March 16, 2018

Mixing Architecture And Landscape, Spain’s Eco-Boulevard Converts A Dull District Into A Vibrant One

As new ways of making cities in European capitals are expressed through large urban projects, Eco-Boulevard, a bioclimatic avenue occupying an area of 25,500sqm in the nondescript suburban development of Vallecas in Madrid, demonstrates the ability to transform a dull, lifeless neighborhood into a living, vibrant residential area that favors climatic comfort and pedestrian routes, and create a sense of collective identity where there was none. Integrating emerging ecological realities and urban infrastructural needs, it effectively melds architecture, urbanism and landscape to redefine the way we look at suburban extensions and streets in general. Ludic Tree (Photo courtesy of Ecosistema Urbano) Ludic Tree (Photo courtesy of Ecosistema Urbano) An experiment in sustainable urban design to make up for the absence of social activity due to poor planning that made such a project necessary in the first place, Eco-Boulevard has a regenerative effect, encouraging activity and aiming for the bioclimatic adaptation of an outdoor space through the installation of three conditioned, comfortable cylindrical pavilions called “air trees” (which behave like real trees but don’t require decades to develop) containing useful internal space along a pedestrian-friendly road in an edge-of-town extension. Built as a temporary structure that offers a long-term solution of how a city streetscape might adapt in accordance with increasingly hotter urban environments, it thus offers the area a new future. The idea to create public spaces that are about 10°C cooler than the surrounding ambient temperature is being developed […]
March 16, 2018

Extraordinary Garden Townhouses Hit Paris Market

The crowded City of Lights also has a privé side—in exclusive, secluded districts. There, magnificent mansions discreetly await a well-heeled suitor, just a stone’s throw from the tourists, the Seine and the Champs-Élysées. Courtesy of Emile Garcin Looks like spring in Paris, as garden mansions hit the market. With their serene floral gardens, meticulous landscaping, terraces and lavish chandeliers these charming Parisian estates flaunt traditional French architecture and unexpectedly renovated interiors with exotic or contemporary furnishings. Here are three Parisian townhouses worthy of a generous bid. David Stanley of Emile Garcin Properties is the listing broker for these properties. Le Marais District Townhouse ($23.5 million) Courtesy of Emile Garcin Dining room with veranda and sunroof This extraordinary mint condition 19th century townhouse on Rue de Crillon covers 16,146 square feet over five floors, featuring an extravagantly chandeliered library, a caretaker’s duplex, two basement levels, indoor swimming pool, wine and guitar cellar, and a recording studio for a diehard music enthusiast. It’s garden level (ground floor) includes a large reception room, office, workshop, kitchen and a striking dining room veranda with luxurious chandeliers and sunroof. Courtesy of Emile Garcin Living room with intricate detailing Gracing the first floor is a large master suite (with dressing room) and two childrens’ quarters (with playroom)—all of which include bathrooms and terrace access. The second floor houses the library and four guest suites. Courtesy of Emile Garcin Large wood library with lavish chandelier Courtesy of […]
March 16, 2018

Slip Slidin’ Away Architecture: Ramps, Slopes and Slides

Everyone’s familiar with fire escapes, but snow escapes? Two recent buildings (one proposed, another under construction) allow citizens to ski or snowboard from the rooftops. Whether it’s for emergency or leisure, escapes are good, as long as you arrive safely at your destination. But the fun doesn’t end there. Architects are exploring this downhill trend beyond snow by playfully including slopes, slides and ramps into their high-rise, condominium and park designs. Steps and elevators are passé. Here are a few intriguing slopes, slides and ramps with unique forms and functions. Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 3.46.57 PMSlalom House, Kazakhstan Slalom House, Kazakhstan If constructed, Kazakhstan’s Slalom House will be the world’s first residential building with a ski slope incorporated into the exterior design (Dubai’s Meydan One is an indoor slope). The complex boasts a 1,000-foot course where residents can slalom from the penthouse level to the street. Proposed by Kazakh architect Shokhan Mataibekov, the 21-story Snowflex slope sits atop 421 apartments and could be used year-round in the frigid capital city of Astana. How do residents get back to the top sans ski lift?—via panoramic glass elevators which also offer a glimpse of Astana’s Lego Land-style architectural skyline. Amager Bakke Ski SlopePlant, Copenhagen Amager Bakke Bjarke Ingels Group’s unconventional industrial incinerator converts waste to energy as patrons ski down and around the snow-covered roofline and façade. Actually, the incinerator features downhill slopes with trees, bunny hills and moguls covered with powder-like […]
March 16, 2018

