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How Smart Home Technology Could Change Architecture

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Whether you’re an early adopter or believe smart technology could invite a host of new headaches into our most private spaces, connectivity and automation are coming for us all. We’re still in the beginning phases of a revolution in the way architecture is designed, built and used, from virtual-reality-enhanced concept development and robotic construction to new levels of hands-free home control with potential to improve the quality of many users’ lives.

Sometimes smart home technology can influence the overall form of the house – like the central wooden block that holds the “life line” of electric panels, air conditioning units, audio visual systems and more within 42mm Architecture’s Pool House, pictured above – but often the effect is less visible from the outside.

Jay Osgerby: "Design is the Answer to a Very Difficult Question"

Oxford-born designer, Jay Osgerby has achieved virtually everything there is to achieve in the world of design. Together with his partner Edward Barber, Osgerby runs the internationally renowned Barber & Osgerby design studio. From diverse designs for well-known manufacturers such as Vitra and B&B Italia to the official torch for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and a two-pound coin commemorating the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, Osgerby and his partner have been almost restless in their creation of numerous icons. “I find it quite difficult to not think about work. I’m always thinking about what’s next. I’m terrible at stopping and just thinking.”

6 Architectural Responses to Climate Change in 2018

Photo.Synth.Etica / ecoLogicStudio © NAARO Photo.Synth.Etica / ecoLogicStudio © NAARO

As part of a global, interdisciplinary effort to tackle climate change, architects are devoting resources towards optimizing the energy efficiency of buildings old and new. This effort is more than justified, given that buildings account for almost 40% of UK and US emissions. As awareness of the issue of climate change becomes more apparent each year, so too do the architectural responses. 2018 was no exception.

In a year that saw wildfires rage across California, hurricanes in Florida, and mudslides in Japan, the architectural community has put forward a wealth of proposals, both large and small scale, which seek to mitigate against the role the built environment plays in inducing climate change. 

Ranging from a biological curtain in Dublin to a radical masterplan for Boston, we have rounded up six developments in the architectural fight against climate change that we published throughout 2018.

UNStudio Designs a City of the Future for The Hague

City of the Future. Image Courtesy of Plompmozes City of the Future. Image Courtesy of Plompmozes

Dutch architectural practice UNStudio have created a new urban vision for the City of the Future, a Central Innovation District (CID) test site in The Hague. Dubbed the "Socio-Technical City", the design covers a 1 square km area in the center of the city. The proposal aims to transform the site into a green, self-sufficient district of housing, offices, urban mobility and public spaces over the existing train track infrastructure.

Designed for Disassembly: Architecture Built with its Own End in Mind

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Few of us make plans for our lives with our own deaths in mind, so perhaps it’s not surprising that architects don’t usually spend much of the design process thinking about the virtually inevitable demolition of their creations. It might seem as morbid and premature as college graduates making plans for their own funerals, but considering the entire life cycle of a structure before it’s even built could have a massive impact on the amount of waste we generate – and help us adapt to the uncertain conditions of the future.

Though some buildings and infrastructure may stand for many hundreds of years, the vast majority of it is rendered obsolete in a matter of decades. Practical needs and aesthetic preferences change, and materials wear down. Currently, about 80% of all materials and minerals in circulation in the U.S. economy are consumed by the construction industry, and about 70% of construction waste is concrete.

Seven Benefits Of Minimal Bedroom Décor

A minimalistic design is not just a trend but a way of life for many people. It is about appreciating things that matter and removing objects that distract you. You can still have things in your life, but it is a collection of belongings that add value to you. Many people believe living a minimalistic life is hard, improbable tasks in a world that is so materialistic but those who try it, often, find the freedom exhilarating.

“Minimalism is not subtraction for the sake of subtraction. Minimalism is subtraction for the sake of focus.”

One of the biggest misconceptions of minimalism is that it restricts you. Ironically, the purpose of a minimalistic life is freedom. The minute you stop giving importance to materialistic possessions, you reject the idea of happiness all the advertisements and the media has forced upon you. You are free from worry, guilt, captivity, burden and depression. In fact, most religious scriptures emphasize not placing material possessions over the actual important things in life.

The idea of minimalism can be put into various aspects of our lives. With a minimalistic approach in your home, you intentionally promote the space. With the approach on architecture, you intentionally make the best use of the space. In photography, fashion and art, minimalism focuses on the core rather than the superfluous.

Penda and Smartvoll Design Giant Watermill for Austria's EXPO 2020 Pavilion

Architecture and design practices Penda and Smartvoll have created a giant watermill for Austria's National Pavilion for EXPO 2020 in Dubai. ‘The Source of Everything’ was selected as a finalist in an international competition and marks the first collaboration between Penda Austria and Smartvoll. The project features a supersized mill that circulates water through the pavilion and brings an experience to the desert of Dubai that Austria is famous for: Refreshment.

The Source of Everything. Image © Virgin Lemon The Source of Everything. Image © Virgin Lemon

“In my opinion, a pavilion at the Expo shouldn’t be a box that solely showcases products and companies. At its best, a pavilion offers a surprise, a fun time with a message and an adventurous exploration. By creating a lasting impression, it will connect the visitors personally to the values of a country and its culture.” says Philip Buxbaum, partner of Smartvoll.

Sydney Opera House Becomes Carbon Neutral

Courtesy of Sydney Opera House Courtesy of Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is celebrating a significant environmental milestone, having become carbon neutral five years ahead of schedule. For reducing its carbon dioxide emissions through efficiencies in waste and energy management, the Opera House was awarded certification from the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS).

The sails of the Sydney Opera House were illuminated green on the night of Monday 24th September to celebrate the carbon neutral certification.

Are Wood Doors Better Than Fiberglass Doors?

If you are stuck between choosing a wooden door or a fiberglass door to install in your home office, you are not alone. At first glance, they seem so similar that you may be mistaken in believing that they are equivalent, but they have some distinct differences which you need to be aware of before you make your decision. There are pros and cons to both, and both short-term and long-term financial aspects to consider.

The Pros of Wooden vs Fiberglass Doors

Wooden doors are associated with high end decor, and are the first choice in terms of quality and aesthetic design. They add a timeless style to your property which fiberglass doors cannot match. They can also be intricately carved and designed with an artistic finish, and can be repaired fairly easily if scratched or tarnished. They are also quite straightforward and practical in their installation, and can be fitted and maintained by almost anyone with the correct tools and materials. Like fiberglass doors, you can sand, varnish or paint wooden doors to the exact texture and finish you desire.

Fiberglass doors also have their own advantages, the main ones being superior durability and weather-resistance. Fiberglass doors have been known to outlast wooden doors, going for many years without becoming rotten, misshapen, or dilapidated, and require minimal maintenance, compared to wooden doors.

Hotel Jakarta / SeARCH

Courtesy of SeARCH Courtesy of SeARCH
  • Architects: SeARCH
  • Location: Java island, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Client: WestCord Hotels
  • Area: 16500.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
Courtesy of SeARCH Courtesy of SeARCH

Text description provided by the architects. SeARCH in collaboration with WestCord Hotels won the tender of the city of Amsterdam for the development of a unique hotel at the very tip of Java Island.

Courtesy of SeARCH Courtesy of SeARCH

Given the prominent location on the IJ river, the city council wanted a unique hotel concept, not only in its architecture, but also in its public programming and sustainability.