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

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

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