This is the first passive house dormitory in Canada

May 12, 2022 by  
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UBCO Skeena Residence complex has 220 bedrooms , a beautiful Commons area and sustainability features throughout. Its integrated design process is energy efficiency and fits practical living needs. It was designed by Architecture + Communication Inc., landscape architect WSP and consultants in specialized fields. Notably, it is the first passive house dormitory in all of Canada. It’s only the second in North America. Related: Amsterdam apartments are tic-tac-toed in wildlife habitat The Skeena Residence is part of UBCO’s Living Laboratory initiative. The Skeena Residence has a monitoring system that gathers information about energy use and occupant comfort. All 220 students will complete a survey at the end of the year to provide even more data about low energy living. Moreover, student housing requires a lot of electricity. Students use hair dryers, computers, refrigerators and all sorts of small appliances. The desert environment of the region creates a lot of humidity . That’s why the building’s construction focused on airtightness, insulation and moisture control. The air circulation is renewed every three hours through mechanical systems to prevent mold. On the other hand, triple-glazed windows prevent energy loss. There’s also an eight-inch thick blanket of mineral wool insulation around the building. The roof is also super-insulated to minimize heat loss. Floor finishes and low-VOC paint were used throughout the building. Meanwhile, low-flow plumbing fixtures help conserve water on the site. The landscaping is full of native and adapted plants to reduce the irrigation needs on the property. Rainwater management provides water for the landscaping areas. What’s cool is that the building does not need fossil fuels for heating, cooling or hot water. The building isn’t even connected to the campus district heating system. It has its own stand-alone electric system and heat pumps that provide heating and cooling. Furthermore, the mechanical systems are located within the thermal envelope . Everything is also highly insulated to minimize thermal bridging and damage caused by condensation. Lastly, the building is 80% constructed with wood framing, with some concrete used on the ground floor. + PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication Photography by Andrew Latreille

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This is the first passive house dormitory in Canada

University under a hill in India has a green roof

January 12, 2022 by  
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India’s new Prestige University designed by Sanjay Puri Architects features a fully walkable angled green roof that is accessible to staff and students from the ground. The building may look like a Minecraft creation, but it’s a full university sliding seamlessly under the landscape beneath a rooftop composed of squares of green planted turf. How did Sanjay Puri Architects fit an entire university under a hill? 250,000 square feet of floor space was efficiently packed into one building on a 32-acre campus. Prestige University will use this building for administration offices, an auditorium, lecture halls and also include a library and cafeteria. Related: Green roof in Amsterdam leads an economic revenue model The plan was to create an alternative to the common imposing skyline of a university . The designers gradually elevated a building up into what amounts to a small hill on top of the building on the rear south side. Prestige University is only 20 meters tall and the green roof can function as an open auditorium. Traditional Indian architecture inspired the natural lighting for the courtyards and the north side of the building. It helps reduce energy costs and air conditioning in a climate that ranges from 86 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit eight months of the year. Inside, there is a diagonal indoor street that splits the building and opens to interior courtyards that feature natural ventilation. The design team for this unique project included Sanjay Puri, Ruchika Gupta, Suzanna Machado, Omkar Rane and Devendra Duggad. They are all part of the award-winning Sanjay Puri Architects group. Sanjay Puri have won renown from the LEAF Awards London Best Interior Architecture 2021, the World Architecture Festival’s Best Housing Project of the Year 2018 in Amsterdam and the World’s Best Residential Building in the LEAF Awards, London 2017, among a total of 270 national and international awards. + Sanjay Puri Architects Images via Sanjay Puri Architects

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Basketball museum is meant to be viewed from all angles

