Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Les Terrasses Cap-á-l’aigle: Where Architecture and Nature Connect / MU Architecture

Courtesy of
Architects: MU Architecture
Location: Charlevoix Region, Quebec, CanadaClient’s Name: Florent Moser
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Courtesy fo MU Architecture
The residential development project Les Terrasses Cap-à-l’Aigle was born from a passion for the great open spaces and natural beauty of the Charlevoix region in 2009. Florent Moser and Alain Rajotte, both entrepreneurs as well as ardent lovers of the region, have created a unique residential development project that unites nature and architecture to provide a haven of peace and rejuvenation for its future owners and tenants.
Les Terrasses Cap-á-l'aigle: Where Architecture and Nature Connect / MU Architecture (13) Courtesy of MU Architecture 
With respect for the environment and the desire to harmonize with nature as the driving forces behind the project, the developers conceived modern, luxury homes that blend seamlessly into the landscape. This major residential development offers hillside lots with panoramic views, surrounding mature forest, privacy, tranquility, abundant natural light, and quality infrastructures. It is a two-phase project, with 60 and 40 lots respectively. Close to half of the lots in the first phase were sold in less than two years.
“We have developed a concept that corresponds with our vision of the modern home. In our opinion, every house should be customized in such a way so as to satisfy the needs of the clients while perfectly integrating into its environment. As such, we wanted to create a haven of peace that puts nature at the forefront by playing with natural assets such as slope, sunshine, and panoramic view. Furthermore, our houses are designed by the architectural firm MU Architecture, who share our philosophy,” explains Florent Moser, developer and general contractor of the Terrasses Cap-à-l’Aigle project.

Nature: A one-of-a-kind canvas

Located in the very heart of nature on a vast wooded hillside, houses in the Terrasses Cap-à-l’Aigle are veritable sanctuaries of rejuvenation. Their simple, minimalist design, in direct contrast with the surrounding wilderness, enhances the beauty of the physical landscape.
Architecturally speaking, the south-west orientation of the houses, in conjunction with their large, bay windows, maximizes the amount of sunshine for optimal energy efficiency as well as affords breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. In addition to harmonizing with nature, the green roofs serve as natural air conditioning by absorbing heat waves.

A “made in Quebec” construction

The houses in the Terrasses Cap-à-l’Aigle project are truly “made in Quebec”. With a vast majority of the materials and labour utilized in their construction hailing from the four corners of the province, these houses showcase the superb quality of local workmanship and products. For example, all windows are made of Quebec aluminum assembled in Montreal by the firm Alumilex. The granite used in the Marée Basse kitchen design comes from the Eastern Townships, while the bathroom vanities are made of Laurentian concrete. The Phare residence features machined steel from La Malbaie throughout, including the kitchen décor, the staircases and banisters, some furniture, the bathroom vanities and the central fireplace. Furthermore, the exterior siding of each house in this residential complex is made of wood from Quebec.

Courtesy of MU Architecture
Source: Archdaily

Monday, 28 November 2011

Porsche's Green-Roofed North American Headquarter

green design, eco design, sustainable design, HOK Architects, Porsche North American Headquarters, Atlanta, LEEd Silver Certification, green roof, Atlanta Airport, interior courtyard, rainwater filter

HOK Architects were recently chosen to design Atlanta’s new Porsche North America headquarters, which will feature a sweeping kinetic facade and an immense green roof. The movement-filled building reflects the Porsche brand while incorporating innovative green landscape architecture, and it is designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification.

By integrating the track into the building's lower levels and weaving in subtle motorsport-related cues, HOK's design immerses employees, dealers and customers in the Porsche experience.
The luxury German vehicle’s headquarters will cost Porsche $100 million and will occupy a 130 acre mixed-use area near the airport.  The 200,000 square foot complex will include a technical service and training center, a road handling track, a customer and driver experience center, and offices.
The impressive complex will wrap around an interior courtyard, which will create a space for employees and customers to interact. Cafes, team rooms, and meeting spaces will also flank the natural light-filled courtyard area.  The floors surrounding the courtyard will be lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that open up the interior spaces and blend them with the extrior.
The building will be also enveloped in an energy conserving shell that will protect it from solar gain. Natural ventilation will help the large campus maintain cool air circulation efficiently. The richly planted green grass roof shields the interior from the hot Atlanta sun while filtering rainwater.
HOK’s state of the art green campus is the proper home for Porsche’s North American presence, incorporating energy efficiency and green design with open, cooperative work spaces for employees and customers to enjoy.

