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Zaha Hadid's Dongdaemun Design Plaza Through the Lens of Andres Gallardo

© Andres Gallardo © Andres Gallardo

In the bustling streets of Seoul, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Zaha Hadid Architects has become a landmark for its atypical architecture. A complex yet effortless building, the Design Plaza encapsulates the energy of the cultural hub in Dongdaemun, an area that has itself earned the nickname of the "town that never sleeps" thanks to its late-night fashion market.

Investigating the building's twists and turns, Andres Gallardo has photographed the structure's fluid compositions. Although his photographs display little human presence, the building itself expresses the activity that occurs throughout day and night. Beneath the walkable park on the roof, Dongdaemun Design Plaza includes large global exhibition spaces, a design museum, 24-hour retail stores and a media center, among many other facilities that intertwine across the levels.

Constructing the Future: 13 Recent Advances in Robotic Building Technology

[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

The buildings and infrastructure of the not-so-distant future might look like they were dropped here from an alien planet thanks to the complex geometries and curvaceous surfaces robotic building technologies are able to produce. 3D printing in metal and concrete are among the biggest breakthroughs, but robots can also set building materials like bricks into place with unprecedented precision and produce prefabricated timber modules of the sort usually created by craftspeople. These 13 recent projects give us a glimpse at what we might be able to expect over the next couple decades.

3D-Printed Metal Bridge by MX3D

RAC Coffee & Bar / MASS DESIGN

© Feng Shi © Feng Shi
  • Architects: MASS DESIGN
  • Location: 322 Anfu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China
  • Lead Architects: Vladimir Dyduch
  • Client: RAC
  • Area: 160.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Feng Shi
© Feng Shi © Feng Shi

Text description provided by the architects. At the intersection of Anfu and Wukang roads in the former French Concession, you’ll find RAC Bar & Coffee. The locale has been long-known for its many Western restaurants and desirably central location - that also means the standards for design in this area are higher. The owners of RAC aimed to stand out with their authentically French vibe, speciality coffee, French pastries, crepes and organic wines.

Beetle Mania: 10 Groovy Volkswagen Bug Art Cars

[ By Steve in Culture & History & Travel. ]

The Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle, one of the 20th century’s most iconic vehicles, also served as a rolling car canvas for artists just itching to bug society.

Over 21 million Type 1 Beetles were manufactured between 1938 through 2003, leaving an indelible mark on pop culture’s psyche. VW sought to monetize the classic Bug’s nostalgic appeal through the evocative New Beetle that debuted in 1997, and the subsequent A5 Beetle introduced in 2011.

Adaptive Architecture: Curved House Wraps Old Well, Reuses Stone Cistern

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

A contemporary home in Spain was designed to wrap a surface well and sits on the associated subterranean cistern, creatively converting it into the solid foundation and habitable basement of this new living space.

The so-called Casa Aljibe (Cistern House) by architect Alejandro Valdivieso (images by David Frutos) is located in Alpedrete on the site of an old local water system that used to supply the neighborhood but stopped functioning over 50 years ago.

The cistern structure was left intact, however, and used for storage. When it came time to build a home for the descendants of the property owners, the architects decided build with and around these existing features.

Petroleum Pets: Coalinga’s Vanishing Iron Zoo

[ By Steve in Culture & History & Travel. ]

Painted pump jacks with plenty of personality put the “pet” into petroleum at the venerable and vanishing Iron Zoo in and around Coalinga, California.

Formerly known as “Coaling Station A”, the town of Coalinga in Fresno County hitched its wagon to a different type of fossil fuel once the Coalinga Oil Field was discovered in the late 1880s. The subsequent oil boom peaked in the 1910s with pump jacks and steam injectors gradually replacing derricks. By the late 1960s one couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a pump jack… sparking a brainstorm in one Coalinga-area resident who wondered how the ubiquitous “nodding donkeys” could work for the greater good. Or at least, for her greater good.

Architects for Animals: 13 Designer Cat Houses Auctioned for Feline Charity

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

Giant balls of twine, complex tunnel systems and integrated scratching posts are some of the features on offer in this series of deluxe architect-designed cat houses created by Los Angeles architects for a charitable auction.

Architects for Animals, a local charity, uses the Giving Shelter fundraiser to collect donations and support services for help feral, stray and abandoned cats in a city with an estimated 3,000,000 such animals.

Houses to Human Hearts: 13 Recent Breakthroughs in 3D-Printed Designs

[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

When 3D printers are widely accessible and affordable, will we see another industrial revolution, enabling us to manufacture just about everything we need on demand? Progress made in 3D printing thus far looks promising. Designers, engineers, architects and even novices are printing everything from fully functional human hearts and custom biodegradable shoes to full-scale architecture and bicycle bridges. One designer even printed himself a large-format camera based on three models he couldn’t afford.

Beating Artificial Heart

Prefab Plyscraper: World’s Tallest Timber Building Tops Out at 173 Feet

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

On the University of British Columbia’s campus in Vancouver, a new record-setting wood structures highlights the many advantages of a growing trend: vertical timber construction. Brock Commons Tallwood house is the highest of its kind to date, providing housing for over 400 students.

The Canadian firm behind its construction, Acton Ostry Architects Inc, says that using wood allowed for a much faster building process. Offsite testing of wood-to-wood connections and structural stability meant less time onsite spent figuring things out. Combined with prefabrication techniques, these approaches helped the builders finish the tower in just 70 days.