Designers envision innovative affordable housing for Sydney

May 7, 2018 by  
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The Sydney Affordable Housing Challenge , organized by Bee Breeders , calls for ideas that try to solve the affordable housing shortage in Sydney. The competition attracted worldwide talent as designers attempted to create innovative solutions. Many of the successful entries offered more than just housing — they designed spaces that would build communities. Bridging Affordable Housing, the winning entry, intersperses  green-roof prefab housing units throughout the city. The project involves “a simple module : a structural bridge pier with decking that contains prefabricated housing units topped by a green roof.” Instead of stacking the units, the team designed the houses above the city’s streets like bridges. The second prize winner is “Newborn in the Crevice”, which combines housing units with public spaces in a structural grid. The simple vertical arrangement makes the design adaptable to population needs and economic conditions. Related: Tiny new flat-packed off-grid homes offer affordable housing breakthrough The third place project, TOD and Waterfront Housing, envisions “stacked prefabricated units floating within the bays of  Sydney .” It creates  waterfront  housing and commercial spaces and introduces a rail system to reduce dependence on cars. Finally, The BB Green Award winner was project Water Smart Home Sydney, which aims to sustainably harness energy from several sources, through both passive and active systems. The project authors said they hope their design helps to “…contribute ideas that could bring desirable living within reach of the majority of the population and lift the burden of housing affordability for young people and low-income families.” + Sydney Affordable Housing Challenge Via Archdaily

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Designers envision innovative affordable housing for Sydney

These new airless 3D-printed bicycle tires never go flat

May 7, 2018 by  
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Will cyclists pedal bikes with airless tires in the future? BigRep just unveiled a new set of 3D-printed bike tires and took them out for a whirl in Berlin, Germany. The airless tires are made from PRO FLEX Filament – a new thermoplastic elastomer that introduces flexibility to 3D-printing . Designer and test cyclist Marco Mattia Cristofori described the ride as “very smooth”. PRO FLEX Filament can be used with the BigRep One industrial 3D-printer and it boasts “high temperature resistance, low temperature impact resistance” and durability “with excellent damping behavior and dynamic properties.” Related: NASA’s new airless titanium tires are almost indestructible Possible applications for the material include skateboard wheels, sporting shoe shells — and bicycle tires. The flexibility of PRO FLEX is what enables it to work for the airless tires. Maik Dobberack of BigRep told CNET the idea behind the tires is that users could print and customize the treads and internal patterns for varying needs: mountain biking, cycling on roads or handling various weather conditions. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to buy the airless bicycle tires in a store at this point. Dobberack told CNET the tires were an “in-house industrial application design” not intended for large-scale production right now. “The main goal of the design was to inspire and explore the endless possibilities of large-scale 3D-printing,” Dobberack said. We printed the world's first 3D printed airless bicycle tire using our new PRO FLEX material – a TPU-based filament – and took it for a spin in Berlin. Stay tuned for some exciting news! #3dprinter#prototype #bigrep #design #3dprinting#additivemanufacturing #italiandesign #tpufilament A post shared by BigRep 3D Printers (@bigrep3dprinters) on May 3, 2018 at 7:52am PDT The company has also played around with 3D-printed wheel rims , also designed by Cristofori, in “a meeting of advanced design and industry.” Cristofori said, “With 3D printing you can prototype organic forms… It allows you to envision more complex shapes, because you don’t really have any limits.” Last year, Michelin unveiled concept tires that were also 3D-printed and airless; their Vision tire was printed with organic, recyclable materials and was completely biodegradable . + BigRep Via CNET Images and video courtesy of BigRep.com

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These new airless 3D-printed bicycle tires never go flat

DFA’s flood-proof towers could survive six feet of sea level rise in New York City

February 13, 2018 by  
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New York-based architecture firm DFA just unveiled plans for 19 cylindrical apartment towers that can survive six feet of sea level rise at Manhattan’s Pier 40. The towers are wrapped in lattice facades with lots of vegetation, and they’re designed to address the city’s lack of affordable housing and flood-resistant buildings . The towers would offer apartments as well as recreational and commercial spaces, and they’re designed for a site currently occupied by car parking facilities and a football field. The entire development is expected to function as a floating island in the event of flooding. The living units in the high-rises are set 60 inches above expected storm surge levels. An elevated path flows along the base of the clusters and connects a series of public pavilions . Related: Waterstudio’s Koen Olthuis on FLOAT! “Beyond 2050, as regular flooding begins to engulf the coastline as we know it, the landscape deck transforms into a floating island with new pathways built to connect the evolved wetland ecosystem to Manhattan,” said DFA. The architects designed the complex as a response to construction trends in New York. They describe it as a long-term solution that will “safeguard the city from rapid changes in the environment or protect future generations of people”. + DFA Via Dezeen

