basement reborn as a chic and light-filled bistro

Shimmering bamboo-shaped skyscraper to rise in Taipei

January 25, 2018 by  
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Move over Taipei 101—a new green-glass skyscraper will soon transform the city skyline. Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners (ACPV) unveiled designs for the Taipei Sky Tower, a 280-meter-tall building that, like Taiwan’s tallest tower , draws design inspiration from bamboo shoots. The luxury mixed-use development will house two Hyatt-branded luxury hotels—Park Hyatt Taipei and Andaz Taipei. Commissioned by Riant Capital Limited, ACPV’s Taipei Sky Tower design was selected from a shortlist of seven international firms. Billed as “Taiwan’s first large-scale lifestyle-driven development,” the sleek 54-story tower will be set in Xinyi, the city’s financial district flush with new modern construction projects, including the carbon-absorbing Agora Garden . In addition to Taipei Sky Tower’s two hotels, the mixed-use building will also feature a luxury retail podium. Related: Vincent Callebaut’s twisting carbon-absorbing skyscraper nears completion in Taipei Taipei Sky Tower will feature curved edges, a segmented facade, and an angled roofline to mimic a bamboo shoot with notched sections. The design also draws inspiration from the pleats of Greek columns. “ACPV aims to create an ultra-modern 280 -meter tall skyscraper by blending some of the oldest elements from the East and West in modern harmony,” reads a press release. ACPV will lead the design for Park Hyatt Taipei, while the design for Andaz will be given over to Neri&Hu . The project is slated for completion in 2020. + Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners Via Dezeen Images via Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners

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Shimmering bamboo-shaped skyscraper to rise in Taipei

City bus transformed into an enchanting forest reconnects commuters to nature

June 1, 2017 by  
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An explosion of green took over a city bus in Taipei recently, treating commuters to a leafy dose of nature. Florist Alfie Lin and designer Xiao Qing-Yang designed the world’s first “Forest Bus,” a transformed wonderland of turf-lined seats and hanging orchids and ferns that continued to run as a mode of transport. The traveling art installation is a welcome breath of fresh air to the city’s concrete jungle, where air pollution is a constant concern. Conceived with the aim of bringing city dwellers closer to nature, the Forest Bus project temporarily transformed a city bus that runs on the popular 203 route between Taipei’s Tianmu neighborhood and New Taipei City’s Xizhi District, including stops at the beloved Raohe night market and an art museum . The trial period, which launched June 24, lasted five days and cost NT$100,000 (USD $3,320) to prepare according to the Taipei Times . Related: Amazing building made from 1.5 million plastic bottles withstands fires and earthquakes The bus was decorated with Taiwanese tropical plants , including beautiful orchids, ferns, and a variety of air plants. Artificial turf covered the seats and walkway. Interviewed commuters praised the mobile art installation and voiced support for turning it into a permanent fixture of the city. + Alfie Lin Images via Alfie Lin

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City bus transformed into an enchanting forest reconnects commuters to nature

Nature and art overlap in this sinuous pavilion in Taipei City

January 19, 2017 by  
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Indoor and outdoor scenery overlap in this sinuous pavilion by Emerge Architects . The SINICA Eco-Pavilion was tailored to the existing trees on the site, and meanders in-between them to create an organic space where nature is as much on display as the exhibition housed inside the building. The building, located within a restoration area of Taipei ‘s leading academic institution, Academia Sinica, features long stretches of curved glass surfaces that facilitate ambiguous spatial perception for visitors. The line between the inside and outside disappears as one navigates the interior space and explores different exhibitions. Different spatial pockets such as the lobby, screening room and exhibition areas create fluid transitions. Related: Sinuous concrete pavilion is a spiritual oasis at the City of Hope research and treatment center Through interdisciplinary integration and collaboration between curators and architects, the pavilion establishes a strong dialogue with its surroundings. This diminished the distinction between architecture, landscape and art, merging them all into a single, unified experience. + Emerge Architects Via Architizer Photos by Kyle Yu, Sam Yang, WK Chou

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Nature and art overlap in this sinuous pavilion in Taipei City