China’s Ma Yansong Has Set His Sights On The U.S. For His Game-Changing Nature-Inspired Architecture

Founder of MAD Architects, Ma Yansong is the man behind architectural fantasies like the Harbin Opera House and the Fake Hills apartment complex in China – buildings whose sensual, sculptural and outlandish forms evoke the natural world quite literally (think mountains, valleys or glaciers). Forget boxy, geometrical and rectilinear designs – Ma is on a mission to create cities that are more organic, undulating and ultimately more livable and more human. So futuristic are his megastructures that they could be spaceships right out of science-fiction flicks. Yet they’re not just figments of his imagination. His projects are being built in China – a country witnessing explosive population growth – and increasingly in the West in cities in search of solutions to high urban density. It’s a true testament of his creative prowess that his unconventional soaring edifices are seeing the light of day, even though they trigger massive technical challenges for their builders and engineers as well as increased financial costs for their developers. Most towers are constructed on straight lines simply because they’re more efficient and less expensive to build that way. But that’s not the Ma way. 8600 Wilshire in Beverly Hills, California, Ma Yansong’s first US project (Photo courtesy of MAD Architects) 8600 Wilshire in Beverly Hills, California, Ma Yansong’s first US project (Photo courtesy of MAD Architects) While in the past it has primarily been the West exporting its expertise to the East, Ma has been […]
March 16, 2018

Ma Yansong Proves That China Is A Force To Be Reckoned With In Creative Architecture

In our second and final installment on Beijing-born architect Ma Yansong, we present his views on building icons in China, five of his key designs in the country and his latest book that launches this month. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art rendering (Photo courtesy of MAD Architects) Lucas Museum of Narrative Art rendering (Photo courtesy of MAD Architects) Every city in China wants its own prestigious building, a cultural icon designed by a world-famous architect to put itself on the map. While Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron created the Beijing National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest, and Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas the China Central Television Tower, which stand out as iconic modern buildings, at the same time the relentless pace and mind-boggling scale of China’s expansion is phenomenal, its architects and builders constantly tasked with creating landmarks that are bigger, bolder and flashier than the next in a race to outdo one another. The pressure-cooker system forces developers to build as fast and as profitably as possible and often the consequences are shoddy cookie-cutter developments that make Chinese cities resemble one another, look rather unsightly and could prove to be unsustainable. Ma Yansong, founder of MAD Architects, however, could never be criticized for a lack of originality. He also believes the tide is turning in China, as the discussion is gradually turning toward the environment and humanity, with Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen leading the charge. He notes, “Most […]
March 16, 2018

How A Converged Architecture Improves Big Data Applications

“You can’t handle the truth.” We all remember Jack Nicholson’s iconic words in A Few Good Men as a seminal moment in pop culture. Yet, that statement has a lot of relevance for companies and their data architecture. When they look at their architecture, businesses should be asking themselves: “Can we handle the truth?” Big data has created a new reality in which companies have more data at their disposal than ever before. However, just because you have more data doesn’t mean you’re any closer to discovering the real truth. If you don’t have the proper infrastructure in place to seamlessly integrate all your data, from all your sources, you risk not only producing data siloes, but also making decisions on partial truths. For businesses of all sizes, this can have a dramatic impact. For instance, a clothing chain might be able to review customer transactions, but not their browsing history, meaning they have only limited insight into customer behavior. Having customer info spread across multiple applications, none of which are speaking to each other, can greatly impair the effectiveness of your data analytics. Where will your convergence happen? On the horizon or in your big data applications? Where will your convergence happen? On the horizon or in your big data applications? There is an alternative. A converged architecture changes basic assumptions about applications. Instead of using the current application paradigm in which batch, transactional, and streaming applications are all […]
March 16, 2018

A Parisian Home Mixes Haussmann Architecture With Design, Antique, Craft And Indigenous Objects

