Copper-clad Copenhagen landmark boasts Denmarks most energy-efficient laboratories

January 19, 2018 by  
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Copenhagen’s recently completed Maersk Tower boasts the nation’s most energy-efficient laboratories, where waste energy is captured and reused. Designed by C.F. Møller Architects , this new city landmark is a pioneer within energy-efficient laboratory construction and boasts a variety of sustainable design elements from an innovative facade with movable climate shields to multiple green roofs. The copper-clad building was created as an extension of Panum, the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Seven years in the making, the 42,700-square-meter Maersk Tower sports a triangular and organic form clad in glass and copper-covered shutters that reference the city’s many copper church steeples. The vertical massing also leaves space for a new publicly accessible campus park with a zigzagging ‘floating path’ providing pedestrian and cyclist access to different parts of campus. Laboratories make up over half of the building, which also houses offices, shared facilities, an 18,000-square-meter foyer, canteen, auditoriums, and classrooms. “To create architecture for world-class health research, it is important to design a venue with many opportunities to meet—both across different professional groups and across the public domain and the research community,” wrote the architects. “This will help to disseminate the research activities, leading to knowledge sharing and inspiration for new and groundbreaking research.” To that end, all the shared facilities are grouped together in the low base on which Maersk Tower sits. An open atrium with a continuous spiral staircase joins 15 floors and promotes views of the outdoors and visual connectivity indoors. Every floor features an open “Science Plaza” that serves as natural gathering spaces. Related: Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food Natural light and ventilation are optimized throughout the building and views of greenery can be enjoyed from every floor. Copper shutters that adjust as needed provide protection from solar heat gain. Lush green roofs that top the tower and the low base help combat the urban heat island effect . + C.F. Møller Architects Images by Adam Moerk

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Copper-clad Copenhagen landmark boasts Denmarks most energy-efficient laboratories

China built the ‘World’s biggest air purifier’ – and it seems to be working

January 17, 2018 by  
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What has been called the world’s largest air purifier by its operators is now up and running in the Chinese city of Xian in Shaanxi province. The 100-meter (328 feet) tall tower has already improved the local air quality, lead scientist Cao Junji told the South China Morning Post , adding that it could prove to be a valuable tool in the country’s fight against urban air pollution . “The tower has no peer in terms of size … the results are quite encouraging,” he said. Greenhouses covering the size of half a soccer field surround the base of the tower, into which polluted air is pulled. The smog is heated in the greenhouse by solar energy, then rises through the tower, passing through several layers of cleaning filters. Because Xian largely relies on coal for heating, smog can become exceptionally thick and harmful during the cold months. Despite the lower level of solar energy available during the winter , a special coating on the tower’s greenhouses allows it to absorb what is available more efficiently and continue to pull smog all year long. To determine the tower’s impact on local air quality, Cao and his team erected over a dozen monitoring stations. The team found that the average reduction in PM2.5, the most harmful particles in smog, was 15 percent during times of heavy pollution. Related: China is planting 6.6 million hectares of new forest — almost the size of Ireland Cao stresses that the results are only initial while further details will be released in the spring. A comprehensive scientific assessment of the tower’s effectiveness is also forthcoming. Nonetheless, what is known is promising. While there have been other similar smog-removing towers, many of which were powered by coal-fueled electricity, the Xian tower is unique in its very limited electricity needs. “It barely requires any power input throughout daylight hours. The idea has worked very well in the test run,” said Cao. While locals have marveled at the tower’s size, it is in fact a miniature version of smog-removing towers that Cao and his team hope to install throughout China’s dense, massive cities . The full-size version could reach as high as 500 meters (1,640 feet) while the surrounding greenhouses could cover nearly 30 square kilometers (11.6 square miles). Via South China Morning Post Images via South China Morning Post and Colin Capelle/Flickr

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China built the ‘World’s biggest air purifier’ – and it seems to be working

The world’s first vertical forest for low-income housing is coming to the Netherlands

