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Nature: The Latest Architecture and News

Works of India

14:58 - 29 June, 2016
Works of India, Wall and palm trees, Murud, India, 2014 - Courtesy Works of India, Fabio Baldo and Tiago Atalaia
Wall and palm trees, Murud, India, 2014 - Courtesy Works of India, Fabio Baldo and Tiago Atalaia

Works of India is an archive of drawings, sketches, artefacts, models, tools and pictures collected and made during two and a half years of life and work. The collection arises as necessity to document the relation between human, natural and built landscape to portray a frame for a way of life in India.

The selected material articulates in six environments which reflects upon the relation between man and nature, god and matter, a certain sacrality which is embedded during the act of creation and a sort of deep rooted understanding in the way of making and building.

Competition: Can a Building Clean the Air?

13:25 - 20 February, 2016
Competition: Can a Building Clean the Air?

Community Forests International (CFI) is excited to announce its second architectural design competition for the backwoods cabin of the future. The first, hosted in 2014, drew in over 50 entries from 11 different countries and served as a platform for exploring how humans can get back to nature in the 21st century. Bringing together visionary architects, artists, green builders and DIYers, this new challenge addresses the climate crisis and will help transform the organization’s 235 hectare (580 acre) organic farm and forest outside of Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada into a Rural Innovation Campus.

Global Design Competition for a Nature Park & Pedestrian Bridge in Mumbai

15:30 - 22 December, 2015
Global Design Competition for a Nature Park & Pedestrian Bridge in Mumbai

UPDATE: The submission deadline has been changed to February 7th, 2016.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is looking for multi-disciplinary design teams that are capable of designing and delivering a technically demanding and environmentally sensitive makeover in the heart of India’s Financial Capital, Mumbai. There are no competition fees to be paid and all submissions will be exclusively done through the competition portal. Five shortlisted entries from the first stage will each receive Rs. 5,00,000 and the eventual winner will receive Rs. 50,00,000 as part of a contract.

Baubotanik: The Botanically Inspired Design System that Creates Living Buildings

09:30 - 23 October, 2015
Baubotanik: The Botanically Inspired Design System that Creates Living Buildings, Willow footbridge summer 2012. Image © Ferdinand Ludwig
Willow footbridge summer 2012. Image © Ferdinand Ludwig

Timber buildings are regularly praised for their sustainability, as carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by the trees remains locked in the structure of the building. But what if you could go one better, to design buildings that not only lock in carbon, but actively absorb carbon dioxide to strengthen their structure? In this article, originally published by the International Federation of Landscape Architects as "Baubotanik: Botanically Inspired Biodesign," Ansel Oommen explores the theory and techniques of Baubotanik, a system of building with live trees that attempts to do just that.

Trees are the tall, quiet guardians of our human narrative. They spend their entire lives breathing for the planet, supporting vast ecosystems, all while providing key services in the form of food, shelter, and medicine. Their resilient boughs lift both the sky and our spirits. Their moss-aged grandeur stands testament to the shifting times, so much so, that to imagine a world without trees is to imagine a world without life.

To move forward then, mankind must not only coexist with nature, but also be its active benefactor. In Germany, this alliance is found through Baubotanik, or Living Plant Constructions. Coined by architect, Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig, the practice was inspired by the ancient art of tree shaping.

Willow tower after completion. Image © Ferdinand Ludwig Connection detail 2012. Image © Ferdinand Ludwig Test field with inosculations. Image © foto chira moro Plane cube: view from south-west directly after completion. Image © Ludwig.Schönle + 8

Gallery: Mystical Photos of an Abandoned Chinese Village

06:00 - 18 June, 2015
Gallery: Mystical Photos of an Abandoned Chinese Village, © Jane Qing via Bored Panda
© Jane Qing via Bored Panda

Traces of human life lingering behind, forms carving their way through the land and sky, objects left in disuse and air that seems frozen in time -- whether morbid or sublime, abandoned buildings and settlements are an object of fascination and intrigue to architects and non-architects alike. As Shanghai-based photographer Jane Qing's photos of an abandoned village on Gouqi Island in China demonstrate, there is a rare kind of beauty to be found in the left-behind and the neglected.

See more photos after the break.

Architectural Innovation Inspired by Nature

06:00 - 3 March, 2015
Architectural Innovation Inspired by Nature, © Flickr CC User kudumomo
© Flickr CC User kudumomo

From bricks grown from bacteria to cement derived from the reef building process of coral, biomimicry has taken the world by storm. A collection of products inspired by this phenomenon are showcased in Bloomberg’s article “14 Smart Inventions Inspired by Nature: Biomimicry,” ranging from transportation breakthroughs to ingenious feats of engineering. Read on after the break for two highlighted architectural inventions inspired by the natural world.

