Category Archives: Nature and Technology

Eco friendly technology and techniques

Tiny Origami apartment in Manhattan unfolds into 4 rooms…


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Date: March 10, 2020

01) Tiny Origami apartment in Manhattan unfolds into 4 rooms


“In 2005, third-grade-teacher Eric Schneider bought as big as an apartment as he could afford in Manhattan. He paid $235,000 for a 450-square-foot studio with a tiny kitchen.

Then he let architects Michael Chen and Kari Anderson of Normal Projects design a way to pack more density into his small space.

In order to fit more apartment in a small footprint, they created an object that’s bigger than furniture, but smaller than architecture and that morphs with the changing activities of a day.

It’s a large, blue, oversized cabinet that houses all of the walls/bed/tables/shelving/closets needed for at least 4 full-sized rooms.

By continuing to unfold, or fold differently, Schneider can create a bedroom with accompanying built-in nightstand and closets, but an office plus library, a guest bedroom, and a living room. Or close it up entirely and simply flip down the small bar and the room becomes entertaining space for a dozen.

The Normal Projects architects called their creation the Unfolding Apartment, though given Schneider’s affinity for the Japanese sense of space (he spent his first year post-college living and teaching in Japan), it could as easily be called the Origami Apartment.

In total, Schneider spent $70,000 total remodeling his new apartment and this includes not just the cabinet, but the bathroom renovation, all cabinetry, kitchen appliances, furniture and dishes.

In this video, Chen shows us his custom cabinet of rooms and Schneider unfolds a few of his favorite configurations: his bedroom (& closet/changing room), office (& library), guest bedroom, kitchen, dining bar, living room and lounge.

Normal Projects/Michael Chen Architecture: http://www.normalprojects.com/

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The Reality of Van Life on Social Media…


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Date: March 01, 2020

01) The Reality of Van Life on Social Media


“After my experience of being a van life youtuber, I came to the conclusion that it’s really not possible to not make something on youtube look better than it really is without making it extremely boring. Many people think that they want or like creators who show all sides of their lifestyle accurately. No they don’t. Van life and travel vlogs are entertainment. They’re enjoyable to watch because they allow us to dream of a life we don’t have or can’t have. If you were to see what van life was actually like the majority of the time for anyone who’s not rich and not working or who’s income doesn’t come from making their life into a “reality” tv show so people can live vicariously through them, you’d yawn and move onto the next video.”

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Oldest US mall blends old/modern with 225-sq-ft micro lofts…


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Date: January 30, 2020

01) Oldest US mall blends old/modern with 225-sq-ft micro lofts


“The Providence Arcade is nearly 2 centuries old, but when Evan Granoff bought it was considered one of the city’s most endangered properties. Realizing that the demand for commercial space would never match that for downtown housing, Granoff decided to convert the upper floors of the country’s first indoor mall into tiny loft apartments.

At just 225 square feet, the smallest units would have fallen below the city’s minimum size standard for apartments so Granoff decided to classify his micro-lofts as a rooming house. The Providence rooming house code allows for rooms as small as 80 square feet (single occupancy), as long as they don’t have a cooking facility. Fortunately, for Granoff and tenants, a microwave is not considered a cooking device.

The tiniest units rent for $550 per month, almost half the city average, and all of them rented out almost immediately (there’s now a waiting list). Many of the tenants don’t spend a lot of time at home. We talked to Naz Karim, a doctor who works emergency room shifts, and plans to spend much of the year on a fellowship in Africa and Sharon Kinnier who uses the loft for when she’s working in a Providence lab formulating organic cosmetics (she spends the rest of the time with her husband in Washington D.C.).

The bottom floor of the mall is still commercial, but Granoff limits it to micro retail so no chains and they’re all focused on fashion and art design. We stopped in at nude boutique where Amy Stetkiewicz, one of the 6 local designers, was closing up shop downstairs from her micro loft.”

$750 a month for this is obscene…but I love the general thing they’ve done with this old mall.

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Habitat 67 stacks 354 prefabs that get urban/suburban balance…


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Date: January 21, 2020

01) Habitat 67 stacks 354 prefabs that get urban/suburban balance


“Habitat 67 was a 1960s experiment in dense, downtown housing that tried to combine the best of urban and suburban living. Architect Moshe Safdie wanted to integrate the qualities of a suburban home- the access to nature and views- into a high-rise. Built for the 1967 World’s Fair, Habitat 67 was also a prototype of an affordable “3D modular building system” that he hoped would “reinvent the apartment building”.

Like the Japanese Metabolism movement (see Nagakin capsule tower: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXRJE2caPNY), Habitat 67 is an interconnected web of prefabricated cells stacked so the emergent whole feels less coldly geometric and more organic.

