Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower

November 14, 2019 by  
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Amsterdam-based design firm Waterstudio is already well-known for its incredible floating architecture, but it continues to break ground in the world of innovative design. Now, the firm, which is led by Koen Olthuis, has unveiled the world’s first floating timber tower. Slated for the waters of Rotterdam, the tower is made out of CLT and will house office space, a public green park and a restaurant with a terrace. Waterstudio’s most recent project is a contemporary take on floating architecture. The 130-foot-tall tower will be made out of cross-laminated timber, making the structure much lighter than concrete builds. Additionally, working with CLT means the building will be made with a renewable resource , providing the city of Rotterdam with a cutting-edge sustainable landmark. The tower will also make use of large expanses of glass to let plenty of natural light into the interior. Abundant vegetation, including pocket gardens planted with vegetables, will be found throughout the tower — inside and out. Related: Waterstudio.nl’s Sea Tree is a protected floating habitat for flora and fauna According to Olthuis, the building’s design is akin to a sheet of paper that has been pushed together until a tower forms in the middle. The base of the tower is located on a flat platform, which will be covered in vegetation. Rising up from the deck, the tower’s facade is marked by a series of V-shaped columns. Inside, a spacious atrium will be flooded with natural light . Although the tower will be mainly used as office space , there are several areas slated for the public. With offices located on the upper floors, the lower floors and main deck will house several publicly accessible spaces, such as a gallery and a coffee bar. Also on the lower deck, a restaurant will feature a beautiful terrace that provides stunning views of the harbor. For additional space, a lush, green courtyard will let workers and visitors enjoy fresh air day or night. This area is designed to be a flexible space for various functions and events happening year-round. + Waterstudio Images via Waterstudio

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Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower

Controversial climate change-inspired skyscraper could become Czech Republics tallest building

October 18, 2019 by  
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Inspired by the apocalyptic imagery from climate change projections, sculptor David ?erný and architect Tomáš Císa? from the studio Black n´ Arch have proposed a visually striking skyscraper that’s sparked controversy with its inclusion of an enormous shipwreck-like structure. Dubbed the TOP TOWER , the project proposed for Prague rises to a height of 450 feet, which means that if built, the tower would be the tallest building in the Czech Republic. The project is led by developer Trigema who aims to create a multifunctional, LEED Gold high-rise that includes rental apartments, a public observation area and commercial uses on the lower floors. TOP TOWER has been proposed to be located near the metro station Nové Butovice on the new nearly one-kilometer-long pedestrian zone in Prague. This location is outside of the protected urban conservation zone and would be far enough away from the city center that it would not disrupt the historic city skyline. Taking advantage of its height, the building would offer a public observation area at the highest point of the building where visitors can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Prague .  Rental housing will make up the majority of the mixed-use TOP TOWER, while offices, retail and a multifunctional cultural center will be located on the lower levels. Parking will be tucked underground. The rusty shipwreck-like sculpture integrated into the building will offer opportunities for outdoor spaces and additional landscaping. Related: Computer modeling informed the whimsical design of this experimental home “We have been preparing the TOP TOWER project for more than two years and the final version was preceded by eight other alternative solutions. During this time, we have collected and are still collecting suggestions from experts, state and local authorities, and of course the local public, whose representatives have already been and will continue to hold a number of participatory meetings,” says Marcel Soural, Chairman of the Board of Trigema a.s. Trigema estimates that the construction for TOP TOWER will begin in 2021 and take less than three years complete.  + TOP TOWER Images via Trigema

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Controversial climate change-inspired skyscraper could become Czech Republics tallest building

