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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  25 Jul 2014  |  Comments (2)

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You really have to feel sorry for rich kids living in cities. Because even if their parents own an incredibly rare Ferrari 250GT, it will be parked in the underground garage beneath their luxury building, and their children will never achieve spiritual growth by sending the car over a precipice like Cameron did in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The car would have to be parked somewhere on an upper story, preferably on the same level as their tony apartment, in order for the kids to experience this kind of gravity-based emotional catharsis.

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Posted by erika rae  |  23 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

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You've gotta love a house that comes with instructions. The newest project from Iranian design group nextoffice scales up the the space-saving technique behind the Murphy bed and enhances it with a bit of Hogwarts-like whimsy. Their work on the three-floor Sharifi-Ha house in Tehran incorporates a series of semi-mobile rooms, which can be oriented to allow for extra space and sunlight.

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As any city dweller knows, you don't have a lot of square footage to work with in urban hotspots. This design addresses this issue a stack of three rectangular rooms that can either be aligned flush against the façade of the home or rotated perpendicular to the outer wall—creating weather-friendly options for both a winter and summer living space.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Jul 2014  |  Comments (3)

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Something you see a lot of in New York is workers assembling or disassembling a metal scaffold, but you almost never see them made out of new-looking pipes. The banged-up metal is a testament to how much use they see over their lifetimes. In contrast, you'll also see workers assembling and disassembling temporary facades out of 2x4s and CDX, but the difference is, the wood all goes into a garbage dumpster at the end, riddled as they are with screws and screw holes. They don't live to see another day, unlike the metal scaffolding.

Beijing-based architecture firm Penda has made a similar observation by looking at Native American tipis. When it's time to move on, the nomadic owners untied the rope bindings for the pole structure, bundled it together for transport, then put it up somewhere else. The lack of penetrating fasteners means the poles can be re-used indefinitely.

Thus Penda's "One With the Birds" project, which takes the local-to-China material of bamboo and binds it together with rope in a triangular matrix pattern that can then be built out.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  14 Jul 2014  |  Comments (2)

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No Brazilian can be happy with their national team suffering two crushing defeats in a row, and now the country is dotted with brand-new stadiums that can only serve as a painful reminder. But now that the World Cup is over, perhaps those stadiums, so expensive and controversial to build, can be put to more enduring use.

Architects Axel de Stampe and Sylvain Macaux have put forth a proposal called Casa Futebol, whereby the twelve stadiums would be reappropriated for housing. The concept calls for the design of prefabricated apartment modules of 105 square meters that could be inserted into the periphery of each stadium's shape, along with "colonizing the outside facade" to give them a different look.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |   7 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

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More steps forward, and upward, for our robotic overlords: architectural 3D printing gets practical with a little teamwork. A group at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia has developed a 3-robot skeleton crew capable of laying down architecturally relevant shapes and material. Using the most basic tools (off-the-shelf electronics and Erector Set parts), their team based design solves the key problem of large scale additive printing: size of the printer. To date, most "printed" architecture requires a massive external framework, supporting the large single printer in an absurdly scaled-up version of desktop machines. In order for the technology to become more than a gimmicky gesture—that architecture is, in fact, paying attention to trends—that needs to change.

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The first robot team member is equipped with a sensor that follows an initial marked path. It lays the first several centimeters of synthetic marble in a coiled foundation. The second robot fits onto the foundation, gripping the sides tightly with rollers. It continues squeezing out coils of marble, smoothing and shooting it with nearly 200° air. The head of the second team member is also mobile, allowing the form to take on curved surfaces as the coiled "building" advances. The third robot is my favorite: Breaking from the horizontal coil-pot method, it uses suction cups and pressurized air to crawl vertically up the structure. Its job is to reinforce the weaknesses of a structure built with all materials laid in the same direction. This is the biggest drawback to a coil-printed design, as anyone vaguely familiar with shear strength can imagine. (Just think about how easy it would be to squish in the side of that coil pot.) By letting this mountain-climbing robot squirt on reinforcing "beams" of marble, it can add rigidity as needed.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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As a society, we've more or less got the design of gas stations figured out. Outside is a row of pumps (ground-mounted in most of the world but ceiling-mounted in space-tight countries like Japan), a roof to keep the elements off, a sprinkler system in case Gus decides to light up a Pall Mall. Inside there's snacks, cold drinks and a bathroom where you can cut and bleach your hair when you've been wrongly framed for murder and are on the run from the cops.

