July 2009 Bridge House

by KTS. Trịnh chiến Thắng | 9:15 PM in | comments (0)

Bridge HouseSouth Australia–based architect Max Pritchard knew he had a challenge on his hands as soon as his clients contacted him. Chris Anderson, an agricultural scientist, and Claire Davenport, who works part time in the wine industry, wished to have a house built on their 10-acre wooded site an hour’s drive south of Adelaide. They had a small budget and a big dream. “The owners didn’t want a large house, but they had a definite idea for its location,” says Pritchard, referring to the sloping bank overlooking a creek and waterhole. “I saw problems, in that I felt a structure would spoil the unique beauty of the site and it also would be difficult to achieve desirable solar orientation.” Pritchard had no desire to kill the couple’s dream, and so embarked on a plan to help them achieve it without damaging the site. After much research, including a survey to determine the 100-year flood level, Pritchard came up with a unique possibility. “By designing the house as a bridge across the creek,” he says, “impact on the site is minimized.” The east/west axis is ideal for admitting low winter sun, the architect points out, adding that the effects of high summer sun can be reduced and “an exhilarating experience of living among the treetops can be achieved.

The couple was game. Their program was simple. All they stipulated was a master bedroom and a home office for Anderson that could double as a guestroom. For about $220,000 Australian (around $177,000 U.S.) Pritchard gave them a 1,184-square-foot sustainable house among the trees.

The long, bar-shaped house, strategically placed between two river red gum trees, spans the creek. Four small concrete piers, two on either side of the creek, anchor two steel trusses, which form the primary structure. Between the trusses is a concrete floor slab on steel decking with a layer of rigid insulation. Walls and roofing are made of plantation pine, and the exterior is clad with precoated steel panels.

Pressed steel louvers on the north side, ceiling fans, and operable windows facilitate ventilation and shading, omitting the need for air-conditioning. In wintertime, the low sun shines through the double-glazed floor-to-ceiling windows, warming the black concrete floor slab. Additional heating comes from a wood combustion heater. Photovoltaic cells on the roof of the garage supply all electricity and feed whatever is not needed back into the grid.

Water is collected from the roof for use inside the house, and wastewater is pumped some 300 feet from the creek and dispersed underground. “Minimizing impact on the site, creating an efficient structural system, and ensuring that the area of the house was kept to a useable minimum were key elements of the design,” says Pritchard. “The biggest challenge was to create a unique, steel-framed, engineered home at a price comparable with standard houses.”

It’s not just Pritchard’s clients who agree that the house accomplishes its goals—it recently won a residential design award from the Australian Institute of Architects (South Australian Chapter). But for the clients, it’s “that feeling of living in the treetops” that really makes the house exciting. “They say they’re able to view a variety of bird species nesting in the adjacent trees—at eye level—from inside the house,” says Pritchard. “The owners take great pride in the revegetation of the site. They have left city life to fulfill their dream.”

EDITT Tower – Singapore Goes Eco-Friendly

by KTS. Trịnh chiến Thắng | 12:10 PM in | comments (0)

Every time I see this new genre of eco-friendly-green-buildings (like the EDITT Tower) I am inspired. These buildings are inviting to look at and like I did as a young boy exploring Navy vesels in New York Harbor with my dad, I want to explore every floor, view and perspective. Because these buildings have the potential to change the urban living experience for future generations, including rethinking the impact of sustainable design on our personal lives, I am showcasing them here.


Freshome Blog: What, you though only Dubai and China have the most stunning buildings in the world? Guess again, because EDITT Tower (“Ecological Design In The Tropics”) will be built in Singapore with the financial support of their National University and should be the most eco-friendly in the country. The most interesting thing is that this 26-storey building will use photovotaic panels and will be wrapped in organic local vegetation that will act as a living wall insulator. More to it, the skyscraper was designed to collect rain-water, both for plant irrigation and for its “needs”. If you want to congratulate someone, T.R.Hamzah & Yeang have had their hands on the project.



Article via Freshome Blog

Architects design in Australian and Newzeland

by KTS. Trịnh chiến Thắng | 10:59 AM in | comments (0)

Monier Residence

The Monier residence is a wood and rammed earth structure utilizes a variety of sustainable systems to produce its own energy and regulate its climate. The building is situated on a 4-acre site in Perth, West Australia and comprises 3 bedrooms and 2,500 square feet. Ackert Architecture designed the award winning structure “as a demonstration project to show how alternative energy and passive systems could be integrated to create a self sufficient home.”

Rammed Earth - With a Veneer of Science

David Oliver, an australian architect from Queensland has spent a significant part of his professional life applying science to the simplicity of rammed earth construction. He is now recognised as a world leader in rammed earth technology and a significant driving force behind environmentally sustainable design in Australia.

