Saturday, 29 December 2012

Sunken Memorial Garden Sliced into Submerged Cruise Ship

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Sunken Memorial Garden Sliced into Submerged Cruise Ship: [ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Submerged sea vessels have long been destinations for diving tourists or (intentional or accidental) marine life habitats, but what if they could serve some function still visible on the surface of the water, like a memorial to those lost when the ship sunk?

The New Concordia Island Contest winners, Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore, propose slicing the section of the Italian cruise ship that crashed in January of 2012 and planting a garden in the resulting voids, leaving the lower, still-submerged areas as habitat zones.

The contest itself “aims to rethink the disaster of the ship Costa Concordia as exceptional opportunity to imagine the future of the wreck and that of the Island of Giglio. It is also a chance to wonder about needs for architecture to build new landscapes on traces and remains of a traumatic event …. The jury has selected the projects that have responded in a more comprehensive way to the questions raised by the contest, interweaving visionaries contents to pragmatic and real solutions.”

The clean and simple solution of the winning proposal defers to both nature and humans, a tribute to the disaster as well as the lives lost. Other intervention propositions of runner-up submissions trended toward either extreme: leaving the wreck mainly as-is and building around it, or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, creating underwater passageways and making the remaining structure physically accessible to people.

Only in Japan : 13 Odd Houses by Suppose Design Office

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Only in Japan : 13 Odd Houses by Suppose Design Office: [ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Houses that look like little more than concrete or steel boxes from the outside offer exceptionally creative, efficient and welcoming interiors conceived by Japan’s Suppose Design Office. The architecture firm has mastered the art of turning tight lots into spacious multi-level homes, and bringing the outdoors in with day-lit courtyards and gardens flourishing under transparent roofs and skylights.

Courtyard Home Inspired by Child’s Play

A series of disconnected structures are enclosed within a glass shell in this beautiful Buzen home, creating the feel of a private neighborhood where children can safely play. Each individual room feels like its own house, with the day-lit hallways as streets.

Passive Solar House with Glass Walls

This ultramodern home in Otake is built to capture the optimal amount of sunlight each day for natural light, natural ventilation and temperature control. This passive solar design works with nature to cut heating, cooling and lighting costs.

Courtyards Between Each Room in Obama

Located in Obama City, this house looks from the outside as if it might be dark and industrial inside; the geometric white shape doesn’t have a single exterior window. Yet, step inside and you’ll find a bright and open space lined with warm wood. The interior of the home is divided with internal courtyards, many of which are illuminated with large skylights.

House in Seya Brings the Outdoors In

Copious amounts of wood, living trees and stones give the House in Seya the feel of an indoor garden. A pebbled interior courtyard leads to the living areas of the home, which is enveloped in a towering wooden frame that makes it feel much larger than it actually is.

Half-Tent House in Kodaira

Located in a residential area of Tokyo, this home features a garden that is cordoned off from the street by a large tent-like addition. The tent functions as a roof, wall and fence, making this outdoor area more private. Large sliding glass doors give the garden the feel of an indoor/outdoor extension of the house.

White Room Filled with Plywood Boxes

Making homes on small lots feel more spacious is Suppose Design Office’s specialty. This home outside Hiroshima is a great example. The interior of the main white volume of the home is filled with plywood ‘boxes’ that cordon off various rooms, creating three levels. The rooms have windows that open to the main ‘atrium’ living area.

Concrete House in Koamicho

Situated on a long, narrow plot in Koamicho, this two-story concrete home is built around interior courtyards that are glassed-in on each side for maximum daylighting. “In a long, narrow space, we constructed walls, and by laying out a space in which we experience many rooms, we turn ‘narrowness’ into ‘openness’,” say the architects. “Further, taking rooms and gardens as equivalent, we created spaces that are like exteriors, calling them ‘garden rooms.’”

Monolithic Triangular In-Ground Home

Dark and dramatic, this structure looks more like a monument than a private residence. The triangular-shaped dwelling sits atop a first floor that has been covered in earth on all sides for privacy and temperature control. As modern as it may look, the home was inspired by traditional ‘pit houses’ of Japan, which have been in use for nearly 2,000 years.

Minimalist Home with House-Shaped Windows

A nod to more conventional home shapes can be seen in the windows of this large, rectilinear house on the beach. Suppose Design gave the home a fluid, changeable layout inside that’s free of the constraints of most residences, using floating wood platforms and mobile wood-and-glass partitions.

Innovative Raised-Corner House

It looks as if some giant came along, lifted the corner of this house and slid a concrete wall beneath it. It’s an extremely unconventional and creative solution to letting daylight into a home while maintaining optimal privacy for its inhabitants. This raised corner also creates a private courtyard – one of three offering bright and airy spaces shielded from the street.

