Tag: Dynamic-architecture

Blood Bricks

House of Cow Blood

Using animal blood for building your own house sounds like something from a horror film, but architect Jack Monro has created a set of experimental bricks that take bovine blood as their raw material.

According to Monro the blood bricks are “a potential replacement for mud bricks in regions which have suffered significant rain damage such as Siwa, Egypt”, because it’s a sustainable and cheap way of building houses. A slaughtered bullock, for example, produces over 30 liters of blood. Blood also happens to be one of the most-wasted “materials” in the world.

Beyond the addition of the preservative EDTA no chemicals are required for manufactering the blood bricks. The preservative is added to prevent bacterial and fungal growth in the blood. The relatively low coagulation temperature of blood (over 64 C) would allow for the bricks to be baked using desert sunlight only. All this makes the blood brick a good substitution for conventional building materials.

Monro’s research forms part of a wider trend focusing on the uses of biomaterials, including mushrooms and bamboo, in construction projects.

Story via Wired and Architizer


“Smart Highways” to Power Streetlights and Electric Cars

Roads are a ubiquitous, even defining aspect of our urban and suburban spaces. In the United States alone, parking lots and roads cover 16,000 square kilometers. So why must roads be gray, plain and a general waste of space? Dutch designer Daan Roosegarde, inventor of the Intimacy Dress, wants to take the technology from his Sustainable Dance Floor and apply it to the highway of the future.

The vibrations of cars over the road surface will create energy for streetlights and will power electric cars and scooters at charging stations. These “smart” roads could be further equipped with sensors to report ice, rain, temperature or traffic conditions. Roosegarde’s proposal for an energy-generating highway isn’t the first: There’s been plans for solar roadways in the US, electromagnetic roadways in China, and a piezo-electric road similar to Roosegarde’s in Israel.

Basic RGB

Structuring Biomimicry, Improving Building’s Resiliency

The same way Einstein assumes the speed of light to be a constant of reference for his Theory of Relativity, the philosophy of biomimicry assumes Nature as a constant of reference to a performance-based beauty for design.

Imitating nature has become a meaningful approach for contemporary architects and design futurists to the built environment, especially for those who foster a future that doesn’t compete with nature but coexist with it. At the light of recent natural disasters around the world, especially those geologically associated such as tsunamis and earthquakes, which have proven its destruction power over the current built environment; architects and structural engineers have found in biomimicry an ecological approach in order to improve future building’s disaster resilience.

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tsunami island

Artificial Islands for a Tsunami-Proof Japan

Keiichiro Sako of Sako Architects has proposed constructing giant, drum-shaped islands on dry land as a means to protect residents of Tohoku from future tsunamis. The elevated disks come equipped with renewable energy sources in case of emergency, and gates that automatically close after a tsunami warning. While one town is already making a move to install an “island”, the cost and culture may prove prohibitive for wide-scale implementation. With a price tag of 20 billion yen, and a futuristic look, residents of conservation coastal towns may not appreciate the design.

Via Pruned and New Scientist.


The “Plantascraper” Sprouts in Sweden

We’re used to seeing proposals for high-tech vertical farms that never seem to translate to real life, but the city of Linköping in Sweden has finally taken these buildings out of the realm of glossy CG models. Plantagon International is building a 17-story vertical greenhouse, slated to open by 2013, that will have a “transportation helix” to transfer vegetables and grains within its enormous spherical space. The greenhouse promises to parasitize  on the excess heat, CO2 and waste produced by the city, using it for warmth and fertilizer. The design cuts transportation costs, and perhaps most impressively, promises the equivalent of 100,000 square meters of arable land on a 10,000 square meter footprint. Still no word on whether building a gigantic steel and glass structure is more carbon-efficient than conventional farming, but retrofitting existing office buildings might help take care of this problem.

keizer nature city

Living with Nature in the Post-Suburbs

MoMA in New York has a new exhibit exploring what can be done with American’s only seemingly inexhaustible resource: foreclosed homes and sparsely inhabited suburbs. Nature-City, a proposal by WORKac, turns the cookie-cutter town of Keizer, Oregon into a model city that incorporates just about every on-trend proposition in urban planning. There’s farmer’s markets, rooftop farms, and fuel cells integrated into the buildings’ design.

After this, however, Nature-City has some clever tricks up its sleeves. A water tower housed at the top of an apartment block cascades down as an indoors waterfall. Buildings are equipped with cut-outs and internal parks to encourage animal migration. The strangest structure might be an enormous dome that uses methane from the city’s waste to heat public swimming pools. As an update on Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City, it’s playful, utopian, and probably a nice place to live.

For more photos, visit Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream.

stockhom metro 1

Any Sufficiently Advanced Civilization is Indistinguishable from Nature

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” [1]

In Western cultures, nature is a cosmological, primal ordering force and a terrestrial condition that exists in the absence of human beings. Both meanings are freely implied in everyday conversation. We distinguish ourselves from the natural world by manipulating our environment through technology. In What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly proposes that technology behaves as a form of meta-nature, which has greater potential for cultural change than the evolutionary powers of the organic world alone.

With the advent of ‘living technologies’ [2], which possess some of the properties of living systems but are not ‘truly’ alive, a new understanding of our relationship to the natural and designed world is imminent. This change in perspective is encapsulated in Koert Van Mensvoort’s term ‘next nature’, which implies thinking ‘ecologically’, rather than ‘mechanically’. The implications of next nature are profound, and will shape our appreciation of humanity and influence the world around us.

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Skyscrapers for Pandora

We’ve previously featured architecture that imitates nature by opening its walls like a flower, or drifting like a cloud. However, maybe this is not imitation enough. The next award-winning example by designer Stanislaw Mlynski shows a building made of the Re-cell ecological wall, which promises to turn a high-rise into an ecosystem. The cells use organic waste as an input, and produce filtered water, grow plants, and reduce C02. Now apartment-dwellers get to experience nature outside their windows. Decide for yourself: Does this project offer a promising future, or does it merely replace nature?

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passing clouds

Conquering the Skies

Everywhere we go, we conquer the land and shape it to our preferences. The next place to build might as well be the clouds. Tiago Barros, designer and architect, has decided to move away from our hectic schedules on Earth’s surface and design a cloud where we can carelessly float around.

The Passing Cloud is a series of zeppelin-like spheres with a fence-like structure on top to keep us from falling back to our stressful routines. The only resource needed is the stainless steel and nylon that form the spheres. Practically no power is needed to move the structure but the wind. But once we board Barros’ floating city, where is it headed? Only nature can tell.