Forgotten urban spaces get new lives as beautiful gathering areas on Skid Row

August 16, 2019 by  
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As part of its project to update a 110-unit affordable housing project on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, California architecture firm Brooks + Scarpa has revitalized a couple of unloved service courtyards and a debris-filled alley into beautiful outdoor gathering spaces. Completed on a minimal budget, the Rossmore + Weldon Courtyards will provide a major positive impact on the quality of living for the tenants, who were formerly homeless. Low-cost design strategies were used to transform the neglected spaces into contemporary and welcoming areas. Completed for a cost of $140,000, the Rossmore + Weldon Courtyards include three small spaces measuring 7 feet by 50 feet, 10 feet by 12 feet and 15 feet by 20 feet for a total combined area of less than 850 square feet. These outdoor spaces had been poorly utilized and typically cluttered with debris and tenant bicycles. When the architects discovered these spaces, they convinced the client of their transformation potential on a minimal budget. To keep costs low, most materials were reused, recycled or purchased from a local hardware store. Related: Affordable housing for disabled veterans marries wellness and sustainability in Los Angeles At Weldon, the architects turned a southern courtyard and an alley on the west side into attractive outdoor living spaces. To brighten up the areas, the architects used white paint and an “interactive green wall ” of custom steel pot holders attached to a white CMU wall that holds potted plants, for which the tenants can provide care. Poured-in-place concrete seats and tables provide space to gather and rest, while white gravel and concrete pavers create visual interest and complete the light-toned color palette. In contrast, the Rossmore courtyard features a predominately timber palette. Designed around an existing ficus tree, the updated space features rolling wood-slatted benches mounted on steel-angle track as well as new planters. Bicycle storage has been integrated in all of the courtyard designs.  + Brooks + Scarpa Images via Brooks + Scarpa

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Forgotten urban spaces get new lives as beautiful gathering areas on Skid Row

A modernist home in Brazil brings a tropical garden indoors

August 5, 2019 by  
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Designed by São Paulo-based architecture firm BZP Arquitetura , the Casa Flamenco is a modernist home that makes the most of its lush, tropical setting. Surrounded by operable walls of glass and punctuated by interior courtyards , the home pulls the outdoors in at every turn. To further tie the luxury residence into nature, the architects included bioclimatic strategies to ensure a low-energy, comfortable micro-climate; a natural materials palette defined by stone and wood accents; and renewable systems such as solar hot water systems and a rainwater collecting cistern. Spanning an area of 1,300 square meters, Casa Flamenco was created for a young family of four in Jardim Europa, one of São Paulo’s most coveted and upscale residential neighborhoods. The house is spread out across three floors that engage the outdoors with large sliding glass doors. A minimalist materials palette defines the home’s light-toned interior. The design consists of white surfaces and natural materials, such as granite and hickory walnut, to keep the focus on the lush landscaping that is irrigated by collected rainwater. Related: This modern solar-powered retreat is topped with a massive green roof “We have included bioclimatic strategies for the project, such as the use of green slabs in landscaping, protective films on glass, photovoltaic panels that absorb solar energy and convert it to heat, heating water from showers and faucets, and creating a cross ventilation system in environments and greater climatic comfort and air movement inside the residence, reducing the constant use of air conditioning,” the architects said. To keep the emphasis on the landscape, the architects tucked the parking into the underground level, which also houses the technical and service areas. The spacious ground floor comprises the main social spaces including the living areas, dining room, kitchen, office space, home theater and access to an outdoor lap pool. The private sleeping areas are located upstairs. A separate building houses a gym, sauna and toy library. + BZP Arquitetura Via ArchDaily Photography by Tuca Reines via BZP Arquitetura

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A modernist home in Brazil brings a tropical garden indoors

