Monthly Archives: May 2012

Really Cool Pools

Gizmodo has an article about some really interesting pool concepts from around the world. Here are a few….

Shaw House – Vancouver 

This is a one-bedroom private residence with the pool on the roof with windows on the bottom adding for some serious ambiance in the rooms below.

Ubud Hanging Gardens – Bali

This resort nestled among volcanoes takes the infinity pool to new levels by perching it over a gorge giving guests some amazing scenery

Nemo 33 – Brussels

At 115′ deep, the deepest in the world, this pool is used to train scuba divers.

Joule Hotel – Dallas

What was once the Dallas National Bank Building, its new function as a hotel added this overhanging pool on the 10th floor. Great views of the skyline from this vantage point.

Seagaia Ocean Dome – Miyazaki, Japan

Opened in 1993, this climate controlled dome measured 300 meters by 100 meters and had the largest retractable roof in the world and offered visitors sand and simulated blue skies. It was closed in 2007.

Marina Bay Sands Skypark, Singapore

This infinity pool is located on a skypark perched atop a trio of buildings 55 stories up.

Images courtesy of their respective owners.


Church living

With church membership tumbling in the developed world, this equates a rising number of empty church buildings entering the real estate market. While some are taken over by other congregations, many are torn down due to the lack of alternative uses for such buildings. However, there are a few enterprising individuals opting to turn them into homes.

This 1877 stone church in Adelaide, Australia has been completely transformed into a fully functional home with all the modern comforts:




The minimalist home below was originally a 1870 Gothic church in Utrecht, Netherlands:




Converted Church in Northumberland, England:




It is good to see quality architecture such as these examples given a new lease on life rather than torn down in the name of progress and replaced by an IKEA.

(Images via their respective owners)

Via Apartment Therapy


High fashion in Nanjing

When a clothing manufacturer sets out to build its new headquarters, it seeks to infuse some of that fashion sense into the design which is what exactly happened with this proposal. Austrian firm, Prechteck, pulled out all stops to capture the spirit of S.Deer, a Chinese retail clothing company, and used the cube, the brand’s unofficial logo as the inspiration for the design.  The result is a visually striking and organic design that provides a welcoming and inspiring setting that is also green. The buildings utilize natural lighting, sky gardens, solar panels as well as water recycling.

Images courtesy of Prechteck

What would make your home complete? A rooftop fish farm of course…

Lets face it, humanity’s growth and development has not been so good for the natural environment and one of those areas is our insatiable appetite which is wreaking havoc on ecosystems all over the globe and one area in particular is overfishing which has depleted many species to dangerous levels disrupting and already fragile marine ecology. There has been a growing trend of sustainable agriculture such as locally grown food and urban farming but a group of food futurists want to use that model and apply it to fish farming.


Urban farming has taken off in recent years with many cities turning vacant lots into gardens and while apartment building owners are also getting on board with rooftop gardens. Now, Urban Farmers AG wants to build rooftop fish farms. Their idea is a self contained aquaponics dome that addresses food security and lessen our impact on lakes and oceans. Aquaponics being a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics so it not only does it provide fish, it also produces vegetables and herbs. To go even further with the green impact, the dome would be constructed of renewable and natural materials such as bamboo.




Via Gizmag


This shape-shifting table makes your ordinary table look boring.

London designer, Mauricio Affonso, took a run-of-the-mill table from IKEA and turned it into an ingenious shape-shifting design. He cannibalized the wood from the original table and transformed into one that can fan out into something larger and more practical. While the surface area is stretched out, it is still sturdy enough to support a casual dinner.

“The real trick is in the base, which slides in and out in a telescopic manner and swings outwards to create the structure and support needed for the top to fan out” according to Affonso

Via Co.Exist


Hemp. You can eat it, wear it and now…build with it

Hemp is a topic of much debate and controversy  due to its association with its more potent cousin, marijuana but hemp has no psychoactive qualities and is highly versatile and sustainable. Due to the U.S. government unable or unwilling able to make the distinction between hemp and marijuana, it is illegal to cultivate though it is a net importer and hemp products are readily available in certain parts the country. Among these, hempcrete, which is a mixture of hemp hurds and lime and offers a eco-friendly alternative to concrete and is not as brittle however, it lacks the compressible strength of concrete so application is somewhat limited in larger structures. As an added bonus, it is carbon negative which means it absorbs carbon dioxide.

Though widely used in several countries around the world, it’s adoption in the United States has been extremely limited as widespread industrial usage of hemp would require to cultivation which means challenging federal and state drug laws governing Cannabis. This has not stopped North Carolina home builder, Hemp Technologies from taking on the uphill battle of convincing local and federal officials the environmental benefits of hempcrete and hopefully repeal laws banning hemp production.  They have already constructed homes in several states including the home below in Asheville, their first.

Images courtesy of Tradical (brick) and Hemp Technologies (house)

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This is Wendy and she’s here to clean the air and say ‘hi’.

Sorry, Wendy is not an actual person but a big blue star encased an elaborate scaffolding apparatus and employs fabric coated in nanoparticles which neutralizes airborne toxins. Designed by New York firm, HWKN, it is to be constructed at MoMA’s  PS1 location in Queens for the summer where ‘she’ will host music festivals and remove the equivalent of 260 cars worth of pollutants.

Images courtesy of HWKN

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If the Louvre and the Sydney Opera House had a child, it would probably resemble this Chinese museum

Renowned firm, Foster + Partners’ new art museum in has recently broken ground Datong, China whose four pyramids will be one of four structures built in the city’s new Cultural Plaza. Not only does the designed create a visually striking presence, it employs passive energy with the use of strategically placed skylights maximizing natural light while minimizing solar heating thus driving down energy costs.

Images courtesy of Foster + Partners