Artist Creates Melting Wax House in London

wax houseBritish artist Alex Chennick, who is known for his works of art that create optical illusions, created a temporary installation called “A pound of flesh for 50p (The Melting House),” a life-sized, two-story house constructed of wax bricks in a Georgian style. The house in London was slowly melted until all that remained was a pile of wax on the ground.

Over the past year, Chinneck worked with chemists, manufacturers, and engineers to create visually convincing wax bricks that would melt. The house was built at the end of September from 8,000 bricks cast in paraffin wax within beds of terracotta sand. That method gave each brick individuality, while also giving the bricks that made up the structure a consistent color.

The house was melted by Chinneck and his team manually with a handheld torch that is commonly used in the roofing trade. That gave Chinneck control over the appearance of the house and how long it would take for it to melt.

As the bricks melted and the wax dripped down, the shape of the temporary building began to warp, until it became completely unrecognizable. It was designed to be melted over a period of a month until all that remained were the roof tiles, brass door number, and mailbox.

The house was built at 40 Southwark Street in southeast London behind railings on a barren piece of land. It resembles the scale and design of a candle-making factory that stood on the same site two centuries ago.

The temporary house was constructed for the Bankside Merge Festival 2014 held in central London. The festival encourages artists to create works inspired by the history and culture of the Bankside section of London.

Australia Relocates Biennale Pavilion and Builds Another

Australia old pavilionAustralia’s first pavilion for the Venice Biennale art and architecture festival has been dismantled to make room for a new one that will open at next year’s event.

The Australia Council for the Arts, the Venice Biennale, and Philip Cox, the architect who designed the original building, have given permission for Italian restauranteur Rinaldo (Ronnie) Di Stasio to reconstruct the temporary pavilion on his property at Coldstream, northeast of Melbourne, Australia. The property is currently home to a winery.

The original pavilion has been dismantled and is being stored at Venice’s Lido. After the Yarras Ranges Council approves the reconstruction, it will be transported to Australia.

Cox designed the pavilion that was built at the Venice Biennale in 1988 in just a month. It was created to house an exhibition of paintings by Arthur Boyd and was intended to be dismantled and reassembled quickly at another site. Instead, it wound up staying there for 26 years.

The original pavilion was constructed along a canal in a prime location. It had a window that overlooked the canal, allowing visitors to look out at the water.

Venetian authorities encouraged the Australians to transport the pavilion to their country. The University of Melbourne was approached about using the old pavilion for its architecture students, but instead it was decided that it would be rebuilt on Di Stasio’s property. Di Stasio said Cox played a crucial role in the reconstruction project. He will allow Cox to decide where to rebuild the pavilion on the Coldstream property.

Australia new pavilionThe new building was the result of a contest run by Di Stasio in 2008 looking for a design for a new Australian national pavilion. The new temporary building was designed by architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall.

The new pavilion will look like a simple cube of black granite. The roof and walls have been built, and the granite will be added in November. It will show Australian art and architecture on alternate years in a 16-square-meter gallery. The new pavilion will first showcase the work of Australia’s representative, Sydney-based artist Fiona Hall.

The new pavilion is on track to be finished by the beginning of the 56th Venice Biennale, which will be on May 9, 2015. Local builders have been working on weekends and holidays to get the construction finished on time.

Pneumad Portable Shelter Inflates in under a Minute

PneumadThe Pneumad is a portable shelter that folds out from a car trailer and inflates itself with the press of a button. The inflatable shelter is stored in a trailer made from steel and aluminum. The Pneumad itself is made from polyethylene and rip-stop nylon. A small vehicle can tow the Pneumad and trailer.

When it is time to set up the temporary shelter, the Pneumad is unpacked from the trailer, along with furniture that comes with it and can be used either inside or outside. An air pump inflates the structure in less than a minute while the user is free to do other things.

The Pneumad is not limited by the dimensions and volume of the trailer. It does not have a fixed infrastructure or interior plan. Everything in it moves.

Architecture firm Min | Day created the Pneumad for travelers. It gets its name from the pneumatic method of inflating it and its potential to be used for nomadic travel.

The Pneumad was created for the Truck-A-Tecture show that took place from June 27 to August 23 at the Kaneko Gallery in Omaha, Nebraska. The exhibition brings together designs that explore mobile architecture.

The Truck-a-Tecture exhibition studies architecture that combines mobility and technical expansion. It includes both popular and elite designs to transcend current concepts of “pre-fab” and “mobile architecture.” The exhibition explores nomadism, transportation, trucking culture, the nature of “home,” sustainability, and technological advances that have led many people to adopt simpler lifestyles.

Min | Day has been contacted by a disaster relief housing manufacturer and a public advocacy agency that have expressed interest in using the Pneumad as a mobile information center.

Tumbleweed Creates Portable Homes for Life on the Go

Tumbleweed portable houseThe Tumbleweed Tiny House Company specializes in designing and building small portable houses that can be transported by truck. The company can provide homes that are already built or sell materials and instructions for assembly. The small buildings can also be installed on a property permanently.

