Benjamin Fleury creates affordable, modern apartments with a low-energy footprint in Paris

July 30, 2019 by  
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Local architecture practice Benjamin Fleury has completed a residential complex with 26 affordable apartments in Montreuil, a commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris. Affordable housing cooperative COOPIMMO commissioned the design and construction of the building as part of its mission to produce social accommodations with a “renting-purchasing system.” Thoughtfully integrated into the suburban context, the contemporary apartment complex also boasts low-energy consumption and has earned the MINERGIE-P label for its energy-efficient features. Located on the Rue des Chantereines, the 26 Apartments in Montreuil is surrounded by a mix of 1960s housing blocks that range from structures that are five to 10 stories in height to smaller, standalone homes with gardens. Creating a building sensitive to these different building typologies was paramount to the design, as was injecting a contemporary morphology. As a result, the architects decided to split the affordable housing complex into two blocks: a street-facing “urban” block that sits opposite the multistory, midcentury housing blocks and a second “residential” block tucked farther back on the block. A communal garden and gathering space planted with deciduous trees occupies the space between the two buildings. Related: A vacant lot in New Orleans is converted into resilient and affordable housing for war veterans “These accommodations where first offered to local families who could not easily afford to be owners,” Benjamin Fleury said in a project statement. “The principle of the social ownership is simple: in addition to the regulation of low prices, families can contract a loan without pre-existing capital, and then become owners after a first step of renting. Because of the economic flimsiness of the buyers, who already have to assume their loans, it appeared essential to reduce effectively the maintenance costs of the building.” In addition to reducing the cost of maintenance, the architects wanted to reduce energy costs. Passive solar principles were followed to take advantage of natural light, ventilation and shading while heat loss and unwanted solar gain are mitigated with triple-glazed windows. Insulation is also built into the double-layered facade. A double-flow mechanical ventilation system and solar hot water heaters help reduce heating demands. + Benjamin Fleury Photography by David Boureau via Benjamin Fleury

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Benjamin Fleury creates affordable, modern apartments with a low-energy footprint in Paris

Worlds first upcycled high-rise is proposed for Copenhagen

May 1, 2019 by  
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Danish architecture firms Lendager Group and TREDJE NATUR want to prove that building tall doesn’t need to come at the cost of the environment or human comfort. That’s why the two firms teamed up to design CPH Common House, a proposal for the world’s first upcycled high-rise in the Ørestad area of Copenhagen. Draped in greenery, the stepped building would be built from upcycled materials “to an unprecedented extent” for an estimated 1,174 tons of carbon emission savings in the building phase. Designed to raise the bar for sustainable high-rises in the future, the CPH Common House is a proposal commissioned by SOLSTRA Development – Bellakvarter A/S, but it was not chosen for construction. The conceptual project serves as a springboard for eco-friendly developments in the future. “With CPH Common House, we propose the world’s first upcycled high-rise building,” the architects explained. “We show how to build high and dense without losing the connection to the history, context and human scale. Strategies on sustainability and circularity are incorporated in the project from the first sketch.” The CPH Common House puts a new sustainable spin on the classic Copenhagen courtyard building by introducing a larger courtyard and a dramatically staggered design that lets greater amounts of natural light into the apartments and creates room for terraced green spaces. The architects proposed using 17,577 tons of upcycled waste to create a resource-efficient building that includes recycled tiles and concrete with brick fractures, recycled window frames reused as wood paneling and recycled wood floors. Related: Ecovillage in Copenhagen strives to meet all 17 Sustainable Development Goals To create connection with the existing urban fabric, the CPH Common House draws elements from the traditional perimeter block and activates the streetscape with 30,000 square meters of commercial space located at the building’s base. The landscaped terraces and the expansive courtyard near the base of the building create communal meeting spaces for the community, while residents would also enjoy access to private roof terraces from their apartments. Rainwater would be harvested and reused for irrigation. + Lendager Group + TREDJE NATUR Via ArchDaily Images via TREDJE NATUR

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A welcoming healthcare center in New Delhi follows passive design principles

