Posts in Category Architecture

Apartment for sale in Pedralbes- Barcelona -Spain

18 November, 2013 No Comments

It’s features make the choice of this apartment to become a good investment.

Discreet luxury of this property in Pedralbes, located in the upper area of Barcelona.

photo by: www.qualinhabitat.com

The building is sorrounded by gardens.  Walls of windows allows to see green trees from all  rooms.

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photo by: www.qualinhabitat.com

In the sorrunding areas you can find :

*sports clubs such as : Real Club de Tenis Barcelona , Real club Polo de Barcelona, Dir, O2, Arsenal, Football Club Barcelona – Barça.

*National & International schools : St. Pul’s School, St.Peter’s school, Lycée Français de Barcelone, AVLA, Betania Patmos school,  American School of Barcelona , Deutsche Schule, Zürich Schule ,among others.

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photo by: www.qualinhabitat.com

An appartment in a quiet area of Barcelona, carefully remodeled, ready to move in now!

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photo by: www.qualinhabitat.com

This apartment is sold with two large parking spaces, located in a wide garage.

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You can go easily to the nearest malls like l’illa, or El corte inglés as the area is well comunicated by public transports.

It takes only 15 min to get to the Barcelona International Airport.

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As you can see through  this photo report, it reflects the high quality materials used in the remodelling.

A luxury apartment,  at discounted price,  we are pleased to  recommend to anyone looking for a nicereal estate property  in this area of Barcelona city.

 

(II) Vertical gardens

12 April, 2013 No Comments

“Vertical gardens” are some sort of ecologic insulation for the building, adding more value to the facades or their interior. This type of garden can increase the property’s value.

Vertical gardening projects have been Bay-south-Singapore-1developed by teams of botanists, architects, designers and engineers, with the aim of reshaping urban spaces.

Their goal is to ​​decorate a home, an office, to provide a greater amount of oxygen to an area, or embellishing a facade, but always with the use of creativity.

The driver of “Vertical gardens” for more than 30 years has been the botanist Patrick Blanc (famous for its achievements worldwide).

Let’s take a look at an interesting contribution that was made during the Singapore Garden Festival by the Gardens By the Bay Project (shown in the following images), which built 18 artificial Supertrees, 25-50 meters high, each one covered with almost 200 species of plants. The supertrees also function as exhaust vents for the conservatories and as dining spaces.

One of the greatest vertical garden in the world is located in the Italian shopping center of Fiordaliso, Milan, embracing more than 40,000 plants.

garden 3It is particularly in the buildings covered by these vertical gardens where one could appreciate the difference of what we call “active walls”; which are those that join the building’s own air circulation system. There are a number of fans that blow air through the wall which then make this air to circulate inside the building, and thus increasing the oxygen levels. This system helps heal the so-called “sick buildings”.

This is a building they built in Vancouver.

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As we have seen in the photos above, the appearance is that of a regular garden, except that it’s in a vertical position. These buildings are usually developed in places where there is little or NO space to design normal gardens.

How it’s done?

The garden is planted on a wall using different sheets of a fibrous material anchored to the wall with coconut fiber substrate for the roots to grow. There are several techniques to develop these gardens: hydroponic, modular, sphagnum, pre-planted, etc

* Hydroponic system: the compost is administered to plants through substances in the irrigation process. The roots grow in an inert environment: nonwoven felt (polyamide, polyester ..) rockwool, and technical foams.

* Vertical substrate: the roots grow in a granular medium with organic percentage. The substrate mixture of perlite, arlita is quite high in order to achieve aeration, drainage and water retention. Nutrients are administered through irrigation.

For these gardens, the life of its plants will depend upon the interaction between water and the substrate.

(I) Vertical Gardens

12 April, 2013 No Comments

We describe the “ecological urbanism” concept as the trend of eco-construction. Environmental protection and energy management are increasingly a global concern. “Vertical gardens” create green spaces within the cities, covering building’s facades, divisor walls, hotel courtyards and a wide range of possibilities.

