Amazing plastic bottle architecture withstands earthquakes in Taipei

May 15, 2017 by  
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Plastic bottle architecture is fantastic at turning a problem into an eco-friendly opportunity. The amazing EcoARK in Taipei , Taiwan is one such example. Built from 1.5 million recycled plastic bottles, this massive pavilion is surprisingly strong enough to withstand the forces of nature—including fires and earthquakes! Designed by architect Arthur Huang, the nine-story $3 million USD pavilion is powered by solar energy and was built to the mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” Constructed for use as an exhibition hall during the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo, the EcoARK pavilion continues to spread its message of sustainability for seven years strong. Though Taiwan is home to one of the world’s most respected recycling programs, the country consumes a whopping 4.5 million PET bottles a year. To spread awareness about plastic waste, the Far Eastern Group , one of the world’s largest producers of PET products, commissioned architect and Miniwiz founder Arthur Huang to design and build the eco-friendly EcoARK. As the world’s first building of its kind, EcoARK is an incredible architectural feat. The key to the EcoARK design lay with polli-bricks, a hollow building block made of recycled PET developed by Miniwiz. The polli-bricks were manufactured from over a million recycled plastic bottles melted down into PET pellets and re-engineered into a new bottle-like shape. The blow-molded polli-bricks feature interlocking grooves that fit tightly together like LEGOs and only require a small amount of silicon sealant. Once assembled into flat rectangular panels, the polli-bricks are coated with a fire- and water-resistant film. The EcoARK’s curved and transparent facade is made up of these modular panels screwed and mounted onto a structural steel frame. Although the EcoARK weighs half as much as conventional buildings, it’s resistant to earthquakes and typhoons, and can withstand sustained winds up of to 130 kilometers per hour. Related: Basurama transforms landfill trash into playgrounds in Taipei Use of recycled plastic bottles isn’t the only eco-friendly feature of the EcoARK. The pavilion was built with low-carbon building techniques to maintain a zero-carbon footprint during operation. The building stays cool without air conditioning thanks to natural ventilation. The air inside the polli-bricks also provides insulation from heat and rainwater is collected and reused to cool the building. The polli-bricks’ transparency allows natural light to illuminate the interior during the day. Solar – and wind-powered systems generate the electricity needed to power 40,000 LEDs that light the building up at night. + Miniwiz Images © Lucy Wang

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Amazing plastic bottle architecture withstands earthquakes in Taipei

Taiwan is first Asian country to ban eating cats and dogs

April 18, 2017 by  
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Even abject carnivores in the West balk at the idea of raising dogs and cats for their meat, but East and Southeast Asian countries, particularly those mired in poverty, do not share those qualms. As incomes, not to mention concerns over animal welfare, continue to grow in those regions, however, the practice is slowly but steadily on the decline . Taiwan is willing to take the next leap: outlawing it altogether. Legislature passed recently will make the island nation the first in Asia to ban dog and cat consumption, according to Newsweek . After Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen signs the amendments, anyone caught eating dog or cat meat will be fined $8,000. Those involved in slaughtering the animals could face two years in jail and a $60,000 fine. Related: Killing dogs and cats for meat is still legal in 44 U.S. states The move dovetails with an earlier law, passed in 2001, that made illegal the sale of meat and fur of pets for so-called “economic purposes.” Tsai herself is a known animal lover. Last year, she adopted three retired guide dogs, who now cohabit a home with Tsai’s two cats, Think Think and A-Tsai. Via Newsweek Photos by Unsplash

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Taiwan is first Asian country to ban eating cats and dogs

