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Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 06:47 AM PDT

ASPECT Studios has just completed a transformation of the public domain of Darling Harbour. This public domain project, commissioned by SHFA and Lend Lease now known as Darling Quarter, is a major place-making project for Sydney with a world class children's playground as its centre piece. At over 4000m2 it is the largest in the Sydney CBD and with its innovative water play facilities will be a regional attraction.

20 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG retouched 600x849 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios

Darling Quarter, image courtesy ASPECT Studios | Photo by Florian Groehn

Darling Harbour is one of Australia's most visited tourist destinations. Darling Quarter builds a strong link to the city and reinforces the movement between the Entertainment Centre to Cockle Bay and beyond. The new project revitalises Darling Harbour by upgrading ground plane materials, lighting, furniture and planting, and setting a new benchmark for Darling Harbour with an emphasis on premium quality and highly sustainable initiatives. It provides a family focused core both for city dwellers, particularly those in neighbouring Pyrmont and Chinatown, and for tourists and visitors alike. It boasts an extensively redesigned playground, generous grassed community areas, a children's theatre, a new café, restaurants and bars.

17 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 600x424 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios

Darling Quarter, image courtesy ASPECT Studios | Photo by Florian Groehn

23 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 600x849 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios

Darling Quarter, image courtesy ASPECT Studios | Photo by Florian Groehn

The Play Space

The play space component of the playground is the most unique element of the project. It creates an adventurous, innovative and highly interactive play experience suitable to the Australian climate. Members of the design team travelled widely to benchmark and research the best examples of play spaces and public domain around the world. The major water play elements were sourced from Germany, many of which have never been used before in Australia. The bespoke design of the water play environment includes an array of interactive water elements including 'sluice gates', 'hand pumps' and an 'archimedes screw' which draws water up and channels it back into a myriad of sculptural concrete streams. The stainless steel elements promote interaction and learning and reference the industrial history of Darling Harbour as a working site. In addition to the water play, there is a 'dry' playground space that features sand pits, a flying fox, giant climbing frames and huge family slides built for groups to use together. Facilities also include a purpose built café, toilets and shade canopies.

06 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 600x400 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios

Darling Quarter, image courtesy ASPECT Studios | Photo by Florian Groehn


04 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 600x400 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios

Darling Quarter, image courtesy ASPECT Studios | Photo by Florian Groehn


There is a strong focus on sustainability and place-making. Rainwater is harvested in a 300,000 litre tank and distributed throughout the public domain for irrigation and water features. Low energy lighting creates a vibrant night time precinct which has been designed as an inclusive, free, public space activated by the community day and night, seven days a week. Darling Quarter opens to the public on 24 September.

+ Project credits / data

Project: Darling Quarter
Location: Sydney, Australia
Design: ASPECT Studios
Client: Lend Lease
Photographers: Florian Groehn
Budget: AUS$12 million
Team: ASPECT Studios in collaboration with FMJT architects
Scope: Concept design, master plan
Area size: 28203 m2
Completion date: August 2011

+ All images courtesy of ASPECT Studios | Photo by Florian Groehn
17 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 180x180 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios 23 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 180x180 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios 04 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 180x180 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios 06 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 180x180 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios 12 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 180x180 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios 14 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 180x180 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios 21 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG 180x180 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios 20 ASPECT STUDIOS Darling Quarter FG retouched 180x180 Darling Quarter \ ASPECT Studios
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The Solid Wood Window Headboard

