Green Architecture: Floaters, Orbiters, and Hangers
Designed by MAD Architects and destined for Xiamen City in China, this is one of the most unique museum ideas I have ever seen. The Xiamen Museum is an odd shaped, 3-story structure that would cover about 144,000 sq. ft. (13,340 sq. m.). The first level would be comprised of lush green space, where the public could check out amphitheaters, sports areas, or simply go for a walk. The second level is where the museum would be located, as well as offices, cafes, and so forth. On the third level (the roof level), you’ll find a landscape garden and solar panels. Oh, and the structure would be stationed on an island that would drift around the reservoir in the city’s central area. I guess you could say that would give a whole new meaning to “moving exhibits” (as far as museums go).
Have you ever wanted a stationary mobile home? I suppose if people wanted to do that, they could just get a trailer and replace the tires with cinder blocks, but this nifty idea puts a whole new twist on things. Imagine a home with 2 floors (or levels) and each floor is in a separate building. Both buildings are connected by a stationary cylindrical structure, but they can move independently of one another. The bottom floor contains living space, kitchen/dining area, bathroom, and laundry area, while the top floor contains a sleeping area, office space, and another bathroom. This is the brain child of artist and designer, Michael Jantzen. Sure, a moving house sounds cool but what else does it have? Well, how about the large rain catching container on the roof that can store water in holding tanks for use around the house. Oh, and surrounding the container is a wind turbine with photovoltaic solar cells and a solar hot-water heating panels attached to the turbine. Both the solar panels and the wind turbine are used to generate and store electricity in batteries, which help power the house. All of the sliding glass doors, skylights and windows have insulated panels, allowing the opening or closing of them to control heat loss or gain. Further adjustments can also be made to the house, such as the addition of earth pipes to aid in heating and cooling, or phase change materials placed in the floor to help store passive solar heat over the cold winter months. The best part of all, however, is since it’s a rotating house, you can change your view of the landscape (or where the sun and wind may hit your home) at any time of the day!
This last design was created with Italy in mind, particularly a stretch of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway between Scilla and Bagnara. Designed by Ja StudioInc, the Slow Uprising is unique in its own way—and also potentially dangerous or deadly. The idea is to build a series of homes under bridges located along the worn down road (warning: beware of trolls!) and while this does not seem particularly enticing, perhaps what I’m about to tell you will make it more (or less) so. The houses would be built on a number of platforms located under the bridges and these platforms would be connected by ramps, which lead from the bridge all the way down to the valley floor. Not only would the houses be built on top of the platforms, but also underneath them. Think of a bat hanging upside down and replace the bat with a building—though the building wouldn’t be upside down, it’d just be hanging there. Ah, yeah, and those ramps that connect the platforms—they don’t have any rails or fencing along them. While it’s a creative use of space and bridges, the general consent is that it would be an acrophobic’s (a person with a fear of heights) worst nightmare.
That’s all for this article, but check back next week for more designs!
By Heidi Marshall