January 10, 2018 by  
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Stefano Boeri has designed and built vertical forests across the globe, but his latest project, slated for Eindhoven in The Netherlands, will be unlike anything that has been done before. That’s because, for the first time ever, the forest tower has been funded by a social housing project, and the tower will provide low-income housing. The Trudo Vertical Forest looks to be an example of how good architecture can tackle both climate change and urban housing issues. Stefano Boeri has constructed vertical forest projects in Milan , Utrecht, Nanjing , Tirana, Paris , and Lausanne, but the Trudo Vertical Forest will be one-of-a-kind. Built to provide low-income housing, the tower will have 19 stories with 125 units, all covered in a luscious vertical forest that features a wide variety of plants and trees. “The high-rise building of Eindhoven confirms that it is possible to combine the great challenges of climate change with those of housing shortages. Urban forestry is not only necessary to improve the environment of the world’s cities but also an opportunity to improve the living conditions of less fortunate city dwellers”, said Stefano Boeri. Related: Bosco Verticale: World’s First Vertical Forest is Finally Complete in Milan Stefano Boeri Architetti was retained by Sint-Trudo to complete the tower, which will be an urban home to 125 trees and 5,200 plants. The 246-foot tower covered in a rich, biodiverse environment will help control urban pollution and provide homes for a variety of animals and insects. “The Trudo Vertical Forest sets new living standards. Each apartment will have a surface area of under 50 square meters and the exclusive benefit of 1 tree, 20 shrubs and over 4 square meters of terrace. Thanks to the use of prefabrication, the rationalization of technical solutions for the facade, and the consequent optimization of resources, this will be the first Vertical Forest prototype destined for social housing” states Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Project Director of Stefano Boeri Architetti. + Stefano Boeri Architetti

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The world’s first vertical forest for low-income housing is coming to the Netherlands

Memorizing light installation is powered by visitors’ collective heartbeat

December 28, 2017 by  
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Artist Pablo González Vargas  created a massive light installation that reacts to the collective heartbeat of its viewers. Ilumina is a 37-foot tall art sculpture that invites spectators to plug into a heart monitor and meditate while they watch the tower. As the viewers’ individual heartbeats begin to merge into a “collective state of coherence,” the tower’s lights begin to shine as they rise up the structure, resulting in a vibrant majestic glow. Working under the ethos that “We are all Connected. We are the Universe,” Ilumina – which made its debut this year at Burning Man – invites the viewer to connect to themselves, each other and the universe. A series of hi-tech lounge chairs surround the immense art installation . Once seated, each participant is asked to connect the heart monitor to their earlobe as they join in the three-minute meditation exercise. Related: Entering this mind-blowing mirrored room is like walking inside a diamond Using a unique algorithm technology, the individual collective heart rhythms are then measured to find the state of coherence, at which point, the lights, and music begin to react. The deeper the state of collective coherence, the brighter Ilumina shines. + Pablo González Vargas + Ilumina Images via Ilumina

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Memorizing light installation is powered by visitors’ collective heartbeat

Ole Scheeren unveils designs for a stunning sky forest in Vietnam

November 15, 2017 by  
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International architecture firm Buro Ole Scheeren just unveiled designs for Empire City, a greenery-infused skyscraper set to rise in Ho Chi Minh City . Expected to become Vietnam’s tallest building at 1,093 feet, the development softens its monolithic presence with sinuous, organic-inspired lines and abundant greenery that references the tropical environment. Empire City’s eye-catching highlight is the “Sky Forest,” an elevated garden that juts out of the building in a series of rice paddy-like terraces. Set on a peninsula in the Saigon River, Empire City comprises three towers that rise from a “ mountain-shaped ” podium. The buildings eschew hard corners for soft, organic shapes and landscaped terraces. Glazing wraps around the building and trees are planted inside and out of the mixed-use development, which will contain residences, a hotel, retail, offices, and public spaces. Related: Thailand’s tallest building opens with new green spaces for Bangkok Empire City will stand out from the skyline, not only because of its incredible height, but also due to the shape of the Sky Forest observation deck that breaks from the sleek columnar shape of the high-rise into a series of staggered amoeba-shaped terraces. The Sky Forest will be located on the upper half of the Empire 88 Tower, the development’s tallest structure at 88 stories and topped with a top-floor events space called Cloud Space. + Buro Ole Scheeren Via Dezeen

