Japan is Selling Dilapidated Homes for Extremely Low Prices to Alleviate its Housing Crisis

13 hours 12 minutes ago
via Flickr. Image © Bo Nielsen via Flickr. Image © Bo Nielsen

Today, many individuals, both young and old, desire to buy property, redesign, and refurbish an existing house into their dream home. Umbrellaed under terms like “fixer-upper” and “adaptive reuse,” these projects begin with the skeletons of old structures and the building’s history. Many architects around the globe have utilized abandoned structures and transformed them into architectural marvels for both civic and domestic purposes.

Japan, in particular, has implemented a system to help alleviate the country’s current housing crisis. Despite rising urban real estate prices and limited space, over 8 million properties across Japan are unoccupied - according to a government report in 2013. It is believed that around 2 million of these structures are abandoned and deserted. Following the current trends, these numbers continue to grow each year. It is estimated that 21 million homes will be unoccupied by 2033.

via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin

The Japanese government has allowed these properties to be sold for extremely low prices to alleviate local municipalities and cities from the problems that accompany abandoned structures. Not only are the homes visually unattractive as they decay over time, but they also become prone to fires and vandalism, and diminish the value of surrounding properties.

Despite these issues, in 2015, a government study showed that almost one-third of these properties are the victim of inheritance. Japan’s large elderly population passes these homes to their families prior to or after their death. Many of the new owners strongly resist selling, keeping the home as a family memento.

via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin

Many can be found on online databases called “akiya banks,” which provide interested parties with the most basic information regarding the listed properties. Although the listed properties might look like a “steal,” buyers must take into consideration a variety of other factors - some stem from Japanese cultural traditions that might be lost on a foreign investor.

via Flickr. Image © Syuzo Tsushima via Flickr. Image © Syuzo Tsushima

An example of this is the vacant structures and apartment units that were once the site of a violent death, murder, suicide, or death that went unnoticed for periods of time. These events, in Japanese culture, can permanently label a residence as uninhabitable. There is even a site called “Oshimaland” with an interactive map littered with fire symbols that highlight many of the tainted properties, some accompanied by the reason as well.

via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin

Similar government programs have been utilized in countries around the world. Specifically, in Italy, abandoned historic structures were sold or rented for minimal amounts of money to help rejuvenate aging and decaying properties and promote further development.

News via Vice


Come Hell or High Water: Cities Must Evolve in the Face of Climate Change

23 hours 12 minutes ago
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

The time to talk about climate change as if it’s merely a hazy possibility that won’t occur in our lifetime anyway has long passed. Multiple recent reports have made it clear that it’s already happening, and its effects will be much worse than previously expected.

In 2016, the Paris climate accords set a goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (at which it’s already failing); the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now says two degrees is both inevitable by the year 2040 and genocidal, set to cause the death of all coral reefs, extreme wildfires, heat waves and other weather events that will subsequently threaten the world’s food supply and transform the global economy.

Clearly, addressing the problem at its source is the most crucial course of action. For the sake of the planet and virtually all life upon it, including our own species, we must rework practically every aspect of civilization, from our energy infrastructure and agricultural practices to corporate and governmental operations (because, while the efforts require widespread support and small actions are still important, the onus to lessen the impacts of inevitable climate change cannot be placed on individuals.) Technology and architecture won’t save the world alone, but it can help, and if we’re going to head off some of the most immediate climate change effects, we have to start now.

Architects, engineers and urban planners have already begun to work on approaches that range from visions of futuristic cities that would take many decades to build from the ground up to more practical and immediate solutions that adapt to the new normal. Extreme weather, rapid influxes of climate refugees and the need to continuously evolve in response to the changing world are among the top issues to address.

Managing Fires and Floods

Flooding is inevitable. Stronger, more frequent storms are already wreaking havoc on the United States and throughout the world, leaving catastrophic flooding in their wake that can extend much farther inland than anticipated, particularly along rivers. The pace of ice melting in Greenland and Antarctica is on track to raise sea levels 26 inches by the year 2100, and many scientists consider that to be a conservative estimate. Cities like Miami, Houston, Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila, Lagos, London and Shanghai are at immediate risk due to groundwater extraction, soft sediments and, in Miami’s case, permeable limestone that will allow water to rise from underground.

Sea levels are rising faster on the east coast of the United States than anywhere else, and locales from North Carolina to Florida already lost 5 inches of coastline between 2011 and 2015. Researchers believe it has something to do with the slowing Gulf Stream, the effects of El Niño cycles and shifts in major Atlantic Ocean weather patterns. Experts predict that many cities could be swallowed altogether within the lifetime of children born in the current decade. 3D animated Google Earth gifs by Climate Central based on an extreme sea level rise scenario from the NOAA show us what this could look like in a few major cities, and it’s not good.

So what are cities doing to plan for this? Not much, in most cases, but that could change soon. Many of the most vulnerable cities are consulting with experts on plans of attack that involve building in safer areas, transforming the most flood-prone zones into buffer areas, integrating green spaces capable of absorbing large quantities of stormwater, elevating new structures, improving the climate resiliency of low-income housing and creating systems that work with, rather than against, a changed waterfront.

Resilient by Design – San Francisco Reimagined by Hassell Studio

For a recent competition called Resilient by Design, which challenged design teams to reimagine the Bay Area in the face of potentially devastating climate change, global design firm HASSELL envisions a new network of green spaces and “water-loving places” connected by canals and creeks. Forging these wide, green waterways creates controlled paths for flooding and plans to use them for transport and recreation. Native plants treat runoff, a “living levee” forms a wetland for restoring habitat and holding stormwater and schools built on higher ground become hubs for water treatment and community activities.

Imagine Boston 2030: Planning for Floods by SCAPE
Imagine Boston 2030: Planning for Floods by SCAPE

In Boston, SCAPE Landscape Architecture collaborated with the Mayor on a vision to protect the city’s 47 miles of shoreline as part of the Imagine Boston 2030 initiative. Using the city’s Climate Ready Boston 2070 flood maps, the team demonstrates how flood-resilient buildings, elevated landscapes, waterfront parks, connections to the waterfront and a deployable flood wall system could address rising water and enhance community access to the waterfront at the same time. Key transport corridors like Main Street and Bennington Street will have to be elevated.

“We’re not just planning for the next storm we’ll face, we’re planning for the storms the next generation will face. A resilient, climate-ready Boston harbor presents an opportunity to protect Boston, connect Boston, and enhance Boston, now and for the future,” says Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “As we enter a new era in our Harbor’s history, Boston can show the world that resilience is not only the ability to survive adversity but to emerge even stronger than before. That’s the promise of a Resilient Boston.”

Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul

In fact, reintroducing natural systems could be key, all over the world. For Seoul, architect Chris Reed of ASLA proposes giving water more space in the city with the knowledge that we can’t hold it back and might as well do what we can to enjoy it. We could “bring new life and richness into the public realm” with fish parks, canal streets, water plazas and other spaces, and transform vacant land into new wetlands that bring value into adjacent neighborhoods. The city’s Cheonggyecheon River is already a great example of this approach, uncovered from beneath roadways and highways and renovated into a central riverfront offering both floodwater containment and recreational space in the heart of downtown.

Water, of course, isn’t the only force of nature we have to protect ourselves from. With wildfires raging across much of the West, many people are wondering what they can do to make their homes more fire-resistant. While land management practices will have to change in many parts of the country to anticipate and mitigate wildfires to the greatest extent possible, fireproofing could at least help salvage some structures when they can’t be stopped. The good news is, a few small changes can make a huge difference, and they can be surprisingly affordable, too.

