NASA Picked the Best Designs for Future Homes on Mars

Climate change. Antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Paul Ryan dabbing. We may be looking to leave this planet sooner rather than later. Since Mars is the most plausible destination, NASA held a competition for design teams to come up with potential homes on the Red Planet. The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, which was part of a the larger Centennial Challenges Program, received some rather unique entries, with the winner being the Mars Ice House, a design from Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office in New York. The inflatable dome lined with ice is designed to protect humans from cosmic and solar radiation while allowing them to move around inside without a spacesuit.

ONE St. Petersburg Residential Condominium Tower Gets the Green Light

The Kolter Group announced plans to commence construction of ONE St. Petersburg. This decision to accelerate their construction timetable was prompted by over $85 million in confirmed contracts. At 41 stories, the ONE project will be the tallest building in St. Petersburg. This development’s 253 luxury condominium residences are complemented by a Hyatt branded hotel and over 17,000 square feet of retail space.

“We are thrilled with the success of ONE St. Petersburg,” said Bob Vail, President of Kolter Urban. “By accelerating the construction start, we create certainty for the project in two key areas; the ability to lock in construction costs and most importantly, we create certainty in the delivery of the project for all of our current and future buyers. There is no doubt that ONE will redefine the city’s skyline as well as redefine urban living in St. Petersburg. As we say at Kolter, It’s A Go!”

The Kolter Group has already begun infrastructure and foundation work on and around the site. The tower and hotel groundbreaking are scheduled for first quarter of 2016, with delivery of residences in fourth quarter 2018. The size and scope of this development brings numerous immediate and long-term economic benefits to the city and the area.

“ONE St. Petersburg will be a defining project for the next era of downtown St. Petersburg. The city has worked closely with Kolter in the design and review process to ensure timeliness of applications and permits,” said Rick Kriseman, Mayor of St. Petersburg. “We have set the bar very high in regard to this iconic project and I’m very comfortable that Kolter has met these high standards.” He continued, “Not only will ONE St. Petersburg enhance our thriving downtown, but the jobs and taxes it will create will only increase the financial health of our city.”

Travel: Tavaru Restaurant & Bar Is a New Level of Resort Luxury in the Maldives

Boasting the largest wine collection in the Maldives, the ivory-white Tavaru tower includes a restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef, Champagne lounge and more. A look inside the structure shows an impressive cylindrical cellar and maze-like staircases connecting the different floors. The owner of the island, Jiri Smejc, teamed up with Prague-based architect Petr Kolar to build this exclusive vacation resort, where a night stay can run anywhere from $1,500 to $30,000 USD. Thus, it’s no surprise that the resort doesn’t skimp when it comes to wining and dining its guests. Get an in-depth look inside this architectural feat by viewing more photos here.

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Saying ‘Goodbye’ to the St. Pete Pier

The City of St. Petersburg organized an event Friday evening to celebrate the Pier, which has been part of the city’s skyline for 42 years. On a first-come, first-served basis, attendees will be given brick pavers, also Pier relics, with the inverted pyramid emblazoned on them.

St. Petersburg’s inverted pyramid pier will be demolished after a lengthy and often contentious public debate.

The current pier will be replaced with a 46 million dollar redevelopment of the area that will be called “Pier Park’”. But now the sounds of heavy equipment fill the air as demolition crews begin tearing down the iconic structure. Social discord extended on till expectation and good sense, for a long time ultimately overtook the town and doubt and a brand new perspective accepted for a thrilling new pier.

The project, overseen by Sonny Glasbrenner Inc. of Clearwater, is expected to take six months and will make way for The Pier Park project, which the St. Petersburg City Council approved in May. The team included architects from the Harvard Jolly Architecture firm, whose founder William B. Harvard designed the inverted pyramid, and Yann Weymouth, whose work includes the Dalí Museum.

The St. Pete Pier Could Be 86’ed Within Months

Demolition of St. Petersburg’s downtown, inverted pyramid-shaped pier is imminent.

The Tampa Bay Times reports  the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it could issue a permit to tear down the 1973 structure as early as this week.

The City Council approved $5.2 million for initial work on a replacement project and a construction fence went up.

This concept design was ranked as the top choice by the St. Pete Pier Selection Committee on April 23, 2015.

But demolition plans were brought to an abrupt halt when the corps said St. Petersburg needed its permission to tear down the entire structure because it spans a body of water. Additionally, a permit couldn’t be issued before an agreement had been signed by the corps, the city and the state historic preservation office. That process is now complete.

Demolition is expected to take six months.

Roger Partners and ASD Unveil Plans for New Pier in St. Pete

New York studio Rogers Partners, landscape architect Ken Smith and firm ASD recently won approval to build a new hybrid pier and park in St Petersburg, Florida. The city council approved plans to replace the run-down pier with a new design that connects the expanded waterfront district with the upland landmass and provide exciting new social spaces for the city’s inhabitants.

The original pier was built in the 1880s and an inverted-pyramid structure, designed by architect William B. Harvard, was added in 1967. This replacement building will house a restaurant and observation deck. The new design is careful to preserve the feel of the original structure while introducing new content to the site, which will cater to locals as well as tourists. It will also act as a venue for concerts and performances, while providing pedestrian paths which will allow people to stroll along the waterfront.

A paved track will include bike lanes and paths for service vehicles and small trolleys, but will be closed for car traffic. A new building will dominate the end of the pier, accommodating a restaurant, rental hall, education center and a small stage. Those interested in kayaking and paddling will also be able to use a portion of the pier.

