The Skate Park house was custom built for a Shibuya, Tokyo couple, integrating a skate-ramp, a piano studio, and many lovely design flourishes. I think the stair-rail looks like it'd be awesome for grinding, too -- or at least soaping.
The owners of this house, a young married couple, made a special request in regards to the design of their house, located in a quiet residential neighborhood in Shibuya ward. They wanted both a skateboard park and a piano rehearsal room to reflect their own individual interests.
There was no need for a car park on the site, so to take advantage of space a private entrance courtyard was designed. The sliding glass panels of the first floor open up onto this enclosed area and allows for the workshop and studio to expand outwards. The studio has a skateboard bowl imbedded into the floor with multiple angles for plenty of different interaction.
The piano room, located at the back of the studio, is raised about 2 feet from the ground to help with the sound-proofing of the room as well as creating an inherent stage performance space. When the doors open up onto the studio, the expanded space with the bowl transform into guest seating and completely changes the atmosphere from a mere practice room to a public concert hall.
It sure seems like a completed structure at first glance. But look closer. Specifically, look at the piles of stone blocks stacked on top of the columns.
Those blocks were hauled up there during construction—around the turn of the 20th century. They were supposed to be carved into sculptures representing "Music", "Architecture", "Painting" and, ironically, "Sculpture". Instead, the stone has sat there for 110 years, through two major renovations, un-carved and largely ignored.
Stone Spray is a promising-looking 3D printer that is intended to produce building-scale structures by combining soil with binder from a spray-nozzle. Unfortunately, all the meaty tech information is locked up in a weird "book" player that doesn't work well on my screen, but you can get a general idea from the video above (I recommend scrolling at 10-20 second intervals and turning off sound).
Aditya Chakrabortty writes in The Guardian about the Shard, a titanic building that already towers above London, and explains how it is a microcosm for everything that's wrong with the world today:
So one of London's most identifiable buildings will have almost nothing to do with the city itself. Even the office space rented out at the bottom is intended for hedge funds and financiers wanting more elbow room than they can afford in the City or Mayfair. The only working-class Londoners will presumably bus in at night from the outskirts to clean the bins. Otherwise, to all intents and purposes, this will be the Tower of the 1%.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Shard is that it simply exemplifies a number of trends. First, it merely confirms how far the core of London is becoming, in industrial terms, a one-horse town. Finance, which began in the Square Mile, has now spread to Docklands to the east, to Mayfair in the west and now to the South Bank.
Second, it proves that buildings are no longer merely premises owned by businesses, but are now chips for investment. What's more those chips are increasingly owned by people who barely ever set foot in the country. A study from Cambridge University last year, Who Owns the City?, found that 52% of the City's offices are now in the hands of foreign investors – up from just 8% in 1980. What's more, foreigners are piling into London property at an ever-increasing rate, as they look for relatively safe havens from the global financial turmoil. And yet, as the Cambridge team point out, the giddy combination of overseas cash and heavy borrowing leaves London in a very precarious position. Another credit crunch, or a meltdown elsewhere in the world, would now almost certainly have big knock-on effects in the capital.
Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) is an innovative Chinese architectural firm whose mission is to erect "medium-cost, super-saving utility buildings and to promote a futuristic urban lifestyle." They are planning to build the world's tallest building, the Sky City Tower in Changsha, Hunan, whose 220 storeys will be erected in 90 days. The timelapse video above shows another BSB project, a 30-storey hotel that went up in 15 days. The company claims its designs are extremely seismically robust and environmentally efficient. From CNNGo:
Its 220 stories will provide a total of 1 million square meters of usable space, linked by 104 elevators.
Zhang said Sky City is expected to consume a fifth of the energy required by a conventional building due to BSB’s unique construction methods, such as quadruple glazing and 15-centimeter-thick exterior walls for thermal insulation.
The company's construction methods also seem to save money.
According to Chinese newspaper 21 Century Business Herald, the total investment in Sky City is RMB 4 billion (US$628 million), compared with US$1.5 billion on Burj Khalifa and US$2.2 billion on Shanghai Tower.
A Chinese property developer called Minmetals Land Inc secretly built a copy of a picturesque Austrian village called Hallstatt, building it in Guangdong province, the white-hot center of the Chinese manufacturing revolution, on a site 60km from Hong Kong. The Austrians are both proud and miffed, though the argument that ancient designs of buildings, or characteristic layout of ancient villages are somehow the property of their temporary residents is a bit odd -- sort of like claiming that because your town has a gothic cathedral, no one else should be able to reproduce its centuries-old design without your permission.
