A small Swedish town becomes home to urban development experiments

September 18, 2020 by  
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Stockholm-based architecture firm Anders Berensson Architects has unveiled designs for the Tibro Train Tracks , an ongoing urban development project to transform an abandoned track area in the Swedish town of Tibro into an innovative hub for urban planning experiments. Commissioned by the municipality of Tibro with support from the ArkDes Swedish Center for Architecture and Design, the practice-based research project explores the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11, which calls for sustainable cities and communities. Under the direction of SDG 11, the Tibro research project aims to find new ways of sustainably revitalizing small, rural towns. Located in southern Sweden, the small town of Tibro is best known for its furniture industry and local manufacturing. As a result, the architects opted to highlight the town’s history by taking an inventory of the machines and industrial features that could be adapted into site-specific projects and interventions. Related: A forgotten railway takes on new life as a new cultural destination in France The project has created 60 fast photomontages, 16 inventories of local producers, 17 urban projects and proposals and one urban planning proposal for the abandoned train track in the heart of the town. The one-year project comprised three phases. Phase 1 consisted of community meetings that began with 60 fast photomontages to stimulate discussion among locals, who have created over 300 proposals. In Phase 2, the architects visited 16 local companies, schools and associations to figure out what elements in their site-specific projects could be locally produced. For Phase 3, the discussions and inventories were combined to create a “smorgasbord” of 17 proposals, prototypes and projects for the abandoned train track area. The 17 proposals span small and large interventions, from increasing tree coverage by the train tracks to the creation of the Tibro Market Hall. “The site itself as an abandoned yet central site with a small interest to invest and develop fast can be seen as a disadvantage but with a focused strategy over a long time it can be turned into the opposite,” the architects explained. “With more time experiments can be done, tested and evaluated. Small projects, tests and prototypes can be built and removed or kept. Things can grow organically in a focused plan with a resilient strategy.” + Anders Berensson Architects Images via Anders Berensson Architects

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A small Swedish town becomes home to urban development experiments

A green roof naturally cools a bioclimatic mosque in Indonesia

September 16, 2020 by  
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Jakarta-based architecture firm RAD+ar (Research Artistic Design + architecture) has recently completed the Bioclimatic Community Mosque of Pamulang, which is located about an hour south of the Indonesian capital. Designed to follow passive solar principles, the bioclimatic building departs from traditional mosque architecture in favor of optimizing indoor comfort, self-sufficiency and minimal maintenance. In addition to maximizing natural light and ventilation, the architects also topped the community mosque with an active green roof — instead of the iconic Islamic dome — in order to reduce the urban heat island effect. Spanning an area of 1,200 square meters to accommodate approximately 1,000 people, the Bioclimatic Community Mosque is more than just a place of worship. Like many mosques , the Pamulang building also functions as a community center, meeting space and recreational space for the surrounding neighborhood. RAD+ar’s strikingly contemporary design for the mosque reflects the building’s multifunctional services. Related: Henning Larsen Architects reveal plans for a new mosque in Copenhagen that marries Islamic and Nordic design Creating low-maintenance and cost-effective safeguards against the region’s extreme heat and humidity drove the design narrative and informed the architects’ decision to replace almost all of the brick partitions with over 30,000 pieces of locally produced accustomed roster block that provide privacy while allowing light and air through. “Basic geometric-volumetric approach as the sunken massing (to harness lower temperature) stacked on top of another, this allowed many level of wind speed variation crossing the building that provides total shade and extreme temperature and air pressure differences that ensure 24 hours cross ventilation & thermal chimney effect,” the architects explained in a press release. Natural lighting is also maximized throughout the building, while strategically placed openings optimize cross ventilating and the stack effect . Both indoor and outdoor spaces were crafted to provide thermal comfort; the inclusion of shaded outdoor spaces large enough to accommodate gatherings has been particularly helpful for accommodating activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. + RAD+ar Photography by William Sutanto via RAD+ar

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A green roof naturally cools a bioclimatic mosque in Indonesia

