While warm weather is expanding across the United States, residents of Kazakhstan are embracing the cold winter weather they are receiving. The residents of Slalom House, a 21-story apartment block in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, may be getting an over-the-top amenity: a 1,000-foot ski slope. Shokhan Mataibekov, an active skier and member of the Union of Architects of Kazakhstan, has made a proposal for the residential ski slope based on the fact that residents don’t have access to a nearby facility. At a price tag of approximately $70 million, the year-round rooftop ski slope would be track mounted and comprised of Snowflex, a synthetic material that mimics the slip and grip of real snow. But, you may be thinking, where have I seen this concept before? Oh, that's right, Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG are designing "the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world" in Copenhagen, which is also outfitted with a built-in ski slope and a chimney that releases smoke rings periodically. BIG's plans have been in the works since 2011, and the plant is slated for completion in 2017. The Slalom House was shortlisted in the Future Residential projects category at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore in November. The design included space for both retailers and food outlets on the building’s lower half, 421 two-bedroom apartments on the upper half, and a separate entrance outfitted with panoramic elevators that would provide access to the top of the building. The project has been submitted to the city officials and is currently under review.
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Arquitectonica’s newly opened zig-zagging tower in Miami is meant to reflect the rippling waters of Biscayne Bay
Miami-based Arquitectonica has completed a zig-zagging tower on booming Miami's Biscayne Bay. The 42-story, luxury residence building was developed by the Related Group and has been dubbed the Icon Bay. Icon Bay's distinctive textured facade is created through a playful repetition of the structure's balconies and is said to have been a response to the untamed ripples of the Biscayne's waters as they flutter against the breeze. These elevated terraces provide for sweeping waterfront views. The tower includes its own bayside park, also designed by Arquitectonica. The park's circular walkways move through an outdoor art exhibition space. Icon Bay is but one of the many new construction projects that have recently found its way to Miami's shores.
This past weekend, a jury of architects, engineers, and market experts scored Team Austria’s home entry as the winner of the United States Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a student design competition aimed at educating and encouraging thought about the affordability and efficiency of solar homes. As AN reported, the Team Austria private residential design is environmentally sensitive and easily adaptable, chosen for its overall energy efficiency, attractiveness of design, cost, and comfortable living conditions. However, of the 19 designs by collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, and Austria presented in Irvine, California, the public had a dissenting opinion about the Decathlon winner. The People’s Choice Award vote went to UrbanEden from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; this concrete and glass-based modern structure was the majority’s favorite home entry. UrbanEden is a four-room home designed for ease of indoor to outdoor flexibility. It is envisioned as existing within the urban city of Charlotte and has been designed with materials for noise reduction as well as energy efficiency. The structure is built of geopolymer cement concrete, which the team claims is “one of the first-known uses of a geopolymer mix in a building envelope.” Inside its walls are a series of tubes circulating cool water to remove heat inside the house without a compressor or refrigerant. The entire south wall is constructed of glass windows and leads to an exterior patio that can be covered, weather permitting, by a retractable photovoltaic panel roof. The patio has a vertical garden to provide greenery, privacy, and a potential food source. With these innovative technologies, the entry won third place in the Solar Decathlon Engineering Contest. However, in aesthetics, the home also makes an impression. Light-filled rooms and the easy accessibility to an outdoors terrace provide a balance of nature within an urban environment. With the beauty and comfort of its design, the DOE believes that UrbanEden earns its People’s Choice Award. Solar Decathlon comments: “UrbanEden is a house people can imagine themselves living in. A house that could easily become a home.” All Images Courtesy DOE Solar Decathlon.
