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Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life. James kunstler: how bad architecture wrecked cities. Root bridges. In Northeastern India, where it's nice and wet, bridges aren't built -- they're grown!

root bridges

The living bridges of Cherrapunji, India are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree. This tree produces a series of secondary roots from higher up its trunk and can comfortably perch atop huge boulders along the riverbanks, or even in the middle of the rivers themselves. In order to make a rubber tree’s roots grow in the right direction – say, over a river – the Khasis, a tribe in Meghalaya, use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems. The thin, tender roots of the rubber tree, prevented from fanning out by the betel nut trunks, grow straight out. When they reach the other side of the river, they’re allowed to take root in the soil. Small space. At 500 square feet, it is not a huge retreat but it serves its purpose perfectly: fold-up sides keep it secure when not in use, while doubling as privacy screens, light blocks and thermal barriers as desired.

small space

Essentially a glass house on the inside, folding down three of the four exterior walls gives the occupant a nearly 360-degree connection to the surrounding context . These wall sections in turn become exterior decks when lowered, and are easily raised via “ a hydraulic system of wires, rope, pivoting sheaves and lead blocks, that serves as shutters.” The steeply-sloped roof simply drains water toward the back, and extends out on the other three sides to provide cantilevered cover and shade, with minimalist (lack of) detailing that fits with the rest of the structure. Inside, a 180-degree rotating fireplace likewise accommodates directional decisions about where one wants to face – into distant views or into the nearby wildlife-populated brush. Outdoor fireplace. Haugen/Zohar Architects have designed an outdoor fireplace in Trondheim, Norway.

outdoor fireplace

Full description after the photos…. Photography by Grethe Fredriksen & Jason Havneraas Outdoor Fireplace by Haugen/Zohar Architects Together with the standard playground facilities we wished to combine an enclosed space for fire, storytelling and playing. Kolonihagen summerhouse. Standard Disclaimer: We know, second homes are evil.

kolonihagen summerhouse

But they are such wonderful demonstrations of the talent of young architects, and they so often demonstrate how much can be done with small spaces. They just as easily could be first homes, and some of them are gems. As an example, Tommie Wilhelmsen's Kolonihagen Summerhouse is full of neat ideas. The big gesture is the sleeping loft hanging out over the entrance, creating a covered porch below and a lovely sleeping area above. The furniture is all built in; and the kitchen doesn't get any more minimalist than this. ::Tommie Wilhelmsen via ::Materialicious See also the summer house Tommie built in association with Todd Saunders in ::Treehugger here. Wide view. Architecture This makes one fall in love with Norway.

wide view

This beautiful pavilion is made by Snohetta Architects. Ad deir - petra. Fallingwater.