A midcentury home receives a sensitive renovation in Montreal

September 11, 2020 by  
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Local practice Salem Architecture has recently renovated the Maison Ave Courcelette, a stately, midcentury home with an improved indoor/outdoor connection in the heart of Montreal. Originally constructed in 1947, the house was built with beautiful attention to detail and sculptural, rounded openings — elements that both the architect, Jad Salem, and the owner wanted to preserve and highlight. The resulting transformation achieves those goals while generously opening up the interior to the large exterior courtyard and bringing an abundance of natural light indoors. Located in the residential borough of Outremont, the Maison Ave Courcelette project connects to a large backyard and is surrounded by many mature trees around the perimeter of the site. To improve the relationship between the home and the outdoors, the architects opened up the rear, south-facing facade with large sliding glass doors. The stones of the facade that were replaced by the new glazing were kept for use in a possible house extension. The new cladding on a portion of the rear facade is made up of vertically oriented timber elements that complement the original stone of the house and serve as an openwork sidewall for privacy from the neighbors while allowing natural light to filter through. Related: Transformed midcentury modern home focuses on sustainability To protect the house from unwanted solar gain in the south, the architects created covered outdoor terraces as well as a retractable canopy for comfortable use of an entertaining space with a sunken seating area and a fire pit next to the pool. “The landscaping, in separate areas, offers owners the opportunity to enjoy the backyard while having a variety of experiences and atmospheres,” the architects noted. New windows have also been added to other parts of the home to bring in additional daylight. Inside, original midcentury building elements have been elegantly enhanced. The architects added new arched openings that follow the configurations of the existing arched windows to elevate the sculptural feel of the home. The railing of the central curved staircase — a major focal point — has been kept minimal so as not to detract attention from the staircase’s sculptural shape and the rounded openings in the ceilings. The original wood floor has also been maintained in some rooms while materials for the new floors were carefully selected to complement existing finishes. + Salem Architecture Photography by Phil Bernard via Salem Architecture

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A midcentury home receives a sensitive renovation in Montreal

A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

September 11, 2020 by  
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Located in Shenzhen, China, the If Factory utilizes a sustainable design that transforms an old and disused factory into a creative mix of office spaces. While the heart of the building contains a public stairway with an inclusive view of the inside, the landscaped bamboo roof terrace is an even more impressive token of the project’s combination of sustainability and community. Rather than demolish the original factory before rebuilding the office space, a project that would require extensive resources and environmental strain, the architects at MVRDV set out to renovate instead. The result is a celebration of old and new, with a simple focus on cleaning out the original building while reinventing the older components of the structure. Related: An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces For example, the architects chose to use new, transparent painting techniques to prevent the older spaces from further aging. This results in the important preservation of the original building’s history and exposed concrete frame while maintaining more modern principles of sustainability and the circular economy. New walls and balconies are made of glass. In an effort to promote exchanges between colleagues, the exterior walls are set back from the building’s frame to allow for circulation. The grand staircase is made of wood to separate the design from the surrounding concrete and glass, and it weaves its way artistically between each floor. MVRDV included windows built into the staircase so that workers can peek into other offices as a commitment to transparency and collaboration. The public roof terrace, known as “The Green House,” includes a green bamboo landscape that is arranged to form a natural maze. This unique design intentionally divides the rooftop into different sections that all contain different programming, including a dance room, a dining area and space for reading, aimed at relaxation and community. + MVRDV Via ArchDaily Images via MVRDV

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

262 wicker baskets come together in a stunning arched pavilion

September 8, 2020 by  
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For the third annual Annecy Paysages landscape architecture festival, Riga-based Didzis Jaunzems Architecture (DJA) has crafted the Wicker Pavilion, a beautiful and innovative pavilion covered with 262 traditional wicker baskets. Located in the heart of Jardins de l’Europe in the alpine town of Annecy, France, the pavilion provided park visitors respite from the hot summer sun while framing select views of the landscape. DJA also participated in the festival last year with the UGUNS pavilion. With the Wicker Pavilion, Didzis Jaunzems Architecture has combined contemporary architecture with traditional Latvian craftsmanship. The arched pavilion was built with a timber grid shell structure technique. “The triangular mesh of the timber grid is assembled on the ground, then the middle part is lifted to a necessary height and then the three corners are fixed to create the final arched shape,” the architects explained. “The load bearing structure is made of pine tree planks 21 x 45 mm in 6 structural layers connected with bolts at crossing points.” Related: Glowing Wishing Pavilion is made with 5,000 recycled plastic bricks The timber-framed shell was then covered with 262 traditional wicker baskets that were woven into cone shapes by Latvian artisans. The lattice structure of the wicker baskets allows for filtered daylight through the pavilion, creating a dynamic play of light and shadow on the grass. In addition to providing a shaded space for park visitors, the arched pavilion also invites a sense of play. The gridded triangular sections of the frame are large enough for passersby to poke their heads inside and look through to views framed by the conical wicker baskets. To improve the flexibility of the timber structure during the construction process, the architects wet the structure with water to increase the pliability of the materials. Over time, the timber and wicker materials will develop a natural patina and turn a silvery gray to better blend in with the surrounding landscape. + DJA Photography by Eriks Bozis via DJA

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262 wicker baskets come together in a stunning arched pavilion