But in the early part of the 20th Century, gas stations were neither commonplace nor figured out in terms of design. There was no standard. The few folks that owned cars might be able to find a "filling station," or they drove to hardware stores to buy gasoline over-the-counter. So Frank Lloyd Wright's 1927 design for a filling station must've seemed very radical indeed.

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Wright's vision featured two cantilevered roof wings, each of which supported overhead gas pumps made from glass, for chrissakes, ringed with copper. And speaking of copper the entire roof was shod with it. (Impossible to imagine today given the cost of metal, but back then copper was so cheap that there was a huge statue entirely made out of the stuff in New York City, and we'd gotten the whole thing for free less than fifty years earlier.) Two towering "totems," as Wright called them, would have a sign conspicuously suspended between them.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   2 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

01lostart-002.jpgPhoto by Christopher Schwarz & John Hoffman's Lost Art Press

Behind the Berrybrook School in Duxbury, Massachusetts, stands an old beat-up shed. Teachers were using it for overflow storage in 2012 when Michael Burrey, a restoration carpenter working on a project at the school, came across the building. Inside, looking past the scattered toys and tricycles, he recognized the space for what it was: A woodworking shop. An extremely old one that predated electricity, judging by the "1789" painted on a roof beam and the remains of a treadle-powered lathe.

02lostart-003.jpgPhoto by Christopher Schwarz & John Hoffman's Lost Art Press

03jeffklee-002.jpgPhoto by Jeffrey E. Klee, Architectural Historian of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

"All the benches were there," Burrey told The Boston Globe. More giveaways as to the structure's purpose: "The way the benches are in relation to the windows, how the light comes in to light an area, the location of the tool racks on the walls."

04lostart-004.jpgPhoto by Christopher Schwarz & John Hoffman's Lost Art Press

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  17 Jun 2014  |  Comments (0)

haikyo1.jpgVia

It's a safe bet that if you live a networked and urbanized life, you're at least a little intrigued by abandoned places. Chalk it up to our species' contrary nature, physical and psychic thrill-seeking, an innate fascination with death, or desire to experience The Inhuman. The interest exists across cultures and ages and class. Abandoned homes, decommissioned factories, old military bunkers, most of Detroit, never-realized retrofuturism, decrepit malls—regardless of previous use they are each remnants of lives we can't quite imagine. They're physical embodiments of stories about when things stop and sobering glimpses of what the world would be like without us. For those of you who appreciate the peaceful (or terrifying) draw of abandoned places, do yourself a solid and add "Haikyo" to your search terms for cool stuff.

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Haikyo are Japanese ruins or abandoned places. The word has also come to describe the act of seeking them out. Whether you do your own exploring or appreciate others' adventures from the warm and unhaunted confines of your computer, these spaces are bound to inspire. Second-hand, haikyo seem more lovely than other urban exploration finds. Though possibly due to the added intrigue of foreignness, I'd argue that these sites have additional appeal because of Japan's history of subdued and tasteful architectural design, and a strikingly intimate relationship with surrounding forests. Some speculators claim the prevalence of Japanese ruins is a combination of old culture and very recent economic booms and busts that resulted in unneeded or unaffordable physical development.

haikyo2.jpgVia

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   4 Jun 2014  |  Comments (4)

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Former banker Jay Dweck enjoys swimming, collecting violins and being rich. After earning his fortune on the Street, the former Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley exec decided to splash out on a pool that would combine these passions.