January 12, 2022 by  
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The Lithuania House of Basketball Museum is a focal point in the town of Kaunas. The museum sits near the medieval Kaunas castle and Santaka park, where the two largest Lithuanian rivers converge. Designed by G. Natkevicius & Partners, the project stands out as a contemporary building in the urban fabric of the old quarter of the city. Because of the museum’s location, the architects had to consider that the building façade would be like a sculpture all around. Meaning: It would be visible from all sides. The museum can even be seen from above, from nearby multi-story buildings, church towers and from the slope of the Aleksotas hill across the Neman River. Related: Gleaming copper-colored steel wraps this solar-powered Dutch sports campus The House of Basketball’s sculptural façade consists of three primary materials. The front elevation allows for views in and out of the museum through alternating thin, vertical sheets of glass and aluminum framing. Other parts of the façade are more opaque and clad with large, diagonal strips of copper sheets. As the copper will patina over time, the oxidation process will cause the metal to transform to a richer, reddish-brown shade, alluding to the red brick masonry buildings in the city. The museum’s horseshoe form creates a courtyard space at the center. The building wraps around the 100-year-old oak tree that serves as the building’s central axis. Its centrality allows it to be visible from inside the building, while its branches stretch over the rooftop and is visible to passersby. All internal elevations of the courtyard consist of the same vertical glass ribbons and dark aluminum framing as the entry façade. In the near future, the museum plans to erect a statue of James Naismith, the Canadian that invented basketball in 1891. The statue will be placed alongside the central oak tree to emphasize Naismith’s legacy and reinforce the axis around which the building is centered. Although the exterior of the building incorporates simple and elegant materiality, the interior pushes this to an extreme and favors ultra- minimalism . It features concrete structural elements and black and white finishes, which serve as a backdrop for the exhibitions and events. + G. Natkevicius & Partners Images by Lukas Mykolaitis and Martynas Plepys

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Green roof in Amsterdam leads an economic revenue model

December 15, 2021 by  
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DELVA Landscape Architects in partnership with Bjarke Ingels Group have released the design of the new Terrace Tower Amsterdam. It’s a green roof , terrace-covered building that is just dripping in garden space from the top down. Designed by DELVA, it was featured in Het Financieele Dagblad, Holland’s leading business newspaper. In the Zuidas, a business district in Amsterdam that is under rapid construction, DELVA is taking the lead in making the roofs greener. Related: BIG unveils designs for LEED-certified skyscraper in NYC Terrace Tower Amsterdam aims to make green roofs an integral part of office building design, bringing green outdoor spaces to the office employees. This supports research that shows having access to green outdoor spaces significantly increases employee wellbeing and productivity. “[Green] planting is rapidly changing from a cost item to an economic revenue model,” DELVA said. The building of the Terrace Tower Amsterdam is actually quite simple. It looks as though you took a tower of blocks and slid the top ones over to make room for roof terraces. Glass-enclosed balconies contain dirt and tile substrate planted 3D potted trees, garden plantings and shrubs. Grasses and perennial plants create a green landscape along and between the tiles. Smaller currant trees in the center are framed by larger birch, cherry and pine trees. DEVLA is using development of the Zuidas as a means to densify and greenify the business district instead of pave it over. “Through integral collaboration, [each project] will be linked inseparably with buildings, technology , policy and financial viability,” Delva said. “We do this because we are convinced that only generous gestures from the landscape bring us closer to a living environment that we all dream of.” The team that designed Terrace Tower Amsterdam includes: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) , DELVA Landscape Architecture, Inbo, SmitsRinsma and BrinkMostert De Winter. + DELVA Landscape Architects Images via Delva Landscape Architects

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Sustainable and affordable urban block coming to Amsterdam

