New Zealand Native Builds Solar Powered, Smartphone-Controlled Skysphere


New Zealand native Jono Williams has built himself a habitable ‘skysphere‘ that is powered by the sun and activated by the use of smartphone apps. A cylindrical space is enclosed by a 2 meter high, 360 degree viewing window that offers panoramic views of the surrounding natural landscape. The rounded interior is supported by a towering steel column that spears through its core — a simple and multi-purpose architectural element that can be adapted to virtually any environment. A narrow shape is cut into the side of the pillar, revealing a ladder that leads up to the top floor. Encompassing the ‘apartment’ level are a a series of steel arcs that form a sphere that hovers above ground. These rods each feature a row of solar panels that bring the energy from the sun inside the luminous circular chamber.


Once inside, domestic elements are outfitted with technological controls and applications. These systems include a fingerprint entry motorized door; refrigerated, in-couch beer dispenser; solar powered management system; miracast projector; wireless sound system; and computer generated voice dialog. Williams has also built a custom queen size bed, added dimmable, colored mood LED lighting, high speed internet, a central ladder for entry and a rooftop starview platform.






source:, photography by Jono Williams

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Sturges House – A Los Angeles Architectural Icon


We were thrilled to have the chance to explore this iconic building last weekend during an open house – the property is up for auction, the first time on the market in almost 50 years.

Commissioned by a young engineer who saw Wright’s work in  a magazine, the property has been called ‘the redwood stealth bomber’ and ‘a symbolic abstraction of the machine age through the eyes of a craftsman’.

Designed and built in 1939 – the only structure in Southern California built in the modern style Wright called Usonian design conceived as affordable housing for the US middle class – the one-story residence is just 1,200 square feet but features a 21-foot panoramic deck.  Wright hired renowned modernist architect John Lautner to oversee the concrete, steel, brick and redwood construction.










Australian firm John Wardle Architects developed an Inaugural Summer Architectural Commission for the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne that offers civic space for performances, workshops, shade and retreat. A nine-meter high and 21 meters long vibrant pink pavilion shaped to pay homage to the iconic Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne was inspired by CJ Dennis’s poem I Dips Me Lid, released to commemorate the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932.


“An iconic Melbourne building, that is an amazing, graceful, exuberant and incredibly innovative piece of civic design of that era,” John Wardle about Sydney Myer Music Bowl.


The structure made of steel and timber features 1,350 colorful hand-folded petal shaped pieces of polypropylene in bright pink, orange and purple that produce a radiant shade from the sun and glowing light by night. The lightweight form of the structure was developed by using 3D modeling along with leading engineering and fabrication techniques. The pavilion will be displayed in NGV International’s Grollo Equiset Garden by May 1st, 2016.





The Centennial Light Bulb Defies Time


A Fire Station at 4550 East Avenue Livermore in California, guards a special light bulb; a centennial light bulb that has been shining continuously since 1901. The bulb has been turned off just several times during its lifetime. It has been maintained by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department for the last 40 years where it was relocated from the 2 miles away old fire department. During its relocation the bulb was off for 22 minutes, which was the longest time it had ever been deprived of power.


This Centennial light bulb is officially listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and General Electric, who all agree that it is the longest-lasting bulb in the world.


The Centennial bulb was produced by Shelby; a company whose central focus was the durability of their products. The bulb’s longevity has been attributed to its low wattage, its perfect seal, not being turned off and on, and dedicated power supply.




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Javier De Riba Revives Floors Of Abandoned Buildings


Javier De Riba, a Barcelona-born artist and designer, spray- paints ceramic tile- like patterns on the floors of abandoned buildings,  giving them life and history. By creating these impeccably detailed patterns, he pays an homage to ceramic tiles that are typical of his homeland. These vivid patterns come from 19th-century hydraulic mosaic factories indigenous to Catalonia.




Black Box writing studio by ANX captures iconic Los Angeles views


A small writing studio designed by Aaron Neubert Architects on a hill in Los Angeles frames views of the Griffith Observatory and other landmarks through a room-sized picture window. The 200-square-foot (18.5 square meters) studio by LA-based Aaron Neubert Architects (ANX) is located in the Franklin Hills neighborhood and serves as a workspace for a technology columnist and author.


The dark-stained redwood and blackened-steel structure features a 10 foot by 12 foot (3 meters by 3.6 meters) window wall. The studio is located behind the client’s existing residence. The steeply sloped site is terraced, with the new structure placed at the highest tier.


Due to the steep terrain, the architect and his builder hung the two large glass sections – which together comprise the window – off the roof of the structure and then lowered them into place. One was broken during installation and had to be replaced and rehung. Visitors climb the steps up the hill and then turn around to face the view. They enter the studio from the side through a large sliding glass door, making the corner of the studio almost entirely transparent.


