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    Park Slope condo becomes New York City's “largest mass-timber building”

    Local studio Mesh Architectures has completed Timber House, a condominium in Brooklyn that developer The Brooklyn Home Company claims is “the largest mass timber building in New York City.”

    Timber House is made of glue-laminated timber, a type of structurally engineered wood used to make mass timber structures, and is the largest mass-timber project in New York City in terms of square footage and height, according to The Brooklyn Home Company.
    It is also the first condominium project in the city to be built using mass timber, the developer said.
    The building has 14 condos”Timber House started with the simple notion of creating a sense of life in a building, which engages, stimulates, and at the same time, calms us,” said Eric Lifton, founder and principal of Mesh Architectures.
    “The way we do that here is by using a plant as the primary building material.”

    The building’s columns, beams and floor plates are all mass timber, while the core had to be made of concrete masonry because of city restrictions, the studio said.
    The apartments stretch across the length of the structureTimber House is located in the residential Park Slope neighbourhood in Brooklyn and comprises 14 condos that stretch from the street-side to the back of the building.
    According to Mesh Architectures, the building was “constructed with passive house principles”.
    While not passive-house certified, it was built with solar photovoltaic panels on the roof to provide energy, and mineral wool and polyisocyanurate insulation to reduce the need for air conditioning.
    Heating and air conditioning is provided by air-source heat pumps.
    The building was developed in collaboration with The Brooklyn Home CompanyIt also features passive house-quality windows with triple glazing, and the 10 parking spaces in its ground-floor garage each have an electric charging station.
    The building’s facade is characterized by a flat face made with Danish brick that, according to the team, was chosen to integrate the building into the mostly brownstone neighbourhood.
    On the upper levels, the envelope is sculpted into jutting windows and recessed balconies with glass railings. The balconies’ undersides are wooden, giving the exterior palette a touch of the timber within.
    The floors are also made of woodA rooftop terrace provides views of Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan.
    Inside, wooden walls and ceilings line the corridors, which have hexagonal tiling on the floor that was designed custom by Mesh and produced in Turkey.
    The condos have 11-feet-tall (3.3 metres-tall) ceilings and feature exposed timber beams with LED lights that are integrated directly into the wood.

    The Dezeen guide to mass timber in architecture

    The timber beams also extend down from the ceiling to frame some of the walls and windows, providing insight into the building’s structural makeup.
    “The exposed wooden beams present in the home create a style reminiscent of city living in the 1960s and ’70s when we picture those large loft-style residences, which is really special,” said Bill Caleo of The Brooklyn Home Company.
    “As a city, if we want to lower our carbon footprint we need to prioritize mass timber.”
    In addition to the ceiling and beams the condos have wooden accentsFlooring in the living areas is wood, while the kitchen is floored with white tile to match the white cabinetry – accented with natural wood tones – and a long, white island.
    Other recently-announced designs for mass timber structures include the world’s tallest timber building designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen and a Henning Larsen-designed Volvo experience centre in Sweden.
    The photography is by Travis Mark. 

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    Meta to open first physical retail shop for virtual reality products

    Social media brand Meta, formerly the Facebook Company, is opening its first permanent Meta Store for customers to purchase its virtual reality products as a “gateway to the metaverse”.

    The 1,550-square-foot shop will open on 9 May in Burlingame, California, near the company’s Reality Labs campus – a research and development hub for virtual reality products.
    Meta Store is the social media company’s first physical storeHead of Meta Store Martin Gilliard said that the shop will demonstrate how the brand’s products are a “gateway” to the metaverse” – a parallel virtual world where people operate as avatars.
    “The Meta Store is going to help people make that connection to how our products can be the gateway to the metaverse in the future,” he said.
    It is located in California close to the company’s Reality Labs campusIn the shop, which will be open Monday to Friday, customers will be able to try out and play games on Oculus Quest 2, an updated version of the virtual reality headset Oculus Go, in a dedicated demo area.

