Japan’s Bet on Adaptive Reuse to Alleviate an Emerging Housing Crisis

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via Flickr. Image © Bo Nielsen via Flickr. Image © Bo Nielsen Half a century after the new suburban tract home was the dream of many a young American family, refurbished properties are gaining in popularity. This trend extends beyond North America, with exciting renovations of existing structures popping up all over the world, from Belgium to Kenya to China. The attraction to this typology likely lies in its multiplicity; renovations are both new and old, historic and forward-looking, generative and sustainable.  Nowhere is this trend more visible and popular than in housing, where the transformation is often led by the owners themselves. Loosely grouped under terms like “fixer-upper” and “adaptive reuse,” these projects begin with just the structural skeletons and the building’s history. At the personal scale, renovation/refurbishment is an opportunity to bring a part of yourself to your home - but do these small projects together have the potential to turn around a
via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin
via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin
via Flickr. Image © Syuzo Tsushima
via Flickr. Image © Stuart Rankin
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Anthony Saroufim Captures the Skeletal Materiality of Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences

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© Anthony Saroufim © Anthony Saroufim

The architectural and engineering feats of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava can be admired around the world, but his City of Arts and Sciences, designed alongside Felix Candela, has remained a modern architectural marvel. Like many international visitors, Lebanese photographer Anthony Saroufim found himself inherently attracted to the highly publicized building complex with a specific, tailored angle - unraveling the relationship between the built reality and the people interacting with it.

© Anthony Saroufim © Anthony Saroufim

“What you won’t find is the relationship between this overscaled complex and the human scale, so my mindset was to integrate the human scale into my images to truly understand the impact and proportions of the project. At the end, what’s the purpose of an architecture designed for people without people.”
- Anthony Saroufim

© Anthony Saroufim © Anthony Saroufim

As a photographer with a background in architecture, Saroufim is no stranger to the

© Anthony Saroufim
© Anthony Saroufim
© Anthony Saroufim
Continue reading "Anthony Saroufim Captures the Skeletal Materiality of Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences"

Andres Gallardo Studies Milan’s Contrasting Typologies in Contemporary Architecture

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© Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo Andres Gallardo’s photo series “Urban Geometries” continues, this time the self-taught photographer chose to capture the architecture of Milan. The series focuses on the architectural contours of contemporary structures, varying in both age and function while highlighting the materiality of the façades, architectural, industrial details of each building. Gallardo’s Milan series features the work of Zaha Hadid Architects and Grafton Architects. Other images in the series include elements of the city that often go unnoticed, such as a series of colorful recycling receptacles.
© Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo

Architecturally, Gallardo captures Zaha Hadid’s signature fluid lines in the firm’s design for Citylife Milano, a housing complex of seven buildings. The buildings’ organic facades are a balance of white and wood finishes that accentuate the serpentine balconies and uniquely shaped windows.

© Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo

In contrast, the photographer also includes an image of traditional urban Italian

© Andres Gallardo
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“The New Bauhaus” Film Celebrates the Bauhaus Movement in America

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via The Bauhaus Film via The Bauhaus Film

The year 2019 marks the centennial anniversary of the Bauhaus' founding. Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, the school sought to reimagine material reality. Considered by many to be the most visionary school of early 20th-century art and design, the Bauhaus would spark a global movement in a period of world history otherwise marred by war and economic devastation.

In 1933, The Nazi Party took over Germany and eventually closed the Bauhaus school. Many of the Bauhaus’ leading visionaries emigrated to the United States – bringing the movement with them. László Moholy-Nagy brought the Bauhaus to Chicago, starting a new chapter in the Bauhaus’ history by establishing a school – The New Bauhaus.

via The Bauhaus Film via The Bauhaus Film

A team of filmmakers channeled their passion for architecture, art, and design into the production of an in-depth examination of Maholy’s art and vision for the

via The Bauhaus Film
via The Bauhaus Film
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GRAFT’s Masterplan for Georgian Railway Headquarters Mimics the Natural Curve of a Railway Junction

Courtesy of GRAFT Courtesy of GRAFT

GRAFT has developed a master plan for the Didube Chughureti District in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. The master plan for the business district attempts to provide its inhabitants with a healthy working environment by balancing scenic landscaping with the necessary amenities.