House in Ekoda with Rooftop Conservatory

A three-story house in Ekoda, Tokyo, has been renovated to create six apartments – and, most notably, to include an incredible bathroom in the rooftop conservatory. The ceilings inside were removed to expose the bare steel frame of the building, and new rooms were created from pale wood.

House in Matsuyama Has Views from Every Room

Every single room in this Matsuyama home has a view of the sureounding scenery thanks to large glass walls. “By spacing out structurally necessary walls we’ve created a design where a good view can be had from anywhere, but that still possess earthquake resistant elements. This also allows for larger openings, which were difficult with wood fram ehouses.”

Commanding Views at the House in Fukuyama

Built into a hillside beneath a road, House in Fukuyama is almost entirely open to views of the city on one side, with the rest of the home shielded from the eyes of neighbors. The roof of the home is level with the street, requiring visitors to descend into its interior via cantilevered stairs.

Wheely Great Ideas: 10 Cool Bike Technology Concepts

Wheely Great Ideas: 10 Cool Bike Technology Concepts: [ By Delana in Technology & Vehicles & Mods. ]

The bicycle has been a favorite form of transportation for around two centuries, and every generation adds its own advances and accessories to the time-tested design. Living in the technology age as we do today, bike-related advances abound. These 10 concepts use high technology, advanced design skills, and plain old common sense to create some truly useful and beautiful bikes and bike-related accessories.

Samurai Sword Folding Bike

(images via: Nick Domanski)
Folding bikes are perfect for people who ride to work or school and then need to stash the bike somewhere during the day. They fold up into very small sizes, but they aren’t always easy to carry around or to fit under a desk or into a coat closet. The Odachi Folding Bike concept from design student Nick Domanski makes it a bit easier – and a lot more attractive – to carry around a folded bike. When in its smallest form, the Odachi bike can be either pulled along behind the rider or strapped onto the back like a samurai sword. Although the chain and brakes do not appear in the rendered images, the Odachi bike would work just like any other bike.

Twist Tandem Bike

(images via: Jose Hurtado)
The Twist bike doesn’t strive to break down into the smallest package possible; instead, it wants to expand. The concept from designer Jose Hurtado features a symmetrical frame and hubless wheels, one of which can connect to another frame to form a tandem bike. The freedom to ride single or double on this modern bike makes it an unusual but stylish choice for biking enthusiasts.

Revolutionary Roundtail Bike

(images via: Roundtail)
The Roundtail is a truly world-changing modification to the typical bike frame. Rather than the familiar triangular frame configuration which is full of straight lines, the Roundtail features a frame with a circle in the center. This circular frame acts as a sort of shock absorber, making riding a bike far less painful for cycling enthusiasts.

Swiss Army Knife-Inspired Folding Electric Scooter

(images via: Voltitude Switzerland)
The Voltitude V1 was invented by a Swiss father and son design team who took their inspiration from Swiss Army knives and from scooters. The folding electric bike features wide wheels to get it over the urban terrain, electric assisted pedaling and a silent, zero-emission ride. But the most notable feature of the Voltitude V1 is its ability to fold up like the famous Swiss Army knife into a small package – small enough to be stowed in a trunk or closet.

The Greencycle

(images via: Paulus Maringka)
Can a bike really change the world? The Greencycle may do just that. The lightweight but tough bicycle is built of sustainable, affordable bamboo and metal joining brackets. The bike is modular and all parts of it can be easily replaced in the event of breakage. Meant for third-world countries where bikes are the most efficient and sensible means of transportation for vendors and farmers, the Greencycle also features built-in attachment points and platforms for heavy cargo.

Expanding Wheel City Bike

(images via: Yanko Design)
The Smart City Cycle from designer Yo-Hwan Kim takes a novel approach to the concept of the cargo bike. Rather than adding a shelf or hook to the bike’s frame, the designer simply integrated a cargo compartment into the rear wheel. A regular hubless wheel takes the rider to and from work or school every day, but on those days when a stop at the grocery store is necessary a cargo wheel can be fitted to the back of the bike. The cargo wheel holds a load securely in place while increasing the bike’s wheel base to create a stable ride.

Bike Seat Tire Pump

(images via: BioLogic)
Minimizing the stuff you carry – and thus the weight of your cargo – is important for making the most of your bike ride. But there are some essentials that you need to have for longer rides, including a pump to reinflate tires. BioLogic’s clever PostPump 2.0 Seatpost is a bike pump built into a bicycle seatpost. When you need to inflate a tire, the pump easily detaches from the bike’s frame and the seat acts as a handle.

