Adorable bubble car lets you see 360° of the world around you

from DVICE by Kevin Hall

Designer Yuji Fujimura’s concept for European automaker Peugeot comes in the form of a bubble for one. While you probably wouldn’t see a car like this on a highway (or want to — it’d probably pop like a bubble), it’d be great for tighter squeezes such as city streets and amusement parks. The odd bubble does beg the question, though: do you get to watch the world, or does the world get to watch you?

Check out more of Fujimura’s gorgeous design in the gallery below.

Yuji Fujimura, via LikeCool

Geothermal Gardens and the Hot Zones of the City

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh

[Image: “Reykjavik Botanical Garden” by Andrew Corrigan and John Carr].

In a fantastic issue of AD, edited by Sean Lally and themed around the idea of “Energies,” a long list of projects appeared that are of direct relevance to the Glacier/Island/Storm studio thread developing this week. I want to mention just two of those projects here.

[Image: “Reykjavik Botanical Garden” by Andrew Corrigan and John Carr].

For their “Reykjavik Botanical Garden,” Rice University architecture students Andrew Corrigan and John Carr proposed tapping that city’s geothermal energy to create “microclimates for varied plant growth.”

“Heat is taken directly from the ground,” they write, “and piped up across the landscape into a system of [pipes and] towers.”

Amidst “hydroponic growing trays and research laboratories,” and sprouting in the climatic shadow of complicated “air-intake systems,” a new landscape grows, absorbing its heat from below.

[Image: “Reykjavik Botanical Garden” by Andrew Corrigan and John Carr].

The climate of the city is altered, in other words, literally from the ground up; using the functional equivalent of terrestrially powered ovens, otherwise botanically impossible species can healthily take root.

This domestication of geothermal energy, and the use of it for purposes other than electricity-generation, raises the fascinating possibility that heat itself, if carefully and specifically redirected, can utterly transform urban space.

[Image: Produced for the “Vatnsmyri Urban Planning Competition” by Sean Lally, Andrew Corrigan, and Paul Kweton of WEATHERS].

A variant on this forms the basic idea behind Sean Lally’s own project, produced with Andrew Corrigan and Paul Kweton, for the Vatnsmyri Urban Planning Competition (a competition previously discussed on BLDGBLOG here).

Their design also proposes using geothermal heat in Reykjavik “to affect the local climatic conditions on land, including air temperature and soil temperature for vegetative growth.” But their goal is to generate a “climatic ‘wash'”—that is, an amorphous zone of heat that lies just slightly outside of direct regulation. This slow leaking of heat into the city could then effect a linked series of hot zones—or variable microclimates, as the architects write—that would punctuate the city with thermal oases.

Like a winterized inversion of the air-conditioned cold fronts we feel rolling out from the open doors of buildings all summer long, this would be pure heat—and its attendant humidity—roiling upward from the Earth itself. The result would be to generate a new architecture not of walls and buildings but of temperature thresholds and bodily sensation.

Indeed, as David Gissen suggests in his excellent book Subnature, this project could very well imply “a new form of urban planning,” one in which sculpted zones of thermal energy take precedence over architecturally designated public spaces.

Of course, whether this simply means that under-designed urban dead zones—like the otherwise sorely needed pedestrian parksnow scattered up and down Broadway—will be left as is, provided they are heated from below by a subway grate, remains, for the time being, undetermined.

This is all just part of a much larger question: how we “renegotiate the relationship between architecture and weather,” as Jürgen Mayer H. and Neeraj Bhatia, editors of the recent book -arium: Weather + Architecture, describe it. The Glacier/Island/Storm studio will continue to explore these and other abstract questions of climate and architectural design throughout the spring.

elevation workshop: rizhao urban planning museum

from Designboom – Weblog

rizhao urban planning museum in china by elevation workshop
all images courtesy elevation workshop

bejing firm elevation workshop received third prize in the competition to design
rizhao urban planning museum in china.

the suspended main building consists of three circular spaces. they vary – being
hollow, carved or transparent according to the sequence of outside and inside spaces.
as the sun rises and sets everyday, the suspending building projects its constantly changing
shadow to the plaza. the hollow carved external structure is in the shape of waves, producing
shadow patterns to the ground. these patterns work as a transition between a plaza of
suffused sunshine and the shadow of the construction, becoming a virtual border for people
to enter the region of the architecture, just like an intangible wall, which can be penetrated.
the enclosure of the construction will no longer be a simple wall, but a gradually changing
experience interacting with light and shadow.

rizhao is a green and sustainable developing city. elevation’s building design adopts
a hi-tech solar sunshield system, in order to make the most use of green energy. it was also
important to achieve energy-saving goals in ventilation and lighting by the design of double
surface layers, which consist of one large and one small.