The city council approved $5.2 million for the completion of the design, which will take two years, according to the architect.

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Travel: Aerial Walkway in Cape Town Allows Visitors to Take a Surreal Stroll Above the Trees

This surreal walkway recently installed in Cape Town, South Africa, creates a meandering, aerial path that allows visitors to stroll through the treetops. The steel-and-pinewood Kirstenbosch Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway begins on the forest floor, gradually sloping upward and eventually elevating guests to a spectacular vantage point above the canopy. From the heights, guests can witness the South African forest in all its glory — and in all kinds of weather. Sometimes, visitors must bring umbrellas to walk through the clouds and fog engulfing the lofty canopy. Benches placed periodically along the walkway offer ideal spots to take in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset while suspended in the atmosphere.

The snaking bridge, inspired by the shape of a snake skeleton, measures 130 meters long — the equivalent of about 1.5 football fields. It was built over a period of two years with about $400,000 of private donations. By carefully hoisting the prefabricated steel beams over the canopy, the builders were able to give people an amazing new way to appreciate the forest while causing minimal disturbance to the natural environment.

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12 Of The World’s Most Awesome Remote Hideaways

When you live in a constantly connected (but spiritually disconnected) urban environment, it’s natural to dream about escaping to some wilderness shack and never coming back. Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hide-Outs, a new book from Gestalten, lets you indulge that fantasy without having to go all Grizzly Man. It presents some of the world’s most stunning cabins, shelters, hideouts, and sanctuaries that answer to the longing for retreat in nature.

Similar to the way 19th-century Romantics reacted to the Industrial Revolution with a more emotional, worshipful approach to the natural world, contemporary architects are building structures that incorporate the wilderness into their designs, inviting it in rather than shutting it out. “Direct connections to water, earth, air, and even fire enhance the power and sense of discovery present within the rural refuge,” writes Sofia Borges in Hide and Seek’s introduction. Among these are a mirrored lake cottage that reflects the surrounding forest on its facade and the nook-like Cocoon shelter, made of strips of cedar, which snakes around a series of tree trunks. Here, 12 of the most jaw-dropping contemporary hideaways in the world’s many middles of nowhere.

BIVACCO LUCA VUERICH, BY GIOVANNI PESAMOSCA ARCHITETTO IN FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA, ITALY

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This tiny, stoic A-frame cabin perches atop a rugged landscape in the Julian Alps, 8,303 feet above sea level. It’s situated along a summit trail, so hikers and climbers can catch up on rest in the hideout, which sleeps up to nine guests.

SLEDGE-PROJECT, BY ROB SWEERE, QAASUITSUP, GREENLAND

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These futuristic mobile dwellings on sleds were built for an organization that helps rehabilitate troubled children by pairing them with local hunters, who teach them the ways of the wild. They can be towed with dogs or snowmobiles over sea or ice, and each sleeps up to six guests.

THE PUMP HOUSE, BY BRANCH STUDIO ARCHITECTS, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA

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This re-locatable lakeside cabin perches on stilts. Floor-to-ceiling windows let sunlight pour through.

FIRE SHELTER, BY SIMON HJERMIND JENSEN, CAPITAL REGION OF DENMARK, DENMARK

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Inspired by the architecture of nomadic people, this egg-like plywood hut has a simple circular bench around a central fireplace. Open to the public, and meant to stand only for a year, the Fire Shelter is ventilated by a hole in the top and two towards the bottom.

STEVE’S THAILAND DOME HOME, BY STEVE AREEN, IN ISAN, THAILAND

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This Dr. Seussian orange refuge sits amid a large organic mango farm. Completed by a small community of builders in just six weeks for under $6,000, the dome-shaped hut includes a handmade staircase that winds up to a rooftop patio shaded by a shaggy palapa.

VEGA COTTAGE, BY KOLMAN BOYE ARCHITECTS, IN TRONDELAG, NORWAY

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Close to the polar circle, this simple house borrows the gunmetal-gray color scheme of the surrounding bedrock in its harsh northern landscape, and its roof reflects the silver-white of the perpetually overcast sky. Large windows offer vistas of the ocean and mountain range.

COCOON, BY AA DESIGN & MAKE, SOUTH WEST ENGLAND, U.K.

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This cocoon, made of cedar strips in a whimsical monocoque structure, weaves through the trees of a forest park. Visitors can curl up inside its undulating form.

KEKKILA GARDEN SHED, BY AVANTO ARCHITECTS, UUSIMAA, FINLAND

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This garden shed-greenhouse hybrid lets you feel about as close to nature as possible while still technically being inside.

LE TRONC CREUX BY BRUIT DU FRIGO, BORDEAUX, FRANCE

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This cylindrical nature hut, resembling a giant log, can sleep up to nine people.

TREE SNAKE HOUSE BY REBELO DE ANDRADE, PEDRAS SALGADAS PARK, PORTUGAL

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The long, skinny bodies of snakes gliding between trees inspired these designs, in a Portuguese resort park, which can sleep one to two guests.

LAKE COTTAGE BY UUFIE, ONTARIO, CANADA

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This cottage in an Ontario forest has a mirrored entrance that lets it blend magically into the surrounding wilderness.

STUDIO FOR A COMPOSER BY JOHNSEN SCHMALING ARCHITECTS, WISCONSIN, UNITED STATES

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A country western musician uses this retreat, made of exposed concrete and steel, glass, and wood, as a studio for writing and recording his music.