This bold, tiny retreat in Ontario measures just 100 square feet

September 27, 2019 by  
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When you want to keep a building footprint small, sometimes the only way to go is up. The Red Tower tiny retreat is a 10 foot by 10 foot tower that feels much larger than its tight square footage thanks to a vertical design and its vast surroundings of remote wilderness in Ontario. With a spacious outdoor deck to enjoy, the glamping retreat is the perfect location for anyone looking to enjoy all that nature has to offer. The bright red tiny house is located in the town of Castleton, less than an hour from Belleville, Ontario. Surrounded by lush forest, the tower sits on a small hill with a large outdoor deck, which serves as the main living area for the retreat. Related: Energy-efficient ‘tiny tower’ home is organized like a full-scale skyscraper Inside the tower, the living space is compact but spacious enough for two guests. The interior is lined with wooden flooring and walls, giving the space a warm, cabin feel . On the first floor, guests can take advantage of a comfortable lounge space as well as a kitchenette, which comes equipped with a toaster oven, a hotplate and a microwave. The bedroom is found on the second-level sleeping loft . Guests will find a double bed with linens provided. For personal care, there is an outhouse with an outdoor sink and open-air shower facility just a short walk away from the tiny home. The rustic retreat is suited for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. The dual lounge chairs on the extended front deck are just the place to cuddle up with a good book. There is also a small dinette set for dining al fresco and a fun hightop bar area for after-dinner toddies. The Castleton area is known for its picturesque landscapes of rolling hills and forests, which offer a lot in terms of active travel. In the area around the tiny tower, there are plenty of trails for hiking and biking. The location is just a 25 minute drive to Lake Ontario, where guests to the tiny home retreat can explore the marsh, soak up some sun at the beach and enjoy long walks in the natural meadows. + Red Tower Via Glamping Hub Images via Glamping Hub

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This bold, tiny retreat in Ontario measures just 100 square feet

Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia

August 29, 2019 by  
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The heart of Philadelphia will soon be transformed with Schuylkill Yards, a $3.5 billion masterplanned neighborhood in University City that will include two mixed-use towers, one of which will target LEED Silver certification. Developer Brandywine Realty Trust recently unveiled designs for the pair of towers — dubbed the East and West Towers — designed by global architecture firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) . The glass-enveloped buildings will combine modern design elements with historical references, from color palettes inspired by the traditional materials common in the area to the window typology of the old Pennsylvania Railroad rail cars. Set to transform 14 acres next to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Schuylkill Yards will replace parking lots with a neighborhood comprising nearly 7 million square feet of offices, residences, retail shops, hotels, green space and life science and innovation space. The PAU-designed East and West Towers will also offer a mix of programming. Related: World’s first solar-powered, indoor vertical farm sprouts in Philadelphia Designed “as cousins,” the complementary towers will have distinct personalities — the West Tower will have a more neutral exterior facade with a simple monolithic form, and the LEED Silver -seeking East Tower will have eye-catching massing that splits the building into three staggered tiers with a bold red color palette. Both buildings will be elevated on fluted pedestals to create an engaging pedestrian thoroughfare. Towering at 512 feet tall, the East Tower will offer 34 floors of office space, 7,000 square feet of retail and a dedicated amenity level on the 14th floor. Its dynamic massing is engineered to maximize its building footprint and green space while mitigating wind concerns and improving sight lines of Philadelphia . The smaller and more demure West Tower will stand at around 360 feet and offer 9,000 square feet of retail, 219,000 square feet of residential, 200,000 square feet of office space and covered parking. Its designated luxury amenity floor will be located in the ninth floor. Construction on the East and West Towers is set to begin in 2020. + Practice for Architecture and Urbanism Images via PAU and Brandywine Realty Trust

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Self-shaping Urbach Tower twists itself into a unique, curvaceous shape