Tumbleweed manufactures homes in four models. The Elm 18 Equator is both beautiful and functional. It includes a custom arched window above the door and optional dormers in the loft to add space, light, and a cross breeze. The building also includes a full porch and lancet windows for charm and elegance. The Elm offers 163 square feet of usable space and sleeps three.

The Cypress 18 Equator provides 176 square feet of usable space and also sleeps three. It includes a corner porch and more interior space than other models. It is also popular for its recessed porch and hipped roof.

The Linden 20 Equator offers 177 square feet of usable space and sleeps three. It features an open great room designed for small gatherings or meetings. The roof has two dormers to allow more light in and to give additional space. The sleeping options include a downstairs bedroom and a loft with more head space than other models. The full porch offers space for outdoor seating.

The Mica 20 Clear is crafted with hot rolled weathering steel siding for a unique appearance. This one-level design includes a full-sized bedroom, separate kitchen and bathroom, and open views. The bedroom includes built-in shelves and closet space above the foot and head of the bed. The Mica offers 172 square feet of usable space and sleeps two.

Tumbleweed offers many other choices. Kitchens can include cook-tops or full stoves. The portable buildings have conventional RV utility hookups with a variety of options for electricity, heating, and plumbing.

The tiny homes have built-on wheels that can be covered when parked. The homes do not require special permits for towing.

Architects Showcase Temporary Pavilions at Venice Biennale Festival

US PavilionArchitects from around the world have gathered in Venice for the Biennale Festival, which draws people every two years to showcase and explore the many aspects of architectural design.

Architects from participating countries create temporary pavilions where they can showcase their unique ideas. This year’s festival includes 65 national pavilions.

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who is famous for his unconventional designs and theories on city living, is curating the biennial festival. He said the theme of this year’s event is an exploration of how countries have adapted to modernity through architectural design over the past century. He said modernization is often a painful process for many people and that that can be reflected in architectural design.

The Biennale Festival consists of three major exhibitions. Elements of Architecture and Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014 are being held at the Giardini, and Monditalia, a six-month workshop on Italian architecture, is being held in the Arsenale. Exhibits at other temporary pavilions are also spread out at locations throughout the city.

The “Fundamentals” exhibit at the festival is intended to be provocative and focus on the most basic elements of architectural design, such as walls and doors. It is meant to convey the idea that many of today’s architects are limited to superficial changes, rather than being free to alter the underlying structures of buildings.

Koolhaas said the festival is meant to focus on architecture, rather than on famous architects, and is intended to focus more on research than on creating finished products to be viewed by the public.

Koolhaas and 187 other people have been working on the festival for the past two years. It began on June 7 and will run until November 23, rather than the three months it has run in the past.

Cardborigami Provides Temporary Shelters for the Homeless

CardborigamiCardborigami is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that creates temporary buildings out of cardboard to serve as shelters for the homeless. The organization seeks to provide people who are homeless due to poverty or natural disasters with temporary shelter until they can find permanent housing.

Cardborigami is a foldable, accordion-like shelter made of cardboard that is water-resistant, flame-retardant, and recyclable. The shelters are sustainable because they are produced locally and can easily be recycled when they are no longer needed. The shelters provide instant privacy and protection from the elements.

The non-profit organization sponsors “builds” at which volunteers gather to construct the portable shelters for the local homeless population. It takes two people only 30 minutes to construct a Cardborigami shelter. The shelters open and close in less than a minute and can easily be folded back down and transported by one person.

Cardborigami’s goal is to use innovative design to inspire people to collaborate to alleviate homelessness in the Los Angeles area. The non-profit wants to help with the transitional process of relocating and maintaining permanent housing for homeless people so they can be reintegrated into society.

A loan, grants, private donations, and awards have enabled the organization to produce 150 of the portable structures. Cardborigami also sells its shelters to serve in disaster preparedness and relief as a means of supporting itself financially. The organization’s profits are used to support its homeless aid efforts, which reduces its need to rely on grants and donations. The non-profit also holds community events to raise funds to support its work.

Cardborigami was founded by architect Tina Hovsepian. It is run by four full-time volunteers and a five-person advisory board. Hovsepian hopes to use Cardborigami as a means of employing homeless people to help them become self-sufficient.

Chinese Company Creates 3D Printed Buildings

3D printed buildingA collection of 10 small buildings were recently constructed in the suburban Qingpu District of Shanghai using additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, rather than traditional building methods. The 10 structures are intended to be used as office spaces. They were the first 3D printed buildings constructed in China.

A 3D printer created successive 2-centimeter thick layers of material to construct the buildings in a single day. The technology uses “ink” that consists of a combination of sand, concrete, and glass fiber. The team bought parts of the 3D printer abroad and constructed the machine in a factory in Suzhou. The printer measures 22 feet tall, 33 feet wide, and 105 feet long.

The materials used to print the buildings were originally industrial construction waste. The materials are lighter than those commonly used in construction projects, but they are five times as hard. The layers are firmly connected to prevent them from separating, deforming, or collapsing.

The walls are hollow, and the ones with beam columns are 3D printed with steel bars inside. Concrete can then be poured directly into the walls. This process dramatically reduces the amount of construction material needed.

