Saturday, October 26, 2013

10 Creative Ways to Use Columns as Design Features in your Home

by RoniqueGibson

Throughout architectural history architects and designers alike have had to find creative ways to address the issue of structure versus aesthetics in building homes. Columns are one of those design challenges that are essential for structural support to carry the loads from the roof, upper floors, or other weight bearing loads down to the ground to support your home. While you may think that columns have to be covered there are some gorgeous ways to display them proudly! Here are 10 creative ways to use columns as design features in your home.

1. When designing your home think about the structure first:

If you are fortunate enough to have a hand in the design and aesthetics of your home, talk to the structural engineer and architect about options for creatively addressing columns. Especially in large great rooms such as living and family rooms or open kitchens that may have a second story above, ask the design professionals if you can plan how you will use the space so large columns aren’t stuck in inopportune places if possible.

2. Plan your furniture layout around your columns:

For many homes columns can become the focal point of your space. Exterior decks are a great example of how wood, stone, stucco and brick can be creatively displayed as column wraps and outdoor furniture seating arrangements can use similar materials and colors to play off of the aesthetics. Don’t be afraid to try and plan your furniture around the columns for an enjoyable seating arrangement for guests.

3. Adding luxurious details with the addition of columns 

If you want to add grandeur and scale to your interiors, there is no better architectural feature than columns. Classical columns with eye-catching capitals (the top of the column) can be displayed as basic Doric and Tuscan style with simple lines or can be as elaborate as Corinthian style with intricate leaves, swirls and detailing. Used in a main foyer or even in your large master bathroom will create a luxurious and classical atmosphere.

4. What architectural style of columns could your home benefit from?

Architectural periods have come and gone and there are features from every period that characterizes how they addressed structure and columns. Consider researching architectural periods or asking an architect what style of columns would match the architectural theme of your entire home. This will help keep your home true to a specific design era.

5. Create a focal point using greenery around your exterior columns

While you may only think about columns for utilitarian uses they can also serve as creative focal points, especially on an outdoor patio or terrace. Trellises and arbors have always used greenery to vertically display greenery and so can columns. Ask a landscape designer what type of foliage is ideal for climbing or clinging onto your specific exterior materials. Climbing ivy is a popular climbing plant in the United States and can be used vertically and horizontally in outdoor applications.

6. Choosing the best material for your interior columns

Depending on the design style of your interiors, consider what type of material will work best in your home. For many chic urban lofts the appeal of exposed steel columns that can be painted or left unpainted is a design aesthetic many love for their industrial-inspired homes. While if your home lends itself more towards refined and traditionally appointed interiors then drywall wraps around columns are a beautiful way to finish off an open basement or large room.

7. Customize your interiors with faux columns

While the original intent of columns were solely structural, designers and architects have found that using non-structural or faux columns to create a certain aesthetic in interiors is a great design element. Non-load bearing columns look beautiful in foyers and entryways and look beautiful in a colonnade on your outdoor porch.Share on Facebook Tweet

8. Using columns as design elements in your home

Another design element to consider: use columns as the base for bookshelves, display niches and other creative display areas in your interiors. Many architects use columns to flank a fireplace on both sides and use built-shelves to display books, entertainment center media, sculptures and more.

9. Don’t assume a column can just “be removed” in your design

Many homeowners when trying to renovate or modify their homes take the careless assumption that they can just remove a column in order to open up a room or create a desired look they are going after. Consult with a structural engineer before deciding to remove existing columns. Damage to your home can result if removed or you and others can get seriously injured in the process.

10. Add visual focal points to break up outdoor spaces with columns

While columns are used for structural purposes they also serve as wonderful ways to break up outdoor space. A colonnade of columns aligning an outdoor entertaining space or used on a veranda overlooking a pool can look gorgeous. Try using the same materials of your exterior home to clad exterior columns for a pulled together and integrated look to your outdoor home.Freshome readers tell us how you use columns in your home to create a home you love to live in.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hong Kong Tops Charts as World’s Most Expensive Construction Market

Hong Kong Tops Charts as World’s Most Expensive Construction Market

by Karissa Rosenfield,
August 28th 2013

Construction Costs Report has named Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world to build in. The annual study, which benchmarks building costs in 47 countries across the globe, found that relative construction costs have been affected by substantial fluctuations in currency throughout the year. Despite a stagnant economy, Europe has six of the top ten most expensive markets in this year’s report, reflecting the competitive challenge faced by the Eurozone. 