The overall complex consists of a pair of complimentary towers: the main tower, in particular, will house the head offices for the Georgian Railway Company. Elements of the façade reflect the railway. The facades, themselves, appear to divide in a similar way to a railway junction. At the base of the tower, the descending curve of the façade plateaus, creating a roof for the new open-air museum, which features locomotives from the Georgian Railway Company.

Courtesy of GRAFT Courtesy of GRAFT

An essential aspect of the master plan is the large public squares that serve as multi-functional gathering spaces and transitional spaces between the complex’s many functions. These areas of

Courtesy of GRAFT
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Chicago Approves bKL Architecture’s Three-Tower Master Plan for Lakeshore East

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Courtesy of bKL architecture Courtesy of bKL architecture

Where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan, a pivotal node in Chicago’s cityscape, bKL Architecture has designed three towers along the waterfront, which connect the natural elements of the landscape with the urban center and neighboring communities.

The urban development is located at a prominent junction utilized by both pedestrians and automobiles; the site’s new master plan separates the two, providing seamless integration between the active green space surrounding bLK’s three towers and the lakefront.

Courtesy of bKL architecture Courtesy of bKL architecture

The placement of each of the three towers optimizes the surrounding green space. To integrate the towers into the landscape, bKL Architecture worked alongside Claude Cormier + Associés, a Canadian landscape architecture and urban design firm, to design the structures into a surrounding park and green space.

Courtesy of bKL architecture Courtesy of bKL architecture

Tower One, the tallest tower, utilizes triangular geometries while growing larger at the top

Courtesy of bKL architecture
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The Concept App, a Free Structural Engineering Tool, is Now Available on iPhone and Desktop

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via Fast + Epp via Fast + Epp Vancouver-based engineering firm Fast + Epp has created a free tool, called Concept, for architects and designers to explore a variety of building materials. The interface allows the designer to explore the aesthetics of wood, concrete, and steel while also providing additional information about the composition and feasibility of these materials.
via Fast + Epp via Fast + Epp

The application was initially created to provide an interface to browse inspirational photos and calculate material feasibility at your fingertips. Since the release of the iPhone app, Concept has been expanded to be compatible on desktops as well. This new feature allows Concept to provide information to architects in the office, on a construction site, and in client meetings.

via Fast + Epp via Fast + Epp
“Concept is free because we wanted to make it readily accessible to as many architects and designers as possible. The recent availability of Concept on desktops now makes
Continue reading "The Concept App, a Free Structural Engineering Tool, is Now Available on iPhone and Desktop"

Studio Gang & SCAPE, Two Women-Led Firms, Selected for Memphis Riverfront Transformation Project

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Courtesy of Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept Courtesy of Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept Studio Gang, an architecture firm and urban design firm recognized for their ingenuity and creative approach, has partnered with SCAPE, the NYC-based design-driven urban design and landscape architecture firm. The international architecture community has recognized both firms’ female founders, Jeanne Gang and Kate Orff, respectively, as innovators in their design fields. Together, these firms have created the selected proposal for Memphis’ waterfront. The waterfront’s edge is composed of five zones: Fourth Bluff, Mud Island, Tom Lee Park, MLK Park, and Greenbelt Park. Areas like Tom Lee Park encompass a vast area of flat terrain, pedestrian paths, and simple amenities. The park’s greatest feature is its view that spans both the natural and urban elements of the city’s landscape.
Courtesy of Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept Courtesy of Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept

The project was driven by establishing a concept based on three design principles: foster, restore,

Courtesy of Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept
Courtesy of Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept
Courtesy of Studio Gang's 2017 Riverfront Concept
Continue reading "Studio Gang & SCAPE, Two Women-Led Firms, Selected for Memphis Riverfront Transformation Project"

HIR Studio Transforms a Hong Kong Housing Complex Into a Commemorative Relic for Architect Michael Wright