May 1, 2019 by  
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New Delhi-based architecture and interior design firm VYOM has completed the Dental Care Centre, a recently opened healthcare facility in New Delhi that offers much more than a teeth cleaning. Designed to follow passive solar principles, the light-filled facility immerses patients in a spa-inspired environment with views of nature from every room. A natural materials palette also helps tie the bright and airy building to the landscape. Built to embrace nature, the Dental Care Centre was carefully laid out on a linear site so as to avoid removing any mature trees. The thoughtful design not only reduced site impact , but also helped maximize access to shade while reducing heat load on the structure. The shaded areas also informed the team’s decision to add an outdoor deck and outdoor seating for patients and visitors, while bamboo screens provide privacy to the staff quarters. Views of the preserved canopy are swept indoors through large glazed openings and include clerestory windows , walls of glass and skylights. The most dramatic opening can be found at the heart of the Dental Care Centre, where an open-air courtyard is punctuated by a square fishpond enclosed in glass on four sides. A raised wooden roof with deep overhangs helps mitigate glare from southern sunshine while allowing natural daylight to flood the interior. Related: Light-filled dentist clinic shows how good design can calm patient fears “Addressing the functional, medical requirements while always keeping the focus on positive patient care has resulted in a scheme where the colors and materiality harmoniously enhance the spatial quality,” the architects explained of the healthcare facility, which is dressed in off-white walls and timber accents. “The Dental Care Centre is a singular and exclusive design that enhances the levels of patient care, while mitigating patient stress levels by giving them an environment which is close to nature, dynamic, cheerful and full of natural light .” + VYOM Photography by Yatinder Kumar via VYOM

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A welcoming healthcare center in New Delhi follows passive design principles

Henning Larsen completes award-winning Wave apartments in Denmark

December 26, 2018 by  
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Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects has completed The Wave, a striking wave-shaped apartment complex that has made splashes internationally long before the project was finished. Located in Vejle, Denmark, the award-winning building was designed as an extension of its surroundings, from the waterfront location to the rolling, forested hills that rise from Vejle Fjord. The Wave’s sculptural silhouette comprises five rounded towers that create a new visual landmark for the town and are visible from rail, road and sea. Spanning an area of nearly 3.5 acres, The Wave consists of more than a hundred luxury apartment units along with a new public pier in front that aims to revitalize the waterfront. Although construction on the complex started in 2006, the financial crisis halted all progress after the completion of only two towers; construction resumed on the remaining three towers in late 2015. The wave-shaped towers consist of nine floors each and appear identical to one another to create the appearance of a unified building. The fifth and final tower of The Wave was finalized in November 2018. “The land surrounding Vejle is unique for its rolling hills, which are an uncommon sight in Denmark ,” explained Søren Øllgaard, partner and design director at Henning Larsen. “We designed The Wave as striking new presence in the Vejle skyline, one that reflects and embodies the surrounding area. We feel our design merges our own contemporary designs with a strong sense of local identity.” Related: Henning Larsen’s energy-efficient Kiruna Town Hall opens to the public The spectacular nature-inspired building garnered international attention and awards even before the project was completed. In 2009, The Wave’s two completed towers were crowned ‘Residential Building of the Year’ by Danish trade magazine Byggeri. The project has also earned an ABB LEAF Award for innovative architecture in 2012 as well as the prestigious Civic Trust Award in 2013. + Henning Larsen Architects Photography by Jacob Due via Henning Larsen Architects

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Henning Larsen completes award-winning Wave apartments in Denmark

Nature-inspired housing mimics the curvature of the landscape in Chongqing

October 1, 2018 by  
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International design practice Safdie Architects recently completed the Eling Residences, a nature-inspired housing development built to look like an extension of the highest plateau of Eling Hill in Chongqing , China. Elevated high above the Yangtze River, the residences are nestled in a densely forested environment yet enjoy close proximity to the city. In addition to optimizing residents’ access to natural light, ventilation and greenery, each unit is also equipped with a private balcony for indoor-outdoor living. Completed this year in the city’s Yuzhong District, the Eling Residences cover an area of 460,000 square feet with 126 apartments. The architects took cues from the existing slope to develop the various building designs, which change from terraced structures at the bottom of the hill to a pair of freestanding dome-shaped villas near the top. The stepped configuration and layout also helps ensure that every apartment enjoys uninterrupted views of the landscape. In addition to the apartment units, the Eling Residences also features a four-story clubhouse, multiple pools and additional recreational areas. According to the architects, these amenities not only help build a sense of community but are also reflective of the firm’s commitment to design spaces with humanizing scale and vibrant social atmospheres. Unlike the concrete jungle that defines much of Chongqing, the Eling Residences feels like a retreat into nature thanks to ample landscaping, organic curved forms and the use of a natural materials palette . Related: A sprawling green roof fuses this community center with Chongqing’s mountainous landscape “Complementing the sloped low-rise buildings is an intricate landscape system, which interweaves terraces , gardens, trellises, overlooks, stairs and promenades throughout the site,” the architects said. “The combination of landscape and architecture works together to evoke the character of lush, hanging gardens, integrating the project site with the green oasis of Eling Park. The terraced levels maximize residents’ access to light, air and greenery, while architectural screens partially shade individual apartments, extending living spaces outward into the garden landscape.” + Safdie Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Safdie Architects, by ArchExist

