An artist’s representation of tiny homes to be constructed in Gosford. Photograph: Tiny Homes Foundation.
When pious architects choose to direct their talents toward a higher calling, they tend to do so in the form of towering cathedral spires, awe-inspiring sermon halls and grandiose vaulted ceilings.
Derek Mah, an associate at NBRS Architecture, went for something a little more humble. At a Sunday sermon about two years ago at Community Church Hornsby, on the northern fringes of Sydney, he was approached about using his skills not to devise great big buildings in the name of God, but tiny houses for the homeless.
The suggestion came from a friend in the congregation – David Woolridge, who, as Mah put it “has always been passionate about trying to get guys off the street and helping them out. He came up to me and said he’d gotten an idea about how to solve homelessness”.
It is a vision about to be realised in Gosford, on the New South Wales central coast, where three to four “tiny homes” that each take up just 14 square metres will be completed next month as the first project of Woolridge’s Tiny Homes Foundation, designed in partnership with NBRS Architecture.“Think of the house as a shoebox,”
The word “shoebox” isn’t usually a selling point in real estate parlance, but Mah uses it in this case with pride, given the long-term objective of the project is to enable housing to be provided to as many of Australia’s estimated 105,000 homeless people as possible in a country where building isn’t cheap, and land is eye-wateringly expensive.
Each tiny house costs less than $30,000 to deliver, and the small size of the building means it can be squeezed onto excess council-owned land not suitable for conventional housing, at potentially no cost.
This treehouse apartment building in Turin, Italy, is so incredible it almost doesn’t seem like it can be real.
Apartment buildings generally aren’t all that architecturally creative, let alone eco-friendly in an imaginative and visually striking way.
But this five-story building by architect Luciano Pia has not only created a wacky new landmark for the city, it also protects its inhabitants from pollution and noise thanks to 150 real, living trees.
The building features stack after stack of curvilinear and geometric architectural forms, all held within a wood and steel framework that also plays host to trees in enormous bronzed pots.
The trees in the building absorb nearly 200,000 liters of carbon dioxide per hour, providing a buffer against all of the car exhaust and other forms of pollution emanating from the adjacent city streets.
Housing 63 apartment units, the building features extensive terraces that offer indoor/outdoor spaces that change year-round as the trees respond to the seasons.
The presence of all that foliage helps regulate temperatures throughout the entire structure.
Beyond the environmental benefits, the building is just plain fun to look at, and we’d imagine that it would be a really fun place to live.
Photos by Beppe Giardino
20 Fenchurch Street, aka “The Fryscraper” (photo by Luc Mercelis / Flickr)
Last September, Londoners experienced a pretty unusual architectural phenomenon: One of the city’s newest luxury towers, the half-finished 525-foot-tall skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch St., began inexplicably shooting a “parabolic death ray” hot enough to melt cars.
The massive building’s glass façade with its unusually wide top was concentrating sunlight to the point that it created a reflected hotspot of up to 230ºF — much higher than the boiling point of water. In addition to the roasted Jaguar, the “Fryscraper” set a barber shop’s carpet on fire and shattered a restaurant’s slate floor tiles.
It also, naturally, became a tourist attraction, with people gathering in the unseasonably warm afternoons to fry eggs and toast baguettes in the glare.
Surely the building’s designer was mortified by the results of his creation, right? Well, no. When architect Rafael Viñoly was questioned about his flawed design, he heartily deflected, blaming consultants, global warming, cost-cutting developers, and the sun’s elevation.
This was an especially galling disavowal of responsibility because the science of solar reflectivity analysis has been gaining traction for several years. There are many tools, firms, and even apps available to architects and developers to help avoid just this problem.
Especially damning for Viñoly is that the “death ray” issue was not actually unprecedented.
And the last time a high-profile building had had problems of this nature, it was also one he’d designed.
The Futuro house by Matti Suuronen … restored by Craig Barnes, on show in Le Havre. Photograph: James Hemery
Like jetpacks, flying cars and robot butlers, the Futuro was supposed to revolutionise the way we lived.
Unlike those other staples of an imagined future, however, this architectural oddity actually existed.
A colourful pod in the shape of an ellipse, the Futuro was a sci-fi vision of the future, offering us a living space light years away from what most of us were used to.
Nicknamed the Flying Saucer and the UFO House, it was symbolic of the ambitious space-race era.
But as the Futuro celebrates its 50th anniversary, the revolution it promised clearly never happened.
One belongs to Craig Barnes, an artist based in London, who saw a Futuro in a “dishevelled and tired” state while on holiday in Port Alfred, South Africa.
He decided to mount a rescue mission. “I have family out there,” he says, “and I’d been seeing this Futuro since I was about three.
I viewed it as a spaceship. I drove past in 2013 and workers were knocking down a garage next to it. I panicked and managed to trace the owner.”
Maxim Shkret is an artist and designer from Krasnodar, Russia.
In a series entitled Predators on Behance, Shkret created an awesome series of animal portraits using 3DS Max, V-Ray, ZBrush and Adobe CS5.
In the project description he describes his style as a, “3D interpretation of vector graphics”.
For those interested in prints, Maxim has some available through Society6.