The top ten most expensive countries to build in are:
Hong Kong

Meanwhile, the cheapest locations to build remain India, Indonesia and Vietnam, where construction costs are 30 to 40% of levels seen in the UK.

© EC HarrisReview the complete report here.Reference: EC Harris,BDOnline

Sunday, September 18, 2011

KK100, Shenzhen, China

Tallest building ever realised by a British architect nears completion in Shenzhen
TFP Farrells is preparing for the completion of its stunningly bisymmetrical KK100 tower in the Luohu district of Shenzhen, China’s fastest growing city. The tallest building in the world seen through to realisation by the hand of a British architect, KK100 is a glimmering mixed use development cultivated along the same lines as Farrells’ Kowloon Station Development in Hong Kong.
Reflecting this past urban project’s principles in high density masterplanning, this 441.8m, 100 storey high rise encompasses 210,000 sq m of residential accommodation, 173,000 sq m of Grade A office space, a 35,000 sq m 6-star hotel complete with sky bar, various food and beverage outlets and a sky terrace anchored by a retail podium directly connected to a new metro station.
The softly domed tower will offer its users panoramic views across bustling Shenzhen and on a clear day these will stretch to Hong Kong. It is hoped that the design will spur on the architectural development of the city with design professionals inspired by its striking form.
Intrinsic to this impressive project was that the building reflect the continued commercial prosperity in China, therefore a release from Farrells states: “The tower’s fluid, elegant shape and reflective skin are an allusion to a fountain representing the wealth and prosperity springing from the economic success that is Shenzhen.”
This symbolism can also be tied to the architect’s rise in the local market as the KK100 tower will complete only a matter of weeks prior to Farrells’ 20th anniversary of its Hong Kong practice. The firm has sustained its outreach into the global market over the decades and continues to source ‘landmark’ projects across the world, including the Z15 tower – a recent commission for the practice which will see a 120 storey, 510m+ structure erupt in Beijing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hilltop Villas~Batu Ferringhi

Immaculate luxury amidst nature's best gifts

Discover a hidden Tropical gem with spectacular panorama of the Straits of Malacca while rejuvenating from fresh mountain air
A jewel of a home, Hilltop Villas is serenely tucked away in the hills of Batu Ferringhi on Penang Island, Malaysia.  Made up of a limited collection of 22 exclusive properties, these homes are a luxurious statement of fine architecture, class and grandeur.
Designed for luxury and idyllic coastal living, Hilltop Villas offers 5 distinctly- designed villas, each with its own character and personality. The villas gather their design elements from the surrounding tropical environment, with architectural features rich in natural stone and marble as well as solid wood, all without sparing modernity or convenience.
Every stay will be a blissful and serene experience for the homeowners; the common area will be managed by dedicated a property management company. This will include 24-hour security, landscaping maintenance, routine and preventive maintenance, and general repairs. Additional services for housekeeping and concierge services are available upon demand.
Other public amenities such as world-class hotels, spas, restaurants, and hospitals are all within easy reach. The Penang International Airport is a 45-minute drive while the Penang Bridge which links the island to Peninsular Malaysia is even closer at a leisurely drive of 35 minutes.
This is truly an island paradise with cool ocean breeze and warm sunshine to year-round indulgence. A limited of 10 prestige residences are available for sales.

  • Land Area: 5,834 sq ft to 10,602 sq ft
  • Home Built-up Area: 4,776 sq ft to 7,453 sq ft
  • Price Range: MYR 2,800,000 to MYR 4,500,000
  • Ownership Structure on Land and Building: Freehold with Individual Title
  • Target Unit Hand-Over Date (Certificate of Fitness for Occupation): March 2010
* Gardens
* Marble Countertop    
* Security System
* Spa/Hot Tub    
* Stone    
* Terrace/Outdoor Space

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Earthen Igloo

Hand-built environmental friendly earthen igloo

PAHANG: An organic vegetable farmer came with an idea of creating a home away from hubbub for his beloved wife and children one day. He then spent six months to do research online before building an "earthen igloo" with natural raw materials like red mud, wood, bamboo and thatch.
He also planned to hand make his own furniture with natural materials.