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Nature-inspired housing mimics the curvature of the landscape in Chongqing

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for sculptural Maltese tower

August 13, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects is bringing its modern, sinuous designs to Malta, a nation renowned for its historic sites. Set to become the tallest building in the country, the Mercury Tower will soar to 31 stories and a height of 112 meters in Paceville on the main island’s northeastern coast. The mixed-use tower will twist to separate the programmatic functions and optimize views of the sea. Zaha Hadid Architects’ Mercury Tower will take over a 9,405-square-meter site that had sat unoccupied for more than 20 years. The site is also home to the old Mercury House that dates back to the early 20th century. In addition to designing the strikingly modern Mercury Tower, the architects have been working with Malta’s leading conservation architect to renovate the area’s heritage structures, including the old Mercury House facades, and reuse the existing historic interiors for gathering spaces and as an entrance for the new apartments and hotel. Related: Chris Briffa Architects’ Sustainable Hanging Home Features a Green Roof in Malta The Mercury Tower’s new public amenities — such as cafes, shops and a large piazza with interactive water features — will be set alongside the refurbished Mercury House. The tower comprises nine stories of apartments below and a 19-story hotel volume above. The residences will be aligned with the street while the larger volume stacked above is rotated to position hotel rooms toward the Mediterranean Sea for better views of the water. This rotation — located at the 10th, 11th and 12th floors — also helps reduce solar gain. The insulated facade and carefully positioned glazing also improve the building’s thermal performance and ensure comfort for residents, workers and guests. Zaha Hadid Architects concluded in a statement, “Marrying a variety of public, residential and commercial functions together with the creation of a vibrant new civic space, the redevelopment of Mercury House includes the renovation of derelict heritage structures and responds to the demands of the island’s future socio-economic development.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects, by VA

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These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes

June 4, 2018 by  
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Student housing has come a long way since the days of crowding two roommates into a confined space with a couple of beds and a single desk. Case in point: this impressive student housing complex designed by Amsterdam-based firm Standard Studio  that uses the principles of tiny home living . Located in Rotterdam, the Hermes City Plaza apartments offer 218 beautiful 200-square-feet units incorporated with various multi-functional and ultra-efficient features. The purpose of the project was to create housing for first year Erasmus students who are new to the city. Looking to go beyond the usual cramped and cold student housing , the architects decided to create a series of independently functioning units, which are all less than 200 square feet. Inspired by the  tiny home movement , these apartments feature space efficiency, natural light and smart storage. Related: Why these floating dorms made from shipping containers are the future of cheap student housing Each unit comes with a fully equipped living space, meaning there is a full kitchen and bathroom. No more flip-flopping it to the typical shared community bathrooms! The apartments have an open layout that connects the living room to a small kitchenette and dining area. Space efficiency was essential at every step and forced the designers to get creative. There wasn’t enough room to put a full sink in the kitchen, so the team installed one large sink that straddles the kitchen and the bathroom. A half-partition that separates the two spaces pulls double duty as a mirror for the bathroom and a chalkboard for the kitchen. All the cabinetry was custom-built out of renewable bamboo , and LED strips light up the space when natural light isn’t available. The design takes advantage of vertical space with high ceilings and a sleeping loft . The loft is reached by stairs and has built-in closets and shelving. In fact, most of the apartments’ furnishings provide dual functionalities. The living room, for example, has one large multipurpose unit that incorporates a sofa, a desk and storage. The space offers students a feel of independent living, but there are some shared amenities meant to foster a strong sense of community. Residents can enjoy a rooftop terrace , music room, TV rooms, a laundry area and a communal study area. + Standard Studio Via Treehugger Images via Standard Studio