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Courtesy of HIR Studio Courtesy of HIR Studio Plans for a memorial commemorating the life and career of Mr. Michael Wright, architect, surveyor, and civil servant, have been released. Mr. Wright’s dedication to the architecture of public housing in Hong Kong and the principals on which he designed are encapsulated in the memorial’s proposed scheme. Wright died in January 2018 at the age of 105 and is considered the "father of public housing in Hong Kong" for redefining the city's standards for public living quarters.
Courtesy of HIR Studio Courtesy of HIR Studio

Irene Cheng, founder and design principal of HIR Studio, proposed the winning design and received the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Young Architects Award 2017. The memorial will be located at the Wah Fu Estate, an existing housing development built in the 60s. Although this particular complex was not one of Mr. Wright’s designs, it is scheduled to be demolished in the near future, making

Courtesy of HIR Studio
Courtesy of HIR Studio
Courtesy of HIR Studio
Courtesy of HIR Studio
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pH+ architect’s Iceland Wharf Creates a “Flexible, Tethered, Living and Working Environment”

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Courtesy of pH+ Architects Courtesy of pH+ Architects Fish Island, a district in London’s East End, has experienced a period of redevelopment. Once an industrial area, the area is now known for its vibrant art community. In recent years, Fish Island has continued to evolve and transform, with a particular emphasis on integrating the existing creative spaces with residential and commercial. The latest chapter in this transformation has been the work of pH+ architects, with a mixed-use scheme that layers domestic spaces within a larger complex that also includes maker and retail spaces. "Iceland Wharf" will deliver 120 homes and 40,000sq ft of commercial space in "flexible tethered living and working environments."
Courtesy of pH+ Architects Courtesy of pH+ Architects

The newly designed standalone buildings sit alongside the old ammonia works, a historic structure that has been repurposed to house offices and maker spaces while preserving the industrial past of the area. The historic building

Courtesy of pH+ Architects
Courtesy of pH+ Architects
Courtesy of pH+ Architects
Courtesy of pH+ Architects
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pH+ architect’s Iceland Wharf Creates a “Flexible, Tethered, Living and Working Environment”

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Courtesy of pH+ Architects Courtesy of pH+ Architects Fish Island, a district in London’s East End, has experienced a period of redevelopment. Once an industrial area, the area is now known for its vibrant art community. In recent years, Fish Island has continued to evolve and transform, with a particular emphasis on integrating the existing creative spaces with residential and commercial. The latest chapter in this transformation has been the work of pH+ architects, with a mixed-use scheme that layers domestic spaces within a larger complex that also includes maker and retail spaces. "Iceland Wharf" will deliver 120 homes and 40,000sq ft of commercial space in "flexible tethered living and working environments."
Courtesy of pH+ Architects Courtesy of pH+ Architects

The newly designed standalone buildings sit alongside the old ammonia works, a historic structure that has been repurposed to house offices and maker spaces while preserving the industrial past of the area. The historic building

Courtesy of pH+ Architects
Courtesy of pH+ Architects
Courtesy of pH+ Architects
Courtesy of pH+ Architects
Continue reading "pH+ architect’s Iceland Wharf Creates a “Flexible, Tethered, Living and Working Environment”"

The World’s First Zero-Waste Bio-Brick is Grown from Human Urine

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Courtesy of University of Cape Town Courtesy of University of Cape Town

Some years ago, researchers in the United States previously tested the concept of using synthetic urine-based substances to fabricate building materials. However, new research conducted by Masters student Suzanne Lambert at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, puts forth a zero-waste process of producing urine-based bricks by using collected human urine for the first time.

Courtesy of University of Cape Town Courtesy of University of Cape Town

The process of creating the brick is not unlike the natural process of seashell formation. The scientific process, microbial carbonate precipitation, requires that loose sand is colonized with bacteria. The bacteria produce a particular enzyme, urease, that can break down urea, a compound created in the liver when it combines ammonia molecules with carbon dioxide molecules, in urine, creating calcium carbonate as the process’s byproduct. This reaction hardens the sand and, with Lambert’s particular mold, creates a rectangular brick.

