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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.

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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


Animated GIFs That Show Cool Kids Made Of Stardust

13 Sep


These animated GIFs are fantastic. If you have seen my other posts on animated GIFs you’ll probably know I have a slight obsession with them at the moment. These show people with stardust, random yes but they are still amazing photography and animation. Like my other posts if they don’t work straight away give them a few moments or click on the actual image and they should work.

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For decades, scientists have known that we–along with everything else on the planet–contain bits of stardust. That bit of real-life magic has made its way into countless lines of poetry and one horrible Moby song. It is also the basis for Ignacio Torres’s Stellar project, a series of animated GIFs picturing men and women seemingly floating amid sparkling star particles.

The Texas-based photographer says that his interest in “our celestial ancestry” began in college, where he took several astronomy courses and started to read and watch Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series. “At the same time,” Torres tells Co.Design, “I was obsessed with the stylistic imagery inAlejandro Jodorowsky films, which mostly consisted of desert landscapes. So he decided to combine the two–recruiting friends to be photographed among cacti in El Paso while being pelted with baking flour and confetti. “The process of creating the imagery was an adventure in itself,” he writes. “It was always a battle against time because I was relying on the brevity of the sunsets to create the right mood.”

To achieve the 3-D effect, Torres used stereoscopy, shooting four images from different angles and then compiling them into a single animation that creates the illusion of depth. The movement, according to the artist, “serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time.” The floating quality belies the more mundane considerations of the setup: “The most difficult part,” Torres says, “is getting the models to jump at the exact time that the flour and confetti are thrown at them.”








Wonderfully Witty Dog Portraits by Ron Schmidt

11 Sep

I am a massive dog lover, so these portraits of dogs really caught my funny bone. Ron Schmidt has captured the humour within dogs. I love what he has done. It brings a smile to your face even if your having a down day.

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“Though we’ve seen a lot of dog portraits in our time (see herehere and here) these might just take the cake as the most creative ever.

Ron Schmidt is the person behind the company Loose Leashes, an online shop where he sells funny prints of our furry friends in wonderfully witty scenarios. Dog person or not, you can’t help but fall in love with these photos.

As he told Dogster, “All the images represent the freedom that a dog would have without someone holding its leash. These are the things dogs would do if no one was around and they had absolute freedom.”

Though his past experience is in fashion and celebrity photography, Schmidt found his true calling by accident. After branching out on his own to pursue commercial photography, he found his niche when, one day, he decided to design a creative Christmas card for his family, friends and clients. Featuring his yellow lab Indy, the card didn’t just show her pose in a traditional way, he had her carry a tree on her back. “It was a fun, conceptual image that was a big hit with everyone who saw it. Since I love dogs and photography, this worked out really well.”

While looking through these photos, make sure to spot out how each one is labeled. Working with his wife, he comes up with the dogs’ clever and (very) fitting names. Now, here are 20 of our favorites. (The top one has been added to our board Cute and Cuddly on Pinterest.)”



















Amazing Light and Shadow Art by Kumi Yamashita

10 Sep

I really don’t know how these are done, just wow, seems to cover it quite well. I love this type of work, where something is created out of something else. A lot of concentration is needed to create something this intricate.

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“Untitled child”

“Living and working in New York City, Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita has a series of work using simple shapes and objects with light to create the most incredible shadows. Using a single light source that projects light onto the material, Yamashita forms silhouettes of people and faces in the series entitled Light & Shadow.”


“City View”






“Question Mark”

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.

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“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.




Dizzying Photographs from Below the Floor by Michael H. Rohde

10 Sep

Ok so these images take a little bit of getting used to. At first I definitely felt dizzy looking at them. I think it is interesting thought, to look at a room from the floor, you only really do that when your drunk n then you cant exactly remember it. So yeah when you get your head around the dizziness, I think these photos are quite cool.

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FROM BELOW is a series of photographs by German photographer Michael H. Rohde that makes you do a double take, and may even set your heart aflutter.”

It’s as if you’re standing under a glass ceiling looking up at the floor above you, peeking at everything above. Or, Honey, I’ve Shrunk the Kids has suddenly become your reality. Yet, instead of making you feel a renewed sense of perspective, these photographs make you feel almost disoriented and unstable.





Banksy’s Street Art Comes Alive As Animated GIFs

10 Sep

Banksy is an amazing artist, most people know this. Very few people have been lucky enough to come across one of his original pieces. These animated GIF’s bring some of his pieces alive. If they don’t work straight away given them a few minutes, if you still don’t get any joy click on the image and they should work 🙂

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Drawing inspiration from the works produced by renowned street artistBanksy, Tumblr blog ‘Made By ABVH’ has recreated several of his iconic works—making them ‘come alive’ as animated GIFs.