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Dweck contacted award-winning landscape architecture and masonry firm Cipriano Landscape Design, a New-Jersey-based outfit that recently added custom-designed swimming pools to their repertoire. The "exact replica in scale of a 1700s era Stradivarius violin with all of its detail and intricacies" that they came up with, in accordance with Dweck's wishes, is just nuts; the firm describes it as "one of the most complex pool designs and installations within the whole design and build industry."

First off, look at the amount of detail and AutoCADding that went into just the tiles, which are translucent glass and number nearly 500,000:

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Posted by core jr  |   8 May 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The Community. Design. Initiative. is a project located in one of Canada's most at-risk and diverse neighborhoods, facilitating a conversation about architecture's responsibility to engage across not only physical, but economic, social, cultural, and environmental environments. In short, it's kids building buildings—under the watchful mentorship of a few brave social work and design professionals. In Canada, it is pushing the envelope around truly participatory architectural processes.

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The project itself is unique collaboration project between a social service delivery hub (East Scarborough Storefront), an architectural think tank (archiTEXT), and an architecture firm (SUSTAINABLE.TO). Based in the priority neighborhood (a neighborhood defined as at-risk) of Kingston Galloway Orton Park in East Scarborough, the building project has engaged youth to design an 8,000 sq. ft. addition to the social service delivery hub, the East Scarborough Storefront. Over the last three years, local youth have been engaged with architects, landscape architects, planners, designers, etc.—over 45 professionals involved in the conception, design, fundraising, approval process, and construction of the building. The complexity of this building process' eco-system continues to engage all ranges of stakeholders, with the youth-led participatory process demonstrating broad reaching positive impacts on the community (and at-risk neighborhoods at large).

Both social workers and designers want to help to improve people's lives, yet they use entirely different words, tools and processes. The Community. Design. Initiative. has allowed (or made it necessary for) the two groups to learn to work together, to share their words, tools and processes.

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Posted by erika rae  |  30 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

Paddle8-Lead.jpgPablo Castro's Sanhe Kindergarden

The second best thing to having a home designed by your favorite architect has got to be hanging original work from said architect on your walls. From May 1-9, you'll have a chance to get your hands on sketches from your favorite modern-day architects. The Drawing Center is teaming up with Paddle8 to host an auction titled "Architectural Drawings" featuring names like Thom Mayne, Michael Bell, Steven Holl, Stan Allen, Neil Denari and Eric Owen Moss (among others). A small preview of the curated collection is available online here.

Paddle8-Geo.jpgThom Mayne, Kim Groves and Nenad Bozek's Sixth Street Fragment F,O: 3, 12 Small Heavy Metal

Paddle8-OLHouse.jpgNeil Denari's P.L. House

The funds raised will go toward supporting future architectural exhibitions and programs at The Drawing Center. Other featured architects include Brad Cloepfil, Michael Maltzan, Annabelle Selldorf, OBRA and James Newton Wines. The auction opens up at 10am EST on Thursday, May 1, so make sure to get your bids in!

For more information, check out the the auction on Paddle8.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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While China had their Industrial Revolution rather late in the global game, their production might and speed means they'll likely advance new digital fabrication techniques before the rest of the world does. For example, it's been ten years since the American outfit Contour Crafting first proposed 3D printing houses, but aside from a brief surge of TED-Talk-inspired press in 2012, they've been mostly quiet. In that time, meanwhile, China has begun developing their 3D-printed-house-erecting capabilities in earnest.

The Shanghai-based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering company recently printed ten sample structures of 200 square meters each. What's amazing is that they produced the entire lot in less than 24 hours, and that the cost of each house is less than US $5,000. The concrete-like building material comes "entirely out of recycled materials [and is] a mixture of construction and industrial waste" which the company claims is environmentally friendly (although they don't provide specifics on the material).

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Posted by erika rae  |  23 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The Roomba has made all of our lives easier from cleaning up after us to serving up some much-needed laughs moonlighting as "DJ Roomba." Someday soon you may be seeing a similar looking robot make an appearance in the world of architecture. Designer Han Seok Nam is looking to cut down on labor costs and up efficiency with his design, Archibot. The mobile printer works with in-room sensors to print uploaded CAD files that signify different construction points and plans right onto the floor of a work area.