Green-roofed home in Poland is made out of reclaimed brick

July 25, 2019 by  
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Polish architectural firm Biuro Toprojekt has unveiled a beautiful home that showcases a brilliant brick and glass facade. The Red House is a 3,900-square-foot home clad with chiaroscuro-style walls made from reclaimed bricks on one side, while the back consists almost entirely of glass doors and windows that frame incredible views of the serene forestscape surrounding the residence. Located in Poland’s Upper Silesia, the brick house sits on the edge of an expansive forestscape. Using the idyllic setting as inspiration, the architects decided to use as many eco-friendly and reclaimed building materials and features as possible, including a solar array that generates sufficient power to the house. Related: A beautiful brick home is embedded into the Brazilian countryside At first glance, the stunning brick exterior catches the eye. Made out of old bricks reclaimed from a nearby brickworks, the facades were hand-laid in a chiaroscuro style, creating a vibrant, three-dimensional pattern made up of light and shadows. The lovely brick facade is topped with a green roof planted with native vegetation, including vines, which will begin to fall over the roofline over time, further melding the structure into its natural setting. The entrance is through an open cutout in the exterior wall that leads into a brick courtyard and garage. As the residents walk inside, the mood changes dramatically as the surroundings transform from a solid brick exterior to a contemporary, luminous space. Although the front facade is marked by its brilliant brick walls, the back of the home consists of entire walls made up of large, sliding glass doors and full-height windows that frame the views of the forest. White walls, along with a natural color palette and minimal furnishings , create a modern but comfortable atmosphere. + Biuro Toprojekt Via Dwell Photography by Juliusz Soko?owski via Biuro Toprojekt

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Green-roofed home in Poland is made out of reclaimed brick

Fashion brands ranked for toxic textiles and sustainability

July 25, 2019 by  
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A leading green economy nonprofit, Green America, released a report ranking top fashion companies based on their sustainability and transparency. The results reveal the inadequacies of greening the fashion industry.  Their study investigated 14 major corporations, each with household-name brands. The report scored companies based on transparency, sustainability, working conditions, chemical use, waste and water management. Their findings concluded that none of the top 14 corporations, nor their distinct brands, can be considered industry leaders in terms of ethics or the environment . However, the companies that ranked higher than average include Target, Jan Sport, Nike, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and The North Face. Companies that scored below average include Ann Taylor, American Eagle, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie and Fitch, Walmart, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Free People. Related: Zara pledges 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025 The worst companies, which failed metrics on Green America’s score card, include J. Crew, OshKosh B’gosh and Forever 21. “Consumers want sustainable clothing, and the market is responding. But too often, many of the promises we hear from conventional companies are token sustainability initiatives that are band-aids to one small part of the problem, or empty platitudes without a plan to achieve real change. Sustainability shouldn’t just be a marketing trend,” said Green America’s social justice campaigns manager, Caroline Chen.  The report also called out corporations’ practice of promoting “token brands,” or one eco-textile line that they can use for public relations knowing that consumers will associate their name with sustainability without looking further into the rest of their lines. Similarly, many corporations make sweeping sustainability pledges without specifying metrics nor timelines and hardly follow through with implementation. Overall, the textile industry uses 43 million tons of toxic chemicals every year, and most companies do not disclose the source of their chemicals so it is difficult to understand the health impacts. Green America’s report suggests that those who are concerned about chemicals in clothing should shop at thrift stores and wear clothing until it wears out– this not only helps reduce the amount of new clothing produced, it also reduces how many chemicals you are personally exposed to. + Green America Images via Pixabay

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Fashion brands ranked for toxic textiles and sustainability

Prada jumps into the sustainability realm with six Re-Nylon bags made from recycled plastic waste