There is a difference betgreeenwall iiween traditional green walls and vertical gardens that are self-sufficient:

On one hand, green walls are those covered with climbing plants such as ivy or bougainvillea, whose roots are spread within the ground, from which they get the water and food to grow up. These plants use the wall as a support to grow taking many years to cover it all. Climbing plants may damage the wall or create humidity problems in the building’s foundations, given the thickness of its roots.

On the other hand, vertical gardens can be found inside or outside a building, consisting of a wide variety of species that receive the water and nutrients from the wall, rather than directly from the ground. To prevent moisture from reaching the walls, designers chose to place a galvanized structure as a base leaving a space of 2 to 5 cm between the wall and the centers of plants to create a ventilation channel.

These gardens can complement urban architecture by displaying walls full of color that may vary as the vegetation grows, thus altering the initial greenwallexterior and interior design.

In his contribution to the environment we see that vertical gardens:

* Are decontaminating gardens. The concentration of plants can vary from 30-45 per m2, being able to balance air pollution by giving back cleaner air. Plants store CO2 and then filter it, allowing them to treat a volume of greenhouse gases greater than that issued by the building. The irrigation system is adapted to the climate conditions in which the building is located usually resulting in less water consumption.

* Isolate the building from the outside noise by creating a vegetable wall between the street and the building.

* Improve the building’s thermal conditions by maintaining cooler temperatures in the summer.

MWC – Welcome mobile – Barcelona

27 February, 2013 No Comments

The Mobile World Congress, or the spot where the mobile industry reunites to do business.

Barcelona, ​​chosen as the capital of the world for mobiles, has been hosting this show since 2006 becoming a referent in new technologies.

The WMC is presented as a showcase for innovation, as well as an opportunity to find industrial partners that may help one develop new technologies… You must take into account that this sector can change very quickly, as we have seen in recent years; a new service that nobody knew or expected may occur at any time influencing the entire sector. If we look back in the last few years, we’ve had a shift from the WEB stage to the social networking sites (i.e. this YouTube video where Michelle Obama shakes up the social network has had 2 million hits in only 24 hours).

and Apps are today’s deal…. .

What will the WMC surprise us with this time? Can’t wait to see it! There will be up to 1,500 companies (Huawei, Samsung, Motorola, Sony, Vodafone, Telefonica, only to mention a few)…. and Privalia, Lets Bonus, Groupalia, Spamina, Digital Legends Entertainment, Zyncro, Abertis Telecom among the local ones….

The mobile world doesn´t pair up with the Spanish crisis, it is estimated that in Spain 16 million people are connected to the network through their smart phones. People can´t manage without their cell phone. In many different sectors of the economy, and specially in the real estate sector, we have reinvented the way we work with new technologies, with cell phones having the greatest impact. We’ve become use to be reachable and connected, resulting in one of the most important part of our life. For example forgetting your cell phone at home may have an impact on your schedule, your work, and even your personal life, and not far from today in trouble with payments. In short, it has become a tool for survival in our day to day, that keeps on covering more and more functions.

The unstoppable tech innovation introduces changes in people’s needs, creating a new social trend that encourages these industries to never stop growing. And we are not talking about a single industry, because it encompasses many others: telephones, hardware or content, in addition to other companies / brands with presence in the mobile or tablet markets.

The mobility sector ignites the emergence of new companies and new jobs, especially in the area of ​​Apps, where individuals with some technological expertise and an idea can develop applications that will be placed in the various market places; the selling points that smart phones offer (App Store, Android Market are the most popular).

 

FURNITURE + PAINTING + LIGHTING = DECOR

13 January, 2013 No Comments

WHICH are the flats sold in today’s market? WHAT’S THE AVERAGE PRICE?

The flats that sold the most are the smaller ones, which are also the ones whose price has decreased the most. Its average price is around €300,000.

When we want bolster a flat’s space to make it seem larger, we must resort to neatness / organization and decorative tricks. The lounges –dining space- with the integrated kitchen are very common in today’s homes. That is why it’s important to throw some numbers and sketches to see how to incorporate the lounge dining area, sofas, shelves ….

