2000 years ago, the Romans terraced a hillside just north of Barcelona to grow grapes. Those formations still exist in the sleepy town of Teià and were the first place Berta Barrio and her husband and collaborator Josep Peraire took me to on our visit to her project, the small public library Biblioteca de Can Llaurador. The gesture of the terraced slopes and the green-roofed library are immediately apparent. The building yawns out of the landscape, gently funneling in passersby to a womb of knowledge.
Australians are by definition sports crazy, so naturally sports architecture should play a significant role in the nation’s psyche. Sport clubs dot the suburbs like fire stations, but none has the kinetic punch and environmental acumen as Templestowe Reserve Sporting Pavilion. The new sport center packs a lot of solar technology on the roof to support the many hot showers taken inside. It also uses the thermal mass from the deconstruction of the previous building buried below, which acts as a heat sink for incoming fresh air to help cool down exerted bodies. The charged design is the real story because it acts as an active participant in the games. Read the rest of this entry »
A residence this small is no longer a house but too large to be considered furniture. The intention is fully practical by condensing function to elements. It is small enough to be carried to a location—urban, industrial, natural—and support one person’s need as a full-service shelter. At 27 cubic meters, 3 meters to a side, the design relies on portative elements. Read the rest of this entry »
The story of Garden Santa Fe starts with a parking lot. While not usually how a sustainable project initiates, the immense underground parking structure bottoms out at 33 meters beneath the street, placing the ubiquitous automobile where it belongs, well below human and natural habitation. Set above is a typical mall, only its three stories are also subterranean. Lastly, there is the park. It is modest in scope for an urban center but as the surrounding area has been swallowed whole by development, the vegetated refuge will become a core social asset. Read the rest of this entry »
Organic light emitting diodes (OLED) has long promised to bring low energy, soft, and flexible lighting to our homes and work places but costs have been a major obstacle. Aerelight is a desk lamp which fuses in-house developed organic light emitting diode technology with a ground up design to express the viability of the technology for a mainstream market. The lamp feature an ergonomic touch control interface, wireless phone charging, and thin OLED light panel. Read the rest of this entry »
Conceived as a kind of southern hemisphere Serpentine Pavilion, the MPavilion has just opened its first work, a 12×12 meter kinetic box by the local architect Sean Godsell. Using the typically restrained massing of his homes as a template Godsell has then animated the space with a fully louvered skin. The pavilion is placed in the 18th century Queen Victoria Garden with Melbourne’s high rises serving as a backdrop. To be utilized for weddings and other occasions the pavilion can match the formalness of the event and weather with a simple adjustment.
Spanning over 20 acres in Wuhan, China, 5+design‘s Park Place is a large mix use development which just broke ground. It merges high end retail, residential and commercial spaces with an agrarian program. The 164k sq. meter retail space is tiered from the street front and allows pedestrians full access through the vegetated rooftops. The shopping center is anchored with a large atrium and sky bridge. The open terraced floor plan, greenscape, and farming component counters the cosmopolitan venue thus creating a diverse and dense set of experiences. Read the rest of this entry »
Seattle’s burgeoning waterfront, home to the world class Olympic Sculpture Park, will get a new residential mid rise inspired by the park’s wedged paths. The stepped tower is designed by Perkins+Will to create a dynamic but sensitive relationship with the park as a public and aesthetic resource. Aiming for a LEED Platinum certification the design is intended to be environmentally astute and regionally adapted. The folded veil facade is a core design gesture to facilitate multiple relationships both internally and externally. The diverging planes of the southern facade breaks the massing into more discrete elements, verticalizing the Z shaped topography of the park. Read the rest of this entry »
The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, now under construction in Singapore, is a collaboration of Melbourne based studio505 with CPG Singapore and HOK San Francisco. The project is in fact two hospitals by virtue of the program split between a government subsidized section and a private section. The distinction of separate program is apparent by the use of air conditioning used in the private wing but not in the subsidized ward. The climate controlled wing utilizes a more traditional compact form to reduce surface area. The opposing eccentric floor plate is the result of improving the efficiency of medical stations, patient distribution, and natural ventilation. The architects took the bold initiative to develop a completely naturally ventilated tower to control energy cost and improve patient and staff comfort in the tropical climate.
A cross between a vending machine, PEZ dispenser, and automated parking structure the Zipcar Dispenser inserts architecture into the implementation of high density shared automobile technologies. Conceived by Moskow Linn Architects, and touted recently by Build a Better Burb as part of their research into contemporary parking design, the core design principles of the proposal are to make Zipcars more fashionable and accessible while reclaiming urban lots along eastern seaboard communities. Read the rest of this entry »