May 29, 2019 by  
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Wood warping typically creates unwanted and undesirable effects, yet the creators behind a unique new landmark in Urbach, Germany have found a way to harness the naturally occurring deformity into an unexpected architectural possibility. The University of Stuttgart completed a nearly 47-foot-tall timber structure that gets its curvaceous form from the “self-shaping process” of its curved wood components. Constructed from spruce wood cross-laminated panels, the Urbach Tower is the first wood structure made from self-shaped components and offers a more sustainable alternative to energy-intensive, mechanically formed structures. Created as one of 16 architecture-designed installations for the Remstal Gartenschau 2019, the Urbach Tower offers high performance and strength with low environmental impact . The landmark building’s prefabricated, self-shaping components are made from spruce wood CLT sourced regionally from Switzerland and CNC cut into 12 flat panels that deform autonomously into predicted curved shapes when dried. Computational models were developed to design, predict and optimize the material arrangement that would achieve the desired look through moisture-induced swelling and shrinking. “The Urbach Tower is the very first implementation of this technology on building-scale, load-bearing timber parts,” the designers said in a press release. “The distinctive form of the tower constitutes a truly contemporary architectural expression of the traditional construction material wood. It celebrates the innate and natural characteristics of self-shaped wood in its upward spiraling shape.” Related: Playful gable-roofed home in Atlanta champions the power of CLT The design team also clad the tower in a custom-made protective layer of glue-laminated larch with a titanium oxide surface treatment to protect the wood from UV radiation and pests. Four craftsmen assembled the tower in a single working day without the need for extensive scaffolding or formwork. The Urbach Tower, which is a permanent installation, serves as shelter, a landscape overlook and a showcase for efficient, economical and expressive wood architecture. + University of Stuttgart Images via University of Stuttgart

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RRA unveils mountain-inspired ski resort that emphasizes nature and community

May 29, 2019 by  
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Oslo-based architectural firm Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter (RRA) has won first place in Alpinco Gondoltoppen AS’ competition for the design of a new master plan for a mixed-use resort in Hafjell, an alpine village famous for its skiing and impressive mountain vistas. The project, called Mosetertoppen, will cover an area that’s slightly over 538,000 square feet and is expected to house approximately 1,000 people. Early design renderings show the buildings built primarily from wood, topped with green roofs and inspired by the mountainous surroundings. Because most visitors to Hafjell come for the stunning landscape, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter decided to emphasize the site’s natural attributes in its master plan. The timber buildings will feature gabled rooflines of varying heights in reference to the surrounding mountains, while large windows open the interiors up to views of the outdoors. The local vernacular is referenced in the traditional building shapes yet the spacious roof cutouts for balconies, clean lines and green roofs create a more modern interpretation. “The project will emerge as an exciting whole-year-around destination at Hafjell — a place for a multitude of activities and a place where everyone should feel welcome,” the architects explained. “The project will be rooted in both tradition and innovation. Tradition is for implementing the best of the cultural landscape and building art. Innovation to contribute with rethinking in relation to sustainable architecture and how to build in the Norwegian mountain landscape in the future.” Related: Greenery fills this sustainable glass-and-timber tower planned for Oslo Mosetertoppen emulates the feel of a densely populated village with its large buildings clustered together around shared outdoor spaces. For visual interest, the dimensions and designs of the building interiors and exteriors will vary. The ground floor of certain buildings will be given over to commercial use. Cars will also be tucked underground to create a pedestrian-friendly environment. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images via Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

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RRA unveils mountain-inspired ski resort that emphasizes nature and community

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for sculptural Maltese tower

August 13, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects is bringing its modern, sinuous designs to Malta, a nation renowned for its historic sites. Set to become the tallest building in the country, the Mercury Tower will soar to 31 stories and a height of 112 meters in Paceville on the main island’s northeastern coast. The mixed-use tower will twist to separate the programmatic functions and optimize views of the sea. Zaha Hadid Architects’ Mercury Tower will take over a 9,405-square-meter site that had sat unoccupied for more than 20 years. The site is also home to the old Mercury House that dates back to the early 20th century. In addition to designing the strikingly modern Mercury Tower, the architects have been working with Malta’s leading conservation architect to renovate the area’s heritage structures, including the old Mercury House facades, and reuse the existing historic interiors for gathering spaces and as an entrance for the new apartments and hotel. Related: Chris Briffa Architects’ Sustainable Hanging Home Features a Green Roof in Malta The Mercury Tower’s new public amenities — such as cafes, shops and a large piazza with interactive water features — will be set alongside the refurbished Mercury House. The tower comprises nine stories of apartments below and a 19-story hotel volume above. The residences will be aligned with the street while the larger volume stacked above is rotated to position hotel rooms toward the Mediterranean Sea for better views of the water. This rotation — located at the 10th, 11th and 12th floors — also helps reduce solar gain. The insulated facade and carefully positioned glazing also improve the building’s thermal performance and ensure comfort for residents, workers and guests. Zaha Hadid Architects concluded in a statement, “Marrying a variety of public, residential and commercial functions together with the creation of a vibrant new civic space, the redevelopment of Mercury House includes the renovation of derelict heritage structures and responds to the demands of the island’s future socio-economic development.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects, by VA

