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In Architecture, Reviews on
17th August 2017

Today’s Generation New Window To The Housing Crisis

It’s a well known fact that getting on the property ladder as a young adult is almost an impossible task. This is true in London, but it’s also a big epidemic right here in Melbourne. Fortunately for some people, their parents are giving them a little helping hand, by building an annex on their property.

My first reaction to this was, but how could you gain any privacy? What’s even the difference? Looking at the design of these studio flats that are being built on the edge of a parents property, it’s starting to seem like a great plan. It gives a freedom to our young generation of today whilst still being able to experience some of melbournes greatest spots. (Or at-least puts off high end rent prices for low end property’s…)

That’s exactly what the architects at Austin Maynard’s firm was implemented to design, seeing the end result of this recycled brick house makes you see this is idea in a whole new light.

“Melbourne does have one trick up its sleeve that many parents are increasingly exploring. Melbourne is strewn with under-utilised laneways and many home owners are creating a second residence in their backyard with frontage to the laneway, where their adult children can live during university and early employment,”

With this description by the Architects, it can be seen why this trend is taking off all over Melbourne. For some people this might just seem like a shiny way to distract the eye from sponging off of your parents a little longer. But with designs like this, who can blame them?! And with the state of the economy now, this may be one of the few answers we have left.

 

 

In Architecture, Sustainability on
23rd May 2017

MVRDV Transforms Old Highway Into A Plant Village

MRDV has transformed an old 1970’s highway in Seoul into a beautiful Plant Village. This highway was initially set out to be demolished until the practice took on this project to instead, turn this into a natural walkway that follows a long route above traffic.

This is a creative opportunity, instead of just knocking down and creating even more land waste, they have provided an opportunity to put more green back in the city. The overall project contains 24,000 trees, shrubs and plants which would counter a great percentage of pollution within the city.

Swell as helping the environment, this walkway provides a scenic pedestrian pathway through the main part of the city. During night, the plants are lit up with a blue light to counteract the yellow traffic, which creates a beautiful artwork.

In Architecture, Lookbook, Reviews on
25th April 2017

Top 5 Architectural Designs for April.

Now I know what you’ll be thinking, I’m a little late to the April party, 25 days to be exact. But has anyone else felt like this month has run away from them? Maybe some of it was spent in a chocolate induced coma…

Back to the point, here I have put to gather 5 designs that have really caught my eye during this month on Dezeen. There have been some amazing designs lately it was hard to narrow it down. Now if your like me and look at Dezeen maybe 180927 times a day, these won’t be new stories to you, but just incase you haven’t got the time to catch up, here are the very worthwhile stories.

1. Micro Hostel by Zhang Ke.

This is an awesome design, the way the buildings design responds to the awkward space is inspiring. By projecting the rooms with chaotic angular faces, the tiny space feels larger and more dense.

Micro hostel with tiny concrete rooms installed by Zhang Ke in old Beijing hutong

This is an awesome design, the way the buildings design responds to the awkward space is inspiring. By projecting the rooms with chaotic angular faces, the tiny space feels larger and more dense.

2. Green Roof and Living wall in Vancouver Residence.

Now if you’ve read any of my other blogs, it’s obvious I am a fan of a living roof… and this project by Measured Architecture does this very well. I am also a fan of the design of the staircase in this house as well.

Measured Architecture incorporates green roofs and living wall into slender Vancouver residence

3. Vo Trong Nghia’s House

The combination of the industrial concrete and natural foliage in this is beautiful. The aim was to bring life from the outside to in, whilst also creating privacy.

Planted terraces are interspersed among living spaces at Vo Trong Nghia’s Binh House

4. StudioAC’s White box.

This is a truly beautiful design. I love the diversity of the industrial apartment mixed with the ‘White-Out’ sleeping nook. This is a place I could see myself living in, especially because of the black out kitchen wall.

White box forms sleeping nook in Toronto loft by StudioAC

5. Batay-Csorba’s Urban Towerhouses.

And last but definitely not least, this beautiful facade on these townhouses. I am a huge fan of the brick cladding here, it not only creates an interesting look for the structure, it also creates more depth by casting of amazing shadows that change at different points in the day. Everything about this design is unique, right down to the massive graffiti walls covering the courtyards.

