Friday, January 29, 2010

The vd guide goes Google Earth

Dear friends,
our vdguide is now free to enjoy on Google Earth.
All you have to do is to install Google Earth on your computer, which is free, and then download the vd guide here .
Double click on your downloaded vd guide file once you have the Google Earth installed and you will have full access to the marvels of the world!
We will continuosly give you more chapters of vd guides on this site and update the main file with the newest projects every time a new guide is published.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

VD Guide VII

Visiondivision gives you a brief tour of inspiring projects and phenomenon around the world.If you have more suggestions, dont hesitate to contact us at:

Arango Residence - A masterful villa overlooking the Acapulco Bay
Birth: 1973
Location: Acapulco, Mexico
Architect: John Lautner
VD says: A very impressive residence with an ingenious moat

The house was commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Jeronimo Arango as a weekend retreat for themselves and their four children. Specifically, they wanted great views of Acapulco Bay, choosing a hillside site for this purpose. Lautner responded with a two-story concrete structure of some 2300 square meters. Five bedrooms and servant quarters are tucked into the lower level, while an enormous open terrace on the upper level, sheltered by a canopy, serves as the main living and dining space. And then there’s the moat—a 1.8 meter wide swimmable channel ringing the entire terrace, with a continuous overflow at its perimeter. The moat not only underscores the dazzling sweep of ocean and open air, but also, ingeniously, keeps bugs and land critters from wandering into the house and eliminates handrails that would spoil the view.


The Boneyard (AMARG)- An aircraft storage and maintenance facility with thousands of planes
Birth: 1946
Location: Tucson,Arizona, USA
Architect: USA
VD says: An enormous and surrealistic place

TAMARG was established in 1946, shortly after World War II as the 4105th Army Air Force Unit to house B-29 and C-47 aircraft. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was chosen because of Tucson's low humidity, infrequent rainfall, alkaline soil and high altitude of 780–880 m, reducing rust and corrosion.The hard soil makes it possible to move aircraft around without having to pave the storage areas.
It takes care of more than 4,400 aircraft, including 700 F-4 Phantom IIs, whose total original purchase price is estimated at $27 billion.


Mont San Michel - A rocky tidal island
Birth: 460 AD
Location: Mont San Michel, Normandy, France
Architect: Various
VD says: Impressive natural phenomenon combined with a town that uses its power into a splendid sight.

Mont Saint Michel is a cloister town surrounded by the greatest tides in the world, running into and out of the Bay of Mont Saint Michel.
The Mont Saint Michel tides invade the bay twice a day. An impressive and unforgettable spectacle which can be witnessed form the ramparts of the Mont Saint Michel which dominate the bay.
The citadel on the island is one of the first gothic buildings ever erected.


Root Bridge - Knotted bridges of tree roots
Birth: 16th Century
Location: Cherrapunjee, India
Architect: the Khasis people
VD says: Ecological, cheap and clever

In the depths of northeastern India, in one of the wettest places on earth, some bridges are grown from the roots of a rubber tree, the Khasis people of Cherapunjee use betel-tree trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create "root-guidance systems." When they reach the other side of the river, they're allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time a sturdy, living bridge is produced.
The root bridges, some of which are over a hundred feet long, take ten to fifteen years to become fully functional, but they're extraordinarily strong. Some can support the weight of 50 or more people at once.
One of the most unique root structures of Cherrapunjee is known as the "Umshiang Double-Decker Root Bridge."
It consists of two bridges stacked one over the other.
Because the bridges are alive and still growing, they actually gain strength over time, and some of the ancient root bridges are used daily by the people of the villages around Cherrapunjee may be well over 500 years old.


Le Palais Ideal - A house made by a postman out of pebbles he collected during his daily mail route for 33 years
Birth: 1879-1912
Location: Hauterives, France
Architect: Ferdinand Cheval
VD says: Persistence that we all can learn something from

Cheval began the building in April 1879. He claimed that he had tripped on a stone and was inspired by its shape. He returned to the same spot the next day and started collecting stones.
For the next 33 years, during his daily mail route, Cheval carried stones from his delivery rounds and at home used them to build his Palais idéal, the Ideal Palace. First he carried the stones in his pockets, then a basket and eventually a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night, by the light of an oil lamp.
Cheval spent the first two decades building the outer walls. The Palace is a mix of different styles with inspirations from the Bible to Hindu mythology. Cheval bound the stones together with lime, mortar and cement.
Cheval also wanted to be buried in his palace. However, since that is illegal in France, he proceeded to spend eight more years building a mausoleum for himself in the cemetery of Hauterives. Cheval died on August 19, 1924, around a year after he had finished building it, and is buried there.


