Biomimicry + architecture: ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion at the University of Stuttgart


The project explores the architectural transfer of biological principles of the sea urchin’s plate skeleton morphology by means of novel computer-based design and simulation methods, along with computer-controlled manufacturing methods for its building implementation. A particular innovation consists in the possibility of effectively extending the recognized bionic principles and related performance to a range of different geometries through computational processes, which is demonstrated by the fact that the complex morphology of the pavilion could be built exclusively with extremely thin sheets of plywood (6.5 mm).

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Het Schjip: the Amsterdam style

Earth House by Ying-Chun Hsieh

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"Recyclicity": Dutch House Built From Salvaged Billboards and Umbrellas

Unlike most projects that start with a design, Villa Welpeloo started with a heap of scrap materials sourced locally at factories and warehouses. The team also used Google Earth to find abandoned buildings and lots near the building plot in Enschede, The Netherlands that may contain useful materials. As a result, the home’s framing comes courtesy of steel taken from abandoned machinery in a textile mill. The exterior is clad with boards salvaged from 600 cable reels that were first heat-treated by a process called Plato to weatherize them. The cladding’s clean lines do not betray the humble origins of these materials.

Inside is a treasure trove of interesting reuse — advertising signs are transformed into cabinets that reveal their origin when a drawer is opened. The architects asked for people in the town to drop off their broken umbrellas, whose spokes were transformed into low-voltage lighting.

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bassam el-okeily: narrow house

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tom fruin: kolonihavehus


Tokyo’s urban design role | The Japan Times Online

When governments and corporations are able to connect with residents' passions and potential for action, Tokyo can become an urban forest with a thriving ecosystem where the health of soil, plants, animals and people are deeply intertwined. In the leap from last century's industrial economy to a sustainable future, Japan is poised for an outsized role on the world stage. By focusing on habitats and culture, Tokyo can become a model for a new balance between people and nature in 21st century urban life.

A Place Is Better Than a Plan by Andrew M. Manshel, City Journal 19 October 2009

Small changes are appealing for many reasons. They’re cheap, for one thing. Also, what works can be easily expanded, and what doesn’t work can be as easily terminated or altered. One successful food concession can become two; an unsuccessful stall selling local crafts can be replaced; a planter made from a material that discolors or chips can be replaced with a better one. Contrast that with grand schemes, which can attract broad opposition and be subject to complex political, logistical, and financial obstacles. Once an elaborate design has been committed to, backing away from it—or even altering it—becomes both politically and mechanically complicated. Further, planners have a limited capacity to predict how people will respond to their designs. The larger the project, the more likely unintended consequences become, and the more difficult it is to change course.