Archive | Architecture RSS feed for this section

Shaped By Algorithms, A Solar Powered Pavilion That Soaks Up Maximum Rays

13 Sep


This house is like “wow” the design is eye catching and every single part of the house has been designed for that particular place in the environment. It is one of the best solar powered houses created. See what you think.

Taken from



The Endesa Pavilion, also referred to as the Solar House 2.0, sits just off the water at the Olimpic Port in Barcelona. Its jagged facade would be striking in any environment, but the structure wouldn’t really make sense anywhere else. That’s because each of the solar panel-equipped shards comprising its pinecone-like exterior were designed by a piece of software to make optimal use of the sun’s path over that exact location.

The project, headed by Rodrigo Rubio at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, is an incredible example of how we can let sustainability truly inform a structure’s design, instead of just building something and trying to shoehorn in some green niceties after the fact. To start, Rubio gathered data on how the sun traveled across the sky above the Olimpic Port throughout the year. That data was then plugged into a piece of software which used it to determine the optimal size and shape of each module on the Pavilion’s exterior. The result is a structure that’s intimately connected with its surroundings.

And it’s even smarter than it seems on the surface. Each irregular “solar brick” on the Pavilion’s southern facade is outfitted with a photovoltaic panel and positioned not only to collect the optimal amount of sunlight but also to control how much light enters the building, depending on the season. In the winter, when the maximum inclination of the sun is about 30 degrees, the slanting solar bricks allow light in through the windows, heating the house; in the summer, when the maximum inclination is around 70 degrees, the bricks keep the windows shaded and the interior cooled.

On the inside, the jutting solar bricks serve another purpose: storage. By utilizing the compartments for the storage of random stuff, the 1,658-square-foot interior stays uncluttered. The hollow modules also house the light fixtures which illuminate the Pavilion at night.

The Pavilion, which will remain in place for a year as a central hub for Barcelona’s Smart City Congress, was uniquely efficient in its construction, too. In an excellent video on the design of the structure by, Rubio explains that he can send files directly from the computer software which created the solar-optimized design to the computerized fabricators, just as simply as you can send text to a printer. “It’s a balance between prefabrication and total customization,” he says. Once the wooden pieces were cut, it took just three weeks of pre-assembly and two weeks on site to erect the building.


In that same video, Rubio shows off the control panel inside the Pavilion that monitors its energy use. Even in the summer with the AC pumping, it typically produced more electricity than it was using; he told me it usually runs at about 150% efficiency, generating enough electricity for itself and another small building.

The benefits of a site-optimized structure like the Endesa Pavilion are obvious, and Rubio says the same computer model can be used to create buildings optimized for any region. But this type of design seems particularly well-suited to take one of the major but not-often-discussed problems posed by climate change: the dramatic increase in the use of air conditioners in some of the world’s most rapidly developing countries. Elizabeth Rosenthal outlined the sobering state of affairs in the New York Times earlier this month:

In 2007, only 11 percent of households in Brazil and 2 percent in India had air-conditioning, compared with 87 percent in the United States, which has a more temperate climate, said Michael Sivak, a research professor in energy at the University of Michigan. “There is huge latent demand,” Mr. Sivak said. “Current energy demand does not yet reflect what will happen when these countries have more money and more people can afford air-conditioning.” He has estimated that, based on its climate and the size of the population, the cooling needs of Mumbai alone could be about a quarter of those of the entire United States, which he calls “one scary statistic.”

The Endesa Pavilion is doubly efficient in this regard: it not only generates its own electricity instead of sucking it from the grid, but its season-aware design means that it’s working in concert with the climate it inhabits, instead of creating a desired indoor climate independently, energy cost be dammed.

Any architectural design that incorporates sustainable elements is better than one that doesn’t, but the Pavilion is a striking reminder that not all sustainable designs are created equal. In fact, a good deal of the green architecture we see seems to treat sustainability as an afterthought: we design a house, just like we always have, and then we see how we can tweak it to be kinder to the environment. “[The] construction industry is very slow, with strong inertias,” Rubio told Co.Design, “but markets [need to] reinvent themselves in crisis situations.”

But as Rubio pointed out to me, green technologies are still developing at a rapid pace, and new structures need to be nimble enough to update alongside those technologies. “Photovoltaics … are developing fast, what today is advanced maybe could be outdated or not efficient enough in five years,” he explained. Future structures “will be something more dynamic, devices you upgrade continuously, like you do with your phone, updating your OS each year.”

Broadly speaking, right now, we’re adapting green tech to buildings as we’ve always understood them, when what we need to be doing is rethinking buildings from the ground up. Or maybe from the sun down.