July 25, 2019 by  
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The topic of sustainability is the zeitgeist of our era and there are few industries as predominantly targeted for creating waste, and in turn holding the power for high-impact solutions, as the fashion industry— even those deemed high fashion. Easily identifiable as a luxury brand, Prada now hopes to lead the industry in sustainable action with the production of a new line of bags made from an innovative material, Re-Nylon. Using recycled materials in fabric production is not a new idea, but the ability to bring together the best sustainability efforts from five continents just might be.  Related: Renewlogy turns low-grade plastic into usable fuels Re-Nylon is the result of extensive research and the dedication to sourcing recycled waste . With this in mind, Prada has collaborated with some leaders in the waste-to-material industry who are proving there are ways to reuse post-consumer products in new and exciting ways. Partnering with Italian textile specialists, Aquafil, materials are sourced from used carpeting, fishing nets and ocean waste across five continents. One example comes from Phoenix, Arizona, where the world’s first carpet recycling plant diverts some of the 1.6 million tons of carpet discarded annually and converts it into ECONYL nylon used in Prada’s Re-Nylon bags.  Putting this waste through a process of depolymerization and re-polymerisation, the end result is a yarn that is endlessly recyclable with no reduction in quality. Production facilities in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Arco, Italy receive the recycled plastic and turn it into polymers and threads used to make the initial Re-Nylon line that includes the belt bag, the shoulder bag, a tote bag, a duffle and two Prada backpacks.  The Re-Nylon project goes beyond this initial reveal of six bags with a focus on making sustainability a permanent part of the production plan.  “I’m very excited to announce the launch of the Prada Re-Nylon collection. Our ultimate goal will be to convert all Prada virgin nylon into Re-Nylon by the end of 2021. This project highlights our continued efforts towards promoting a responsible business. This collection will allow us to make our contribution and create products without using new resources,” says Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Head of Marketing and Communication In an effort to prove this dedication, a percentage of the profit from each bag is donated to an environmental sustainability project. Prada has also partnered with UNESCO to set up an educational programs aimed at teaching youth about conservation of resources, plastic and circular economies so they can lead an awareness campaign on the topic. +Prada Images via Prada

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Prada jumps into the sustainability realm with six Re-Nylon bags made from recycled plastic waste

Zero-carbon masterplan on the water aims to revitalize Bergens urban growth

July 22, 2019 by  
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In a bid to revitalize the Norwegian city of Bergen, London-based architectural practice Waugh Thistleton Architects has proposed Trenezia, a masterplan that would transform the coastal city into a shining example of zero-carbon urban development. The mixed-use development would consist of over 1,600 homes and be built on the waters of Store Lungegårdsvann, a bay that separates the city center from the southern boroughs of the city. Energy demands and the carbon footprint would be minimized through site-specific, environmentally responsible design and the use of carbon-sequestering timber as a primary construction material for all of the houses. Created in collaboration with local architects Artec, Urban System Design, Degree of Freedom and landscape design firm East, the zero-carbon Trenezia masterplan was created for the BOB, a Norwegian housing association with a goal of building sustainably in urban areas. In addition to promoting sustainable ideals, Trenezia aims to revitalize the city center, which the architects said is currently suffering from depopulation as people move to the outskirts to live in suburban family homes. Related: Industrial building is reimagined as a zero-carbon paragon for Paris 2024 Olympics Edged in by mountains and water, Bergen’s city center has little land left for development. As a result, the architects decided to build on the lake. “Perfectly placed between the historic town and the new cultural arts hub to the east, the Store Lungegårdsvannet Lake is the ideal site for a new cultural and residential center,” the team explained in a press release. A new boardwalk would span the lake and serve as a ‘central spine’ that connects the public-facing elements, which includes a swimming pool and sailing club, retail, performance spaces and cafes. More than 1,600 homes would be placed behind the boardwalk . The new homes would stress intergenerational interaction and offer a range of accommodation from family houses to co-living to student flats to sheltered housing both for private sale and rent. The homes, which will be built from timber, echo the gabled rooflines of Bergen’s iconic wooden houses that helped earn the city a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. “The masterplan, by virtue of its form, responds to the local climate through the creation of solar corridors through the site to maximize sunlight and daylight into every home,” the architects said. “Residential fingers are separated by canals with individual and communal boat moorings and pontoons for residents, creating a comfortable environment where people can be healthy, happy and productive.” + Waugh Thistleton Architects Images by Darc Studio and Artec via Waugh Thistleton Architects