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Concreteworks fabricates a Hauer-inspired concrete screen for a residential West Coast architect.Oakland, California–based design and fabrication studio Concreteworks has crafted custom concrete products—bath fixtures, commercial and residential surfacing, outdoor furniture—for more than 20 years. In the last three years, the company has branched out into “lab projects,” in which the 30-member workshop models and mills concrete into three-dimensional architectural features. It does so without the aid of specifications from the designer. “We solve the design issue and the technical requirements,” creative director Mark Rogero told AN. Interior architect Michelle Wempe of Zumaooh discovered Concreteworks’ advanced capabilities in the company’s showroom and was impressed enough to incorporate the work in a residential project she was working on in Sonoma. Though her original design did not include it, Wempe asked Rogero to develop a custom patterned architectural screen at the terminus of a hallway between a living area and private quarters. “We got a lot of inspiration from Erwin Hauer’s work, and the client contributed some images of a 2D cross that is a symbol of peace in some parts of the world,” Rogero said. Working in Rhino with a Maya plugin, the Concreteworks design team began building a digital model from the client’s 2D image, extrapolating it to resemble the work of Hauer. The 3D form emerged as two identical crosses woven together at a 90-degree-angle, alternating between horizontal and vertical orientations. Digital modeling further revealed that the team’s initial sizing of the components was far too large. Originally 12 inches in length, the cross components were reduced to 9 inches in order to fit within the install location. Concreteworks 3D-printed two of the crosses and used these to make two rubber silicon molds. For the next 28 days, the fabrication team used fiber reinforced, ultra-high performance concrete to cast four crosses per day until all 112 components had been formed. The most advanced concrete mix available was used in order to accurately render the delicate details and gentle curves of the mold. The fabricators cast a hole in the center of each piece and threaded them, like beads, on a tensioned steel rod so the final assembly resembles a spine. “It was for a residence so we don’t anticipate a lot of wear, but it does have some flexibility,” Rogero said. The crosses were stacked vertically from bottom to top, and secured to the base with epoxy. A concealed turnbuckle at the top applies tension to each rod. Though Concreteworks’s lab practice is in its nascency, it has yielded great success for the design studio and its clients. “Normally people come to us for custom products that we already know how to make,” Rogero said. “But now we’re offering a service that can accomplish goals for the design community when they don’t know how to do it themselves.”
Tight spaces shouldn't dictate a sacrifice in style or function, particularly when it comes to outfitting the kitchen. Our round-up of sleek and compact kitchen products below proves good things do come in small packages. G925 Door in Moka Glass Porcelanosa Small kitchens and baths call for innovative wall surfaces. Porcelanosa’s semi-custom kitchen includes the G-925 (above), a flat surface door finish with the company’s Moka Glass and walnut veneer. The cabinets come in a choice of nine colors and feature integrated handles, which give them a seamless look that can be re-configured to fit any space. Convertible Wall Mount Glass Canopy Hood Whirlpool Whirlpool’s glass canopy hood fits snugly above a 30-inch stove, has a 3-speed push button control and dishwasher safe mesh filters. The stainless hood can be converted to recirculate air with optional kits for both ductless installation as well as a chimney extension. The canopy clears smoke, odors, and grease and includes a built-in incandescent light for illuminating your cooktop. Starck High Arc Prep Kitchen Faucet Axor French designer Philippe Starck has created a sleek collection that would make any kitchen Top Chef worthy. His High Arc Prep Faucet features a single ergonomic pull-down handle with full and needle sprays. The fixture comes in chrome or stainless and is installed with a 150 degree swivel spout. C6GGXU 24-inch Stove Smeg Italian appliance manufacturer Smeg is know for their 1950’s retro-style refrigerators in pop colors. The company also offers cooktops, dishwashers, and a petite 24-inch freestanding gas range, which fits snugly into small urban kitchens. Made from stainless steel with ergonomic control knobs, cast-irongrates, and automatic ignition, the range also has ample storage space below. Artesio Poggenpohl When is a kitchen not a kitchen? Hamburg-based architect and designer Hadi Teherani seems to know. His collaboration with Poggenpohl breaks the barrier of the standard fitted cooking area. By fusing wall, floor, ceiling, lighting, sound, and storage, the kitchen is brought to the forefront, making it a place to work, cook, and entertain. Miele Combi-Steam Oven Miele With Miele’s revolutionary new wall-mounted stainless steel combi-oven, everyone’s a gourmet cook. The transfer of heat is faster and more efficient, while the dual operations allows the unit to function as either a steam or a convection oven. Used in tandem, the oven is ideal for browning, caramelizing, and braising, allowing one unit to multi-task and save valuable cooking space. 18-inch Bar Handle Dishwasher Bosch Bosch has come up with a powerful little workhorse for small kitchens. The 18-inch bar handle dishwasher is quiet and efficient with washing capacity for nine place settings. Deceptively simple in design and operation, this unit has a 30-minute cycle, is energy efficient, and saves hundreds of gallons of water per year. Board Snaidero While small and compact, Snaidero’s new Board kitchen is ideal for an open plan. The cantilevered unit was designed by Pietro Arosio and made of Corian in two sizes and two finishes, including Igloo white or Texture Grey. Outfitted with basin-like receptacles for storage, waste, and sink, the unit seamlessly connects to a wall storage system and can be adapted to fit any space.