Constantly traveling the world for work and pleasure, it was love at first sight for editor and entrepreneur Capucine Gougenheim-Geagea and her Lebanese husband, Wahib, when they first set eyes on an apartment in a five-story Haussmann building, impressed by the incredible light that flooded the space, with views of the Louvre to boot. Today, the residence is exactly the image she has of Paris: a city of light, open-minded, cultivated and beautiful. Intent on not overloading the apartment – which already had its own unique character – with unnecessary decoration, she chose modern, refined furniture with clean lines by contemporary designers and combined them with family furniture and colorful, artisanal or playful pieces from her travels around the world, mixing design, craft and indigenous objects, to accompany the home’s uniquely Parisian appearance, while steering clear of classical decor. As the space featured high ceilings – specific to the Haussmann era – period Hungarian point parquet and restored gilded moldings representing music scenes, she wanted to highlight the architectural style of the apartment itself more than the decoration, so no matter how often she decides to rearrange the furniture, it always looks just right. (Photo courtesy of Capucine Gougenheim-Geagea) (Photo courtesy of Capucine Gougenheim-Geagea) Originating from South Korea and educated in France, the mother of two children (Adrien and Anaïs) is Parisian at heart. A longtime journalist for well-known French titles (including eight years at Elle and seven years at […]
March 16, 2018

World’s Architecture Focus Of New Travel Program

Travelers with a serious interest in building design often don’t get their fill when visiting new places, but an innovative travel program called Architectural Adventures, recently launched by the American Institute of Architects, aims to change that. The institute will begin offering small-group trips to ten global destinations early this year that are designed to help everyone from dedicated architectural buffs and art and photography enthusiasts to other “intellectually curious travelers” discover and appreciate the world’s architecture. A church in Old Havana,Cuba, one of the featured sites of a new Architectural Adventures tour offered by the American Institute of Architects.(photos courtesy of the institute) A church in Old Havana, Cuba, one of the featured sites of a new Architectural Adventures tour offered by the American Institute of Architects. (Photos courtesy of the institute) “The tour guides will offer an up-close view of not just the iconic landmarks and buildings in the various cities, but also an explanation of how the historical, political and cultural events helped shape the cityscapes,” the organizers said in a statement The first two destinations, both with March departure dates, will feature the cities of Havana and Barcelona. Havana Revealed, a six-day immersion in the Cuban capital that spans treasures ranging from the 16th century stone fort that guards Havana Bay to the city’s early twentieth-century Art Deco buildings. (The cut-off date for booking this destination is January 10.) The nine-day Barcelona Beckons tour will focus […]
March 16, 2018

Rahm Emanuel Introduces 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, Discusses Role Of Modern City

At an intimate breakfast at The Modern restaurant in New York City Monday morning, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel joined curators, artists and architects to announce the participants of the second Chicago Architecture Biennial, an exhibition of more than 100 international architecture firms and artists scheduled for September 16 this year through January 7, 2018. Intended to inspire discussion about the future of cities worldwide, as well as their role in the current political climate, the Chicago Architecture Biennial had its first iteration in 2015, when it became the largest-ever such international architectural exhibition in North America, hosting participants from 30 countries and more than half a million visitors. “There’s a major renaissance in cities right now, across the globe and at every level,” Mayor Emanuel told the room Monday morning. And given Chicago’s history as an architectural mecca, he added, it’s essential for that city to be “at the center of that discussion.” This discussion includes not only architecture, Mayor Emanuel noted, but also design, urban planning and how we pay homage to our past while simultaneously rethinking public spaces and design in a way that benefits an increasingly diverse populace in major cities like Chicago. “I refer to Chicago as the most American of American cities,” Emanuel said. “It’s the capital of the heartland in America. And what better city to hold a conference such as the Chicago Architecture Biennial, he added, than a city that is home to […]
March 16, 2018