November 10, 2021 by  
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Located in Amsterdam , Robin Wood will be the most sustainable yet affordable wooden urban block in the Netherlands. The block features mixed-use property, including residential and commercial units available. It will feature 165 dividable homes that will serve the private sector, medium and large families and office users. The modular city was designed by Marc Koehler Architects and ANA Architects to create sustainable blocks for the future. The futuristic aspects of the entire design rests in its location, materials used, CO2 emission control and energy efficiency. The project will be brought to life by two developers: Edwin Oostmeijer Project Development and MaMa Pioneers. Related: Meet The Line, a sustainable design that looks like a ship Traditionally, urban blocks are built with concrete. The Robin Wood block will not only feature modern high-rise buildings, but will be made entirely out of wood and other recyclable materials. Wood improves the quality of life since it does not introduce unknown contaminants into the environment. “Wood stores CO2 and offers a healthy living environment because it is breathable, moisture regulating and has excellent acoustic properties,” said Mark Koehler Architects in a press statement. “Robin Wood promotes intensive timber bio-based construction and CO2-neutral housing.” The entire block will be net-zero carbon emissions during the construction phase and after it is open. With such a huge bulk of wood to be used (in addition to other aspects of the construction that limit CO2 emissions) the structure will indirectly offset emissions from 39,149,254 kilometers of exhaust for a mid-range car , according to the calculations made by Mark Koehler Architects and the team behind the project. The other outstanding aspect of the development is the tiny indigenous forest included on the property. The tiny forest is rich with a variety of highly compact indigenous species, increasing local biodiversity and creating an ideal environment for outdoor activities. Furthermore, the development is enriched with common areas that are open to all residents, which will promote a more social urban block . Social interaction is a key part to building sustainable societies. “Social cohesion contributes to a more cohesive and inclusive urban environment ,” stated MaMa Pioneers. “With most modern urban spaces, people live outside the social scope. This limits accountability when it comes to caring for the environment.” Although most parts of the development are made out of wood, aluminum for the windows and door frames have been used. More interesting is the fact that the construction will be done offsite. Prefabricated wooden panels are brought on-site for assembly, reducing waste and cutting down waste that would result from onsite constructions. Robin Wood will be the first-of-its-kind block in the Netherlands, leading the way for many other cities across the world. The concept is proof that environmental matters can be considered together with economic and modern developments. It is scheduled to be completed in 2024. + Marc Koehler Architects Images via Marc Koehler Architects

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Microplastics found in the bloodstreams of cows and pigs

October 26, 2021 by  
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The meat you buy in the store may be contaminated with microplastics. A recent study by Free University of Amsterdam found microplastics in the bloodstreams of pigs and cows for the first time. The findings have sparked questions over public health, with experts expressing fears over contaminants possibly affecting the entire food chain.  Previous studies have found microplastics in vegetables, birds and sea animals, but this is the first time plastic particles have been found in farm animals’ blood. According to Dr. Heather Leslie, the study’s lead researcher and an expert in microplastics, “hundreds of other animals also have microplastics in their bodies. But in cows and pigs, it had not been discovered before.” Related: New study finds microplastics in fruits and vegetables The study included 12 cows and six pigs, all of which tested positive for the presence of microplastics. According to Dr. Leslie, microplastics in the soil likely found their way into crops eaten by animals. Since the particles cannot be broken down by the body, they remain in the bloodstream for years.  Microplastics are already present in water, soil , air, and food. Scientists are now taking a closer look at the impact of these contaminants. Several studies have linked the particles to health complications such as immune overreaction, inflammation and increased risk of heart disease. “If you want to assess the risks, you first have to know what the actual exposure is and how toxic it is. If we are above the values ??that are still safe and responsible, then we have to do something about it,” Leslie said. Researchers now say that humans must act to determine the extent of plastic pollution in the food chain to protect both animals and humans. “It is in the interest of animal and human health protection to further explore this nascent signal of plastic pollution exposure in the food chain,” Leslie said. Via Earth Lead image via Pixabay

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Microplastics found in the bloodstreams of cows and pigs

Dash Linear turns cardboard into high-performance lighting

September 6, 2021 by  
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As part of  interior design , lighting serves a greater purpose than illumination alone. Fixtures set the tone of a room and work as a central element in the theme. Graypants Studio, with offices in Seattle and Amsterdam, takes the look of its lighting products seriously while placing a focus on producing them sustainably. The studio’s newest release, Dash Linear, is a high-performance lighting option for newly-created home-work spaces, home additions or upgraded kitchens. Dash Linear is the latest installment in Graypants’ Scraplight series, an appropriate name considering they are made out of recycled and virgin cardboard. Related: Serif + Sero modular furniture is made of 100% upcycled cardboard It may seem counterintuitive to make lighting out of paper, but the team at Graypants is dedicated to marrying modern and  minimalist  designs with technical function while maintaining a low carbon footprint. To this end, Dash Linear is handmade using a low-impact manufacturing process that includes zero-VOC adhesive and limited material waste.  Dash Linear is currently available across North America and offered in three finishes — natural, white and blonde.  Recycled  cardboard is used for the natural Dash, while virgin corrugated cardboard is used for the white and blonde options. There are height and length options, as well as differing brightness levels for a custom feel over a desk or other workstation. Available lengths are 48 or 93 inches. Height options range from 4 to 12 inches. While lit, Dash Linear relies on  energy-efficient  LED modules and can offer direct or uniform lighting. The flagship Scraplight line also includes table lamp options made from recycled materials and mounted on a brass base. Graypants Studio also creates pendant lamps in a variety of shapes and finishes.  Graypants explains that the studio “was founded as an opportunity to apply an architectural mindset to product design and art —enhancing space and enriching experiences. Graypants’ work, rooted in light-minded design, includes architecture, product design, art installation and exhibition, and fixture design.”  + Graypants Images via Graypants

