Desmond Tutu Clinic welcomes HIV patients with a striking sawtooth roof

June 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In the Cape Town township of Masiphumelele, approximately 30 percent of the residents are infected with HIV. To help the low-income community, South African architectural practice theMAAK partnered with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) to build a striking new public building to serve the area. Topped with a sawtooth roof, the humanitarian structure sports a dynamic facade that puts forth a confident and welcoming face for the DTHF. Located next to Masiphumelele High School, the recently completed Desmond Tutu Clinic spans nearly 5,400 square feet and is one of several clinics that the DTHF has built in communities around South Africa. The clinic not only serves as a new home for the Foundation’s industry-leading medical work, but also takes the social needs of the area into consideration by welcoming visitors with a new social forecourt. Related: Incredible luxury tree house is hidden away in a Cape Town forest “Balancing ‘striking and welcoming’, ‘bold and subtle’, the sawtoothed building appropriately addresses both the ambition and prestige of the internationally acclaimed research of DTHF as well as the sensitive human nature of their work,” the architects said. “It is on arrival that the new building shows its proudest face. From this angle, the north-facing aluminium facade fins optically compound to form a confident new image for DTHF. Seeing this strong formal presence as you approach the scheme, clearly marks a positive and impressive move forward for the Foundation and their growing footprint in developing communities around South Africa. Moving across the site, and changing one’s angle of view, the dynamic facade thins to subtly reveal the inner workings of the facility.” The zigzagging outline of the sawtooth roof is most visible on the north and south facades; the northern facade was made more prominent to mark the entrance. The roof’s geometry calls attention to the public building and lets in southern light into offices on the upper floor, while overhangs help shield the light-sensitive lab spaces on the ground floor. + theMAAK Photography by theMAAK and Anton Scholtz

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Desmond Tutu Clinic welcomes HIV patients with a striking sawtooth roof

Study reveals mass plant extinction rate since Industrial Revolution

June 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

New research suggests that even by conservative efforts, the number of plants that have gone extinct in the last three centuries is 500 times higher than before the industrial revolution, and the rate of extinction is skyrocketing. According to the survey, at least 571 plants have become extinct since 1750, which should be a “frightening” concern to anyone who eats or breathes. “Plants underpin all life on Earth. They provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, as well as making up the backbone of the world’s ecosystems ,” said study author Eimear Nic Lughadha from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . The scientists also believe that their confirmed list of 571 plants is only the tip of the iceberg. In most cases, it can take years to declare a species officially extinct because of the landscapes that have to be scoured for any last survivors. “How are you going to check the entirety of the Amazon for your lost plant?” Maria Vorontsova, also from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, told The Guardian . Furthermore, there are thousands of species that are functionally extinct, meaning there are so few remaining plants that the chances of reproduction and survival are nearly — if not entirely — impossible. Despite their conservative tally, the researchers’ estimate is still four times higher than what is officially recorded on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List . “It is way more than we knew and way more than should have gone extinct,” said Vorontsova. “It is frightening not just because of the 571 number, but because I think that is a gross underestimate.” According to the United Nations, another 1 million species are currently at risk of extinction. Many scientists believe that extinction and biodiversity should be in the news and keeping us up at night just as much as climate change , but that it is often a less acknowledged, and less funded, crisis. Financing and support for plants is especially challenging within the conservation field, because they just aren’t as cute as their endangered animal counterparts. Scientists often collect and save DNA samples from extinct plants in labs at places such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in hopes that innovative discoveries could help save other plants or one day bring back old ones. Via The Guardian Image via Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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Study reveals mass plant extinction rate since Industrial Revolution

Mysterious Black Villa is to be tucked in the lush forests just outside of Moscow

