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Nature: The Latest Architecture and News

Florence Experiment To Show How Watching Movies Impacts Plant Growth

Courtesy of Michele Giuseppe Onali
Courtesy of Michele Giuseppe Onali

Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy will host a new site-specific project seeking to further our understanding of ecology, and the relationship between humans and the natural world. “The Florence Experiment” will connect internal and external spaces of the famed Renaissance palace through two separate experiences: an intertwined set of 65-foot-high (20-meter-high) slides, and a “live analysis” of the impact of human emotion on plant growth.

The Florence Experiment has been devised by German artist Carsten Höller and plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso, with the vision of turning the Palazzo Strozzi’s façade and courtyard into engaging areas of scientific and artistic experiment. Inspired by the Renaissance alliance between art and science, the project aims to create a new awareness of the way we see, understand, and interact with plant life.

© Martino Margheri Courtesy of Michele Giuseppe Onali © Martino Margheri Courtesy of Michele Giuseppe Onali + 8

MVRDV Releases Alternative Proposal for Taoyuan Museum of Art

MVRDV has released details of their alternative design for the Taoyuan Museum of Art, an entry for an international competition ultimately won by Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop. The MVRDV scheme, developed in collaboration with JJP Architects and Planners, seeks to become a nature-centered cultural destination, transforming the area into a “cherry room for the city.”

Throughout the design process, MVRDV drew inspiration from the natural world, recognizing the potential for public spaces in the rapidly-expanding Taoyuan City to blur the boundaries between the built and natural environment.

Courtesy of MVRDV + JJP Courtesy of MVRDV + JJP Courtesy of MVRDV + JJP Courtesy of MVRDV + JJP + 8

Nordic Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale to Explore Nature's Relationship to the Built Environment

As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the Nordic Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words.

Finnish architect Lundén Architecture Company has been chosen to design the Nordic contribution to the 2018 International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. Eero Lundén’s proposal, entitled Another Generosity, explores the relationship between nature and the built environment.

The goal is to explore new ways of making buildings that emphasise the delicate but often invisible interactions between the built and natural worlds.

Sou Fujimoto and Coldefy & Associés Propose a Sweeping Canopy for French Court House

Sou Fujimoto and Coldefy & Associés Architects Urban Planners’ proposal for a pale sweeping canopy enclosing a stacked glazed volume was among the four finalists for the new Palais de justice in Lille, France organized by the Public Agency for Justice’s Real Estate (APIJ). Though the competition drew 139 international proposals, from which OMA was ultimately selected, Fujimoto and Coldefy & Associés' graceful structure was designed to house the high and district courts as well as public spaces within a facility in dialogue with its natural surroundings.

See the full proposal below.

Courtesy of MIR Courtesy of MIR Courtesy of MIR Courtesy of MIR + 17

Architecture That Can Feed You: Penda's Yin & Yang House Addresses Our Detachment With Food

As a generation that has the most flexibility in day-to-day life, live-work dwellings are becoming more and more popular; a topic that is expected to be seen everywhere in 2018. We can now work anywhere as long as we have a decent internet connection and something to type on. Penda’s latest design, Yin & Yang house, calls upon millennials to take advantage of this ability and move back to the countryside for a better quality of life.

Courtesy of Penda Austria Courtesy of Penda Austria Courtesy of Penda Austria Courtesy of Penda Austria + 29

Michael Reynolds to Build Sustainable Public School in Argentina

After a successful project in Uruguay—the first in Latin America—it's now Argentina's turn to build its first sustainable public school. The design will use the recycled materials of "garbage warrior" Michael Reynolds, the founder of Earthship Biotecture, and will be constructed as part of the program "A Sustainable School" in the unique biosphere of Mar Chiquita, in the Province of Buenos Aires, from March 1 to 28.

Read on for more information about the new project.

These Modernist Birdhouses are Inspired by Famous Architects

Douglas Barnhard, the owner of the home decor company Sourgrassbuilt, designs and builds birdhouses. Built out of repurposed materials, his designs are inspired by mid-century modernism and pay homage to the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph Eichler and the Bauhaus School in Germany yet mix with Barnhard's experience of the rich surf and skate scene in Santa Cruz.

Fantastic Images of Architecture in the Fog: The Best Photos of the Week

Taking photographs in fog can be an experience as chaotic as it is enchanting. Although working with this phenomenon can be risky, since fog dramatically modifies the available light and the atmosphere of a scene, if you know how to take advantage of it, the result can lead to perfect photographs. Below is a selection of 10 images from prominent photographers such as Kevin Scott, Richard Barnes, and Koichi Torimura.

© Fernando Guerra © Ligang Huang © Sophie Mayer © Cornbread Works + 10

How (and Why) to Let Weather Into Your Buildings

Bringing the weather inside is usually the opposite of what you want from a building envelope. However, new research from the University of Oregon, described in an article by The Washington Post, aims to show the physical and psychological benefits of letting nature inside. Signs of nature and change are both beneficial to our well-being, yet we don’t always have access to them when inside buildings—and humans are now spending 90% of our lives inside. But even in an urban setting, where nature may be hard to come by, there’s no escaping the weather. When researchers found ways to bring things like wind and dappled reflections of the sun inside, they found that exposure to these natural movements lowered heart rates, while being less distracting than similar artificially generated movements.