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DFA’s flood-proof towers could survive six feet of sea level rise in New York City

Local residents help build pre-fab bamboo social center that can be constructed in a week

January 24, 2018 by  
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Mexican studio  Comunal Taller de Arquitectura is proving yet again that bamboo is a miracle material when it comes to creating affordable housing options. Working with local residents, the studio has built a social housing structure in a small town outside of Puebla. Using a prefabricated bamboo frame, the architects worked side-by-side with the locals so that the residents would learn how to replicate its design – which can be built in just seven days – on their own. The architects have made a name for themselves thanks to their commitment to working with locals on self-build structures using local bamboo and other locally-sourced materials . In this project, however, the architects were forced to import bamboo from the United States due to government restrictions. Once the imported bamboo was available, the team, along with the local residents, used it to make a modular and prefabricated frame. Related: INTERVIEW: Bamboo builder, and Ibuku founder Elora Hardy on creating incredible buildings with bamboo Once the frame was in place, the skeleton of the prefab bamboo structure was constructed in less than a week. The second step consisted of building out the 60-square meter residence using local wood and stone. The various bamboo panels used throughout for the window shutters and the doors were coated with a local tissue known as ixtile for extra protection against the elements. Walls of red brick lattices provide natural air ventilation throughout the home and are helpful in rerouting any kitchen smoke to the exterior. On the interior, exposed bamboo trusses and beams form a slanted roof, which is topped with a thin metal sheet. The roof overhangs around the structure to provide shade for the wrap-around covered porch area. A grey paving makes up the flooring of the porches and continues throughout the interior. According to the architects, the rural housing design was approved for federal subsidies, meaning that the affordable and sustainable prototype could be easily replicated in other areas using local materials and methods . + Comunal Taller de Arquitectura Via Dezeen Images via Comunal Taller de Arquitectura

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Local residents help build pre-fab bamboo social center that can be constructed in a week

Kansas State students built this charming affordable home for low-income families

December 8, 2017 by  
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A group of fifth-year architecture students at Kansas State University teamed up with local firms El Dorado and Studio Build to design and build an affordable two-unit dwelling for low-income families. The Waldo Duplex, built for $200 per square foot, comprises carefully designed open spaces that strategically utilize  natural light . The duplex, built on a budget of $290,000, is located in a historic area of Kansas City, Missouri, dominated by single-family bungalows and shotgun homes. While the duplex has been dominated by generic, utilitarian form these days, the designers wanted to create something that stood out. The result is an unconventional housing solution amongst fairly uniform residential typology. The exterior and roof are clad in corrugated steel and features high-end finishes on the interior. Related: El Dorado brings Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Echo Ridge Community to Topeka, Kansas The students, working as part of Design+Make Studio, teamed up with two local studios to design this pair of apartments for low-income tenants. “This building type was conceived as a more compassionate way to meet housing needs in lower-income municipalities and neighborhoods without the density that is typical in affordable housing,” explained the team. The street-facing porches are enclosed within wooden slats and cantilever over the site. Each apartment offers 725 square feet (67 square meters) of space, with open-plan layouts that include living rooms, kitchens and dining areas. These spaces balance natural and artificial light, working in synergy and dialogue with each other. + Design+Make Studio + El Dorado Inc. + Studio Build Via Dezeen Photos by Mike Sinclair

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Kansas State students built this charming affordable home for low-income families

