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BIG Architects Unveil Massive Mobius Strip Library for Kazakhstan

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

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BIG Architects Unveil Massive Mobius Strip Library for Kazakhstan

BIG Architects have unveiled an incredible new library that will serve as a multifunctional cultural center for Astana, Kazakhstan. Named Nursultan Nazarbayev after the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the new library will encompass not just books, but space and time as well. The design comprises 4 archetypes – the circle, the rotunda, the arch and the yurt – which all merge into the form of a Möbius strip. In designing the structure BIG also used high-tech modeling to calculate the thermal exposure of the building envelope and maximize shading.

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BIG Architects Unveil Massive Mobius Strip Library for Kazakhstan

The building itself is a complicated juxtaposition of different ideas and concepts. It forms a spiraling circle around a strong vertical core that allows visitors to the library to move between floors. The museum’s curves form a möbius strip, so the interior becomes the exterior and back again; likewise the walls become the roof and the roof transforms back into the walls. The interior corridors are naturally daylit through geometric openings in the exterior shell, creating beautifully lit spaces perfect for reading.

To minimize cooling loads on the library, BIG Architects employed some advanced computer modeling to calculate the thermal exposure on the building envelope. Because of the warping and twisting of the exterior, some parts of the building receive more light than others. By taking that information, BIG was able to create a geometric pattern or “ecological ornament” to regulate the solar impact.

The new library will be located in the center of Astana with views of the entire city. All segments of the community will be served by the library, which is open for meetings, cultural events, and historical record keeping in hopes of further developing the country. Outside a park showcases the native plants and geology of the country. Visitors will be able to experience various trees, plants, rocks and minerals taken from all over the country, so they can see how diverse their native landscape is.

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Solar Shanghai Pavilion Made From Used CD Cases

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

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Solar Shanghai Pavilion Made From Used CD Cases

Preparations for the Shanghai World Expo 2010 are heating up and many countries are getting in on the action by designing structures for the space. We couldn’t help but be dazzled by the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion by Atelier Feichang Jianzhu, but we were even more impressed to learn that the fascinating building is composed of thousands of plastic tubes made from used CD cases! Read on to find out what other green features the pavilion is incorporating besides the extensive use of recycled materials.

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Solar Shanghai Pavilion Made From Used CD Cases

The impressive exterior structure is composed of hundreds of polycarbonate transparent recycled plastic tubes formed into a grid-like matrix. Recycled from used CD cases, the polycarbonate tubes will be able to be recycled again at the end of the building’s life. Multi-colored LED lights will be built into the exterior structure and be computer controlled to change the appearance of the exterior on a whim or based on a computer program.

Energy will be collected through a 1,600 sq meter solar thermal energy system of heat collecting tubes on the roof. This system will heat water up to 95ºF and will be used to generate electricity through ultra-low temperature power generation, which is similar to power generation from low-temperature geothermal reservoirs.  This energy will be used for the both the exposition as well as every day power needs.

A misting system will also add to the structures appearance and help give it a dream like feel. It can be sprayed in various patterns under the entrance ceiling to give the building a fresh and elegant appearance. The mist will also help lower the temperature, purify the air and create a comfortable climate in pavilion. Mist and some water use inside the building will come from collected rainwater, which will be treated for sedimentation and then filtered and stored.

Next year’s World Expo in Shanghai should be an exciting event showcasing many sustainable buildings, technologies and ideas. The Shanghai Corporate Pavilion looks like an intriguing and original addition.

ANIMAL WALL: Deluxe Apartments For Birds and Bats

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment
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ANIMAL WALL: Deluxe Apartments For Birds and Bats

You don’t often hear about a wall being an object of desire, but that is exactly what Gitta Gschwendtner’s Animal Wall is for residents of all species in Cardiff Bay, UK. This 50-meter wall includes 1000 houses for birds and bats, and also acts as a textural and geometric sculptural divider between a residential development and a river front. Commissioned by Charles Church Developments, the wall took two-and-a-half years to construct, which is the same length of time it took to complete the housing that the wall shields.