By now, green buildings are a familiar concept, but the article in The Washington Post proposes moving beyond green buildings as we know them today. While green building can be great in new construction, that excludes a lot of existing buildings that could and should also benefit from an intervention of nature. Ideally, buildings should actively demonstrate their relationship with nature, moving beyond simply “doing no harm.”

© Hiroyuki Oki © Carlos Chen © Alex de Rijke © Alejandro Arango + 7

Power to the Bower: A Bird’s Architectural Method of Seduction

Think your decked-out bachelor pad is the slickest on the block? Think again. That reputation now resides in the carefully constructed abode of the bowerbird, which transforms the art of building into the art of seduction. Native to Australia and New Guinea, the bowerbird dedicates months to construct elaborate woven nests, known as bowers, as a means of attracting mates in one of nature’s most unique courting rituals.

19 Emerging Firms Design Prototype Houses for Living Among Nature

As the boundary that separates work and leisure in the 21st Century continues to be blurred by technology, architects Christoph Hesse and Neeraj Bhatia sought out to uncover a tranquil solution. The pair are co-curating an upcoming exhibition at the Kulturbahnhof Kassel in Germany as part of Experimenta Urbana in a show called “Ways of Life,” which opens July 5th.

This international initiative seeks to discover “a new nomaticism.” A gathering of 19 emerging architecture offices each presents a dwelling encompassed in nature. These buildings are often equal parts project and manifesto. The show’s overarching theme is the delicate balance of naturally induced relaxation and programmatically encouraged productivity. Each firm must additionally consider constraints that include limited square footage, integration of rapidly advancing information technology, and a strictly sustainable design.

Courtesy of  Boris Bernaskoni Courtesy of Dogma Courtesy of RICA Courtesy of The Open Workshop + 79

In Seasonal Harmony - The Changing Nature of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of acclaimed American architect, visionary, and social critic Frank Lloyd Wright -considered by many to be one of the greatest architects of his time.

As a pioneer of the term 'organic architecture', one of his most iconic representative works is Fallingwater, set upon a waterfall in rural Pennsylvania. From its unveiling, the scheme has evoked enduring reflection on the relationship between man, architecture, and most prominently in Frank Lloyd Wright's mind - nature.

Architecture & Design Film Festival

Celebrating the unique creative spirit that drives architecture and design, the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) comes to Tippet Rise Art Center, the 10,260-acre sculpture park and classical music center in the Montana highlands, this September. Architect Kyle Bergman, ADFF’s founder, will bring a lineup of eight films to Tippet Rise that intimately explore the connections between nature and architecture and examine how architects from around the world grapple with the constraints and inspirations presented by their sites.

Open Call: Imagine London as a National Park City

Imagine that London becomes the world’s first National Park City. This large-scale and long-term vision has the potential to transform how Londoners live and how the city works. But what would London look like?

Finding Love in the Sand: The Instinctive Architecture of the Pufferfish

How much effort are you willing to put in to attract that special someone? The humble Japanese pufferfish, just twelve centimeters long when un-puffed, almost certainly has you beat. To attract the best fish in the sea, male pufferfish spend at least seven 24-hour days completing an intricate mating ritual that involves swimming their bodies into and through the seafloor to form ridges and trenches in the sand. If they pause too early, the entire ordeal gets washed away by currents.

Let the Cloud House Brighten Your Rainy Day

Few sounds in this world are quite as satisfying as that of fresh rainwater falling on a tin roof. However, this soothing sensation is just one element of the Cloud House, a unique, interactive rainwater-harvesting system created by designer Matthew Mazzotta in Springfield, Missouri. From the comfort of a wooden rocking chair, the user is immersed in a rural farm experience, offering passers-by a moment to slow down, enjoy fresh edible plants and, as promised, bask in the sound of rain striking a tin roof.

The Cloud House promotes quiet reflection and meditation. Image Courtesy of Matthew Mazzotta By sitting in the rocking chairs, users activate the artificial cloud. Image Courtesy of Matthew Mazzotta The Cloud House promotes quiet reflection and meditation. Image Courtesy of Matthew Mazzotta By sitting in the rocking chairs, users activate the artificial cloud. Image Courtesy of Matthew Mazzotta + 17

Modular Units Create a Raised Garden Screen in this Structure in Spain

This project, by Spanish architects Longo + Roldán, turned out to be a great solution for an unused space that was unexpectedly getting a lot of attention in the interior of a quarry.

Instead of building new buildings or remodeling existing cabins they designed an intricate metal lattice structure that forms a web of planters of different depths, containing various species of plants. This solution not only revitalizes the space but also protects existing buildings from the sun, improving their thermal conditions.

© Marcos Morilla © Marcos Morilla © Marcos Morilla © Marcos Morilla + 43

AGi Wins Competition to Transform Galician Roman Ruins into Sensory Museum

AGi Architects has won a competition to transform 18 ancient Roman sites into a natural museum in Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain. The winning proposal, entitled In Natura Veritas, was selected from 26 submissions in a competition organized by the Spanish Ministry of Public Works. The AGi scheme, due to be realized in the coming months, aims to preserve the memory of the natural environment chosen as a living place by the Roman settlers hundreds of years ago and to treat the visitor to a multi-sensory journey through the 18 sites across the Pontevedra landscape.

Courtesy of AGi Architects Courtesy of AGi Architects Light, sounds, scents and textures change throughout the journey. Image Courtesy of AGi Architects An archaeological grid structures the landscape. Image Courtesy of AGi Architects + 12