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The recently patented Archibot has been designed to recognize where building elements such as doors and walls need to be built. The printed plans can be compared to larger print-outs, making them easy to interpret and cross-check for both architects and contractors. Check out the video to see how it all comes together:

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Posted by erika rae  |   4 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Barcelona-based architect Federico Babina has commemorated 33 well-known architects—among the honored are Charles Eames, Norman Foster, Frank Lloyd Wright and Rem Koolhaus—in illustrated portrait series titled "Archiportrait." The illustrations present themselves as mini puzzles featuring famed staircases, window panes, support structures, entire buildings and more. In short, any renowned architectural form you can think of is hidden with these faces. While we've cracked (parts of) nine portraits for you, there are still 24 left open for your own interpretations.

Archiportraits-EnricMiralles.jpgThe colorful, tiled roof of the Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona is re-imagined as the facial hair of the architect

Arichiportraits-LeCorbusier.jpgCorbusier's portrait features The Palace of Justice in Chandigarh, India (top) and Church of Saint-Pierre in Firminy, France (bottom)

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   1 Apr 2014  |  Comments (8)

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I bet you didn't realize this, but your front door sucks. Yes, it does. It's made out of steel or wood or even worse, steel disguised to look like wood. It offers little thermal insulation, your neighbors can hear you arguing through it, and burglars can easily kick it in. Even worse, it's just plain ugly.

The 85mm-thick doors by Slovenia-based Inotherm, on the other hand, don't suck at all. They're made out of 3mm-thick sheets of folded aluminum with polyurethane sealed inside to offer a winning blend of both thermal and sound insulation. The escutcheons are made of stainless steel and designed to protect against drilling and turning. And most importantly, they're way better-looking than your lousy door.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  11 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)

balancinghouse2.jpgVilla Kogelhof

Are you opinionated about architecture? For once the world wants to hear about it: vote for your top picks in the Architizer A+ Awards! Public voting is open until March 21, and there are plenty of categories (and even more subcategories) of beautifully built and rendered work. Not opinionated about architecture? Cast votes for your dream home, office, airport, and garden. Here are some of my top picks.


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In the Residential Interiors category, I loved RoominaRoom by Atmos Studio. Located in London, the redesign is a room "grown" within another in response to the building's residents' committee blocking a loft project. Sneaky.


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In one of the Landscape categories, the Hans-Wilsdorf Bridge, a scribbly tube spanning the 280 feet of Switzerland's Arve river.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   3 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Turkeys strut, peacocks preen, and bowerbirds design. Of all the strange things that male birds do to attract a mate, the bowerbird's ritual is the only one that could make it into the MoMA. They use two distinct types of "architecture" and have a keen eye for color as well.

0bowerbirdnests-002.jpgImage via The Wilderness Alternative

Once mating season rolls around, these Oceanican birds start gathering sticks and using them to erect structures called bowers. Amusingly, the bowerbirds pick one of two architectural styles, depending on their subspecies. One type is a "maypole" bower, where the sticks are arranged around a sapling to form a kind of teepee or cave:

0bowerbirdnests-003.jpgImage via The Wilderness Alternative

The second is an "avenue" bower, where the sticks are arranged vertically to make a path down the middle, like something you'd see a bride and groom walk through at a wedding venue.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  13 Feb 2014  |  Comments (1)

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You undoubtedly remember those slick renderings for the Lowline, the still-in-progress underground NYC park tentatively scheduled for a 2018 opening. The renderings were done by architect Kibum Park, a partner at James Ramsey's RAAD, where Park "[focuses] on single and multi-family residential, commercial and hospitality projects." Well, turns out Park's got a Coroflot page, loaded up with renders of some bee-yootiful hotels, restaurants, houses and apartments, the latter being the ones that most caught our eye.

