The Quartz designed by Michael Khoo at the RMIT University Melbourne, Australia is a master plan proposal situated in the bay of docklands which took the opportunity to investigate the role of architecture in overcoming the food crisis due to the predicted population spike by 2060. Existing farms can only produce that much, the expansion rate is slow because there will not be enough land to cater for more. The upright solution will be replacing the existing farming methods with the highly efficient vertical farms.

Motivation/Inspiration: Re-thinking agriculture
The proposal sets forth to approach the vertical farming typology in a whole new perspective. I wanted to do something different compared to most other vertical farm precedents and proposals. I believe that vertical farming can be something more than just a stacked up farming typology.

The Key Proposal
The Quartz attempts to create a totally transparent vertical farming process and exposing it to the public, turning the unnecessary private realm into a new form of public attraction, which indirectly educates the general public about the next generation of food production. On the other hand,I foresee that open green space in the future will be close to non-existent as most of them will be shrunk to make space for development.This master-plan hybridizes the farm and park typologies to form a new kind of educative,mutually beneficial public avenue.

Design and Form Generation
I wanted the ground area to be as inviting as possible and openness is the concept behind it. Circulation and spatial connectivity were adjusted in a way to provide the general public with a better user experience. The massing blocks were then being adjusted and positioned to prioritize street level comfort at the same time capturing surrounding views. The towers were sculpted under constraints such as day lighting, wind energy, shadow casting and also to programme needs. Using conventional form finding techniques, such as extrusion, twisting , and tapering, the result is a series of highly efficient diamond-like towers which breaks free from its surrounding high-rise neighbors to create its own identity yet still respecting the rectilinearity of Melbourne skyline.

The scheme aims to become a dense node of activity by creating a whole new unique relationship between public and private spaces, hybridizing agriculture, education, and commercial typologies together. The exposure of the overall process becomes an informative feature that educates the onsite audience to better understand that vertical farming is indeed the eventual replacement to conventional farming. Read the rest of this entry »

Semiotic Alpine Escape

By: admin | June - 25 - 2015

Semiological project applied on the program of a hotel as such reflects very significant difference in terms of comfort demand within the same class.
The subclassification into three classes, namely economy, business and superior is a consequence of the social establishment and wealth distribution . A hotel can be considered being a reflection of society, where a slice of such can be addressed to a particular luxury class, in the hotel sector expressed with a star- rating system. Contrast within society in terms of wealth distribution becomes better visible in the upper class, namely the last 5%, which addressed to the hotel sector means six to seven stars.
The project is a critical reflection of the question about through which  parameters luxury or comfort can be achieved and then gradually been differentiated according to class.
Such parameters affect primarily the privacy degree of the space, but other physical parameters such as materiality as well as topographical and environmental conditions are taken into account.
Furthermore psycological effects such as height, orientation towards most privileged views are key for the arrangement of the three classes.
The wide amount of program composed of retail shopping, the restaurants, theater and the services, will erect at 2000m height in the Dolomites having a ropeway station as primer access point.
The climatic condition allows two seasonal settings: Summer and Winter sport activities.
Design: Armin Senoner Read the rest of this entry »

House for the Digital Fiend

By: admin | June - 15 - 2015

This USC Undergraduate Thesis by Zack Matthews focuses on the contemporary condition of digital addiction and how the broad embrace of digital space has been at the expense of culturally significant physical social exchanges.

Virtual space has become so addictive because of its capacity to overstimulate user perceptions. We can be playing a favorite song on our phone, while browsing the latest news on a computer, while playing an interactive game on a tablet,

Upon entering back into physical space, banalities of reality are magnified and relapse back to the digital realm is that much more inevitable.

How do we make the physical environment as potent as the space accessible through technological devices – How can cultural addiction to personal technology be delayed?

#HOUSEFORTHEDIGITALFIEND addresses this question by re-examining the wall as a performative surface that intensifies perceptual engagements; specifically sight, sound and touch. These perceptions are of interest because they are the few of which are natively over-stimulated through technology.

