Country Life as it was…


In the early days, families in the countryside traditionally lived in small one or two room dwellings, with the second room allocated for the parents. Originally, families used the timber framed dwellings (as seen above) since this allowed the family to move around between different estates in order to work the farm land. More so, house was situated on lose block work and these dwellings also lacked basic internal plumbing services, with the family usually relying on a local standpipe ( communal water source seen below).


As the family increased there earnings, the parents would enhance the home by constructing a new dwelling from quarried stone held together with mortar ( as seen in the image below). This form of construction offered the family a bit more protection against the high winds caused by approaching weather conditions during the annual hurricane season. Therefore, the dwelling were to become permanent, the family would adopt internal plumbing for the kitchen and shower, however, toilet facilities remained in the out house connected to an open pit such as used by the modern day Amish community located within Middle America. Owning such a permanent residence in the countryside was considered a privilege as most couldn’t afford such solid accommodation in the early days of the island being inhabited.


Furthermore, they are some who obtained the funds to construct a masonry structure, but preferred the timber chattel house form with multiple modules , which provides accommodation for the children within the household (see image below).



Mobile Café In Denver Turns Coffee Into An Strategy

We get really excited when we come across projects that not only feature pop-up urbanism, but also promote alternative models of urban daily life. Public Coffee is a Denver-based collaboration among many interdisciplinary creative parties, such as designers, social artists, educators, coffee visionaries, social workers, businessmen, a farmer’s market director, and an architect. They have decided to take the concept of the coffee shop one step further in indie entrepreneurialism and deeper in society.


The physical form of the coffee shop is designed to be a mobile café that would pop-up at different spots, all around the city of Denver. The idea is to visit four different neighbourhoods per week either of their own choice, or as a response to a neighborhood’s invitation. Public Coffee will be built from a two-horse trailer and the walls will open to reveal a coffee bar and brewing. The interior as well as the furniture of the shop are to be designed and produced by members of the initiative.

On the level of societal relevance, they aim to take the concept of the coffee house as it used to be, before it turned into an ‘internet café’, out in the public space. It’s difficult to use your computer when ordering a coffee from a trailer, so people will be prompted to speak to each other. Public Coffee hopes to increase the levels of social interaction and bring back the idea of the coffee house as “an open center for thinkers and researchers across many disciplines to share their discoveries with one another”. The general aim is to provide a solid base and a tool for developing a more open-minded and accepting society.


Read more:

[catlist name=”Research”]

World first bio-reactive façade debuts in Hamburg

After that, the integrated algae-based system will be put into full operational mode at an inauguration event for the media on 25 April.


The BIQ house will become the world’s first pilot project to showcase a bioreactive façade at the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Hamburg on 23 March. With 200m² of integrated photo-bioreactors, this passive-energy house generates biomass and heat as renewable energy resources. At the same time, the system integrates additional functionality such as dynamic shading, thermal insulation and noise abatement, highlighting the full potential of this technology.

The microalgae used in the façades are cultivated in flat panel glass bioreactors measuring 2.5m x 0.7m. In total, 129 bioreactors have been installed on the south west and south east faces of the four-storey residential building. The heart of the system is the fully automated energy management centre where solar thermal heat and algae are harvested in a closed loop to be stored and used to generate hot water.


The innovative façade system is the result of three years of research and development by Colt International based on a bio-reactor concept developed by SSC Ltd and design work led by Arup. Funding support came from the German Government’s “ZukunftBau” research initiative.


“Using bio-chemical processes in the façade of a building to create shade and energy is a really innovative concept. It might well become a sustainable solution for energy production in urban areas, so it is great to see it being tested in a real-life scenario.”
—Jan Wurm, Arup’s Europe Research Leader

The system will be officially presented to the media on 25 April 2013 when the biofaçade system goes into operation for the first time.

Alternative Housing / Cargo Container Architecture

Hakan Dahlstrom

With the green premise growing in popularity across the globe, more and more people are turning to cargo container structures for green alternatives. There are countless numbers of empty, unused shipping containers around the world just sitting on shipping docks taking up space. The reason for this is that it’s too expensive for a country to ship empty containers back to their origin. In most cases, it’s just cheaper to buy new containers from Asia. The result is an extremely high surplus of empty shipping containers that are just waiting to become a home, office, apartment, school, dormitory, studio, emergency shelter, and everything else. More information after the break.

Low Budget Container Housing

There are copious benefits to the so-called shipping container architecture model. A few of these advantages include: strength, durability, availability, and cost. The abundance and relative cheapness (some sell for as little as $900) of these containers during the last decade comes from the deficit in manufactured goods coming from North America. These manufactured goods come to North America, from Asia and Europe, in containers that often have to be shipped back empty at a considerable expense. Therefore, new applications are sought for the used containers that have reached their final destination.

Low Budget Container House

On November 23, 1987, Phillip C. Clark file for a United States patent describe as a “Method for converting one or more steel shipping containers into a habitable building at a building site and the product thereof.” This patent was granted on August 8, 1989 as patent 4854094. The diagrams and information contained within the documentation of the patent appear to lay the groundwork for many current shipping container architectural ideas.

Shoreditch Boxpark 01

In 2006, Southern California architect Peter DeMaria, designed the first two-story shipping container home in the U.S. as an approved structural system under the strict guidelines of the nationally recognized Uniform Building Code. Even more impressive is Lot-Tek’s Puma City, which was built with abundant material at a low price, without substituting design quality. As such, there are many great examples of shipping container architecture in the world.


Sukkahville Design Competition


As part of the Sukkahville Design Competition in Toronto, organized by the Kehilla Residential Programme, Christina Zeibak and Daphne Dow were selected as winners for their ‘Hegemonikon’ exhibition. The seat of the soul which rules and guides all the others, the project is considered to exist within the heart of all living things. The complete development of the human Hegemonikon comprises absolute rationality; it chooses action according to reason. This philosophy was the foundation and inspiration behind the design concept of this project. More images and the designers’ description after the break.


The Sukkah is simply fabricated from a stack of plywood, spaced apart and hollowed, allowing enough transparency to be inclusive yet enough density to create a sense of being. This design captures the juxtaposition between the simplicity of the plywood and the complexity of the void. As per the Hegemonikon philosophy, once you enter the space, you have left your past: it offers a space in the present where one can mediate upon their future and reflect upon their experiences.

Renewed Space…

The unusual landscape architecture design has covered the entire facade with a rebar mesh and snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata), a nod to Brazilian popular culture. Its leafs are used in the rituals of the African-Brazilian religions as a symbol of power. It is believed to have protective and healing properties.


Over six thousand seedlings have been arranged in hanging vases, working as an origami made of aluminum sheets, including an efficient draining system making the water flow from one vase to the next until eventually reaching the ground – a design created by SuperLimão Studio. Landscape designer Maria Helena Cruz took care of handling the plants.


Floating School built in Nigerian Slum community

A three-story floating school will soon be used for primary-level education in the community of Makoko, a slum built on the flooded coastline in the Nigerian state of Lagos. The school is constructed on a foundation of 256 plastic drums and can accommodate more than 100 students. It comprises of a open recreational space on the first floor and a number of classrooms on the floors above. The school is powered by solar panels on the roof.