Gigacrete House

Las Vegas-based GigaCrete makes prefab houses with recyclable, non-flammable materials including steel frames, interlocking wall panels and special wall coatings that make them hurricane resistant, bulletproof and waterproof to boot. A 576-square-foot, one-bedroom model costs just $24,000, and they can be scaled up and customized. Other approaches involve the use of tempered glass, minimizing exposed wood, non-flammable decks, rooftop sprinkler systems, mesh screens that prevent smoldering materials from getting into vents and strategies to clear brush. It’s likely that features like these will increasingly be built into new construction in fire-prone areas.

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

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Google Reveals Revised Mountain View Campus Plan by BIG and Heatherwick Studio

1 day 4 hours ago
Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio

New details of Google's Mountain View campus by BIG and Heatherwick Studio have been revealed. Initially announced in 2015, the project has seen several revisions after first running into difficulty with the city planning board. The latest scheme includes a combination of office, retail, public and residential space. Located in North Bayshore, California, the revised plan focuses on the site's natural environment and affordable housing.

Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio
Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio

Google will partner with a developer to construct up to 6,600 residential units on its land, with 20 percent qualifying as affordable housing. "We want to see the area transformed into what the City calls 'Complete Neighborhoods,' with a focus on increasing housing options and creating great public places that prioritize people over cars," Michael Tymoff, Google's Mountain View development director, said in a statement. Google says that it worked closely with the city to comply with or exceed stipulations of the "Precise Plan" for development that Mountain View adopted last year.

Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio
Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group & Heatherwick Studio

The plan calls for 35 acres of open space and starts with 16 acres of habitats and trails, as well as 13 acres of neighborhood parks and plazas. Google stated that, "the scheme intends to create a site made for people, not cars, by providing numerous footpaths and cyclepaths to allow the campus to be easily accessed by pedestrians. This project is part of the city’s vision to prioritize mobility for pedestrians, buses and bicycles in order to reduce traffic in the area. The project also continues the city and Google’s effort towards restoring and preserving the vitality of local ecology and native habitats in the North Bayshore area and incorporating energy-efficient sustainable design to deliver greater health and accessibility for our employees."

Mountain View city officials will be discussing the plans in early 2019. Construction is expected to last 30 months following approval by the Mountain View City Council. You can read Google's full plans for North Bayshore here.


BV House / Traama Arquitetura

1 day 11 hours ago
© Edgard César © Edgard César
  • Architects: Traama Arquitetura
  • Location: North Asa, Brazil
  • Architects In Charge: Ana Luiza Veloso, Amanda Saback
  • Area: 110.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Photographs: Edgard César
© Edgard César © Edgard César

Text description provided by the architects. Inserted in a beautiful landscape with a view to a reserve, this compact house was built in the Lago Norte neighborhood, Brasília, Brazil. Environmental constraints such as a big ground level difference and a lot of solar incidence in the terrain had a great influence on how the house was located in the property, as well as in the interior layout and window openings on the facade.

© Edgard César © Edgard César

This single story house reveals simplicity and minimalism with only two materials: concrete and white paint, lined up with the owner's personality. The charm is due to the asymmetries, the volume in the corner of the facade in artistic brick and the box framing two of the main facades. The generous openings in the living room maximize the visual space for the woods and landscaping of the place, as well as providing excellent natural ventilation and light inside the residence.

© Edgard César © Edgard César
Floor Plan Floor Plan
© Edgard César © Edgard César

The simplicity is also maintained in the interior, with a compact program: living room, balcony, toilet, kitchen, laundry area, bedroom and bathroom, and a garden, are distributed uncomplicatedly in 110m² through an intuitive flow. It is a stripped and fluid project that demonstrates functionality and adds value to the rich surroundings through a subtle architecture that merges with the landscape.

© Edgard César © Edgard César

Architecture That Uses Meshes and Nets for Escape, Play and Rest

1 day 12 hours ago
Courtesy of Numen / For Use Courtesy of Numen / For Use

Architects use meshes and nets as a way to brighten up homes, hostels, and even office spaces. Functioning as a hammock, mesh establish a connection between floor levels. This playful feature often creates unexpected places for leisure, escape, and rest. Below, we've selected 17 projects that feature nets and meshes.

OB Kindergarten and Nursery / HIBINOSEKKEI + Youji no Shiro

© Studio Bauhaus, Ryuji Inoue © Studio Bauhaus, Ryuji Inoue

Jerry House / onion + Arisara Chaktranon & Siriyot Chaiamnuay

© Wison Tungthunya © Wison Tungthunya

The Green Studio / Fraher Architects

© Jack Hobhouse © Jack Hobhouse

Sleep and Play / Ruetemple

Courtesy of Ruetemple Courtesy of Ruetemple

KLOEM Hostel / IF (Integrated Field)

© PanoramicStudio © PanoramicStudio

Devani Home / RNDSQR

© Jamie Anholt © Jamie Anholt

Saigon House / a21studio

© Quang Tran © Quang Tran

Townhouse B14 / XTH-berlin

© Anja Büchner © Anja Büchner

Public Art Installations from Numen / For Use Design Collective

Courtesy of Numen / For Use Courtesy of Numen / For Use

Tower House / Austin Maynard Architects

©  Peter Bennetts © Peter Bennetts

House in Sukumo / Container Design

©  Eiji Tomita © Eiji Tomita

Brazil Pavilion – Milan Expo 2015 / Studio Arthur Casas + Atelier Marko Brajovic

© Filippo Poli © Filippo Poli

Uniplaces Headquarters / Paralelo Zero

© Francisco Nogueira © Francisco Nogueira

Yamashina House / ALTS Design Office

© Fuji-Shokai / Masahiko Nishida © Fuji-Shokai / Masahiko Nishida

Woods of Net / Tezuka Architects

© Abel Erazo © Abel Erazo

Apartment in Poznan / Cuns Studio

© Hanna Długosz © Hanna Długosz

Baan Moom / Integrated Field

© Wison Tungthunya & IF © Wison Tungthunya & IF


Iconic American Buildings Re-Envisioned in the Gothic Revival Style

1 day 13 hours ago
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum / Frank Lloyd Wright. Image Courtesy of Angie's List Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum / Frank Lloyd Wright. Image Courtesy of Angie's List

With its intricate ornamentation and complex ribbed vaulting, Gothic architecture introduced a slenderness and exuberance that was not seen before in medieval Europe. Epitomized by pointed arches, flying buttresses, and tall spires, Gothic structures were easily identifiable as they reached new heights not previously achievable, creating enigmatic interior atmospheres.

Several centuries later, a new appreciation for Victorian-era architecture was reborn in the United States with the Gothic Revival movement most famously depicted by Chicago's Tribune Tower. A series of computer-graphics (CG) renderings done by Angie's List reinterpret some of America's iconic architecture from the 20th century to mirror buildings from the Middle Ages. View the republished content from Angie's List complete with each building's informative descriptions below.

Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, California)

Courtesy of Angie's List Courtesy of Angie's List

Engineered by Joseph Strauss and Charles Ellis alongside architect Irving Morrow, the Golden Gate Bridge’s art deco flourishes establish it as a landmark that was dreamt up in the 1920s – even if it didn’t open until 1937. The chevron design elements and organic form lighting were Morrow’s response to the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes of Paris, 1925, when the art deco movement was established. But when those curves and panels are replaced with the rigor and, let’s face it, pointedness, of the Gothic revival, the Golden Gate ends up looking somewhat… British?