    A large, floor-to-ceiling LED screen will project what is being seen in the headset.
    Meta’s video-calling device Portal will be displayed on backlit wooden shelves on the main shop floor. Customers will be able to try out Portal in another demo area, as well as place video calls to retail associates to see the gadget in action.
    Customers will be able to try virtual reality productsA separate cubicle with glass walls is reserved for Meta’s selection of Ray-Ban Stories, smart glasses that allow wearers to record videos via in-built 5MP cameras. Visitors will be able to try a range of style, colour and lens variations.
    Unlike the other products in Meta Store, the glasses will not be available to purchase in-store. Customers will have to order them directly from sunglass retailer Ray Ban’s website.

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    Other accessories such as headphones, earphones and charging cables will also be on show and available to purchase in the store.
    “We’re not selling the metaverse in our store, but hopefully people will come in and walk out knowing a little bit more about how our products will help connect them to it,” explained Gilliard.
    “Once people experience the technology, they can gain a better appreciation for it.”
    The store will house virtual reality headsets, smart glasses and Meta’s video calling deviceMeta’s first physical store represents the company’s move further into what it calls a “social metaverse company” and away from its origins as a social media company. Last year the brand changed its name from Facebook to Meta.
    Gilliard also said that the Burlingame store marks Meta’s expansion further into the retail sphere.
    “Having the store here in Burlingame gives us more opportunity to experiment and keep the customer experience core to our development,” said Gilliard. “What we learn here will help define our future retail strategy.”
    The minimalist store displays products on wooden shelvingA number of brands are working on real-life and metaverse cross-over products, such as shoe brand Giuseppe Zanotti, which has released a digital edition of its Cobras trainers in the metaverse.
    Design studio Layer recently unveiled a pair of smart glasses for tech company Viture that lets the user play games or stream media via a virtual screen.
    Photos are courtesy of Meta.

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    Space Perspective reveals design for “world's first” space lounge

    Space tourism company Space Perspective has revealed the interior design for its lounge-style travel capsule, which will be hauled into the stratosphere by a giant balloon.

    Created in-house for the company’s Spaceship Neptune, the cabin has room for up to eight passengers.
    Space Perspective has dubbed it “the world’s first space lounge” and said it wanted the interior to be distinct from typical spacecraft, with elements such as reclining and reconfigurable seats, plants and sustainable materials and a small cocktail bar.
    It will form the interior of a pressurised capsule attached to a high-performance balloon and was designed to give the maximum view of its surroundings.
    The space lounge is located within the Spaceship Neptune capsule, which is lifted via a giant balloon”Our mission is to inspire Space Explorers to connect more closely with our planet and each other, and the environment in which they travel with us is central to this,” said Space Perspective co-founder, co-CEO and chief experience officer Jane Poynter.

    “Our Space Lounge is a world away from the white, utilitarian environments you find in other spacecraft.”
    The Neptune space lounge is wrapped in 1.5-metre-high panoramic windows that Space Perspective says are the largest windows ever flown to space, and which it claims will provide a view that appears seamless to the human eye.
    The lounge is designed to optimise the viewing experience of the Spaceship Neptune’s six-hour space flightThe main purpose of the interior design is to support the enjoyment of this view. The seats can be reconfigured to host activities such as an intimate dinner for two or a small party, while the centre of the capsule is kept open to accommodate group photography.
    A separate bar area with multiple windows and a different look and feel gives guests a destination to explore beyond their seats.
    The design team physically trialled hundreds of layouts within a mockup before landing on the final configuration.
    “The biggest challenge of designing the interior was to create a multipurpose space that gives users the flexibility to not only sit and enjoy the view but celebrate and share with others,” Space Perspective co-founder, co-CEO and CTO Taber MacCallum, who oversees the in-house design team, told Dezeen.
    The space lounge’s seating can be reconfigured for different occasions and moods”We worked hard within the footprint to make the space feel as large and generous as possible, and this is accentuated by the domed ceiling that makes the space feel airy and luxurious,” he continued.
    “We’ve also added a multitude of activities for explorers during the flight, including a telescope, podcasts from astronauts, cameras on the inside and outside, small molecular gastronomy meals and inventive space cocktails.”

