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Going Batty: Animal Architecture

BATFIX

It could be said that architecture is one of the most humanist pursuits, existing solely to make humans happy.

The always clever BLDGBLOG this week features the Bat Spiral, a project by UK architecture firm Friend and Company which shows that animals can get just as much enjoyment from architecture.

Based just outside of London, the Bat Spiral is designed to provide a roost (cave?) for the 17 bat species that are native to the UK.  The 45 square metre structure can house about 330 bats who are attracted to the structure for its dark spaces, and for the warmth generated from the black timber walls.

It is also surprisingly beautiful with its simple, reed-like support columns raising it above the swamp, and its graceful painted timber curves.

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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in architecture, building

 

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Elok House: It’s a Jungle Out There

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10756_1_Elok House - Additional 1

Orchard Road is known for being one of the world’s finest shopping destinations.  But, deep in the urban jungle of Singapore, it is also the site of a remarkable new piece of residential architecture.

The owners of the small site gave Chang Architects one brief: to incorporate as much natural life as possible.  They wanted  home that was light, breezy and sustainable, with at least 40% landscaping.  The architect came up with clever ways to incorporate living plants and other natural elements such as waterfalls and pebbles into the home’s fabric, including a central atrium to feed light to the plants on the ground floor; a retractable roof to protect the house during Singapore’s legendary storms; and plants literally growing through the kitchen roof, reaching up to the sky above.

The house is featured in this month’s Habitus and won several gongs such as the Singapore Institute of Architects’ 2008 Design Awards (for its low cost – under $1m – construction) and the President’s Award for Design of the Year 2008 (Singapore’s highest design award).

This jungle home is a unique, site-specific and incredibly fun response to its urban setting.

Pics via World Architecture News.

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Posted by on July 18, 2009 in architecture, building

 

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Paddington Reservoir

Paddington Reservoir

I love living in Sydney, but the city is not well known for its fine urban design.  We have a spectacular setting with stunning natural features, but sadly this usually translates into design complacency rather than creativity.

The newly reopened Paddington Reservoir is the most exciting thing to happen to Sydney’s urban fabric in years.  Originally built as a reservoir in 1866, before being converted to a service station in 1914, it features a sunken garden, a reflective pond, and the subterranean East Chamber which will house live music, markets and cinematic events.

Hopefully the gardens will bring life to what was until recently one of Sydney’s premier shopping strip, before Lowy moved in up the road.

Paddington Reservoir

Paddington Reservoir

Petrol Bowsers woz 'ere '34

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2009 in building, urban design

 

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