Terminal Tower (Cleveland, Ohio)

Courtesy of Angie's List Courtesy of Angie's List

Drawn-up in the Beaux-Arts style by architects Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, Cleveland’s towering 1930 landmark is already rich with neo-Gothic and neoclassical elements such as the steeply-pitched roof and arches. But the addition of brightly-lit stained-glass and extra pinnacles is just what the rather stern old building needs for a new lease of life.

The Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)

Courtesy of Angie's List Courtesy of Angie's List

Edward E. Carlson’s iconic needle has a bold enough outline to withstand whatever cosmetic changes our designers add to it. The 604-foot futurist structure was originally painted with shades in keeping with its 1962 World Fair debut’s space-age feel: ‘Astronaut White,’ ‘Orbital Olive,’ ‘Re-entry Red,’ and ‘Galaxy Gold.’ But the Needle still cuts quite a figure in ‘Gothic grey.’ Its base provides support through structural pointed arches, but it’s the intricate mesh of the quatrefoil and clover-shaped windows as you reach the top that would make our version worth the visit.

Lincoln Memorial (Washington DC, District of Columbia)

Courtesy of Angie's List Courtesy of Angie's List

Inspired by his studies in Europe, Henry Bacon drew up his design for this 1922 monument to Abraham Lincoln in the Greek Revival or neoclassical style. But his choice of various types of stone to construct his Parthenon tribute building was symbolic. Materials such as Massachusetts granite and Alabama marble created a ‘union’ theme that would have pleased Old Abe. Our redesigners have kept the stone feel but added clover windows and imposing-looking gargoyles atop those Doric columns for a bit of Gothic shock-and-awe.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York City, New York)

Courtesy of Angie's List Courtesy of Angie's List

Opened to the public on October 21, 1959. It took 16 years for architect Frank Lloyd Wright to finalize the design for the Guggenheim. In this time he produced six separate sets of plans and 749 drawings in total. There’s not a hint of Gothic inspiration in Wright’s eventual modern design, so to re-imagine this beloved building necessitated a total overhaul. Rows of columns spiral around the circular floors, the first floor is decorated with a host of gargoyles and the entrance is granted pointed arches. Our design is a truly terrifying clash of contemporary and medieval.

The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Courtesy of Angie's List Courtesy of Angie's List

The Air Force Academy’s centerpiece as we know it is a modernist statement structured around 17 glass and aluminum spires that are each composed of 100 tetrahedrons. The chapel’s architect, Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, invoked some of modernism’s most striking ideas for his 1963 masterpiece. And Netsch’s dramatic spires themselves reference Gothic architecture. All the same, our switch back to stone and inclusion of a major frontal oculus takes away the Cadet Chapel’s key feature of contemporaneity in favor of the medieval.

Transamerica Pyramid (San Francisco, California)

Courtesy of Angie's List Courtesy of Angie's List

San Francisco’s second-highest building was designed by William Pereira and debuted in 1972. The Pyramid borrowed some of the fashionable materials of the time – concrete (16,000 cubic yards in the foundation alone), glass and steel – towards a futurist tower that stands quite apart from its neighbors. When the 1989, 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake struck, the Pyramid shook for more than a minute, its tip swaying almost a foot from side-to-side. Whether the Gothic pinnacles and gargoyles of our rendering would hold on tightly in such conditions, we can’t guarantee!

The Chrysler Building (New York, New York)

Courtesy of Angie's List Courtesy of Angie's List

The Chrysler may be an ostentatious landmark, but it had a stealthy start in life: built between 1928-30, architect William van Alen managed to keep its 125-foot spire secret until 90 minutes before the grand unveiling. The spire pushed the art deco building’s height to 1,046 feet, nudging it past The Bank of Manhattan (now The Trump Building) to briefly become the tallest building in the world. The Chrysler’s Gothic makeover pays tribute to that ambition, its pointed windows seeming to direct the skyscraper, rocket-like, to the stars.

News via: Angie's List


V on Shenton / UNStudio

1 day 17 hours ago
© Darren Soh © Darren Soh
  • Architects: UNStudio
  • Location: No. 5 Shenton Way, UIC Building, Singapore
  • Architect In Charge: Ben van Berkel, Astrid Piber
  • Design Team: Nuno Almeida and Ariane Stracke, Cristina Bolis; Derrick Diporedjo, Enrique Lopez, Gustav Fagerström, Hal Wuertz, Jaap Baselmans, Jaap-Willem Kleijwegt, Jae Young Lee, Jay Williams, Jeong Eun Choi, Juliane Maier, Martin Zangerl, Patrick Kohl, René Rijkers, Rob Henderson, Stefano Rocchetti, Sander Versluis, Tiia Vahula, Wing Tang
  • Area: 85507.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
  • Photographs: Darren Soh
  • Local Architect: Architects 61 Pte Ltd
  • Structural Engineer: DE Consultants (S) Pte Ltd
  • M&E Consultant: J Roger Preston (S) Pte Ltd
  • Quantity Surveyor: KPK Quantity Surveyors
© Darren Soh © Darren Soh

Text description provided by the architects. V on Shenton is located at 5 Shenton Way in the heart of Singapore's Central Business District and occupies the space of the former UIC Building.

© Darren Soh © Darren Soh

Singapore is currently one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Although land reclamation has boosted the island’s size over the years, Singapore still faces significant density challenges. Vertical expansion has for some time proved to be a solution for the efficient use of valuable urban land. However, it has recently become clear that such expansion can be further maximised through the introduction of large scale, holistic, mixed-use developments that offer round-the-clock programmes. In these developments working, living and leisure activities are catered for within single plots, ensuring maximal use of scarce land. V on Shenton is just such a development.

© Darren Soh © Darren Soh

The dual programming of the building (office and residential) is a unique situation in this area and thus the massing of the towers is differentiated to reflect this. In addition to the office and residential programmes, the towers house sky gardens which provide panoramic 360 degree views of Singapore and house a variety of amenities, such as a fitness area, swimming pools and a children’s play area, with lush green vegetation providing fresher, cleaner air. These areas provide spaces for shared communal activities, or for the residents to entertain guests.

© Darren Soh © Darren Soh
© Darren Soh © Darren Soh

On ground level, next to the office tower lobby, a large café forms the central meeting point for the public areas.

© Darren Soh © Darren Soh

A family of patterns
Just as the office and residential towers are of the same family of forms, so do their facades originate from the same family of patterns. The basic shape of the hexagon is used to create patterns that increase the performance of the facades with angles and shading devices that are responsive to the climatic conditions of Singapore.

© Darren Soh © Darren Soh

The office tower is based on a curtain wall module and an optimised number of panel types, recombined to create a signature pattern.

Office building L24 detail Office building L24 detail

In contrast, the residential facade is based on the stacks of unit types. The pattern of the residential facade is created by the incorporation of the residential programme (balcony, bay window, planter and a/c ledge) and the combination of one and two storey high modules with systematic material variations. These geometric panels add texture and cohesion to the building, whilst reflecting light and pocketing shade.

© Darren Soh © Darren Soh

Ceviv Winery / Reisarchitettura

3 days 1 hour ago
© Alessandra Bello © Alessandra Bello
  • Location: Via IV Novembre, 58, 31058 Ponte Della Priula TV, Italy
  • Lead Architects: Arch. Nicola Isetta, Arch. Paola Rebellato
  • Area: 4800.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
  • Photographs: Alessandra Bello
  • Client: CE.VI.V Srl
© Alessandra Bello © Alessandra Bello

Text description provided by the architects. The project involves the enlargement of CEVIV winery in Susegana (Treviso) in two phases. The first provides a new office building and an open-air platform for 20 wine-tanks and autoclaves, the second another platform for 24 new tanks. The project main idea is to have the facade of the office's block and the enclosure of the platforms with the same cladding, in order to have a “volume” with a unique treatment.

