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Design

The World's Longest Glass-Bottom Bridge Stretches Across the Lianjiang River in China

September 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University

Extending 526.14 meters, a new glass-bottom bridge in China’s Huangchuan Three Gorges Scenic Area now ranks as the longest in the world. The lengthy structure is the project of the firm Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University and looms 201 meters above the Lianjiang River. Bright red towers mark either end, with an 8.8-meter-wide deck running between them. Three layers of 4.5-centimeter-thick glass lined with steel compose the transparent bridge, which is suspended with cables and can hold 500 people. According to Dezeen, the previous record-holder was a wobbly 488-meter structure in China’s Hebei province.

 

 

 



Design

Transparent Public Restrooms in Tokyo Transform into Opaque, Colorful Stalls When in Use

August 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

Haru-No-Ogawa Community Park, by Shigeru Ban. Photos by Satoshi Nagare, courtesy of The Nippon Foundation

On the periphery of a busy city park in Tokyo is a transparent bathroom that offers a few forms of alleviation. Although it seemingly provides little privacy, the translucent facade is designed to let people peer inside to inspect the cleanliness before they venture in. Once users do open the door and step into the structure, the walls turn into opaque, illuminated stalls that hide the person from view. As public bathrooms have shut down and been a source of fear since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the new structure ameliorates multiple issues of accessibility.

The sensitive facility is part of an ongoing project called The Tokyo Toilet, which tasked 16 designers—including Kengo Kuma (previously), Tadao Ando (previously), and Shigeru Ban, who created the two transparent structures—with conceptualizing the public facilities throughout Shibuya. Five of the 17 locations are currently operational, with most of the remaining scheduled for 2021. The result is a diverse series of public facilities designed to be more accessible and attractive to those who need them.

To calm any further worries about cleanliness, The Tokyo Toilet also has extensive plans for maintenance. The Nippon Foundation, the Shibuya City Government, and the Shibuya Tourism Association will work collaboratively to ensure the spaces don’t live up their “dark, dirty, smelly, and scary” reputation, a project coordinator tells Fast Company.

Check out some of the open facilities below, and take a deeper look into the unique designs and their locations on the project’s site. You also might want to take a look at GreenPee’s hemp urinals that were installed recently around Amsterdam.

 

Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park, by Shigeru Ban

Ebisu Park, by Masamichi Katayama/Wonderwall

Ebisu Park, by Masamichi Katayama/Wonderwall

Higashi Sanchome, by Nao Tamura

Ebisu East Park, by Fumihiko Mak

 

 



Design

Sunlight Filters Through a Shell-Like Pavilion Covered with Wicker Baskets in Annecy, France

August 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“The Wicker Pavilion” (2020), 50 square meters. All images © DJA, by Eriks Bozis

A new, woven structure in the Jardins de l’Europe in Annecy, France, offers respite from direct sunlight without completely blocking out the light source. “The Wicker Pavilion” is comprised of pine planks that are formed into a shell, which is covered with 262 wicker baskets that are hand-woven by Latvian craftsmen. When the sun hits the structure, it casts intricate triangular patterns on the grass inside and nearby, allowing it to merge with the rest of the garden rather than blanket it in a shadow. As the pavilion ages, the natural materials will darken and further blend with the surrounding environment.

Designed by Didzis Jaunzems Architecture, the project is part of this year’s Annecy Passages festival. Check out this video that dives into how the structure was made, and follow the Latvian firm’s projects on Twitter. (via ArchDaily)

 

 

 



Art

Katsumi Hayakawa's Congested Cities Are Constructed with Scrupulously Cut Paper Buildings

August 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches. All images © Katsumi Hayakawa, courtesy of the artist and McClain Gallery, shared with permission

Meticulously cutting each piece by hand, Katsumi Hayakawa crafts dense cityscapes and urban districts from white paper. The Japanese artist assembles towers and various cube-like structures that are positioned in lengthy rows, resembling congested streets. Dotted with primary colors and metallic elements, the sculptures evoke electronic equipment like microchips and motherboards, which references the relationship between modern cities and technology. Hayakawa’s use of an ephemeral, organic material further contrasts the manufactured nature of both urban areas and technological inventions.

To explore more of the artist’s projects that are concerned with the complexity of modern life, head to Artsy.

 

“Fata Morgana” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, glitter, 25 1/2 x 119 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches

“Intersection” (2017), watercolor paper and mixed media, 29 7/16 x 59 1/16 x 5 1/2 inches

“Intersection” (2017), watercolor paper and mixed media, 29 7/16 x 59 1/16 x 5 1/2 inches

“Fata Morgana” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, glitter, 25 1/2 x 119 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches

“See from the side 3” (2014), paper, wood, acrylic reflective sheet, acrylic mirror with blue film, 8 3/4 x 50 1/4 x 11 inches

 

 



Art

Thick Clusters of Wooden Birdhouses by London Fieldworks Sprawl Across Tree Trunks

August 20, 2020

Anna Marks

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven.” All images © London Fieldworks

In London Fieldworks’ delicate creations, architecture meets nature. Its installations feature pine-colored clusters of minuscule wooden forms that appear to grow upon vast tree trunks. Founded by artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson, London Fieldworks is a collaborative and multidisciplinary arts practice with projects at the intersection of architecture, sculpture, installation, and film. 

Each of the homes has rounded windows and doors, while those on large evergreen trees resemble natural objects, such as wasp and hornet nests or even fungi and mushrooms. From reflecting Clerkenwell’s urban renewal to offering new habitats for animals, the sprawling birdhouses fuse architectural ideas with nature and art, resulting in sculptures that integrate effortlessly in both natural and urban spaces. Through its installations, the practice explores its concern with the climate crisis through the lens of history, the environment, and culture.

One work, “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven,” references opposite sides of London: Duncan Terrace Gardens in the east and Cremorne Gardens in the west. The installation is constructed from hundreds of bespoke bird boxes reflecting the forms of the local architecture—a combination of Modernist 60’s social housing and Georgian townhouses

Explore more of London Fieldworks’ projects on its site. You also might enjoy this similarly dense complex for avian neighbors.

 

“Spontaneous City: Clerkenwell”

Right: “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Lebanon”

 

 



Art Design

Utilizing Modern 3D Printing, Artistic Duo Rael San Fratello Constructs Coiled Earthen Architecture

August 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Rael San Fratello, shared with permission

Modern architectural building methods and Indigenous materials converge in the latest endeavor by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, titled “Casa Covida.” The earthen structure is part of a MUD Frontiers/Zoquetes Fronterizos that centers on Pueblo de Los Ángeles and the ways technological advances can work in unison with historic mud-based designs. “Casa Covida” contains a bathing pool, sleeping areas, and fireplace seats for two.

To create the three-room home, the duo employs a custom, portable robot that they transport to various sites, allowing them to dig soil and other materials and immediately shape it into the necessary structures. Utilizing clay and mud, the building process is informed by the practices of Ancestral Pueblo peoples and Indo-Hispano cultures of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. When wet, the natural materials are layered in zigzag-like coils. The undulating, textured facades generally are made with a few rows to provide insulation from the nighttime cold.

MUD Frontiers was a recent recipient of a 2020 Art + Technology grant from LACMA. It strives to consider “traditional clay craft at the scale of architecture and pottery. The end goal of this endeavor is to demonstrate that low-cost and low-labor construction that is accessible, economical, and safe is possible,” a statement says.

Based in La Florida, Colorado, and Oakland, respectively, Rael and San Fratello are known for subversive projects at the intersection of art and architecture, like the neon pink teetertotters slotted through the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Follow their latest sustainable works on Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)