Starry Night: Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Path Inspired by Van Gogh

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[ By WebUrbanist in Technology & Vehicles & Mods. ]

night cycling visibility green

Opening last night in Nuenen, Holland, this illuminated cycling surface is free to the public, storing sunlight during the day to create stellar patterns to guide riders after dark. Its swirling shapes are recognizably inspired by one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous paintings.

night path now open

night cycling path glowing

Developed by Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde in conjunction with infrastructure specialists from Heijmans, this pathway is a conceptual extension of a series of glow-in-the-dark highway projects and other urban improvement proposals.

night path standing view

night cycling rider shot

Part practical lighting scheme and part installation art project, the path is located along a stretch of a bicycling route passing through Noord Brabant, the region from which van Gogh originated, which in turn connects various notable sites from his personal life and work. Its creator explains: “I wanted to create a place that people will experience in a special way, the technical combined with experience – that’s what techno-poetry means to me.”

night cycling image large

night path holland biking

night biking path lights

The semi-abstract pixelated swirls are a high-tech reference to Starry Night, painted in 1889 and depicting an idealized view from the east-facing window of the painter’s asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City).

night cycling aerial view

starry night inspired path

night cycling path image

night path cyclist picture

Studio Roosegaarde is known for “tactile high-tech environments in which viewer and space become one. This connection, established between ideology and technology, results in what Roosegaarde calls ‘techno-poetry’. His often interactive work connects people with art and people with people.”


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Guerrilla Moss Graffiti: 8-Step DIY Guide to Green Wall Art

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

moss graffit artwork examples

Seed bombs and shotgun shell sprouts are not the only weapons in a guerrilla war for urban gardens and green street art – moss is a great material that can be rapidly adapted and deployed to make statements on city surfaces as well.

moss wall art making

Indeed, using mosses allows artists to go above and beyond the ground, shifting from horizontal to vertical spans for a different look and added visibility. And, as it turns out, creating moss wall art is not as difficult as you might guess – do-it-yourself directions are shown in detail below.

moss art recipe process

First, you have to gather some moss, naturally, which you can then mix with water-retention gardening gel and some buttermilk then blend together for a few minutes to form a gelatinous substance.

moss graffiti guide steps

Shift your creation into a portable container then select and paint it onto a surface of choice – if the area will not be exposed to moisture, you may want to come back by and spray on some water from time to time.

anna garforth grow moss

Remember, too, that there are many ways to take this process further and create additional kinds of green artwork, mossy or otherwise.

moss graffiti removal subtraction

Meanwhile, if you find a surface already mossed over thanks to time and nature, selectively erasing sections of growth can be a fun form of expression as well.


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Aerial Urbanism: Hyper-Dense ‘Cloud City’ Redefines Skylines

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

cloud city side view

A complex spanning in seemingly all directions, this sky-oriented, cloud-shaped, forward-thinking design has just won the Shenzhen Super City Competition in China.

cloud city in rain

cloud city project proposal

Dubbed Cloud Citizen, this winning proposal was a collaboration Urban Future Organization and CR-Design in conjunction with a team from Chalmers Technical University.

cloud city parks peds

cloud city from above

The design is aimed at tackling the Shenzhen Bay, an area adjacent to Hong Kong facing long-standing and still-growing issues of urban density and pollution. Of course, the visually-striking aspects also help form an iconic identity from this mega-structure as well.

cloud city at night

cloud city boardwalk water

The idea involves suspending residential, commercial and institutional nodes of activity in the air, interspersing homes with cultural facilities and leisure centers and allowing small pieces to add up to a larger whole. Instead of a straight vertical skyscraper, the organic form branches out with three-dimensional complexity to create interconnections in the sky.

cloud city site plan

cloud city design concept

cloud city winning design

Aside from its mesmerizing aesthetics, the project boasts a slew of sustainable strategies: “All 170 hectares of the 680 meter-tall super city work in cooperation with nature to make that future a reality; lush gardens act as ‘green lungs’ connecting each of Cloud Citizen’s public spaces; built-in mechanisms harvest rainwater, and power the city with solar, wind, and algae-based energy, special sections of the city will store carbon and filter particles from the air, while housing sanctuaries for plant life; localized food production modules and housing will cut down on carbon emissions from transportation. These diverse elements work together to create a harmonious vision of the cities of the future.”


