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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Ole Scheeren unveils designs for a stunning sky forest in Vietnam

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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Studio Gang’s Solar Carve is a faceted jewel of a building in NYC’s Meatpacking District

February 27, 2017 by  
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The curtain is set to rise on Solar Carve , a glistening jewel of a building set to soar above New York City’s 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. Jeanne Gang’s Studio Gang architecture has given the tower a chiseled, gem-like exterior that almost appears to be sculpted by the rays of the sun. Caught between the High Line and the Hudson River, the 139,000-square-foot structure will have light, fresh air, and spectacular views in abundance. “All of our floors have unparalleled views of the Hudson River,” said Jared Epstein of Aurora Capital , which is developing the space in tandem with William Gottlieb Real Estate . Cushman & Wakefield will handle the leasing of Solar Carve, which is poised to open in the first quarter of 2019. The building is targeting LEED Gold certification, and according to the Post amenities will include a 10,000-square-foot planted rooftop and an 8,000-square-foot terrace on the second floor “at High Line height.” All office floors, save the seventh, will have private terraces. For two-wheeled commuters, there will also be a bike room, plus a locker room with showers. Rooms, which will feature 16-foot-tall wall-to-ceiling windows, will range in size from 13,700 to 14,200 square feet. “Each floor is slightly different because of the carve of the building,” added Epstein. The 17,000-square-foot ground floor will likely be devoted to retail. Future occupants will luxuriate in a heightened environment characterized by 17.5-foot-tall ceilings and 300 feet of glass frontage. Related: Studio Gang creates a new kind of energy as it transforms a Wisconsin power plant into an arts college facility “There is nothing like this building,” said Bruce Mosler of Cushman & Wakefield. “It will be unique to the Meatpacking [District], which is exploding with excitement.” + Solar Carve Tower + Studio Gang Via Curbed

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Studio Gang’s Solar Carve is a faceted jewel of a building in NYC’s Meatpacking District

Designers float plan to cover Toronto’s CN Tower with clip-on condos

February 13, 2017 by  
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CN Tower in Toronto , Canada once held the title of world’s tallest freestanding structure until China’s Canton Tower and the Burj Khalifa overtook it. Now design firm Quadrangle has come up with a new vision for the 1970’s building: to cover it in modular Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) condominiums . The wooden residential pods would cling to the outside of the tower between wind-shielding wings. Once a broadcasting tower, the CN Tower today is mainly a tourist attraction, with a restaurant and hands-free walk on a ledge 116 stories above ground. Honoring what Quadrangle calls Toronto’s “tradition of reinvention and exploration,” the design team dreamed up a new use for the tower. Instead of just visiting occasionally, people could call the CN Tower home, enjoying life in condominiums featuring breathtaking views of the Canadian metropolis. Related: Taiwan’s first CLT building paves way to greener alternatives to concrete and steel Quadrangle says the condominiums could be offered in several sizes so people could pick the layout best for them. Supports drilled into the concrete tower would allow the pods to taper as they crept up the side of the building. In their press release Quadrangle said, “Dynamic shapes will evolve from the varying sizes of the units, with staircases creating sharp diagonal incisions in the otherwise cube-like structures.” The studio settled on CLT for the building material , saying it is sustainable, beautiful, and versatile. Using CLT, the condominiums could be snapped together onsite, making for quick construction that wouldn’t disrupt tourist activities too much. The design has its critics. Treehugger pointed out while the tower could probably hold the pods, and the idea very well could revitalize the old building as intended, CLT may not be the best material for the job since it weighs around 31 pounds per cubic foot and would require cladding and insulation. + Quadrangle Via Dezeen and Treehugger Images courtesy of Quadrangle

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Designers float plan to cover Toronto’s CN Tower with clip-on condos

Satellites verify San Francisco’s leaning Millennium Tower is sinking

December 1, 2016 by  
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‘Leaning tower’ isn’t a moniker most people want attached to an inhabited skyscraper , but that’s what people are calling the 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco. And for good reason. The European Space Agency recently unveiled (ESA) satellite data which shows not only that the tower is leaning, but it’s sinking – and a lot faster than engineers previously thought. ESA’s Sentinel-1 satellites gathered the data showing the tower filled with luxury condominiums is sinking at a rate of around two inches each year. According to KTVU, that number is about twice what engineers expected. The Millennium Tower has sunk 16 inches since it opened in 2009. Related: New NASA study reveals just how fast New Orleans is sinking Why is the tower sinking? Although ESA says the exact cause is not yet known for sure, “it is believed that the movements are connected to the supporting piles not firmly resting on bedrock.” ESA scientists could see the tower’s movement through combining several radar scans from the satellites. According to ESA, “The technique works well with buildings because they better reflect the radar beam.” The scientists could map other areas in the Bay Area using the satellite data. They saw some buildings were moving along the Hayward Fault, and even noticed an uplift of land near Pleasanton. They think replenished groundwater may have resulted in the uplift. The San Francisco information will benefit researchers as they scrutinize subsidence in other cities of the world. Millennium Tower developers say it’s safe for inhabitants to stay in the leaning tower. But earlier in November, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit against developers as they did not tell buyers the tower is sinking “much faster than expected.” Via KTVU Images via Wikimedia Commons and Copernicus Sentinel data (2015-16)/ESA SEOM INSARAP study/PPO.labs/Norut/NGU

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Satellites verify San Francisco’s leaning Millennium Tower is sinking

Danish city becomes world’s first to power water treatment plant with sewage

December 1, 2016 by  
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The Danish city of Aarhus is on the cusp of becoming the first city in the world to use energy created from household wastewater and sewage to power its water treatment facilities . The Marselisborg Wastewater Treatment Plant expects to generate more than 192% of the energy it needs to run the plant, which supplies fresh water to 200,000 nearby residents. The excess electricity will be used to power water pumps to distribute the clean water and, if there is any electricity left, it will be funneled back into the utility grid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P4G0HP08iQ The water treatment facility’s approach to turning sewage into usable electricity centers around biogas . Wastewater and sewage are processed in digesters filled with bacteria, which breaks down the organic materials. Kept at a steady 100.4°F (38°C), the waste produces biogas (mostly methane, although some other gases are also present) that is burned to generate both electricity and heat. While this process is used at many wastewater treatment plants as a means to burn off harmful greenhouse gas emissions , none have attempted to harness that electricity for reuse on such a scale until now. Related: Copenhagen now has more bikes than cars The sewer-power upgrades at Denmark’s Marselisborg Wastewater Treatment Plant cost around $3.19 million to install. Aarhus Water officials believe the new system will pay for itself in just five years’ time thanks to reduced maintenance costs and the added benefit of selling excess electricity back to the power grid. Meanwhile, other cities in Denmark (like Copenhagen) and elsewhere in the world are looking for ways to duplicate the Aarhus system so they too can reap the benefits of recycled wastewater energy. Via New Scientist Images via Aarhus Water

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