BIGs massive Lanescraper building may become Australias tallest tower

August 10, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled designs for the Lanescraper, a supertall building proposal that has been shortlisted for Melbourne’s Beulah Tower competition. Envisioned with a footprint of over 2.5 million square feet, the Lanescraper aims to serve as a bustling mixed-use destination housed in what could be the tallest tower in Australia. The $2 billion project would see a dramatic redevelopment of the post-industrial Southbank neighborhood, so-named after its location south of the Yarra River. Selected as one of six shortlisted designs, the Lanescraper reinterprets the concept of Melbourne’s laneways and block neighborhoods into a giant “vertical block” made up of a series of stacked and staggered volumes with laneway-inspired gaps in between. Rising to a height of nearly 1,200 feet, the Lanescraper will feature a mixed-use program with car parking, food and retail, interactive/discovery spaces and the BMW Experience Center at its lowest levels. Stacked above will be the entertainment and cultural options in addition to office and commercial space, childcare facilities and a hotel. The bulk of the building will be reserved for residential use, which occupies the uppermost levels. The design is developed around the idea of two cores—one large and one smaller—which lends itself to an optimized walking layout and circulation. The stacked and staggered boxes also help break down the mass of the building to a more human scale. The design was created in collaboration with Fender Katsalidis , ARUP, Jan Gehl, GTA Consultants, bloomimages, and Brick Visual. Related: BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper “The stacked blocks between the cores extend upwards and interlock to provide connectivity and structural rigidity, appearing as a zipper of diverse programmatic functions that step back respectfully from Southbank Boulevard and Power Street,” explains Bjarke Ingels Group. “In doing so, the tower tapers inwards and negotiates the space between the surrounding buildings, minimizing vis-à-vis at the top and overshadowing of the public realm below. An evolution of the skyscraper beyond the proverbial ‘village-in-the-sky’ to a tower uniquely Melburnian: the LANESCRAPER.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Images via BIG

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BIGs massive Lanescraper building may become Australias tallest tower

This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

July 17, 2018 by  
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What if renewable energy infrastructure could be both functional and beautiful? Exploring that notion is Italian architectural practice Antonio Maccà, who designed ‘Sun Ray,’ a massive solar collector that could generate enough energy to power 220 Melbourne homes — with approximately 1,100 MWh of electricity produced annually. Shortlisted for this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne design competition, the conceptual design was conceived as a symbol for the future of sustainable energy that also doubles as public artwork. Envisioned for the City of Port Phillip in Melbourne , Sun Ray consists of a series of flat mirrors — each with a single-axis tracking system — laid out in a round shape with a diameter of 279 feet and elevated atop slender steel columns. To capture the sun’s energy, Antonio Maccà tapped into linear Fresnel reflector technology, in which mirrors are used to focus sunlight onto a solar receiver. A power block tucked underground transforms the solar energy into electricity before feeding it into the city power grid. “Sun Ray is a new symbol of renewable energy, lighting the way to the State of Victoria’s zero- greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target,” explained Antonio Maccà in his project statement. “It is also a cultural attractor for Melbourne, an investigation of light as a physical and symbolic source of illumination for life. It is a place for reflection, relaxation, learning and play — and it is a linear Fresnel reflector solar power plant that provides heat and electricity for hundreds of homes in St Kilda.” Related: This gigantic solar hourglass could power 1,000 Danish homes Residents and visitors can interact with the Sun Ray by using it as a shade canopy. The 50 primary mirror lines cast shade over the public park space, while the mirrors create a constantly changing play of light and shadow as they turn to track the sun. The winning design of the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne will be announced on October 11. + Land Art Generator Initiative Renderings by Antonio Maccà

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This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

Green-roofed holiday home is fashioned from three shipping containers

February 21, 2018 by  
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Led by a desire to reduce landscape impact, Melbourne-based Studio Edwards turned to cargotecture for a sustainably minded getaway on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia. Raised atop stilts on a steep slope, House 28 was fashioned from a trio of 20-foot shipping containers sourced from nearby Port Melbourne. In addition to minimized site disturbance, the green-roofed holiday home uses a rainwater catchment and filtration system to gather water and features double-glazed windows and doors to increase energy efficiency. Set overlooking the Wye River and Australia’s Otway Coast, House 28 is securely anchored to the hillside by steel stilts and deep concrete pile foundations. The architects joined two of the containers to form one long module housing the entrance, a spacious living area, and open kitchen with dining, while the other container comprises two bedrooms and a bathroom. The containers were angled towards one another and connected with a blackbutt timber deck. Related: Shipping container delivers heightened drama to a modern island home For a rugged finish, the containers were externally insulated and clad with galvanized steel sheeting. In contrast, the minimalist interiors are lined with marine-grade plywood for a warm feel. Full-height doubled-glazed windows and doors overlook the ocean to the south and keep the narrow buildings from feeling constrained. A garden of native dichondra covers the roof providing extra thermal insulation and rainwater filtration. + Studio Edwards Via Dezeen Images by Tony Gorsevski