By amplifying a non-virtual experience through; channeling and isolating sound, contorting and clarifying vision, and repelling then invoking occupation, the wall becomes an interactive element that makes physical space as enticing and engaging as the digital realm. Once physical engagement rebuttals the strength of digital engagement, the intent is that this will delay our cultural spiral further towards digital addiction. Read the rest of this entry »

Hyperlocalization of Architecture


Title: [ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture: Contemporary Sustainable Archetypes
Author: Andrew Michler
Cover: Hardback
Size: 12″ x 9.5″ 
Pages: 264
ISBN: 978-1938740084
Publication date: August 2015

What lesson does the largest sustainable office building in the Southern Hemisphere, the smallest of houses in Tokyo, and an underground shopping mall in Mexico City share? They are in fact a perfect response to their conditions. They provide pronounced insights into the challenges and opportunities of contemporary environmental architecture throughout the world. An authentic architecture has emerged– from Melbourne’s kinetically charged buildings, Tokyo’s tiny homes, Cascadia’s large wood, Germany’s energy efficiency, Copenhagen’s bike culture, and Spain’s elegant day lit commercial buildings. These are new architecture archetypes which boldly anticipates the needs of the future by using place as the catalyst.

[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture explores the possibilities and promise of deep sustainable building design through the lens of some of the most provocative projects and esteemed architects of our time. Michler explores and documents the work first hand, and with extensive commentaries from the architects, readers gain a unique insight into how these buildings function in the context of their culture, environment, and utility.

Hyperlocalization is the synthesis of these conditions, challenging the conventions of what a building can be. Hyperlocal architecture captures concepts such as resilience, zero carbon, and regenerative, terms Michler calls aspirational architecture, and turns them into grounded and provocative fully realized forms.

[Japan Condenses] While micro home design is a fashionable subject and often given credit as a sustainable typology, the elements of building cost, services and transportation access, as well as temporal use and daylighting are just as critical for these homes to work as intended. In Japan the fusion of culture and inventiveness merge in manifestation of some of the most provocative small living spaces in the world, demonstrating how we can live better with less.

[Spain Wraps] Daylight is a core asset in larger scale Spanish architecture and has been mastered by the use of second skins, which both eliminate artificial light in the daytime but also allows the building to stay cool, dramatically reducing it need for energy. These buildings go well beyond beauty and function though by embedding a human value into what is often a difficult scale to design for.

[Australia Unfolds] Australia provides the most comprehensive group of environmental building designs. While striking in their distinctive and deep use of natural resources to provide quality living and working environments they also share a kinetic spirit. The design vocabulary is emulated in personal ways but these projects use the gesture of motion to engage with the place they are in.

Other chapters include [Germany Condenses] and the world’s first Passive House museum which is shortlisted final five for the Mies Van der Rohe award for 2015, [Cascadia Harvest] featuring the timber framed Bullitt Center, considered the world’s most sustainable office building, [Mexico Embeds] where subsurface architecture is taking root, and [Denmark Plays] which embraces a culture of inventiveness epitomized by 8 Tallet in Copenhagen.

“The book ‘[ours] hyperlocalization of architecture’ can be seen as a contemporary experimental guide for the future designers and produces different approaches to ‘ordinary architecture’ with regional sources or materials. In this regard, defines a new way of producing through provocative rules and limitations, removing all ambiguity about sustainable architecture. ” – designboom

The book opens with conversations with visionaries including Edward Mazria’s analysis of the significant impact of buildings in climate change, Dr. Wolfgang Feist on the extraordinary low energy Passive house movement, and William McDonough on how to create a design ecosystem that not only solves many of the ills of building design but how we approach design as a healing agent. Featuring a forward by Lloyd Alter and a unique online index for each project directly accessible from the book via smart phone.

Projects by: studio505 | PHOOEY Architects | William Mcdonough + Partners | KUD Architects | Berta Barrio Arquitectos | Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp. | Unemori Architects | Andrew Maynard Architects | Edward Mazria | Peter Busby Perkins+Will | Sean Godsell | Canvas Arquitectos | DesignInc | Hassell Studios | Kavellaris Urban Design | Lederer + Ragnarsdottir + Oei | A.L.X. Architects | BIG | Yasuhiro Yamashita | Miller Hull | Schemata Architecture | KMD Architects | MPR Design Group | Schemata Architecture | Coll-Barreu Arquitectos | Voluar Arquitecture | Durbach Block Jagger | Ramón Fernández-Alonso Arquitect

“This is all based on human creativity, and the ability for us to advance and continuously improve with freedom from the remote tyranny of bad design. That’s why the cultural question becomes interesting because at that point the culture can express itself in a creative way. It still has integrity because you’re expressing yourself creatively within a context. Your solving for rich, local problems. All sustainability, like politics is local. It has to be.” – William McDonough in [ours]

About the Author

Andrew Michler has lived off-grid for two decades in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and is a LEED AP BD+C and Passive House Consultant. He has written extensively on sustainable architecture in print and for leading design blogs. With an extensive background in sustainable design and construction he pioneered a net zero energy and foam free Passive House informed by the local foothills as a personal investigation in to the potential of hyperlocal design. His house is one of the most energy efficient buildings in the Americas.

