Friday, May 30, 2014

A Garden in A Non Traditional Way

The Pop Up Beer Garden That Has Everyone Singing

Groundswell Design Group create a fully functional pop up beer garden.
A vacant lot filled with garbage and unwanted materials are an eyesore. However, if that lot is beautifully landscaped with a pallet of up-cycled materials, then that lot can become a beautiful destination. As featured on our“Top 10 Examples of Rapid Landscape Architecture” article, the Pop Up Beer Garden project by Groundswell is a gleaming example of success and simplicity at its best.
Just like in Philadelphia, where the beer garden annually pops up, many urban areas have unused and unloved spaces. This particular lot in PA was previously used for a trapeze art exhibition as well as a parking lot. However, in 2013, the lot fell into the hands of Groundswell design groupwhere they decided to create a pocket park that consisted of a pop-up beer garden. As quick as the name “pop-up” suggests, the beer garden literally was able to pop-up as a fully functioning gathering space within two weeks of installation! The charming thing was that the whole process was visible to the public.
Pop Up Beer Garden by Groundswell

The Design
The architecture on site is made up of up-cycled shipping containers used as a beer and food stand. Each of the servicing units had a green roof to moderate the temperatures, especially to keep cool during the summer times. The seating area is comprised of picnic tables that are located underneath large Honey Locusts. Vintage metal chairs and a sculptural terraced seating wall constructed from old shipping pallets and strings of market lights also added a unique character to this former parking lot. The open space shelters users from the hot sun and at night the place turns into a magical sequence of glowing night lights and twinkling stars under the evening dusk.
Pop Up Beer Garden; credit: Groundswell

Social life
Adding to the site’s colourful past, the intimate place does not only host picnic style food services and a beer garden, it allows for a fun and playful arrays of art exhibitions, outdoor films (a rare amenity to come by these days), live music and grilling. It is no wonder that this little pocket park has drawn attention to not just the local community but also from distant visitors, keeping the park bustling with life.
Pop Up Beer Garden; credit: Groundswell

Pop Up Beer Garden; credit: Groundswell
In many cities, parks are a permanent space of recreation, a central node that is designed and maintained to withstand the tests of time. Yet the beautiful and successful thing about this park is its impermanence. Should the space be designated to become something else; this Pop-Up Beer Garden can be easily transported and installed in any location. It does not need to be identified by the genius loci of a place that became very important to our design field many years ago but uses its simple functionality and materiality- which is simply based on the idea of bringing friends, families and strangers together to eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company and creativity.
Pop Up Beer Garden; credit: Groundswell

The design embraces creative thinking in crafting a new atmosphere with the old. Whether it is the actual redundant space itself turned into a gathering space or whether it is the old, unwanted materials being recycled to give a new function and life. If every redundant vacant lot could be embraced by this idea of impermanence, temporality and ‘pop-ups’ to create lively niches that support the local livelihood as well as celebrate the art of creativity in the making process, it could really change the perception of vacant areas as dark scary corners of a city, piling up with garbage.
These designs might just end up being more successful than they intended to be and could really become the life of the community, giving a great addition to a city, even if it is for a fleeting moment. The pop-up garden aims to pop-up some more, who knows when and where, nevertheless, it keeps the people excited and the anticipation just makes it that much special.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Water Wheel

A new water wheel will remove tons of plastic bottles, cups and cigarettes butts from the Inner Harbor.

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore Inc. is harnessing the power of light and water to help prevent trash from floating into the Inner Harbor.

The organization is installing a solar- and water-powered wheel to collect trash at the base of the Jones Falls, between Pier VI and Harbor East.  The wheel, capable of removing 50,000 pounds of trash per day, will bring the Waterfront Partnership closer to its goal of making the harbor clean enough for recreational use by 2020.

"It's a big step forward toward a swimmable, fishable harbor.  Trash in the harbor is considered a pollutant, and so it helps remove a major source of pollution." said Laurie Schwartz, president of the Waterfront Partnership.  "Most importantly it will serve as a really important educational element."

The $800,000 wheel is being funded by two main donors - $500,000 from the Maryland Port Administration and $300,000 from Constellation Energy.

The wheel is set to debut this week.

It's no small installation.  The 100,000-pound contraption is 50 feet long, 30 feet wide and the water wheel itself is 14 feet in diameter.

This is no the first time the harbor has utilized a water wheel to clean up trash from the water; the Waterfront Partnership tried one at the same spot in 2008 for about eight months.  During that time, the wheel removed about 300,000 pounds of trash, including 190,000 plastic bottles, 160,000 foam cups and other products, 60,000 plastic bags and more than 1 million cigarette butts, Schwartz said.

She expects the new wheel to collect about the same volume of trash this time around, noting that street sweeping throughout the city could help reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the water.  But the city isn't the major source of the harbor's trash problem.

"While some people think that it's the tourists that stand at the edge and throw cups into the water, it's really not." Schwartz said. Rather, the trash washes downstream from the Jones Falls watershed into the harbor.

The new installation will be more permanent than the previous wheel.  The water wheel should have a life of about 15 years, Schwartz said.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Democratization of Construction: Who is Our Next Builders

Chinese Company Assembles 10 3D-Printed Concrete Houses in a Day for Less Than $5,000 Each

A Shanghai building company recently constructed a small community of partially 3D-printed houses in less than a day. Unlike DUS Architects' ongoing aims to completely 3D-print a canal house in Amsterdam however, the Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. printed the basic components separately before assembling them on site. Although these concrete houses do not represent 3D printing in its purest form, their construction in such a short time span for just $4,800 each is no less impressive.

Read more: Chinese Company Assembles 10 3D-Printed Concrete Houses in a Day for Less Than $5,000 Each | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building 
A massive 3D printer measuring 490 feet long, 33 feet wide, and 20 feet deep was used to 3D print each of the structural components from the giant concrete slabs to the inner cross bracing. To cut down on costs, WinSun fabricated the frame from layers of concrete partly made from recycled construction waste, industrial waste, and glass fibers. Each house is approximately 2,100 square feet.  




WinSun also plans to open 100 recycling factories in the country to continue to transform waste into cost-effective “ink” for their 3D printers. By doing so, Winsun estimates that this kind of 3D printing could cut costs for construction companies in half. If these 3D-printed houses catch on, the company also hopes that the technology could provide affordable housing for the impoverished.