Tarrawarra Museum of Art

Intended to emerge powerfully from the landscape this ultra modern gallery displays the talents of Melbourne architect Allan Powell. Almost like an earthworks sculpture that can be read as an artefact, the TarraWarra Musem of Art in Yarra Glen is a monument to modernism. Allan Powell has constructed a simple shape with the effect of a half built or buried building, which confounds the eye and engages the senses. The stunning tan and clay coloured structure rises out of the green vines of the Yarra Valley creating an unexpected vision in the valley. Sensually curved around the site, the building is primarily of dressed stone and rendered walls, coloured rendered concrete walls, and rammed earth walls, and the architect has achieved the feeling that ‘ this building is of the earth’. Visitors to this new gallery are convinced that the complex is of handcrafted natural materials and that each of the columns is different. TarraWarra Museum of Art has been entered into

Johanna House

The Johanna House, designed by Nicholas Burns, is a 4 bedrooms, 2 bath house with an open kitchen, dining/living room and cellar located on Johanna beach, Victoria, Australia. The site is on a secluded 100 acres of pristine bush land adjoining the national park with extensive views of the ocean, protected wilderness with known endangered flora and fauna. No trees were cleared in the construction of the house.

Materials used were rammed earth, concrete, glass and steel to create a discrete insertion into the landscape, a journey of gradual and layered concealment and opening of the landscape and ocean; contrasting contraction and expansion, heavy and light, opaque and transparent. Pure geometry and detailing to create a stillness, a dematerialising interconnection with nature, landscape and the passing of time, place and present.

Red Hill Residence


The Red Hill Residence designed by CHRISTOPHERCHRIS PTY LTD ARCHITECTURE was constructed in Mornington Peninsula, Australia. More images of the project can be found at Arkinetia where they write, the house is "constructed primarily from locally sourced rammed earth and ship lapped cedar panelling, the house is sited across the ridge of the property. The elemental form of the building is enhanced by the contrasting and intersecting selection of material, textures and colours, threaded together by the linear rammed earth wall."

Kerry Hill


Singapore-based Australian Kerry Hill is regarded as one of the best regional architects utilising natural rammed earth, timber and stone that exude an almost monastic ambience. Built on the banks of WA's Margaret River, Hill's Ooi house (above) is a single-storey, three bedroom holiday residence with a guest chalet intended to be the first of several.

Vineyard Residence


The Vineyard Residence, by John Wardle Architects, combines rammed earth with heavy timber framing and slim steelwork in the palette of materials. The design was awarded best residential building by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

Asia architecture historian style

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Kashgar: The End of a Mud Brick City

The modern typical of architecture Africa

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Egyptian Pigeon Houses

Women’s Health Centre

Soil-Cement Vaults in South Africa

Ginna House

Jahili Fort in Al Ain Abu Dhabi

by KTS. Trịnh chiến Thắng | 3:28 AM in | comments (0)

Historically, the daily life of the inhabitants of Al Ain, today the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, took place in the palm gardens of the oasis and the surrounding settlements and markets. To protect the oases, watchtowers and forts were erected. The Jahili Fort located in the modern-day centre of the city is the largest of Al Ain’s forts. Built in the 19th century by Sheikh Zayed the First, it can be seen from the Al Ain oasis to the west of the city. With its distinct three-tiered profile, the fort is now a national monument, pictured on the 50 Dirham note and often used as a logo or model for new architecture. The old fort was erected at the end of the 19th century.

The fort was recently restored by Roswag & Jankowski Architekten, Berlin.

The interior surfaces remain true to the historical appearance. The ceiling consists of palm rafters and palm leaves. A local clay plaster has been used for the interior wall surfaces. In the exhibition areas a grey coloured fine clay finishing plaster made by Claytec was used to create a neutral background for the exhibition spaces. The floors likewise follow historical precedence and are made of rammed earth stabilised with a wax to cope with greater wear and tear.

All new insertions such as doors and furniture, made of corian or wood composite, are coloured white differentiating them from the surrounding building. The external render of the existing walls was examined and repaired where necessary. Previous renovation works had employed a non-traditional plaster with added gypsum for the crenelations. This plaster is too rigid and already exhibited defects; it was replaced with a clay plaster. The building was then given an overall finishing coat of clay plaster. The earth plaster is maintained at regular intervals as is traditional with this historical material. When used as an external render, clay plaster should be regarded as a weathering surface that needs ongoing maintenance, typically every two years, sometimes after sustained periods of heavy rain. Sandstorms are also a cause of erosion.

