Tag Archives: architecture

Green film studio in Toronto

The movie industry is inherently wasteful. Their job is to recreate something in every small detail, shoot it, and then throw it away. High production value depends on props being new, recreations being authentic, and materials being cheap–but not cheap looking. From the disposable food containers used on set to the costumes on the actors’ backs, film is simply wasteful. That’s why I got really excited when I heard about “Filmport”:http://www.filmport.ca/, a new ecologically-sound megastudio under construction in Toronto.

http://www.thestar.com/article/287989") Of course, big ideas are never without critics and Filmport studio complex is no exception. The "main complaints":http://www.readingt.readingcities.com/index.php/toronto/comments/12115/ seem to be about the nature of the architecture and the financial feasibility of the project as a whole. As far as the economics are concerned I couldn't say, but the main building itself... Well, see for yourself: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/12/new_film_studio.php" for the catch.

Student housing with old shipping containers

Leave it to the Dutch to make this amazing piece of “student housing”:http://www.tempohousing.com/projects/keetwonen.html out of old shipping containers. The company, called Keetwonen makes these 40 square meter rooms with running water, internet and sexy style. Just another reason to think about moving to the Netherlands.

Brad Pitt and others to sustainably rebuild New Orleans

Maybe it’s too little to late, but as Mr. Pitt said in his phone interview with the New York Times, “they’re coming up on their third Christmas… people are needing to get back in their homes.” Pledging $5 million himself, as well as commissioning 13 sustainable designs from nationally recognized architects, Brad Pitt sees himself as leading the way to a green reconstruction of the 9th Ward.

Some of the designs are really out there, like this grounded houseboat from Morphosis but the overall concept is really inspiring. As Pitt says, “[sustainable architecture] has got to work at all levels for it to be viable.” For more information see the “NYT article”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/arts/design/03pitt.html?ei=5070&en=4b9e4ced218a43ab&ex=1197349200&adxnnl=1&emc=eta1&adxnnlx=1197326187-q3D9zEgGaQtTs1Wxz/ZmRw or the Flash-bloated “homepage”:http://makeitrightnola.org/index.php

Living room/batting cage

It brings a new meaning to the word practice when you put a batting cage in your house, but that’s what Reggie Willits did. Actually to tell the story truthfully he put the house in the batting cage because the first thing the Willits family built was the batting shed and then they moved into it to save money. There’s a lot more about the story with some good quotes in “this article”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/sports/01cage.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1183298806-e/JMCxAr8fSNP0h/xx8Qig from the New York Times and as usual, I picked up on the story from “Treehugger”:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/07/cool_livework_s.php. I should start paying them…

Renewable energy buildings at MetaEfficient.com

I recently discovered a cool site that highlights solar and wind energy using buildings called “MetaEfficient.com”:http://www.metaefficient.com/. Just looking through their archives I’ve found a lot of fascinating buildings and building technologies. For example, the above building is Sanyo’s “Solar Ark”:, a 315 meter long building incorporating 5,046 individual solar panels in central Japan. There’s also a “solar skyscraper”:http://www.cis.co.uk/servlet/Satellite?cid=1116834043894&pagename=CoopBank/Page/tplBlank&c=Page in Manchester that’s worth looking at if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

If you happen to be building yourself, you might also want to look at these “solar tiles”:http://www.sunpowercorp.com/homebuilders/suntile.html or this “domestic turbine”:http://www.mariah-power.com/.

The Amazing Nintendo House (aka my dream home)

Sometimes you see something so amazing that your jaw drops and can’t be lifted back up for a few minutes. Such was my viewing of this Nintendo house, created by a fraternity at Carnegie Mellon University. Every single feature, from the Zapper staircase to the Game Boy on the side, is carefully crafted and simply a visual masterpiece.

This structure solves a problem that I’ve pondered for ages: how can I demonstrate how much I truly love gaming just from my home decor alone? Now, I have something to aspire to. Not enough pictures of this fine structure exist, but take a look at the “Flickr album”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/7891513@N07/ for more awesome shots! Thanks to the folks at “Destructoid”:http://www.destructoid.com/fraternity-s-nintendo-funhouse-college-is-useful-again-update–31102.phtml for unraveling the mystery of this fine house’s creation!

Funky house designs in London

“Boyarsky Murphy Architects”:http://www.boyarskymurphy.com/index.htm specialize in house conversions using small and/or unusually sized buildings. Two such examples are their 11-story conversion of “Christ Church Tower”:http://www.boyarskymurphy.com/ccta.htm into one very compact flat, and this “10-foot wide house”:http://www.boyarskymurphy.com/elgina.htm in a former wine cellar.

Thanks to “TreeHugger.com”:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/04/record_houses_a.php and “Building Design Online”:http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=428&storycode=3084325&c=2&encCode=00000000012cb535/.

To find beauty in the hideous

This is street art in it’s truest sense. Tim Meier of Berlin has this to say about his beautiful photo “Parking Blog”:http://parking-blog.de/:

??Strange but true it became a passion for me to photograph parking lots. I spent quiet some time in these concrete colossi, so I decided to do my diploma work in photography about it as well.??

Once again, thanks to Regina over at “we make money not art”:http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/ for so many great links.

IKEA to move beyond decorating homes, builds them

It wasn’t long ago that do-it-yourself Swedish furniture maker IKEA didn’t dominate the world of yuppy interior design. Okay, that’s not true, IKEA has had that market cornered for a long time but it was only recently that they moved into home manufacture itself. BoKlok Homes (a partnership between IKEA and Swedish construction firm Skanska) have been building homes in Sweden for a little over ten years and are now moving to the UK. A BoKlok (Swedish for smart living) development in Gateshead has already been approved and their British partners, Smart @ Home are very optimistic about becoming “a major provider of housing in Britain.” Pictured here is the original architect’s mock-up used to get planning permission for the development.

These houses actually seem pretty cool, they are all prefabricated pieces that can be assembled in a day cutting down in a big way on the waste associated with on-site construction. In addition to being less polluting on-site, BoKlok houses are also made of sustainable and durable materials. Perhaps most importantly, these houses are going to be filling a sorely-missed niche in the British housing market as property prices all over the country have soared astronomically in the past decade leaving most low-income families with very few options.

Here is a link to a “Guardian article”:http://arts.guardian.co.uk/art/architecture/story/0,,2048116,00.html about BoKlok. Photo credit to “e-architect.co.uk”:http://www.e-architect.co.uk/newcastle/ikea_housing.htm

Swedish subway keeps Stockholm in "my favorite cities" list

Not that there was any chance of it being voted off. With the “Pirate Party”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Party and “Billie the Vision and the Dancers”:http://duenos.net/article/26/billie-the-vision-and-the-dancers Stockholm is still my favorite city-I’ve-not-been-to, but here’s another reason why, the subway. In most cities, the underground transportation network is a necessary evil, a utilitarian piece of infrastructure used to get around and not much more. But in Sweden’s capital city, the subway is so much more. It’s a work of art. Here’s a “link”:http://archibase.net/archinews/14172.html to a gallery of gorgeous pictures from Archibase.net showing polished Scandinavian escalators running along rough cave walls and painted murals that could almost make you cry with envy. And it’s all so clean too…