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  1. The Solid Wood Window Headboard - 2011-10-28 22:39:08-04
    Sometimes there is style in simplicity and the Window Headboard reiterates this design principle. The beautiful headboard has a geometric pattern and has been inspired by architectural ironwork. The headboard will add a decorative element to any  kind of decor, be it modern or traditional. Made out of solid wood and available in chocolate-stained wood veneer or white lacquered finish, the bed can be ordered online from West Elm.   The Solid Wood Window Headboard
  2. Diamante Wall Mirror - 2011-10-29 13:02:27-04
    Here is a wall mirror that should add some more flare for your home interiors. The Diamante Wall Mirror is diamond-like shaped mirror that should be cheeky for homes and add some flawless design complement to a home's overall mood. The Diamante Wall Mirror comes from Regia, a colorless wall mirror that carries a gigantic carat value for sure. The 3D-esque mirror should be something that will stand out in your home, an eye-catcher that should be the first thing that would get your attention as well as incoming guests visiting your humble abode. Via Diamante Wall Mirror
  3. Adhesive-less Chairs and Tables - 2011-10-29 18:04:09-04
    It is a given that most chairs and tables rely on nails and some form of adhesive to hold them all together. But as far as designer Konstantin Achkov is concerned, it can be done without them. Apparently it all boiled down to the shapes and makes of the materials needed to mold a functional chair and table for any individual's use. Achkov used an 18mm CNC router cut plywood for the table which also stands about 75cm high. The end product table eventually serves as a good outdoor table for use. As for the chair, a similar 18mm plywood was used and together with the said table, the pair should be a functional and useful addition for your porch or your patio. Via Adhesive-less Chairs and Tables
  4. Hour Glass Shower Timers - 2011-10-30 13:08:45-04
    Here is something handy to have if you want to make sure you want to clamp down on water waste on your end. Shower timers are a great way to make sure you have a timed control of water usage when you are taking a bath, something in a different but familiar make that should be great for your bathroom setup. This is a 5-minute Hour Glass Shower Timer, something that should make sure you don't end up leaving the shower open and alerting you when it is time to get out of the shower. The timer is made of plastic and a suction cup makes it easy to stick on your bathroom wall. Too bad it doesn't have integrating features onto the pipes to really make it something awesome to have. The timer is available from Curiousite for about $7.08. Via Hour Glass Shower Timers
  5. The Boost Step Stool - 2011-10-30 18:09:55-04
    Here is something handy you can add to your home. This is the Boost Step Stool, something handy for people who have a hard time reaching for items that may be stored on high places. The step stool should be ideal in case you want to take out other stuff stored in high places in your home. But what makes the stool cool is the fact that it can be stored easily without worrying about where to place it. Step stools are known to offer problems as far as adding to clutter problems but the Boost Step Stool is something you can easily hang alongside your clothes or a hook for a more organized household. The Boost Step Stool has a thin profile and a clean and attractive style that should work in most closets or even the kitchen. In addition to hanging up, this step stool can also stand up when folded. The non-slip legs on the stool allow it to stand up by itself. Made with an aluminum frame and plastic steps, the Boost Step Stool is a sturdy and lightweight device for easy lifting and carrying. Via The Boost Step Stool
  6. The Coal Harbor Double Platform Bed with Headboard - 2011-10-31 12:35:13-04
    Simple and sleek is how I would describe the Coal Harbor Double Platform Bed with Headboard. This beautiful minimalist bed has clean lines and durable construction and is currently selling on Amazon for $234.51, after a massive 65% discount. Measuring 1.5″H x 63.5″W x 78.25″D, the  contemporary platform bed doesn’t require a  box spring and the bed is made of composite woods with a laminated finish. The Coal Harbor Double Platform Bed with Headboard
  7. The Spa-Jet Massage Bed - 2011-10-31 12:42:46-04
    Those who belong to the Millionaire Club, need a relaxing bed after a day of making millions. The Spa-Jet Massage Bed certainly fits the bill and is attuned to the current holistic trend. Manufactured by Hydro Jet Massage Ltd, this high-tech bed is part of their “SPA” collection and is all about wellness, as it provides different sorts of massages and also features Hydrofusion technology.   The Spa-Jet Massage Bed
  8. The Doctor Who Dalek Projection Alarm Clock - 2011-10-31 13:35:31-04
    As a self-confessed geek, I have a thing for Doctor Who and Projection Clock. So imagine my excitement, when I came across the Doctor Who Dalek Projection Alarm Clock. The uber-nerdy clock projects the time onto your ceiling and has three three sound effects (hover, exterminate, and gunstick). Watch it in action in the video posted below:   The Doctor Who Dalek Projection Alarm Clock
  9. The Pantoia Chair - 2011-10-31 15:32:02-04
    There is no doubt that the Pantoia Chair was designed for use in the outdoors although some people may find a way to integrate this lightweight chair in their homes. The chair makes use of the "S shape" of the Panton chair and offers an ethereal feel thanks to the grid design to which it was made of. The chair is lightweight and should be an elegant and visually appealing piece you can place in your home. The design can be used on its own, or complemented by colorful cushions, either way it is a lovely interior addition. The PANTOIA chair is available for purchase online for 299 Euros. Via The Pantoia Chair
  10. The Catit Senses Massage Center - 2011-10-31 18:36:55-04
    It is not only us humans who crave blissful massages, as our feline friends are also not immune to a good massage. The Catit Senses Massage Center is your cat’s own persona masseuse and fulfills your cat’s desire to rub all over. It features a variety of pampering textures, which are listed below in the paragraph below. “The gum stimulator on top massages teeth and gums while kitty gnaws on it. The blue rippled area provides an excellent massage to head, neck, and face. And the two body-stroke groomers on the sides stimulate face and back glands. There’s even an accu-pressure mat that surrounds the massage center to provide some reflexology action.” The Catit Senses Massage Center is available on Think Geek for $20.99. The Catit Senses Massage Center