1 – How to combine colors:

* Use the colors following a monochromatic line, decorating with different tonalities of one color range.
* Paint using soft and cool colors such as green and blue that create a feeling of wide open spaces.
* The roofs must be of a lighter color than walls. But if a room is square and we want to give the impression that it’s rectangular (to make it look more elongated), this can be achieved using optical effect in two opposite walls with a cool color and a warmer color in the other two.

* White is the traditional color most used in decoration, as it makes the space look larger and brighter.

2-FURNITURE:

* Furniture shouldn’t contrast with the color of the walls as the same space would feel narrower.
* It is best to choose small sized furniture, but if you are eager to put large pieces, make sure they are against the wall. It is advisable to use folding furniture in order to clear the way. You may also find very practical dual-use furniture such as bed-sofa, or a central-table with drawers.
* The shelves are very helpful as allow you to place objects without taking away usable space.
* If you have the possibility to put gliding doors, do it as they don’t take away space when opened. Wardrobes offer greater integration into the decor and at the same time are more invisible.
* It is better to use blinds rather than curtains as the latter are thicker and take up more space.
* It is useful and inexpensive to include mirrors, which besides giving more breadth to the space it also increases the home’s luminosity.

3 – LIGHTING: It is very important to know how to use lighting in order to help achieve the desired effects.

* This is usually not an easy topic and it is best if you resort to a specialist, because many variables come into play when choosing the right lighting for every stay, such as: what kind of bulb to use based on price / consumption / power (LEDs, halogen light bulbs), the type of bulb for floor lamp, ….or what if you prefer a cooler or a warmer light, or you are thinking about light regulators… whether to place it, in the ceiling, a wall…..

* In order to give an airy feel to the room, you have to focus the light to the walls or ceiling (indirect illumination).

SLEEP-BOX by ARCH GROUP (MOSCOW)

12 January, 2013 No Comments

This is the birth of the micro-hotel concept. These small cabins can be rented by the hour and are located in airports, train stations or shopping centers among others.

The “sleep boxes” are 2×1 meters, or 4×2,30 meters.
They were born as resting oasis for passengers in transit, who have suffered delays or flight cancellations, without having to travel to hotels outside of the airports that are usually more expensive.

In the airport terminal you get the electronic key that allows you to access these cabins for the amount of time that you purchase, which can range from 15 minutes to several hours.
The architecture and design firm “Arch-Russian Group”, included a small bed with an automatic mechanism that changes sheets from user to user, a ventilation system, lighting using LEDs, alarm, tv, wi-fi, and a platform to work.

Although I personally prefer larger spaces, this can be a resting alternative in airports; gives you the opportunity to read, sleep, charge an electronic device, or just working quietly in the time between flights.

This system is currently running, and very well received by the public, at airports such as Moscow, Paris, and Munich.

Amazing pools around the world!

6 October, 2012 No Comments

The current design trend is to make it endless, visually integrated with the sea.

Here is a selection of pools around the world;

They come in different sizes…

forms….

different colors and materials…

in resorts of exotic islands…

of architectural design…

in mansions with its own fireplace

by the house…

pool & the sea as one….

hot & cold pools…

in city lofts….

in hotels of big cities…

in hotels by the beach…

It doesn’t matter where they are ….  or if they are green, blue, or white … if they are made from natural stone, glass or surrounded by teak wood … if they are in resorts integrated in the wild, or in the city….  or if they have waterfalls and fountains ….. IT IS A LUXURY ONLY TO STARE AT THEM.

(II) CONSTRUMAT 2011: Construction fair in Barcelona

23 September, 2012 No Comments

Construmat 2011 focused on internationalization and in recapturing the refurbishment business, which is growing at a rate of 11%.

In the process of Internationalization, an agreement was reached with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT)  – 中国 国际 贸易 促进 委员会 – whose goal is the promotion of international trade, developing economic agreements with foreign countries through the creation of professional networking to export the construction exhibition into China. The show took place in July, 2012 in Beijing, to which 200 local and international organizations attended, and who performed many activities dedicated to sustainable construction. The China Council promoted the participation of exhibitors, visitors and the industry associations in the country.

It is difficult for European companies to compete with the prices of major Chinese builders, however they can compete in the products’ quality. The idea was that Construmat China, besides offering sustainable products, offered finished products such as faucets, fences, painting and ceramics.