The Physics Of Ancient Roman Architecture

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine from college got married in Rome, providing an excellent excuse to finally go visit a city I’ve wanted to see for years. We spent about a week there, doing some heavy tourism despite the unpleasant heat. It’s a gorgeous city, and we didn’t come close to seeing everything it has to offer, but there was one site we made a point of visiting twice: the Pantheon. The Pantheon, which technically is the “Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres,” having been consecrated as a Christian church in the 600’s, was originally built as a temple to all the Roman gods back in the reign of Augustus, but destroyed in one of ancient Rome’s many devastating fires. It was rebuilt around 120 CE, completed in the reign of Hadrian (who decided to confuse future archaeologists by re-using the original massive portico with its inscription crediting the building to Marcus Agrippa), and has remained remarkably intact for nearly 1900 years. The signature feature of the Pantheon is its giant dome, 43 meters across and 43 meters high, with an 8-meter open “oculus” in the center. The dome is made of concrete, then a relatively new material perfected by the Romans, and to this day is the largest un-reinforced concrete dome in the world. Two interior views of the Pantheon dome. Photos by Chad Orzel. Two interior views of the Pantheon dome. Photos by Chad […]
March 16, 2018

Intellectual Property In The Age Of Open Sourcing: Who Owns It, And How Do They Get Paid?

The Internet of Things, as you may have noticed, is changing the world. Architecture, design and construction aren’t immune, as young architects no longer line up to work for the field’s undisputed stars, instead launching self-directed crowdsourced projects and using Kickstarter campaigns as a means to fund their own projects and seeking collaborators for projects big and small. By Morguefile By Morguefile With projects like WikiHouse and the Resilient Modular Systems 2.0 digital platforms, now people can use a smartphone to connect with a manufacturer to order their house. In some ways, that makes sense. Design no longer lives in a locked filing cabinet. The conversation I’m interested in is the virtual estate – what becomes of the ownership of digital property? (Who owns digital property). If you design a digital system, do you lose ownership if it’s widely reproduced in manufacturing? The question arose in the 1990s with Napster, the internet company that allowed people to share music, in the form of MP3 files, with their peers. The industry panicked: Would people still pay for music if it wasn’t in the form of a physical compact disc? The answer to that is still evolving, although iTunes and other music streaming services suggest a qualified “yes.” But the details of how the internet and open source software changes who performs specific tasks and, perhaps equally important, who gets paid for that work, are still unresolved. Ownership at this stage in […]
March 16, 2018

What’s It Really Like To Sail Aboard An Award-Winning 190-Foot-Long-Sailing Superyacht?

“Exciting,” “Radical,” “Edgy,” and “Stunning” were what people were saying when the 190-foot-long high-performance sloop Ngoni was launched last year. And after a successful season in the Med and then winning Boat International’s Design & Innovation Awards for Best Naval Architecture & Best Exterior Styling for Sailing Yachts for 2018, we can add “award winning” to the list. Breed Media But anyone who knows super yachts knows that Ngoni has an impeccable pedigree. Designed by Dubois Naval Architects and featuring an innovative interior by Rick Baker Ltd, Ngoni is both luxurious and fast under sail. Breed Media And the yacht’s minimalist design and high performance sailing characteristics are only magnified by the Dutch master yachtbuilders at Royal Huisman. As a result, Ngoni’s sleek exterior conceals a host of innovative engineering solutions designed to meet the challenges of marrying a powerful sailing rig with a slender and easily-driven hull that’s also fitted with a heavy lifting keel. Breed Media Meanwhile, 233-foot-tall mast that’s built by Rondal (like the hatches and massive winches) is fitted with a powerful square-top mainsail that designers proclaim is “the most efficient sail plan we can devise for this size of yacht.” Breed Media A look at the “tiny” helmsman at the wheel gives you an idea of how big and powerful this yacht is to sail. While the photos of the yacht’s interior that was designed by Rick Baker and Paul Morgan with signature furniture pieces […]
March 16, 2018

In The Middle Of The Thames, Monkey Island Promises Plenty of Tricks

The Thames is England’s artery. Starting in Gloucestershire and widening out into the English Channel, centuries of history wash along its shores. Most intriguing are its islands that crop up along its 346km length, and none more so than Monkey Island, which in June, will reopen as a 30-room hotel; a multi-million project for the Yeoh family who run YTL Hotels, including the Gainsborough Hotel & Spa in Bath. YTL Hotels The history of Monkey Island goes back over eight hundred years. Thirty miles from London, reached by footbridge from the Berkshire village of Bray, Monkey Island’s first recorded inhabitants were a 12th century order of Augustinian monks. In 1723, the island was bought by the 3rd Duke of Marlborough, who turned it into a place of pure recreation. Marlborough was responsible for the two fishing whimsical pavilions, built by Palladian architect Robert Morris. These lie at the heart of the new hotel, their original murals, one covered in singerie; monkeys aping human behaviour, the other with mermaids, have been painstakingly restored. The islands within the Thames add to the river’s beguiling history. Photo credit: Steve Parsons/PA Images/Getty Images As time went on, it became a place for 19th century Eton schoolboys to flash the cash, for royalty to picnic on and writers to escape to, including HG Wells and Rebecca West. There has always been a bohemian edge to its stucco buildings and lawns. In the 1960s Monkey Island […]
March 16, 2018