June 12, 2019 by  
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There are few things we love more than dark cabins embedded into lush evergreen forests, and this tiny structure is no exception. The Black Villa in the Forest, designed by Russian architectural firm Archslon, has a certain air of mystery to it that is enhanced by its off-grid location just outside of bustling Moscow. The tiny cabin is a low-lying rectangular volume comprised of two blocks with an inner courtyard separating the two spaces. The entrance is through a small open area, which runs from the front of the house to the back. Related: Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zürich The front of the cabin is an elongated, open-air deck, or what the architects call a “bypass gallery,” that runs the length of one of the main blocks. The space is lined with a series of thin columns, giving a touch of modernity to the structure. The compact square footage and height was a strategic decision made to conserve as many existing trees as possible during construction. Clad in jet-black timber, the home was also designed to blend into its natural surroundings. The main living area is illumined by natural light thanks to a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Along with providing panoramic views of the picturesque scenery, the glazed wall creates a strong, continual connection to the home’s forestscape surroundings. The two blocks separate the home into two living spaces: public and private. On one side of the cabin is the living room and open kitchen. On the other end is the master bedroom that is connected with another small room that can be used as a small office or library. Like the living space, the master bedroom has fully glazed walls, further integrating the surrounding nature into the cabin’s interior. + Archslon Via Archdaily Images via Archslon

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Mysterious Black Villa is to be tucked in the lush forests just outside of Moscow

Twisting brick facade fronts an innovative courtyard house near Chicago

June 12, 2019 by  
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In a Chicago suburb full of traditional gabled rooflines, California-based architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa has inserted a modern dwelling that puts a sculptural twist on a humble and overlooked building material: Chicago “Common” brick. Historically considered unattractive and only fit for unseen areas such as chimney flues, Chicago “Common” brick is given renewed attention in a recently completed courtyard house , dubbed the Thayer Brick House. Not only does the contemporary home use the brick for almost its entire facade, but it also shines the spotlight on the local resource with a sculptural, street-facing facade that’s made with twisting columns of stacked brick. Made from indigenous Michigan clay, Chicago “Common” brick has long been considered undesirable and cheap due to its variations and irregularities. Instead of the classic red color, the prosaic material takes on a more yellow hue and has been traditionally used for areas hidden from the street, such as the side and back walls, chimney flues and structural support behind the facades. In making Chicago “Common” brick highly visible in the Thayer Brick House, Brooks + Scarpa is celebrating a local material and inviting passersby to reconsider unexpected uses for everyday materials and concepts. Related: A mountain refuge in Spain is brought back to life with brickwork “By using the familiar in an unfamiliar location and application, the material becomes perceptually both old and new at the same time,” the firm said. “This makes one more aware of not just the building, but also our sense of place. There is a sense of discovery, something spontaneous and unexpected. The object is important, but it’s the experience that has a profound impact and leaves something that lasts well beyond the mere physical and visual existence of the building. This gives us the opportunity to not only learn about design but also about ourselves, our collective cultures and our place in society.” The use of Chicago “Common” brick helps contextualize the building and gives the building an unexpected appearance. The street-facing facade is made up of columns of brick rotated at varying degrees to make the courtyard look open or closed depending on where the viewer stands. Passersby can see the full effect of the facade, which has a moire-like pattern that appears to move as one walks past it. The sculptural facade also has the added benefit of reducing glare and providing privacy to the fully glazed interior volume. + Brooks + Scarpa Photography by Marty Peters and Brooks + Scarpa

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Twisting brick facade fronts an innovative courtyard house near Chicago

Minimalist villa in Japan boasts dark timber exterior and bright white interior

June 11, 2019 by  
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Japanese firm, TAPO Architects have unveiled a beautiful timber house located in Sakura City in the Japanese prefecture of Chiba. Surrounded by peaceful forest, the Sakura Villa is a sophisticated minimalist design that features a simple mono-pitched roof with a charred timber exterior and bright white interior. Located on a small lot surrounded by forestscape, the villa was designed to blend in seamlessly with the landscape. To create a strong connection with the wooded surroundings, the 2,300 square-foot home is clad in a mix of charred timber siding and black standing seam metal sheeting. Related: Black timber Villa S makes more energy than it consumes The elongated volume of the structure is punctuated by a spacious glass and wood entranceway which is flanked by large windows on either side. The entrance to the home is through a central courtyard that leads to the living space through a set of sliding glass doors. Walking past the doors, the walkway leads to the outdoor patio space, creating an integral connection between the indoor and outdoor worlds. On the interior of the home, its jet black exterior facade is exchanged for an open-plan living area with all-white walls and exposed timber beams and columns. Almost entirely devoid of furnishings save for a long wooden dining table located opposite the kitchen, the space is minimalist, modern and fresh. Beyond the social areas found on the south side of the home, the private areas such as the bedrooms and bathrooms, are located on the north side. The sloped ceiling adds additional space on this side of the home, which was built out with two attic spaces accessible by ladders. This area is used for storage or playrooms for the family’s kids. + TAPO Via Design Boom Photography by Masayoshi Ishii via TAPO