Batay-Csorba creates urban townhouses in Toronto faced with brick and wooden screens

The Sustainable Trend Of Cork.

Cork has been everywhere nowadays, with its lightweight and flexibility, its becoming a strong material within design. Not to mention the overall soft and lovely look. This is brilliant news for our society, because Cork is cheap to manufacture, easy to recycle and is completely sustainable.

So what makes Cork so sustainable?

It all starts where its grown. Cork grows on trees in mediterranean climates (such as Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France) and the trees grow without any extra pesticides, pruning or irrigation. Instead of the whole tree being cut, the bark is harvested. This lets the tree live on to a ripe age of 250. During the Harvesting, trained workers who are paid a good living wage, strip the outer layer that does not harm the tree in any way. A good thing to know is that, even with the demand for cork nowadays, we are still very far from exceeded the amount of cork trees available.

After Harvesting, the Cork is taken to factories, where it will be dried, boiled and turned into different products. An amazing fact about these factories is that 90% of the energy used in processing cork is made from burning cork dust, absolutely nothing gets wasted from the bark from the tree.

 

The Benefits of Cork as a Material

Corks antistatic surface makes it a great resister to toxins and dust, making this perfect for people with allergies.

It’s soft cushion touch, creates a great floor or decor and it’s antimicrobial and water-resistant abilities also help combat mildew and old.

Cork is also a great material at blocking noise. Because of this, its very popular within commercial spaces or exterior walls to diminish outside noise. It’s also a great material to retain heat, making it an easy solution for homes to cut down gas prices.

It’s being used in day to day lives, from small decor details, to full on cladding. But below are a few ways it has been used in a truly magnificent way:

Surman Westman Cork Covered Studio.

This cork covered studio, provides a workspace for sewing and music-making in the back garden of a client. The cork cladding provides weather resistance to the structure, as well as acoustic and thermal insulation.

The Architects Tom Surman and Percy Weston described “The natural earthy quality of the thick cork, combined with the wild-flows rood, helps nestle the building into its organic green surroundings. ”

It’s easy to see how this was achieved, with this cork outhouse, providing the perfect space for an at home work environment.

 

Selencky Parsons Cork Lined Pod within it’s office.

In it’s own studio, Selencky Parsons has added a cork pod into its working office. The use of the cork pod, was to create a warmer atmosphere within the space, as well as creating more storage and use.

The Architects said “We wanted to create a comfortable working zone within the space, while maximising the benefits afforded by the highly visible site”. As you can see this was well achieved, as the cork pod offers so many more uses for the office, as well as bringing an edgy charm to the place.

Ikea’s Cork Furniture Collection

Ikea collaborated with London Designer Ilse Crawford, a launch of cork and natural homeware products. The Sinnerlig collection mainly features natural materials and neutral colours that would fit into any home.

The overall shapes, focus mainly on material combinations rather than statement shapes, which makes these pieces truly adaptable.

The predominant material is Cork, used in thin layers to cover table tops, to creating lampshades. Crawford explained that “Cork is very much a part of our range, because of its acoustic properties and it works great with glass”, she believes that it is an important repurposing for the material because “no one wants wine corks any more!”

There are so many new and innovative ways coming out for using cork, I hope we can carry on using this amazing product. We’ll be able to limit damages to the rainforest as well as keeping up with the new trends.

Getting Rid Of Down

One of the centres of peoples homes is the bed, there’s nothing that beats coming home and jumping into your fluffy clean bed sheets to cure the stress of the day…. I always look forward to this moment, of curling into my soft duvet, snuggled up with a good book. I would never imagine this to be tainted with anything but tranquility and peace. Well sadly due to the Down Feather Industry, for a lot of people this usually comes with a lot of hidden pain and suffering.

In most stores, the moment you splash out on a ‘fancier’ duvet set, it’ll be made out of down, it’s seen as a luxury item that we all need in our lives. But the procedure behind getting Down feathers is largely unheard of but so awful that it needs to be put out there so it can be avoided.