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ANIMAL WALL: Deluxe Apartments For Birds and Bats

Now that the wall homes are ready for moving in, why are there no winged creatures settling? It turns out that birds and bats will not be ready to nest until the spring, so it is no worry that they are not inhabiting the Animal Wall just yet. When they are ready to pick their new home, a wide variety of bats, starlings, sparrows and blue and grey tits are expected to inhabit the wall. “But not everyone will come at the same time,” says Gschwendtner. “Instead there will be a constant turn-around of tenants.” The feathered friends will have four different sized woodcrete (a mixture of wood and concrete) homes to choose from.

This ecological project was commissioned by developers of the Century Wharf area of Cardiff Bay due to the increasing concern for the depletion of the natural bird habitat there. We love that these animals will have a posh new home come spring, and that the residents of Century Wharf can enjoy a stunning work of green architecture.


 

Herzog + de Meuron’s Hamburg Philharmonic Concert Hall Breaks Ground

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

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Herzog + de Meuron’s Hamburg Philharmonic Concert Hall Breaks Ground

The new concert hall will tower 300 feet atop a massive triangular shaped brick warehouse crowned with an undulating, curvaceous, inclined glass structure that evokes alluring nautical imagery not unlike that which surrounds it. The sleek glass façade provides a peek into the multifunctional building which in addition to three concert halls, will contain a 250-room hotel, luxury condominiums, international conference areas, a nightclub, a massive parking garage (occupying the base warehouse) and a public plaza for concert-goers and casual passer-bys alike. The thoughtful preservation of existing materials, and the integration of new ones offers a nod to both contemporary and historic port architecture. With its prime position on the waterfront, the Elbphilharmonie also offers unrivaled panoramic views of the Elbe and the harbor to the south and west, the city centre to the north, and HafenCity to the east.

As a concert hall, music certainly takes precedence in this structure. Acoustics were a major focus with ceiling and building materials specifically chosen to induce the best, fullest possible sound, regardless of style. The largest hall features approximately 2,150 seats, and eschews the typical layout of a shoebox stage. It instead opts for a ’steep cauldron’ shape with the orchestra and conductor positioned in the center and the audience irregularly distributed across rising terraces. To ensure outstanding acoustics, the grand auditorium hall was been designed in collaboration with Yasuhisa Toyota, who has worked on numerous world-renowned concert halls including the Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

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Herzog + de Meuron’s Hamburg Philharmonic Concert Hall Breaks Ground by Diane Pham, 09/22/09

Undoubtedly an eye and ear-catching design in true Herzog + de Mueron form, the project is an undertaking that has proved to be as expensive as it is grand. In just the last few months the projected cost of the Elbphilharmonie has ballooned to 323 million Euros and is predicted to reach a half billion Euros by completion. Critics of the project are contending that the money would be better spent on upgrading the city’s social services and infrastructure. Hamburg in fact hosts the second largest port in Europe and despite its position as a commercial and financial pole, the city is pocketed with numerous poor, run-down neighborhoods with immigrant populations hailing from Eastern Europe, Turkey and Afghanistan – not quite the demographic that spends money on concerts and luxury hotel rooms.

However, officials refute that the new venue will not only give the city a much needed aesthetic and cultural overhaul, but will also help unite what is one of Germany’s most socially divided populations. Christoph Lieben-Suetter, the Elbphilharmonie’s artistic director, stated in favor, “This is a segregated city with completely different worlds from more slum-like parts to more suburban settings. This is exactly what is needed here: a bit of grand craziness.”


Populous Wins Incheon Stadium Design for 2014 Asian Games

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

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Populous Wins Incheon Stadium Design for 2014 Asian Games

It’s an exciting time for sports fans everywhere as cities around the world unveil the incredible stadiums that will host the events of tomorrow, and the designers and architects of Populous have them in spades. The latest competition-winning proposal from the HOK offshoot was recently selected as the primary stadium for the 17th Asian games in Incheon, South Korea. The adaptable stadium creates an abundance of green space within the city that will serve as a public park when not in use.

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Populous Wins Incheon Stadium Design for 2014 Asian Games by Mike Chino, 10/09/09

Designed by Populous (formerly HOK Sport Venue Event) and Heerim Architects and Planners, Incheon’s new stadium is designed to hold 70,000 people for the Asian games in 2014, after which it will downsize and transform into a 30,000 seat stadium and public park.

