Absolute Towers

The Absolute Towers made by MAD (sometimes referred to as MAD studio or MAD architects) are located in Mississauga Toronto. These towers are respectively 170 and 150 metres tall, the towers are built upon rotated oval floors to give them their curved and twisted shape.

“The concept of the tower at the beginning was very simple,” said MAD founder Ma Yansong. “We just wanted to make something organic but different, more natural and more soft and not something too strong that would remind people of money or power.” Like Ma Yansong said, “at the beginning”, the architectural design grew complicated very quickly due to its unique shape and the fact that every floor is different. Making different building was the core of Yansong’s idea, he says “Lots of cities like this are happening in China, just repeating the modern urban typology and always making square towers…” and with this in mind he strived to create a unique tower.

There were 6 designs presented to the public and the public was asked to comment on which design was their favourite and why. After the building was almost finished, units in the building had to be sold. The marketing team sparked an interest in the buyers and in a matter of a few days all the units were sold out.

Some basic information about the Absolute Tower:

Location: Mississauga, Canada
Height: 170 meter
No. of floors: Tower A: 56 stories/170 m
Tower B: 50 stories/150 m

Building Area: 95.000 square meters
Tower A: 45,000 sqm
Tower B: 40.000 sqm
Site area: 4090 square meters
Primary Use: Residential

Client: Fernbrook / Cityzen
Design Architect: MAD architects
Director in Charge: Ma Yansong, Yosuke Hayano, Dang Qun
Design Team: Shen Jun, Robert Groessinger, Florian Pucher, Yi Wenzhen, Hao Yi, Yao Mengyao, Zhao Fan, Liu Yuan, Zhao Wei, Li Kunjuan, Yu Kui, Max Lonnqvist, Eric Spencer

Associate Architects: BURKA Architects INC.
Structural Engineer: SIGMUND, SOUDACK & ASSOCIATES INC.
Mechanical Engineer: ECE Group
Electrical Engineer: ECE Group
Landscape Architect: NAK Design
Interior Designer: ESQAPE Design

For some more information, click here.

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Office at Home

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These offices are called MOSS offices which are designed by American designer Victor Vetterlein. MOSS,  stands for Micro Office Systems Space. These offices are meant to be bought by companies to give and install into their worker’s backyards so that they can work at home and avoid a daily commute. As you all know, commuting to your workplace often takes quite a long time and uses gas which transmutes to money. With this portable office, workers can now be more efficient by saving time and money.

Victor Vetterlein says “MOSS provides each employee with a direct visual, audio, and data link to the main office and also a professional environment to hold small business meetings. The user of MOSS feels a good separation from home and work life while not having to commute to the office.”

“The exterior of MOSS is hard edged to form a protective shell against the outside world,” says Vetterlein. The “bunker-style” birch plywood interior is quiet opposite as it is “soft, warm, and welcoming,” he adds. The MOSS has an octagonal aluminum shell which will protect the unit from rain, snow and high winds.

MOSS by Victor Vetterlein

The unit is said to be warmed through energy-efficient underfloor heating and a wood stove, with solar panels and a wind turbine on the roof providing electricity. However, the basic model will not have running water or a toilet but can be expanded to fit a portable toilet, a small kitchen and a waste water tank.

For more information on the interior design and floor plan, click here.

Tree House Architecture

As a kid I was always fascinated by tree houses and even tried to build some however they turned out a little something like this.

Bad tree house
However, I read up on this article.
New Zealand Yellow Pages built a tree house restaurant to conduct a marketing promotion to show that no matter what your project is, the Yellow Pages can help you complete it.
The restaurant design is by Pacific Environments Architects, and is currently under construction on a site north of Auckland. You can follow the progress at the website – www.yellowtreehouse.co.nz

This design was inspired and driven by the idea of childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination. To compliment this concept, they chose to build this in an area raised above an open meadow and meandering stream on the edge of the woods. This is a very interesting and unique design which resembles various things in nature such as cocoon protecting the emerging butterfly or a sea shell with the open ends spiraling to the centre, also a lantern as it glows brightly at night.

The selected site and tree had to meet a myriad of functional requirements -18 seated people and waiting staff in relative comfort complete with a bar; gaining correct camera angles with associated light qualities for filming the adverts, web cam and stills, have unobstructed views into the valley and entrance to the site and structural soundness . The final selected tree is one of the larger trees on the site and sits above a steep part of the site which accentuates the tree’s height. Kitchen/catering facilities and toilets are at ground level.

Furthermore, the architects considered even the material to make the restaurant not “dominate” its environment by using wood or organic materials to give a natural feel.

As for the construction:

It sits almost 10m wide and over 12m high, with the split-level floor sitting 10m off the ground. Timber trusses form the main structure. The curved fins are glue-laminated pine, plantation poplar has been used for the slats and redwood milled from the site used in the walkway balustrading. Openings are formed for windows by leaving spaces between the slats/fins that keeps the overall form yet affords a variety of openness for the views and light and closes down toward the rear. To loosen the regularity of the elements, steel is wrapped arbitrarily around the pod. Tying this up at the top and base has a sense of greater connection with the tree.