Down feathers are taken from the soft layers of feathers closest to the birds skin, generally around the neck and chest, this is due to the fact that this feathers do not have quills and provide a more luxurious feel.

They are generally taken from duck and geese during slaughter. Plucking begins when a bird is just 10 weeks old, the feathers are ripped from their skin swiftly, bringing tremendous pain and a lot of the time causing the skin to rip. This is then stitched up quickly using needle and thread (all of this under no anaesthetic of any sort), to be repeated every 6 weeks until the birds are sent to slaughter.

Another way this is achieved is from foie gras, so not only are these birds being stuffed with copious amounts of fat, they are also enduring a life full of pain.

I could keep going on about the horrors of this industry, but it’ll just make me angry. Instead here’s a link to PETA’s video, if you would like to know more:

So now we know the facts, what can we to replace this?

Theres so many different synthetic versions of bedding, mattresses and pillows that replicate the lightweight and softness of down whilst also being a hell of a lot cheaper and more hygienic too!

The materials used for these are: Ingeo (corn fibre), Tencel (eucalyptus fibre), bamboo, cotton, modal, microfibre, microclowd and primalift. So there can’t be an argument of choice. They are generally able to go through a washing machine aswell, which means that all the dust mites and bacteria that tend to collect in between down feathers would be a thing of the past.

If we all switch to these great alternatives, the demand would end, which would mean this dirty business would disappear. We all claim to love these animals, why would we want their pain in our homes?

In Architecture, Sustainability on
10th March 2017

Vertical Forest Towers by Stefano Boeri

 

Stefano Boeri has a history with creating ‘Vertical Forest’s’ within cities, having created the 2 towered forest in Milan and revealed the plans for the forest in Switzerland. His designs change a typical skyescraper that is seen all around the world into an explosion of flora and fauna. It’s easy to see how these trends are catching on.

Most recently, Boeri has tackled Nanjing, China. It has a crazy 1,000 trees and 2,500 cascading plants implanted into its design. This isn’t only for aesthetics, Boeri described it as:

“a real vertical forest that will help to regenerate local biodiversity, will provide a 25 tons of CO2 absorption each year and will produce about 60 kilograms of oxygen per day”

With the deforestation being an ever-growing issue, this type of design creates new possibilities for air pollution. By changing skyscrapers to follow this technique, the end result would be our concrete jungles, resembling just that.

 

Image of ‘Vertical Forest’ in Nanjing:

 

Image of ‘Vertical Forest’ in Milan:

 

Images of ‘Vertical Forest’ in Switzerland:

 

In Architecture, Sustainability on
7th March 2017

How A ‘Green Roof’ Is A Sustainable Design.

 

Green Roof gardens have been popping up here and there within all of the main city’s. It cant be argued that it is definitely a pretty attribute in Design. With the population ever growing and our cities becoming more crowded by the day, the lack of fauna surrounding us can a little bit depressing. By changing unused roofs into beautiful gardens, we can reconnect to nature, even while still enjoying our city lifestyle!

It is such a simple way of creating a beautiful sustainable building. One that isn’t salvaged enough within London, New York or most main cities.

Paris can be seen as a leader with this initiative. Recently in
March 2015, a law has been passed that requires any new commercial build to provide renewable energy or plants in the design. Because of this, green roofs have been sprouting up all across France.

 

 

 

But the question is, what makes this a Sustainable Design?

  • Absorbs Sunlight: A green roof is brilliant at keeping your home cool. By soaking up the suns rays, on average it can chill your house by 6-8 degrees as well as lowering utility bills.
  • Extends Roof Life: It protects the roof material, which would grow brittle and crack due too extensive sunlight damage.
  •  Absorbs Rainwater: As well as sunlight, the extra layer of earth will take on up to 80% of rainwater which will reduce chances off over-run.
  • Clean the air: It will improve the air quality by cleaning the air of pollutions. Which, lets face it, is a big must in the cities!
  • Act as a sound barrier: The layers of grass and dirt will act as a barrier to reduce exterior noises.
  • Lastly, it’ll help feed wildlife by providing natural meals for fuzzy friends!

After listing all of these reasons, it really seems like such a brilliant idea that we need to take advantage of.