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Renova Sao Paulo Competition \ AUM arquitetos

Posted: 30 Oct 2011 08:29 AM PDT

The Renova SP Contest, held by the City of São Paulo, Brazil, was a National Competition to select the best proposals for 22 different areas of the city to redevelop and urbanize slums and risky areas of the capital.

Urban Design

The development plan proposed for Jardim Japão I, a neighborhood of predominantly industrial use located on the east part of the city, establishes guidelines for the redevelopment process founded on the recovery of the existing urbanity through the intervention of the state.

aum 4 aerial view 2 600x400 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos

Renova São Paulo Competition, render courtesy AUM arquitetos

The configuration of lots facing two major expressways generated in the interior of the area in irregular occupation, without any kind of spatial and social quality. The proposed design is structured in three basic axes of intervention: road restructuring, recovery of free spaces and housing as a form of urban renewal.

For the road is proposed to restructure a large linear park along the Avenida da Silveira Amaro Felicissimo that will connect the neighborhood with the Marginal Tietê and enable a better implementation between the two sides of the existing stream.

The water in this project is understood as an element of entertainment and education. The proximity of the population with clean water provides the improvement of urban environment. We propose the recovery of the existing stream, creating a floodplain area, which besides generating a zone of extravasation at the time of greatest rainfall, allows an extension of the new linear park.

The “squares bridges” proposed enable not only the pedestrian crossing, but create a large leisure area, integrated with the green area.

aum 2 general plan 600x600 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos

Renova São Paulo Competition - Site plan, drawing courtesy AUM arquitetos

The removal of some slums allows the extension of the linear park along the neighborhood, which makes a new structural axis of the district, linking two important avenues and creating a green belt integrated to the linear parks.

The area in question is well served by public facilities such as schools, hospitals and community centers. The project aims to make existing equipment such as sprayers for improving the urban environment through restoration of open spaces near them, integrating them effectively into the city. Housing interventions were implemented at different scales, according to the availability of the site. A new commercial area is proposed along the linear park. On the top of a commercial complex will be located a community garden that has the potential to improve the quality of life by generating jobs and income for local people, and provide fresh food for the community.

aum 5 external view 1 600x263 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos

Renova São Paulo Competition, render courtesy AUM arquitetos

The city law allows a higher density on the block formed by the streets Abel Marciano de Oliveira, Francisco Soldier Tambourine, Dona Maria and Avenue Felicissimo Amaro da Silveira. At this site, it is proposed a new residential area that would house those people who lived in the slums of the neighborhood.
Some pedestrian routes have been created on the axis road on the opposite side, allowing a better visual integration between the whole area. The implantation of the buildings allows an optimization of triangular vertical circulation, and generates internal courtyards of leisure for each block independently.
To the best use of the constructive potential of the ground it was decided to deploy towers of 9 floors, with the use of elevators for a total of 639 housing units.

