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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3D Printed Houses

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that PHYSIOLOGICAL needs such as food. water, shelter, and warmth is the most important then comes safety, belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. In order to reach the higher levels, the lower level of needs must be fulfilled first. Shelter is very important yet many people around the world don’t have this basic need. They are unable to have shelter because:

Housing Construction is…

– Labour-intensive

– Slow

– Dangerous

– Over budget

When you look at construction, it may be one of the only jobs left that aren’t done by robots or machines automatically. For example, cars and computers are both made mostly from robots/series of machines. 3D printing may be the solution to all these problems; 3D printing can build entire neighborhoods faster, cheaper, more safely, and with more precision.

Here is a video with an example of 3D printing.

Please fast forward to 04:30 to see the animation in action.

Architects are starting to build and experiment with 3D printing for houses/buildings but do printers that are able to build on such a large scale. “Building a bigger printer is not the answer. A skyscraper would require a machine that is bigger than it. And as printers get bigger, there is a trade-off between resolution and speed, says Steven Keating, a graduate student who works on large-scale 3D printing with Neri Oxman, an architect, designer and academic in the Mediated Matter group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab.” As a result, architects and engineers are still coming up with a solution for large scale 3D printing.

If you want more information, 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.

Digital Technology Concepts

16 Fundamental Digital Technology Concepts

Autonomy: Self-regulation by a product, process or service. e.g. Digital Clock – self corrects itself.

Aesthetics: The aspects of a product, process or service that make it pleasing to the human senses. e.g. Paint – allows colour options.

paint

Control: The means by which a device or process is activated or regulated. e.g. Light switch.

Environmental Sustainability: The creation of products or services and use of resources in a way that allows present needs to be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. An important related concept is that of environmental stewardship – the acceptance of responsibility for the sustainable use and treatment of land and other natural resources. e.g. Insulation – sustain desired temperature better.

Ergonomics: The design of a product, process or service in a way that takes the users well-being with respect to
its use or delivery into account – that is, in a way that minimizes discomfort, risk of injury, and expenditure of energy. e.g. Door handle height – made to fit people of various heights.

Fabrication/Building Creation: The act or process of assembling components and/or materials and resources to create a product or service. e.g. Constructing a house.

Function: The use for which a product, process or service is developed. e.g. A restaurant provides food and drinks.

form-follows-function

Innovation: Original and creative thinking resulting in the effective design of a product or service. e.g. safety glass – shatters on impact to prevent injury.

Intelligence: The embedded information and/or learning potential in a product, process or service. e.g. Roomba Vacuum – It can learn about it’s surroundings as it cleans.

Material: Any substance or item used in the creation of a product or delivery of a service. e.g. graphene – strong and light material.

Mechanism: A system of connected parts that allows a product to work or function. e.g. a lock has a latch, dead lock, cylinder, and key.

Power/Energy: The resource that enables a mechanism to perform work. e.g. electricity powers many mechanisms.

Safety: The care and consideration required to ensure that the product, process or service will not cause harm. e.g. a smoke detector alarms people of a fire.

Source: Open-source and/or crowd-source development and interactivity. e.g. Kickstarter is a crowd source development website.

Structure: The essential physical or conceptual parts of a product, process or service, including the way in which the parts are constructed or organized. e.g. the wooden frame of a house.

Systems: The combination of interrelated parts that make up a whole and that may be connected with other systems. e.g. crane – uses weights, wires, hydraulics, etc.

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.