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Green-roofed holiday home is fashioned from three shipping containers

Rammed-charcoal home extension is a handsome oasis between the trees

August 8, 2017 by  
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Melbourne-based Branch Studio Architects crafted this dark and handsome number hidden away among the trees in Victoria. Built as a house extension with a master suite, the Pavilion Between Trees features rammed-charcoal walls, clean and crisp lines, and a dark earthy palette of complementary materials. Full height glazing opens the interior up to the outdoors and frames view of the forested surroundings. Connected to the main house via a corridor, Pavilion Between Trees is a semi-detached structure that appears to standalone in the landscape. The 85-square-meter compact extension is simply but tastefully furnished and includes a master bedroom, en-suite bathroom, and extra storage space arranged in a linear plan. The rooms are delineated by subtle changes in floor level rather than walls. Natural light plays a key role in the design and is let in through clerestory windows and full-height glazing. The lighting brings out the texture of the earthy material palette, from the grainy rammed-charcoal walls to the smooth naturally finished timber and steel joinery, that are left exposed to develop a patina over time. Related: Rustic Off-Grid Pump House is a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway in Australia The home addition was built on a clearing between existing mature trees to reduce site impact. Full-height glazing, which wraps around the western end and that also punctuates the north and south sides, frame views and strengthens connection to the outdoors. The clerestory windows also offer glimpses of the tree canopy. An outdoor washing area also allows the homeowners to enjoy the outdoors in a private space protected by a mesh screen. + Branch Studio Architects Via Dezeen Images via Branch Studio Architects

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Rammed-charcoal home extension is a handsome oasis between the trees

Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwicks tree-covered mountain architecture in Shanghai

August 8, 2017 by  
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Shanghai’s “tree-covered mountains” are coming to life as evidenced in #donotsettle project’s latest video. Filmed with a DJI Mavic Pro drone, architects Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost’s footage shows a sneak peek into the construction progress of the Heatherwick Studio-designed project for M50, the city’s contemporary art district. The six-hectare plot will feature staggered, mountain-like volumes enveloped by 1,000 trees. Par for the course for Shanghai’s futuristic cityscape, this unusual 330,000-square-meter mixed-use development will comprise housing, offices, retail, a hotel, and a school. As seen in the drone footage, trees have already been installed on the undulating building’s columnar planters. The planting will help soften the appearance of the concrete volume once they mature. Related: Heatherwick Studio wants to build a tree-covered mountain in the middle of Shanghai “Conceived not as a building but as a piece of topography , the design takes the form of two tree-covered mountains, populated by approximately one thousand structural columns,” said Heatherwick Studio . “Instead of being hidden behind the facade, the columns are the defining feature of the design, emerging from the building to support plants and trees.” The development is slated to open in 2018. + Heatherwick Studio Via ArchDaily Images via #donotsettle

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Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwicks tree-covered mountain architecture in Shanghai

Reconnect with nature in this gorgeous retreat built for slow living

January 24, 2017 by  
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A safe haven from the frantic pace of modern life has popped up in the Australian town of Balnarring. Melbourne-based Branch Studio Architects designed this lovely modern studio and retreat with a deliberately low-tech aesthetic that emphasizes connection with the outdoors. The simple yet chic home is extremely flexible and can adapt to a seemingly limitless number of uses. The client prioritized flexibility early on in the design process, requiring “a space that could be nothing one minute and everything the next, required to regularly and effortlessly switch between an empty nondescript shell of limitless possibilities to a fully functioning private residence.” Thus the Balnarring Retreat features a large open-plan space where furniture, such as the Murphy bed and desk, are built into the walls and can be folded down when needed. Storage is also hidden away in the walls to minimize clutter. The custom furnishings are made to be folded and unfolded by hand to promote mindfulness. Related: Rustic Off-Grid Pump House is a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway in Australia The Balnarring Retreat also houses a kitchen, a study, and a bathroom. The north wall is fully glazed to let in natural light and frame views of the pond. The space immediately in front of the glazed north wall is a sunken ‘day bed’ that can be filled in with plywood boxes when extra floorspace is needed. + Branch Studio Architects Images by Peter Clarke

