Solar-powered Dutch home brings the coastal woods indoors

February 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Dutch design studio Natrufied Architecture has embedded a solar-powered home into the coastal woods in the old artist town of Bergen, the Netherlands. Dubbed Bosvilla, the 4,305-square-foot abode is built with a variety of timbers, inside and out, that combine with floor-to-ceiling triple glazing to create an environment that feels like an extension of the outdoors. For energy efficiency, the architects blanketed the building with a green roof, used highly insulated materials and installed 35 solar panels to offset energy demands. Bosvilla consists of the main house, a guest house, a carport and bicycle storage in separate buildings carefully laid out to capture forest and dune views. Nestled between oak and pine trees, the main house features an open floor plan as well as large revolving and sliding glass doors that create a seamless flow between the indoors and the outdoor terraces. The cantilevered roof helps protect against unwanted solar heat gain while allowing copious amounts of natural light and nature views into the interior. “The intentions for the design were to embed and create living spaces in balance with nature,” the architects explain in their press release. “The guesthouse in the back of the plot provides guest with similar nature experiences, making spaces flow inward out, capture tree and dune views as well as enjoying privacy and seclusion. Both the carport and bike storage are structures completely integrated in the landscape. All walls and roofs are covered by nature , only showing a central opening for access.” Related: Dreamy treehouse hidden in Woodstock offers magnificent Catskills views Responsibly sourced natural materials used throughout the home tie the architecture to the landscape, from the variety of woods to the Belgian flagstones. The columns and beams are built from laminated Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified iroko, while the substructure is made of local pine and the windows and doorframes are built of FSC-certified Jatoba. FSC-certified Afromosia was selected for the ceiling and bamboo for the interior sliding doors, bedroom floor and doorframes. FSC-certified Afzella make up the stairs, ground floor and terraces. FSC-certified Cumaru wood clads the facade. + Natrufied Architecture Images by Christian Richters, Berlin/Boris Zeisser, Bergen

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Solar-powered Dutch home brings the coastal woods indoors

A solar-powered seaside home embraces contrast and scenic views

February 20, 2019 by  
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Melbourne-based firm  Megowan Architectural has unveiled a beautiful home located in Mount Eliza in Victoria, Australia that uses strategic angles and contrast to make the most of the idyllic seaside setting. The three-story Two Angle House is not only aesthetically stunning — behind its sophisticated concrete and wood facade is a complex system that makes the home incredibly energy-efficient . Located in the seaside town of Mount Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula, the 5,920-square-foot home’s sophisticated design scheme is based on contrasting building materials. According to the architects, “The interior and exterior are a play on the contrast between two angles of internal organization, the contrast between warm and cold materials and a considered contrast between architecture and landscape.” Related: Solar-powered modular retreat design in Melbourne inspired by the local landscape The exterior and interior are made with a number of contrasting materials, namely concrete and wood. Using extensive concrete in the floors and walls was strategic to creating a tight thermal mass while in-slab hydronic heating further helps regulate the interior temperatures year-round. Using a system of cubed volumes, which contain two angles within the layout, the Two Angle House was strategically designed to provide stunning views of the ocean. Additionally, the design saw the home’s large concrete blade wall “stretched” from east to west to take advantage of optimal passive solar gain throughout. This allows the structure to not only benefit from a natural heating and lighting system, but it also reduces energy usage substantially. The roof was also equipped with solar panels to provide much of the building’s energy . Much like the outdoor space and wraparound deck, the interior is focused on the amazing sea views, which can be found from virtually any angle inside the home. In fact, just opening the front door leads the eye to the sea at the other side of the house. Large floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors naturally brighten the interior and open up the living space to the outdoors, creating a seamless connection to the natural surroundings. + Megowan Architectural Via Dwell Images via Megowan Architectural

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A solar-powered seaside home embraces contrast and scenic views

MVRDV to dramatically revitalize Frances historic Palais du Commerce

February 14, 2019 by  
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Dutch design firm MVRDV has won a competition to renovate and expand the historic Palais du Commerce in Rennes, France. The impressive 19th century palace had once served multiple public functions but now suffers from disconnect with current civic life. Working in collaboration with co-architects Bernard Desmoulin for developers Frey and Engie Avenue, MVRDV plans to reactivate the former public building and transform it into an inviting mixed-use destination that will serve as the centerpiece of the city’s main commercial street. The 18,000-square-meter redevelopment project will include not only a building restoration with a modern 6,000-square-meter timber expansion of the Palais du Commerce, but also the reactivation of the surroundings including the transformation of the Place de la République into a pedestrian-friendly public square as well as the conversion of the Rue du Pré Botté into a landscaped pedestrian area. The landmark building will also be updated with a sensitive approach that will be respectful of its iconic 19th-century design while greatly increasing the building’s transparency. In addition to the replacement of existing windows with larger panes of glass, glazed storefronts will be added to the arches of the arcade and a new grand, winding staircase will anchor the center of the facade. “Not only is Palais du Commerce a local landmark, but its transformation will turn the Place de la République into a popular destination and act as a vital catalyst for its surroundings,” says Nathalie de Vries, founding partner of MVRDV. “Our design approaches this task with an appreciation of the building’s history, but also with an eye towards the future, helping Rennes to achieve its urban vision. The additions that we will make are clearly modern in character, clearly showcasing this design as the latest chapter in the building’s storied history.” Related: MVRDV designs solar-powered “KoolKiel” with Jenga-like architecture in Germany The building’s mixed-use program will include new shops, a hotel, offices, a co-working space, a variety of leisure spaces — including a LEGO museum, event space and an electronic music bar — and a school for the kitchen and hotel industry led by chef Thierry Marx. All spaces of the building will be used more effectively, from the basements to the roof, which will include a new bistro in the building’s central dome. Construction on the project is slated to begin in 2022, with completion expected in 2025. + MVRDV Images via ENGRAM, diagrams via MVRDV