in the aspect of structure, this building, adopts a large cantilevered steel structure,
indicating the strong support of rizhao’s own steel industry to its city development.

a. asadov architectural studio: taipei pop music center

from Designboom – Weblog

taipei pop music center proposal by a. asadov architectural studio
all images courtesy a. asadov architectural studio

russian a. asadov architectural studio developed a grass hill like complex for their
proposal of the taipei pop music center. various sections are based around craters
and volcanoes. the center consists of 3 main sections an outdoor performance space,
main hall and a green roof park. the hills are specially designed with sound protection
for the surrounding areas.

elevation view

elevation view

elevation view

site plan

sound waves flow in all directions

based on the shape of the dragon

ODBC: new transport solutions, los angeles

from Designboom – Weblog

a bridge designed for the new transportaion in LA

los angeles county, will provide as much as 40 billion USD for local transit
related projects over the next 30 years.

paris based firm odile decq and benoit cornette architects received a special
jury prize for their proposal for the competition to design new transport solutions
in LA county. the concept consists of specially designed vehicles which can be
driven on freeways and bridges (each having a designated lane). the small vehicles,
also have various parking stations around the city.

LA county’s transit infrastructure also known as the ‘freeway city,’ provides
an ideal context for an examination of the relationship between existing
infrastructures (streets, overpasses, culverts, right of ways,
power lines, and disused rail lines) and new urban systems.

BPA-Free Cans Hard for Foodmakers to Find

from Slashfood by Jennifer Lawinski

Filed under: Health & Medical

Getty Images

While the jury is still out on whether BPA — Bisphenol A, a chemical used in many plastics that may cause health problems — is safe in food packaging, some manufacturers are looking for alternatives.

But finding BPA-free cans isn’t exactly an easy job, as several food manufacturers have discovered, reported the Washington Post. BPA is used as the lining of nearly every can on supermarket shelves, and even if food is canned in BPA-free materials, some of its ingredients may have encountered the chemical.

Continue reading BPA-Free Cans Hard for Foodmakers to Find

Glacier / Island / Storm Online

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh

[Image: From Modern Mechanix, thanks to a tip from Nicole Seekely].

For the next five days, if everything goes as planned, BLDGBLOG and eight other architecture, design, and technology blogs will be engaged in a series of linked posts and ongoing conversations about themes relevant to the “Glacier/Island/Storm” studio at Columbia University this Spring.

In the broadest terms, we will be exploring the architecture of large-scale natural processes; more specifically, this means studyingartificial glaciers; organically-grown archipelagos and other artificial reef technologies; and the unintended climatic side-effects of architecture, including the possibility of “owning the weather.”

[Image: From Modern Mechanix].

The participating blogs are a456 (Enrique Ramirez), Edible Geography (Nicola Twilley), HTC Experiments (David Gissen), InfraNet Lab (Mason White, Maya Przybylski, Neeraj Bhatia, and Lola Sheppard), mammoth (Rob Holmes and Stephen Becker), Serial Consign (Greg J. Smith), Soundscrapers/UC-Berkeley Archinect School Blog Project (Nick Sowers), and Quiet Babylon (Tim Maly).

For my own part, I’ll be posting on a wide range of themes directly related to the studio, including summaries of visiting expert lectures and class field trips to local scientific institutions; but I will also be offering my own speculative thoughts on the matter. Also, in addition to each blogger commenting on one another’s posts when possible, or simply following up with their own response-posts, I will be maintaining a list of relevant links to keep the whole thing flowing.

So my students and I are off on a field trip for the rest of the day, but I will begin putting up posts this evening. Feel free to join in, leave comments, suggest further readings, and more. Thanks!

coop himmelb(l)au: town town erdberg

from Designboom – Weblog

town town erdberg, vienna by coop himmelb(l)au
all images ©

for their project town town erdberg, austrian firm coop himmelb(l)au will receive
the sustainability award for the 2010 MIPIM architectural review future project awards.

the intention of developing the office high-rise town town erdberg was to generate
a building which correlates to the principle ‘aesthetics of sustainability’. through an
energy active facade and an integrated wind turbine the building is producing more
energy than it is actually consuming.

according to that, town town erdberg is not a passive house but an active house,’ –
wolf d. prix, design principal and CEO of coop himmelb(l)au.

marking the gateway to vienna towards the east, the town town office tower in erdberg
is the main element of a developing urban zone.

its location directly on the subway line and in proximity to the highway to the airport
connects the project ideally to the city; with regard to urban development guidelines
this offers the opportunity for a distinctive architectonic form.

by combining two typologies (high rise slab and cylindrical tower) and with a cleverly
positioned central circulation and access core as ‘hinge’, the building achieves a very high
efficiency. the proportion of net usable floor area to gross floor area is 86% in contrast
to 82% in a conventional building.