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New periodic table shows the cosmic origins of your body’s elements

January 24, 2017 by  
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Believe it or not, your body is largely made of the products from exploding stars, cosmic ray fission, and other Star Trek-esque phenomena. The stellar origins of every atom in your body trace back to the Big Bang , and are now outlined for your enjoyment in a new periodic table that classifies all the elements that make up life on Earth, according to their origin. Ohio State University astronomer Jennifer A. Johnson concocted the colorful table to give folks a better idea of where the ingredients for every living human originally came from. According to Science Alert , the human body is made up mostly of hydrogen, the most common atom in the universe, produced during the Big Bank about 13.8 billion years ago. The remainder of your body’s atoms are the product of ancient stars that merged, exploded and died over the billions of years since the universe was first forged. Others are the result of cosmic rays of high-energy radiation that come from outside our solar system . Related: Scientists observe the light spectrum of antimatter for the first time ever According to Johnson, her periodic table accounts only for the main elements of the human body, while others were cut in an effort to make the chart as relevant as possible. “Tc, Pm, and the elements beyond U do not have long-lived or stable isotopes. I have ignored the elements beyond U in this plot, but not including Tc and Pm looked weird, so I have included them in grey,” she says on her blog . The new table builds on work Johnson did in 2008, with her colleague Inese Ivans from the University of Utah . They launched into the work of putting this table together out of frustration over constantly having to explain which elements go with which process on a periodic table. What they’ve created is a periodic table that identifies the six sources of elements in our body and breaks them down by the stellar process that resulted in their formation. The colors correspond to the various elements and the way they fill up the boxes shows how much of that element is linked to a certain cosmic process or event. Via Science Alert Images via Wikimedia Commons and Jennifer A. Johnson

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Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

August 31, 2016 by  
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Australian state Victoria  is taking an unprecedented step after they announced this week that they would protect farmers by banning “onshore unconventional gas,” including fracking . Outcry from local farmers helped push the government to make the historical ban. Victoria is the first Australian state to ban such gas exploration and development. A 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Onshore Unconventional Gas in Victoria obtained 1,600 submissions. They found most respondents were against fracking, fearing such practices endangered the agriculture sector in Victoria, public health, and the environment. Dairy farmer Julie Boulton told The Guardian, “It has been so heart-wrenching at times, when we thought the drill rigs were coming and there was nothing we could do. But we pulled together as a community and decided to fight this threat to our farmland, water, and health.” Related: Germany just banned fracking for all practical purposes 190,000 people work in the Victorian agriculture sector. While the gas industry had claimed there would be economic benefits to fracking, research from think tank The Australia Institute appeared to indicate otherwise. They found that when ten gas jobs were created, 18 jobs were lost in agriculture. Many farmers felt fracking would threaten Victoria’s reputation for ” clean, green ” food. The Australia Institute Principal Adviser Mark Ogge said any benefits have nearly all gone to ” overseas owners of global oil and gas companies .” He said the ban is “sound economic and energy policy .” A ” permanent legislative ban ” will be introduced later in 2016 to Parliament, but a “current moratorium” will ensure unconventional gas development and exploration doesn’t occur for now. The ban includes ” exploration and development ” of Victoria unconventional gas, from fracking to coal seam gas. The ban does not cover offshore gas exploration. There are also exemptions for “carbon storage research” and gas storage. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement, “Victorians have made it clear that they don’t support fracking and that the health and environmental risks involved outweigh any potential benefits.” Via The Guardian Images via Lock the Gate Alliance Facebook

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Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

New study finally puts a number on the amount of water in the Earth’s crust and it’s huge

November 18, 2015 by  
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The adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies to a whole lot of things in this world, but we usually don’t think of water as being one of them. After all, some 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in the wet stuff and it falls from the sky on a somewhat regular basis. However, scientists have known for decades that there is an enormous amount of water hidden under the planet’s crust as well. It’s been nearly 40 years since experts attempted to determine how much water that is, and a new study purports to do just that , with many more details and measurements than were available in the 1970s when the previous figures were calculated. Read the rest of New study finally puts a number on the amount of water in the Earth’s crust and it’s huge

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Industrial modern Sawmill House is built from recycled concrete blocks

August 7, 2015 by  
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