Nature-inspired gallery celebrates Taiwans aboriginal cultures with cargotecture

March 31, 2017 by  
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A shimmering wave-like roof mirroring the Pacific Ocean tops this stunning new structure that celebrates Taiwan’s aboriginal cultures with eco-friendly construction. Bio-architecture Formosana recently completed the Taitung Aboriginal Gallery, a 1,921-square-meter exhibition center that draws inspiration from nature just as the architects of Austronesian culture did for centuries. With Taitung’s rich and varied landscapes as well as its seven different aboriginal tribes, the architects drew on a wealth of cultural and environmental resources for their design. The Taitung Aboriginal Gallery was created to celebrate the artistic and nature-inspired architectural elements of Austronesian culture. Thus, the architects created a large steel-framed roof with an undulating shape that mimics the topography and ocean, and is decorated with diamond shapes that symbolize the eyes of the ancestral spirits. The shape allows for access to natural light and ventilation throughout the building while providing much needed shade and cooling from the tropical sun. The sloped sides also facilitate collection of rainwater , which is stored in five small ponds in the plaza. Related: Mecanoo wins competition to design the Tainan Public Library with natural materials As an island with several major ports, Taiwan collects approximately 10,000 shipping containers from the ocean every year. The architects recycled a number of the containers into rooms within the Taitung Aboriginal Gallery. The repurposed and repainted shipping containers are individually air-conditioned and serve as aboriginal handicraft shops. “In Taitung’s tropical climate, individualized air conditioning reduces the refrigerating ton by 50%, and the electricity use by 60%,” write the architects. + Bio-architecture Formosana Via ArchDaily Images by Lucas K. Doolan

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Nature-inspired gallery celebrates Taiwans aboriginal cultures with cargotecture

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

MVRDV unveils futuristic Y-shaped house with a rooftop pool in Tainan

December 2, 2016 by  
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Dutch firm MVRDV is showing off their playful side in Tainan once again with their design of the Y House, a luxury villa in the shape of the letter ‘Y.’ Designed in collaboration with local firms KAI Architects and Envision Engineering Consultants, the futuristic landmark building will be punctuated with circular openings and topped with a rooftop pool. Created as a weekend retreat for city workers, the concrete home is positioned for optimal views over the landscape and sea and follows Feng Shui principles. Located in northeast Tainan between the sea and the city, the 330-square-meter Y House stands out from its nondescript neighbors with its unusual shape. MVRDV chose the shape to maximize landscape views in the communal areas. The living room, solarium, changing room, and dining room are located in the upper half of the Y shape that’s joined together by the private rooftop swimming pool . Located below are the two children’s rooms, master bedroom, and guest bedroom, all of which are stacked above a ground-level tearoom for entertaining guests. Residents can move through the home via stairs or elevator. Related: MVRDV to transform a shopping mall into a lush lagoon and beach in Taiwan Circular openings of various sizes punctuate the concrete shell to bring in natural light and ventilation, and to frame views. Circular cutouts at the bottom of the rooftop pool that double as skylights let in dappled light to the living room. The circular motif is repeated in the stepping-stones that traverse the reflecting pool in the front yard to the gardens. Feng Shui principles guided the arrangement of the circular stepping-stones. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV unveils futuristic Y-shaped house with a rooftop pool in Tainan

Green Places Community Clubhouse in Tainan invites nature indoors

November 24, 2016 by  
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The Green Places Community Clubhouse design follows the firm’s philosophy of viewing buildings as “living beings.” Taking cues from nature, the building features an organic-inspired curvaceous facade and interior decor, where timber and natural gray stone is used prominently and sculpted in rounded forms. Tall vertical indoor elements evoke the feeling of a forest, while timber surfaces and full-height continuous glazing wraps around the building to invite landscape views and natural light indoors. The outdoor landscape features multiple water features, including a swimming pool and reflecting pool. The multistory building provides spaces for dining, reading, exercising, learning, sharing, and communication. To minimize the clubhouse’s energy footprint, the architects installed a solid wall to the west of the building to protect against intense sun exposure. To the east, a grove of trees protects the swimming pool from cold winter mornings, while an overhang provides shade on sunny days. Waterproof nano silane ketone resin is used on the facade to control mold. Gaps between the anodized aluminum panels and RC walls promote natural cooling . Related: Solar-powered home in Tainan puts a modern twist on the traditional courtyard house “The design emphasizes not only a comfortable indoor environment, but a natural outdoor environment,” write the architects. “In addition to fulfilling residents’ needs, it provides a comfortable environment where residents enjoy socializing with their neighbours. The aim is to give the community’s residents a sense of belonging and happiness.” + Chain 10 Urban Space Design Via v2com Images by Kuo-Min Lee

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Green Places Community Clubhouse in Tainan invites nature indoors