Trade shows are no longer simply product exhibitions: Education and networking sessions have become essential components to a show’s success. Coverings has expanded this formula to include installation vignette’s that, built over the course of four days during the show, demonstrate the versatility and variety of applications for ceramic tile. The Installation Design Showcase has paired four local, Atlanta-based design firms with four installation teams that have achieved the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Recognition, and have been certified by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. Now in its fifth year, the teams will produce a bar/lounge; a hotel lobby; an in-patient room in a women’s birthing center; and a master bathroom, all designed to demonstrate the design possibilities of tile and stone. “These rooms are not all settings in which you would necessarily expect to see tile,” said Bart Bettiga, executive director, NTCA. “Above all, the Showcase highlights just how important the ongoing designer/installer partnership is to a successful project. Bringing the field to life in this way is another example of what makes Coverings a unique and valuable experience.” Bar/Lounge Michael Nieswander and Margaret Nysewander, ASD Inc. In the Bar/Lounge installation (above), designer Nysewander has called a bar of red tiles from Ceramics of Italy manufacturers “a conceptual art piece.” Highlighting the installation strengths of Rimrock Design, the bar’s design calls for varying cuts in the tile to produce unique textures across the surface. The lounge walls are clad in large-format, gray tiles with MAPEI installation products. Hotel Lobby Foreman Rogers and Allison Isaacs, tvsdesign For designers accustomed to working on large hotel lobbies such as the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner Hotel and the Gaylord Nashville, their challenge was to recreate spacious grandeur on a smaller scale. Using Plane, a 5- by 10-foot engineered porcelain ceramic wall panel from StonePeak Ceramics, the team recreates the luxury of Calacatta Borghini marble with a more thin, lightweight, and monolithic material at a fraction of the cost. A team of installers from C.C. Owen Tile Company, Inc. worked with the latest in large format tiles. Glass and mirror tile from Traditions in Tile are secured with TEC installation materials. In-patient Room in a Women’s Birthing Center Mary Porter and Craig Anderchak, VeenendaalCave Healthcare Italian wall tile that mimics a lightly colored fabric invokes serenity and relaxation, along with a warm, wood-look porcelain tile for the floor. “The porcelain tile from Italy will work well with the walls,” said Mary Porter. The David Allen Company set the porcelain with Strata Mat, a new coupling membrane from LATICRETE that creates a barrier between the tile and concrete for crack isolation protection essential to healthcare facilities. Master Bathroom Mark Williams, Mark Williams Design Associates Timely invocation of a 1920s Gatsby aesthetic coincides with Baz Luhrmann’s film release to define a masculine master bath with Art Deco undertones. Products from the Noble Company, TOTO, and Crossville are combined to create neutral walls, blue glass tile accents, and a herringbone-patterned floor. "We used color where we want you to look," Williams said. Collins Tile and Stone set Crossville’s ultra thin Laminam wall tile with MAPEI installation materials.