Courtesy of University of Cape Town Courtesy of University
Courtesy of University of Cape Town
Courtesy of University of Cape Town
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RIBA Publishes ‘The Ten Primary Characteristics of Places Where People Want to Live’

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© Tim Crocker © Tim Crocker The RIBA's ‘Ten Characteristics of Places Where People Want to Live’ combines a series of case studies that illustrate components of contemporary community housing design. This study was completed to identify and analyze specific, successful elements of past projects that can be easily incorporated into future projects not only in England but also internationally. The study hopes to demonstrate to its readers the relationship between design quality and the rate of supply in the delivery of much needed well-built affordable housing. Each building example illustrates how appealing and successful design can be easily replicated.
“The necessary context for successful place-making is often neglected, but only by addressing this can we improve both the quality of the homes we are building and the rate of supply. High-quality design is essential, but it must be founded upon the right leadership, the right funding and delivery models.”
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© Tim Crocker
© Jack Hobhouse
© Tim Crocker
© Daniel Hopkinson
© Kilian O'Sullivan
via HTA
via Proctor + Matthews Architects
© Tim Crocker
via HTA
© Tim Crocker
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Ross Barney Architects’ CLT Design for McDonald’s Expands the Possibilities of Timber Construction

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© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers © Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers In an effort to reinvent an iconic American fast-food brand, McDonald’s U.S. has announced a new direction for the corporation, beginning with rethinking the restaurant’s current archetypal design both in its interior eating spaces and exterior urban landscape. A primary example of this commitment can be seen in the recently completed design for McDonald’s Global Flagship in Chicago by Ross Barney Architects. The structure, which fills an entire city block in the heart of Chicago, was envisioned as a hallmark example of both the architect and the corporation's shared commitment to environmentally sustainable design. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), an essential material for the project, replaced many of the commonly-used building materials such as steel, concrete, and plastics that have a larger environmental footprint.
© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers © Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers

McDonald’s Flagship is the first commercial use of Cross Laminated Timber in

© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers
© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers
© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers
© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers
© Kendall McCaugherty, Hall+Merrick Photographers
Continue reading "Ross Barney Architects’ CLT Design for McDonald’s Expands the Possibilities of Timber Construction"

Tieno Designs an Eco-Friendly City Block Constructed From Timber

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Courtesy of Tieno Courtesy of Tieno The “Bosco” design schematic utilizes timber construction and ecological design practices to create a multi-sided residential city block. Not only are the private domestic spaces important, but the definition of ‘living space’ is expanded to include private outdoor and shared spaces. In this way, the wood exterior becomes an extension of the interior. The use of timber, throughout, and the simple language of Bosco’s underlying geometric forms create a well-articulated and homogeneous ensemble of housing components. The composition of housing types consists of 117 apartments ranging from one to five bedrooms. Additional living blocks include two-story apartments and row houses. The courtyard sits at the heart of the city-block community; it sits in the center of the rectangular and L-shaped buildings that occupy each city corner. Between each building, a path to the central courtyard provides the outdoor space with some seclusion and privacy from the urban expanse.
Courtesy of Tieno Courtesy
Courtesy of Tieno
Continue reading "Tieno Designs an Eco-Friendly City Block Constructed From Timber"

Tieno Designs an Eco-Friendly City Block Constructed From Timber

Courtesy of Tieno Courtesy of Tieno

The “Bosco” design schematic utilizes timber construction and ecological design practices to create a multi-sided residential city block. Not only are the private domestic spaces important, but the definition of ‘living space’ is expanded to include private outdoor and shared spaces.

In this way, the wood exterior becomes an extension of the interior. The use of timber, throughout, and the simple language of Bosco’s underlying geometric forms create a well-articulated and homogeneous ensemble of housing components.

The composition of housing types consists of 117 apartments ranging from one to five bedrooms. Additional living blocks include two-story apartments and row houses. The courtyard sits at the heart of the city-block community; it sits in the center of the rectangular and L-shaped buildings that occupy each city corner. Between each building, a path to the central courtyard provides the outdoor space with some seclusion and privacy from the urban expanse.

