BIG Wins Competition for Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier, France

International, Pictorial, Unveiled
Monday, December 2, 2013
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BIG's Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier, France (Courtesy BIG)

BIG’s Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier, France (Courtesy BIG)

A team led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won an international design completion for the new Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier, France. Recalling the forms of some of BIG’s other recent projects, most notably Blaavard Bunker Museum in Varde, Denmark (which has just received funding to move forward) and the 200-acre EuropaCity mega-development outside Paris, the 84,000 square foot museum will rise from the surrounding landscape with grass-capped roofs, and a seemingly continuous, curving glass façade.

Continue reading after the jump.

Few Are Choosing to Park It In Boston Pop-Up Parks

City Terrain, East
Monday, December 2, 2013
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(Courtesy Boston Transportation Department)

Designed by local firm Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture, the Jamaica Plain parklet in Boston has seen little use since its grand opening in September. (Courtesy Boston Transportation Department)

From Los Angeles to Chicago, city governments across the nation have been following San Francisco’s early lead and popping up parklets on their streets, mini sidewalk-side public parks for rest, small group gatherings, and people watching.

This summer, Boston joined in on the trend, installing its first parklet in Mission Hill in September and another in Jamaica Plain at Hyde Square. While these spaces have seen success in other cities, the Boston Globe reported that the Boston parklets have shown disappointing usage during what should have been their prime season.

Read More

Zaha Hadid Uses Hologram to Reveal Futuristic Design of Miami’s One Thousand Museum Tower

East
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
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(Courtesy 1000 Museum)

(Courtesy 1000 Museum)

In the same futuristic spirit of its design, One Thousand Museum, the proposed Zaha Hadid-designed condominium building in Miami, Florida, has recently been rendered in hologram form. As anticipation builds about what will be the Pritzker Prize–winning architect’s first residential building in the United States, Zaha Hadid Architects continued the hype with a Miami party and holographic unveiling of the 705-foot condo tower. According to the South Florida Business Journal, the new digital rendering underscores Hadid’s commitment to curvilinear forms, especially prevalent in this sculptural tower that will soon join the Magic City skyline.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

Product> Finds from the Floor at Greenbuild 2013

East, Product
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
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Green Roofing by XeroFlor America

Green Roofing by Xero Flor America

In the midst of Greenbuild’s International Conference & Expo, held from November 18–22 in Philadelphia, AN sought out the newest and most innovative sustainable building products. We found attractive new finishes and furnishings, including a new chair derived from carbon polymers, and a plethora of building components that aim to harness the Earth’s energy for optimal building performance.

Green Roofing
Xero Flor America
This vegetated green roofing solution (above) rolls out in a mat system for easy application, as well as rapid access for repairs. Each 40-inch wide panel is comprised of a root barrier, drain mat, water retention fleece, growing medium, and pre-vegetated layer of sedum. Also known as stonecrop, each order is grown in one of Xero Flor’s six regional fields, so living roofs are acclimated to the installation environment and contribute to local LEED credits. Read More

MODU’s Outdoor Room at the Beijing Olympic Park Draws Attention to Air Pollution

International
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
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(Matthew Niederhauser / Courtesy MODU)

(Matthew Niederhauser / Courtesy MODU)

The design team at MODU, in collaboration with Ho-Yan Cheung of Arup, have created an urban public space for the 5th China International Architecture Biennial. Their design pays homage to Beijing’s iconic Olympic Park, while drawing attention to environmental issues in the country’s densely populated capital. The biennial committee has also commissioned designs from leading international architects such as Wang Shu, Zaha Hadid, and Mohsen Mostafavi.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Bike Share Program Dies After Advertising Conflict

West
Monday, November 25, 2013
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Bike Nation kiosk set up for CicLAVia last year (Bike Nation)

Bike Nation kiosk set up for LA’s CicLAVia last year (Bike Nation)

Bad news for biking enthusiasts in Los Angeles. According to LA Downtown News, Bike Nation’s deal with the city of Los Angeles to create a Bike Share program is now basically dead. The plan, originally slated to open this April, called for an eventual 125 stations in Downtown and 400 (containing 4,000 bikes) across Los Angeles.