This timber-clad cabin appears to hover over an idyllic lake landscape

September 3, 2020 by  
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Rye-based architectural practice RX Architects has completed a charming cabin at the edge of a lake in Brabourne, an English village within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty about a two-hour drive from London. Dubbed the Lake Cabin, the gabled nature retreat is wrapped in natural wood that will develop a patina over time to help blend the building into the landscape. The remote cabin can only be accessed by a woodland trail, which is inaccessible by vehicles and enjoys uninterrupted views across the lake and to the countryside beyond. Positioned to face north, the Lake Cabin sits at the southern edge of the lake against a backdrop of dense forest. Connection with nature was paramount in the design, which features a natural materials palette, large walls of glazing and a wooden deck that cantilevers over the water. The gabled building is clad in a combination of rough sawn, wide English oak planks as well as thin, narrow-planed English oak planks. “This is combined with a concrete datum line to the base of the building, which steps up to create a concrete bench and log store,” the architects added. Related: A homey, floating cabin makes for the ultimate romantic getaway in South Australia The pared-back design approach continues to the interior of the exposed timber-framed structure, which is covered in limed Douglas fir boards. A bronze seamed roof tops the building for a visual contrast with the timber cladding. The roof extends over the southern and western elevations to provide the L-shaped, cantilevered deck some protection from the elements and unwanted solar gain. Two walls of sliding glass along the south and west sides of the home open up to the deck and create a seamless indoor/outdoor experience with the lake. Like the architectural design, the interior layout is also restrained and centers on a large, open-plan living area, dining space and kitchen that connects with the outdoor deck. A wet room is tucked away near the main entrance, and stairs and a ladder lead up to a lofted sleeping area above.  + RX Architects Photography by Ashley Gendek via RX Architects

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This timber-clad cabin appears to hover over an idyllic lake landscape

Prefab home was assembled onsite in New Zealand in just 4 days

July 23, 2020 by  
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The Karangahake House is nestled within the dense mountain forest of Waitawheta Valley, located on the North Island of New Zealand. The secluded home is built of FSC-certified, native douglas fir wood and paired with an eco-friendly prefabrication construction process. Vast, 360-degree views of neighboring farmlands circle the property, as well as stunning vistas of the Karangahake and Te Aroha Mountains across the historic gold-mining region to the east. The project is meant to provide a sustainable home for its owners, who put great value on the importance of the environment and quiet family moments. Related: Tiny prefab timber cabin in New Zealand designed to be serene art studio The designers made the most out of the local materials available to them, cladding the home in locally grown and sustainably harvested timber with an environmentally friendly, natural wood finish and sustainable insulation. The finish is meant to age over time to reveal a rustic silver hue, paying homage to the nostalgic hiking shelters, or Kiwi Tramper Huts, for which the area is known. At just over 1,000 square feet, the main house features a double-height open living and kitchen area, two double bedrooms and a bathroom under a mezzanine and a connecting room to accommodate guests or transform into office space. The grand “Outdoor Room” alludes to farmhouse style and provides opportunities for indoor-outdoor living, taking in beautiful forest views. This room also serves as an open connection between the main house and guest area. Responsible for the design is MAKE Architects, who collaborated with local partners to create the prefabricated floors, roof and wall panels that helped reduce waste and costs of the construction process. The Karangahake House was assembled onsite in four days by local workers, resulting in nearly 0% onsite waste and a massive reduction of transportation pollution. The FSC-certified wood , natural wood coating and prefab building process will ensure a long lifespan for the property, according to the architects. Additionally, the home will require minimal user maintenance. + MAKE Architects Photography by David Straight via MAKE Architects

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Prefab home was assembled onsite in New Zealand in just 4 days

Luxury apartments feature underground rec club and a massive green roof

July 22, 2020 by  
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The Excellenseaa 126 apartment complex is designed to create its own sustainable microclimate with a green roof and open spaces. Located in Surat, India, this luxury development houses 126 apartments within six 11-story buildings. Out of the 318,611-square-foot space, over 70% is landscaped, and the entire property centers around a large focal garden that stretches over 139,930 square feet. Apartments come in three different sizes, with layouts of up to five bedrooms and a private gym. About 80% of the plot is car-free , and vehicular movement is restricted to the complex’s perimeter and a basement car park available to residents. Each floor contains two apartments with a penthouse on top. Related: This apartment building in Staten Island has a 5,000-square-foot urban farm One of the most impressive elements of this apartment complex is the design of its partially subterranean recreation club. The central garden sits on top of expertly landscaped angular planes with clean lines to add a touch of modernity to the organic elements. Take a closer look, and the garden is, in actuality, a green roof covering the complex’s partially submerged communal area. The club includes entertainment facilities, conference rooms, a grocery store, a medical center, multiple sports facilities and play areas for children of different ages. A variety of water features, trees and plants gives the entire space a natural feel while assisting in passive cooling . The green roof design helps to shelter the club from solar heat gain while simultaneously allowing natural ventilation and light to pass through. Apartments themselves are kept cool and sheltered by 900-square-foot cantilevered decks that help facilitate cross ventilation in the warm months. This aspect comes especially in handy, as the area experiences temperatures topping 95 degrees Fahrenheit for eight months out of the year. The complex also utilizes water recycling, rainwater harvesting, sewage treatment and solar paneling to reduce its carbon footprint . + Sanjay Puri Architects Photography by Mr.Abhishek Shah via Sanjay Puri Architects