The elegantly sloping structure is meant to reflect the traditional Buddhist ritual Seung Moo dances. According to architect Daekwon Park, “In architecture, as in dance, dynamic movement creates form, but can also be recognized by the space voids created around its form. The yin and yang of complementary opposites within a greater whole are represented inside the form of the master plan of the stadium, and the left over space around that form, becomes the main access to the building.

The stadium has been described as promoting “a new era of designing sustainable venues for major events”, however the project’s sustainable features have yet to be disclosed. Ensuring environmental responsibility in a structure designed to draw thousands of spectators is a challenging goal, and we’re interested to see how populous plans on pulling off the feat.

For now Populous has said “The key to its success will be linking it into the surrounding parklands, to make it an open, accessible building for its people. It will be smaller, easier to operate and more usable by the community, securing its long term sustainability and providing a true legacy for the people of Incheon.”

Graft Lab’s Vertical Village in Dubai Has Spider Web of Solar Panels

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment
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Graft Lab’s Vertical Village in Dubai Has Spider Web of Solar

At first glance, Graft Lab’s dazzling complex in Dubai may appear to have a cluster of sparkling geometric pools at its base. But upon further inspection, the web-like structures are actually something even more desirable than a place to take a dip in the hot desert – a means of collecting the scorching rays of the sun and transforming them into energy. Dubbed the Vertical Village, this multi-use building and accompanying massive array of solar collectors was designed to work smarter, not harder, which is expected to earn it a LEED Gold certification when it is completed.

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Graft Lab’s Vertical Village in Dubai Has Spider Web of Solar Panels

The architects at Graft Lab (also responsible for the unique and ethereal Bird Island) must have been taking good notes in their LEED classes because the Vertical Village incorporates the most basic mantras of energy-efficiency in hot climates: reducing solar gain and maximizing solar production. Each hockey-stick-shaped building within the village is self-shading on its north side and on the east-west axis to reduce long-angle sun penetration. A massive bed of solar collectors lies at the south end of the complex and has the ability to automatically position itself toward the sun to maximize solar-energy aggregation. The roof of the village has veins like a leaf which can break up the solar field into smaller, more manageable portions.

Aside from its energy-harvesting features, the Vertical Village is also quite breathtaking to behold. The way that the buildings have been sliced and tilted gives each one a unique, futuristic look. Residents and visitors will be able to take full advantage of hotels, cinemas, restaurants, shops and a theater.

Flood Harvesting Housing Brings Tidal Power to New York City

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment
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Flood Harvesting Housing Brings Tidal Power to New York City

The concept of harvesting energy from river waves to power New York City just got more enticing. Earlier this year we brought you GRO Architects notable concept, which stood out among the entries for Metropolis Magazine’s 2009 Next Generation Design Competition. Brian Novello, one of the partners in the project, also has a beautiful design to expand these modular docking stations in energy-collecting floating houses, and it looks so cool that we had to spread the news.

To refresh your memory, GRO Architects‘ floating walkways are designed to extend from piers and use the river current to spin their large turbines. Power would be generated silently while the passersby could also use the spaces within the network of turbines for walkways, public spaces, or even residences as the project’s title suggests.

The first iterations of this design featured a set of open structures with faceted cladding and rib cage-like walkways. In Brian Novello’s version, the walkways are more like enclosed passageways inside of the swirling turbines, and a sleek and technical look has been given to the central connecting modules that act as green spaces for trees. This new look is similar to the pristine, yet engineered style of a brightly colored Dyson vacuum, but it is appropriate since the action of water in a turbine lends itself to these twisting forms.

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Flood Harvesting Housing Brings Tidal Power to New York City

Brian Novello has posted a fly through video of the project, which gives a nice overview of the spaces. These structures could act as a nice retreat from the city streets, since they seems very inviting in their modernity. In addition to the architectural achievements, the FH2 Flood Harvesting Housing project could have significant value for adding green space and collecting power for the city. We hope that these design updates means that headway is being made toward making a hydropower project a reality in New York City.