Colourful house-shaped boxes surround windows at nursery school
Bay windows with colourful house-shaped frames extend from the front of this nursery school in the city of Sendai, which was designed by Tokyo-based architect Masahiko Fujimori.The Morinoie kindergarten in Sendai is designed to cope with the area’s rising number of inhabitants and their young families. The four-storey nursery occupies a small area of land that has been left vacant since Japan’s 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.”[Sendai city] is an area influenced by recent land readjustment projects. It is expected that this area will continue to develop and increase in residential population,” said Masahiko Fujimori, the founder of eponymous practice Masahiko Fujimori Architect Office.“With these circumstances in view, we designed an ‘urban-style’ nursery school building that can effectively accommodate increased numbers of children, while also encouraging their curiosity creativity and connection with the local community.”Fujimori’s team integrated the protruding windows into the nursery as a way to create extra space – inside, they form brightly hued niches where children can gather and play, illuminated by natural light.The house-shaped frames that surround each window are inspired by children’s simplistic drawings of homes, which Fujimori hopes will “carry a happy, childlike energy throughout the neighbourhood”.The nursery’s interior comprises large, open rooms that have been furnished with “milky white” cork flooring and wood-effect boards to elicit a warm atmosphere. Simple cupboards in each room are installed to fit around the window niches, which are colours corresponding to their outer frames.The building’s roof has also been adapted into an outdoor play area and garden where the children can grow plants.www.dezeen.com_______________________________________________________________________________________________________Shipping Container HomeBlossoming from the rugged terrain of the California desert, Whitaker Studio’s Joshua Tree Residence is taking shipping container architecture to the next level. Set to begin construction in 2018, the home is laid out in a starburst of containers, each oriented to maximize views, provide abundant natural light or to create privacy dependent on their location and use.Situated on a 90-acre plot owned a Los Angeles-based film producer, the house is a reconfiguration of an earlier concept by Whitaker Studio for an office building in Germany that was never realized – a project recalled by a friend of the client’s during a recent trip to the site.“Earlier this year my client in LA had some friends visiting and, having a little time to spare, they all went on a road trip to visit the client’s plot of land in Joshua Tree,” explains studio founder James Whitaker. “Whilst there, amongst the arid landscape and jutting rocks, one of the friends said, ‘you know what would look great here?’, before opening her laptop to show everyone a picture she’d seen on the internet.“The picture was of an office that I’d designed several years ago but had never been built. And so it came to pass that next time the client was in London he got in touch and asked to meet up.”That concept was then transposed to the desert site, atop a rocky outcropping where a small gully had been created by rushing stormwater. The shipping container “exoskeleton” will be raised on concrete pilotis, allowing water to continue to pass underneath.Inside, the 2,150-square-foot (200-square-meter) home will contain a kitchen, living room, dining area and three bedrooms, each filled with natural light from the angled container light monitors and furnished with pieces from designer/architect Ron Arad, Whitaker’s former employer. Off the back, two containers extend to meet the natural topography, creating a shielded outdoor area with a wooden deck and hot tub.Exterior and interior surfaces will be painted a bright white to reflect light from the hot desert sun. A nearby garage will be clad in solar panels, providing all the power needed for the house. To make the house a reality, engineer Albert Taylor from AKT II provided structural consulting during concept development.www.archdaily.com_____________________________________________________________________________________Competition Entry Imagines Dynamic Library Design for London’s Hyde ParkMichel Kozman has imagined a light-filled library for Hyde Park as part of the Archasm Hyde Park Library Competition that ran earlier this year. The competition, which attracted 378 registrations, called for “a stimulating and exciting approach towards the design of a library at Hyde Park.” The brief requested consideration be given to modern forms of media, including audiovisual and digital technologies, challenge the traditional library typology and become a zone within the park for knowledge exchange and gathering.Kozman’s design entry was drawn from the park, for the park. Located on the lake edge, the building attempts to solidify the moment where water is disturbed and ripples outwards, resulting in a kind of rolling, droplet-shaped object. The form is then pulled, so it is leaning over its entrance. This formal condition is extended into the landscape, with an outdoor amphitheater curling up from the ground like a lip.The building’s skin would appear woven and the space frame construction left exposed, creating a dappled, patterned light, denser where the heat gain is less desired and responding to its leafy context.The library sinks inwards over four floors to an internal courtyard, and stainless steel panels are used internally to capitalize on reflections of the park surrounding. This would create an immersive experience, bringing the outside in and the inside out. The columns holding up the structure fluctuate in width and twist like tree trunks while the floor plates wave around the edges to create double-height alcoves below.www.archdaily.com_____________________________________________________________________________________Viewing Tower mazeAt the top of ‘hill B’ at the Hoge Bergse Bos in Bergschenhoek a 22-meter high viewing tower is built. It is the centrepiece that completes the renovation of the recreational hill. We have designed the tower as a three-dimensional maze in which visitors have views from various altitudes and in various directions.There are two possible routes to the top. These relate to the two main approach routes to the top of the mountain. The tower is composed of equal staircase segments connected by small and large platforms. In this concept the desire to have viewing platforms at various heights could