The earthen building that looked very much like an igloo with the structure of a Fujian Tulou, was 10-feet high. The diameter of its living room was 15 feet and its bedroom, 10 feet in diameter, accommodated a bed and two pieces of furniture. It was comfortable for a family of three.
An artistic bamboo-made roof in the living room.
Huang Tian Huan, 40, was from Parit Buntar, Perak. He stayed in Cameron Highlands with his wife and children and made a living by operating an organic vegetable farm about 4 acres.

During an interview with the Guang Ming Daily, Huang said that the earthen igloo, with a living room, a bed room, a wash room, a basement and an outdoor kitchen, was built on his vegetable farm. He got most of the materials for the building from his farm and nearby woods.
Flush toilet in the earthen building
An outdoor kitchen

A cozy living room
"The building is entirely hand-made with mostly natural materials and thus, the payment for the five workers accounted the largest sum of the total cost of RM25,000," Huang said.

Huang said that after searching for information online, he had a doubt about the steadiness of a vine roof. He tried on chopsticks and found that the approach was actually feasible.

Add 5% of cement for a stronger structure

Huang said that since the round building was not supported by bricks and steels, he mixed 5% of cement and cow dung into red mud for a stronger foundation.

"Waterproof cement was added to stabilise the structure while cow dung was rich in fiber and made the red mud more solid. As for the walls, I filled hemp bags with soil and a steel wire to fix their positions. I covered them with red mud by hand after the internal structure of the walls was completed for a smooth surface," Huang explained.

He continued that bamboos were used to create an artistic roof in the living room and a hole was left in the middle for sunlight penetration. The last step would be covering it with dried thatch.

Safe and environmental friendly

When being asked why he chose a round building instead of a square one, Huang said that a round building was safer for children.

In addition, he supported environmental protection movements and hoped to build a dream house with ancient methods.

As for the cooling ssytem, Huang made a 2-feet thick wall to stabilise the indoor temperature to minimise the temperature difference between day and night.

With the pleasant weather on the highlands, it would be comfortable inside the building even without a fan or an air-conditioner.

Huang said that tiny gaps on the walls which were not visible to the naked eye enabled good air circulation inside the building.

He also mentioned about a glass roof in the bed room that enabled them to lie down beneath it at night for stargazing.

An outdoor bread kiln for organic bread
An outdoor bread kiln is on the way
After the first building was completed, Huang planned to build another two or three more earthen buildings to serve as guest houses. He also planned to to build a playground for his four children.
There will be more earthen buildings to serve as guest houses
A bread kiln was built outside the building as Huang wanted to make naturally fermented organic bread and yogurt for sale. In addition to taste the home-made organic bread and yogurt, visitors might also bake pizza and meat.

As for the basement, Huang said he would use it to store wine and tea leaves. If the condition permitted, he would also make cheese and leave them at the basement for fermentation.
Staircase to the basement.
Huang, who has run an organic vegetable farm for nearly five years, was originally majored in Mechanical Engineering. He later transferred to study Physics. After finishing his master degree course, he became a photographer, lecturer and then vegetable farmer.

Huang' s wife said that she took it as a gift of love from her husband since they just had their 9th wedding anniversary not long ago.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Shard - London Bridge Tower

The Shard Tower
The Shard is one of the most enigmatic buildings to adorn the London skyline in recent years. The vision of its creator, the much lauded Italian architect Renzo Piano was for a vertical 'City in the Sky'; and the Shard at London Bridge Quarter with its mix of offices residences, hotel, restaurants and viewing platforms will herald a new era in high rise development for London and will become emblematic when all eyes look towards the city in 2012.
Increasing density in central London, particularly near major public transport nodes, is key to London's future development. Improving the efficiency of the public transport system and maximising the use of space around transport hub is essential. Given the location of The Shard above one of London's key commuter stations, bus interchange and two main underground lines, a high density development was deemed not only possible but very desirable.