© Alessandra Bello © Alessandra Bello
Plan Plan
© Alessandra Bello © Alessandra Bello

The solution we chose is a cladding with green-colored perforated aluminum sheets to recall the logo of the firm. The perforated panels allow slight see-through playing with transparency and light. The holes of the perforated panels have different sizes making the facade vibrant and multi-hued. The base of the platforms is a solid concrete wall poured on foam matrix resulting in a striped texture like a cut stone in the cave. The office's block has three floors plus a terrace on the roof.

© Alessandra Bello © Alessandra Bello

The glazed ground floor has a step back from the higher floors which are cantilever on south and west side. A glazed atrium with lift connects to the existing winery, from here you gain access to all the office's floors, to the existing warehouse and to the new wine-tanks platform. On the ground floor, there is a reception and a laboratory, on the first floor an open-space office and a closed master-office, while on the second floor there is a small tasting room and an apartment for the keeper.

© Alessandra Bello © Alessandra Bello

The Do-It-Yourself Vertical Village on the Fringes of London

3 days 10 hours ago
The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication.

In East London, The Trampery on the Gantry is doubling down on the “creative” aspect of creative reuse. Part of the massive broadcast center used during the 2012 Olympic Games, the former HVAC gantry structure has been retrofitted by architecture firm Hawkins\Brown as an arts and media innovation hub.

The gantry on the rear of the former media center (which contained studios during the Games) held three stories of HVAC equipment but was earmarked to be demolished when its current incarnation required less cooling. Hawkins/Brown, however, knew it had a great structure on its hands. “It was almost a ready-made ‘cabinet,’” says project architect Andrew Hills. “That’s what we saw the gantry structure as. It’s a shelf to put interesting and exciting objects on.”

This idea became the conceptual framework for the project’s design: The gantry would become a Victorian “cabinet of curiosities,” which the firm modeled with collaged images of steam engines, an airplane, and an old-timey metronome. Images of a toy bird, a toy camera, an RV trailer, a Ferris wheel, and a red tin robot added exuberant juxtaposition.

The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image

This same sense of fun and experimentation is on display in the actual structure, which houses 21 studios for artists and creative businesses. The steel structure is divided into 26-by-26-foot bays, one for each studio space, arranged in a checkerboard pattern to balance their weight in the cantilevered structure. Two-story studios at the rear offer more muted facades; one-story units in the front are more flamboyant, adorned in artificial grass and shimmering polycarbonate panels. Textures and geometries are postmodern and antic, inspired by the inside-out structural expression of the Centre Georges Pompidou museum in Paris, France.

The gantry is located in a former industrial district called Hackney Wick now colonized by artists and creatives. The studio designs acknowledge the area’s history of making; each facade pays homage to the factories and workshops that kept this part of East London humming before industrial production was largely outsourced.

One artist pod is decorated in the signature pinstripe candy packaging of local confectioner Clarnico. The site was once a dumping ground for discarded refrigerators stacked high into the sky, and one facade evokes that motley assemblage with an off-kilter pattern of white panels. Baltic immigrants in the early 20th century perfected a salmon-curing method nearby known as the “London Cure,” and one studio is sheathed in a warm, translucent orange reminiscent of the fish’s flesh. (Still in operation today, the H. Forman & Son factory cures salmon just a few hundred feet away.)

The studios are offered at below-market rates, and 80 percent of units are offered to local creative businesses, says Cris Robertson of The Trampery, the social enterprise that will manage the “vertical village of sustainable studios.” Subsidies are through the government’s Section 106 agreement, which diverts money from developers working to get new projects built and invests it into community-focused projects such as public art or park spaces.

“At a time when less-traditional space is becoming available and rising rent is pushing out creatives, this demonstrates how innovative architectural techniques can bring previously unused spaces to life,” Robertson says.

The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image

Accessible, Crowdsourced Design

The studios’ building method is also critical to its modest fees and overall execution. These maker spaces were all built with the WikiHouse platform, which is a crowdsourced, free set of drawings, renderings, and details that show how to build a single-family-home-scaled structure without skilled labor or specialized tools beyond a CNC mill—all for only $48,000.

While WikiHouse currently offers one design template, the platform provides open-source building technologies—sort of like digital LEGOs—for architects, engineers, and self-builders to create their own designs. For The Trampery, following the WikiHouse plan, plywood sheets are cut into building components with a CNC mill and slotted together with a wedge-and-peg system as wafers fasten perpendicular panels together.

The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image

It’s an approach to modular construction that gets by on the most accessible custom fabrication machines imaginable. Instead of 3D printing structural elements with more complex geometry, builders deal only with 2D sheets. Clayton Prest, research and design lead at WikiHouse, likens it to how English musician Elvis Costello “wrote his music to be played on the lowest, cheapest, transistor radio.”

The Trampery on the Gantry is the largest-scale application of WikiHouse, and variations between each studio were produced using new levels of automation. “Previously, WikiHouse has only ever been a one-off,” Hills says. “And all of a sudden we’re trying to produce 21 different units to be delivered all at the same time.”

Hills manipulated the geometry of each studio by changing parameters in an Excel spreadsheet, which automatically adjusted the cutting patterns for the CNC mill, while a Dynamo Studio script automatically built each WikiHouse chassis in Revit. The algorithm updated the 3D model, and it was ready for assembly. (Each Gantry unit took about 7 to 10 days to build.) This process, Hills says, “gave us way more freedom. That was critical when you’re producing on a mass-production scale. When you’re trying to mass-customize a modular item, you have to have that kind of process in place because otherwise you’ll forever be drawing production files.”

But the WikiHouse model has its limits. For instance, it can be built only three stories tall. For taller wood structures, a stronger material such as cross-laminated timber is required. That’s a possibility for the future, Prest says. “You could have the best of both worlds,” he explains, “getting the strength of the main structure out of cross-laminated timber and carrying that same approach down to a much smaller scale for doing the internal fit-outs and partitions.”

But for now, “the whole system is geared around a domestic scale,” Hills says, which is why The Trampery on the Gantry embraces its spirited familiarity even when it’s surrounded by a high-tech innovation campus. WikiHouse is meant to be engaging, humble, and approachable—aesthetics reflected in the studios’ outward appearance. “Part of the concept of the ‘cabinet of curiosities’ was variety,” Hills says. He and his colleagues spent days manipulating the pitch of each roof in a physical model, moving and arranging patterns across the bays, looking for the most pleasing rhythm of shed roofs, symmetrical and unsymmetrical gables, and dual-pitched roofs.

The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image The Gantry at HERE EAST / Hawkins Brown. Image

Similarly, The Trampery on the Gantry’s approach to creative place-making and artistic production is intensely managed and curated. Instead of setting up shop in the old Stratford Jute Mill (constructed in 1864), there’s space in a jute mill–themed studio with metal facade panels that mimic jute’s crosshatch texture. WikiHouse is working on new prototypes that will be entirely demountable and ready for disassembly, opening the door for new chapters of history at the gantry to cycle in and out, and allowing the gantry to document its own history through its modular growth.

Editor's Note: The images used in this article have been granted use by the owner and cannot be used elsewhere without permission.


Yong Ju Lee and Atelier KJ Create Design for Korean Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

1 week ago
Elusive Boundary Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Yong Ju Lee Architecture + Atelier KJ Elusive Boundary Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Yong Ju Lee Architecture + Atelier KJ

Yong Ju Lee Architecture and Atelier KJ have created "Elusive Boundary" for the Korean Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The project is designed as a place for radical encounters of different fields. The main theme of Korean Pavilion, Mobility, is defined as a new space of possibility created by movement between territories and escape/expansion to new territories. The movement defined by new mobility is not linear, but a simultaneous event between territories.

