All items from Web Urbanist

Formula 1 Mobility: Graphene Enables World’s Lightest Wheelchair Design

[ By WebUrbanist in Technology & Vehicles & Mods. ]

Working with Formula 1 race car manufacturers and employing aerospace materials, a Swiss firm has developed what they claim is the world’s lightest wheelchair, with a frame weighing in at just 3.3 pounds.

Significantly lighter and stronger than typical high-performance carbon variants, Kueschall employed graphene (which can be hundreds of times stronger than steel and significantly tougher than diamond) to lighten the load while making the machine more durable.

“A single layer of carbon atoms, tightly bound in a hexagonal lattice” was at the heart of the engineering strategy. Why bother to make even lighter models? The firm points out that over half of wheelchair users end up with upper body damage over the years. Aside from the materials, “in order to ease these chances the wheels have been positioned in closer proximity to the user which helps to increase propelling efficiency.”

Cartoon Cafe: 2D Illusion in Korea Makes You Feel Like You’ve Entered a Sketch

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

At a glance, photos of Cafe Yeonnam-dong in South Korea appear to show a flat two-dimensional drawing of a dining space, but these objects are far more 3D than they appear. From the floorboards to the plants to the door handles, every detail of the cafe has been sketched in black on white and brightly lit to show as little dimension as possible. As you might imagine, it’s all highly Instagrammable, making it so popular with locals and tourists that the cafe often has to shut down early because they’ve sold out of food.

Dune Art Museum: Maze of Galleries Buried Under Beach Dunes Near Beijing

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Designed by OPEN Architecture and sited along the Chinese coast near Beijing, this building complex is a mysterious maze of fluid concrete shells, all of which will be reburied under sand when construction is complete, restoring the appearance of the beach.

The monumental and cavernous Dune Art Museum is meant to evoke primal imagery, tying modern experiences back to ancient human cave-dwelling (and cave-drawing) ancestors.

Below ground, the spaces are designed to fit different programs, including gallery, studio, cafe and bookstore areas. The entry is a long, dark tunnel, further heightening the sense of removal from the surface (punctuated by light from skylights above).

Unstable Housing: Balancing ReActor Building Tilts as its Occupants Move

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

Off-kilter balancing buildings that seem to defy gravity are more common than you might think, but most of them don’t tilt like a see-saw when their occupants walk from one side of the house to the other. The ReActor is definitely one-of-a-kind, and not just because it stands on a single concrete pillar that seems far too skinny to actually support the weight of the structure. With almost all of its walls made of glass, this tilting house put its creators’ lives on display as they carried out an experimental performance on the grounds of an art gallery in upstate New York.

Abstract Geography: Huge Historical Map Spans Dutch Train Station Ceiling

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

Amidst the modern architecture and undulating spaces of this station in Delft, one design detail stands out above the rest: a huge abstracted version of a map from the late 1800s that connects across a series of aluminum ceiling fins.

As travelers move through the space, their perspective shifts — overlaid on vertical slats, the map becomes abstract or concrete depending on the viewing angle, and periodically reveals details (like the name of the city) to new arrivals.

Developed by Macanoo over the last decade, this hub is more than just a station, containing a new city hall and municipal offices as well, but sited above the main transit tunnel is the grand open space connecting it all — an apt place for a massive map.

Don’t Wreck the Ruins: Aging Structures Adapted with Style and Sensitivity

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

When historic structures have fallen into ruin, should architects restore them to their original glory or acknowledge the passage of time? The answer to that question might depend on the significance of the building (and whether or not it’s legally protected), its condition and the client’s vision for its new purpose, but projects that take on this task run the gamut from painstakingly minimalist interventions to dazzling contrasts of old and new. A variety of approaches give new hope to buildings that seem beyond repair, even when all that’s left is a pile of rubble.

Minimal Interventions