Architecture

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This beach house by Ruhl Walker Architects is raised above the landscape, helping it to have a minimal impact on the fragile coastal ecosystem. Encompassing 2,800 square feet (260 square metres), the House of Shifting Sands sits on a sloped waterfront site in the small Massachusetts town of Wellfleet, located in the hook-shaped peninsula known as Cape Cod. The home is surrounded by miles of undeveloped land and scrub pines. Ruhl Walker Architects was charged with creating a building that honoured environmental concerns expressed by the client, the town’s conservation commission and the US National Park Service. This prompted the team to plan a building that “appears to float out of and above its shifting, sandy site”. The house was designed to be provide all of its own energy. Power is supplied via solar panel arrays located on the roofs of the main house and studio. There are also high-efficiency air-to-air heat exchangers and energy-recovery ventilators. (source).

 

Olafur Eliasson explores duration and the ever-changing environment of the city in his latest installation of The collectivity project. His participatory project brings over two tons of white Lego bricks to New York’s High Line in an effort to reimagine the cityscape.  Starting with Lego brick structures of skyscrapers built by firms that include OMA New York and Renzo Piano, who built the newly opened Whitney Museum of American Art that now sits at the southern tip of the High Line, the installation invites the public to use the initial buildings as a point of departure to build and rebuild the structures in their own image, considering the spaces they live, work, and play. (source).

 

To deal with the lack of fresh water in Dubai and other Arabian nations, Italian architectural firm Studiomobile created the Seawater Vertical Farm to cool and humidify greenhouses. This innovative concept produces adequate humidity to convert seawater into fresh water, necessary for irrigation. Here’s how it works: 1)The air going into the greenhouse is first cooled and humidified by seawater, which is trickled over the first evaporator. This provides a fresh and humid climate for the crops. 2) As the air leaves the growing area it passes through the second evaporator which has seawater flowing over it. During this phase, humid air runs into the warm dry air of the ceiling. This makes the air much hotter and more humid. 3) The warm and humid air condense when in contact with plastic tubes that are pumped with cool sea water in the central chimney. Drops of fresh water appear on the surface of the condenser, ready to be collected in a tank and used to water the crops. (source).

 

The Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew temple, in Thailand’s Sisaket province (roughly 370 miles northeast of Bangkok), is made of about 1.5 million recycled glass bottles. True to its nickname, “Wat Lan Kuad” or “Temple of Million Bottles” features glass bottles throughout – even the toilets. Bottle caps are also integrated as decorative mosaic murals.The bottle-collection-turned-building started in 1984, when the monks used them to decorate their shelters, which inspired people to donate more bottles. Aside from being sustainable, bottle bricks don’t fade, let natural light into the space and are surprisingly easy to maintain. (source).

 

Dubai-based environmental design firm Timelinks recently released some eye-catching renderings of the gigantic eco pyramid – aptly named Ziggurat. The ginormous pyramid will cover 2.3 square kilometers and will be able to sustain a “community” of up to 1 million. Timelinks claims that their Ziggurat will be capable of running completely off the grid by utilizing steam, wind, and other natural resources. The tightly knit city will also feature a super efficient public transportation system that runs both horizontally and vertically, and plans are being drawn up to utilize both public and private green spaces for agricultural opportunities.According to the International Institute for the Urban Environment, the technologies incorporated into the Ziggurat project will make it a viable metropolis, and Timlinks has responded by quickly patenting the design and technology developed for the project.  (source).