The clients are of course anonymous and text descriptions are largely absent, but the images do most of the talking. Check out this NYC penthouse with its crazy, sun-dappled, yurt-like master bedroom with elevated library:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  13 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Dude, you need some Schneestops

We wondered how our neighbors across the pond deal with roofborne snow and ice hazards, and Switzerland-based reader Christian put us on to Schneestops. Having been used in the Alpines for over 30 years, Schneestops ("snow stops") are a simple, clever, and retroactively-installable solution to prevent large chunks of ice or snow sliding off of your roof and harming whatever's beneath them. (Check out the wrecked Honda in our last entry on the subject.)

The idea behind Schneestops is pretty brilliant: Assuming your roof is built strongly enough to handle the weight of snow, as they are in the Alpines, and assuming your roof is watertight, as it should be, then it's better to actually hold the snow in place on top of your roof, like this:

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Snow serves as an excellent insulator, so you might as well get a little extra R value from Mother Nature's wintry gift.

To that end, Schneestops are metal brackets with a right angle placed in the bottom end:

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What happens is, when you space them out into a diamond grid on your roof...

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  11 Feb 2014  |  Comments (4)

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Watch out for the falling ice, Texas

On a daily basis, I pass the Maya Lin-designed Museum of the Chinese in the Americas, and I hate looking at it. It's a constant reminder of what happens when people don't design and build things to endure in the actual environments they're meant to inhabit. And while this is an annoyance in product design, I find it unforgivable in architecture, as buildings are meant to stand the test of time.

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Lin has designed the museum's protruding awning to be flat, and chosen wood as the material. Fail and fail. The flat design means rainwater and snow pool on top of the thing, gradually rotting it away; and when the snow begins to melt and drip off in several spots, and you can see the results on the poorly-finished wood.

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Posted by Ray  |   5 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Update: An earlier version of this story misreported that the structure works like a cooling tower.

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 are pleased to announce the winner of this year's Young Architects Program (YAP), an annual call for proposals for a temporary outdoor installation for the converted schoolyard space in Long Island City. In keeping with the institution's mission to support contemporary art, architecture and design practice, the entries invariably err on the side of experimental even as they meet a brief to 1.) provide shade, seating and water, and 2.) address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling. New Yorkers and well-heeled visitors alike have probably encountered one of these structures during MoMA PS1's weekly Warm-Up summer concert series, when these spectacular projects serve to elevate the courtyard (literally, at times) from a humble outdoor venue to a visionary social space.

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The winner of the 15th YAP is The Living, an architectural practice led by principal David Benjamin, whose "Hy-Fi" is billed as a "100% organic" structure. Designed using "biological technologies combined with cutting-edge computation and engineering," the ambitious eco-edifice comes in at roughly three stories tall, with its lower portions constructed from organic bricks developed in conjunction with bio-material specialists Ecovative. Its upper extremities are made from hollow reflective bricks—"produced through the custom-forming of a new daylighting mirror film"—by 3M, which will first be used as the "growing trays" for the corn+'shroom bricks.

The organic bricks are arranged at the bottom of the structure and the reflective bricks are arranged at the top to bounce light down on the towers and the ground. The structure inverts the logic of load-bearing brick construction and creates a gravity-defying effect—instead of being thick and dense at the bottom, it is thin and porous at the bottom.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   5 Feb 2014  |  Comments (2)

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That's the SeaOrbiter, a 200-foot tall floating platform for aquatic exploration, and construction on it is due to begin this spring. It is the brainchild and passion project of a French ocean explorer named Jacques—no, not that one: Jacques Rougerie, a "sea architect" who has spent over a decade designing and securing funding for the concept, in addition to his 30 years of research in subsea architecture.