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Sculptural aluminum roof keeps Cal Poly building cool

July 14, 2020 by  
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California State Polytechnic University’s (Cal Poly) Pomona campus recently welcomed a new gateway building that not only consolidates academic services, but also serves as a sustainable campus landmark. Los Angeles-based firm  CO Architects  designed the 140,000-square-foot building, a two-wing structure topped with an eye-catching aluminum roof that spans two acres. The massive, undulating roof protects against California’s intense sun, while also referencing the campus’s topography, including the foothills and nearby San Gabriel Mountains.  Completed in 2018, Cal Poly’s new Student Services Building (SSB) consolidates formerly fractured departments — including enrollment, registration, financial aid, cashiering and prospective student services — into one destination. The 110,000-square-foot, three-story main building houses the service centers on the ground floor, offices for academic, student and administrative affairs on the second level and offices for the university president, provost and university advancement on the top floor. A two-story, 30,000-square-foot wing located across a shaded pedestrian breezeway contains the veteran resources center, orientation, multipurpose rooms, human resources offices and additional service centers.  The SSB draws the eye with its wavy standing-seam aluminum roof constructed with perforated metal overhangs that vary from five to 28 feet in depth. Extensive daylight, glare and solar heat-gain analysis modeling informed the roof’s orientation and design. As a result, the optimized roof serves as a primary performance driver for the building; its Energy Use Intensity rating is 31 compared to an average of 65, and it minimizes energy loads for lighting and cooling while improving thermal comfort. The  LEED Platinum -certified building enhances its energy efficiency with LEDs installed throughout. Low-E glass strategically installed also provides naturally lit workspaces for the majority of the eight-hour work period.  Related: Immense drought-tolerant green roof provides valuable teaching tool in thirsty California Spurlock Landscape Architects led the design of the building’s environmentally responsible landscape plan. This plan features drought-tolerant plantings and an on-site capture system for stormwater and roof runoff, which is used to irrigate the new landscape.  + CO Architects Images by Bill Timmerman

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Sculptural aluminum roof keeps Cal Poly building cool

Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees

July 14, 2020 by  
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Just in time to celebrate National Forest Week from July 13 to July 19, fashion brand Solo New York is planting one tree per purchase for its line of affordable bags made from recycled plastic bottles . The first run of the company’s Re:cycled Collection recycled over 90,000 bottles, and this is just the beginning. The environmentally friendly manufacturing process starts with discarded plastic bottles otherwise destined for the landfill and transforms them into a high-quality and lightweight recycled PET polyester yarn. The process uses 50% less energy and 20% less water and creates 60% less air pollution than traditional fiber manufacturing, according to Solo New York. The main bodies of the Re:cycled Collection bags are made up of the re-spun plastic yarn; the tags, strings and stuffing are made entirely from other biodegradable and recycled materials . Related: Patagonia’s Black Hole Bags are made from recycled plastic bottles The Re:store Tote ($54.99) is made with a heather gray material and includes a padded compartment for laptops, an interior organizer section, a key clip, a front zippered pocket, a quick access pocket and a back panel for sliding over luggage handles. The lightweight, 0.57-pound Re:vive Mini Backpack ($24.99) also includes adjustable shoulder straps and black camo interior lining, while the Re:move Duffel ($64.99) includes shoulder straps that are both removable and adjustable. This is not the first sustainability effort for the popular New York brand — the line also features eco-friendly packaging with fully biodegradable hang tags and recycled boxes. The company also limits use of single-use plastics, and its headquarters is 100% powered by 1,400 rooftop solar panels (which is enough to power 87 homes). Catalogs are printed on paper with 30% post-consumer fiber and are manufactured using renewable energy as well. Now, every bag purchased from the collection will help plant a tree with the National Forest Foundation. + Solo New York Images via Solo New York

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Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees

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