Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Building and Construction

The upper outside walls of the McGee house are made from over 100 salvaged car roofs

While the McGee house may look like any other new designer home in the neighborhood, its walls tell a different story. Designed by husband and wife team Karl Wanaselja and Cate Leger of Leger Wanaselja Architecture, the upper outside walls of the house are made from over 100 salvaged car roofs. In a pursuit to build a house that utilized green technologies and reused materials, the couple sourced car roofs from a selection of gray-colored cars that had been left for parts in local junk yards in Berkeley, California. Their biggest challenge was sourcing car scraps that were in relatively good condition, without dents and with a good paint finish. The scraps were then cut into long tile-like shapes and used to complete the upper outside walls of the house, rendering a similar appearance to slate.  Read More

The wall of mirrors featured at the end of the pavilion dramatically reflects the surround...

Danish architectural firm MLRP has come up with a novel way to prevent graffiti and vandalism of a local town hall. By turning the outside walls into mirrors, the team successfully transformed a "drab" building into a local attraction that is hopefully resistant to future graffiti attempts.  Read More

The Romantik Hotel has been awarded the PlusEnergieBau Solar Award 2011, the only prize in...

The Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl located in Switzerland has recently been awarded the highly-coveted Swiss Solar Award 2011, Milestone 2011 Tourism Award and the PlusEnergieBau (PEB) Solar Award 2011, the only prize in the world for buildings that generate more energy than they consume. The 104-year old Berghotel underwent extensive renovations during 2010 to transform it into an environmental-friendly location, giving rise to the first plus-energy hotel in the Alps. The hotel's recent success demonstrates that luxury accommodation can be implemented within the framework of a plus-energy building concept even at 2,456 meters (8,058 ft) above sea level.  Read More

The Tetra-Shed as a yard office (Photo: Tetra-Shed)

Now here's an exciting piece of design. At first glance the Tetra-Shed, designed by architect David Ajasa-Adekunle, looks like the ideal hypermodern outdoor studio for the hipster home-worker. That it may be, but the Tetra-Shed's modular design means that (space, money and imagination allowing) there's no limit to the number of units that can be connected together, literally opening up the Tetra-Shed to a vast array of possible uses.  Read More

Pingtan is planned to be transformed into a new commercial hub between China and Taiwan (i...

International architectural firm 10 Design has recently won the opportunity to master plan a 93-hectare (230-acre) waterfront central business district as part of a new development for Pingtan in China. Pingtan, being the closest Chinese island to Taiwan, is to be transformed into a new commercial hub in an effort to attract trade between the two sides of the Straits.  Read More

'1001 Nights' private dwelling by architects A-Cero

Madrid-based A-Cero architects are a big deal in Spain with public and residential projects across the country plus South America and the Middle East. Lead architect and principal Joaquin Torres is bit of a celebrity and recently appeared on Spanish TV's equivalent of "The Secret Millionaire" (giving away money of course, not receiving it). Unashamedly modernist, the A-Cero house style generally involves sweeping curved gestures in gleaming white. With the latest residential project however, Joaquin seems to have embraced the dark side and produced a dwelling of such stunning brutality and "otherness" that it could easily be an alien fortress on a distant planet. We love it. It's also one of the few buildings that actually looks good illuminated by multi-colored LEDs.  Read More

Taiwan Tower is intended to enhance the urban culture for Taichung City citizens (image: S...

Chicago-based STL Architects is hoping to impact the identity of Taichung City with its impressive Taiwan Tower concept. The designs have been submitted as part of the Taiwan Tower competition, where architects have been challenged to design a monument that would enhance the urban culture for Taichung citizens. STL's dramatic design would create a monument in the center of the city in the form of a circular tower.  Read More

The Levytator uses curved modules to allow it to follow freeform curves

For over a century, escalators have followed a fairly straight path – with the exception of a few spiral and curved escalators found in cities including Reno and Osaka. Now a researcher at City University London has developed a new type of escalator called the Levytator that is capable of following freeform curves. This is achieved by replacing the traditional rectangular steps with curved modules that also allows the modules to be placed in a continuous loop. Not only does this open up the design possibilities for architects, it could also cut energy usage in half compared to conventional escalators.  Read More

The design incorporates a modular layout with hollow brick walls, steel bars for reinforce...

Launched in 2009, MIT's "1K House" project challenges designers to come up with affordable, sustainable housing solutions that can improve conditions for the billions of people in the world living on less that $1 per day. The "Pinwheel House" designed by MIT graduate student Ying chee Chui is the first prototype.  Read More

How a future 'floating city' might look thanks to technology developed in the FLOATEC proj...

Venice may soon be sharing its “Floating City” moniker thanks to a research project developing “amphibian houses” that are designed to float in the event of a flood. The FLOATEC project sees the primary market for the houses as the Netherlands, whose low-lying land makes it particularly susceptible to the effects of rising sea levels. Such housing technology could also allow small island-states in the Indian and Pacific Oceans that are at the risk of disappearing in the next 100 years to maintain their claim to statehood through the use of artificial, floating structures.  Read More

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