Sea Gypsy Island (Koh Pannyi)- A gypsy town on stilts
Birth: 19th century
Location: Phand Nga bay,Thailand
Architect: Sea gypsies
VD says: Brave and cool

The south-western coast of Thailand offers a series of beautiful bays lined with many islands. Phang-nga Bay's special formations were created after the thawing of ice 15,000 years ago. Rising waters then submerged arid calcareous mountains, leaving only their peaks visible to the eye. The bay was turned into a marine park in 1981. One of its popular attractions is the village of Koh Panyi, which was built on piles two centuries ago by Muslim sailors coming from Malaysia. The inhabitants make a living via traditional fishing and tourism. Preserved by its configuration, the bay floor of Phang-nga Bay suffered much less from the tsunami of December 26, 2004 than nearby sites.


Devils Swimming Pool - A pool on the edge of the Victoria Falls
Birth: A long time ago
Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Architect: Earth
VD says: A kick-ass location which rivals any place on earth in awesomeness

A famous feature of the Victoria Falls is a naturally formed pool known as the Devil's Pool, near the edge of the falls, accessed via Livingstone Island. When the river flow is at a safe level, usually during the months of September and December, people can swim as close as possible to the edge of the falls within the pool without continuing over the edge and falling into the gorge; this is possible due to a natural rock wall just below the water and at the very edge of the falls that stops their progress despite the current.


Ant Megacolony - An ant colony that covers a large part of Europe
Birth: A thousand years ago or so
Location: Europe
Architect: Argentine ants
VD says: A megacolony that rivals the footprint of mankind

Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another.
The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.
Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) were once native to South America. But people have unintentionally introduced the ants to all continents except Antarctica.
In Europe, one vast colony of Argentine ants is thought to stretch for 6,000km along the Mediterranean coast, while another in the US, known as the "Californian large", extends over 900km along the coast of California. A third huge colony exists on the west coast of Japan.
The enormous extent of this population is paralleled only by human society


San Juan Chamula Church - Coca Cola and hen sacrifices inside a catholic church
Birth: 17th century and continuing
Location: Chamula, Mexico
Architect: Tzotzil Maya people
VD says: A fine example of how cultures and traditions blends into each other and create new ones

Chamula is located in the Chiapas highlands, at an altitude of 2,200 meters inhabited by the indigenous Tzotzil Maya people, whose Tzotzil language is one of the Mayan languages.
The town enjoys unique autonomous status within Mexico. No outside police or military are allowed in the village. Chamulas have their own police force.
The church of San Juan is filled with colorful candles, and smoke from burning copal resin incense, commonly used throughout southern Mexico. The local form of Catholicism is a blend of pre-conquest Maya customs, Spanish Catholic traditions, and subsequent innovations.

There are no pews in the church, and the floor area is completely covered in a carpet of green pine boughs and soda bottles (mostly Coca Cola). Medicine men diagnose medical, psychological or ‘evil-eye’ afflictions and prescribe remedies such as candles of specific colors and sizes, specific flower petals or feathers, or a live chicken. The specified remedies are brought to a healing ceremony. Chamula families kneel on the floor of the church with sacrificial items, stick candles to the floor with melted wax, drink ceremonial cups of Posh, artisanal sugar-cane-based liquor, Coca Cola or Pepsi, and chant prayers in an archaic dialect of Tzotzil.


Nuclear Vault - A lid to a nuclear waste vault
Birth: 1977-1980
Location: Runit Island, Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands
Architect: USA
VD says: Literally a lid to a history which mankind shouldn't be too proud about.

A massive concrete lid with 107 m in diameter lies on this tropical island.
After WW2 the residents were evacuated, often involuntarily, and the atoll was used for nuclear testing as part of the U.S. Pacific Proving Grounds.
Beneath this concrete dome with a diameter of 107 meters, on Runit Island (part of Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands), built between 1977 and 1980 at a cost of about $239 million, lie 85000 cubic meters of radioactive soil and debris from from 43 atomic and thermonuclear explosions on Bikini and Rongelap atolls between 1948 and 1958. The dome covers the meter deep and 107 meter wide crater created by the May 5, 1958, Cactus test which was 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.

Central Park - The park of parks
Birth: 1859-73
Location: New York, USA
Architect: Frederick Law Olmsted
VD says: The perfect compliment to the surrounding skyscrapers

Central Park is a large public, urban park that occupies over 340 hectares in the heart of Manhattan in New York City. It is host to approximately twenty-five million visitors each year. Central Park was opened in 1859, completed in 1873 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.
While much of the park looks natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped.

The Mole's Flat - An apartment with inflatable nature
Birth: 1982
Location: Fiction
Architect: Zdeněk Miler
VD says: A superb interior idea

A medium-length picture about the famous children hero - little Mole. A cheerful story in which Mole and his friends - the rabbit and the hedgehog - get into a town where they are forced to live for a certain period of time. However, the animals do not like life in the town at all. They take the first opportunity to get back to their forest. They had a really kick-ass apartment though, an inflatable forest which the mole later destroys by accident while opening a champagne bottle with a corkscrew.

