Akihiro Yoshida
Courtesy Nendo

Japanese studio Nendo has designed a 3.7-volt emergency portable battery for Tokyo-based construction hardware manufacturer Sugita Ace. Integrated with USB and MicroUSB ports, Denqul is designed to supply power for smartphones and small portable devices in time of disasters. According to Nendo, "[the battery is] developed to be charged at home and grabbed in case of an emergency, rather than to be carried all the time." However, that is not the only way to charge the battery. According to Nendo's instructions, in case of an emergency or an unexpected power outage, the battery stick can be pulled out to extend its length, and then bend down by 90 degrees to form a "L" shape. Users can then swung the stick around by one hand to generate power with centrifugal force. Denqul comes with a lithium-ion battery that is positioned on its tip for maximizing the centrifugal force and a plug-in charging dock that can also directly charge a smartphone and at the same time function as a pencil holder. Available in white, blue, and gray, with a matte finish. [Nendo]

Philippe Block

Zaha Hadid Architects' (ZHA's) Computational Design (CODE) research group collaborated with the Block Research Group (BRG) of ETH Zurich, and Architecture Extrapolated to design and construct a 19-foot-square, 13-foot-tall, thin-shell, double-curved concrete structure that pays homage to work of late Spanish-Mexican architect and structural artist Félix Candela Outeriño. Called KnitCandela, the experimental structure's dynamic, hyperbolic paraboloid form was created using a 3D-knitted formwork technology developed by the BRG co-directors Philippe Block and Tom Van Mele and Ph.D. student Mariana Popescu, in a collaboration with ETH Physical Chemistry of Building Materials group's Ph.D. student Lex Reiter and professor Robert Flatt. The 11,023-pound structure is supported only by a 122-pound knitted framework. [ARCHITECT]

Courtesy Module Housing

An incremental-building startup from Pittsburgh, Module Housing, is offering home buyers a new solution to expand their house as their family grows. Families can start off by purchasing what the company calls a "starter home," and gradually expand their living space by purchasing additions and expandable upgrades over time. The company also helps home buyers choose the right housing module among its four modular unit options, find land, and assemble the prefab structures. "Like the Craftsman houses of old, you have a few basic styles, but in this case you can buy a one-bedroom Nook house for $212,000 and then add on over time instead of buying a house with seven rooms and realizing you only needed two," according to TechCrunch. Module Housing's prototype units are currently on view in Pittsburgh, and the company is accepting orders. [TechCrunch]

Courtesy Vitra

At this year's Orgatec, a German trade show for contract and office furniture, Swiss family-owned furniture manufacturer Vitra unveiled a new collection of office furniture designed by London-based studio Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby. Called Soft Work, the new seating collection creates workstations focused around seating and collaboration for individuals and teams. "The workstation is going the same way as the dining room—it’s disappearing as an archetype. The desk has had its day. With mobile technology you need a place to sit occasionally, or a comfortable place to hang out. That’s our belief," according to the designers. This modular, ergonomic collection comes with power outlets, charging stations, and arm-mounted and pulled-up furniture, and can be equipped with panels for privacy and noise reduction. [Vitra]

Photo by Sean Airhart courtesy NBBJ

According to reports in The New York Times and the The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is said to be finalizing its decision to split its highly anticipated second headquarters between two East Coast cities—the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Va., outside Washington, D.C., and the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. The two new headquarters will reportedly split the 50,000 promised personnel positions, but it is unclear how Amazon's original budget of $5 billion in construction and infrastructure will be divided between the locales. [ARCHITECT]

Announced this week in a press release, the latest code standards by the U.S. Green Building Council, the International Code Council, ASHRAE, and the Illuminating Engineering Society aim to provide green building strategies to people around the world. According to the press release, "the 2018-IgCC update accomplishes two important tasks: ... It will help governments streamline code development and adoption; and ... it will improve building industry standardization by integrating two previously separate guidance documents: ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES 189.1—Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings, and the Code Council’s multi-stakeholder International Green Construction Code." [ARCHITECT]