Airless Bike Tires

(images via: Energy Return Wheel)
Of course, a bike tire pump would not be necessary if the cycling world adopts the incredible Energy Return Wheel (ERW). This airless tire features a honeycomb layer of rubber where the air would normally be in a standard tire. As the ERW rides over obstacles and rough terrain in the road, the energy from those little impacts is turned into forward propulsion. This helps the rider move along with less effort – and as an added bonus, there is no need to ever worry about flat tires.

LED Handlebars

(images via: Mitchell Silva)
There are plenty of products meant to keep cyclists safe in the dark, but the Globars are a smart twist on the subject. The handlebars are lit up brightly with LEDs and function as safety lights, headlights and turn signals all in one. Because the turn signal buttons can be activated while the rider’s hands are still on the handlebars, these safety devices are truly safe.

Bike Pedal Lock

(images via: Cheng-Tsung Feng)
Keeping your bike safe while you aren’t on it is an important concern for any bike owner. The Pedal Lock is a neat concept product that would use the bike’s own pedals as security devices. You don’t have to carry a heavy lock around because it’s built right into your pedals, and thieves who try to simply take off the tire to steal your bike from the rack wouldn’t be able to ride it away thanks to the missing pedals.

Power Trip: 13 Creative Cord & Outlet Concepts

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Power Trip: 13 Creative Cord & Outlet Concepts: [ By Steph in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

We use power outlets and extension cords every day, yet they seem to have been left behind when it comes to both aesthetic and practical improvements over the last few decades. These 13 (more) products, concepts and DIY projects include power outlets with built-in retractable extension cords, super-flat tape cords that are invisible under rugs, and modular power strips that can be customized to your electricity needs.

Super-Flat Retractable Tape Cord

This extension cord works just like a tape measure, with the cord extending from the base unit to plug into an electric outlet. Just give the tape a tug and it’ll wind back up inside the unit.

Power Bridge Hides Unsightly Plugs

We don’t really like looking at a mess of plugs in a power strip, so why have them on top? The Power Bridge by Hyukjae Chang flips the strip, keeping the visible side clutter-free. Each outlet also has an indicator light that lets you know how much power that particular device is using.

Belkin TimeOutlet

In the Belkin TimeOutlet, four quadrants corresponding to various times of day keep your lights and devices powered up only during the time that you actually use them, cutting off the power at other times.

Lithoss Frameless Switch

Light switches become design details with the Lithoss Frameless Switch, which uses piano-like keys to turn lights on and off.

Rotating 360 Multi-Outlet Strip

The variety of oddly shaped plugs makes it hard to fit all of your gadgets onto a single power strip. The Rotating 360 ensures that they’ll all fit with a modular design with individual sockets that can be rotated to the side or bottom, or removed altogether if they’re not needed.

Totally Flat Tape Cord is Perfect Under Rugs

There’s no need to tape extension cords to the floor with ugly duct tape or run them along walls and ceilings to keep them out of the way, when they’re entirely flat – and work like tape themselves. This design by Chen Ju Wei uses a sticky electrostatic paste material and circuit-printing technology to embed electric wires within a length of reusable tape that can be wiped clean when needed.

Donut Outlet Features Circular Design

Isn’t it annoying when you’re trying to plug a cable into an outlet you can’t see, and just can’t seem to line up the prongs? With the DONUT outlet, a circular design allows the plug to be inserted from any angle.

Energy-Saving Wind-Up Sockets

Sometimes you only need a light or appliance to be on for a set period of time, but you forget to unplug it afterward. The Wind Up Socket keeps that from happening with built-in timers that cut off the electricity after the chosen length of time.

Recoiling Wall Socket

The ‘Rambler Socket’ by Meysam Movahedi features a 1.5-meter extension cord on a reel that fits within the wall, eliminating the need for extension cords. When you don’t need it, it simply goes away.

E-Line Cord Wrapping System

The habit of wrapping extra cord around an appliance can burn you – literally – if you forget to unwrap it before using the item, especially if it’s something that gets hot, like a toaster or electric kettle. The cord on the E-line wrapping system is coated in such a way that it coils into a compact configuration when it doesn’t need to be stretched.

Plug Extension Cord Project

No need to reach under the desk to unplug your computer or phone charger from an extension cord. The Plug Extension Cord Project by Anton Zetocha provides a little flat piece beside the outlet that makes it easier to use one hand or even your foot to pull the plug.

Floor Plan-Shaped Light Switch

More people would turn off all the lights before leaving the house if it were more convenient. This concept is a master switch for all the lights in the house, shaped like your floorplan. You simply press the shape of the room where you want to turn off lights.

Sculptural Braided Extension Cords

If you can’t hide your extension cords, why not show them off? Design Sponge offers a DIY project that’s admittedly not practical, but makes these eyesores infinitely more visually interesting. Three ordinary power cords are wrapped in plastic tubing and then covered in colored yarn before being braided together. The result is basically a piece of art for your floor (that you’ll probably trip over more than once.)