The original is a centuries-old village of 900 and a UNESCO heritage site that survives on tourism. The copycat is a housing estate that thrives on China's new rich. In a China famous for pirated products, the replica Hallstatt sets a new standard.
The Chinese Hallstatt features a church spire, a town square ringed by pastel-colored buildings and angel statues. They're among architectural flourishes inspired by the original, a centuries-old village of 900.
I really liked Clay Shirky's essay on the relationship between physical space and creativity. It's one of those classic, Shirkian riffs that includes a bunch of seemingly glib and merely clever ideas and culminates with a thing that ties it all together and makes you realize that a bunch of stuff you've been taking for granted is REALLY important and a bit weird.
In this video of his talk at PSFK CONFERENCE NYC, Clay Shirky talks about the work of Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. After working there as an assistant professor for almost ten years, Shirky describes five student projects that he thinks are pushing the creative boundaries - from interface design to how people cluster to build new work. At the end of the talk, the technology thought-leader compares creatives as members of a philharmonic orchestra and wonders if any rules can be drawn from looking at such an ensemble.
People sit in front of a house built upside-down by Polish architects Irek Glowacki and Marek Rozhanski, in the western Austrian village of Terfens May 5, 2012. The project is meant to serve as a new tourist attraction in the area, and is now open for public viewing.
The Long Forgotten blog -- the world's greatest source of informed critical speculation about the design thinking behind the Haunted Mansions at the Disney parks -- has just put up a smashing post about dueling theories of the intentions (conscious and subconscious) of the Mansion's creators. In the middle of that post is this remarkable photo, showing the Mansion's facade, and the ride building behind it, outside the railway berm, in what was once the parking lot. I've never seen this shot before -- I'm riveted by the sight of the ride's apparent structure and the huge, actual structure behind it.
Add to this the surprisingly flexible limits of "realistic" presentation under any circumstances, not just haunted houses, and things really become loose. Few films or rides concern themselves too much with reconciling inside and outside architecture. Someone with a perfect sense of architectural space may wince once in awhile, "knowing" that if the character really did turn left down that hallway, he should by rights walk smack into the outer wall of the house, but for the most part such concerns are ignored. This includes size considerations. With the HM, even if we discard about a third of the show building as housing an outdoor scene (the graveyard), the square footage of the house we experience is still much larger than anything that could pass for the "original" house remodeled into the current Mansion.
Hammock-tent-makers Tentstile have a new 5-8 person model -- string it up between a couple-three massive trees and it becomes a treetop aerie, far above the madding crowd of critters and hikers.
Tentsile combines the comfort and versatility of a hammock with the usable space and security of a tent. The ultra portable structure uniquely employs tension forces to provide separation from wildlife, including insects, snakes and other predators but also from sand storms, earth tremors, cold or wet ground, debris or contamination.
In Changsha, China, a 30-story hotel project went from blueprint and prefab parts to finished building in fifteen days. Some are questioning how the construction project could possibly be safe, but the builder defends it. From reporter Jonathan Kaiman, the Los Angeles Times' man in Changsha:
In early December, Liu Zhangning was tending her cabbage patch when she saw a tall yellow construction crane in the distance. At night, the work lights made it seem like day.
Fifteen days later, a 30-story hotel towered over her village on the outskirts of the city like a glass and steel obelisk.
"I couldn't really believe it," Liu said. "They built that thing in under a month."
Cornell's Franz Nigl and Jeremy Blum demonstrate their truss-climbing robot in this video, which accompanies a paper accepted into IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine. The robot can climb and reconfigure the trusses in a 3D structure, redesigning a building on the fly, autonomously. It would be pretty cool to see a swarm of these running a genetic algorithm, dynamically redesigning a skyscraper.
This video presents a robot capable of autonomously traversing and manipulating a 3D truss structure. The robot is able to approach and traverse multiple structural joints using a combination of translational and rotational motions. A key factor in allowing reliable motion and engagements is the use of specially designed structural building blocks comprised of bidirectional geared rods. A set of traversal plans, each comprised of basic motion primitives, were analyzed for speed, robustness, and repeatability. Paths covering eight joints are demonstrated, as well as automatic element assembly and disassembly. We suggest that the robot architecture and truss module design, such as the one presented here, could open the door to robotically assembled, maintained, and reconfigured structures that would ordinarily be difficult, risky, or time consuming for humans to construct.