TetraPOT uses mangroves to grow a greener sea defense system

October 24, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uGcQhTuXec Lee envisions the TetraPOT as a hybrid between artificial sea defense and natural sea defense , an idea encapsulated in his design slogan: “It is not only a defense, but also an ecosystem. A home for other living [things].” The TetraPOT is an opportunity to restore the world’s mangrove forests, 35% of which has been destroyed. Unlike the common tetrapod, the TetraPOT is partly hollowed out to create room for a biodegradable pot insert, soil, and space for roots to grow. When rising tides water the pre-seeded layers, the organic layers will begin to decompose and allow the mangrove trees to expand its root system through three lower openings. Related: Are Mangroves The Solution to Urban Sustainability in Asia? Over time, roots from one TetraPOT will connect with its neighbors as well as the shoreline to reinforce the sea defense system, reducing the risk of dislodgment. The mangroves will also attract greater biodiversity to the region and help clean the air and water. Lee, who currently works with IDEO in Shanghai, plans to work with the local government to test out TetraPOT prototypes on Chongming Island. The TetraPOT has received several prestigious awards, including the James Dyson Award and red dot Design Award. + TetraPOT Images via TetraPOT

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TetraPOT uses mangroves to grow a greener sea defense system

Singapore is building the world’s largest free-span dome with a retractable roof

October 3, 2016 by  
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The versatile design of the new 55,000-seat stadium will allow it to support a wide variety of events throughout the year. It is the first stadium in the world custom-designed to host athletics, football, rugby and cricket, with the possibility to host concerts, shows and festivals. Related: Dragon-Shaped Solar Stadium in Taiwan is 100% Powered by the Sun The stadium will have the world’s largest free-span dome with a retractable roof that shelters the court from sunlight and rainfall . The roof will feature a network of LED lights that form one of the largest LED displays in the world. Designed specifically for the region’s tropical climate, the structure features an innovative cooling system that significantly reduces energy usage. + Arup + DP Architects + AECOM Via v2com

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Singapore is building the world’s largest free-span dome with a retractable roof

Thousands of water-filled condoms create an immersive rainstorm in Taiwan

August 22, 2016 by  
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Famous for arts activism, Luzinterruptus often uses recycled or unconventional materials in large-scale installations to protest environmental and social issues, from pollution to poor health care. Their latest piece in Kaohsiung, Taiwan is the third installment of its Rain Interactive series, which previously popped up in Madrid and London . As with former iterations, this year’s sculpture was created with extra-large and extra-strength condoms filled with blue-dyed water and small autonomous light bulbs that allowed the raindrop-shaped prophylactics to glow from within. Related: Luzinterruptus builds an “eighth continent” out of recycled plastic waste “As in previous occasions, we wanted to bring attention to the real value of water , this time in a country that has suffered severe droughts and whose agriculture strongly depends on irrigation,” says Luzinterruptus. The installation was hung in two exterior hallways at the Pier-2 Art Center and passersby were invited to play with and touch the oversized blue droplets, which the designers compared to “the shape and touch of silicone breasts.” Over 20 volunteers helped assemble the installation in two weeks. Rain Interactive stayed on-site for two nights. + Luzinterruptus Images by Lola Martinez

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Thousands of water-filled condoms create an immersive rainstorm in Taiwan

Boiler Nine Bar + Grill breathes new life into downtown Austin’s historic power plant

August 22, 2016 by  
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The restaurant, named for its home in the ninth boiler room of the original power plant , offers a variety of environments for diners (and drinkers) to enjoy. The main restaurant features an open kitchen where visitors can watch the wood-fired grill in action. Deck Nine Observatory Bar comprises a rooftop space with jaw-dropping city views. Three stories below, customers can partake of fine beverages in The Boiler Room, a “subterranean drinking den” located on the lowest level near the original boiler room. Related: The coolest bar in Texas is built with seven stacked shipping containers The restaurant opened to the public Jul. 5, after a careful renovation by La Corsha Hospitality Group which is opening several other restaurants and hotels in Texas this year. Boiler Nine’s adaptive reuse of the Seaholm Power Plant space is unique, as Austin-based architecture firm STG Design worked to ensure the restaurant and bar were designed specifically to fit into the art deco atmosphere of the original structure. Other sections of the power plant in the redevelopment are promised to maintain respect for the original architecture as well. “We are very excited to open Boiler Nine Bar + Grill to the public,” said Laura Shearer, Director of Operations, in a statement. “We’ve spent a lot of time bringing our idea to life while preserving the look and feel of the historic boiler room.” Boiler Nine is located in downtown Austin on West Cesar Chavez St., east of S. Lamar Blvd, just a short stroll from the banks of the Colorado River. After three years of construction, the restaurant is a welcome addition to Austin’s historic downtown district. + Boiler Nine Bar + Grill + STG Design Images via Casey Dunn

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