Friday, 25 November 2011

World’s lightest material developed: research by California Institute of Technology

Researchers have developed the world’s lightest material - with a density of 0.9 mg/cc -about one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam.
The new material redefines the limits of lightweight materials because of its unique “micro-lattice” cellular architecture.
The researchers were able to make a material that consists of 99.99 percent air by designing the 0.01 percent solid at the nanometer, micron and millimeter scales.
“The trick is to fabricate a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness 1,000 times thinner than a human hair,” said lead author Dr. Tobias Schaedler of HRL.
A photograph of the material
The material’s architecture allows unprecedented mechanical behavior for a metal, including complete recovery from compression exceeding 50 percent strain and extraordinarily high energy absorption.
“Materials actually get stronger as the dimensions are reduced to the nanoscale,” explained UCI mechanical and aerospace engineer Lorenzo Valdevit, UCI’s principal investigator on the project. “Combine this with the possibility of tailoring the architecture of the micro-lattice and you have a unique cellular material.”
Developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the novel material could be used for battery electrodes and acoustic, vibration or shock energy absorption.
William Carter, manager of the architected materials group at HRL, compared the new material to larger, more familiar edifices: “Modern buildings, exemplified by the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, are incredibly light and weight-efficient by virtue of their architecture. We are revolutionizing lightweight materials by bringing this concept to the nano and micro scales.”
The findings from a team from UC Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology appear in the Nov. 18 issue of Science.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Live Work Home by Cook+Fox Architects

an affordable and sustainable small home design in Syracuse, New York with an open plan and flexible partitioning.

The Live Work Home resembles a small loft with a column-free structure. Sliding doors and mobile partitions allow for easy reconfiguration of the interior space. live_work_home_cook_fox_architects_2b.jpg

Daylighting was a top priority, not only is the house placed to maximize direct solar exposure, skylight tubes penetrating the roof also provide diffused daylight.

A perforated screen wraps the western and northern facades and "bounces" daylight into the house.

A large, garage-type front door can fold down to create an open-air anteroom, like a front porch the space creates an ethic of "eyes on the street" that helps residents feel safe and engaged with the sidewalk and street.

Photos: ©Cook+Fox Architects.

More from
Cook+Fox Architects: Live Work Home, a winning design proposal from Cook+Fox Architects in the From the Ground Up Competition in Syracuse, New York, has been awarded LEED-NC (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction) Platinum certification, the highest possible rating by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). On Friday, November 11, Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of the USGBC, recognized this notable achievement by presenting the LEED Platinum certificate to architect Richard Cook in Syracuse.

Completed in late 2010, the Live Work Home considers the longevity and livelihood of the Near West Side of Syracuse, NY, a shrinking city affected by the migration of significant industry throughout the 20th century. Today, the neighborhood faces high unemployment rates and lacks space for creative industry. Affordable housing alone does not respond to the needs of the neighborhood; its vitality as a community is a question of sustaining livelihoods and the social diversity. Just as pockets of extreme blight and vacant lots can weaken a neighborhood, adding density to the small-lot patterns of Near West Side with mixed social and economic activity will re-energize the community.

Inspired by the legend of the Three Sisters, a lesson in strengthening agricultural biodiversity, the flexible home "seeds" the neighborhood with many different building types, driving a positive cycle of long-term investment. Essentially a small modern loft, the simple and flexible construction of Live Work Home--a column-free structure with sliding doors and mobile partitions--was designed to address a range of uses over time and allows for a lifetime of waste-free remodeling. This 1,400 square foot project reconsiders the understood definition of "home" for a new, urban context- and demonstrates how small-scale sustainable architecture can be delivered at the highest level.

"Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time. Our living rooms are empty seven-eighths of the time. Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time. It's time we gave this some thought." -Buckminster Fuller, I Seem to Be a Verb, 1970

Grounded in ideas of healthy living and biophilia--our innate human need to connect with the natural world--the home is also a response to Syracuse's climate and ecology. The city's long, light-starved winters make daylighting a top priority, thus the house is placed to maximize solar exposure, lit with direct and diffused daylight from skylight tubes penetrating the roof. A perforated screen wrapping the western and northern facades bounces daylight into the house and filters light through adjustable rotating screens along the western side. Inspired by the natural beauty the pattern of dappled light filtering through a tree canopy, the custom-designed screen draws from Janine Benyus' research on biomimicry, which teaches about taking design cues from nature. The screen also features a large, garage-type front door, which can fold down to create an open-air anteroom of "prospect and refuge." Acting as a front porch, this space creates an ethic of "eyes on the street" that helps residents feel safe and engaged with the sidewalk and street.

The long, narrow site suggested an exploration of linear archetypes including the Haudenosaunee longhouse, Syracuse's original vernacular form, which is easily lengthened or shortened with changing family dynamics. An open, linear plan was chosen to achieve the greatest possible flexibility at the least expense and to allow residents to "age in place," which encourages long-term residence and intergenerational living.

It was especially important to consider long-term operational affordability during the design-process when addressing the needs of a diverse population of potential occupants, including students and aging residents, and low-tech passive strategies became the foundation of the home's green design concept and affordability. A high-performance building envelope constructed of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) saves energy, improves comfort, and reduces both construction waste and on-going costs of ownership. A heat recovery ventilator circulates healthy, filtered air year-round. During hot summer evenings, the garage door can be closed, allowing front doors to remain open for natural cooling while maintaining privacy and security. Efficient, hot water-based heating is delivered through a radiant floor, which also allows maximum flexibility in room planning when compared to standard forced-air systems.

Beyond affordability, the concern to build for longevity and sustainability necessitated the healthiest possible indoor environment for the homeowners. Materials were chosen to protect the indoor air quality by reducing the risk of moisture, mold, and the off-gassing of harmful chemicals. Following the deconstruction of the original home sitting on the lot as well as a nearby warehouse, old-growth pine and hemlock were salvaged and repurposed into the floors and cabinets, part of a broader ethic of waste-free modeling and re-use for Live Work Home. To address stormwater issues, the functional landscape design includes low-maintenance, drought-tolerant native grasses and rain-barrels.

Local nonprofit Home HeadQuarters managed the construction process, which included training for a team of construction apprentices, cultivating a workforce for future sustainable building projects, and creating much-needed green-collar jobs. Homeowners John and Kathy Miranda moved into the home in November 2010 with the intention to fulfill the home's flexible layout to house an environmental consulting business, a small office space, and personal living space for the couple.

Following the From the Ground Up jury process, longtime Near West Side resident and juror Carol Horan said, "I went back to the neighborhood where I've been living for 37 years and looked at it with new eyes, paying more attention to details that I had never noticed before. My fondest wish for this neighborhood, and indeed, the whole community, is that we all look with new eyes."

The award of LEED Platinum to Live Work Home is the result of a fully integrated team that included:

Architect: Cook + Fox Architects, LLP
Client: Home HeadQuarters, Inc.
Environmental Consultant: Terrapin Bright Green, LLC
Sustainable Construction Consultant: Northeast Green Building Consulting, LLC
Structural Engineer: Severud Associates
MEP Engineer (Competition): Arup
MEP Engineer (Project): Jaros, Baum & Bolles
Landscape Architecture: Terrain
by Harry / November 21, 2011

Monday, 21 November 2011

3form launches four new stunning products

*Facet space divider by 3form in collaboration with bloomming

3form, the leading manufacturer of award winning, eco friendly materials and architectural hardware solutions for the Architecture + Design industries, has recently launched four new, stunning products: Ditto, Shapes and Facet plus new a integrated lighting solution – Lightline.

read more about the new 3form products on

Lightline integrated light solutions for Chroma panels by 3form

Lightline ceiling Light by 3form

Ditto Space Divider by 3form

'Shapes' elements by 3form

Posted by Susanne Fritz on 17.11.2011

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Cheeeeese Tray/ Storage

FxBallery has created a multifunctional cheese container that also serves as a cutting board, serving tray and chalkboard sign.