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These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes

Herzog & de Meuron designs a Horizontal Skyscraper for Moscow

March 22, 2018 by  
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Building on an urban waterfront often means compromised views for existing structures, but that’s not the case for the “Horizontal Skyscraper” in Moscow . As part of an urban revitalization plan for an abandoned historic brewery, Herzog & de Meuron unveiled designs for two new residential blocks that will be elevated 115 feet into the air and supported by slender white stilts. By raising the contemporary additions, the Swiss architects guarantee coveted panoramic views for residents and a preserved visual connection between the historic buildings and the Moscow River. Founded in 1875, the brick-clad Badaevskiy Brewery buildings that fell in disrepair after in the 2000s will be restored and renovated for new retail and community ventures such as a food market, clothing shops, a co-working space, gym, and childcare facilities. Herzog & de Meuron will lead the six-hectare heritage building restoration effort in addition to the new “Horizontal Skyscraper” envisioned as “a piece of city lifted up in the air.” Related: Herzog & de Meuron are upcycling a historic gasometer into a stunning residential tower The glazed and raised residences will comprise approximately 1.1 million square feet of apartments with glazed facades and private balconies. Eight “sky villas” on the upper level will also have private roof access. The architects have also planned for a new pedestrian-only public park that sits beneath the apartments and around the supporting stilts that the designers likened to “trunks of trees.” + Herzog & de Meuron Via ArchDaily Images via Herzog & de Meuron

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Herzog & de Meuron designs a Horizontal Skyscraper for Moscow

Huge circular windows flood Melbourne’s Cirqua Apartments with natural light

August 18, 2017 by  
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Huge circular windows flood the interior of this funky apartment block in Melbourne with natural light. BKK Architects designed the Cirqua Apartments as a series of staggered volumes that reference the region’s historical housing while reinterpreting it in a modern way. The block occupies a steeply sloping site in a residential neighborhood in Melbourne. Its exterior is dominated by huge porthole windows that span almost the full height of the six cubes. The openings bring natural light into the interior and maximize the connection of the project to the surrounding garden. Related: 6,000 Circular Windows Flood Japan’s Kanazawa Library With Light The open-plan interiors feature a lot of natural materials and warm colors, with circular light fittings echoing the circular windows. White walls, marble and wood create a delicate visual balance. Beside its remarkable design features, the project also creates a precedent in the area’s multi-residential market. It was built to appeal to owner-occupiers rather than buy-to-let investors. + BKK Architects Via Dezeen Lead photo by Peter Bennetts

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Huge circular windows flood Melbourne’s Cirqua Apartments with natural light

Zaha Hadid Architects designs ecological residential complex for Mexicos Riviera Maya

May 19, 2017 by  
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Mexico’s stunning Riviera Maya looks nothing short of paradise, but its beauty has also proven a burden on ecological preservation. With the Yucatan Peninsula’s booming tourism and environmental degradation in mind, Zaha Hadid Architects designed Alai, a residential complex in the Riviera Maya that embraces luxury but still maintains low environmental impact. Inspired by local Mayan culture and architecture, the nature-filled development will also contribute to restoration of native flora and fauna. Located on a site prepped by a previous owner for an unbuilt project, Alai will minimize its environmental impact by limiting the combined footprint of all its residential buildings to less than 7 percent of the site’s total area. The architects also plan to repair the previous owner’s damage to the site. Zaha Hadid Architects will collaborate with landscape architecture firm Gross Max and use replanting to repair the landscape, reverting the remainder of the site into a natural state that includes a woodland nature reserve and coastal wetland. To this end, the architects designed an onsite botanical nursery that serves as an attraction and tool for site restoration. Related: Sleep in sustainable luxury inside this eco-friendly jungle treehouse Alai’s luxury apartments as well as sport, leisure, and wellness amenities will be set on an elevated platform just above the canopy so as to not disturb local wildlife crossings. The apartments offer four different floor typologies, all of which enjoy ample amounts of natural light, natural ventilation , private balconies, and unobstructed views to the Caribbean Sea or Nichupté Lagoon. The sinuous and textured facade draws inspiration from local Mayan masonry and the rich natural environment. + Zaha Hadid Architects Via WAN Images by firms credited in titles

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