Elusive Boundary Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Yong Ju Lee Architecture + Atelier KJ Elusive Boundary Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Yong Ju Lee Architecture + Atelier KJ

Elusive Boundary, the Korean pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai suggests a physical place by this new territory. This space is created from the collision of two coordinate systems (one is orthogonal system; the other is rotated system of 15 degrees in z-axis and x-axis). The second system expands continually, becoming an independent geometrical structure. It behaves load bearing structure by connecting floating lines though the universal joint and supports the whole building as the main structure frame. Two coordinate systems stay in each territories (the orthogonal structure is occupied by programs; the other becomes skin and structure), however, the expanded boundary where two meet creates new space by supporting each other. And this space becomes stable by itself with the tangled geometry

Elusive Boundary Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Yong Ju Lee Architecture + Atelier KJ Elusive Boundary Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Yong Ju Lee Architecture + Atelier KJ

Virtual Mobility occupies the space as the architectural program resembling its spatial quality. While it is independent architecture of Korean Pavilion in Dubai, the mirrored images, or twin pavilions are located in different places in Korea. Two types of pavilions in different regions communicate through sensors and cameras presenting each other’s environment to make visitors experience. Smart devices and sensors such as VR machine and hologram make it possible to interact with the other side.

Elusive Boundary Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Yong Ju Lee Architecture + Atelier KJ Elusive Boundary Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Yong Ju Lee Architecture + Atelier KJ

The boundary expands between the exterior and the interior and it makes hard to read the clear boundary of the building. Visitors experience and perceive the building as floating light mass. As a unique ornament, fragmented skin becomes projected screen for a dreamlike image which is hard to be defined by floating particles, different from traditional projection. Experience at inner and outer space is displayed as an exhibit. And it creates direct communication between visitors inside and spectators outside though translucent skin.


UNStudio Designs Transparent Stacked Theater for Hong Kong Cultural Quarter

1 week ago

UNStudio has released images of their proposed Lyric Theatre complex in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong. Intended as a “celebration of the world of theater,” the mixed-use scheme will house three theaters, rehearsal room, and dining, retail, and entertainment functions.

Designed to be open, inclusive, and welcoming, the compact scheme is comprised of a series of stacked transparent elements making the arts accessible to the general public. Open displays draw visitors inside from a series of reactivated plazas surrounding the scheme, supported by “an additional programme for the public to enjoy that is independent of performance timetable.”


The 41,000-square-meter scheme sits within an ambitious 40-hectare cultural quarter masterplan designed by Foster + Partners, containing museums, theaters, and concert halls. Sitting alongside the cultural nodes are a series of mixed-use residences, office buildings, and 23 hectares of public spaces connected along a two-kilometer harbor promenade.


The constraints of the site for the Lyric Theatre Complex presented numerous fascinating challenges for the arrangement of the various programmes within this very compact building. However, in the end we were able to create a vibrant building that celebrates the enchanting world of dance and theatre and will cater to the future needs of Hong Kong’s theatre-going public.”
-Ben van Berkel, UNStudio


The three theaters each embody an individual identity based on the types of performing arts they cater for, with distinct colors and intensities. The result is a complimentary family of theaters under one coherent structure, linked by a neutral central spine of circulation.


The largest of the three auditoriums, the 1450-seat Lyric Theatre, will house a variety of dance performances, musicals, operas, and film premieres. The most formal of the three spaces, the Lyric Theater “reflects the grandeur and distinction of baroque-era theaters through the use of red and bronze-toned details, while a combination of a cooler grey/brown toned wood adds a contemporary touch.”


The 600-seat Medium Theater will house theater and dance performances, striking a dark, saturated purple tone contrasted with a walnut interior and metal inlays. Departing from a traditional stacked approach, the upper and lower stall levels of the theater are visually united, only separated by a single geometric gesture to make the upper stalls float, hence creating an intimate, unified audience experience.


The 270-seat Studio Theater is dedicated to small-to-medium scale text-based drama productions. Featuring a “homogenous dark blue-colored interior,” the black-box-style space is encased in a single shell that also encompasses the front of the stage, creating an intimate relationship between audience and performers.


Linking the three theaters is a “Central Spine” with neutral tones contrasting against the vibrant theater interiors. Envisaged as an “inner alleyway,” the spine created a direct connection between the Artist Square to the north, and harbourfront to the south, slowly revealing the harbor view as one passes through the scheme.


The spine forms two curving, stacked ramps, combining to create a figure 8. While the lower spine leads to the Lyric Theater, the upper section leads to the Studio and Medium Theaters, before opening up to two skylight voids. To enable simultaneous performances across all three theaters, each space is given its own foyer with outdoor terraces overlooking either the Artists Square or harbourfront. The foyers combine with the central spine to therefore act as a “forth performing arts venue, creating a see-and-be-seen relationship between the public spine and semi-public foyers.

© UNStudio © UNStudio

News via: UNStudio

Architects: UNStudio
Lead Consultants: UNStudio / AD+RG
Structure, Civil, Geotechnical: AECOM
MEP, Environmental: WSP
Theatre Consultant: The Space Factory, Carre and Angier
Acoustic Consultant: Marshall Day
Facade Consultant: inhabit
Landscape Consultant: LWK Partners
Lighting Consultant: ag Licht
BIM Consultant: isBIM
Traffic Consultant: MVA


Richard Rogers Wins the 2019 AIA Gold Medal

1 week ago
Centre Georges Pompidou / Richard Rogers + Renzo Piano. Image © Flickr user dalbera licensed under CC BY 2.0 Centre Georges Pompidou / Richard Rogers + Renzo Piano. Image © Flickr user dalbera licensed under CC BY 2.0

Richard Rogers has been awarded the 2019 AIA Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects. The world-renowned architect and founding principal of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has been recognized “for his influence on the built environment [that] has redefined an architect’s responsibilities to society.”

Honoring “an individual or pair of architects whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture,” the AIA Gold Medal is often considered the highest honor awarded in the United States for architecture.

© 2013 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP © 2013 Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP

As one of the leading architects of the British High-Tech movement, Pritzker Prize-winner Richard Rogers stands out as one of the most innovative and distinctive architects of a generation. Rogers made his name in the 1970s and '80s, with buildings such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Headquarters for Lloyd's Bank in London. To this day his work plays with similar motifs, utilizing bright colors and structural elements to create a style that is recognizable, yet also highly adaptable.

NEO Bankside. Image © Edmund Sumner NEO Bankside. Image © Edmund Sumner

Rogers was born in Florence, but his family moved to Britain during the Second World War, when Rogers was a child. After attending the Architectural Association in London, Rogers studied in the United States at Yale University, where he met fellow Brit Norman Foster. After graduating, the two architects joined forces with Su Brumwell and Wendy Cheeseman to form Team 4 in 1963. Though their collaboration as Team 4 lasted just four years, it would prove to be a crucial formative stage in British architecture, as both Rogers and Foster went on to be the leading names of the British High-Tech scene.

3 World Trade Center. Image Courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners 3 World Trade Center. Image Courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

In the 1990s Rogers became involved in British politics, sitting in the House of Lords as a Labour Peer (his full title is Baron Rogers of Riverside). This led to an invitation by the government to set up the Urban Task Force, which in 1998 conducted a review into the causes of urban decay and outlined a vision for the future of British Cities in the paper "Towards an Urban Renaissance." For 8 years he was also chief advisor on architecture and urbanism for the Mayor of London.