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Slightly over half of the structure will be submerged, and as you can see the core of the design is a sort of eight-story building housing a variety of labs and living quarters for the crew. The underside of the structure houses dive pits, special pressurized living quarters and "underwater garages." Human divers living at atmospheric pressure can get down to 50 meters below the surface, while "saturation divers" living in the pressureized chambers can get down to 100 meters; beyond that, the SeaOrbiter will deploy exploration vehicles that can travel down to 1,000 meters, and will also deploy a bad-ass diving drone that can descend to 6,000 meters.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   5 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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From Seinfeld to Friends, from Rhoda to The Odd Couple, NYC apartments are always depicetd on television as being ridiculously huge. Of course that's a far cry from reality, but at least one show has not only got the scale correct, but has actually injected elements of space-saving design into it: Charlie's sub-200-square-foot studio apartment on HBO's "Girls."

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I don't watch the show and don't know if the apartment still figures into the storyline, but a couple years ago the L.A. Times ran a feature on the fictional apartment's design, cleverly created by production designer Laura Ballinger Gardner. While it is in fact a set, it's pretty stunning how simultaneously realistic and tasteful it looks. On top of that, the design solutions to small-space storage and living, from the bed-topping loft-lounge with storage stairs to the "Mondrian-inspired birch plywood" storage wall to the bedsprings-cum-pot-rack, would be a welcome addition to many an NYC studio.

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Posted by Ray  |  24 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)

Tianducheng-viaWikimediaCommons.jpgGhostBuildings.jpgClockwise from top: Tianducheng via Wikimedia Commons; Baugespanne; Bauprofils via Swicon & The Guardian

What's the opposite of a scale model? A Bauprofil fits the profile: Guardian architecture critic Oliver Wainwright recently took a closer look at what he called 'ghost buildings,' a Swiss concept, also known as baugespanne, in which a life-size, low-cost 'wireframe' limns a proposed building project in situ. "Constructed from metal rods or wooden poles, fixed in place by wire guy ropes, the Swiss baugespanne or bauprofile are usually erected for a month, outlining the full height of the proposed development, with protruding markers to indicate the angle of the roof and direction of the walls," Wainwright writes. "For taller buildings, tethered balloons can be used, and helicopters have even been employed to hover at a specified height for the tallest towers."

ChineseGhostTown.jpgVia io9's round-up

Of course, I initially thought he was referring to the Chinese ghost town phenomenon, the utterly desolate planned communities that seem to crop up, mirage-like, in the hinterlands of the Mainland. Indeed, Wainwright had covered the closely related saga of Zaha Hadid's Galaxy SOHO in Beijing—namely, that it's but a parametric shell of a building—before I (full disclosure) met him during Beijing Design Week last October. Given the generally overambitious and bloated real estate development business in China, it's egregious but perhaps not unexpected... and, in short, flies in the face of the highly prudent Swiss approach.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Jan 2014  |  Comments (3)

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Everyone from dog trainers to engineers of hydroelectric dams will tell you to work with nature, not against it. So in his bid to design a tsunami-resistant house, Dan Nelson and his team at Designs Northwest Architects figured if they couldn't build a house to withstand tsunami waves, they'd come up with one that let the waves pass through it. Their 30-foot Tsunami House, situated on the waterfront of Puget Sound, is designed to remain structurally intact even when hit by eight-foot waves.

How they did this was to raise the house nine feet on concrete-encased, steel-frame-reinforced pillars. But the ground floor is still livable, to a degree: Every fixture and piece of furniture on the first level is waterproof, and there are no electrical outlets down here, just ceiling-mounted lights. The outer walls consist of large, garage-door-style glass walls that are designed to break away under the force of a wave, rather than provide resistance that could be transmitted to the structure.

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Posted by erika rae  |  20 Dec 2013  |  Comments (0)

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Victor Enrich, a Barcelona based photographer, has pushed even his reputation of reconfigurations and twisted figures to the extreme. For his most recent project, he took an image of the NH Deutscher Kaiser hotel (hence the name Project NHDK) in Munich and translated the building's architecture 88 different ways. Most are impossible twists and turns, but some pass as surprisingly realistic.

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Lifelike or not, it's fun to think about what the familiar structures in our lives would look like if we had the chance to get our hands on the architecture. Check out this video showing all of Enrich's variations:

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