Copenhagen Zoo, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Schønherr Landscape Architects and MOE have collaborated on a new yin and yang-shaped Panda House that resembles the Panda’s natural habitat and creates a peaceful environment for one of the world’s rarest mammals. 

The new Panda House is scheduled to open in 2018, just in time for the arrival of the two giant Pandas from Chengdu in China – a gesture of goodwill from the Chinese government following Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark’s visit to the country in 2014. Encompassing a 1,250 m2 indoor site and 1,200 m2 outdoor area, the circular shape fits perfectly between the existing buildings at one of the oldest Zoos in Europe, including the award-winning Elephant House by Norman Foster. The construction is scheduled to commence later this year, once the 150 million DKK construction budget has been secured.

The design of the new Panda House begins with a circular shape, formed by the surrounding existing facilities at the intersection of multiple walkways. Panda House is designed to feel like humans are the visitors in the Pandas’ home, rather than Pandas being the exotic guests from faraway lands. 

The habitat forms the freest and most naturalistic possible environment for their lives and relationship with each other, providing the freedom to roam about and the ideal conditions to mate – one of the major challenges facing Pandas from becoming endangered.

The Panda House consists of two levels: the ground floor, where access to the interior spaces is connected by a ramp circulation and the upper floor, which leads to a walk along the rocky slope, through the native Nordic plants and into the dense bamboo forest. All interior functions are designed to have the lush landscape at eye-level.

Both Pandas and guests hardly notice the separation; the stable’s functionalities are carefully hidden or integrated into the landscape, and visitors are free to experience the natural environment blending together in a unified and harmonious atmosphere. By lifting the earth at both ends of the yin and yang symbol, an undulating landscape forms to allow direct views into the Panda’s habitat. Additionally, the building will give visitors a unique insight into the work of the zookeepers.

For more information, check out the BIG website here: 

SIZE: 2,450 m2
LOCATION: Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark
COLLABORATORS: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Schønherr, MOE
CLIENT: Copenhagen Zoo

Posted on by sera | 1 Comment

Tiny library gets tons of attention

This tiny timber library was one of the 10 winners of the 2017 Ontario Association of Architects Awards, announced last week. 

Located in Newmarket, Ontario, this is Story Pod by Atelier Kastelic Buffey Inc. 

This 2.4-meter wide pod is a book-sharing library where community members can drop off their books and borrow others. Situated outside, near the town’s civic square and a walking trail system, the Story Pod’s walls open to reveal bookshelves and seating. 

During the day, two of the walls pivot open like the covers of a book, welcoming people inside or to gather around the front.  Visitors can take or leave something to read, or lounge quietly on the built-in seating. 

At night, when the doors are locked, recessed, energy efficient LED lights, powered by concealed, self-sustaining solar panels on the roof, glow through the lattice work like a lantern, providing ambiance for night markets or community events. 


For more photos of Story Pod, see AKB’s website here.

Selected from more than 140 submissions, ten projects won Design Excellence prizes in the 2017 Ontario Association of Architects Awards.

The recipients of the 2017 Ontario Association of Architects Awards, plus those of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award, Michael V & Wanda Plachta Award and the to-be-determined People’s Choice Award, will be recognized at the 2017 RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture in Ottawa on May 27. 

You can vote for Story Pod or your favorite project for the People’s Choice award at the Ontario Association of Architects. Voting closes on April 24.

Check out the other winners of the 2017 Ontario Association of Architects Awards at Azure Magazine.

Posted in Architecture, Awards, DJC, Parks and open space | 1 Comment

Hazel Wolf K-8 School – Where ‘biophilic’ design bonds children with nature

Hazel Wolf K-8 School is DJC Building of the Year for 2016 and a beautiful example of how natural elements like living walls and rain gardens can be integrated into school spaces. 