be realized easily.The main structure is a framework of white, steel columns and stringers. It stands like a sculpture at the hill top. The railings are made of wood which give a nice contrast to the structure and soften the appearance.www.archdaily.com_________________________________________________________________________‘Crawling Assembly’Minima | Maxima, the latest Structural Stripes ‘Crawling Assembly’ from MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY, provides a moment of contemplation amid the busy grounds of World Expo 2017.Why, among visitors of all ages, does it seem instinctive to engage the structure playfully? For instance, to tuck one’s body inside a pleat at the base, assuming a contorted curved form that matches the structure itself. To be inside Minima | Maxima is to be transported to a strange, future, science fiction world, removing us from ourselves and finding within a sense of naive wonder. The project is radically different than the built environments we know. The impulse is to explore, to visually wander. Transformed into a childlike state, visitors can do so without the pretense of reference or concepts, employing instead the potent investigative powers of our senses.The project extends MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY’s research and development into achieving structural integrity through ultra-thin, self-supporting structures which find their strength in the double curvature of their form. In the whimsical yet durable universe the studio creates, curves win out over angles; branches, splits and recombinations make columns and beams irrelevant. A ‘networked’ surface rolls in, on and around itself, transforming into a space that obscures our preconceived notions of enclosure, entrance/exit, and threshold, while also providing its own support to stand up. The surface is ultra-thin: 6 mm aluminum. If an egg were scaled up to the same height Minima | Maxima, it would be much thicker.Towards the base of the structure, the rolling surface begins to softly corrugate, its zig-zag angles gently rising into a full pleat as they meet the ground platform. The visual threshold of this transition — from pleated base to smooth and doubly-curved, continuous surface — is subtle, yet its structural effect is significant in achieving the height of 43′.The project is a multi-ply composite: three layers of flat stripes — white and white sandwiching pink — are constructed in tandem, supporting one another as they assume curvature and gain height. One layer never exists independently, but contributes to and benefits from the unified whole. The stripes of each layer move perpendicularly from one another, creating an anistropic composite material (structural property of composite depends on direction) from an isotropic material, such as aluminum (properties of material are mostly the same in all directions).The system warrants comparison to fiber technology — such as carbon or glass fiber — yet is unique in that unlike fibers, each individual component does not need to be in tension (a straight line), and/or their processing does not require any mold or temporary scaffolding. Also such a composite system is mechanically bonded, allowing for recomposition and corrections during construction.Minima | Maxima was commissioned for World Expo 2017, an event with a history of architectural and engineering innovations. The structure was situated prominently on the grounds in Astana, Kazakhstan, where it will continue to live as a permanent structure. The environment it creates proved to be a successful destination and experience for visitors, inciting curiosity from afar, providing a moment of contemplation within.www.archdaily.com____________________________________________________________________________________Metal Rainbow-Zhongshu Bookstore in SuzhouThe new bookstore is divided into four main zones and several subdivided zones. Aiming to create a colorful new world by using symbolism, the architect gave a unique character to each zone: The Sanctuary of Crystal for new arrivals; The Cave of Fireflies for recommendations; The Xanadu of Rainbows for reading room; The Castle of Innocence for children books.
As an entrance, ‘The Sanctuary of Crystal’ is a space full of books and nothing else. The latest arrivals were arranged on the pre-fabricated transparent acrylic shelves, outstanding the presence of the books. Using glass bricks, mirrors and acrylic, ‘The Sanctuary of Crystal’ is a shining white space, luring customers into the heart of the store.After the whiteness, ‘The Cave of Fireflies’ is a darker tunnel connecting the main hall and the entrance. Customers will pick books here and follow the guide of optic fibers into the main reading area.After a relatively narrow space, ‘The Xanadu of Rainbows’ is a large and open space.Thanks to the large windows, natural lights can pour inside. Being the most prominent space, ‘The Xanadu of Rainbows’ provides a variety of experience. Taking advantages of different heights of shelves, steps, and tables, the architect creates a hyper architecturized and abstracted landscape of cliffs, valleys, islands, rapids, and oases. There are also thin perforated aluminum sheets in gradient colors simulated as rainbows installed in the bookstore. These 1cm thin panels divides zones of different functions at the same time bringing a mysterious and vague atmosphere to the space. These moves shape a Xanadu from ancient Chinese philosophy.At the very end of ‘the Xanadu of Rainbows’, the space surrounded by white ETFE walls is the children books area. With the help of translucent ETFE, the Castle of Innocence is an inner world inside the bookstore. Many complex installments were added in the space, building a world where children can interact with each other and with the bookstore itself.The perforated aluminum sheets shaped of windows play a huge part in the project. When half of the sheets were perforated, they lost the visual quality of shining metals. When multiple panels of different sizes and colors were fixed together, a sense of veil is created. This ambiguous and vague effects gave qualities to the bookstore. The distance between each set of panels is also of great importance. Some gaps between the panels are larger than others, thus creating spaces of different experiences. Again, with the almost translucent quality of the panels, the boundaries between each individual space is weakened. With the use of lights, the colorful sheets can also be seen from outside, making the bookstore an inviting destination.www.archdaily.com____________________________________________________________________________________This