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Studio Gang to sustainably grow Toronto with this energy-efficient tower

July 20, 2018 by  
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American architecture practice Studio Gang has unveiled designs for One Delisle, a new residential tower that marks the firm’s first foray in Canada. Located in downtown Toronto on the corner of Yonge and Delisle, the project is envisioned as a standout architectural icon that combines a striking hive-like design with energy-efficient performance. The proposed building intends to achieve Tier 2 of the Toronto Green Standard. Inspired by plant growth, the sculptural, 16-sided One Delisle features eight-story modules stacked together in a spiraling formation to reach a height that surpasses 500 feet. The 550,000-square-foot building will comprise 263 residential units as well as a two-story base with retail space and restaurants. The area around the tower will also be redesigned to include wider landscaped sidewalks, an expanded park and other improvements for a more pedestrian-friendly experience. The main street character will be preserved to respect the existing neighborhood architecture. “Responsive to the surrounding streetscape, the tower is rectilinear at its base to fit within the city grid and address its corner condition at Yonge Street and Delisle Avenue, transforming into a multifaceted cylindrical shape as it rises to expand views, capture more sunlight and minimize shadows on the street,” the firm said. “The full-block revitalization will utilize a district energy system that allows the new construction to share mechanical loads with existing commercial buildings, offsetting energy use .” Related: Amazing Hive comes alive with sights and sounds in Washington, D.C. One Delisle, along with the newly developed Delisle Park, will provide greater density to one of the city’s most important nodes at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue. In addition to greener outdoor spaces for the public, residents will enjoy access to balconies and spacious terraces carefully angled for protection against wind and sun. Different floor plate sizes and configurations allows for a variety of residential options. The project is slated for completion in 2023. + Studio Gang Images via Norm Li/Studio Gang

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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"

The secret behind the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s resilience is revealed

May 14, 2018 by  
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A team of engineers has finally solved the mystery of how the seemingly unstable Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy has managed to stay standing for more than six hundred years, even in a seismically active region. A team led by Roma Tre University concluded that the tower’s height of 183 feet, the soft soil in which it stands, and the structural strength of the its marble all contribute to its remarkable resilience. This phenomenon is known as dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI). “Ironically, the very same soil that caused the leaning instability and brought the Tower to the verge of collapse, can be credited for helping it survive these seismic events,” said University of Bristol researcher George Mylonakis in a statement . Construction on Pisa’s bell tower began in 1173, and the tower reportedly started to lean when builders reached the third story. Even then, engineers understood that the site’s unique soil mix was responsible for the leaning. After religious wars and conflict interrupted construction, the tower was finally completed in 1370. Though the tower’s lean appears to be stable, efforts throughout the 20th and 21st century have decreased its severity over time. Related: Building Inspectors Deem Tilting Shanghai Towers Safe to Live In The research team expanded on previous studies by examining structural and seismic data records over time. They also engaged with a deep analysis of the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of the materials used to build the tower, as well as the rock and soil in which it was anchored. Because of DDSI, the ground in which the Tower stands is insulated from seismic shocks, protecting it from the frequent and powerful earthquakes that have historically affected Pisa. These findings will be presented at the 16th European Conference in Earthquake Engineering in June. Via IFLScience Images via Depositphotos (1)

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