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Color-Changing Hammocks: Swing on 20 LED-Lit Circular Chairs

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

circular art swing project

Transforming an outdoor recreational space into an interactive evening wonderland, this series of variously-sized swings (and accompanying activities) encourages playful nighttime interactions.

circular swing park area

circular swing set design

Designed by Howler + Yoon Architecture (images by John Horner Photography) and located at Lawn on D in Boston, the focal point of the installation is the set of round hammocks filled with LEDs that change color as you sit on, swing or spin them.

circular round color changing

circular urban swing art

The lights use customized micro-controllers, converting motion into changes in hue and luminosity, starting as a standard white by default. Also on offer: free wireless internet and various backyard-type ball games.

circular swing art installation

circular crescent moon swings

circular light up hammock

The swings come in three sizes and are set to be on display (and open to the public for play) through November, but it might be best to enjoy them now while the summer weather still lingers. But don’t worry: rain or snow, they will leave a light on.


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See-Through Solar: Crystal Clear Panels Are 100% Transparent

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[ By WebUrbanist in Drawing & Digital. ]

clear transparent solar energy

Applied to anything from the surface of your smartphone to the the sides of a skyscraper, the possible applications of this innovation are beyond amazing.

clear solar material scientists

Developed by a team of chemical engineers and material scientists from the University of Michigan’s School of Engineering, this solar concentrator leaves a clear surface while collecting energy.

clear solar power panel

Unlike similar previous attempts, this project avoids coloration and distortion entirely behind: “The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight.” The goal now is to iterate on the design, continuing to improve its efficiency, scale and cost-effectiveness toward eventual mass-production on surfaces both small and large.

solar energy see through

Operating out of the normally-visible spectrum, they look effectively transparent to a human viewer. The captured power is redirected to and collected at the edges of the panel, out of sight and out of mind, leaving in the center a transparent surface that could cover (or even replace) windows on a building or the surfaces of smartphones. The goal is for energy generation to disappear entirely – in the near future, you might never know that homes and phones are creating, collecting and deploying clean power passively all around you.


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Endless City: Skyscraper Wraps Upward with Walkable Ramps

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endless city vertical view

An urban pedestrian paradise, this conceptual design proposes to turn cities skyward with a system of flexible open spaces that gradually rise as floor plates curve up around its core.

endless city interior atrium

This winning  entry to the SkyScrapers & SuperSkyscraper Competition by SURE Architecture, dubbed Endless City, is more than just visually compelling – it also creates an argument about urban pathways and civic connectivity.

endless city floor plates

endless city top level

Its design boasts a series of sustainable strategies deployed throughout the structure, including passive energy, heating, cooling and lighting systems as well as advanced waste and water management.

skycraper - diagramme- structure OK

The structure is framed around a series of vertical steel-tress columns that in turn support a pair of ramps connected periodically by bridges.

endless city ramped section

The program features a mix of commercial, residential and institutional functions, with larger community areas mixed periodically throughout.

SERVERwork 22013-033 Skycraper-London CompetitionCADLondon

endless city top down

The core concept, though, is to commingle these programmatic elements with circulation, allowing visitors and occupants to mix on its various levels and traverse the structure vertically – skyways taken to a new extreme. Its modular construction also theoretically enables further additions, allowing it to grow upward with time.