Innovative Cooling Installation Fights Soaring Temperatures in New DelhiThis installation is a bespoke attempt to simplify and reinterpret the concept of air-conditioning, understanding that standardized solutions may not be universally applicable given the constraints of cost and surrounding environment. Using computational technologies, the team at Ant Studio has reinterpreted traditional evaporative cooling techniques to build a prototype of cylindrical clay cones, each with a custom design and size.Description from the architects. Indian summers are a challenging time and specially at a workplace that has close proximity to a generator system. Not only do sweltering employees lose enthusiasm and productivity, excessive heat can take a toll on the health and wellbeing of employees. Deki Electronics was facing the same issue; however, large and expensive air-conditioning systems were not an option. The brief required an economical, energy efficient and robust solution.The team found the answer to this challenge in a traditional technique and ancient wisdom -Evaporative Cooling– reducing the temperatures using water and some local material- A wisdom that traces back to the Egyptian period.It allows for an ultra low maintenance, sustainable and inexpensive alternative using the porus terracotta as a heat exchange medium tapping on to cooling properties of water, converting the hot air from the gen-sets into a pleasant breeze.Earthen cones were used to create the prototype. The design and size of the conical components were customised through advanced computational analysis and modern calibration techniques. The thickness and the length of the material were modified with CFD analysis.The use of cylindrical cones provided for a larger surface area to maximise the cooling effect. The temperature of the air flow around the installation was recorded. It was noticed that the hot air entering the installation was above 50 degrees Celsius at a velocity of 10m/sec.Water recycled from the factory at room temperature was allowed to run on the surface of the cylinders. This process cooled the hot air passing through the earthen pots. It was observed that after achieving the cooling effect, the temperature around the set up dropped down to 36 degrees Celsius while the temperature outside remained high at 42 degrees Celsius. And the air flow was recorded as 4m/sec.While recycled water might need regular maintenance to clean the pores on the exterior surface, regular water is recommended for long term performance.Not only does this installation deliver the brief with utmost simplicity, Ant studio sees it both as a scalable technical & functional solution as well as an art installation. “The circular profile can be changed into an artistic interpretation while the falling waters lend a comforting ambience. This, intermingled with the sensuous petrichor from the earthen cylinders allow for it to work in any environment with the slightest of breeze. Having said that, there are many factories throughout the country that face a similar issue and this is a solution that can be easily adopted and a widespread multiplication of this concept may even assist the local potters.”www.archdaily.com____________________________________________________________________________________Windmill guest house inside derelict SuffolkUK firm Beech Architects has converted a 125-year-old windmill stump in Suffolk, England, into a guest house topped with an elliptical zinc-clad pod.Once a prominent feature of the landscape, the 60-foot-tall (18-metre) converted windmill now houses two bedrooms, a kitchen-diner, a bathroom, and a viewing pod that offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the fourth floor.Originally built in 1891, the structure had remained as a disused stump for decades following the loss of its cap and sails.The mill’s renovation works were carried out as a self-build project managed by the site owner, using specialist sub-contractors and suppliers, and were entirely privately financed.“The design objectives were to reinstate the lost cap structure and restore the redundant and crumbling windmill to its former landmark status via contemporary design interventions,” said the architects.”The biggest design challenge was the reinstatement of the cap or ‘pod’, which was not intended as a faithful historic reconstruction, but rather as contemporary and innovative interpretation that would also serve as the principal living and viewing platform.”Inspired by traditional boat-building techniques used for historical caps, the pod mimics an inverted hull structure with ribbed timbers providing the skeleton.The architects used a Kerto timber rib system, which was precisely machine-cut from sheets of stressed ply that are visible from the inside. The ribs not only provides the strength and stability required to resist the wind loadings, but also made it possible for the architects to create a multi-curving form.On its exterior, 200 zinc panels were applied by skilled craftsman, each one made bespoke to fit its curved form.In the existing stump structure, Beech Architects had to contend with the windmill’s tar-coated, solid-brick conical walls, which provided no straight lines to insert the new accommodation and structural features against. As a result, all furniture and fittings in the windmill are custom-made to fit the curving layout.In order to facilitate circulation, each floor was rotated from the one below to accommodate an access point via landings from the radial staircase, which spirals around the inside of the mill. “This minimised circulation maximised usable space for the occupier,” said the architects.To help fix the existing structure, with its heavily spalled uninsulated brickwork, Beech Architects worked closely with the insulated render manufacturer to find a bespoke solution.”Bespoke tapered insulation panels were applied externally to visually retain the brick within the accommodation, protect the soft brick from further erosion and exploit the thermal mass of the structure for heating and thermal comfort purposes,” said the architects.“Small projecting zinc-covered extensions then slice into the mill at ground level, to provide glazed openings to access gardens and to identify the new entrance providing porch and access.”Despite numerous reports of disgruntled locals, the building is the winner of major categories in the 2016 National Roofing Awards, and the mill also reached the final selection of the Structural Timber Awards’ best commercial project last year.The windmill was also nominated for an RIBA Regional Awards 2017.www.dezeen.com