Hyperlocalization of Architecture

Hyperlocalization of Architecture

Hyperlocalization of Architecture

Hyperlocalization of Architecture

Hyperlocalization of Architecture

Hyperlocalization of Architecture

Hyperlocalization of Architecture

MenoMenoPiu Architects proposal for the new House of Hungarian Music focuses on creating a landmark for the park whilst respecting its environment. In order to fulfill this, our proposition plans to conserve 95% of the existing trees selected by their health and age. The remaining 5%will be moved inside the non-constructible area near the Lakeside.

The structure will be formed by a series of parallel blades orientated perpendicularly to the new axis in order to allow permeability towards the lake. These structural elements will allow the trees to easily grow in between them.

The beams represented as blades will project themselves over the top of the smaller trees included in the site, whereas on the taller trees the blades will pass under them where the trunk will be the only part left apparent.

CREDITS: MenoMenoPiu Architects

PROJECT TEAM: Rocco Valantines, Mario Emanuele Salini, Alessandro Balducci, Giovanni Sandrini, Giampaolo Fondi, Pietro Bodria, Alexandra Baldwin, Paola Malinverni

RENDERINGS: +imgs Read the rest of this entry »

Architecture duo Micaela Colella and Maurizio Barberio designed Unboxed, a prefab wooden home that can be completely recycled. Unboxed is based on the typical Mediterranean house and represents a more sustainable alternative to masonry or frame structure buildings. The high standardization of the modules and their total prefabrication creates great flexibility. This goal is also achieved by splitting the building in several basic structural elements designed to be mounted with all the finishes and without thermal bridges. Thanks to an innovative foundation made of steel, which reduces or eliminates the need for excavation, the house is 100 percent recyclable and can be removed from the site. A low inclination roof allows for the installation of solar roof tiles capable of producing electricity and heat. The house also has a clear division between the living and the sleeping area with a glazed corridor/entrance in the middle that allows residents to re-establish contact with the surrounding environment (flow of time) during each passage. Read the rest of this entry »

Diatomic explores the agglomeration of cellular components within a self-supporting assembly. The project takes inspiration from the observation of single cell algae whose unique feature is that they are enclosed within a cell wall made of silica. These shells show a wide diversity in form, but are usually almost bilaterally symmetrical.

The wall is formed by two distinct components: the tetrahedral component which branches in three-directions and a larger cubical “cell” which branches in eight different directions. The single units were made by assembling flat sheet of plastic cut and bend into shape to form the component. This “cells” was then proliferated to form a hybrid internal partition which can be used as shelf unit as well as a space divider. The porous nature of its geometry provides a visual divide as well as offering opportunity to be used as small office storage.

The projects was developed together with a group of young Swedish designer and was exhibited at KTH School of Architecture.


Project Architect: Marco Vanucci
Project Team / Prototype: Jenny Ryderstedt, Lovisa Wallgren, Max Lindgren, Eira Jacobsson, Frida Körberg Thurhagen Read the rest of this entry »

The solid, rigid material has been the leading role in architecture industry for hundred years, but in this project this definition of architectural material has been changed. In this case, the soft, flexible rubber has been applied into the structure system, interior space and architectural organization. The rigid metal, concrete and glass play the roles as molds to shape the deformable rubber. This combination makes a brand-new relationship between these materials and come out becomes the new visuality of spaces and provides a new sensing experience for the users.

Based on the applications of materials and behaviors of structures, this project can be separated into two different systems: hanging and stacking. The hanging system is the application of elasticity of the rubber. In this case all the spaces were hung by the rubber cable and there is no major structure touches ground. In the stacking system, the rubber plays as the medium between different materials, be shaped by metal and glass, and formed the new hierarchy for the interiority and the exteriority.

Follow these two architectural systems, there are three portions serve as the based constructions: the entrance building, the west tower and the east building. The design of entrance building and west tower are based on the hanging system: all the chambers and exhibition platforms are hold by the rubber cable and be connected to the cantilever structure. On the systematic aspect, the interior decorations and the architectural constructions become one through this design action. The east building is part of the stacking system. The rubber is the connection between metal components and glass shells. This mixture of material makes distorted visuality and a soft sense of touching for the users: it’s a brand new property for the interior space.

In the end this project becomes the mixture of hyper-properties in different meanings. On the structure aspect, it shows the new relationship between materials. On the user experience aspect, it provides the new senses of touching for the visitors. Most importantly on the architectural aspect, it makes a new architectural language and compositional methods for architectural design.

