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Phyllis Richardson

Phyllis Richardson
Phyllis is an architecture and design writer based in London. She champions the small and sustainable and has published several books, including the XS series (XS, XS Green, XS Future) and Nano House. In her spare time she ponders the impact of the digital world on the literary.
Top Articles by Phyllis Richardson
  • Weighing in: Ten of the best lightweight houses

    Some sit up on stilts, some float on water and some can be delivered by flat-bed truck. Made from shipping containers, bamboo, plastic and timber. Here are 10 houses that are lightweight, low-impact, small and efficient.

  • World's first floating apartment build to commence in 2014

    The Dutch are known for their ingenuity in taming it and using it to their advantage, but their systems for keeping water at bay are now being rethought by Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio, who is is embracing water-borne housing with particular vigor wit...

  • How do you move a city and keep its mining industry alive?

    The century-old Swedish town of Kiruna in the Arctic Circle sits on one of the world’s richest deposits of iron ore. Now in danger of collapse due to extensive deep mining, the city center is to be relocated in a plan developed by White Arkitekter, a...

  • Cool, modern and flood-proof: New house on the Thames for a family of 10

    A new house on the Thames is built to cope with eight children, close neighbors, and flooding. Its design is described as "a swimming pool in reverse."

  • Team Austria wins Solar Decathlon 2013

    Team Austria (Vienna University of Technology) has been announced the overall winner of Solar Decathlon 2013 after the closest competition in the history of the event. Second place went to University of Nevada Las Vegas, with the Czech Technical Univ...

The 78m-long (256-ft) sculpture is suspended on four structural columns (Photo: Heathrow A...

Engineers have called it "the hundred-thousand-piece jigsaw," and today it was unveiled as the centerpiece of a new extension to London's Heathrow Terminal 2 building. The aluminum-clad sculpture titled "Slipstream," by artist RIchard Wilson, reaches 78 meters (256 feet) and weighs upward of 77 metric tons (85 tons). Engineering firm Price & Myers was tasked with the job of designing parts for the piece, which twists and turns in simulation of a small airplane as it moves through space performing a series of acrobatic maneuvers.  Read More

Open-source beehives can be downloaded and printed using a CNC router (Photo: Open Source ...

Bee colonies are in decline worldwide. As Gizmag reported previously, this is a growing problem, and a number of theories and solutions are being explored. A team of eco-technologists from Europe and the US has come together to engineer a collaborative response to the problem, an open-source hive that can help house, track and understand the cycles movements of these vital members of the eco-system.  Read More

New skyscrapers in the City of London (Image: Hayes Davidson for NLA)

Some are sharp, some are boxy, some tubular. Some will be built in pairs, groups of three or clusters. More than 230 new towers are being built or planned for London, making Renzo Piano’s Shard look like a modest proposal and St Paul’s almost quaint.  Read More

One of the Bochum metro shelters by Despang Architekten (Photo: Olaf Baumann)

Exposed street escalators in Bochum, Germany, have been given a new lease of life with clever shelter designs by Despang Architekten. Described by the architects as "urban waterfalls," the seemingly simple shelters had to be tough enough to withstand the impact of a large truck, while presenting an elegant glass entrance to the underground metro. A series of metal supports covered in glass sheets allow rainwater to cascade over the sides, producing the waterfall effect. The ribbed steel structure also protects against vandalism.  Read More

Kingsgate House by Horden Cherry Lee Architects (Photo: Horden Cherry Lee)

Forget the "Shard," the "Walkie Talkie" and the "Cheese Grater," the real revolution in UK buildings is in timber construction, which saves on build time, carbon emissions and boasts energy efficiency. One new apartment block in Chelsea is calculated to use the same energy as a Smart car.  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

Petwalk doors (Photo: © Petwalk)

Of the many new gadgets to help you go green that were on offer at London's Ecobuild 2014 last week, one of the standout innovations was from Petwalk. The company's new, highly-insulated, automated pet door lets pets move in and out of the house at will, without squeezing through small openings or knocking on a plastic flap. It opens and closes electronically without being pushed open by a dog or cat, or by anyone else. Once closed, the doors form a draught-free seal that conforms to Passive House standards for thermal exclusion. Petwalk also offers a range of sophisticated extras.  Read More

Night view of the 'ultra ruin' courtyard (photo: AdDa Zei/Casagrande Laboratory)

The "ultra ruin" is a work of modern architecture and unusual preservation built in and around an abandoned brick farmhouse in the jungle of Taipei. From certain angles it appears as a decayed structure overtaken by vegetation; from other perspectives it resembles the high-design spaces of a boutique hotel.  Read More

'The Waters of Olympic Park', Sochi (Photo: WET)

At the center of the Sochi games Medals Plaza, the "The Waters of the Olympic Park" fountain forms a backdrop for the medals awards and is part of the opening and closing ceremonies. Created by California design firm WET, the fountain features a basin that measures 75.3 meters (247 feet) in diameter and holds about 700,000 gallons (2.65 million L) of water. For the centerpiece performance, hundreds of air-powered jets launch vertical columns of water up to 70 meters (230 feet) high to form the five Olympic rings in vivid color – but this is only part of the show.  Read More

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