Here are some highlights regarding the current Chinese real estate market (some mentioned in previous posts):

1-For the most part, the idea of refurbishing buildings is not shared by Chinese, and as a consequence buildings degrade within few years, which are then subject to demolition, and then rebuilt from ground. In general, the quality of the materials used in construction is not good which brings to the eye the need to restore / paint facades.

2 – However, the Chinese market demands a European based design for their homes. The demand for designers / architects for residential or resort projects of a European – Spanish style can be very attractive. In fact, in one of the Chinese real estate fairs I visited last year, a leading developer requested a European technician capable of completing a Spanish-style design for a residential mega-project.

Brazil could be the next destination to host this fair with its own brand despite the deal not being closed yet. It is a country that everyone talks about. It’s a popular country given its economic growth, its upcoming sporting events (Olympic Games…), and for being an emerging market with great growth potential… The fair would be a great gateway to the Latin American market!! In the show held in Barcelona last year, ​​Brazil was the foreign country with the highest number of exhibitors.

The Manifest: The construction sector joined hands and elaborated a manifest in which they demanded support to overcome the crisis. They requested measures to support new construction, rehabilitation, and to maintain the appropriate level of investment in building as well as the level of attraction of foreign buyers for the residential sector. This was presented by the President of Construmat, J. Miarnau (Comsa-Emte), along with SEOPAN, the Association of Builders and Promoters (APCE), and the Colleges of Spanish Architects.

Sustainability: I would like to stress the European Solar Decathlon, a competition of scale models of solar buildings that involved fifteen European countries. A forum dedicated to sustainable thinking, with national and international presentations.

Rehabilitation in Spain: is the segment within the construction sector that is experiencing considerable growth.

(I) Construmat 2011: Internationalization process to China and possibly to Brazil

20 September, 2012 No Comments

(Video with English Subtitles)

Construmat 2011, the International Exhibition of construction that was held in Barcelona in 2011, renewed its biennial meeting announcing its progress despite the crisis. The Organization signed an agreement for this show to take place in China in 2012, aiming to help the brick industry penetrate in the Asian market. At the same time they were also awaiting to close a deal with Brazil, to host the show there, with the consequent impact on the Latin American market.

In Spain, it is the most important exhibition of the construction industry, and in Europe one of the largest along with Batimat. The following take place during the show:

* Is a place where builders, developers, architects, and manufacturers of materials converge.

* New processes and developments of innovative materials arise.

* It is a meeting point to analyze, discuss and present the major technology releases, market news, and new industry trends.

Due to the current crisis, demand for construction material has fallen in Europe. Companies that want to grow must go outside (which is also a way to dispose of the surplus in construction machinery that Spain currently holds). Construmat helps especially SME’s, which are the ones that present more difficulties to send missions to China, by participating on their expansion process and advising them about the peculiarities of  other markets (i.e the large Chinese market). Construction is growing dramatically in China due to the internal migration of people from rural areas to the big cities (which I explained in previous posts).

The internationalization of companies that manufacture building materials that were already positioned in other foreign markets, has allowed them to increase their sales (i.e. the group Cosentino, producer of Silestone). According to an interview published by El País, May 15, 2011, Cosentino was well positioned in the U.S. market and stated that 70% of its revenues were from outside of Spain, and hoped to reach 82% in 2013. Its main projects during 2011 were to enter in Asia and Latin America, and to have a total of 30 people in their ​​R&D department, currently focusing its research on new technologies and designs, such as ECO (its organic product, winner of a European award…) “What gives us strength is to do different things“.

Japanese earthquake + Tsunami. NEW challenge for the anti-seismic architecture and engineering.

12 September, 2012 No Comments

Due to our profession, we deal on a daily basis with homes, buildings, plots etc, and it was easy to be touched by the enormous destruction that Japan suffered on March of 2011.

After the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that Japan suffered last year, the response of Japanese architecture has been astonishing. Today Japan has the best buildings in the world to withstand possible future earthquakes. These buildings have been designed in such manner that allows them to absorb the vibrations, replacing a sudden movement with a more balanced swing. Many years ago, Japanese homes were built from bamboo and rice paper which, during earthquakes, allowed them to swing instead of cracking. And even if the homes cracked, they were easier to repair and at a lower cost.