At an inspiring height of 306 metres (1,016 feet) and with a total 72 occupied floors reaching skyward into a breathtaking 15 story spire, the Shard London Bridge Quarter is set to be the tallest building in Western Europe. The Shard immediately adjacent to London Bridge Station will rest elegantly on the London skyline, providing a welcome new symbol for the world financial capital.

The Shard replaces the Southwark Tower, a 1970's building located on London Bridge Street. The Shard offers high density vertical development at a transport hub and will be the UK's first truly mixed use tower, devised to interface with London on many levels. The master architect, Renzo Piano, designed the Shard as a 'vertical city' that includes a public piazza, 586,509 sq ft (54, 488 sq m) of world class office space, an exclusive collection of residential apartments which will be the highest residential apartments in the UK and will be serviced by Europe's first 5-star Shangri-La Hotel, retail space, restaurants, and a public viewing gallery. This will all ensure that it becomes the beating heart of a regenerated London Bridge Quarter.

Inspired by the spires of London's churches and the top sails of the ships that used to moor on the Thames, the Shard will be a light and elegant presence in London's skyline. The plan of The Shard is generated by the irregular nature of the site. Each facet forms a shard, a plane of glass gently inclined inwards, rising towards the top. The corners of The Shard are open and the shards do not touch, allowing the building to breathe. In turn the glass surface fragments as it rises and the tower dissolves into the sky.

photos from May 2010

photos from May 2010

photos from May 2010

photos from May 2010

photos from May 2010

photos from May 2010
Office Space at The Shard
The Shard offers 54, 488 sq m (586,509 sq ft) of flexible prime office space and is set to become the premier commercial address in London. Over 45% of the Shard has already been pre-let to Shangri La (floors 34-52) and to Transport for London (floors 4-10). The remaining available office space offers all the amenities one would expect from a desirable central London address. The highly flexible floor plates at The Shard are efficient and effective with space net internal floor area ranging from 2,790 sq m (30,032 sq ft) to 1,349 sq m (14,521 sq ft).

A key feature of The Shard office floors is the naturally ventilated winter gardens. These spaces were first devised by Renzo Piano for his acclaimed Aurora Place skyscraper in Sydney, Australia. These multifunctional areas make the most of the stunning views across the Thames and from Hyde Park in the West to Canary Wharf in the East from the Shard. The winter gardens can be used for a variety of purposes and allow occupants to enjoy natural light and air within the office.

The offices within the Shard are accessed via a dedicated entrance on the concourse level of London Bridge Quarter. The office entrance also benefits from direct access to London Bridge mainline station, the bus station and the Jubilee and Northern lines on the Underground.

The Hotel at The Shard
The first Shangri-La Hotel in the UK will occupy floors 34-52 of the Shard and will contain 195 rooms and suites. The hotel will operate on the simple yet powerful philosophy of a warm, efficient and seamless service that has made the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Group famous. The Hotel will also feature a signature Shangri-La Spa on floor 52, which is available to guests as well as the residents and workers in the Shard and London Bridge Place. The Hotel also has its own entrance on St Thomas Street with valet parking and taxi drop off point directly outside.

The Apartments at The Shard
An exclusive collection of apartments at the Shard are arranged on floors 53-65 and are the highest elevation residences in the UK. With their amazing vistas across the London skyline they will be one of the most coveted addresses in the world. The Shard apartments will be the ultimate in sophisticated and contemporary living, with each being custom designed to the resident's exact specifications. The apartments will also benefit from all the services and facilities of the Shangri-La Hotel. To ensure the maximum levels of privacy synonymous with an exclusive address, residents at the Shard will have their own private entrance on St Thomas Street.

The Public Viewing Galleries at The Shard
Uniquely, the Shard will be open to the general public who can visit the viewing platforms on floors 68-72. The Shard viewing galleries offer breathtaking 360° views across London. The viewing galleries are accessed directly from an entrance on the mezzanine level at below ground level so that visitors do not cross over with any of the other users of the building. The galleries are expected to attract over half a million visitors a year to The Shard and with visibility at 800 ft (almost double the height of the pinnacle of The London Eye) are certain to become a major tourist attraction. The Shard will be a striking new addition to the London skyline, commanding panoramic views across the capital doubling the height offered from the London Eye. The Shard will become the tallest building in London as it reaches the maximum height allowed by the Civil Aviation Authority with unobstructed views thanks to its proximity to the river.