Read More

Forty Years Later, San Diego Gets Its New Central Library

West
Monday, November 25, 2013
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SAN DIEGO'S NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY OPENED SEPTEMBER 28 (ROB WELLINGTON QUIGLEY, FAIA)

SAN DIEGO’S NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY OPENED SEPTEMBER 28 (ROB WELLINGTON QUIGLEY, FAIA)

San Diego’s New Central Library, which opened earlier this fall, was a long time coming. The project has been in the works since at least 1971, when the first of 46 studies on the subject of a new library building was published. Rob Wellington Quigley, FAIA, who designed the $184.9 million structure with Tucker Sadler & Associates, came on board in 1995. Why did he stick with it so long, through budget problems and four site changes? “It’s in my backyard,” Quigley said. “It was just too important a project, culturally, to the city, and to all of us…though it was very difficult, economically, to withstand all the stops and starts.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Bat Tower Builds Animal Architecture in Buffalo

East
Monday, November 25, 2013
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(Courtesy University of Buffalo)

The twisting design of Joyce Hwang’s Bat Tower is bold and practical, drawing attention while providing protection. (Courtesy University of Buffalo)

In Griffis Sculpture Park near Buffalo, New York, a twisting triangular tower serves more than a purely aesthetic purpose. Designed by architect and assistant professor at the University of Buffalo, Joyce Hwang, the 12-foot-tall sculpture of stained plywood panels is conceptualized as a protective home for bats. Constructed conspicuously but practically, the University reports that Hwang’s Bat Tower is an effort to raise awareness for the recent disease-caused decline of these flying mammals, usually considered pests.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

Serenity now! Studies question trend toward open offices

National
Friday, November 22, 2013
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Open offices, like the Toronto office of Bruce Mau Design, have come under fire in several recent studies. (Courtesy SparkCBC via Flickr)

Open offices, like the Toronto office of Bruce Mau Design, have come under fire in several recent studies. (Courtesy SparkCBC via Flickr)

The open office trend is rooted in some good ideas: encourage communication by breaking down barriers; give workers more space to breathe without confining cubicles. But a wave of new research is questioning the efficacy of the open strategy.

Continue reading after the jump.

Perkins+Will Canada’s VanDusen Gardens Orchid

Fabrikator
Friday, November 22, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
StructureCraft fabricated 71 timber roofing panels for Canada's first Living Building Challenge-targeted new construction project. (Nic Lehoux)

StructureCraft fabricated 71 modular roofing panels from timber for a Living Building Challenge-targeted new construction project. (Nic Lehoux)

StructureCraft fabricates an orchid-shaped roof that supports vegetation and Living Building Challenge principles.

After serving patrons at one of Vancouver’s oldest botanical gardens for nearly 100 years, the VanDusen Gardens Visitors Centre had fallen dangerously into disrepair. Perkins+Will Canada conceived of a new, orchid-shaped center that meets CaGBC’s LEED Platinum ratings, and is the country’s first structure to target the International Living Building Challenge with features like geothermal boreholes, a 75-square meter photovoltaic array, and a timber roof that supports vegetation. To help fabricate the wooden structure to Perkins + Will Canada’s vision, the team contracted StructureCraft, a Vancouver-based design-build studio specializing in timber craftsmanship and structural solutions.

Initial designs for the 19,000-square-foot building were delivered to StructureCraft as Rhino files. The uniquely shaped rooftop, which mimics an outline of the indigenous British Columbia orchid, had to be economically fabricated in a way that took net carbon effects into account. Within Rhino plugins—mainly Grasshopper—and with the help of strucutral engineers Fast + Epp, the StructureCraft team sliced the shape of the building into 71 long, curved panels of repeatable geometries. “Each curve is unique, so there’s a different radii for each beam,” said Lucas Epp, a structural engineer who worked on the project. “We optimized the global geometry of the roof so the radii of all the beams were in our fabrication tolerances but still achieved the architect’s desired aesthetic.” Read More

University of Oregon Students Propose Sustainable Wood Housing in Brooklyn

Dean's List, East, West
Thursday, November 21, 2013
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Courtesy Grow Your Own City

Courtesy Grow Your Own City

With their winning design for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s “Timber in the City” competition, three students from the University of Oregon have imagined wood’s viable potential in prefabricated low-cost housing. Wood construction has been a popular topic at AN recently and the topic of our recent feature, Timber Towers. Benjamin Bye, Alex Kenton, and Jason Rood entered the design competition last year with the mission to create a community of affordable housing and wood technology manufacturing in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Awarded first place, Grow Your Own City proposes the use of CLT (cross-laminated timber) for construction of nearly 183,000 square feet of mid-rise housing, a bike share and repair shop, and a wood distribution, manufacturing, and development plant.

Read more about the proposal after the jump.

MIT Media Lab Creates a Digital Interface That Reaches Into the Real World

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
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(Courtesy Tangible Media Group / MIT Media Lab)

(Courtesy Tangible Media Group / MIT Media Lab)

Do you dream of a world in which your touch-screen could touch back? Where you can shape digital models with your hands, physically reach out to friends hundreds of miles away, and once again tangibly interact with the people and objects around you?

The Tangible Media Group at MIT’s Media Lab has begun to probe this future of 3D interactive interfaces with their latest creation: inFORM. Functioning similarly to the metal pinscreen toy, inFORM combines a state-of-the-art table-mounted “screen” of 900 movable “pixels,” a hacked Microsoft Kinect, projector, and nearby computer to transmit palpable content back-and-forth between the digital and physical realms.

Continue reading after the jump.

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