All items from Web Urbanist

Art of the Chinese Courtyard: Respectful Renovations Keep Hutongs Alive

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

Building booms around the world can render entire neighborhoods unrecognizable in a matter of days, demolishing historic structures to make way for new developments. In cities like Beijing, where older architecture such as “siheyuan” courtyard houses stand out for their uniqueness and beauty, the transition from traditional to contemporary can feel all the more jarring. Urban development is all but inevitable to manage growing populations, but for many onlookers, it’s sad to see the past bulldozed in favor of new buildings that don’t even acknowledge the area’s cultural and architectural legacy.

Enhancing IKEA: Small Designer Additions Totally Transform Kit Furniture

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

IKEA furniture can get your interior design most of the way to where you want it, but another Scandinavian company has enlisted three world-renowned architecture firms to help get you the rest of the way to a high-end design.

Reform enlisted architects from Bjarke Ingels Group, Henning Larsen Architects, and Norm Architects to create a series of finishing touches for existing IKEA products, from customized handles to stylized surfaces. Tapping into the popularity of Nordic design as well as the thriving industry of IKEA hackers, Reform aims to make luxury design affordable.

A Multi-Layered House Becomes a Landscape of its Own in Dense Osaka

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

When cities are so dense and plots of land so small it seems like you don’t have room for a yard, maybe it’s time to reconsider what a yard can look like. Presented with the challenge of designing a sunny and spacious residence in a cramped Osaka neighborhood, Japanese firm Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates went back in time for a solution, imagining what the area looked like before it was developed and aiming to reinvent it for this new purpose.

The architects looked to the nearby mountains and imagined the lush vegetation that once would have flowed down from them into the valleys, using this image as the genesis of their “micro-topography” concept. A series of stacked concrete slabs echoes the stratification of the Earth while providing airy open platforms that support a range of ordinary domestic functions and interplay with nature.

Catskill Keep: An Abandoned Cursed Castle In Upstate NY

[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

Abandoned Dundas Castle in upstate New York is said to be cursed: its builder died and his family were committed to asylums before they could even move in.

Ralph Wurts-Dundas (1871-1921) was a wealthy recluse who, since he could not BE a Scottish laird, did the next best thing by living like one… at least, that was the plan. In 1907, Dundas bought a log cabin on the banks of the Beaverkill River, deep in New York’s lush and forested Catskill Mountains. The cabin, known locally as “Beaverkill Lodge”, featured many comfort and convenience features but for Dundas only a stone-walled and luxuriously furnished castle would do.

Highlands Fling

DIY Pop-Up Prefab: Whole House Anyone Can Assemble with a Screwdriver

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Designed to be simple enough for anyone to build in just a few days, the Pop-Up House is made of lightweight and recyclable materials and can be assembled using a simple wireless screwdriver.

Developed by Multipod Studio, the first prototype was erected in the South of France, a working proof-of-concept with 1,600 square feet of space on a wood floor mounted on micro-piles. Since then, other models have been developed, too, using the same simple materials and construction principles.

The structure, compiled of insulating blocks and wooden panels, features affordable thermal insulation, reducing costs and environmental impact. The look is cozy and modern, featuring sleek lines and contrasting materials — fresh out of the box.

Skiers Test Out the Slopes Atop BIG’s ‘Urban Mountain’ Plant in Copenhagen

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

The vivid blue and green artificial ski slope atop Bjarke Ingels Group’s mountain-shaped Amager Resource Center in Copenhagen is ready for action. The novel waste-to-energy plant aims to be fun and educational while producing power, offering three different gradients of ski surfaces suitable for all experience levels as well as a park complete with hiking trails, climbing walls and greenery, all for year-round public use. While the slopes won’t be open to all for a few more months, Denmark’s TV2 Lorry was on hand to capture some early tests.