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Famous Amsterdam canal gets a 3D-printed smart bridge

August 4, 2021 by  
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Amsterdam’s oldest neighborhood is getting a high-tech upgrade thanks to 3D-printing company MX3D and design firm Joris Laarman Lab. The team recently unveiled a stainless steel, 3D-printed smart bridge that will be placed over one of the city’s historic bridges in the Red Light District. The bridge will be equipped with digital technology to analyze crowd behavior. The stainless steel bridge has the capacity to hold a minimum of 19.5 tons, more than even what it was designed for. According to MX3D’s CEO, the success of the bridge project marks only the beginning for the company’s metal-printing technology.  Related: Award-winning redesign of the Brooklyn Bridge puts the focus on pedestrians “This robotic technology finally allows larger optimized designs to be 3D printed in metal,” said Gijs van der Velden, CEO and co-founder of MX3D. “This causes significant weight reduction and reduced impact for parts manufactured in the tooling, oil & gas and construction industries.” The project took four robots and over 6,000 kilograms of stainless steel to complete, but the most innovative aspect, arguably, comes in the form of the bridge’s smart sensors. Powered by structural measurements like strain, rotation, load, displacement and vibration, the bridge’s sensors collect data in real time. The accurate computer model helps engineers to not only keep tabs on the bridge’s overall health (for example, how it changes over its lifespan) but also better understand elements like overtourism , air quality and temperature. There’s an artificial intelligence component to it as well, because the sensor data can also be used to “teach” the bridge to essentially understand what is happening to it. The first step is to teach the bridge how to count how many people are crossing it and how quickly. “Evolution is a truly wonderful process that we try to harness in our work. Endlessly trying, refining, improving until slowly, something emerges that is so ingenious it looks like magic if you don’t know what went on before,” said Joris Laarman, owner of Joris Laarman Lab. “In our work, we try to capture some of that magic. Using emerging technology to develop objects and a visual language of the future that is informed by logic, we aim to make small leaps in that evolutionary process.” + Joris Laarman Lab + MX3D Via ArchDaily Photography by Thea van den Heuvel, Merlin Moritz, Jande G. Roen, Adriaan de Groot via MX3D

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Famous Amsterdam canal gets a 3D-printed smart bridge

Cities and the private sector partner for high-power innovation

November 1, 2017 by  
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Cities such as Houston and Amsterdam are tackling current climate-related challenges and generating savings and economic opportunities.

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Cities and the private sector partner for high-power innovation

Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home

October 26, 2017 by  
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Yacht construction and house building fabulously come together in this conversion project that turned a 1957 cargo ship into a modern  floating home in Amsterdam. Dutch studio ANA architecten redesigned the structure for a client who wanted to live on the water and enjoy expansive views of Amsterdam’s canals without giving up the comforts of a traditional home. The architects shortened the ship to fit the water plot and made sure that the interior has enough space to house a modern home. Unlike most ship and barge conversions, this transformation eliminated the linear system of spaces and offers several sight lines that run the entire length of the ship and across different floors. One of the most important elements is the terrace that sits in the middle of the double-height space. Windows in the wheelhouse, portoles and the patio that leads onto the terrace provide ample natural light. Related: Coal barge in London converted into a sophisticated floating home The master bedroom functions as an independent living space and includes a pantry, bathroom, toilet and a sitting area. The kitchen sits at the core of the ship and provides a direct connection to the main living area. The wheelhouse acts as an alternative living room, which fits the overall concept of creating several seating areas throughout the interior. Related: Experimental floating office takes over a converted WWII barge The architects replaced the existing aluminum and single-glass windows with handmade mahogany frames and double glazing. An air-water heat pump extracts heat from the air and heats the ship through low-temperature floor heating. Photovoltaic panels can be installed on the roof in order to make the structure more energy-efficient. + ANA architecten

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