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Minimalist villa in Japan boasts dark timber exterior and bright white interior

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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Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

Flow Hive takes the hassle out of honey harvesting

June 10, 2019 by  
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Stuart and Cedar Anderson come from a long line of beekeeping, but the father and son duo are revolutionizing the beekeeping world with their own invention, the Flow Hive . The innovative beehive lets beekeepers reduce stress on their bees by harvesting fresh honey without opening the beehive, instead letting the honey flow freely on tap. As many beekeepers know, harvesting honey is a long, arduous process that not only disturbs the hard-working bees and their homes, but is also back-breaking work for the beekeeper. Related: BEEcosystem observation hives can be installed inside or outdoors Coming from three generations of beekeepers , Stuart and Cedar Anderson knew that there had to be a better way to reap the rewards from keeping hives. According to the father and son team, “It all started because Cedar felt bad about bees being crushed during the honey harvest. He was sick of being stung and having to spend a whole week harvesting the honey from his small, semi-commercial apiary.” Putting down their protective veils and putting on their designer hats,  Stuart and Cedar designed a new beehive , built with an integrated honey harvesting system that eliminates the need for removing honey cell frames. The Flow Hive is a compact timber structure made out of laser-cut sustainable Western red cedar. The apiaries come with a pitched roof with sliding observation windows on both sides and a front window that sits over the honey shelf. The hives can contain three or more frames, which are comprised of a partially completed honeycomb matrix. The bees fill the remaining cells with nectar, which eventually evaporates into honey. Once the honey is ready to be harvested, the beekeeper only has to insert a Flow Key into the top of the frame. When turned, the wax runs down a trough and into a tube, eventually flowing like liquid gold into jars. The process is much less stressful for all of the parties involved, but especially for the bees , who, after the harvesting process, realize that the comb is empty and begin to repair and refill the cells once again. + Flow Hive Images via Flow Hive

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Flow Hive takes the hassle out of honey harvesting

A 1923 building in Quebec is now a light-filled public market complete with aquaponics systems

June 7, 2019 by  
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Discerning foodies in Quebec will soon have a beautiful new market to buy their locally grown fare. Local architectural firms Bisson Associés and Atelier Pierre Thibault are at the final stages of converting the Pavillon du Commerce, which dates back to 1923, into the light-filled Grand Marché, a public market that features aquaponics systems. As one of Quebec’s most beloved buildings, the architects were determined to retain as many original features of the nearly century-old Pavillon du Commerce as possible while turning it into a modern public market . The renovation managed to conserve the building’s beautiful wooden ceilings and brick walls as well as its original columns and pediments. Related: MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof Although the new market, which boasts a whopping 96,875 square feet, retains a lot of the building’s original features, the architectural team managed to implement a number of modern materials into the new space. For instance, the interior facades of the building as well as the individual stalls were all constructed using CLT panels . The market will also be equipped with an on-site food waste management system that collects organic matter to be sent to the city’s biomethanation plant. According to the architects, the new market was designed to be a city landmark and general meeting place. The stalls are carefully placed in a village-like layout meant to foster socialization. The interior space is bathed in natural light thanks to large skylights and fully-opening windows on the south-facing facade, and it also features a wooden, bleacher-like staircase where people can sit and chat. In addition to selling local fare, the market will include a family space for workshops, a cooking school, an urban gardening education center and a technology showcase that highlights agro-food innovation. To focus on sustainable food growth, the market is working with the Institute on Nutrition and Functional Foods to install an aquaponics system and a mycelium incubator in the market. Not only will this space be used to sustainably grow food, but it will also be designed as a training and research center for the general public. + Bisson Associés + Atelier Pierre Thibault Photography by Maxime Brouillet via v2com