Restaurants at The Shard
The Shard will contain an exciting mix of world class restaurants and cafes for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. With its prime location on top of a major transport interchange, the Shard is expected to become a destination in its own right with people travelling from across London and the rest of the UK to dine in one of its restaurants (located on floors 31-33) and experience the highest view in the United Kingdom.

Public Space at The Shard
The development of the Shard and the creation of London Bridge Quarter has provided the opportunity to transform the transport facilities at this major London transport interchange. London Bridge Station is one of London's busiest railway stations, with an average of over 350, 000 journeys through the station each day. In addition to a new concourse for London Bridge Station, a bigger bus station will be constructed to the north of London Bridge Place with 15 bus routes, as well as riverboat and taxi stands. The train and tube stations will be extended covering an impressive 61 underground and 247 rail destinations.

London Bridge Quarter will also include a significant new public square with ever changing art installations, cafes and places for visitors to the area to relax. By bringing the soul back into the heart of the city, London Bridge Quarter will benefit not only tenants and residents of the Shard but also the local community by becoming a vibrant public space for everyone to enjoy.

When completed in Summer 2012, the Shard London Bridge Quarter will be an awe inspiring part of the London skyline. With its hotel, restaurants, luxury residences, flexible premium office space and public viewing galleries the Shard is a welcome addition to this long overlooked area of Central London.

The Shard will form the nucleus of London Bridge Quarter, a large scale regeneration program for the area by Sellar on behalf of LBQ Ltd. This far-reaching program will improve the local district and reinforce the importance of this gateway destination for the benefit of all of London.

Sellar and LBQ Ltd are committed to a progressive improvement programme that will see a vibrant London Bridge Quarter emerge offering improved transport links and significant public space. In short the whole area around at The Shard is set to become a new destination for Londoners to work, eat, drink and relax.

The Shard London - Developers

Sellar Developments
A privately-owned UK property investment, development and management company, Sellar Developments collaborates with eminent architects and property professionals to create environments of exceptional quality and regenerate urban districts. Through an integrated investment, development and management approach, Sellar has built an Investment Portfolio of £500m and a Development Portfolio in excess of £3bn.
Current projects include The Shard and London Bridge Place designed by Renzo Piano; Portsmouth Football Stadium, Horsea Island by Herzog & de Meuron; Seal House by David Chipperfield.

LBQ Limited
LBQ ltd is an international joint venture equally owned by Qatar National Bank, QInvest, Barwa International and Sellar Property Group. LBQ Ltd brings an impressive track record of world class developments and a range of skills that ensure that the quality of the London Bridge Quarter development is of the highest quality.

The siting of tall buildings at major transport nodes (here London Bridge, a major station feeding the city from the southeast) is a sound policy. But why super tall? What end is served by this macho rush for height?

Other than the sheer bulk, the actual design appears to lack elegance - a wide base and angles well off the vertical. In some ways it is too early to judge properly - the render towards the base of this page shows a slender tip that helps carry the rest of the building below. However in eschewing a slender form the architects have taken a path less travelled, but it is less travelled for good reasons.
Adrian Welch, editor

Renzo Piano's british skyscraper is now the tallest building in the UK - at 230 metres high. Eventually The Shard will be the tallest tower in Europe, at 306 metres high. Once the light gets better in Spring we will show new photos.
The Shard photos - from 31 Jul 2011
The Shard photos - from 31 Jul 2011

The Shard photos - from 12 Apr 2011
The Shard photos - from 12 Apr 2011
The Shard photos - from 12 Apr 2011
The Shard photos from 27 Feb 2011

The Shard photos from 27 Feb 2011
Tower Photos, 12 Sep 2010

Tower Photos, 12 Sep 2010
Tower Photos, 12 Sep 2010
Tower Photos, 12 Sep 2010
Tower Photos, 12 Sep 2010
Tower Photos, 12 Sep 2010

Tower Photos, 12 Sep 2010

Tower Photos, 12 Sep 2010