It is designed to be weather resistant using acrylic sheeting fixed to the roof under the fins with vertical roll-down café-style blinds within. Lighting is an important architectural component enhancing and changing the mood, with discreet lighting within the walkway and up-lighting within the tree house.

A team of consultants working alongside the architects includes fire and structural engineers, town planners and aborists to meet functional and Building Code requirements.

Here is a link to a gallery of pictures of the complete work.

Bathroom Lighting

A bathroom is a place to relax and recharge after a long and perhaps stressful day. Making a bathroom comfortable pays off and lighting is an important aspect to consider in bathrooms. A good lighting provides a suitable amount of light for where it is needed like such as for showers, shaving, or putting on makeup.

Some technical specifications or requirements include the consideration of types of lights, different light bulbs, and the dimming of lights. The 3 basic types of lighting are Ambient lighting, Task lighting, and Accent lighting. Ambient lighting is a substitute for natural light; also known as general lighting which provides an area with a wide illumination. Task lighting assists people in doing specific tasks such as reading, grooming, preparing and cooking food, doing homework, and playing games. Accent lighting adds emotion and drama to a room by shining lights at certain angles to complement objects (usually artwork or decorations).

Light bulbs used in bathrooms come in different types like Incandescent, Fluorescent, to LED, and Halogen light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are the most common and cheap; they are good because they can be used with a dimmer switch but a downside is that they produce more heat than light making them extremely inefficient. Fluorescent bulbs are energy efficient, produce little head, and last a long time, however they are quite expensive. LED bulbs last by far the longest (50 000 hours), contain no hazardous materials, but they can also be very pricey. Halogen bulbs produce a very bright white light which is good for displaying things; on the contrary they can be very dangerous if placed close to flammable materials (Halogen bulbs can get up to 650 degrees Celsius). There is no “best” light bulb since different people prefer different things, but it is argued that fluorescent lights are over all the most suitable as they are energy efficient yet create a soft and natural light which is comfortable for peoples’ eyes.

Dimmers are extras in lighting; they allow control of lights meaning they also have control of the mood in a room.   In very small spaces like a powder room, having dimmers can allow an all-in-one ambient, task, and accent lighting. Furthermore, dimming the lights can also conserve energy and prolong the life a light bulb.

Safety is the most important aspect when it comes to lighting. Paying attention to aesthetics doesn’t discard the importance of safety. Remember to consult a certified electrician before working on even the most basic lighting projects. Canada’s electric code requires all outlets in bathrooms to be GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) which protects people from electrical shocks and fires. Even with a GFCI, freestanding plug-in lamps should never be placed near a sink or tub. If there are fixtures that are going to be close to the bathtub or shower (usually 6 feet, though local codes vary) bust be “wet” or “shower-location” rated to prevent accidents and injuries.

Bibliography

Arnold, Susan. “A Lesson in Bathroom Lighting.” This Old House. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,403815,00.html>.

“American Lighting Association.” Basic Types of Lighting. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.americanlightingassoc.com/lighting-fundamentals/3-types-of-lighting.aspx&gt;.

Eisenbraun, Blair. “ELightBulbs Lighting Blog Best Bathroom Bulbs.” Best Bathroom Bulbs. N.p., 1 July 2010. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.elightbulbs.com/lighting-blog/Best-Bathroom-Light-Bulbs&gt;.

“The Pros and Cons of Halogen Bulbs.” The Family Handyman. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Lighting/Home-Lighting/the-pros-and-cons-of-halogen-bulbs/View-All&gt;.

“Color Temperature Chart.” Light Bulbs Direct. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.lightbulbsdirect.com/page/001/CTGY/ColorTemp&gt;.

Lego Architecture

Like Lego and architecture? Why not add them into one? Well this might just be the solution.

The design for LEGO®’s “experience center” or  better known as the ‘The LEGO® House’ has been released! The LEGO® House is planned to built in the center of LEGO’s birthplace – the town of Billund Denmark. This building is 7,600 square-meters large and is built to look like stacked up LEGO pieces. This is a fairly large building with multiple stories will remain open year-long due to its estimated 250,000 annual visitors. As new and unseen before features, LEGO has added their very own unique LEGO store and cafe.

Bjarke Ingles, founder of BIG stated: “It’s going to be looking at LEGO® from all its different aspects—LEGO® as an art form, its cultural impact. When we were doing the research for it [the LEGO® house], we realized, if you would consider it just an art museum, you would be able to fill it with so much user content of such a high quality…it is one of our great dreams at BIG that we are now able to design a building for and with the LEGO® group. I owe a huge personal debt to the LEGO® brick, and I can see in my nephews that its role in developing the child as a creative, thinking, imaginative human being becomes ever stronger in a world in which creativity and innovation are key elements in virtually all aspects of society.”

Construction of the building is expected to begin in early 2014 and the LEGO® House will be inaugurated in 2016. So be sure to check it out!

Here’s a video tour of the building.