Net-zero prefab home stacks together and expands like childrens blocks

October 10, 2017 by  
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Wish you could expand the size of your home without breaking the bank? A group of architecture students from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver created RISE, an affordable and sustainable housing solution that lets you do just that. Conceived for urban infill lots, the adaptable and scalable solar-powered home stacks together like children’s blocks and can expand up to three stories with up to five units of multifamily living. RISE—which stands for Residential, Inviting, Stackable, Efficient—was designed specifically for Richmond, California, a coastal city struggling with a shortage of affordable, sustainable housing. Flexibility is key to the RISE design, which boasts customizable floor plans with moveable walls and windows to meet the needs of diverse occupants. The moveable walls, installed on a track system, can roll to the sides to transform three-quarters of the interior into an open-plan area or can be used to delineate multiple rooms. Transforming furniture and modular cabinetry support this versatile floor plan. Modular, prefabricated construction makes the home scalable and stackable, and gives homeowners the ability to transform their home from a single-story family unit into a multigenerational dwelling. The house can be constructed efficiently without specialized labor. Sustainability is also an important factor to RISE, which is designed to achieve net-zero energy consumption and is powered by solar energy. Daylighting and access to natural ventilation is optimized throughout the home, while wool insulation helps lock in stable and comfortable indoor temperatures. A green wall of moss covers the north facade. RISE was completed as University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver’s entry to the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition, after which the home will be donated to the Denver Habitat for Humanity, which will install it on a permanent lot and sell it to a family in need. Related: Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably “At $200,000, a single RISE unit is less expensive than 72% of homes in the city,” wrote the students . “Whereas this fact is significant, what really increases the affordability of RISE is that five units can fit onto a single lot that traditionally would host just one home. The RISE home’s stacked design and large open roof-deck spaces allows greater density and a lower price point per unit while preserving the open feel of a neighborhood home, which residents both need and desire to build community. Though designed specifically for Richmond, this approach would translate well to other urban centers that currently face a shortage of affordable housing.” + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Net-zero prefab home stacks together and expands like childrens blocks

Cozy egg-shaped treehouses offer stunning views of the Italian Alps

October 10, 2017 by  
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A pair of adorable egg-shaped treehouses is hidden away in one of Italy’s oldest forests. Architetto Beltrame Claudio designed these dreamy retreats, called Pigna, that overlook stunning views of the Italian Alps. Inspired by the shape and texture of pinecones, these shingled dwellings are carefully designed to blend into the landscape while serving as a cozy and elegant getaway. Pigna was originally conceived for an architecture competition in 2014 but was only recently completed this year in Malborghetto Valbruna, Italy. The 70-square-meter project comprises two treehouses and both are elevated ten meters off the ground with three stories each. The egg-shaped buildings were constructed from cross-laminated timber with wood fiber insulation. Larch shingles clad the curved exterior punctuated by two covered balconies framing views of the outdoors. Related: Egg-Shaped HemLoft Treehouse is Nestled in the Forests of Whistler “The project started from the desire to create a structure that is not only a refuge for man, but also a natural element of its environment, a mimesis of its surrounding,” wrote the architects. “From the tree, for the tree.” The treehouses are anchored to nearby trees. Both the first and second floors can be reached via outdoor stairs or a walkway. The first floor serves as panoramic covered terrace, whereas the second houses the main living areas with a small kitchen, bathroom, and living room. The bedroom with a double bed placed beneath a circular skylight is located on the third floor. Wooden stairs connect all three floors. + Architetto Beltrame Claudio Via ArchDaily Images via Architetto Beltrame Claudio , interior shots by Laura Tessaro

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Cozy egg-shaped treehouses offer stunning views of the Italian Alps

Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing

August 28, 2017 by  
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Architect Charles Wee didn’t have grand plans to save the world—but that’s exactly what his incredible LifeArk could do. Designed for disaster relief, LifeArk is a prefabricated, modular building system for quickly deployable and affordable housing that can operate 100% off the grid . These self-sustainable life-saving homes, which can be scaled up into communities, can pop up virtually anywhere to float on water or be anchored on land. Thanks to its innovative HDPE materials and production methods, LifeArk clicks together like LEGOs in just a few hours and slashes the total design and construction time for prefabricated architecture in half. LifeArk was recently honored as a 2017 BFI Fuller Challenge Semifinalist . Charles Wee’s architectural career spans a start at AECOM to the founding of international firm GDS Architects . In recent years, however, he began thinking about changing his focus in architecture. “I was sick of conventional architecture,” Wee told Inhabitat in an interview. “Then I had a conversation with a family member that became a light bulb moment. Twelve years ago, my cousin moved to Santa Rosa Island in a part of the Amazon River near the borders of Brazil and Peru to work as a missionary. It’s an area of extreme poverty. I didn’t know much about his work until 2013, when my cousin came out to California and we talked about the way the community lives.” “Their entire existence revolves around fighting flooding. It can flood up to 8 meters high—that’s like 3 stories tall. For 8 months out of the year they must live above water in stilt houses but most of the time the water will come way above that. I saw that in person and understood it as a design and engineering problem. I began to think of floating architecture and buoyant solutions—trying to solve this problem is really what started LifeArk.” His meeting and visit with the people of Santa Rosa opened the doors for Wee to see the worldwide need for floating prefabricated housing. “I couldn’t believe the number,” he said. “There are hundreds of millions of people along floodplains around the world who live under threat.” Wee then assembled a team of experts and engineers to create a sustainable modular solution that could be mass-produced, easily deployable, and assembled. Their solution became LifeArk. The LifeArk components are prefabricated using rotational molding technology; their California factory is expected to stamp out 10 modules a day with around 20 components each. The 60-square-meter modules would then be sent to a second factory to be fitted with the fixed features, such as a kitchenette and off-grid elements like solar panels, before the components are packed into a shipping container for transit. Once onsite, each module can be quickly assembled using unskilled labor and standard tools in as little as 2 hours. Approximately 20 to 24 modules would be needed to construct a house, and the modular buildings can be scaled up and infinitely configured to form a community. Related: Peru plans to dam Amazon River’s main source and displace thousands “They’re like LEGOs,” explained Wee. “You just ‘click, click, click’ and you can bolt the parts together. They all fit together in a shipping container and can be transported to site. While manufacturing is being done we would prep the site, and then it’ll be say to bolt the module on top. All the machinery will be inside already so the only skilled labor needed on site is connections to sewers. But there’s also the option for 100% off-grid capability.” After four years of research and development, the LifeArk team is about ready to deploy their first prototype in March 2018. Three or four buildings will be prefabricated in California and installed on a lake near Dallas, Texas, along with an attached hydroponics farm. Wee also plans to sell LifeArk buildings to cities and organizations looking for affordable homeless housing . Profits will fund the construction and deployment of LifeArk buildings across the world for refugee housing, disaster relief, and other humanitarian purposes. LifeArk was selected as one of 17 proposals to advance in the semifinals for the 2017 Buckminster Fuller Challenge , an annual honor known as “socially responsible design’s highest award.” + LifeArk