The all-white interior is simply furnished with a pale-colored desk and chairs. The uncluttered space is designed to further emphasize the views. The studio has proven so popular with the client that his wife has asked Neubert to design a workspace for her as well.
The simplicity and purity of artist studios make them an appealing typology for architects, one open to countless interpretations – like the concrete bunker in Chile or the building in Scotland with quilted zinc cladding.






The Sphere Series by David Bridburg- In Honor of Many Great Artists



David Bridbrug is an American fine artist that uses photos of famous paintings and gives them a modern aspect by digital image processing. David’s aim is to update the perception of blending famous art with modern design and incorporate it with current trends. Sphere series are blurred photos from the impressionist and post-impressionist movement that indicate well-known art pieces whereas the clear, highlighted image that floats in the “bubble” evokes amazement and satisfies our curiosity. David allows us to show our love for Degas, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet and others by making their presence in our homes in a contemporary and eye-catching fashion.


Illuminate The Arts Reveals New Project: Light Rail


Illuminate the Arts – the Bay Area collective behind The Bay Lights project has a new project in their sights. LightRail is the world’s first subway-responsive light sculpture. By visualizing the real-time movement of underground trains along Market Street, it will transform San Francisco’s main artery into a scene of wonder and awe for millions.


Two LED ‘strands’ in the center of Market Street will stretch two miles from Van Ness Avenue to The Embarcadero, suspended safely above SF MUNI lines by anchoring into existing light post infrastructure. They will use BART and MUNI APIs to brilliantly illuminate the movement of underground trains. After BART and MUNI have closed, randomly distributed small pulses of light will move along Market Street, simulating the passage of pedestrians. The piece will thus be a celebration of the many sustainable modes of transit that make up city life, seamlessly connecting the entire length of Market Street, crossing socio-economic divides. It will celebrate the 40th anniversary of BART and 100th anniversary of MUNI, which together transport over 300,000 riders daily.






OPA’s Casa Brutale Lets You Live on the Edge

Casa Brutale gives us wall-to-wall water and concrete set into cliffs above the Aegean Sea in what OPA promises will be a literally ground-breaking development.


Unclad and simple, the house is all about modesty, making no impact on the landscape beyond a surface swimming pool and a set of steps. Descending these steps, though, brings you to the entire point of this home; an enormous glass facade set flush into the cliff face, bringing an incredible view of the Aegean Sea to the entire residence. Upping the stakes, the living quarters are topped with a skylight that turns out to be, in fact, the swimming pool – made of reinforced glass, it functions as the only other window in the house, diffusing the sunlight to soften the hard surfaces of the building itself and giving you views that could plausibly claim to be 100% water.


With jaw-dropping features like these, OPA chose to keep the rest restrained. Simple, raw concrete surfaces and slabs set off by aged wood and steel form the rest of the project, placing an open living area around the main stairs and a master bedroom on the mezzanine floor, making the incredible water views perfectly visible from the bed, which is also made of cast concrete. The whole thing is cooled by the landscape and the swimming pool, thanks to the design’s clever twist – aside from the big chunk of rock removed from the cliff, there’s very little impact on the landscape.


An inverted Casa Malaparte – brutalist, plain concrete mixed with water, light and rock – OPA says that their concept “seeks for an investor or an ambitious owner to finance its construction.”






Barack Obama has chosen the University of Chicago for his Presidential library


The presidential library system in the United States is a nationwide network of libraries that preserve and make public president’s statements, papers, records, and other historic materials. President Obama’s presidential library is to be built in his hometown of Chicago, at the University of Chicago where he was a law professor before becoming a senator. The University of Chicago has been chosen over Columbia University in New York, the University of Hawaii and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The final site of the building has not yet been decided.


Two winners of Chicago Architectural Club 2014- Chicago Prize Competition for Barack Obama’s   Presidential Library are the Design team of Zhu Wei, Fu Junsheng and Liang Yinka and Aras Burak Sen.


The first project includes six divided sections each showcasing different aspects of President Obama’s   life; early life and career, legislative career, presidential campaigns, presidency, public image, family and personal life. The library is imagined to reflect President’s charisma but also the urban grid of the city. The building’s roof would also be fully utilized and visible from surrounding skyscrapers.


The second project’s primary function would be to serve as a public forum with a focus on President’s years in office.  The library would be divided into eight levels, where each one will archive a single year of Obama’s presidency. As levels would be of different heights, each of them would provide different views of Chicago. The ground floor is designed in a shape of a peace sign that represents the hope that Obama’s selection brought, and the peace sign would change on every level symbolizing the deviation of that hope over years. The peace sign construction would also serve as a bridge connecting three riverbanks.