Most of the spaces will house a permanent exhibition “Mubarak bin London: Wilfried Thesiger and the Freedom of the Desert” showing photographs taken in the 1940s by the researcher and explorer Wilfried Thesiger who in the 1940s crossed the deserts of the Arabian peninsula repeatedly travelling with Bedouins and documenting what he saw with a Leica camera.

The 90 cm thick external earth walls offer excellent thermal insulation. The additional insulation on the roof improves still further the indoor room temperature and together with the solar protection windows on the façade provide effective protection against the extreme heat outdoors. The building is kept at a constant 24°C using a water-based cooling system integrated into the plaster layer of the walls. This minimizes the need for additional air cooling so that only fresh air is required. The cool indoor temperature of the walls and the reduced need for cold air makes the indoor climate more comfortable and reduces the energy consumption. An actual room temperature of 24°C equates to a felt room temperature of 22°C. The plant and technical installations for the entire fort are located below ground in the buffer zone.

The construction is made of traditionally available building materials including earth, palm products and to a lesser degree also timber. The quartered palm trunks can span a room of about 2.70 m and dictate the strongly partitioned structure of the historic buildings. The walls consist of air-dried earth blocks which can be built directly on the sandy ground without the need for foundations. A matting made of palm fronds covered with earth is laid on rafters made of split and quartered palm trunks arranged at an incline. The small amount of timber available was used for the door and window frames.

Natural architecture

by KTS. Trịnh chiến Thắng | 4:14 AM in | comments (0)

The natural environment still manages to fill us with a sense of awe and amazement. despite the amount of scientific knowledge mankind has gathered, nature still holds great mysteries that we may never be able to unravel. this complexity has continually daunted man. in frustration, we try to control nature by enforcing order. as a result, we have distanced ourselves from the earth, even though our survival is completely dependent on it. we are trying to regain our close connection to nature.

‘la tonnelle’ by gilles bruni and marc babarit, 1996

there is an emerging art movement that is exploring mankind's desire to reconnect to the earth, through the built environment. referred to as 'natural architecture', it aims to create a new, more harmonious, relationship between man and nature by exploring what it means to design with nature in mind.

'ash dome' by david nash, 1977

the roots of this movement can be found in earlier artistic shifts like the 'land art' movement of the late nineteen sixties. although this movement was focused on protesting the austerity of the gallery and the commercialization of art, it managed to expand the formal link between art and nature. this has helped develop a new appreciation of nature in all forms of art and design.

'organic highway' by mikael hansen 1995

the 'natural architecture' movement aims to expand on 'land art' by acting as a form of activism rather than protest. this new form of art aims to capture the harmonious connection we seek with nature by merging humanity and nature through architecture. the core concept of the movement is that mankind can live harmoniously with nature, using it for our needs while respecting its importance.

'the streampath' by gilles bruni and marc babarit, 1998

the movement is characterized by the work of a number of artists, designers and architects that express these principles in their work. the pieces are simple, humble and built using the most basic materials and skills. because of this, the results often resemble indigenous architecture, reflecting the desire to return to a less technological world. the forms are stripped down to their essence, expressing the natural beauty inherent in the materials and location. the movement has many forms of expression that range from location-based interventions to structures built from living materials. however all of the works in the movement share a central ethos that demonstrates a respect and appreciation for nature.

'wave chamber' by chris drury, 1995

these works are meant to comment on architecture and provide a new framework to approach buildings and structures. they aim to infuse new ideas into architecture by subverting the idea that architecture should shelter nature. instead, the structures deliberately expose the natural materials used in the building process. we see the branches, the rocks and all the materials for what they are. we understand that these structures won't exist forever. the materials will evolve over time, slowly decomposing until no evidence remains. these features are intentional, provoking viewers to question the conventions of architecture. the designers aren't suggesting that architecture must conform to their vision, they are just providing ideas that they hope will inspire us all to rethink the relationship between nature and the built environment.

'weidendom' by sanfte strukturen, 2001

Natural architecture (the book)

author: alessandro rocca

publisher: princeton architectural press

year: 2007

ISBN: 1568987218

ISBN:13 9781568987217

a collection of works reflecting the ideas of this movement have been compiled into a book written by alessandro rocca (architect and architecture critic and a professor at the milan polytechnic). the book, due out in early november 2007, features sixty-six projects from 18 artists and architects by way of 250 photos and illustrations. each project reconsiders designing with nature in mind. projects by olafur eliasson, patrick dougherty, nils-udo, ex. studio, edward ng, n architects, and many others.

'reed chamber' by chris drury, 2002 'convex:concave' by schubert, 2003

'willow dome on the este' 2000 'organism' by schubert, 2005

patrick dougherty, 1996 'fog pad' by n architects, 2004

'clemson clay nest' by nils-udo, 2005 'toad hall' by patrick dougherty, 2004