Archive for the ‘design ideas’ Category
In Hong Kong, because of the space, apartments are small and expensive. Gary Chang, an architect, decided to design a 344 sq. ft. apartment to be able to change into 24 different designs, all by just sliding panels and walls. He calls this the “Domestic Transformer.”
I love this office building. It was designed by Iwan Baan for Selgas Cano Architecture.
Open Source Ecology is developing and testing the Global Village Construction Set, a set of tools to build replicable, open source, modern, off-grid resilient communities. By weaving open source permacultural and technological cycles together, we intend to provide basic human needs while being good stewards of the land, using resources sustainably, and pursuing right livelihood.
With the gift of openly shared information, we can produce industrial products locally using open source design and digital fabrication. This frees us from the need to participate in the wasteful resource flows of the larger economy by letting us produce our own materials and components for the technologies we use. We see small, independent, land-based economies as means to transform societies, address pressing world issues, and evolve to freedom.
Here’s a pictorial how-to for making seed starter boxes out of origami’d newspaper. You can plunk ‘em right in the ground when it’s time. Makes sense to me, especially if you have a lot of fish wrapper but no fish (maybe because you’re a vegetarian).
I really like this idea for managing the acoustics in the the combined music-project room KJ and I are scheming on.
Acoustic treatments are often used to help improve the acoustics of a room by taming “flutter echoes,” “room modes,” and other problems which arise from a room’s dimensions and construction.
Although a variety of treatments are available for commercial use, they tend to be quite expensive. After some research both online and in print, we came across several sources for DIY acoustic treatments using rigid fiberglass panels and simple frames. These are often referred to as “bass traps,” although the ones that we’re focusing on have a fairly wide rage of absorption. While commercial versions are available for almost $100, we were able to make these panels for about $24 each.
For more information, check out the good folks in the acoustics forum at recording.org
Urban Gardens has a visually arresting post about the solar collectors Austin developers were required to put up in order to mask the ugly backside of a strip of retail loading docs.
The solar collectors lie along a biking and hiking path. At night, the energy collected during the day is used to illuminate blue LEDs, while extra energy collected is fed back into the grid.
Architect Johnna Barrett has plans for five ready-to-build homes ranging in size from 1,800 to 2,500 square feet. The series of plans are called SUSTAIN houses and they look pretty good. (Wish I could say the same for the SUSTAIN Web site, which makes some common though easy to fix blunders with its implementation of Flash). Here’s what SUSTAIN is claiming you can build from their plans:
All exterior and interior materials have been specified to earn LEED credits, and with proper site selection and following the LEED checklist included with your home plans, you can easily be LEED gold or platinum certified. We want to show that environmental consciousness can be beautiful. All of our home plans have been independently reviewed and carry the Designed to Earn the Energy Star seal. This means that when built according to specifications you can count on an annual energy savings of 20-30% over similar homes built to code.
The plans come with very specific lists and instructions for contractors and landscapers, so you get what you expect to get in the finished building.
Remember J.G. Ballard’s novel Concrete Island? It takes place in London (sort of): the protagonist has spent his life in London, and much of it has been spent in trying to get the hell out of London. But he can’t escape the urban sprawl and he can’t seem to ever get off the motorway that circles the city in concrete. He finds escape, though, when he wrecks: down into a (what we out west would call) a freeway interchange he goes and there he stays, trapped, as high-speed traffic speeds by all around him. It’s a kind of descent into Hell and, being Ballard and all, is very allegorical and Dantesque.
The impersonal hellishness of freeway systems is being mitigated, a bit, in Istanbul. A garden has been planted inside a cloverleaf interchange.
The complete story is over on Treehugger, but here’s the jist:
In connection with the Urban Age conference hosted this week in Istanbul, the German bank for the third time issued an open call for entries of projects that “benefit communities and local residents by improving their urban environments.” Out of 87 entries received, a jury shortlisted five — including the Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanical Garden.
“Located improbably in the ‘urban voids’ created by a vast motorway spaghetti-junction on the Asian side of Istanbul, the Ali Nihat Gökyiğit Foundation has created a series of landscaped spaces that provide sanctuary for plants and people in the middle of a dystopian urban setting,” the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award jury announced.
Established in 1995, the 125-acre botanical garden contains more than 17,000 species of plants and is the city’s largest replanted green area. The facility includes a special children’s garden where schoolkids learn how to grow and care for flowers and vegetables; an area devoted to drought-tolerant plants and those useful in combating soil erosion and desertification; and a section for medicinal plants.
The final results just rolled in from this year’s Solar Decathlon, and team Germany’s sleek surPLUShome finished first in an incredible upset victory! The German team took top honors in the Net Metering and Engineering categories this morning, steamrolling the competition to secure their second Decathlon win. This year’s home features a sleek, dark facade that is almost completely covered in photovoltaic panels and can provide more than twice the amount of energy it needs.
We wrote about the Solar Decathalon here, too.
ZeroHouse is an interesting design by architectural firm Specht Harpman that recently caught my eye. I wonder how I can get a review copy of this building? ZeroHouse was featured a couple months ago in Dwell magazine’s Prefab issue. Here’s the bottom of the article — and the ‘graph featured on the architects’ blog: Read the rest of this entry »