Curbed wrangles up the 10 best — read: absurd — lines from The New York Times' recent trend piece on a design movement that's apparently "having a moment:" twigitecture. Among my my favorite gems: "I could see the stars through the nest's oculus entry and hear the elephant seals miles below honking and braying in a lullaby like no other;" "You would think a solo sleepover in such a precarious abode would give one the jimjams;" and, last but not least: "Nests are 'probably the purest antidote to the heavy steel-and-concrete building footprints that, city by mega-city, are overtaking the globe.'"
The Christian Science Monitor reveals a "more comfortable" refugee shelter introduced on World Refugee Day by the IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Swedish affordable home furnishings peddler: A bit more about the solar panel-clad single-family units: "Just like the coffee table or nightstand sitting in your home, the IKEA shelter is flat-packed, requires no tools to assemble, and can be taken apart and rebuilt again elsewhere. Instead of canvas flaps, the shelter is made up of hard panels, which stand up better against harsher climactic conditions and offer more privacy." Prototype units will be deployed at a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) camp in southeastern Ethiopia next month.
To help usher in the longest day of the year, Architizer rounds up a handful of buildings designed to align with the sun "or for which the sun played a major role in the determination of form. This is not 'solar architecture' as used to gain extra LEED points, but rather buildings that are incomplete without the experience of the sun. Collected from all points of the globe, and intended for uses scientific, quotidian, and ritual, these sun-centered buildings are worth a gander."
Gizmag marvels at a World War II airbase in Essex, U.K., that's been converted into a stunning, solar-powered farmhouse that's clad in timber and boasts near Passivhaus level efficiency.
The New York Tomes pays a visit to the Midwest Renewable Energy Association's annual Energy Fair, a "three-day convergence of homesteaders, hippies, ecotopians and more than a few end-times enthusiasts." Among this year's highlights: Solar-powered furnaces, milk-based house paints, backyard bio-digesters, and workshops tackling home algae cultivation and humane rabbit husbandry. Writes the NYT of the fair: "The overarching theme is what marketers call 'sustainable living,' and these days it hardly qualifies as a kooky pursuit. Many of the fair’s longtime commercial exhibitors, manufacturers of solar-energy technology or rainwater harvesting kits, could now find a home at the Home Depot."
Grist wonders if Seattle's goal to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2050 will be hurt by energy-hogging indoor pot growing operations.
The Atlantic Cities shares satellite-based GIFs — they're recorded from Google's Landsat Annual Time Lapse tool — compiled by Texas-based architect Samuel Aston Williams and detailing the "devastating impact" of sprawl in a handful of cities and metro areas over the last 20 years. Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Shanghai, and Los Angeles are all included.
The Los Angeles Times reviews twin gallery exhibits that explore the micro-apartment explosion in all of its petite glory: "How Small is Too Small" and "By-Right/By-Design." Writes Alissa Walker: "Although [exhibit curators] [Liz] Falletta and [Takako] Tajima hope to inspire the designers, planners and developers who can build more of these kinds of projects, they also hope to spark a conversation around their viability: Can Los Angeles truly support this kind of high-density, low-footprint life? In some areas, such as Santa Monica or downtown L.A., the answer might be yes. But in other places, cities might need to improve transportation, add parks or other public recreation space, and build more walkable business districts before Southern Californians will give up those lawns and garages. These shows are not just an exploration of exemplary design, but also a provocation for the city to step up and support a new way of living." Both exhibits are showing at Hollywood's WuHo Gallery through Aug. 4.