The buildings can be 3D printed on-site, or the walls can be printed at a factory and transported to the construction site. Cranes can be used to stack the pieces to assemble the buildings.

Design software AutoCAD Architecture was used to plan the buildings. The software took into account the need for plumbing, electrical systems, insulation, and windows that were to be added after the structures were built.

Ma Yihe, CEO of Shanghai Yingchuang Design & Engineering Co., which was behind the project, wants to create more centers to recycle construction waste material in China. He is currently applying for a patent.

The technology needs to undergo more testing to evaluate its strength and performance before it can be used on a wider scale. For now, it will be used to build temporary structures.

Students Design Portable 3D Printed House

3D printed houseMany designers have been embracing the trend toward smaller living spaces for densely-populated urban environments. Students at 3M futureLAB, a collaboration between the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design and the University of Huddersfield in Munich, Germany, worked with other international students to explore the idea of creating a small, portable home. The project was directed by professor and architect Peter Ebner.

The students designed a cost-effective compact home created through 3D printing. The design of the Small Transportable Living house is inspired by other micro housing designs, such as Renzo Piano’s Diogene and Richard Horden and the Munich Technical Institute’s M-ch.

The Small Transportable Living house includes a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. Its dome-like shape allowed the team to integrate movable furniture, such as a “folding” toilet that can retract into a wall when not needed, a movable kitchen countertop and sink, a small refrigerator, and a study table. A foldaway ladder provides access to the elevated bedroom. The micro house contains storage spaces, including some hidden in the floor. An Oculus window provides light and fresh air, and the interior is lit with overhead lamps and LED lights. Most of the wall space opposite the bedroom is taken up by a multimedia system with a projection screen.

The portable shelter is constructed with two 3D-printed shell halves and measures about 50 square feet. It was printed with sand-based plastic and special glue by 3M futureLAB and Voxeljet in Bavaria, Germany. The 3D printed house can be transported and installed in any type of environment.

FutureLAB is a non-profit interdisciplinary forum sponsored by 3M. It serves as an alternative to traditional studios and encourages people from the worlds of art, architecture, engineering, and manufacturing to collaborate and develop innovative designs.

Exo Provides Temporary Shelter for Disaster Victims

ExoReaction Housing has created the Exo, a stackable, portable, and durable shelter to house victims of disasters. The portable structure provides living and sleeping space for a family of four.

The Exo is durable enough to be used on a long-term basis, if necessary. The Exo is 80 square feet inside. The structures flat-pack, making them easy to store and transport.  Since they are stackable, 20 can be transported on a flatbed truck and set up quickly.

The Exo requires very little assembly. It is transported in two pieces – a floor and an upper shell, which consists of the portable building’s walls and roof. When the Exo is being deployed, the base is placed in the proper location. Then the shell is lowered onto the base and locked in place. Beds that had been secured in the walls are then lowered. A group of four people can move and construct an Exo portable shelter in under two minutes. No tools or machinery are needed.

A connector line provides electricity to a lighting system and four wall outlets. The Exo’s design allows it to be configured in several ways to meet the needs of its residents or the needs of deployment. It offers families the comfort of a climate-controlled environment.

The Exo was designed by Michael McDaniel, the founder of Reaction Housing. He was troubled by images of people crowded into the New Orleans Superdome and the Houston Astrodome after Hurricane Katrina and wanted to create a better solution to provide temporary shelter for victims of disasters. He designed the Exo and built the prototype in his backyard.

The Exo is almost ready to be used in disaster relief. The company is using crowdfunding to raise capital needed to build the Exos and modify them to best suit the needs of disaster victims who will need them.

Reaction Housing also envisions the Exo being used for commercial purposes, such as providing temporary shelter for people attending public events or festivals.

Shigeru Ban Wins Prize for Temporary Building Designs

plh-i-exterior-01This year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize was awarded to Shigeru Ban, who has designed homes, museums, and concert halls. However, he is best known for the temporary buildings that he has designed for refugees and victims of natural disasters.

Many of the temporary buildings are made out of paper tubes, which are inexpensive and easy to find after disasters, when normal building supplies are in demand and more expensive. The buildings are similar to log cabins, except that the tubes are arranged vertically instead of horizontally. Since the paper tubes are lightweight, heavy machinery is not required to construct the temporary shelters.

Ban has built temporary housing for disaster victims in Japan, Haiti, China, India, Rwanda, and New Zealand. The buildings are both functional and architecturally impressive. They are designed to bring people together and give them a sense of dignity.

Ban was born in Tokyo. He studied architecture in the United States and then returned to Japan. He wanted to help people who had lost their homes in natural disasters, rather than focusing exclusively on wealthy clients. He began working with paper tubes in the 1980s, when he had recently graduated from architecture school and needed an inexpensive building material to use as a substitute for wood.

kobeSome of Ban’s temporary buildings have become permanent. For example, the paper church he built after the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan was moved to Taiwan to be used as a community center. The church was designed in an elliptical shape with a solid wall on one side and columns on another. While a permanent building can be destroyed by a natural disaster, Ban believes a temporary building can become permanent if people love it.