Project Location: Sir. John Soane Museum, London, England.
Designer: Che-Kuang Chuang
Adviser: Hernan Diaz Alonso, Jose Carlos Lopez Cervantes
School: University of Applied Arts Vienna, Studio Excessive Read the rest of this entry »

X|Atelier is organizing four international intensive workshops of Advanced Architectural Design. The X|A Summer Workshops 2015 are led by X|A principals Erick Carcamo (SCI-ARC) and Nefeli Chatzimina (USC, NTUA), both Allumni Graduates of Columbia University in New York City.

X|A LA Workshop I is organized in Downtown Los Angeles. Selected Participants will attend the compu-tation design workshops, academic lectures, final reviews and exhibition of the final work. Daily meetings will take place from 10am to 6pm.

X|A Athens Workshops II&III are organized under the auspices of the Hellenic Institute of Architecture and the Athens School of Fine Arts. Selected Participants will attend the computation design work-shops, academic lectures, final reviews and exhibition at Benaki Museum of Athens from 30th of June -11th of July 2014 or from the 14th -25th of July 2014. Daily meetings will take place from 10am to 6pm at the Benaki Museum of Pireos 138 in Athens.

X|A Innsbruck Workshop IV  is organized in Austria.  Selected Participants will attend the computation design workshops, academic lectures, final reviews and exhibition of the final work. Daily meetings will take place from 10am to 6pm.

As part of an ongoing academic research, Our goal is to explore innovative, potential architectural expressions of the current discourse around Form through computational tools (Autodesk MAYA). We will focus on technique elaboration, material intelligence, formal logic efficiencies and precision assemblies as an ultimate condition of design. The workshop will develop and investigate the notion of proficient geometric variations at a level of complexity, so that questions towards geometrical effectiveness, accuracy and performance can begin to be understood in a contemporary setting. The workshop is a discourse based in the use of multi-layered techniques and production processes that allow for control over intelligent geometries, calibration of parts, and behavioral taxonomies, normalizing an innovative held of predictability.

X|Atelier was founded in 2007 by Erick Cárcamo and Nefeli Chatzimina ::X|A:: is an architectural practice based in the use of multi-layered experimental techniques and production processes networked in Europe, US and Latin America. Both hold a Master’s of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and have graduated from SCI_Arc and N.T.U.Athens respectively. Their teaching expertise extends to Sci-Arc, University of Southern California, Columbia University, Yale SOA, UPenn, Pratt Institute, University of Kentucky, Die Angewandte, N.T.U.Athens and LTH in Sweden.



The New Gastronomical Innovation Center, designed by Oscar Abrahamsson and Jacob Waas at SCI Arc, is a speculative proposal for the El Bulli Research Campus in Cala Montjoi, Catalonia that explores complex systems and baroque geometry as tools in creating an artificial rival to nature.

Our project addresses its relationship to the rural countryside left behind by urbanization and long excluded from the architectural discourse. Instead of trying to imitate or integrate the romantic notions of the “natural”, we are embracing the rapid and radical change of the European countryside – with the understanding that the countryside of today is without doubt man-made – not natural.

We are showcasing the artificiality by withdrawing from the surroundings and turning inward, to create a discrete an internalized world for El Bulli gastronomy. This internalized world is designed to enable El Bulli to not only to house its research and production but to also allow the research and production to affect the built environment.

Our system is derived from the Baroque geometry of Francesco Borromini that is employed at different intensities and scales throughout the building using different computational systems operating at mulitple scales. At the large scale, taking from the platonic geometry of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, a series of delaminated volumes are nested within an exterior envelope, sometimes tightly fit, and sometimes loosely fit; creating interstitial spaces that fit the programmatic function of this live-research-education facility. The interstitial space becomes a separation of the world and the interior. At certain points, the interior system breaks through and dissolves the envelope, exposing the intricate shapes of the internal volume. The separations of the different layers are never discrete, but they interweave with each other, always indexing each other in different ways.

The outcome is a building that is based on architectural relationships, but exhibits intricacies usually associated with systems found in nature, thus it creates a cross breed of (synthetically) organic complexity and architectural intention. This is an attempt of questioning the romantic notion of what is “natural” but also an attempt of incorporating the current technological tools that, at a root level, can manipulate geometries to achieve mulitiple intensities of detail.

The corruptive interior system, producing an eroding effect on the figure of architecture, creates cavities and niches that provide a surface for the cultivation required by the El Bulli research. By integrating and informing our systems with systems of organic matter, we want to obscure the relationship between a synthetic nature and the organic, between the living and the non-living.

Design: Oscar Abrahamsson, Jacob Waas.
Instructor: M. Casey Rehm. Read the rest of this entry »