Courtesy of Tieno Courtesy
Courtesy of Tieno
Continue reading "Tieno Designs an Eco-Friendly City Block Constructed From Timber"

Cristopher Cichocki’s Places Art in Architecture to Spark a Discussion About Environmental Sustainability

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Courtesy of Geoplast Courtesy of Geoplast Cristopher Cichocki's Root Cycle combines installation art with existing architecture in an effort to spark a discussion regarding the relationship between design, both contemporary and historical, and environmental sustainability. Cichocki partnered with Geoplast, a local Italian designer and manufacturer dedicated to producing innovative sustainable design products. The artist uses a particular Geoplast elevator product and Aloe Vera plants as the main components for the artwork.

The artwork was installed in a location framed by an architectural masterpiece of great historical and scholarly significance. Andrea Palladio, a famous 16th-century architect, theorist, and author of "I Quattro Libri dell'Archittectura," designed a series of villas in the countryside of Italy's Veneto region. The Villa, Villa Angarano, has stood the test of time. Centuries old, the building remains an architectural marvel and a subject of study for most young architects. Cichocki's artwork builds upon this idea of "timelessness."

Courtesy of Geoplast
Courtesy of Geoplast
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“Brixel” Reinvents Basic Bricks for the Digital Age

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Many contemporary design innovations have embraced the growth and expansion of new technologies. BREAKFAST, a Brooklyn-based rapid product and prototype company, has released ‘Brixel’ a product that combines the customizability technology can provide with the most fundamental building block of architecture - the brick.

The Brixel is an infinitely rotating brick controlled by a software app on your phone. The sleek design and variety of available shapes provide the designer or architect with the tools needed to create a 3-dimensional, interactive installation. Brixel’s design flexibility allows it to be used in many applications, such as dynamic wall installations, railings, facades, and sculpture. Andrew Zolty, BREAKFAST's Co-Founder and Head of Design described Brixel:

Courtesy of BREAKFAST Courtesy of BREAKFAST

“We saw an opportunity to blur the lines between what is deemed ‘art,’ ‘infrastructure,’ and a ‘digital display,’ We sought to develop a new medium that would allow us to create a variety of captivating

Courtesy of BREAKFAST
Courtesy of BREAKFAST
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CUBO’s Entrance Pavilion Seamlessly Integrates Aarhus City’s Old Town Into The Modern City

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Courtesy of CUBO Courtesy of CUBO

CUBO, a local architecture firm from Aarhus City, Denmark, has designed the main entrance pavilion for the firm's native city which will connect two existing elements of Aarhus - the Botanical Gardens and the Old Town. The building is both inviting and welcoming to residents and visitors, alike, providing the city with a gathering space, meeting point, and information hub.

Both the Botanical Gardens and Old Town are major attractions for visitors, playing an integral role in the city’s international reputation. CUBO’s pavilion seeks to enhance and add to what already exists by sensitively integrating the structure in the existing landscape.

Courtesy of CUBO Courtesy of CUBO

Early 20th-century architect and furniture designer, Anton Rosen, designed an existing circular pavilion that stands prominently on the site. The new building will not deter from the historic importance and visual impact of Rosen’s building, but rather, provide additional space for

Courtesy of CUBO
Courtesy of CUBO
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Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam Explores “Building Happiness” in Historic and Contemporary Design

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In recent years, architecture film festivals have erupted around the globe providing critics, theorists, and all architectural thinkers with an additional median for architectural expression and discussion. The symbiotic relationship between architecture and film stems from architecture’s effect on its built environment and its determined social/cultural impact.

As the international audience grows and new genres emerge, architecture film festivals have come to encompass more than just the film’s initial viewing; programs, lectures, and discussions are organized, enhancing the intellectual impact of the viewing material. Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) is celebrating its tenth edition this October by exploring the concept of “building happiness” in an age when we seek to build a more sustainable world - a challenge for both historic and contemporary design.

1. Mole Man

From the creator: “Mole Man tells the touching story of Ron Heist, a 66-year-old man with Autism, who has been working on an

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