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Zero-carbon masterplan on the water aims to revitalize Bergens urban growth

A modern home in South Korea is embedded into its environment via an expansive green roof

June 26, 2019 by  
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Tucked into a rolling green hillside of Cheongdo-gun, South Korea, the Baomaru House by Busan-based firm Rieuldorang Atelier blurs the lines between nature and the man-made. Embedded into the sloped landscape, the home is split into two separate structures, which are connected by an expansive green roof that pulls double duty as a terrace for both sides of the home. Although the house is designed to blend into its surroundings, the unique design takes on a bold, modern appearance thanks to a series of gabled roofs that jut out of the landscape, creating a fun, pop-art effect. Once the residents and the architects found a building site for the home that was far from the hustle and bustle of city life, they were discouraged to learn that the back of the lot would soon be developed. As a solution, the architects decided to use the existing landscape to their advantage. Related: The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof “It is a general idea that the earth is a space that houses nature, and the house is a space that houses human beings,” the firm said. “In order to overturn this idea, we planned the earth as a space for human beings and the house as a space for nature. We did not want to design on the land … by cutting the ground or building up the soil. The point was to actively use the surrounding natural environment and land while complying with the slope of the land.” To work within the parameters of the natural topography, the architects decided to embed part of the 2,026-square-foot home into the landscape so that the structure would follow its contour. They also decided to split the structure into two parts, with one side housing the private bedrooms and kitchen and the other hosting the main living space. The two halves are split by a large entrance and underground garage, which is embedded completely into the hillside. Although the design was created to blend the structure into the natural surroundings, it takes a modern turn with a series of large white gabled roofs  that jut out of the green landscape. The bold modernity of the exterior continues throughout the interior living spaces. Double-height ceilings, white walls and light wood run through the home, enhanced by an abundance of natural light . With the bedrooms on one side, the main living room takes on a personality of its own. This structure mimics the same volume as the other but has a large cutout in the gabled roof, creating a brilliant open-air terrace that frames the views. On the bottom floor, the living space opens up to a large swimming pool that looks out over the mountains in the distance. + Rieuldorang Atelier Via Dwell Photography by Joonhwan Yoon via Rieuldorang Atelier

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A modern home in South Korea is embedded into its environment via an expansive green roof

Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

June 11, 2019 by  
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When a client approached Lisbon-based architectural practice Studio 3A for a small residential project in the seaside village of Comporta, the architects knew that a major challenge would be keeping the house naturally cool during the oppressively hot summers. In keeping with their commitment to sustainable architecture, the architects used passive solar strategies and efficient insulation to mitigate solar heat gain. The firm also teamed up with design studio Mima Housing to prefabricate the buildings, named Cabanas in Comporta, which were topped with solar panels and sheathed in charred timber for a durable and maintenance-free finish. The architecture of Cabanas in Comporta follows a modular design of three types: the “intimate module” that houses the bedroom and bathroom; the “social module” for the living spaces with room for an outdoor pool; and the “service module” that also serves as storage for items such as the client’s car collection. Together with Mima Housing, Studio 3A prefabricated the modular buildings with oriented strand board sandwich panels and wooden joints. The facades are clad in timber charred black using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban. Related: The elegant MIMA Light prefab home ‘floats’ on thin air “As local connoisseurs, we based our construction method on the traditional fishermen huts/cabanas as an inspiration for our project,” explain the architects. These huts have been built in this area for years and are very functional and quick to build which were another important point of our brief. With this construction type we had a couple of challenges to face which was the hot-summer Mediterranean climate and the mosquitos which are well known to bug you in the area. We implemented various sustainable strategies to reduce the heat sensation such as the calculated overhangs in front of the main windows, low emissivity window panes and a tensioned solar shading system in between the cabana modules.” Heat gain is further controlled with a double blind system installed in both the interior and exterior. The external blind also zips down to protect the home from mosquito invasions. Strategic placement of the buildings optimizes solar orientation and access to cooling breezes. Dark cement flooring is used to take advantage of thermal mass, while photovoltaic panels and heat pumps help heat the buildings in winter. + Studio 3A Images by Nelson Garrido