Cheeeeese helps create an event around the presentation and tasting of its contents. Says Ballery, "When you open the formal object - contemporary, geometric and graphic - we discover something more complex than a cheese tray. We are surprised, as is often the case with the taste of a new cheese. Cheeeeese is like a game board; we assemble, we sort, match, and stack."
Photo: Erwan Fichou.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Taffy Tables

Taffy Tables by Luca Nichetto
Via @muuuz, a series of low tables which with a moiré pattern printed on the table top. "Taffy is the English translation of the French term moiré, which denotes a unique graphic effect generated through the interference created by the superimposition of two groups of lines, sometimes curved, sometimes not."


"The moiré effect is the beating heart of the Taffy collection of tables, which take on a life of their own when they are combined and made to engage synergetically with one another, thereby generating a dynamic effect much like the one characterizing the graphic pattern that inspired them." More at Luca Nichetto.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A House in Japan

Via @dezainnet & Solo Houses, a house for a young couple in Tokyo built like a stack of boxes on multiple levels. "In one way the house is like a single space, but each room is also a tiny space of its own. The clients said they wanted to live like nomads within the house - they didn't have specific plans for each room." More at Japan Architect.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Smart Adidas shoes let you mimic your favorite athlete

A new “intelligent” soccer cleat from Adidas promises to allow you to compare your performance with the game’s greatest players.
The innovative shoes, which contain an embedded chip that records and analyzes a player’s performance, have already been worn by star footballer Lionel Messi. The technology allows the German sporting goods giant to show you what you did and how it compares to previous efforts, friends and world-class players.
(No word on how the shoes will help you get over the bout of depression you’ll face with that last one.)
The cleats are the product of two years of research and development, Adidas says, and are yet another attempt to gain a competitive edge over American rival Nike, which counts star soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo among its stable of top-flight athletes, has a similar product in its Nike Plus platform and whose gains in the sport have been sizeable, at Adidas’ expense.
The smart shoe is a digitized version of the company’s f50 adizero, introduced in 2010 as the lightest cleat on the market, at just 165 grams. Now, it carries an eight-gram chip slipped beneath the sole that wirelessly transmits data, including maximum speed, distance covered.
The company is marketing them as the “football boot with a brain.”
The footwear runs on a modified version of Adidas’ miCoach platform, which was first introduced in 2006 for runners. Soccer, which involves 360-degree movement that’s more complicated than simple forward progress, represents the next step for the technology.
Unsurprisingly, the company says it’s investigating similar applications for basketball, tennis and American football in the first half of next year.
The shoes will go on sale in Europe, Asia and Latin America on Nov. 15 for 245 euros, or about $338. The U.S. receives them Dec. 1.

By Andrew Nusca

Friday, 11 November 2011

Life Saving Air Drones

The Airborne Avalanche Rescue System by designer Tatjana Rolle aims to decrease crucial emergency rescue times after avalanches by utilizing autonomous airborne drones to detect and mark the position of victims.  Immediately following the avalanche, the activated drone leaves its solar charging station, scouts the area and tags the positions with bright paint so rescuers can recover victims without delay.
A sensor grid and the AARA drones at their base stations are installed in a range of avalanche endangered zones avalanche, making it possible to detect avalanches immediately. The cross-linked sensors are able to locate the exact position of the run-out zone of an avalanche, activate the drones and alert the mountain rescue service. Approaching the site the drone starts its locating-mode. If it finds a victim, the drone assigns the place with a color mark. The rescue team is able to start the retrieval directly.
The AARA-drones are based in autarkic stations. These not only shelter the drones, but also serve as a node between the cross-linked avalanche detectors, AARA and the mountain rescue service. This is where all information converges. Solar modules ensure the electric power supply. AARA is protected by a dome which opens up in case of emergency. The station’s platform contains a charging cradle to recharge the batteries of the drone.
 Alongside the precise and steady flight, AARA has to manage its job as a positioning drone. It has a GPS for navigation and an ultrasonic sensor for distance measurement. The positioning is done by the already established RECCO-System. It works with passive reflectors and active detectors. The reflectors independence of energy is the main advantage so they can be integrated easily and are cost-efficient to the ski-equipment. In addition, AARA wireless communication to exchange data with the mountain rescue service and the base station, as well as a magazine of color cartridges to mark the find spot.
The shell is a kind of exoskeleton which protects the technical components while also serving as main supporting structure. As a material an ultra-light composite material like carbon fibre comes into consideration. Characteristic properties like the variable flight and the central and therefore protected thrust unit are the center points the design is based on. The design of AARA is as different as its unconventional flight technology in reference to common drone appearances.