The Leadenhall Building. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford Properties The Leadenhall Building. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford Properties

In more recent years Rogers has continued to produce work of great merit, winning theRichard Rogers - 3" data-status="create" data-insights-category="kth-signup-form" data-insights-label="nrd-save-this-bookmark" data-insights-value="7" data-insights-id="1544102207670.5305"> Stirling Prize in 2006 and 2009, and the Pritzker Prize in 2007.

Y-Cube. Image © Grant Smith Y-Cube. Image © Grant Smith

As the 75th recipient of the Gold Medal, Rogers joins an esteemed list of winners including Frank Lloyd Wright (1949), Louis Sullivan (1944), Le Corbusier (1961), Louis I. Kahn (1971), I.M. Pei (1979), Thom Mayne (2013), Julia Morgan (2014), Moshe Safdie (2015) and Denise Scott Brown & Robert Venturi (2016). Last year, the award was given to James Stewart Polshek.

Millennium Dome. Image © Flickr user jamesjin licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Millennium Dome. Image © Flickr user jamesjin licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

News via: The American Institute of Architects


Miniature Calendar: Micro-City Scenes Made Daily from Household Objects

1 week 1 day ago
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Photography & Video. ]

It takes just one artist to raise this annual micro-village, putting out a fresh scene daily featuring miniature people going about their everyday lives, navigating repurposed objects designed for different purposes at larger scales.

The new Miniature Calendar by Tastuya Tanaka is the latest in a series of 7, each one featuring 365 snapshots of lives lived small. The figures are often framed by items that are easy to recognize and yet also simple to reimagine in context.

The little humans populating each scene can be seen riding camels over sand dunes, diving between the spirals of a notebook, scaling toothpick architectural towers, strolling down bustling streets with neon sticky note signage and more.

Notebooks, sticky notes, thin plastic sheets and other items found at any art store make up the backdrops for these shots. These are, in turn, turned into books, postcards and calendars by the artist.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Photography & Video. ]

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6 Architectural Responses to Climate Change in 2018

1 week 2 days ago
Photo.Synth.Etica / ecoLogicStudio © NAARO Photo.Synth.Etica / ecoLogicStudio © NAARO

As part of a global, interdisciplinary effort to tackle climate change, architects are devoting resources towards optimizing the energy efficiency of buildings old and new. This effort is more than justified, given that buildings account for almost 40% of UK and US emissions. As awareness of the issue of climate change becomes more apparent each year, so too do the architectural responses. 2018 was no exception.

In a year that saw wildfires rage across California, hurricanes in Florida, and mudslides in Japan, the architectural community has put forward a wealth of proposals, both large and small scale, which seek to mitigate against the role the built environment plays in inducing climate change. 

Ranging from a biological curtain in Dublin to a radical masterplan for Boston, we have rounded up six developments in the architectural fight against climate change that we published throughout 2018.

Harvard HouseZero / Snohetta

Harvard HouseZero / Snøhetta. © Michael Grimm Harvard HouseZero / Snøhetta. © Michael Grimm

Designed in collaboration with the Harvard Center for Green Buildings (CGBC) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the HouseZero saw the retrofit of the CGBC headquarters in a pre-1940s building into an “ambitious living-factory and an energy-positive prototype for ultra-efficiency that will help us to understand buildings in new ways.”

The ambitious project was driven by a desire to achieve zero energy demands for heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation, and to produce zero carbon emissions. It is estimated that the building will produce more energy over its lifetime than was used in its renovation and operation.

Read more about the project here.

Photo.Synth.Etica / ecoLogicStudio

London-based architectural and urban design firm ecoLogicStudio has unveiled a large-scale “urban curtain” designed to fight climate change. “Photo.Synth.Etica” was developed in collaboration with Climate-KIC, the most prominent climate innovation initiative from the European Union, to “accelerate solutions to global climate change.

Photo.Synth.Etica, exhibited at the Printworks Building in Ireland’s Dublin Castle in November 2018, captures and stores one kilogram of CO2 per day, the equivalent to that of 20 large trees.

Read more about the project here.

The Climate Tile / Third Nature, IBF, ACO Nordic

Climate Tile. Image Courtesy of THIRD NATURE Climate Tile. Image Courtesy of THIRD NATURE

The Climate Tile is a pilot project designed to catch and redirect 30% of the projected extra rainwater coming due to climate change. Created by THIRD NATURE with IBF and ACO Nordic, the project will be inaugurated on a 50m pavement stretch at Nørrebro in Copenhagen.

The first sidewalk was created as an innovative climate project that utilizes the Climate Tile to create a beautiful and adaptable cityscape. Aimed at densely populated cities, the tile handles water through a technical system that treats water as a valuable resource.

Read more about the project here.

Vertical University / KTK-BELT Studio

Vertical University. Courtesy of KTK-BELT Studio Vertical University. Courtesy of KTK-BELT Studio

KTK-BELT Studio, a not-for-profit organization based in rural Nepal, is currently working with local communities to create a fascinating "Vertical University," which will teach students about biodiversity and environmental conservation in 6 "living classrooms" positioned along a vertical forest corridor that stretches from 67 meters above sea level to the top of an 8,856-meter peak.

These 6 stops encapsulate the 5 climatic zones of Eastern Nepal: tropical, subtropical, temperate, subarctic and arctic.

Read more about the project here.

Bay Area Masterplan / HASSELL + MVRDV

Bay Area Masterplan. Courtesy of MVRDV and HASSELL Bay Area Masterplan. Courtesy of MVRDV and HASSELL

Following recent natural disasters including the Northern California wildfires, the HASSELL+ team have been inspired to reimagine the San Francisco Bay Area as a vibrant community hub, equipped to provide temporary facilities in an emergency. As part of the competition Resilient by Design, the ten teams were asked to provide solutions for the waterfront through site-specific conceptual design and collaborative research projects.

The HASSELL + team’s proposal integrates a network structure of ‘connectors’ and ‘collectors’ to improve the waterfront’s physical and social resilience. The recharged streets, creeks and enhanced ferry network are the ‘connectors’ that will become new slow and safe movement corridors to the points of collection, including adaptive open spaces that will socially recharge the area as a place for everyday gathering and civic celebration that can also provide the vital space needed for disaster assembly.

Read more about the project here.

Imagine Boston 2030 / SCAPE

Downtown Boston Vision. Image © SCAPE / City of Boston Downtown Boston Vision. Image © SCAPE / City of Boston

The Mayor of Boston and SCAPE Landscape Architecture have collaborated on a vision to protect the city’s 47 miles of shoreline against climate change. The scheme lays out strategies which will “increase access and open space along the waterfront while better protecting the city during a major flooding event.”

The vision forms part of the Imagine Boston 2030 initiative while using the city’s Climate Ready Boston 2070 flood maps, targeting infrastructure along Boston’s most vulnerable flood pathways.

Read more about the project here.


Triple Dutch

1 week 2 days ago
The lack of posts between my roundup of Holiday Gift Books on Thanksgiving and now was due to a trip to Amsterdam to cover the World Architecture Festival for World-Architects. Thankfully I was able to do some sightseeing on what was my first trip to the Netherlands, zipping around Amsterdam and taking day trips to Delft and Rotterdam. Below are photos of some highlights in these three Dutch cities, presented in the order I visited them.


