This Taiwan hotel draws inspiration from "glittering sea foam"

June 28, 2018 by  
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Taiwanese firm  Emerge Architects has created a beautiful hotel in a remote coastal area of Yilan in northeastern Taiwan. Built into a large hill that overlooks the harbor, the Onyx Lit House is a contemporary jet-black tower with clusters of round windows that stream light into the interior. The bold tower, which becomes a glowing beacon at night, was inspired by the seaside landscape. Located in the coastal area of Yilan, the Onyx Lit House holds court over the city’s bustling harbor area. According to the architects, the seaside environment served as an inspiration for the design. “Our first impression of Toucheng Village and Wishi Harbour in Yilan was the smell of salty waves, the sound of splashes on the glossy shingle beach and the sight of distant Guishan Island,” the firm said. “The image of dissolving waves and glittering sea foam became the source to the guesthouse’s design element.” Related: Chrome Hotel’s Swiss Cheese Facade Saves Energy The hotel’s dark facade is punctuated with various round windows. During the day, pockets of natural light  filter in through the openings and brighten the interior. At night, the tower becomes a glowing beacon on the outside, while the interior resembles a starry night sky. The nearly 3,000-square-foot guest home spreads out over three floors. A narrow staircase connects the floors, all of which are decorated with a minimalist  design . The common spaces are painted a stark white to contrast the black exterior. Every floor has an open-air balcony that lets visitors sit and enjoy the fresh sea air. The individual guestrooms are arranged to take advantage of  natural light during the day and the starry-like atmosphere at night. The unique windows also provide stunning views of the sea and mountains in the distance. + Emerge Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Lucas K. Doolan via Emerge Architects

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This Taiwan hotel draws inspiration from "glittering sea foam"

Mecanoo unveils greenery-filled social housing for Kaohsiung

May 4, 2018 by  
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Hot on the heels of their recently completed National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Dutch firm Mecanoo unveiled their competition-winning social housing designs for the southern Taiwan city. The mixed-use complex will offer 234 units of housing, green space, and publicly accessible programming. Located between a new green corridor and an existing neighborhood along the railway, the project will kick off a larger urban redevelopment scheme in Kaohsiung . The 307,850-square-foot Kaohsiung social housing project comprises two buildings flanking a new green space. Housing units, which vary between 269 and 807 square feet, will cater to a wide variety of users from students and young families to the elderly and people with disabilities. The ground floors of both buildings will be zoned for commercial use to engage the surroundings. The massing of the buildings is optimized to reduce solar heat gain inside the apartments. Related: Mecanoo designs gorgeous green-roofed train station for Kaohsiung The tallest building on the east houses the majority of the apartments and is topped with community facilities while the shorter west tower includes more public-facing facilities such as a senior day-care center. “Distributed in several floors and connected by green terraces , the Sky Park works as a social hub open to the public, which brings together residents and the local community,” said Mecanoo of the greenery-filled complex. White stucco will be applied to the facade that’s partially infilled with green and white ceramic tiles—a departure from the local norm where entire facades are typically covered in tile. + Mecanoo Via Architect Magazine Images via Mecanoo

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Mecanoo unveils greenery-filled social housing for Kaohsiung

Floating sky gardens and rooftop terraces join two halves of this tower in Taiwan

March 21, 2018 by  
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Aedas has unveiled plans for a soaring 656-foot tower that’s broken into two pieces held together by a series of ‘floating’ sky gardens and glass boxes. The architects drew inspiration from the Chinese character ‘?’ in the logo of the Taichung Commercial Bank. The 40-story high tower is a mixed-use development comprising the Taichung Commercial Bank Headquarters and an internationally-branded five-star hotel. Instead of stacking all the large functions such as the ballroom and swimming pool in a singular tower, the design creates two separate towers with a vertical void in the middle of the building. Related: Village-inspired office in Jakarta is topped with living trees and a green roof A series of transparent glass boxes house public exhibition space, sky gardens , a ballroom, a swimming pool, and conferencing facilities within the void. This plan enriches the building’s shape and creates a unique, iconic feature facing the main road. A terrace retreat at the rooftop features a restaurant and a VIP club long. Landscaped outdoor space and sweeping balconies provide magnificent city views for guests. Aedas’ design recently won the Tall Buildings category at MIPIM/The Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2018. + Aedas Via Archinect

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Floating sky gardens and rooftop terraces join two halves of this tower in Taiwan

Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air

October 19, 2017 by  
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Water scarcity doesn’t just affect those in arid climates—areas in humid tropics also lack access to freshwater sources. National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) students in Taiwan tackle these water issues with AQUAIR, a portable fog-harvesting device that pulls potable water out of the air. Designed for use in remote mountainous areas in tropical latitudes, AQUAIR can be easily assembled with the addition of locally sourced materials with future aims of open source production. Though AQUAIR’s water collection system has widespread uses, NCKU design students Wei-Yee Ong, Hsin-Ju Lin, Shih-Min Chang, and Marco Villa created the workable prototype in response to Honduras’ water crisis. As the second poorest nation in Central America, Honduras is home to a large number of subsistence farmers and rural communities that lack access to clean water due to drought and groundwater contamination—issues also felt in rural mountainous Taiwan. Like most fog harvesting systems, AQUAIR collects water with a mesh waterproof fabric stretched across a bamboo structure to maximize airflow. The key to AQUAIR’s design is the fan and small centrifuge that use gravity—a 30-kilogram weight is attached to the structure—to draw collected water vapor down a tube and into a bucket. The collapsible structure can be assembled by hand, while locally sourced rocks and bamboo can be used for the weight and tensile structure, respectively. Related: Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments The design students plan to take their working prototype to Honduras in February where they’ll work together with the local community. “We also want the project to be easy to build and assemble, so the local people can easily access the parts or create their own versions of AQUAIR,” said Marco Villela. “We do not want the parts to be 3D printed, because the material is not strong enough, so the best and cheapest option would be to create a mold and use plastic or ABS injection techniques. In regards to the gears, we want to get more sturdy and durable gears, so while the cheaper parts of the system can be replaced, the gear box can last for as long as possible. The project is designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble, also if any part is defective, it is easy and cheap to replace.” AQUAIR recently received a Design Mark for innovation in environmental and humanitarian issues as part of the 2017 Golden Pin Concept Design Award . + Golden Pin Concept Design Award

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Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air

Made from sewage, these "popsicles" reveal the scale of Taiwan’s water pollution

June 8, 2017 by  
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We wouldn’t eat these “popsicles” if we were you. Concocted by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti, a group of students from National Taiwan University of the Arts , the frozen treats comprise sewage from 100 different locations across the East Asian island nation. Hung and company froze their samples—bottle caps, plastic wrappers, and all—to illustrate the scope of Taiwan’s water-pollution problem. To preserve their creations, they dipped the popsicles in a polyester resin. They even designed wrappers for each frozen non-treat based on the locations they sampled from. Unappetizing “flavors” include “Yang-tzu-chou Drainage,” “The Large Ditch in Tianwei,” and “New Huwei Creek.” Related: Residents go nearly two weeks without safe drinking water in this Texas town Hung said they chose to make the popsicles to illustrate the importance of clean water. (Popsicles are, after all, mostly H2O.) “They’re made out of sewage, so basically these things can only be seen, not eaten,” Hung told Mashable . “[Having] pure water, a clean water source is actually very important.” + Polluted Water Popsicles Via Quartz A post shared by ??? (@yongbin.zhou) on May 25, 2017 at 6:45am PDT

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Made from sewage, these "popsicles" reveal the scale of Taiwan’s water pollution

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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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 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

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