Venice - A city on 118 small islands divided by 177 chanels
Birth: 200 AD
Location: Venice, Italy
Architect: Various
VD says: One of the classiest cities ever made with great architectural features

The city historically was the capital of an independent nation.
Luigi Barzini, writing in The New York Times, described it as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man".
The city stretches across 118 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy.
The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce. Venice is also famous for its musical, particularly operatic, history, and its most famous son in this field is Antonio Vivaldi.

Rhyolite Saloon - An old western bar made out of 50000 beer and whiskey bottles
Birth: 1907
Location: Rhyolite, Nevada, USA
Architect: Tom Kelly
VD says: We have seen houses made out of bottles before, but what makes this project especially cool is that it was made 100 years ago by and old man and that he used waste products from his own establishment.

In the old ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada, a saloon owner named Tom Kelly, built a house out of bottles because lumber was scarce at the time. Reportedly he used some 50,000 beer, whiskey, soda and medicine bottles to build the structure which still stands today. Mr. Kelley was 76 years old when he built the house and it took him almost six months to complete.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eden Falls - the movie

Due to the big interest that our waterfall project arose, we decided to make a movie to quench the architectural thirst of its many admirers.

So without any further ado; here is the movie of Eden Falls.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

visiondivision strikes again

The latest long distance missile from our humble factory amazes an entire world once again. Hill Hut is the most popular article this week on designboom; the worlds biggest design site.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hill Hut

Visiondivision was commissioned to design an extension to a villa for two kids in a picturesque lake setting in southern Stockholm. The owner of the old house had met his new wife in Thailand and the couple wanted to move and settle down in Sweden along with her two children. The beautiful nature surrounding the plot and the fact that the house would be occupied by two kids became the main key to our design. Instead of designing a house with expensive materials and detailing we deliberately chose rather cheap windows, facade materials and so on, thus allowing a bigger budget for a more playful architecture. It is much cheaper to get something wonderful done with landscaping than traditional architecture so we made a landscape surface with enhanced elements around and inside the house for the kids to thrive in. Being a kid in Sweden means that you naturally spend a lot of time in the nature which our country have an abundance of and we wanted to give the two new citizens a safe base where they can explore their new surroundings and be able to appreciate it to the fullest.


To be able to create a steady foundation for the new house, huge earth masses where to be taken away and used to create a hill which we enhanced with different elements such as an outdoor cinema and a sledge slope. A carpet of artificial grass connects seamlessly with the natural grass on the hill and enters via the terrace to the living room between the two children’s room. A custom made grass sofa, a couple of grassy knolls that also functions as lighting make the interior more organic and enhancing the nature experience even further. These artificial hills can be moved around and can be put outside as well. Two pairs of big glass doors on both sides of the room makes one fully take in the surroundings and creates the impression that the nature goes in to the house, this effect is even more apparent when the doors are fully open. The carpet of artificial grass continues out on the other terrace as well as to the hallway and makes a stop just before the old house.

Living room

The excavations left a big void under the house. By ordering all the windows from Poland instead of Sweden we could afford to do two secret caves in that void. The caves were made out of concrete with in-cast IKEA drinking glass as small lanterns. One cave is directed to a lush grass knoll that leads down to the lake and is disguised with artificial grass to blend in. The other cave is pointed towards a patch of forest and is left in its raw concrete. Besides from being an excellent hidden escape route, the caves can be equipped with poker tables, hold new found pets from the nearby forest and much more. The caves are accessible from both the outside and from the children’s room by hatches in the floor.

Hatch to cave

Inside the cave

Outside one of the caves

The outdoor cinema has six chairs that are inserted in a concrete foundation in the sloping hill along with a secret compartment for a microwave for snacks and popcorn and a projector. A screen is set up between two trees that also have two bird houses on its trunks which in fact are two disguised speakers for this small outdoor cinema. At daytime this is a perfect place to just take in the lake atmosphere and observing bird behavior, night time is movie time.

Outdoor cinema

The entrance to the new house is a removed window from the oriel and makes the old house inserted in the new building and shapes the walls of the children room next to it.The hallway that leads to the old house slopes because of the differences in heights of the two houses and makes a nice transition from the traditional Swedish house down to the new and playful one. The children’s rooms are almost as two separate units with the landscape between and around them. Except for the hatches in the floor, the children’s rooms are quite normal with wooden floors and white walls.The house itself follows the municipality’s different regulations such as the pointed roof and the appearance. Wood is the predominantly material in this region, like the existing house and the neighbors. We chose white corrugated metal sheeting that looks like wood from a distance but is more alive and reflecting as one comes closer and gets nice shadow effects from the surrounding trees. Choosing metal sheets also allowed us to have the walls and the roof in the same material which creates a very consistent building. The beautiful setting and the strict whitish house combined with the eccentric landscaping makes it a great place to grow up in.

South-west facade

Facade facing the lake

Facade facing the entrance - late autumn

Facade facing the entrance - winter

West facade - winter

Icicle facade

Front terrace

Playtime in the livingroom

Axonometry of the landscape





Diagram of movement

Fake vs natural diagram