the shape of the high rise is also optimized for the implementation of an integrated
and energy-active building system, which explains its excellent performance in terms
of sustainability.

the crystalline forms of the metallic skin were developed in simulations of dynamic wind
forces in order to be radar compatible and climatically, acoustically and functionally optimized.
the skin envelopes both the slab and the tower, thus merging them into a single hybrid form.

through the main entrance from the plaza the visitors step into a multi-level lobby
as communication zone with a flight of stairs, which lead to the semi-public areas
like the café, event spaces as well as special areas including the double height conference

further special areas like the canteen and the IT center can be reached via the two elevator
groups, which also connect to the standard floors with offices: one group with four elevators
accesses the first 16 floors of the high rise, the other group with three elevators is reserved
for the floors 16 to 26.

on the 16th floor at 70m of height – at the joint of slab and tower – the sky lobby with roof
terraces, and on the 26th floor at 105m of height the two story sky lounge with a gallery
are situated. both areas serve as communication zones and offer internal meeting areas with
a panoramic view towards the landscape of the danube in the east and the urban landscape
of vienna.

supply and disposal for maintenance of the building is provided for on level N-2 via
a private street, which is only used by the town town complex. in the two basement levels
the server and other technical spaces, archives, and storage rooms are situated.

the notion of sustainability has become a new paradigm for technological progress,
and as a consequence all efforts concentrate on reducing the consumption of non-renewable
fossil fuels in the construction and maintenance of buildings. behind the concept of a high
rise with an energy-active building system lies the ambition of an energy efficient,
environmentally intelligent building design, with the aim of introducing both proven
and innovative low energy consumption systems, environmental control systems, and newly
developed energy harvesting systems, and at the same time to enhance the user comfort.
this reduces the necessary investment in building technology and decreases the maintenance

all office spaces of the thermo-active building can be naturally ventilated through operable
windows as well as by optimization of the climatic skin; district heating is used for
additional displacement ventilation.

essentially, the tower façade consists of folded sheet metal elements. both the façades
of the slab and the tower are composed of external façade elements, which are mounted
at varying angles in front of the standard façade behind, which is fitted with fixed
and operable elements. the outer skins of the lobby at street level as well as of the sky lobby
and the sky lounge are glass façades with a post and beam structure.

since the building is located on the approach path of the vienna airport, another property
of the façade proves beneficial: due to the three-dimensional folding of the exterior skin
it is radar compatible, which means that it has maximum radar absorption and diffusion
on all sides (‘stealth effect’).

© coop himmelb(l)au

the building produces electric energy in two ways: on the one hand through wind energy
by means of a large turbine on top of the tower in a bar-shaped construction, which is
optimally oriented with respect to the locally dominant wind direction. on the other hand
the façade panels are provided with a photovoltaic lamination, which produces electric
energy through the sun. according to the tests and studies, the façade and the turbine
together produce more energy than the building actually consumes.

in contrast to a standard office building of comparable size, which uses 2,000 to 4,000 MWha,
but does not produce energy, this office building achieves excellent values: depending on
the net consumption, the energy gain of 2,000 MWha improves the energy balance
– the surplus energy can be sold back to the utility company. this means in other words
also that the break-even point of efficiency will be reached much earlier. for the same
reason the eco-balance regarding the building operation shows a saving of a total
of 1.100.000 kg CO2.

© coop himmelb(l)au

© coop himmelb(l)au

© coop himmelb(l)au

© markus pillhofer

since 2002 the MIPIM architectural review future projects awards have been granted
for un-built or incomplete projects.

© markus pillhofer

project info:
town town- office tower
erdberg, vienna, austria
2000/2010 –
in planning

IWS immobilien development

euro: 66,97 million
start of planning: 3/2000

site area: 2450m2
gross floor area: 43 750m2

height: 128m
number of floors:30

building costs: 66, 97 million
costs per m2: 1.530eur/m2

Hydrofloors’ Swimming Pools Belong In The X-Men’s Danger Room

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

I don’t know who has the pockets and the space to install these Hydrofloors – mechanically operated tiles that sink into the ground slowly, revealing an indoor swimming pool already full of water – but I want to meet them. (more…)

Pics: Rocking out in the space Cupola

from DVICE by Charlie White

That International Space Station module launched a couple of weeks ago, known as the Cupola, is the largest window ever launched into space. Now that it’s installed properly, it’s time to have some fun with it.

Break out the axe, astronaut Stevie “Ray” Robinson, play a few tunes, revel in the glory of floating in space in your shorts. Oh to be an astronaut/guitarist, basking in the earthlight, strumming away without a care! Take me there.

Twitpic, via Gizmodo