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A 1923 building in Quebec is now a light-filled public market complete with aquaponics systems

A gorgeous events center in Pennsylvania is built almost entirely out of eco-friendly timber

June 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Residents of Nappanee, Indiana now have a beautiful timber events center to enjoy thanks to the Pennsylvania-based builders at Mid-Atlantic Timberframes . The Sammlung Platz (The Gathering Place in German) is a massive, multi-use center that is made out of natural timbers that give the space a unique structural strength as well as an exceptionally warm atmosphere. The Mid-Atlantic Timberframes company has established itself as a leader in the design of timber structures. Working directly with clients, the company crafts homes and commercial buildings using timber frames to create naturally strong structures that eliminate the need for load-bearing walls. Related: Green-roofed timber dwelling in Austria is built with recycled materials The Sammlung Platz is a pegged mortise and tenon-style timber construction that pays homage to traditional barns. Designed to accommodate up to 1,000 people, the two-level, 26,000-square-foot open floor plan can be used for any number of community or private events . From the sophisticated cabin-like exterior, guests enter the interior space through large wooden and glass doors. Inside, the spacious community center is clad in beautiful timber walls that cover the ground and upper levels, giving the space a warm, cozy atmosphere. To open up the space further, a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams hovers over the room. Using timber in the construction also allowed the building to be more eco-friendly. According to Mid-Atlantic Timberframes, the company’s timbers come from sustainably managed forests, and their suppliers plant as many as 10 times the number of trees they cut down. Building with timber also means significantly less carbon emissions are released during construction, as opposed to steel and concrete. Additionally, there is minimal waste, because the timber logs are used in their entirety, rather than using numerous specialty-cut lumber panels. + Mid-Atlantic Timberframes Images via Mid-Atlantic Timberframes

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A gorgeous events center in Pennsylvania is built almost entirely out of eco-friendly timber

LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

June 5, 2019 by  
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The University of California Santa Barbara boasts not only a beautiful campus near the ocean, but also recently completed student housing that’s been certified LEED Platinum . Designed by Los Angeles-based architectural firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing was created to take advantage of the region’s ideal coastal climate to reduce energy demands. In addition to the use of passive design principles, the project employs several other sustainable strategies such as bioswales, solar water heating, and increased insulation. The project is 20 percent over California’s Title 24 requirements. Spanning an area of 95,000 square feet, the UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing comprises seven structures that augment the existing housing volumes and student facilities located at the university’s 15-acre North Campus. LOHA designed the new housing clusters to align with the existing community’s scale and character while creating an environment that would encourage greater social activity. Related: These stunning student housing apartments are inspired by tiny homes “UCSB dormitories have typically pushed circulation to their exterior envelope, with an inert central courtyard accessible only from within the building,” explain the architects. “LOHA’s design inverts this circulation scheme, designing a reductive exterior edge with an open, lively interior courtyard containing all building circulation, encouraging movement throughout the complex. Social hubs (reading rooms, gathering spaces, dining) are dispersed and floated above others. This distribution of spaces creates varied student experiences to generate a healthy campus culture.” Durability was a major driving feature in the design as well. The San Joaquin Student Housing complex’s street-facing facade is clad in corrugated metal panels, while the interior-facing elevations are covered in painted plaster punctuated by aluminum fins that support the elevated walkways finished with industrial cable mesh. Aluminum sunshades provide protection from unwanted solar gain and passive fresh air intake units are installed at each unit’s entryway. The project also boasts a built environment that’s over 90 percent permeable, a boon for stormwater management and for preventing onsite heat island effects. + LOHA Photos by Bruce Damonte

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LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses Californias coastal climate

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