Arquitectura à Moda do Porto: Episode 4, Natural Porto

00:00 - 24 February, 2015

We have teamed up with Building Pictures, Filipa Figueira and Tiago Vieira to feature weekly episodes of their video series “,” which highlights ’s most significant buildings over the last two decades.

The series launched in 2013 and is comprised of 10 episodes, each focusing on a different theme: light, stairs, balconies, nature, textures, doors, windows, skylights, pavements and structures.

Last week we featured the series’ third episode about Porto’s balconies, and now we present Episode 4 – Nature. Read the producers’ description of Episode 4 after the break.

"Shell Lace Structure": Tonkin Liu's Nature-Inspired Structural Technique

00:00 - 24 September, 2014
"Shell Lace Structure": Tonkin Liu's Nature-Inspired Structural Technique , Courtesy of Tonkin Liu
Courtesy of Tonkin Liu

Continuing recent research trends in the ways nature can inspire new architectural methods and typologies, London-based architecture practice Tonkin Liu in collaboration with engineers at Arup, have developed a single-surface structural technique called Shell Lace Structure. The innovative technique takes advantage of advanced digital design, engineering analysis, and manufacturing tools. Read on to learn about their upcoming book and exhibition that reveals the process behind this nature-inspired material.

Courtesy of Tonkin Liu Courtesy of Tonkin Liu Courtesy of Tonkin Liu Courtesy of Tonkin Liu + 16

Combo Competitions: Emphasis On The Idea

01:00 - 17 September, 2014
Combo Competitions: Emphasis On The Idea, Courtesy of Combo Competitions
Courtesy of Combo Competitions

Combo Competitions, an organisation founded by Swedish, London based architect Per Linde, organises international idea competitions for architects, designers and students. With a gentle emphasis on the ideas presented in proposals, rather than aesthetics alone, their main driver is to promote design concepts "where everything comes together to form a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts."

With the increasing ease in producing "amazing renderings and images," underling concepts can often be lost - or hidden by - a seductive final image. Combo Competitions seeks to reverse this trend by rewarding an emphasis on "well advised concepts" alongside appearance and presentation. Their latest competition, entitled Hello Nature, invites participants to explore a way of re-introducing nature into people’s consciousness.

Find out more about the competition and hear from Per Linde after the break...

Animal Printheads, Biomimicry and More: How Nature Will Shape the Built Environment of the Future

00:00 - 8 August, 2014
Animal Printheads, Biomimicry and More: How Nature Will Shape the Built Environment of the Future , © John Becker
© John Becker

Biomimicry is quickly emerging as one of the next architectural frontiers. New manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, coupled with the drive to make buildings more environmentally sustainable, have led to a wave of projects that are derived from natural phenomena or even constructed with biological materials. A recent example of this trend is “Hy-Fi,” this summer’s MoMA PS1 design that is constructed of organic and compostable eco-bricks. Other projects such as MIT Media Lab’s Silk Pavilion have taken biological innovation a step further by actually using a biometric construction processes - around 6,500 silkworms wove the Silk Pavilion's membrane. “Animal Printheads,” as Geoff Manaugh calls them in his article "Architecture-By-Bee and Other Animal Printheads," have already proven to be a viable part of the manufacturing process in art, and perhaps in the future, the built environment as well. But what happens when humans engineer animals to 3D print other materials?

The Living’s Hy-Fi, winning design of the 2014 Young Architects Program. The Museum of Modern Art and MoMAPS1. Image © The Living MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion. Image © Steven Keating Silkworms weaving MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion. Image © Steven Keating © John Becker + 10

Designing Invisible Architecture: Bird Hides by Biotope

01:00 - 24 July, 2014
Designing Invisible Architecture: Bird Hides by Biotope, Steilnes Bird Hide. Image Courtesy of Biotope
Steilnes Bird Hide. Image Courtesy of Biotope

Biotope, a three-strong Norwegian practice based in the Arctic town of Varanger, have designed bird hides since 2009. For them, architecture is "a tool to protect and promote birds, wildlife and nature" - an approach reflected in their carefully crafted, environmentally integrated fragments of the 'invisible': small shelters that must blend into and be absorbed by their surroundings. Their diligent work has seen Varanger become established as one of the best birding destinations in Northern Europe and their unique design solutions are now being sought across Scandinavia.

Stellers Eider Street Art, Vardø. Image Courtesy of Biotope Hornoya Wind Shelter. Image Courtesy of Biotope Steilnes Bird Hide. Image Courtesy of Biotope Vardø Harbour from above. Image Courtesy of Biotope + 16

VIDEO: Kengo Kuma on Architecture, Materials And Music

00:00 - 19 May, 2014

In Kengo Kuma’s work you may see influences of light, transparency and materiality. But when visiting the Woodbury School of Architecture in San Diego, Kengo Kuma shared a few of his not so apparent influences, from Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn to jazz music. Make sure to view “Knowing Kuma” to see the architect’s definition of architecture, materials and more.