The bathtub-like addition to the Stedelijk Museum (2012) by Benthem Crouwel Architects:

Superlofts Houthaven (2016) by Marc Koehler Architects, which won at WAF in 2017 and was open for tours this year:

Het Schip, the Amsterdam School masterpiece from 1920 by Michel de Klerk:

ARCAM (Architecture Centre Amsterdam), housed in a shapely building designed by René van Zuuk (2003):


Delft City Hall and Train Station (2017) by Mecanoo:

BK City (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment) at TU Delft with glasshouses designed by Octatube, Fokkema & Partners, and MVRDV:

Library at TU Delft (1998) by Mecanoo, my favorite building of the whole trip:

Student Housing DUWO (2009) by Mecanoo:

Delft likes stilts, if these two buildings I have no details on are any indication:

The hodgepodge of townhouse architecture in Nieuw Delft, a residential area being developed south of the new train station and city hall...:

...including House CB005 (2018) by GAAGA:


Rotterdam Central Station (2014) by Team CS, the collaboration of Benthem Crouwel Architects, MVSA Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten and West 8:

Shouwburgplein ("Theater Square," 1996) by West8:

Netherlands Architecture Institute (1993) by Jo Coenen, renovated by the architect in 2011 for Het Nieuwe Instituut:

Next to Het Nieuwe Instituut is the construction site for the spaceship-like public art depot for the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen designed by MVRDV and set to be completed next year:

Kunsthal, designed by OMA in 1991 and then renovated by OMA in 2013:

Markthal (2015) by MVRDV:

Timmerhuis (2015) by OMA:

Large-Scale Light Art Comes to Life in Amsterdam for Annual Festival

1 week 2 days ago
[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Every winter, visitors and residents alike get to see Amsterdam in a whole new light – literally – as large-scale light art installations add an extra layer of vibrance to the city. For the seventh annual edition, the Amsterdam Light Festival chose the theme “The Medium is the Message,” a modern-day evaluation of the famous phrase coined by Canadian scientist Marshall McLuhan. The role light plays in conveying a message glows in the foreground with Amsterdam as the stage, each work interacting with its setting.

WAITING… by Frank Foole

The festival asks artists to consider what kinds of messages light transmits in an era of technology, new media and “fake news.” Can light maintain its objectivity? How does it communicate in a way that other mediums simply can’t share? 29 works of art present their own answers to these questions, illuminated each day between 5pm and 11pm. The festival kicked off on November 29th, 2018 and will run through January 20th, 2019.

ACTION>REACTION 2.0 by Sjimmie Veenhuis
STRANGERS IN THE LIGHT by Victor Engbers & Ina Smits
TWO LAMPS by Jeroen Henneman

Among the most dynamic works is ‘Light a Wish’ by OGE group, which dangles rotating dandelions over the city’s canal.

“The enlarged, fuzzy seeds – of which there are 20 in total and measure 2 metres in height – dangle carefully above the canal and glow in a way that makes it look as though they are breathing. With ‘Light a Wish’ the artists visualise the good intentions that we quietly release and (hopefully) encounter again in the future. In this way the illuminated dandelion puffballs are carriers of our deepest desires and dreams.”

“In the old days, blowing dandelion seeds into the air was also done as a superstitious act: the number of seeds that remained signified the number of years you had to wait to get married, how many children you would have with your loved one, or how many years you still had to live. But before we can take a look in the future, we have to wait a little longer for spring.”

AFTEREAL by Yasuhiro Chida
ALL THE LIGHT YOU SEE by Alicia Eggert
CONTINUUM by Sebastian Kite
DESIRE by UxU Studio

If you’re a light artist interested in seeing your own work splashed across Amsterdam, the festival is already calling for concepts for the 2019-2020 season – check it out at the Amsterdam Light Festival website.

Photography by Janus van den Eijnden

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UNStudio Designs a City of the Future for The Hague

1 week 3 days ago
City of the Future. Image Courtesy of Plompmozes City of the Future. Image Courtesy of Plompmozes

Dutch architectural practice UNStudio have created a new urban vision for the City of the Future, a Central Innovation District (CID) test site in The Hague. Dubbed the "Socio-Technical City", the design covers a 1 square km area in the center of the city. The proposal aims to transform the site into a green, self-sufficient district of housing, offices, urban mobility and public spaces over the existing train track infrastructure.

City of the Future. Image Courtesy of Plompmozes City of the Future. Image Courtesy of Plompmozes

UNStudio's vision for The Hague is one of the studies made for 'The City of the Future', a joint initiative by BNA Research (the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects), the Delft University of Technology, the Delta Metropolis Association, the municipalities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Eindhoven, the Directorates-General for Mobility and Transport, the Environment and Water, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Ministry of Interior. The project started in January 2018, when 10 multidisciplinary design teams were tasked with investigating new ways of city-making using five test locations in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Eindhoven.

UNStudio's concept for the Socio-Technical City combines the two largest challenges facing the future of cities - urbanization and sustainability - and focuses specifically on the questions of how an area like the CID can be self-sufficient and energy-neutral. The scheme creates a series of gateways made to become catalysts for encounter and innovation.

City of the Future. Image Courtesy of UNStudio City of the Future. Image Courtesy of UNStudio

With the elevated urban layer covering the existing railway tracks, UNStudio's urban vision distinguishes a number of technical 'domains', which refer to the major transition issues of our time: energy, circularity, mobility, climate adaptation / water management and food production. These domains are then each envisioned as 'gateways': physical architectural interventions that offer practical solutions to the problems as well as functioning as attractive symbols for the specific themes - a geothermal power station as an icon for energy transition, a (Hyperloop) station as a landmark for mobility, a Biopolus water treatment plant as a symbol for circularity. The gateways form catalysts for meeting; they connect neighborhoods and people and thus form breeding grounds for innovation.

City of the Future City of the Future

The concept for the gateways is inspired by the location itself. The existence of three intercity stations within walking distance of each other presents an unprecedented opportunity to transform this area into one Metropolitan Superhub; a system of closely linked terminals, comparable in size to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. It also provides an opportunity to create space for new forms of sustainable mobility such as the Hyperloop, with a free floating system of electric scooters, and possibly self-driving pods, interlinking the different modes of public transport. Following the construction of the elevated urban layer, the Metropolitan Superhub can gradually become a city center. The city grows all around it and connects to this layer, while creating a level of density that is unprecedented in the Netherlands. In turn, the geothermal energy plant is the central location of the energy supply and as such is an important gateway for the CID. The energy gateway is not only a geothermal power plant, but also a bridge that connects neighborhoods, a winter garden and co-working space for start-ups. But above all it is a symbol for energy transition: an energy cathedral.

City of the Future City of the Future

The Biopolus forms another gateway, a circular system that provides local food and water supplies. The Biopolus ensures that the waste water from the new part of the city is purified and the nutrients that are released are used for the cultivation of crops. Waste water is pumped through tubes to the highest level, after which it flows to the lowest level via various purification processes, producing drinking quality water which then enters the system again. The localized cycle is complete. The Biopolus is an urban farm, a vertical park and an emblem of the circular economy. Climate change presents significant risk factors for the area, such as flooding and overheating. Where currently rainwater, waste water and grey water are all disposed of through one drainage system, in the Socio-Technical City this is separated into different systems. Waste water is drained through underground pipes, however the relatively clean rain water is re-used and made visible in the form of water features in public spaces: an irrigation system of canals, water plazas and waterfalls.


Community Center Camburi / CRU! Architects

1 week 3 days ago
© Nelson Kon © Nelson Kon
  • Architects: CRU! Architects
  • Location: Ubatuba - State of São Paulo, Brazil
  • Lead Architect: Sven Mouton
  • Collaborators: Reintje Jacobs, Jan Detavernier, Britt Christiaense
  • Area: 1883.68 ft2
  • Project Year: 2018
  • Photographs: Nelson Kon
© Nelson Kon © Nelson Kon

Text description provided by the architects. The community center of Cambury is a building by and for the local low-income community of Cambury, built as a social development project. The project, started in 2004 (first part of the center) , is still active in 2018 (building of the community bakery) and is run by the local community members in the form of a cooperative and local association.