This is a brief summary of the earthquake-resistant architectural features used in Japan:

Shigeru Ban (Tokyo 1957) is an architect and consultant to the United Nations who builds shelter for the UN in disaster zones. He emphasized in an interview (in Spanish Newspaper “EL PAIS” 03/20/11) that no building built after 1981, when construction laws were amended, had collapsed during or after the earthquake. Ban states that earthquakes are not what causes so many people to die, it’s the consequences of it, in other words the building’s debris when they collapse. He also added that, after the tsunami, it would be wise to modify the cities’ urban plans and build brick buildings of at least four stories high by the coasts, in order to function as a protective wall in case of future tsunamis.

For the half a million people who were temporarily sheltered in athletic stadiums for months until temporary homes were ready, the government installed a system based on hard cardboard tubes and paper to create individual spaces. With this structure, families intend to dissipate a reality, that is, psychologically very hard to accept; the lack of privacy.
What is the Japanese anti-seismic architecture about?

Basically, the buildings’ structures are highly reinforced performing a vertical weight distribution, in other words, the lower floors support more weight. The broader the base of the building, the stronger it will be during an earthquake.

The buildings are symmetric and elastic to better absorb the ground’s vibration. The law requires a separation of several inches between the medians of the blocks to allow buildings to move but without  hitting each other, thus avoiding the domino effect between buildings. Mr. J.Garcia Rodriguez, PhD in Architecture from the University of Navarra, compares the behavior of a building under a seismic action to that of a whip when swung. In this comparison, the earthquake would be the hand that moves the whip, and the building is the whip spreading the earthquake’s energy. To deal with this uncontrolled movement, Japanese architecture proposes two solutions:

1-An architecture based on a small number of floors. These buildings are built with rigid structures that resist the impact with little deformation, thus the earthquake’s impact is smaller.

2 – However, in taller buildings, they choose to build more flexible structures. They are designed to oscillate laterally (as the whip would) in a safely manner without major damages. Steel is used in these structures, as it is highly resistant and ductile.

Down below I’ ll give you some highlights on the Japanese housing market as of 2011:

* From 2007 and on, housing prices began to rise out of control due to the increment in prices of building materials as those materials ought to be able to withstand frequent earthquakes. Buildings should be no more than 30 years old, so as a consequence rental prices also soared in recent years. The value of Japanese homes ​​varies depending on the land it is built.

* In Japan the magnitude of a house is measured in tatami, equivalent to 1.6 square meters (from now on m2) approximately. The average dwelling size is usually 90 m2 (3-4 bedrooms) and home of more than 100 m2 is considered a luxury. In general, Japanese people prefer buying a home than renting it, but due to the high prices not everyone can afford it, the main reason for their high index of young and elderly adults living with relatives. However, there is still the opportunity for one to live independently. There has been a curious form of housing: people who cannot afford to either purchase a home or to rent it, can sleep in Cyber Cafes, in which for only 10€ are entitled to a small room with a sofa, TV, and a computer with internet connection.

* It is a real estate market, in which there are almost no legal restrictions for foreign investors to buy property in Japan.

***** Two weeks onset of the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that devastated part of the country, with 27,000 casualties between deaths and missing people, plus the nuclear crisis (more updated info in International Atomic Energy Agency, www.iaea. org, Spanish Embassy in Tokyo) had the international community very aware of Japan. We felt for the Japanese, …. and we shall remark what an example of organization and integrity in such a moment in their lives they were for the rest of us. Following in this tonic, I wanted to make a post, (avoiding catastrophic images) with the intention of highlighting the human effort made in the form of anti-seismic architecture to counteract the continuous devastating effects of the earthquakes affecting the country, thereby preventing an even higher number of victims.

From here, I wanted to convey solidarity and support to the Japanese people and their victims.

I include links to press reports during the later days of the catastrophic events:
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Japon/sigue/luchando/evitar/catastrofe/nuclear/elpepuint/

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/67661252/

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/10/501364/main20041987.shtml