Move over Woolworth Building. Another iconic Lower Manhattan skyscraper is slated for a residential conversion, this time by Deborah Berke Partners and architects of record Steven B. Jacobs Group. The 66-story art deco landmark at 70 Pine Street was built in 1932 as the Cities Service Company, and more recently served as the headquarters of American International Group (AIG), and now developer Rose Associates plans to transform the tower into 700 luxury apartments above a 300-room hotel. Standing at 952 feet tall, 70 Pine was originally the 3rd tallest building in the world, behind the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, and is still one of the tallest in the city. Stylized art deco detailing in stone and aluminum covers the building's exterior and lobby, with a miniature stone model of the structure standing between the building's main entrances (see below). Stephen B. Jacobs, principal of the Stephen B. Jacobs Group, said all significant historical elements of the structure will remain intact in line with NYC Landmarks laws and guidelines for historic tax credits. Individual residences, however, will begin with a clean slate and feature modern design. "The residences will be modern in a way that's inspired by what's already there," said Christopher Yost, Associate Architect at Deborah Berke Partners. "They're designed to be compatible with the existing building." Interior demolition has already begun on site, but Jacobs noted that final plans including the official number of units could change in the future and that a design team for the hotel below the residences has not been finalized. He said four to six apartments are planned per floor in the tower with more units filling floors on the tower's base. The building's pointed spire, featuring an observation deck and glowing lantern at its pinnacle, will be part of the residential program, but it hasn't been decided whether it will serve as a penthouse or communal space. Construction is expected to take around 18 months, meaning 70 Pine should open sometime in summer 2014.
With bright colors, rich patterns, and futuristic forms that would make Verner Panton drool, Italian homewear company MissoniHome has recently completed their first fully-branded residential tower, the 52-story Acqua Livingstone in Manila, Philippines. The project is the fourth tower of six in the $315.9 million Acqua Private Residences project, developed in the Philippine capital by Century Properties Group. MissoniHome is the home goods branch of Missoni, the fashion line whose colorful patterns and prints attempt to elevate knitwear to artform. Set in the lush tropical environment of the Phillipines, the tower is a "lifestyle experience," and features not only vibrant interior design and arresting furniture, but also a skydeck, called "The Canopy." The Canopy’s lower level includes a business center, an indoor and outdoor gym, Jacuzzi, a library and spa. The upper level is a social and entertainment space with an amphitheatre, lounge, DJ booth and dance floor, pool with swim up bar, and barbecue facilities. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
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A carefully detailed private workspace conceals office equipment behind birch plywood ribsIt’s a reality of the modern work world that many people work from home. But a home office need not look like a corporate cube. That was the idea behind a customized workspace designed for a personal investment advisor by Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design + Architecture. Located in the client’s Chelsea home in London, the design conceals storage units and office equipment behind a sculptural work surface. With a total budget of approximately $11,000 and a room barely measuring 11 feet wide by 8 feet high, the project team was constrained by cost and space. After considering all of the elements to go into the home office, the team morphed traditional rectilinear office furniture shapes—like filing cabinets and wall-mounted shelves—into fluid forms using Rhino and Grasshopper. The piece would be built as a series of birch plywood ribs with horizontal spacers to provide lateral stiffness. As a nod to their globetrotting client, the Synthesis team applied the spacers in the pattern of a world map created by converting an image into a high-contrast graphic bitmap, then culled points from a regularly spaced grid to define the center point of each spacer. Synthesis collaborated with UK-based fabricator Cutting Edge, with whom they have partnered on several previous projects, to build the design. The shop took Synthesis' 2-D vector drawings of cut files for milling, as well as its 3-D file representing the entire piece, including its support structure and assembly details. “We exchanged ideas to refine cost constraints, optimize the amount of material being used, and decide on installation and finish details,” said Synthesis design principal Alvin Huang, who worked with teammates David O. Wolthers, Thomas T. Jensen, Jurgen Strohmeyer on the project. “It was a very collaborative process and the project would not have been possible if it were not for their ability to understand our 3-D models and their expertise in woodworking. The use of Grasshopper allowed us to quickly respond to required geometric revisions.” Cutting Edge CNC-milled the structure's profiles and assembled them into modular components, which were installed along a series of horizontal channels mounted to the existing wall. In addition to sliding storage drawers and hinged cabinets, the piece conceals wiring and recesses for lighting. Using a fabricator who worked directly with 3-D files allowed the team to realize all of the design's carefully detailed geometric shapes, said Huang, even as the Synthesis office made a transatlantic move from London to its new headquarters in LA.