Space & Innovation

1,000-Foot Ski Slope: Better Than the Elevator

Ambitious proposal in Kazakhstan would feature panoramic elevator lifts and an artificial snow surface. Continue reading →

In case you didn't know - I certainly didn't - urban skiing is apparently a thing, and it just got a little weirder. From the innovative architecture desk this week comes news of a proposed residential apartment building in Kazakhstan - with a 1,000-foot-tall ski slope attached.

Designed by Shokhan Mataibekov Architects, the project known as Slalom House would cost about $70 million to build, and actually has some serious momentum. The city of Astana, where Slalom House would be erected, is known for its fashion-forward architecture.

Dream This Up: Structures Meld Art and Design

What's more, Astana is four hours away from the nearest traditional ski facility and it's filled with winter sports enthusiasts. According to a write-up on the project over at CNN, a sizeable contingent of Kazakh athletes competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, including alpine skiers, freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

The Slalom House would function as both a mixed-use residential/retail building and a year-round winter sports facility, according to designers. Access to the rooftop slope would be provided by "panoramic elevators" rising up from street level.

Shokhan Mataibekov Architects

Skiers would slalom down natural snow in the winter months, and designers are considering the artificial Snowflex surface for year-round use. Snowflex itself is pretty interesting - it's a cushioned fiber surfacing product already in use at facilities in the U.S. and Europe.

Pro Skier Survives Spectacular 1,600-Foot Fall

With the current design plans, Slalom House would feature 421 two-bedroom apartments on 21 stories, with shops and restaurants housed on the lower floors. The design was recently accepted as a finalist in the 2015 World Architecture Festival, giving the project even more momentum.

In any event, the Slalom House offers some new options for getting down to the lobby. My last skiing experience ended with some unpleasantness, of the hairline fracture variety, so I'll be taking the stairs.

via Inhabitat

If you build it, the awards will come. The shortlist for the

2014 Structural Awards

has been announced, celebrating the best in structural design and engineering from around the globe. Handed out annually by the Institution of Structural Engineers, the awards cover a wide range -- buildings, bridges, residential homes, arenas and public sculptures. What follows is just a sampling of the dozens of finalists in the 13 award categories.

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London's Kensington Gardens was built to incorporate the existing Magazine Building -- a historically significant 19th-century munitions store.

One of five shortlisted projects in the Highway or Railway Bridge category, the Elbebridge spans, yes, the Elbe River near the Schönebeck, Germany. It's the largest cable-stayed bridge in the region.

Next time you're passing through Heathrow airport, look for the new Slipstream sculpture, designed to express the movement of a stunt plane flying through the terminal entrance. Made from more than 32,000 wood and metal parts, it's the longest permanent sculpture in Europe.

In the Community or Residential Structures category, the Kew House in London, England, is a four-bedroom family home designed to fit in a tight space. Looks like you could get some good reading done here, and if privacy seems to be an issue, note that there's a brick perimeter wall around the entire home.

The intricate steel roof of this marketplace structure in Barcelona, Spain, was assembled at ground floor level before being raised into place.

Built in an ancient forest in East Sussex, England, the Red Bridge House is designed to minimize visual impact while providing clear views of the landscape. The reinforced concrete core structure is partially embedded in the hillside. Oh, and there's a swimming pool on the basement level.

At 255 meters (837 feet), the Shenzhen Stock Exchange building in China was designed to achieve strict requirements at different levels of seismic events. Specifically, it's built to sustain no structural damage during the most powerful kind of earthquake likely in the region. The building also earned the highest rating of Green Code sustainability criteria.

Built in the 1930s, the Manchester Library in England is beloved for its circular Reading Room, which sits atop four stories of book stacks. Renovating the space while preserving history involved complicated structural alterations and temporary supports -- and moving a lot of books. The project is shortlisted in the Structural Heritage category.

This Apple retail display space in Istanbul, Turkey, was praised by judges for its simplicity. It's made of exactly five elements -- four sheets of glass and a reinforced plastic roof, held together with structural silicone.

The image above shows just a portion of the 265-meter long Lower Hatea River Crossing in New Zealand, a sort of next-generation drawbridge inspired by various cultural designs of the Maori people. In fact, the opening section is inspired by a Maori fish hook design.