Plastic Chainmail Forges A Link Between Moviemaking And Architecture

I’m always curious about how businesses come up with their names. But I think having one bestowed upon you by award-winning actor Viggo Mortensen – or if we’re giving him his full title, Aragorn, son of Arathorn – is the coolest origin story I’ve ever heard. And that is exactly what happened for New Zealand-based materials company, Kaynemaile. Early on in founder Kayne Horsham’s role as artistic director for the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) movie trilogy, they hit a snag. “I was spending a lot of my time investigating local industries, to see what they could do,” he said. “We were also on the lookout for niche elements or ideas that we could collaborate with people on, to meet the specific – and occasionally, weird – needs of this project.” Students at the University of Auckland interact with Kaynemaile every day Kaynemaile Students at the University of Auckland stroll scross this walkway, unaware that the material that shelters them was forged in Middle Earth And one of the key things that Kayne had to source was chainmail. If you’ve seen any of the LOTR movies, you’ll know that almost every character wears some (except the elves – they have plate armor, but I digress). So, it needed to look, move and sound authentic on screen, while also being robust enough to cope with a long shoot and multiple battle sequences. Thankfully, humans have been making chainmail since the 5th […]
March 16, 2018

Explore Ancient Architecture Through Coinage In This Gigantic Coin Database

The reconstruction of ancient buildings is often a difficult undertaking in a world where most ancient structures either no longer exist or have been heavily modified. However, a massive online coinage database with over 600,000 objects and a new book on ancient “architectural coinage” demonstrate that coins provide an abstract view of the buildings of antiquity which deserve more attention. Three architectural coins from the collection at the American Numismatic Society, which boasts around 600,000 objects in its online database. By Permission Of The American Numismatic Society (CC BY-NC 4.0) Three architectural coins from the collection at the American Numismatic Society, which boasts around 600,000 objects in its online “MANTIS” database. The American Numismatic Society’s database of coinage (called MANTIS) has over a half million objects in it. As the society notes, “These include coins, paper money, tokens, ‘primitive’ money, medals and decorations, from all parts of the world, and all periods in which such objects have been produced.” You can search this database according to time period, mint, ruler, or a host of other categories. A newly launched image identifier for the coins of the Roman empire, called OCRE “Identify a Coin”, even helps students, teachers and non-specialists to identify a coin simply by image–and provides a great tool for novice numismatists. The “Identify a Coin” interface on the OCRE website from the American Numismatic Society. American Numismatic Society The “Identify a Coin” interface on the OCRE website from […]
March 16, 2018

How Architecture Is Tackling Increasing Floods From Climate Change

From 1990 to 2010, Southeast Asia was the fastest growing carbon emitter in the world, according to the Asia Development Bank. Although its historical share of global greenhouse gas emissions – primarily carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide – is not as large, the region is on a trajectory that will make it a significant emitter in the future. Nonetheless, the impacts of climate change in the region are already evident. One of the most impacted countries is Thailand. From 1997 to 2016, Thailand was ranked in the top 10 countries at long-term risk of climate change according to a 2018 report by Germanwatch – a non-profit think-tank in Bonn, Germany. According to Germanwatch, Thailand lost an average of 140 people and $7.6bn each year to climate events during this period. One of the most damaging of these climate events in Thailand is flooding, and it is not the only country affected, as the US experienced late last year through Hurricane Harvey in Texas, where 88 people died. How is climate change increasing floods? The natural warming of the earth, that regulates our planet’s climate, occurs when energy from sunlight enters the earth’s atmosphere. Energy from this sunlight is absorbed by the earth, and some is reflected back as heat energy into the atmosphere. Of the heat energy reflected back, a portion is trapped in the atmosphere absorbed by greenhouse gases, warming the earth, and some escape among […]