Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Architecture

The Tsunamiball is the sole work of designer Chris Robinson (Photo: Chris Robinson)

Following the tsunami that hit Japan in March, 2011, designer Chris Robinson was inspired to create an escape pod to ensure he and his family could survive if such a disaster were to occur in his home city of Palo Alto, California. After some two years of painstaking design and construction, his floating off-grid shelter, dubbed Tsunamiball, is nearing completion.  Read More

The Garden House by De Matos Ryan (Photo: De Matos Ryan/© Hufton+Crow)

A new house on the Thames in London not only accommodates a family of 10, but offers special flood-prevention measures and a clever scheme for taking in natural light while maintaining privacy. It’s called the Garden House, as it sits in a sunken garden courtyard surrounded by open terrace and greenery. But its real achievements are harder to guess. The sculptural volumes contain a five-bedroom house; the glamorous-looking courtyard is actually a high-sided watertight concrete container, and the blank upper walls conceal light wells that cleverly let in sunlight without overlooking the neighbors.  Read More

The structures of the MobiVersum are all made of timber (Photo: Uwe Walter for Autostadt, ...

If you’re interested in seeing the latest, most advanced car designs while also taking in some modern art and learning about sustainability, then you might want to stop in at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany. The museum-showroom-education complex is now also home to the "MobiVersum," by Jürgen Mayer H. The new interactive sculptural installation by the Berlin-based architect is made up of a cluster of abstract shapes that resembles an architectural playground, but is meant to offer lessons in motion and sustainability.  Read More

The ESCAPE home looks like a cabin but is actually rated as an RV (Photo: Canoe Bay)

Perhaps due to the fact that the challenge of designing viable tiny homes pushes architects to come up with creative space-saving solutions, the tiny house movement is bursting with great ideas. The latest such dwelling to come to our attention, dubbed ESCAPE, is a 37 sq m (400 sq ft) home that boasts a handsome design, lots of customizable options (including operating completely off-grid), and legal status as an RV.  Read More

Artist Janet Echelman has created a huge net sculpture that is being exhibited in Vancouve...

The TED Conference has a long history of artworks and performances accompanying its talks and the conference taking place this week in Vancouver is no different. It's featuring a huge net sculpture floating above the city that's hung from a skyscraper and incorporates an interactive light-show at night.  Read More

The Pop-Up House, by Multipod Studio (Photo: Elisabeth Montagnier)

French architectural firm Multipod Studio recently unveiled a new sustainable house prototype that's lightweight, recyclable, and promises to be an inexpensive purchase and extremely efficient to run. The suitably-named Pop-Up House also boasts another notable selling-point: all that's required to assemble it is four day's patience and a standard electric screwdriver.  Read More

The design of the Orchid House was inspired by Tawian's innovative greenhouse technologies...

In high-density areas like the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, people have long looked to expand vertically to make use of the limited land, resulting in a lack of vegetation, high humidity and high energy usage. According to Unicode, a team of Taiwanese architects and designers, 50 percent of the county's housing constructions are either common multiple-story rowhouses or larger duplex apartment buildings, many of which have illegal makeshift shelters on their rooftops to provide extra living space. Unicode has developed a concept house which would give these shelters a greenhouse-inspired makeover, shifting reliance to renewable energy sources and improving Taipei's sustainability in the process.  Read More

The Quiet Treehouse is currently installed at this year's Ideal Home Show in Earl's Court,...

Luxury treehouse manufacturer Blue Forest has teamed up with noise abatement specialist Quiet Mark and UK retailer John Lewis to produce the Quiet Treehouse. Constructed for this year's Ideal Home Show, the cosy retreat packed with noise-reduction technology and low-noise home appliances. Once the show is over, it will be installed in the Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice, West Sussex.  Read More

Live-Lib, a concept for a two-part residential building, could form part of a sustainable ...

Small capsule-like homes where management of utilities, such as electricity and water, is left to the city could form part of a sustainable future for Paris, according to a team of the city's designers and architects. Live-Lib, a concept for a two-part residential building, is designed to provide a degree of privacy while feeding off communal, sustainable resources to drive down costs and energy usage.  Read More

Present Architecture has proposed a network of composting, green space islands for New Yor...

As with every major city, New York creates a huge amount of waste. Disposing of it requires a variety of environmentally damaging processes, such as landfill and transportation. To try and minimize the impact of waste disposal, Present Architecture has proposed a series of composting islands along the city's waterfront.  Read More

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