All photos courtesy Adria Goula


A Movie Theater’s Walls, Broken Into Thousands Of Pulsating Pixels

13 Sep

This really caught my eye when I saw the headline. Your actually surrounded by the moving pixels creating patterns, who would come up with something like this?? So yeah watch the video and see it for yourself. It would be great to actually go and sit in the theatre 🙂

Taken from

“Just when it seemed like Kanye West’s Cannes-debuted 7-screen cinemawas a lock for the craziest experimental theater experience of the year, the Seoul-based collective Jonpasang unveiled the Hyper-Matrix, a sort of movie theater of the future where the walls themselves come to life. The group covered three faces of a Korean theater with thousands of motorized cubes, all of which pulse into glorious, larger than life patterns. The effect is sort of the same as those space-warping digital projection mapping shows, expect in the Hyper-Matrix, the warping is actually happening.

Created for the Hyundai Motor Group Exhibition Pavilion at the 2012 Yeosu EXPO in Korea, the Hyper-Matrix is comprised of a steel scaffolding and thousands of lightweight, 300mm x 300mm cubes, each attached to its own stepper motor. A choreographed routine makes the pixels pump in and out, creating rippling arrows and pulsating grids. It looks a little like being trapped inside some sort of monochromatic Tetris nightmare.

Of course, when all the cubes are sucked in flat, the Matrix can serve as a regular old panoramic projection surface–the clip above shows a video involving cars and a lot of swooping, soaring natural beauty–but somehow that seems a little bit stale after, you know, you were just watching the walls move.


(if the GIF image above doesn’t start moving, click on the image and it should come to life)

But what I’d really like to see is the two combined–a digitally mapped projection working in concert with the pulsating pixels on the Hyper Matrix’s walls. Imagine that scene from the end of the first Matrix movie where the skyscraper buckles from the impact of the helicopter–and now imagine the screen itself buckling along with it. Or, if the Matrix/Hyper-Matrix combo is a little too much for you, just imagine the vertiginous patterns you see in the video above…with color.

The Jonpasang team, comprised of Jin-Yo Mok, Sookyun Yang, Earl Park, Jin-Wook Yeo, and Sang-Wook Yu, installed the Hyper Matrix in May for the start of the Expo, which ran through the middle of last month. Here’s to hoping we haven’t seen the last of it.”


Stepper motors are set into a metal grid; these push and pull the styrofoam blocks that serve as pixels.

Glass walled waterfront residence by Finne Architects

10 Sep

As I said in one of my earlier posts, Architecture was one of my first loves of design, and I have to say this house designed by Finne Architects has to be my dream home. It has a full glass wall which fills the home with light. I hope you like the look of it as much as I do.

Taken from

“The 2,400-square-foot Port Ludlow Residence is located on a waterfront lot in Hood Canal, which is one of the main basins of the Puget Sound in Washington State. The modern, eco-friendly home, designed by Finne Architects, is full of glass walls that open up onto the surrounding wood deck giving the indoor/outdoor feel.”

“The main living area is completely covered in 12-foot high glass walls giving the home the best views of the water and the wooded property it sits on.”

“They incorporated many eco-friendly elements into the property including the glass panels that provide natural light and ventilation, 2×8 frame construction that increased the insulation value by 40%, a heat pump mechanical system, and various interior finishes that were sustainable.”



The north end of the structure houses the bedrooms and offices in a two-story volume.




Book: ‘Design Talks: Contemporary Creatives on Architecture and Design’ by Massimo de Conti

10 Sep

Ok so I  don’t really post a lot about books I have found. But this one really caught my eye. Back in school, when I decided that Art for my fort-ay, I wanted to become an architect. This book is basically a compilation of interviews with successful architects. Taking you through how they got into it and some of their designs, plus tips and advice they want to pass on to aspiring designers. It’s definitely worth a read.

Taken from

“If you have ever wondered what inspires the world’s leading designers and architects in their work, this book will offer an intriguing insight. Produced by Images Publishing, ‘Design Talks: Contemporary Creatives on Architecture and Design’ is an engaging collection of interviews that delves into the creative minds of the design and architecture movers and shakers of today.

Written and compiled over two years by architecture pundit Massimo de Conti, the book features a stellar cast of industry luminaries, from John Pawson to Zaha HadidSteven Holl and Philippe Starck. ‘I realized that the interviews I had done – some of which were published in BMM magazine – were very powerful, so I started to come up with the idea of a book,’ explains de Conti.

‘They are architects and designers who I admire and that I actually wanted to talk to and discover more about, ‘ says de Conti, who spent nearly a decade developing the press office for London-based architecture firm Claudio Silvestrin.

A journey through the vision behind what has informed some of the design world’s most outstanding projects, this book of conversations features a selection of charismatic portrait shots and photographs of the iconic works. Each interview is accompanied with a personal quote about the designer by de Conti. ‘I wanted a format that allowed me to find out more about the man or woman behind some great projects,’ says de Conti. ‘Not only from a professional, but also a personal point of view,’

Currently available as an eBook, with the print version to be released at a later date, the compendium is an earnest and refreshing approach into the compelling world of the design elite. ‘I like the idea that people might discover something more about somebody they admire, and maybe laugh!’ concludes de Conti.”