© Nelson Kon © Nelson Kon

While CRU! in the form of the bamboostic-project offered technical assistance and finances to the building, the community decided all of the content and program of the building and its different parts built in different times over the last 10 years.  The community decided that the first building was to be a community center to hold gatherings, while following years other parts such as a computer-room, library, pré-school, cooperative building-instruments storage room, surfboard storage room,  association-office and last completed a community bakery.

© Nelson Kon © Nelson Kon

CRU! was always strict to not enter in any decision regarding function nor workings of the cooperatieve or association and to keep to only aiding in designing and technical assistance. The entire Bamboostic project was foreseen as an educative training for this cooperative to perfect their techniques, whilst building community infrastructure.

© Nelson Kon © Nelson Kon

For the design 3 main requirements were put forward by the local association of Cambury: to provide a communal space to hold meetings, school activities or other events and several separate rooms to host classes and to store material; to form a perceived geographical center of the town and third  to integrate the building within the surrounding landscape and the existing school located on the same terrain.

© Nelson Kon © Nelson Kon

The terrain is situated 50 meters land inward from the beach. The center is oriented in the direction of the sea to catch the main wind for ventilation. By raising the roof sufficiently high and by avoiding perpendicular walls blocking airflow inside the building, the ventilation flow is optimal. Under warm and humid conditions higher wind velocities have a positive effect on the physiological as well as psychological wellbeing. The height of the building aids the buoyancy or stack effect; air will flow in when the warmer indoor air rises up through the building and escapes at the top, therefore the design foresees both lateral sides open. The rising warm air reduces the pressure at the base of the building, drawing colder air in when there is a lack of natural airflow and stagnant air. 

© Nelson Kon © Nelson Kon

Additionally, the sheer force of the wind is a key factor in the design. The impact of this force is larger when a construction gains in height (needed for the ventilation). In order to have adequate wind-bracing, the triangulation of the construction needed to be well studied and executed in good order and detail. Elevating a building with wind-bracing only at the end can have detrimental consequences during (frequent) storms. The use of four columns, with the cross-bracing of both lateral trusses proved to be sufficient to act as wind-bracing

© Nelson Kon © Nelson Kon

MVRDV Co-Founder Winy Maas Named Domus' 2019 Editor-In-Chief

1 week 5 days ago

MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas has been named Domus’ 2019 10x10x10 Editor-In-Chief. The publication began the Domus 10x10x10 in 2018 as an initiative to bring new ideas and alternative editorial styles to the magazine. The 10-year initiative leads to Domus' 100th anniversary in 2028.

As much an architect as a researcher, Maas will provide an original editorial strategy founded on intellectual exploration and catalyzing creative ways of thinking about contemporary and future design efforts. In a manifesto titled “Everything is Urbanism,” Maas describes his primary goals for Domus 2019, a series of 10 publications over 10 months that explore contemporary design questions and theoretical problems, spark dialogue, and examine ongoing architectural research.

© Barbra Verbij © Barbra Verbij

Domus ‘19 will give a voice to those who make the city: the urbanists, the landscape architects, the architects, the designers, the artists, the developers, the investors, the mayors, the residents, the users, the scholars, the critics.
- Winy Maas, “Everything is Urbanism” Manifesto

Maas is no stranger to innovative thinking and publication, directing many of his research efforts at The Why Factory, a global think-tank at TU Delft. The research institute focuses on education, research, and engagement in public dialogue through exhibitions, panel discussions, publications, and workshops. Since 2009, The Why Factory has published a series of books titled the “Future Cities Series.” Maas can bring elements of his educational initiative to the Domus 2019 publication series - taking the magazine in a new direction.

News via MVRDV


How to Design Semi-Permanent Structures

1 week 5 days ago
Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura

Natural disasters continue to leave thousands of people homeless every year, forcing them to seek refuge without any alternatives. On many occasions, cities cannot cope with refugees, limiting their resources. In addition to this, the difficulties to sustain refugees in a dignified way, becomes increasingly complex, leading to the collapse of conventional strategies.

It is at this moment when innovation and creativity play an important role in construction practices, ultimately creating a quicker and more efficient construction model that can be replicated after natural disasters.

Undoubtedly, there are some principles that should be taken into account when designing a semi-permanent structure. Thus, we have gathered some tips and examples that you may find useful. 

Select Easily Accessible Materials for Faster Construction

Arquitectura de Transición. Un refugio para Piura, Perú. Image Cortesía de Carlos Pastor santa Maria / Soledad Maldonado Ayus Arquitectura de Transición. Un refugio para Piura, Perú. Image Cortesía de Carlos Pastor santa Maria / Soledad Maldonado Ayus

Easily accessible and economic materials are vital when constructing semi-permanent structures. It is important to analyze the context in where you will design the emergent construction. With this, you can implement materials local in the area and define appropriate construction techniques for the design. 

It is important to use materials with low impact on the environment: we often forget what happens at the end of the life cycle of a construction. This will help us reduce the ecological footprint of our construction.

Easy to Assemble and Disassemble Without Technical Requirements

Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios

Understanding the importance of self-built structures can make it easier for communities to shape their physical environment. By using design and construction strategies with participatory schemes, it can be easier and quicker to assemble and disassemble prototypes in emergency situations. 

A Structure that can Provide a Long Life of Service 

Although it is a semi-permanent construction, you must foresee that the structure has the potential to become permanent. The time in which construction is estimated can be prolonged, so it is important to understand the typologies and various climatic conditions of the context. Shigeru Ban, 2014 Pritzker Prize Winner, designed a temporary shelter system for Japanese flooding victims, however, considered the constant evolution of the design as a model for growth and longevity.

Maximize Comfort Within the Structure with the Lowest Energy Consumption

B House / i.House Architecture and Construction. Image Cortesía de i.House Architecture and Construction B House / i.House Architecture and Construction. Image Cortesía de i.House Architecture and Construction

The implementation of bioclimatic and sustainable strategies will help improve conditions of habitability within the space. Undoubtedly, the orientation of the construction should take advantage of solar gains to improve the conditioning within the space. If we use a thermal mass - such as walls with mechanized adobe - this will maximize heat gain with longer duration. On the other hand, the implementation of inclined roofs can help collect rainwater to be used for other needs.

If you are looking for reference works of semi-permanent structures, we've selected four projects that might be of interest to you. 

Transition Architecture / A Refuge for Piura, Peru

Arquitectura de Transición. Un refugio para Piura, Perú. Image Cortesía de Carlos Pastor santa Maria / Soledad Maldonado Ayus Arquitectura de Transición. Un refugio para Piura, Perú. Image Cortesía de Carlos Pastor santa Maria / Soledad Maldonado Ayus

Bio-Rebuild Mexico

Bio-Reconstruye México . Image Cortesía de Osiris Luciano Bio-Reconstruye México . Image Cortesía de Osiris Luciano

Chacras Project / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios

Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura Proyecto Chacras / Natura Futura Arquitectura + Colectivo Cronopios. Image Cortesía de Eduardo Cruz y Natura Futura

Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Project in Guangming Village / The Chinese University of Hong Kong & Kunming University of Science and Technology

Proyecto de reconstrucción post-sismo en Guangming . Image Cortesía de World Architecture Festival Proyecto de reconstrucción post-sismo en Guangming . Image Cortesía de World Architecture Festival

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