This "boat" on wheels turns city dwellers into urban adventurers

April 3, 2018 by  
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Urban adventurers, prepare to set sail: A temporary installation in Utrecht, the Netherlands is transforming its site into an unknown land full of discoveries. When city dwellers engage with the project, they become “urbanauts,” contemporary adventurers that sail through the public space. Rome-based design collective  orizzontale  conceived the project as an LED-lit,  modular wooden structure that reimagines the concept of a boat, resulting in a flexible urban space that merges art, design and technology. The Urbanauts project forms part of RAUM, a workshop in Utrecht that hosts the Berlijnplein, a large public exhibition space . Together with local creators, international creators, and the public, RAUM will build a program of festivals, installations, events, and workshops in 2017 and 2018. Related: Dark highway underpass transformed into a brilliant tunnel of light The “urbanauts’ headquarters” includes different urban parcels that can be expanded and personalized. Elevated platforms and a small tower provide vantage points from which to observe the surrounding area. Thanks to the iron cage on top, which holds a red LED sign, the tower also works as an urban landmark. + orizzontale

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This "boat" on wheels turns city dwellers into urban adventurers

BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper

February 13, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group and Carlo Ratti Associati have broken ground on a new nature-infused skyscraper that’s bringing Singapore a step closer to its ‘City in a Garden’ vision. Located in the heart of the financial district, the 280-meter-tall Singapore Tower will be one of the city’s tallest and offer a mixed-use program including an “office of the future,” residences, and retail. Greenery is integrated into the multiple parts of the building from a public rainforest plaza and park on the ground floor to a multi-level green oasis visible from the outside. Commissioned by CapitaLand, the 51-story high-rise comprises a podium of retail and restaurants beneath eight floors of serviced residences. Residents will enjoy access to a wide variety of facilities and landscaped spaces such as an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, jogging track, and barbecue pits. Offices will occupy the building’s top 29 floors and look out to panoramic views of the Singapore River and Marina Bay. Separate lobbies will service the offices and residences. Sensors, Internet-of-Things and artificial intelligence are embedded into the smart tech building for the benefit of tenants. “BIG’s design seeks to continue Singapore’s pioneering vertical urbanism with the 280m tall diverse community of places to work, live and play inside as well as outside,” said Bjarke Ingels. “At multiple elevations, the facade peels open to reveal urban oases for its users and the surrounding city – animating the elegant smoothness of modern architecture with the ubiquitous tropical nature.” Singapore Tower’s glass-and-steel facade appears to pull open at the base, core, and rooftop to reveal glimpses of tropical greenery within. Related: A rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapore’s Marina One Lush landscaping can be enjoyed at the ground floor park that transitions into the 19-meter-tall City Room in the tower’s mixed use podium. A four-level Green Oasis occupies the core of the building—between the residences and offices—and houses a 30-meter open-air garden with winding walkways, diverse seating, jungle gym, treetop cocoons, sky hammocks, and a cafe. The Singapore Tower is expected for completion in 2021. + Bjarke Ingels Group + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Bjarke Ingels Group, Exterior images by Bjarke Ingels Group and VMW

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BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper

"World’s first smog vacuum cleaner" heads to Poland

January 25, 2018 by  
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After touring in China, Studio Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Project will offer a vision of clean air in a new location: Poland . Daan Roosegaarde’s studio will install a Smog Free Tower – described by the studio as “the world’s first smog vacuum cleaner” – in Kraków’s Park Jordana. Studio Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower will start sucking pollution out of the air in Park Jordana from February 16 to April 15. Visitors to the project will also have an opportunity to see the Smog Free Ring at a Smog Free Project pop up at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK). The tower, which is almost 23-feet-tall, draws on patented positive ionization technology to scrub the air of pollutants. Roosegaarde told Inhabitat last year the tower offers “a local solution on a park level: to create these bubbles of clean air in the city.” He said areas around the tower are “55 to 70 percent cleaner than the rest of the city” – and research from the Eindhoven University of Technology confirmed the tower’s efficacy. Related: INTERVIEW: Designer Daan Roosegaarde on smog temples, space trash, and what’s next Krakow has wrestled with smog in the past; a 2016 article in the Krakow Post reported the city’s air quality has often been worse than other cities known for their air pollution like Los Angeles and Beijing . A 2017 Bloomberg article delved into fashion statements made by locals with smog masks to stave off harmful small particles – and said on high smog-alert days, the city’s particulate-matter pollution can hit levels six times those thought to be safe, according the World Health Organization. ING Bank ?l?ski S.A. is the project’s main partner in Poland; MOCAK, the Municipality of Kraków, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ in Poland are also supporters. + Studio Roosegaarde + Smog Free Project in Poland Images via Studio Roosegaarde/World Economic Forum and Studio Roosegaarde ( 1 , 2 )

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"World’s first smog vacuum cleaner" heads to Poland

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

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