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Berlins famed brutalist Bierpinsel tower hits the market for $3.8m

October 30, 2017 by  
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You can now live in one of Berlin’s most iconic examples of brutalist architecture – for the price tag of $3.8 million. The famous Bierpinsel tower was originally built in 1972 as a restaurant, but it has sat vacant for years – and now it’s officially for sale . Soaring 150 feet over the cityscape, the tower has a whopping 12,765 square feet of space – and it could be repurposed into one very funky home or a sweet boutique hotel in the sky. Designed by architects Ralph Schüler and Ursulina Schüler-Witte, the tower holds court over Schlossstrasse – the second biggest shopping street in Berlin . It was originally a restaurant before converting into a nightclub and cafe, but it has been vacant since 2006. Related: 1970s Berlin Restaurant Transformed into Graffiti Art Tower In 2010 four street artists created vivid artwork on the Bierpinsel tower’s exterior , but it has failed to find any commercial use. Although the work has faded over the years, the art by Honest and Soyzone Gonzales is still visible. Sotheby’s Real Estate lists the tower as a “four-bedroom home”, but it could be put to many uses. Of course, potential tenants will have a large renovation on their hands. The interior of the tower has already been gutted, but it would take quite a bit of work to turn it into a home or hotel. + Sotheby’s Real Estate Via The Spaces Lead image by Jan M / Creative Commons

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Berlins famed brutalist Bierpinsel tower hits the market for $3.8m

Trees to grow on the balconies of Pendas timber high-rise in Toronto

August 3, 2017 by  
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A new kind of “vertical forest” has been envisioned for Toronto where trees would grow on every balcony. Architecture firm Penda teamed up with Canadian company Timber to design the Toronto Tree Tower, an 18-story mixed-use tower covered in greenery and built of cross-laminated timber. The large and modular balconies are staggered to look like branches of a tree and to optimize views for every resident. Designed to appear as a giant tree in the city, the Toronto Tree Tower is covered in plants and greenery and clad in wooden facade panels. The tower’s modular cross-laminated timber units would be prefabricated and assembled off-site, and then transported and stacked around the building’s trunk-like central core. The building would comprise 4,500 square meters of apartments as well as a cafe, children’s daycare center, and community workshops. Related: China’s first vertical forest is rising in Nanjing “Our cities are a assembly of steel, concrete and glass,” said Penda partner Chris Precht, according to Dezeen . “If you walk through the city and suddenly see a tower made of wood and plants, it will create an interesting contrast. The warm, natural appearance of wood and the plants growing on its facade bring the building to life and that could be a model for environmental friendly developments and sustainable extensions of our urban landscape.” + Penda Via Dezeen

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Trees to grow on the balconies of Pendas timber high-rise in Toronto

Sleep hundreds of feet in the air in this renovated air traffic control tower

July 14, 2017 by  
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An old fight control tower in Stockholm ‘s Arlanda Airport has been transformed into a unique luxury apartment that offers panoramic views of planes taking off and landing – and you can spend the night there. Swedish artist and designer Cilla Ramnek and the Arlanda airport teamed up with vacation rental company HomeAway and Swedavia to give the old tower a complete makeover. Now, the unique living space is perfect for aviation geeks and those who dream of sleeping hundreds of feet in the air. The 262-foot-high tower is located directly next to the runway, which makes it a perfect sport from which to observe plane take off and land. Cilla Ramnek designed the interior in a retro sixties style and furnished it with products already available for purchase inside Arlanda. Related: Architect turns old cement factory into incredible fairytale home – and the interior will blow you away Right now, HomeAway is giving away the opportunity to spend the night in the high-flying tower. Five winners of the competition, which will run until the end of July, will have the opportunity to stay in the apartment for a night, and enjoy a meal at the Pontus in the Air restaurant. The winners can bring guests and, after the stay in the tower, choose other HomeAway rentals for three more nights. + HomeAway + Swedavia + Cilla Ramnek Via CNN Travel