Designer: Tatjana Rolle

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

World class robot art includes a telepresent ocean

We are often followed by cameras as we go about our daily routines, getting cash, buying milk, throwing underwear into laundromat dryers, yet most of us routinely forget this fact. Want to get a more intense feeling of what it’s like to be tracked? Now through to December 18 you have your opportunity to let robots get closer to you at an art installation, Desire of Codes, at the InterCommunication Center in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.
The artist Mikami Seiko set up walls covered with small robotic arms, some include sensors and cameras that follow your every move. The composite image they capture, apparently along with images from other surveillance cameras around the globe, is then projected on another wall within the space. This is high-end robot art.
Seiko’s show is part of a larger multi-artist show, Open Space 2011. According to a post in CNET one of the more striking installations from this show is David Bowen’s Tele-present Water installation. Telepresence refers to the use of various technology to give one the sense of being in another location. Top notch videoconferencing at the office could be one boring example. Bowen’s water installation is more spectacular. It eerily mimics the movement of an actual ocean using real-time data of wave movement. Made of tubes suspended in midair, it’s surprising how realistic it is. Watch the video here:

tele-present water from david bowen on Vimeo.
For more:;header-sec

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Izmir Opera House

       Izmir Opera House | Nüvist Architecture & Design | courtesy of Nüvist Architecture & Design Izmir Opera House | Nüvist Architecture & Design | courtesy of Nüvist Architecture & Design Izmir Opera House | Nüvist Architecture & Design | courtesy of Nüvist Architecture & Design Izmir Opera House | Nüvist Architecture & Design | courtesy of Nüvist Architecture & Design Izmir Opera House | Nüvist Architecture & Design | courtesy of Nüvist Architecture & Design Izmir Opera House | Nüvist Architecture & Design | courtesy of Nüvist Architecture & Design

Art centres have many roles beside their fundamental functions; one of this is the promotion of a sense of connection between the citizens and the artist’s works. This concept is the key criteria for the Izmir Opera House Project, besides reflecting the history, the culture and the city’s modern life. Therefore the opera house was conceived to become Izmir’s new symbol, turning the building into a centre of attraction and a recognizable lieu for all visitors, foreign and domestic.

Surrounding the opera house, several recreational areas were devised; playgrounds and amphitheatres for cultural activities, artistic performances, open-air concerts, and celebrations, intended to turn the opera house into a meeting place, a connection point between the citizens, art and the artist’s works. These places use can be associated with the opera house events or be used separately. The Opera house main functional areas were designed according to several conditions and environmental analysis, including circulation data, landscape, functional connections and meteorological factors. Taking this data under consideration, an urban art-dome was devised; the Artistic Foyer, a physical and topographical manifestation of the interactions of urban pre-existences and functional systems.

Design by: Nüvist Architecture & Design | Emrah Cetinkaya

Monday, 7 November 2011

PadFoot for iPad

PadFoot is a small and simple stand for the iPad 2 (also exists for the iPad 1) which was created by Dutch industrial designer Michiel Cornelissen. It only weighs 10 grams and clips onto the corner of the iPad to securely stand it upright both horizontally and vertically. It is made of 3D printed polyamide, which allows the creation of a hollow shell that combines a lightweight with toughness. Price tag: $20. Enjoy!
PadFoot iPad 2 Stand 3 PadFoot iPad Stand
PadFoot iPad 2 Stand 5 PadFoot iPad Stand
PadFoot iPad 2 Stand 2 PadFoot iPad Stand
PadFoot iPad 2 Stand 4 PadFoot iPad Stand
PadFoot iPad 2 Stand 1 PadFoot iPad Stand