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Itty-Bitty Baths Inspire Daft Designs

While urban dwellers enjoy ready access to city amenities, a trade-off is the distinctly urban micro-bath. Why, I could fit most of these city loos inside my obnoxious suburban garden tub…which I never use, as it requires an obnoxious amount of water!

If you’re dealing with cramped quarters in your citified bath, the solution, as always, is abundant dollars and over-the-top design ideas. Read more

power toilets public art by superflex washbasins, sinks

Power Toilets: Because we’re all the same inside (the restroom)

This proves even the most powerful people can’t feel secure anywhere! Working from secret photos taken of what must be one of the world’s most closely-guarded loos, the Danish group SUPERFLEX has created the installation Power Toilets, which lets us envision the movements of global movers and shakers. We can see that the decor is quite minimalist; surprising (or maybe not!)

From the SUPERFLEX website,

Power Toilets is a copy of the toilets used by the members of the UN Security Council in the UN Headquarter, New York. The UN building was the result of the collaborative efforts of a multinational team of leading architects. When completed in 1952, it stood as a symbol of unity after the Second World War and has since hosted many historic aspirations, speeches, debates and gatherings of world leaders.

Based on photos taken secretly, the interior of the Power Toilets is identical in detail to that of the sanitary facilities at one of the most secure buildings in the world. Bathers and canoeists at the Park van Luna are now free to use the same toilets as the world’s most powerful leaders. The interior design is typical to the 1950’s including a lot of marble, steel and the iconic American Standard appliances. The exterior has a neutral nondescript shape like it was cut out of the UN-building in New York and moved intact to this new development in Noord-Holland.

power toilets public art by SUPERFLEX: urinals

power toilets public art by superflex washbasins, sinks

Aqua Building Chicago Illinois

Aqua in Chicago: 82 Stories of Inspiration

Aqua Building Chicago Illinois

Aqua Building, Chicago, Illinois

While visiting Chicago recently, my hotel was right next door to the much-praised new Aqua building…and really, I just couldn’t get enough of staring up at it’s unusual form.

The 82-story, mixed-used building was designed by Jeanne Gang, principal and founder of Studio Gang Architects. It is her first skyscraper project and the largest project ever awarded to an American firm headed by a woman. Good start, Jeanne! Gang has cited the striated limestone outcroppings that are a common topographic feature of the Great Lakes region as inspiration for the sculptural, undulating slabs that give the building its exciting, water-inspired design.

Architects Gone Wild: Water Inspiration for Yeosu 2012

Big-time international design competitions encourage architects to “design and build feats of wonderment” and for the ocean-themed Yeosu, Korea World Expo 2012 (“The Living Ocean and Coast”) we can see what their creative imaginations might generate with water as a prime ingredient.

MVRDV (Rotterdam, NL) submits a striking Water Cube Pavilion that imagines “a block extracted from the ocean” in which one is surrounded on all sides by water with a series of water “basins” that are stacked on top of each other. . The skin of the building is designed out of four layers of glass, with water in between. Fresh sea water from outside is constantly pumped into the basins as a natural temperature adapter. The skin contains elements to regulate temperature such as rolling curtains to control the UV penetration and solar PV cells to create energy for the water circulation and the light of the building. (More info and images at Inhabitat.com and archdaily.com)

Our mobile society will squeal with delight at the submission from Melbourne, AU-based Peddle Thorp Architects. Their pavilion is is a vessel – a floating exhibition space that can be sailed to other cities. Today, adaptability is a key planning concept, so we love that this is a “living building that can adapt to suit an unknowable future.” Just think how great it would be if we could easily move the many abandoned and failed facilities that now litter the world landscape…schools, malls, hospitals that moved along with the population! (More info and images at archdaily.com)

Sewer Pipe Suite Life

A concrete sewer pipe as hotel room? That’s repurposing for a practical purpose! DasPark Hotel is the sort of wild idea you’d expect to be just another conceptual prototype, but this creation of Austrian art grad Andreas Strauss is real and operational.

Located in Linz, Austria, the unique hotel adds a back wall, large front door and small window to standard concrete sewer pipes to create an affordable stay for students and other adventurous travelers.

From dasparkhotel.net,

The external simplicity surrounds an unexpectedly comfortable interior – full headroom, double bed, storage, light, power, woolly blanket and light cotton sleeping bag. All other hotelery devices (Toilets, showers, minibar, cafe, etc) are supplied by the surrounding public space.

Just how affordable, you ask? The cost is the biggest surprise of all.

Because we obtain sanitation, breakfast and other hotel facilities from existing public infrastructure, it is possible for us to work with the very simple, user-friendly “pay as you wish” system. A night in dasparkhotel costs just as much as you can afford or want to pay.

(Tipped by a post on bookpaperscissors.tumblr.net, thanks!)

Nemo, txt u l8r

What if you could send a text message to the fishes and find out first-hand how they’re doing? U R SO FINNY, LOL! Sound crazy? Of course, this is just crazy enough to be true.

The Amphibious Architecture project aims to remind us that the water is more than just a pretty reflective surface, it is a habitat that is a “teeming body that’s alive with organisms whose health affects our health while our activities affect their health.

From September 17 through November 7th, two sites along the East and the Bronx Rivers in New York will be installed with a network of floating interactive buoys with sensors below water and light emitting diodes (LEDs) above the water. The sensors monitor water quality and the presence of aquatic life. THe LEDs repond to the sensors, giving above-surface humans a visual cue as to what’s going on below.

Now, the texting part: an SMS interface allows “homo-citizens” to text-message the fish and receive real-time information about the river, and hopefully, spark a larger public interest and dialogue about local waterways. (You’ll get a message back that looks something like, Underwater it is now quiet. The last fish swam by 17 minutes ago. D O level is 7.6 mg/L which is mg/L average.

The project was commissioned for the Architectural League of New York’s exhibition Toward the Sentient City and was developed by xClinic Environmental Health Clinic at New York University and the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Next Up: The Air-Water Nexus

As we run great rivers nearly dry, suck our aquifers empty and pump, pump, pump, in increasingly futile attempts to meet unsustainable water demand, hope springs anew as a vision for tomorrow’s uptapped water source—the air—begins to materialize. And thanks to some architects with their heads in the clouds, that vision looks impressive!

Design-savvy Angela B. pointed us to an Inhabitat.com feature with conceptual plans for The Water Drop Resort, which will convert air to purified water. (No word yet on a completion date… or even a location!)

Architecturally and thematically designed in the shape of a drop of water, the Water Building Resort intends to become the first building ever to convert air into water with the help of solar power. What sounds like magic will be achieved with the following combination of nature and technology: A sunny, southerly facing facade made of photovoltaic glass will harness solar energy, allowing light to pass through. The northern facade features a latticed design for ventilation as well as unprecedented Teex Micron equipment that will convert humid air and condensation into pure drinking water.

Designed for construction in warm and humid coasts, the Water Building Resort, a resort complex, will also house a water treatment facility in the bottom floor, for purifying salty sea and rain water, along with a center of technological investigation to control and certify water quality. Restaurants, gyms, exhibition halls, hotel and conference rooms, and spa services will fill the upper floors – all based on the theme of water, the environment and renewable energy. An underwater aquarium will sit at the base of the Water Building Resort, rounding out the water conscious theme and practices.

See more photos and details of Water Building Resort From Orlando De Urrutia Architecture & Sustainable Urbanism, Barcelona for a Teex and Al-Mutawa Consortium.