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Floating on Dry Land: 17 Derelict Houseboats Find New Home

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ceuvel project lifting place

Located in the north of Amsterdam, the recently-opened De Ceuval (conceptualized by Space&Matter) is a radical redevelopment project featuring homes, offices, restaurants and gardens, all accessed via elevated winding platforms that connect renovated houseboats.

houseboat space matter diagram

houseboats on dry land

A former shipping wharf, this brownfield site is being transformed from a polluted wasteland into a temporary ten-year creative haven, all designed to revitalize and rehabilitate the land it occupies and leave it cleaner at the end of its lease.

houseboat winding wood pathways

houseboat brick wall exterior

The complex is made up of an array of formerly-floating homes that are no longer seaworthy but can still be fixed up and find a second life on land. As PopUpCity reports, “The imaginatively retro-fitted houseboats that make up the creative quarter are all placed around a winding bamboo walkway and the surrounding landscape consists of plants that clean the soil.”

houseboat brownfield site renovation

houseboat axon diagram

An incredible array of sustainable strategies are being employed in the development, both for the benefit of the site and to educate the public,  showing off “new technologies that can transform how we produce and consume resources and public services in cities. Throughout the site, solar technologies will convert energy from the sun into heat and electricity. Green roofs and water collection systems are designed to collect, purify, and store rainwater for when it’s needed. Sanitation systems will extract energy, nutrients, and water from the waste produced for on-site food production. A network of sensors provide information on performance and user behavior.”

houseboat renovated interior design

houseboat gathering people party

One of the central features of the program is the Ceuvel Café, designed as a gathering and eating space for tenants and visitors alike, featuring “lectures, workshops and tastings. In the future, it will also be possible to buy locally produced vegetables [and attend] guided tours and events. Ceuvel Café will also act as a stage for artists, musicians, theat[rical performers] and filmmakers.”

houseboat finished pedestrian diagram

aerial view micro town

The entire complex is meant to serve not only the designer and architects who occupy it, but the environment around it, using green tactics of all kinds including  “high-tech systems like sensors, monitoring devices, solar panels, and high-efficiency electric boilers. Low-tech systems also play an important role, including biological waste processing, water filtration, smart insulation methods, vegetation, and solar tubes that provide more natural light to indoor spaces.”


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Photocatalytic Concrete: Air-Cleaning Building Absorbs Smog

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smog canopy forest inspired

Featuring 100,000 square feet of smog-filtering surface area, this structural facade will break down harmful oxides in sunlight to improve air quality all around it.

smog absorbing building design

The building, designed by Italian firm Nemesi & Partners, is being created for an exposition in Milan themed around planet-friendly sustainable designs.

smog sucking facade exterior

The amorphous and organic form is both a reference to trees and other types of air-purifying plants but also a way to provide a maximum amount of exposed surface.

smog building interior shadows

Like a forest, this facade will cast complex shadows and provide shade in and around the building. Its form references both nature and man-made land art.

smog converting architectural facade

Rooftop solar panels tucked out of view will add a further but less-visible green dimension, generating electricity for the building below.


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Smart Bricks: Life-Size LEGO-Style Blocks for Human Habitats

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kite bricks building blocks

Aiming to revolutionize the most basic material units of construction, these building blocks snap together like LEGO bricks while leaving space for insulation and infrastructure inside and between them.

kite building block prototype

kite wall construction detail

Designed by Kite Bricks, a startup company with lofty aspirations, these Smart Bricks offer “high thermal control, full passage of pipes, wires, cables and the like, finishes for both indoors and outdoors, extraordinary tensile strength, ease of construction, safety of materials, and total application throughout a structure—floors, ceilings, and walls.”

Among other ecological and cost advantages, a core idea is to reduce the difficulty of construction and the equipment and debris associated with the building process. The bricks can be stacked by hand and are self-supporting from the start – no scaffolding needed.

kite brick window wall

kite lego like building block

As for applications: “The brick is amenable for building houses, buildings, bridges and more.. The block is constructed of high-strength concrete with unique properties that allow for … large savings in electricity expenses associated with seasonal heating and cooling. The block allows for faster, cheaper, more precise, and stronger building than is available through traditional building methods.”

kite life size lego

robotic construction blocks

Whether this approach will replace bricks as we know them remains to be seen, but the next step will certainly involve full-scale prototypes, albeit hopefully ones more creative and attractive than the rough-and-ready examples shown in the video above.


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