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Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing

Ancient green building technique helps ease West Africa housing crisis

March 24, 2017 by  
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Semi-arid regions of Africa face unique obstacles in their efforts to address a growing housing crisis . For years people built roofs with bush timber, but thanks to climate change and deforestation , those building methods are no longer feasible. And sheet metal is simply too expensive for most rural families. So the Nubian Vault Association is bringing back an ages-old sustainable building material: mud bricks . Back in 2000, Burkina Faso farmer Seri Youlou and Frenchman Thomas Granier started the association, which is also known by its French name Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN). They resurrected what they call the Nubian Vault technique, or the process of constructing sturdy vaulted roofs with mud bricks similar to processes employed centuries ago in ancient Egypt. The brings are simply formed with earth and water and then dried in the sun. Houses with these vaulted roofs last for at least 50 years, or even more if they are well maintained. They’re also cheaper than tin or timber, and stay warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather. Related: Bioclimatic Preschool Built with Rammed Earth and Mud Bricks Keeps Cool in the Moroccan Heat The association also works for economic growth by training local apprentices and supporting village masons in multiple West African countries. They aim for a self-sustaining Nubian Vault market, and according to Curbed, their A Roof, A Skill, A Market program has made a $22 million economic impact. They’ve trained over 380 masons, with hundreds more learning as apprentices. The group has now helped homeowners build over 1,800 homes across Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, and Senegal. A Nubian Vault home costs around $1,000, and families can lower costs by making their own mud bricks. Not only has the technique helped put a roof over families’ heads and driven economic development, it’s benefited the environment as well. According to AVN , since September 2015 Nubian Vault homes have saved around 55,000 tons of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere. + The Nubian Vault Association Via Curbed Images via The Nubian Vault Facebook

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Ancient green building technique helps ease West Africa housing crisis

Spruce up your home with this verdant Living Table

March 24, 2017 by  
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If you’re looking to greenify your home, look no further than the plant-filled Living Table . At first glance, the table appears to be a simple square planter covered in a glass top, but an integrated capillary system within the design actually mimics how plants naturally grow, while eliminaing the need for drainage. The high-tech system offers an attractive low-maintenance planter that even those without a green thumb can manage. The Living Table has an integrated passive sub irrigation system that creates a capillary action where water flows upwards. This system, along with the ideal balance of moisture to aeration in the base, results in an attractive planter that doesn’t need drainage. The low-maintenance design, which allows the plants to auto regulate, is perfect for those who find themselves constantly killing their plants because of too much or too little water. Related: Give your succulents their own spacesuits with this 3D-printed planter As far as planting, the  Living Table system is designed for low-growing, ground cover type plants that won’t grow tall enough to touch the glass. Standard 4” plant containers or smaller can be placed directly onto the Habitat Horticulture Growtex capillary mat or plants can be directly planted into the table base using any standard potting soil. Although the planter design is meant to be low-maintenance, the manufacturers are careful to point out that the plants’ specific needs should be considered before planting. The Living Table comes in two sizes with either a stainless steel or powder white finish, and can be all yours for as little as $850.00. + The Living Table

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