ryuichi ashizawa architects: asakusa home under construction

from Designboom – Weblog

asakusa tree home model by ryuichi ashizawa architects
image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

japanese firm ryuichi ashizawa architects have designed asakusa tree in osaka,
which is currently under construction. the house created for a couple is situated on
a 30m2 site.

the concept is based on sustainable systems. structural columns intertwine like ivy
supporting slabs on each floor. soil is put on the slabs to plant local plants of the area.
because fixed walls separate natural and human domains, they avoided constructing walls.
instead, they uses traditional movable walls of japan like a shoji or a fusuma. energy
sources of the building are produced by natural power as light, wind, and rain.
ideally, the house could produce all the energy used in this building, and circulate them
efficiently as tree circulates air. minimized facility lines are provided to each floor going
through the structural pipe of the columns. the environments exposed naturally calls back
the primitive sense of modern people.

this is a project for reconstructing the relation between ‘nature, human, and architecture.’

house detail
image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

house detail
image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

house detail
image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

house detail
image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

overall view of the house – model
image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

future image
image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

floor plans
image courtesy ryuichi ashizawa architects

Virgin Galactic Ready To Unveil SpaceShipTwo

from Wired: Autopia by Jason Paur

SS2 and VMS Eve in hangar 3

After more than five years of waiting, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is ready to be unveiled to the public tonight at a ceremony in the Mojave desert. Following on the success of SpaceShipOne in 2004, the six passenger SpaceShipTwo already has a backlog of more than 300 passengers who are waiting for their ride into space.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan and a host of VIPs are gathered at a hangar at Scaled Composites in Mojave where SpaceShipTwo is set to have the covers removed later this evening. The spacecraft has been built in almost total secrecy starting in 2007. The vehicle to be unveiled tonight is expected to be the first of six or seven that will make up a fleet of spacecraft operating out of the Virgin Galactic space port in New Mexico.

SpaceShipTwo is larger than its predecessor, SpaceShipOne, the first private manned spacecraft that won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004. Using a similar design as SpaceShipOne, the larger SpaceShipTwo will also be dropped from a larger White Knight Two aircraft before igniting a rocket motor that will carry the two pilots and six passengers to an altitude of more than 62 miles. From that vantage point, passengers will be able to see the curvature of the earth, the deep black sky of space and will even have a few minutes to unbuckle their seatbelts and float around the cabin.

After the fasten seatbelt sign is turned back on, SpaceShipTwo will utilize the same feather mode reentry where the spacecraft will descend back into the atmosphere similar to a badminton birdie. Once in the atmosphere, pilots will return the wing to its flying position and land SpaceShipTwo on the runway like the space shuttle or any other glider.

Flight testing is expected to begin early next year. First flights will be captive carry flights with SpaceShipTwo staying attached to White Knight Two. After that the flight test team will begin glide flights in SpaceShipTwo and eventually powered flights with the rocket motor. Once flight testing is complete and the government regulations have been met, Virgin Galactic plans to regularly fly passengers into space from the company’s New Mexico space port.

“SS2 has been designed to take many thousands of private astronauts into space after test programming and all required U.S. government licensing has been completed,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement.

Stay tuned for more details after the unveiling later tonight.

Images: Virgin Galactic

SS2 and VMS Eve in hangar 2

CGI Rendering Gives Us A Glimpse Of The Stockholm Library Of The Future

from Gizmodo Australia by Kat Hannaford

Entered into the International Competition of Architecture, this CGI rendering of Stockholm library shows the kind of future we can look forward to: one where technology and books can co-exist peacefully. [CGSociety via Sub-Studio](more…)

kyungam architects associates ltd: daewon park observatory

from Designboom – Weblog

daewon park observatory – cloud 360 by kyungam architects
all images courtesy kyungam architects

korean kyungam architects associates ltd designed daewon park observatory located in sungnam,
south korea. with the thought of a floating sky they created ‘cloud 360’. the ground level
was left as open space and two main elevators transport visitors to the raised building.
the restaurant, cafe and mediatech are all located in upper levels of the cloud observatory.

cloud 360 observatory

section view

cloud 360 observatory

site plan

paper model of form

architect : changki yun
partner: jaeyoo yoo
designer: taehyung lim, kyeongmin kim, yunmi kang

project info:
location: kyeonggido sungnam, south korea
site area: 5 340 meters squared
gross floor area: 929.32 meters squared
program: observatory
exterior finish: low e double glaze, u-glass, thk3.0, al sheet
client: sungam district

Global Food Networks: Countries Buying Countries

from InfraNet Lab by lsheppard

[Greenhouses being erected in Jittu, Ethiopia][Greenhouses being erected in Jittu, Ethiopia. Simon Norfolk for The New York Times.]

Two weeks ago, in an article entitled ‘Is There Such a Thing as Agro-Imperialism‘, the New York Times reported that financially wealthy but resource-poor nations in the Middle East and Asia are attempting to ensure food security by buying up large tracks of arable land in Africa, “seeking to outsource their food production to places where fields are cheap and abundant.”

The rising food prices last year left many wealthy nations feeling vulnerably aware of their food insecurity. Some fluctuations, such as the spike in food prices, may be transitory, but others, such as global population growth and water scarcity, show not signs of abaiting, and have created a global market for farmland.