Twisting carbon-absorbing skyscraper nears completion in Taipei

November 29, 2016 by  
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Vincent Callebaut Architectures’ extraordinary Agora Garden —a DNA-inspired carbon-absorbing eco-tower—just topped out in Taipei, Taiwan. Set in Xinyi District just blocks from the LEED Platinum Taipei 101 skyscraper, Callebaut’s twisting tower will be filled with plants, vegetable gardens, and trees on every floor, as well as the grounds; the new greenery will be capable of absorbing 130 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The eye-catching building is expected to house the city’s most expensive luxury apartments on one of the city’s largest designated residential sites. Built mostly from concrete for seismic stability, the twenty two-story skyscraper comprises luxury apartments, rooftop clubhouses, a swimming pool, gym facilities, and car parking. The energy efficient tower’s unusual shape draws inspiration from DNA’s double helix structure and the Chinese Taiji philosophy of yin and yang. By twisting the building’s form, the architect also creates a beautiful cascade of open-air gardens that offer inhabitants panoramic and transversal views of the city. Landscape architecture firm SWA created a landscape design with 23,000 trees planted on the grounds and on every balcony. Related: Agora Tower: Twisting Skyscraper Wrapped With Vertical Gardens Breaks Ground in Taipei “The tower is eco-designed to represent the perfect fusion between Climate, Landscape and Architecture,” said the architects. “The project is eco-conceived by the integration of bioclimatic passive systems (as natural lighting and ventilation for the core and the basement, rain water recycle, low-e glass, double curtain wall) but also by the renewable energies (as the big photovoltaic solar roof and canopies, the automation for the energy saving, and lifts utilizing energy-saving regenerative drives).” The Agora Garden tower is expected for completion in September 2017. + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Twisting carbon-absorbing skyscraper nears completion in Taipei

Pebble-shaped office building adds an icon of sustainability to Taipei

August 31, 2016 by  
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Created as part of a greater revitalization project in Taipei’s Nangang District, Lè Architecture is an 18-story green office building that mimics the likeness of a standing moss-covered pebble with its tapered silhouette. Flat glass panels clad the exterior and give the building a polished finish. Vertical aluminum fins loop around the building to minimize unwanted solar heat gain . At night, the glazed building will be illuminated with different lighting effects to make the office appear to shimmer like a gem. To achieve LEED Gold status, Lè Architecture is designed to minimize energy demands. Natural light fills the interior through the building’s glass envelope to reduce reliance on artificial lighting. Green planters hung on the west side create a 60-meter-tall green wall to provide shading and regulate interior temperatures. Indoor trees on the south side create “urban living rooms” on every floor. Related: Taipei’s gorgeous Daan Park MRT raises the bar for metro stations everywhere “Pebbles that stay close to the riverbanks always have a green coat of mosses, giving the polished stones a unique texture,” write Aedas. “The vertical green wall on the façade turns the building into a standing pebble. The journey of pebbles from the river to the sea signifies the beginning of a successful journey. Meanwhile, the building’s egg-like shape implies that it is an incubator of knowledge and a metaphor of intellectual revival.” Lè Architecture is slated for completion in 2017. + Aedas Via ArchDaily Images via Aedas

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Pebble-shaped office building adds an icon of sustainability to Taipei

Anders Berensson to turn 2 utility towers in Stockholm into picnic platforms in the sky

August 31, 2016 by  
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The Swedish Royal Court has hired Anders Berensson Architects (A-B-A) to breathe new life into 12 disused power towers in central Stockholm. In a creative approach to adaptive reuse, the firm envisions two of the towers as observation decks where visitors can take in 360-degree views of Norra Djurgården , the city’s sprawling national park. There, park visitors could climb high above the treetops to enjoy a picnic in the sky. The 12 towers in question were originally built to hold power lines over the tree canopy of the urban park, so the construction is strong enough to support pedestrian platforms. The architecture firm proposes turning two of the towers into elevated picnic spots, where people can enjoy a snack or meal and take in the skyline of Stockholm . Finding a way for members of the public to enjoy the disused power towers could help draw more people to the park, and the project would provide incredible photography opportunities from the upper decks. Related: Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse In order to transform the power towers into park-goer destinations, A-B-A proposes a design that would add stairs and platforms made from wood, rather than steel, to reduce the structure’s overall weight load. Wooden additions would also provide a visual contrast to the original towers, which are envisioned painted in yellow. The two observation towers would also house kiosks in the lower levels that would sell refreshments and serve as gatekeepers for the towers, which would likely have restricted hours. + Anders Berensson Architects Images via Anders Berensson Architects and Lennart Johansson

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Anders Berensson to turn 2 utility towers in Stockholm into picnic platforms in the sky

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