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    To reduce reflections in the windows and visual glare from the intensity of the light at full altitude – 100,000 feet up – there is a dark, muted, blue-based colour palette, enhanced by RGB lighting.
    “Our colour palette is a reflection of the view outside, with astronauts reporting having seen extremely vivid blues and purples at this altitude,” MacCallum said.
    The space lounge is decorated in a muted colour palette on the blue spectrum to avoid reflection and glare”We wanted to create a space that feels both feels warm and homely, but still adventurous and out of this world,” he added.
    While some of the decor is tech-focused, such as an overhead “doughnut” screen displaying information, there are also domestic touches such as floor lamps, plants and herbs including lavender, basil and rosemary, which will be used in the food and drinks.
    The materials chosen are soft and tactile, with a focus on sustainability that mirrors Space Perspective’s mission to limit environmental impact, as its hydrogen balloon technology avoids the high greenhouse gas emissions typically associated with space travel.
    The separate bar area includes a telescopeThe bar top is made from proprietary materials recycled from the company’s SpaceBalloon, while the interior is lined with soft, padded, insulating recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) microcloth, and the lounge seats are upholstered in all-natural wool.
    Copper details are intended to bring warmth and were also chosen for their resistance to bacteria. They echo the copper tone on Neptune’s exterior windows, which helps to reduce light intensity.
    The cabin has 360-degree panoramic windowsSpace Perspective has also announced the appointment of David Grutman, who created The Goodtime Hotel with musician Pharrell Williams, as its”experience curator”.
    He will advise on the overall experience design, as well as customisation possibilities for occasions such as birthdays and corporate getaways.
    Space Perspective’s six-hour space flights will lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with tickets prices set at $125,000 per person. The company expects to commence commercial flights in late 2024 and places are already sold out for the first year.
    The exterior of the two-part spacecraft was designed by PriestmanGoode and revealed in 2020.

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    Nintendo's former HQ to reopen as hotel designed by Tadao Ando

    Japanese architect Tadao Ando has transformed a building that was once home to video game giant Nintendo into a boutique hotel.

    Due to open on 1 April, Marufukuro Hotel will be located in Kyoto in a building that was occupied by Nintendo between 1933 and 1959, when the company was called Yamauchi Nintendo.
    At the time, the company was a manufacturer of Japanese playing cards called “hanafuda” and Western-style playing cards called “karuta” and “toranpu”.
    The building was home to Nintendo from 1933 to 1959Located in the Kagiyacho neighbourhood, just north of Kyoto railway station, the building has been unoccupied ever since Nintendo vacated it.
    Ando has renovated and extended the old structure, converting it into an 18-room hotel including a restaurant, bar, spa and gym.

    The building’s exterior has remained largely unchanged, retaining elements such as old Yamauchi Nintendo entrance plaques and window grilles patterned with details from the old playing cards.
    Ando’s task was to reimagine the building’s interior but incorporate many of its original 1930s details, which include decorative tiling and art-deco lighting fixtures.
    Art-deco details are retained in the renovationFor the annex, the architect has adopted a more modern approach with floor-to-ceiling windows and elements in raw concrete, the material he is famous for.
    Photos of the completed Marufukuro Hotel have so far been kept under wraps, but the hotel is already taking bookings and has released some visuals showing layout and furniture details in the guest rooms.

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    Guests can choose to stay in either the old or new parts of the building, in rooms ranging in size between 33 and 79 square metres.
    The project is backed by property developer Plan Do See.
    Tadao Ando converted the existing building into an 18-room hotelAndo is among Japan’s most prolific architects. Awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1995, his best-known projects include Church of the Light and Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum.
    Recent projects include the renovation of the Bourse de Commerce building in Paris, which proved controversial, and art centre Casa Wabi in Mexico.
    It was recently announced that Ando is designing a Palm Springs home for reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

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