“Habitat 67 comprises 354 identical, prefabricated concrete forms arranged in various combinations, reaching up to 12 stories in height. Together these units create 146 residences of varying sizes and configurations, each formed from one to eight linked concrete units. The complex originally contained 158 apartments, but several apartments have since been joined to create larger units, reducing the total number. Each unit is connected to at least one private terrace, which can range from approximately 20 to 90 square metres (225 to 1,000 sq ft) in size.” – Wikipedia

Originally, Safdie had aimed to create an affordable prefab system, but given the experimental nature of the project, costs reached approximately C$140,000 per unit (pricey for the 1960s). Today, the apartment owners all own shares in the building. Long-time resident George Boynton helped instigate changing the status of the complex from government-owned apartment building to a private Limited Partnership Complex. He gave us a tour of the 10-story building and a walk-through of Mosha Safdie’s newly-renovated apartment.

Habitat 67 tours:
https://www.habitat67.org/en/guided-tours-english/

*faircompanies:
https://faircompanies.com/videos/habitat-67-stacks-354-prefabs-that-get-urban-suburban-balance/

Not so sure I’d do well with the open heights…but, this is still awesome.


Nakagin: 140 plug n’ play capsules float in metabolist tower:

“Resembling clusters of space pods stacked 13 stories tall, the Nakagin Capsule Tower is the world’s first example of capsule architecture. When erected in 1972, tiny prefab apartments were stacked like LEGOs (by crane) around a concrete core. Attached by only 4 high-tension bolts, the capsules were designed to be plugged in and replaced when necessary.

Each pod was a micro apartment measuring 4 by 2.5 meters, intended for Japanese businessmen who wanted to avoid a long commute home. Everything came built-in: a bed, a sink, a refrigerator, bathroom, folding desk and even a TV, radio and alarm clock.

Built in 1972 in Tokyo’s Ginza District, the building is one of the only remaining examples of Metabolist architecture: a movement begun in the 1960s that treated cities as dynamic, evolving organisms. Designed by Kisho Kurokawa for sustainability and recycleability, the Nakagin Tower has not been maintained and now nearly 50 years after it’s construction, many of the capsules are uninhabitable.

In 2007, when the building’s residents voted to demolish the building. Kurokawa proposed “unplugging” the worn-out units and replacing them with newer capsules (an idea supported by the Japan Institute of Architects). Kurokawa died in late 2007. Given the high rents in the Ginza neighborhood, most of the residents continue to push to replace the entire building, but an online group has organized to save the building and its fate remains unclear.

Today, a few residents like Masato Abe rent their unit outs on AirBnB. We (the faircompanies family of five) rented it for a night. In this video, Abe shows us his neighbor’s unit which is in nearly original condition and we filmed our night with the five of us sleeping in a self-contained capsule built for one.”

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Alleyway home in Toronto makes room splitting into 5 levels…


Nature_and_Technology
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Date: December 05, 2019

01) Alleyway home in Toronto makes room splitting into 5 levels


“Toronto is the fastest growing city in North America, but rather than simply grow up and out, city planners are relaxing zoning on its 250 kilometers of laneways so owners can turn garages and sheds into small downtown homes (limited to 8 meters wide (26 feet)).

Zeke Kaplan’s home had a 100-year-old shack occupying the lane before he began construction to convert it into a modern 2 bedroom home. As a contractor, he was prepared to bore through the backyard to connect services from the main house all the way back to the small secondary unit.

The new dwelling had to match the old footprint so Brock James (LGA Architectural Partners) cut levels into the space to create essentially 5 different floors making it all feel larger. Everything serves several functions: the stairs connecting the kitchen and living room are also storage and seating area; the entryway coat rack also serves as kitchen cabinets.

Citation:
http://lga-ap.com/

http://zzcontracting.com/

https://faircompanies.com/videos/alleyway-home-in-toronto-makes-room-splitting-into-5-levels/

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This Tiny Home Community Gives Homeless Veterans A Chance – Working To End Veteran Homelessness…


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Date: December 04, 2019

01) This Tiny Home Community Gives Homeless Veterans A Chance – Working To End Veteran Homelessness


“This amazing project gives temporary homes to veterans who are looking to get back on track. Sometimes, all it takes is a period of time for people to get back on their feet, these project attempts to do just that. These tiny homes are designed with the veteran in mind and the Tiny Home Tours team was happy to donate to the cause.

Their website – https://www.veteranscommunityproject.org/

Their Insta – https://www.instagram.com/vcp_hq/

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Unusual secret houses you won’t believe actually exist…


Nature_and_Technology
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Date: November 26, 2019

01) People Laughed at His House, Until They Went Inside


“Some houses look expensive on the outside. But for others behind closed doors, some owners have gone to ridiculous lengths, and spared no expense to create their outrageous secret hidden homes. People may laugh at them, but it means nothing to these creative people who built houses unlike any other.

Unusual secret houses you won’t believe actually exist. Featuring small hidden houses that hold big secrets inside. You better check out these strange houses with your own eyes.”

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