Part of the slum between this court and the proposed new road will also be removed.

aum 7 internal square 600x360 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos

Renova São Paulo Competition, render courtesy AUM arquitetos

The Building

The construction system proposed for the buildings is structural masonry, chosen to reduce the volume of concrete and steel work, and accelerate their implementation, factors that reduce the added cost of implementing the project.

In order to generate a spatially more interesting for users, in addition to breaking the monotony of the facades, some common use areas are distributed along the corridors of the floors, interspersed by two distinct types of housing units. These two types share the same structural modulation, but with distinct internal distribution, enabling the variation of the positioning of balconies and window frames of the dormitories.

aum 9 units plans 600x600 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos

Renova São Paulo Competition - Typical plan, drawing courtesy AUM arquitetos

The housing units are composed of three structural modules totaling 50m ² of floor area. Each module has a “shaft” that meets the hydraulic toilet, laundry or kitchen depending on the floor.

For the users with special needs, a special unit was designed to be implanted on the ground floor of the building without elevator access.

+ Project credits / data

Proposal for Jardim Japão I – Renova São Paulo Competition
Architects: AUM arquitetos
Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Project Team: André Dias Dantas, Bruno Bonesso Vitorino, Renato Dalla Marta, Aline Pek, Maíra Baltrush, Sarah Mota Prado, Anderson de Almeida, Camila Bellatini, Glaucia Hokama, Heitor Savala, Rafael Misato, Victor Vernaglia, Aline Cerqueira, Aline Pinheiro and Gisele Reitz.

Project Year: 2011

+ All images and drawings courtesy AUM arquitetos
aum 9 units plans 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos aum 8 general sections 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos aum 2 general plan 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos aum 1 site plan 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos aum 7 internal square 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos aum 6 external view 2 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos aum 5 external view 1 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos aum 4 aerial view 2 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos aum 3 aerial view 1 180x180 Renova Sao Paulo Competition \  AUM arquitetos

Call to Rotterdammers: I Make Rotterdam

Posted: 30 Oct 2011 06:51 AM PDT

Call to Rotterdammers: Make Rotterdam
The 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and architecture firm ZUS launched the first project of ‘I Make Rotterdam’.

Rotterdammers Make Rotterdam 600x330 Call to Rotterdammers: I Make Rotterdam

To ensure our cities remain habitable in the future, we must conceive, design and manage them differently. That is the message of the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR): Making City. It is in this context that architecture firm ZUS is tackling Rotterdam’s Central District. This is the area between the Central Station, Weena and Pompenburg. Under the motto ‘I Make Rotterdam‘, ZUS is calling on all Rotterdammers to contribute to the development of their city. During a well-attended IABR lecture on Tuesday 11 October, ZUS launched the first project of ‘I Make Rotterdam‘: de Luchtsingel. This temporary pedestrian bridge between the Central and North districts will be financed through crowd-funding.

Interested parties can make a contribution through http://www.imakerotterdam.nl

Bridge over Hofplein

The area around Hofplein was once a bustling city centre but is now dominated by emptiness and speeding cars. ZUS hopes to turn this back into a lively pedestrian area within a few months. In times of crisis, however, a new method of financing is needed – crowd-funding in this case. Both inhabitants and businesses in Rotterdam can help to build this project by buying planks for the bridge. The bridge is one of the initiatives planned by ZUS to transform the Central District into a high-quality destination in a low-budget manner. ‘I Make Rotterdam‘ does not end when the 5th IABR event ends, as the project is set to continue until 2014.

I Make Rotterdam

With this project ZUS is exploring new possibilities to actively involve citizens in making the city. The way in which citizens exercise influence is changing rapidly owing to the emergence of digital applications in spatial planning. ‘I Make Rotterdam‘ takes advantage of this by offering a platform for private initiatives and crowd-funding. ZUS wants to boost the city in a way that everybody can participate in — by starting a shop, organising a concert, opening a restaurant, or building a house.

5e IABR: Making City

The world is urbanising at a rapid pace. By 2050 almost seven of the nine billion people on the planet will live in cities. That is why the major socio-economic and ecological issues of this century are urban problems. But does that mean the city is the problem? Ninety percent of our wealth is generated in the city, and nowhere is the ecological footprint of mankind so small as in the city. The 5th IABR therefore argues the opposite: the city is in fact the solution. But then cities must be planned, designed and managed better than they are at present. For that reason, ‘How can me make the city better?‘ is the key question of the 5e IABR: Making City.

