Bamboo House Design for Temporary Shelter in Nepal

A team of architects used metal sheets and bamboo to build this prototype shelter for victims of the Nepal earthquake, and have also produced a manual so that the design can be replicated by others.

Their aim was to design a structure that can be constructed by anyone. By simply downloading a set of illustrated instructions from the internet, a team of workers could potentially build a variety of different structures using cheap and locally available materials.

"One of the obstacles faced by disaster relief agencies in Nepal is that transportation across the mountainous country is tremendously difficult. "Many of the road surfaces are not paved properly and are too narrow for trucks with heavy loads." explained Charles Lai from Hong Kong who together with Takehiko Suzuki from Tokyo, and Hong Kong based practice AONA, completed a prototype.

The two architects initiated an architectural relief organization, Architecture for the Mass, in April 2015 in response to the Nepal Earthquake.

As a result of the devastating earthquake, many families who lost their homes have built temporary shelters by themselves. These structures are often fragile and the space is uncomfortable without proper floors and walls. The mud bricks they use are not earthquake resistant, and dangerous because of their weight. When the monsoon season comes, the heavy rain water can easily come inside. The cost of an  190-square-foot shelter is around US$500. The bamboo structural frame could be appropriated into different sizes depending on the function of the structure. Charles and Takehiko anticipate the prototype to provide an alternative solution for temporary shelters in Nepal. The local can assimilate the design of the prototype and produce evolved designs based on its principle. The aim is to equip general households with the tools and methods to erect their own temporary structures. Potentially, the design can empower the local community to establish a self-help network among themselves and speedup the recovery from the disaster. To donate to the Nepal disaster relief, click here

Rome's New Towers Draw Inspiration from its Ancient Architecture

Studio Libeskind has revealed the design of three office towers for the city center of rome, forming a new, urban district adjacent to the A.S. Roma Stadium. Sited at the heart of the planned Tor Di Valle Business District, the trio of structures work in conversation with one another, as if cut from a single stone block. The volumes fit together like building blocks, forming a composition of elements that act both in tandem with one another and alone. Arranged in a triangular formation upon a 3,000 square-meter public piazza, the towers — which vary in height up to 220 meters — are landscaped with lush vegetation and reflecting pools. 

The towers are clad in a mesh of opaque panels that break up their glazed façades. Folded glass panes reveal huge garden expanses containing multi-level spaces for work, recreation and events. these atrium-like spaces provide unobstructed views of the city and the central piazza, also working to regulate the room climate through natural shading, air filtering and circulation.
The first tower features two vertical gardens on opposite sides —  providing for office layouts and work areas. At street level, all buildings provide amenities such as cafes and shopping.
"Making an architectural contribution to the eternal city is a treasured opportunity,’ Daniel Libeskind said in a recent press release. ‘Rome will have a world-class business park connected to the stadium that will provide a vibrant, sustainable, neighborhood in this ancient city." 

Australian Architect Builds Eco-Conscious Prefab Home

Ecoshelta is a series of modular, demountable prefab homes with timber frames and corrugated-metal siding and roofs that can be specified in a variety of styles. The Ecoshelta building system was designed by Stephen Sainsbury, a Sydney based architect so that all timber frames are "extendable, demountable, relocatable, robust and long lived."

The Ecoshelta system has been developed over the last three decades as an environmentally responsible alternative in response to the rapidly emergent new technologies making prefabricated modular building systems the way of the future, and the now. The system uses advanced design and the latest technologies to produce an environmentally minimal impact, rapidly deployable buildings for cabins houses and ecotourism ventures.

Different customized versions have been used for everything from little cabins to entire resorts. And given conditions in Australia, they are cyclone proof and bushfire rated.



Whitney Museum of American Art to Open May 1st

When the Whitney Museum's new Renzo Piano-designed (in collaboration with New York practice Cooper Robertson) home on Gansevoort Street opens its doors on May 1, 2015, the inaugural installation will be the largest display to date of the Whitney’s permanent collection. At just a bit under seven years since the first designs of the building were released, the incubation period has been long enough on its own – but in fact the project has its roots in a scrapped 1981 design by Michael Graves, when the Whitney was instead planning an extension to their previous home on Madison Avenue. With such a highly anticipated building, the Whitney could hardly have a better man for the job; many believe Piano is one of the most prodigious museum builders of our time.

“The Whitney has been steadily building a remarkable world-class collection of American art since our founding by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930, much of which has remained largely unseen,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director. “This transformative moment—the opening of our beautiful new home downtown—calls for a fresh look at ourselves and is the perfect occasion for us to celebrate our collection, the essence of who we are.”

Santa Monica Project Earns AIA's 2015 Housing Award

The importance of housing to shape our environment cannot be overstated. To celebrate the central role innovative design plays in residential building, the American Institute of Architects released its 2015 Housing Awards winners, focused on custom-built and remodeled homes, multifamily residences and special housing projects. The slate of winners showcases an array of styles, creative reuses of vacant buildings and designs in sync with both the urban and rural landscapes.

The winner of the 2015 Housing Awards is the Broadway Affordable Housing Project in Santa Monica. This project from Kevin Daly Architects, repurposed a vacant nursing home and created a dense yet light-filled complex where every unit faces the central courtyard and has access to natural light. The primary population served by this project is low-income families earning between 30% and 60% of Area Median Income. The property consists of 2- and 3-bedrom units with rents ranging from about $560 to $1,300 per month.