The article points out that “because much of the world’s arable land is already in use — almost 90 percent by some accounts – if one excludes forests and fragile ecosystems — the search has led to the countries least touched by development, in Africa, which contains one of the earth’s last large reserves of underused land.” Research by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Institute for Environment and Development and advocacy groups such as Grain, suggests that huge tracts of Africa’s agricultural lands are being sold, off the radar.

[Satellite measurements of vegetation. Map by Robert Simmon, based on GIMMS vegetation data and World Wildlife Fund ecoregions data.][Satellite measurements of vegetation. Map by Robert Simmon, based on GIMMS vegetation data and World Wildlife Fund ecoregions data.]

There is, of course, an irony that a continent which is persistently beset by large-scale famine is seeing its land sold off, in order to sustain wealthy neighboring nations.

Foreign investors — some governments, some private interests — are promising to construct infrastructure, bring new technologies, create jobs and boost the productivity of underused land so that it not only feeds overseas markets but also more Africans. It remains to be seen, however, whether local farmers and African citizens will reap any of the benefit of this agro-imperialism.

Other nations, including China, India, South Korea and the UAE are also joining the global land-buy.
[Land buyers and sellers, via mongabay.com][Land buyers and sellers, via mongabay.com]

Great interactive map of global land transactions found here.
The first green revolution, which began in 1945, enabled developing nations to achieve food independence. Mexico was the first ‘test site’ of this green revolution, through programs largely funded by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, and India was the second poster child of the green revolution. There have been numerous attempts to introduce the versions of the Mexican and Indian project into Africa, but these programs have generally been less successful, due in small part to environmental factors, and in large part to political and economic instability.

This second version of an African green revolution seems far more ominous, leaving poorer nations to sell off the rights to their own survival.

Pruned posted a while back describing how European nations were considering spending upward of “£5bn on a string of giant solar power stations along the Mediterranean desert shores of northern Africa and the Middle East, with the hopes that Africa could provide part of their energy needs, basically turning the continent into one giant solar power plant.”

In an optimistic scenario, Africa nations will see lush fields of food supported by a robust infrastructure of water and electricity delivery – an African ‘Broadacre City’. However, if the resource imperialism of the 19th and early 20th centuries is anything to judge by, the outlook for Africa isn’t rosy, both in terms of environmental impact and the possibility of wealth trickling down to local farmers.

Nations as global supermarket?

Music player + helium = Melody Balloon

from DVICE by Charlie White

Music player + helium = Melody Balloon

Why carry around that cumbersome music player when you can have it hovering over your head? Here’s one of the weirdest designs of the year, Melody Balloon, a helium-inflated music player that you control with a ring on your finger.

It’s a design concept so far, and it’s so radical, we think it’ll probably stay that way. Even so, it might be fun to fly your little music player around, annoying everyone. We’re wondering why this little player wouldn’t just float away, but maybe if you attach it firmly enough inside your ears, you’ll be next year’s balloon boy.

Via Yanko Design

Cheaper Smart Windows

from Archinect.com Feed

skitched-20091203-100812.jpgScientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have created a new method for making electrochromic windows. The design is based on two thin film electrodes that are spray-printed, which is a cheaper alternative to conventional systems. Read More here, here and here.

makoto sei watanabe: ribbons open air theater

from Designboom – Weblog

open air theater – ‘ribbons’ in taichung, taiwan

japanese architect makoto sei watanabe was commissioned to design an open air theater
for a city park in taichung, taiwan. the canopy consisted of backstage rooms and other
new facilities for the existing outdoor theater.

in 2005, he did the spatial design for an exhibition of contemporary japanese art in
the austrian city of graz. entitled ‘ribbon’, that project featured a ribbon weaving through
space, rising and falling, at places becoming the wall of a booth and at places becoming
a canopy to guide the visitors. for the theater project he approached the design concept
from that direction.




‘ribbons’ – backstage



there were 3 versions explored in the design process.

version 1

version 1 – the cut out shell
the proposal was to take a closed curved surface and cut it out with another curved surface,
as to leave a shape that fulfilled the minimum requirements of a shell, however the city
wanted a design that could be seen easily from the street.

version 2

version 2

version 2 – ribbon/form guided by paths
the second proposal was to stretch a surface between two independently varying paths.
the result was a ribbon that danced along the two paths, changing its width and height,
crossing itself and twisting to open and close and form an overhead canopy. due to
limitations related to structural design in taiwan and questions of cost.

version 3 – final design

version 3 – ribbons/swaying on the waves
the third proposal, which was chosen for construction, is entitled ‘ribbons’. it consists
of five wavelike ribbons in a parallel configuration.

each of the ribbons is a simple 3D curved surface with the addition of a small amount
of twist and a slight displacement in phase. but the accumulation of small differences as
the wave forms are fitted to each other results in a surprisingly large amount of variation.

although no special computer program was developed for this project, the principle is
consistent with the basic principle of algorithmic design, namely that simple operations
applied to a limited number of items produce complex results.

swaying on the waves rendering

swaying on the waves rendering

the final design

Don’t eat the brown water

from The Worst of Perth by The Lazy Aussie

From Nicola on her way through Adelaide. Adelaide has always been famous for its bad beer, (although as I’ve said before, New Zealand’s Speights is the worst of all beers) and it is always blamed on the water. Maybe it’s toilet water. Nicola thought the signs may be directed at Adelaide’s dogs.