Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road.
Battery packs like the iCruiser
are handy for recharging mobile devices off-the-grid, but they soon run out of juice, which isn't ideal if you'll be away from mains power for an extended period of time. You could go solar with a device like the Waka Waka
, but then there's the worry of getting enough rays. Another option may be on the way in the form of kraftwerk: a prototype fuel cell power pack for USB-powered devices that runs from gas canisters and promises to charge an iPhone up to 11 times before needing a refill.
Netherlands-based firm i29 recently transformed the interior of a small tower on the roof of Amsterdam's 19th Century De Bijenkorf
department store into a novel studio that will host a series of artists-in-residence. The project is dubbed Room on a Roof and indeed comprises just one room.
As water shortage is a serious issue in many parts of the world, a means of efficiently harnessing safe drinking water from thin air without the need of expensive infrastructure could be a real lifesaver. Italy's Architecture and Vision is developing an off-grid bamboo tower called Warka Water that promises just that: the firm says it could collect an annual average of up to 100 liters (26.4 US gallons) of water per day.
MVRDV has good form for producing visually-interesting architecture (take the Glass Farm
and Rotterdam Markthal
, for example). The Dutch firm is set to continue this trend with a new tower in Vienna that twists dramatically, to produce an almost hourglass-like shape.
Sweden's Teenage Engineering, best known for its versatile but pricey OP-1 synthesizer (which starts at US$849.00), has unveiled a line of three new synths dubbed Pocket Operator. The pocketable instruments will set you back just $59 when they launch this week.
Australia's Andrew Maynard Architects
was tasked with creating a "ridiculously inside-out" extension to a small suburban home in Seddon, Victoria. The firm rose to the challenge and produced an unusual living space dubbed Cut Paw Paw, that blurs the line between indoors and outdoors.
For those who like the thought of living in a compact space but don't want to get too
cramped, the Custom 30 Foot House by Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses may be of interest. Built for a family of three, it boasts more space and home comforts than one might expect from a towable tiny dwelling, including a bath and shower, a dishwasher, and enough seating for up to six people.
UK-based Carl Turner Architects
recently unveiled a novel new home designed to address the issue of flooding and unlock new building space on underused waterways. The firm plans to make the blueprints for Floating House available for free download via the Paperhouses open source architecture project, thus enabling anyone with the means to either construct their own Floating House, or hire a professional to build it for them.
One can usually count on Vincent Callebaut to produce thought-provoking renders that depict futuristic sustainable architecture, and the Belgian architectural firm certainly doesn't disappoint with this vision of a smart and sustainable Paris. The recent proposal, titled 2050 Paris Smart City, envisions remaking the City of Light into a veritable City of Green.
Back in 2012, we reported on Version.2
by Canadian small living firm Leaf House, which is headed by Laird Herbert. Now Herbert is back with a new and improved tiny home that he intends to use as a case study for small living in cold climates. Version.3 is designed to take temperatures of -50 °C (-58 °F) in its stride, and also packs a number of other benefits over its predecessor, including increased interior space and decreased weight.