Check out this great article by Laura Kazmierczak of NAC Architecture from our recent special issue of BUILDING GREEN – 
‘Biophilic’ design bonds children with nature

From the article: “Despite a demonstrated need for a strong connection to nature, it remains a challenge for most schools to incorporate natural outdoor space into their programs. Now that we know there exists a problem, just how do we go about addressing it? The answer is in our DNA.”

Read more on DJC’s 2016 Building of the Year here

Photos by Benjamin Benschneider Photography 

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Minimalist photos of beautiful buildings

Check out the winners of the Minimalist Architecture Mission 2017 photography contest

The Minimalist Architecture Mission, organized by blog We And The Color and photography resource EyeEm, received 45,000 submissions from photographers around the world.

After looking through all of the 24k images submitted to EyeEm, they selected 20 winners. The top three were chosen by Matthias Heiderich, self-taught photographer specializing in minimalist, contemporary photography. 

Images range from architectural celebs, such as Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI in Rome, to details of more anonymous buildings, often featuring sharp angles, and contrasting patterns and colors.

1st place: Georgij Dorofeev

About the 1st place submission, Heiderich said, “Great, clean composition, a refreshing color scheme, and an interesting minimalist building facade – What I love about this kind of photography is that sometimes it’s hard to tell whether I’m looking at a photograph or a computer-generated image. But the subtleties make the difference. Photographs are never 100% clean.”

Check out all 20 of the winners at the EyeEm Blog here: .

Here are a couple of our favorites: 

By Jeremy Walter 

By Raif 

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Opinion: Workers’ Comp Reform for Injured Workers and Job Creators

The following post is by Wendy Novak, President, Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington.

We urge support of SB 5822 – Workers’ Comp Reform for Injured Workers and Job Creators

Deadline is March 8th 

SB 5822 is aimed at improving workers’ compensation system costs and administration and worker outcomes through modification of procedures for claims to self-insureds, clarification of recovery in third-party legal actions, clarification of occupational disease claims, and lowering age barriers for structured settlements.

The reforms included in SB 5822 are not intended to reduce workers’ compensation benefits, but to make the system more efficient. This is a positive change. It is fair and consistent with providing excellent benefits to workers and taking into account the needs of self-insured employers.

SB 5822 addresses the following:

  • Structured settlement reform: Allow responsible adults to settle their non-medical claims – 
    • A 2016 study by the Upjohn Institute confirms that there were no adverse effects or unintended consequences of allowing structured settlements in Washington, but many unnecessary limitations hurt the program’s effectiveness.
  • Third-party claims: Fix the reimbursement loophole –
    • A 2010 decision of the Washington Supreme Court created a loophole incentivizing trial lawyers to game workers’ comp money in third party cases so the system can’t get reimbursed, raising costs and putting pressure on rates
  • Self-Insured claims: Allow greater claims management responsibility – 
    • Legislative performance audits in 1998 and 2015 and the Self-Insurance Ombuds have pointed out that L&I should allow greater claims management responsibility.

Why Support SB 5822?

  • Workers still aren’t getting back to work –
    • Washington’s average days off work continue to be around 250-twice the national average and three times the Oregon average.  Workers in some industries are making more money off workers’ comp than they were at work. 
  • Despite attempts to reform, costs continue to rise –
    • Since 2011 reforms, State Fund premiums have increased over 6 percent, while premiums have decreased in most states. The National Academy of Social Insurance shows Washington still pays the highest benefit per covered worker in the nation.
  • The Department’s answer is higher penalties and more employees –
    • Rather than seek cost-reduction measures, the Department’s legislative priorities include higher safety penalties on employers and nearly $47 million for 78 new full-time employees. 

The Associated Builders & Contractors of Western Washington along with several strategic and industry partners has signed on to a joint letter in support of SB 5822. Organizations in support of SB 5822 include: Associated General Contractors, Building Industry Association of Washington, Association of Washington Business, National Federation of Independent Business, Washington Roundtable, and others. 
Contact your legislators TODAY and tell them to SUPPORT SB 5822.

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