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Sleep hundreds of feet in the air in this renovated air traffic control tower

Worlds newest mega-skyscraper opens in Seoul

April 6, 2017 by  
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The world’s newest super-tall building has opened in Seoul , Korea. Clocking in at fifth tallest in the world, the Lotte World Tower is a 554.5-meter (1,819 feet) tall skyscraper that knocks the 1WTC, the tallest U.S. building, out of the top five. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates , the solar-powered building will seek a LEED Gold accreditation and boasts additional record-breaking features including the world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck, fastest elevator, and the highest swimming pool in a building. Set on the banks of the River Han in southern Seoul, the Lotte World Tower is a multibillion-dollar mixed-use tower that houses retail, offices, luxury residences, and a seven-star hotel. The sleek and tapered form of the 123-story building draws inspiration from the curves of Korean artistry and contrasts with Seoul’s craggy mountainous landscape. The building shape and interior combine a modern aesthetic with elements inspired by the Korean arts of ceramics, porcelain, and calligraphy. Related: World’s largest shipping container shopping mall pops up in Seoul The building’s top ten stories are allocated for public use and entertainment facilities. The glass-floor observation deck on the 118th floor allows visitors to experience a busy Seoul intersection from a bird’s eye view. The skyscraper also includes a massive 2,000-seat concert hall, aquarium, movie theater, and food hall. Designed for the LEED Gold , Lotte World Tower is equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, external shading devices, and water harvesting systems. + Kohn Pederson Fox Associates Via Bloomberg Images via Kohn Pederson Fox Associates

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Worlds newest mega-skyscraper opens in Seoul

Copycat Tower Bridge in China sparks controversy

March 2, 2017 by  
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China is infamous for copying famous architecture from other countries – according to The New York Times the country boasts 10 White Houses, a couple of Great Sphinxes, four Arcs de Triomphe, and at minimum one Eiffel Tower. Now in the city of Suzhou, a Tower Bridge based on London’s iconic landmark is drawing attention, although the New York Times says it’s unclear why the bridge , which was completed in 2012, has suddenly been garnering international notice. Images of Suzhou’s Tower Bridge have drawn awe – one news outlet described the Chinese bridge as even more magnificent than the original. Suzhou’s bridge certainly is much larger; it accommodates a five-lane highway and flaunts four towers instead of two. Pedestrian walkways and observation platforms allow people to enjoy the views and architecture of the bridge. Related: China officially bans ‘weird’ architecture But not everyone is enamored with the Chinese Tower Bridge. Suzhou, which has been called the Venice of the East, has its own architectural traditions, such as whitewashed courtyard houses and ancient gardens. Some of China’s most beautiful traditional architecture can be found in the city. Li Yingwu, president of Beijing-based firm OAD Group , called Suzhou’s Tower Bridge plagiarism. He said, “I was really surprised that it got built in Suzhou, because it has preserved its culture really well. It shows that local officials lack confidence in their own culture. They don’t understand that architecture essentially is about culture. It’s not merely an object.” One news outlet, JSChina.com.cn , even suggested the copycat bridge would hinder promotion of the country’s traditional culture. Suzhou has 56 other copycat bridges, according to The New York Times, imitating international bridges like Australia’s Sydney Harbor Bridge or Paris’ Alexandre III Bridge. Architect Cheng Taining of the Chinese Academy of Engineering told Beijing News in 2015 some officials believe foreign-style structures bestow status on an area, making it look more modern or sophisticated. Via ArchDaily and The New York Times Images via CCTV Facebook

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