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Imperial War Museums Passivhaus-targeted archive breaks world records for airtightness

June 6, 2019 by  
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Britain’s Imperial War Museum has recently gained a new high-performance archive facility in Cambridgeshire, England that boasts the world record for airtightness with results of 0.03 ach (air changes per hour). U.K. architectural practice Architype designed the new storage building — called the IWM Paper Store — to house some of the world’s most important collections of artworks, photographs, letters and diaries that chronicle the history of warfare in the past two centuries. Engineered to meet Passivhaus standards, the boxy, single-story collections facility is sheathed in ground-to-roof panels of perforated oxidized steel. Having completed a Passivhaus archive before, Architype was tapped to develop a second airtight facility for the Imperial War Museum (the new repository is currently awaiting certification). Drawing on its decades of experience designing beautiful, low-carbon buildings, the practice not only crafted the building to meet stringent environmental conditions for archival needs, but also thoughtfully designed the exterior to complement the existing historic buildings on site at IWM Duxford. Completed January 2019 for an approximate cost of £2.8 million, the rectangular building spans an area of 13,326 square feet to bring together over 14,000 linear meters of IWM’s collections into a central repository. The building can provide for up to 30 years’ expansion of IWM’s unique collections. To stabilize temperature and humidity levels, the architects turned to Passivhaus as a low-energy alternative to a highly mechanized and energy-intensive building system. Related: Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York Working together with construction provider Fabrite, the architects conceived an uninterrupted facade of oxidized steel to complement the color and texture of historic brickwork onsite. “Though simple in form, the oxidized steel facade offers thoughtful detail, consisting of ground-to-roof panels that signify each year of archived collections from 1914 onward,” the architects explained. “Perforations in panels denote the 1 According to current records held by the International Passivhaus Association quantity of collected documentation, with noteworthy years around wartimes being heavily perforated in accordance with the volume collected.” + Architype Images via Richard Ash / IWM

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This development offers sustainable, affordable housing and tiny homes in Colorado

May 13, 2019 by  
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The small resort-town of Telluride in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is known for its world-class skiing, remote location and, until now, lack of low-cost housing. When the tourist numbers begin to pile up during the busy season, those working in the hospitality industry at restaurants, shops and resorts are often forced to endure a long commute from the areas outside of town, where prices are cheaper. The expensive hotel rooms and vacation homes are a dream for visitors, but when it comes to lower- to middle-class workers, affordable accommodations are scarce. Architecture firm Charles Cunniffe Architects out of Aspen recently completed a low-cost option for housing just outside of central Telluride, with rents as low as $385 per person. Related: COBE unveils LEED Gold-seeking affordable housing units in Toronto The complex consists of a boarding house with room for 46 tenants, another building with 18 separate apartments and three tiny homes . You wouldn’t know by looking at it that Virginia Placer is considered low-cost housing. The architects blended the structures among the plentiful high-end resorts and expensive housing for which Telluride is known. The buildings are placed at the base of a tree-covered mountain, and the exterior is made of high-quality wooden panels and a variety of metals, including steel. The apartment building utilizes open-air stairs and wooden balconies, while the boarding house has a huge deck with mountain views and a canopy for protection from the elements. Inside the boarding house, communal lounges and two kitchens are available for tenants to use. With a focus on sustainability, the designers installed oversized windows into the apartments for passive solar and ventilation. The tiny homes across the street from the main two buildings share the same design of metal and cedar and total 290 square feet of living space per dwelling. Scoring a spot in the development is a literal win — potential tenants are chosen through a lottery. Apartments range from  $850 to $1430 a month, while a tiny home costs $700 monthly. The cheapest option for individuals is the communal boarding house for $385 per month per person. + Charles Cunniffe Architects Via Dezeen Photography by Dallas & Harris Photography via Charles Cunniffe Architects

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This development offers sustainable, affordable housing and tiny homes in Colorado

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