The IABR is traditionally a biennale that organises its own research programme. Much more than in previous biennales, the IABR has on this occasion forged alliances with partners with whom these projects can be put into practice. That is why at the start of 2009 the IABR initiated three projects in Rotterdam, São Paulo and Istanbul. ZUS is curator of the project in Rotterdam.

The IABR starts in April 2012 and includes exhibitions at different venues, a conference, debates and lectures, publications, and TV and radio productions. The main exhibition of the IABR is on show at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) from 20 April 2012 on. The Central District itself will be an exhibition venue during the biennale period.

+ About ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles]

Elma van Boxel (1975) and Kristian Koreman (1978) set up ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] in 2001. At their Rotterdam office they head an international team of architects, urbanists, designers and landscape architects. ZUS produces both solicited and unsolicited designs in the field of architecture, urbanism and landscape design. In 2007 Van Boxtel en Koreman won the prestigious Rottterdam Maaskant Prize for Young Architects for their interdisciplinary approach and their ongoing reflection on the interface between private and public space. They are currently part of the international team of curators for the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012.

“The Bullhorn” International Design Competition

Posted: 30 Oct 2011 05:57 AM PDT

Bullhorn 600x399 The Bullhorn International Design Competition

Part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 programme

The Bullhorn” International design competition invites architects to improve the living environment of urban dwellers.

Cembrit, a company specialising in the manufacture of fibre cement based building materials, is organising an international architecture competition. The theme of the competition being urban transit areas. Cembrit invites architects and designers from around Europe to create solutions that improve the living environment around railway station areas. The case study is Malmi Station, which is one of the largest public transport transit hubs in Helsinki. A significant cash prize will be awarded to the competition entries in which fibre cement is used creatively, enriching the urban environment. The aim of the competition is to act as a voice for a better built environment. The competition is part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 programme.

The people living and working in cities spend increasing amounts of time at stations and transit areas, which are often generic, dull and unappealing. The objective of “The Bullhorn” International design competition is to create aesthetic and lively solutions which bring about functional improvements by utilising fibre-cement boards. Focus is on people's arrival at the station – by bus, train, car, bicycle or foot. Functionally new, aesthetic and high-quality competition proposals are sought which challenge standardised solutions.

The competition is organized jointly with Helsinki City Planning Office and their Suburban Project. One of the themes during the year of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 is to find solutions to urban development challenges that have an important influence on the quality of people's living environment as well as their well-being. The idea is well suited for Cembrit's objective to create inspirational solutions for outstanding living environments.

The City of Helsinki wants to further develop Malmi Station as an active and competitive regional centre. Its present functions and dwelling potential will be enhanced, for instance, with the coming Ormuspelto residential area and the future transversal public transport trunk line, Jokeri II. Improvement ideas are being promoted in cooperation with the residents in the area, enterprises and the city authorities.

The challenge in renewing traffic hubs is to turn them into attractive places for both the residents of the area and commuters – taking into consideration the noise and other disadvantages caused by traffic. Sufficient parking spaces should be arranged so as to avoid the creation of extensive passive and unattractive areas. There is also a lot of wear on public transport facilities, which must be taken into account also in the construction and maintenance of the facilities.

Elias Rainio, architect from the Helsinki City Planning Office

As a manufacturer of building materials, Cembrit is responsible for producing elements for the built environments of the future. In order for us to be successful, we need input and visions from people who use our products– such as architects and designers.

Jan Deding, President & CEO at Cembrit

The competition is endorsed by Icsid and organised by Cembrit in cooperation with the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA), the Finnish Association of Designers (Ornamo) and Pentagon Design.

The three best competition entries will be awarded cash prizes totaling more than €20,000. Prototypes of the prize winning solutions will be built together with Cembrit and will be presented as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012, and afterwards in an exhibition that will tour Europe.

The competition entries must be sent by 15 January 2012 at the latest. The competition results will be published in May 2012.

+ Further details of the competition, the competition programme and other information are available at: http://cembrit.com/bullhorn.

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