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MVRDV to dramatically revitalize Frances historic Palais du Commerce

Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy

February 13, 2019 by  
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As today’s urban planners are struggling on how to integrate renewable energy into existing infrastructure, some forward-thinking architects are making the task much easier. Beijing-based firm Margot Krasojevi? Architecture has just released a design that would see an existing oil rig in South Korea’s coast converted into a futuristic lighthouse hotel whose organic flowing form would be installed with pivoting turbines to harness tidal energy to power the hotel. The lighthouse hotel is slated for an area off the coast of mainland South Korea near the island of Jeju, which is only accessible by boat. Currently there is an existing oil rig floating in the water, which will be repurposed into a large platform support for the lighthouse hotel. Related: This futuristic energy-positive hotel will harness power from the tides The hotel’s design will be comprised of multiple flowing volumes made out of layered aluminum surfaces and a series of partly inflated membrane sections. These materials were chosen for not only their durability, but also their light weight. In case of emergency or rogue waves, the airlock sections split apart and float. Wrapped around the structure’s main core, a number of flipwing turbines will harvest the tidal power. As seawater crashes over surfaces, the turbines will pivot in accordance with the wind and wave motion, converting kinetic water energy into electrical energy. According to the architect, the turbines will generate enough clean energy to run the hotel and the structure’s desalination filters. Any surplus energy will be stored. The lighthouse hotel’s interior will have three main sections, the guest rooms, the lobby and various social areas. The lantern room, which is at the top of the hotel will have a Fresnel glass lantern that projects light rays out to the sea. The refracted light will also beam through the interior of the hotel, creating a vibrant, light-filled atmosphere. + Margot Krasojevi? Architecture Images via Margot Krasojevi? Architecture

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Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy

A renovated Toronto home boasts energy savings of over 50%

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Blending East Asian and Western influences to reflect the client’s Asian-Canadian background, the Echo House is an elegant renovation and expansion project that follows ecologically sustainable principles. Designed by local architecture firm Paul Raff Studio , the home, which covers an expansive area of 11,140 square feet, is set on a two-acre property in the Bridle Path neighborhood of Toronto , Canada. Improvements to the existing structure as well as new high-efficiency heating, cooling and ventilation systems have led to over 50 percent savings in the home’s energy consumption. Inspired by the “eastern philosophy of harmony with nature,” the Echo House was designed with strong connections to the environment. Large full-height glazing, open spaces and optimized views of the outdoors strengthen these bonds, while strategically placed openings allow cooling cross breezes and sounds of birdsong to filter through the interior. Garden views were of particular importance and are articulated by walls of glass and huge sliding doors that completely open up the garden-facing side of the home, creating a seamless indoor-outdoor living space. “The name Echo House originates from its design aspirations and listening: be it the echo of birdsong or trees rustling in the wind,” Paul Raff Studio shared in a statement. “The homeowners say, ‘It is an expansive house, but almost all the spaces in it are intimate in size, and they all lead to the living room. It is like a sanctuary at the center of the house.’” The large living spaces were important to the clients, a cosmopolitan family that loves to cook, entertain and host large family gatherings. Related: Beautiful cedar-clad Bridge House crosses a ravine in Ontario Ecological sustainability was also important for the homeowner and architects. Consequently, the renovated building exterior has been sheathed in a very high-performance insulation envelope, while new energy-efficient systems have greatly lowered the home’s energy consumption. Reclaimed Douglas fir was used for the Korean art-inspired exterior wood screens that give the house a sculptural effect. + Paul Raff Studio Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame

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A renovated Toronto home boasts energy savings of over 50%

ODA to transform Rotterdams historic post office into a vibrant destination

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

After sitting vacant for over a decade, Rotterdam’s former Central Post Office, the Postkantoor, will soon undergo an extraordinary transformation into a vibrant, mixed-use destination. Designed by ODA New York , the adaptive reuse project will span 58,000 square meters and sensitively restore the building’s early 20th century architecture while injecting new programming ranging from retail to a five-star hotel. ODA will work in close collaboration with local architecture firm Braaksma & Roos Architectenbureau in addition to Omnam Investment Group to create POST Rotterdam, a civic hub that’s slated to begin construction in 2019. Built in 1916, Rotterdam’s former Central Post Office is one of the only original structures left standing after the 1940 Rotterdam Blitz that decimated much of the city’s historic core. ODA New York was tapped to revive the building with a mixed-use design that mixes new construction with preservation efforts, from the new 150-meter tower that will rise at the rear of the Postkantoor to the restoration of the dramatically vaulted 1916 Great Hall, which will serve as the project’s public heart. Public amenities will reactivate the building’s curbside appeal and include retail, gallery spaces, restaurants and cafes woven throughout the hall and courtyard spaces. A five-star hotel operated by Kimpton will take over the upper floors that formerly housed the Post Office’s telegraph and telephone services. The renovated Postkantoor will be accessible from every side and not only offer open sight lines to the Coolsingel and Rodezand streets, but also serve as a bustling city hub and connection between Rotterdam Centraal to Markthal. Related: This floating park in Rotterdam is made from recycled plastic waste “We believe that it’s time for the POST to stand not only as a memory, but also as an expression of the strength of Rotterdam today as a vibrant, connected, center of culture, renewal, and quality of life. We believe that the hidden treasures that it holds should be shared by all citizens,” says Eran Chen, Executive Director at ODA. “The POST tower is a reinterpretation of both urban living and the Post Office’s architectural assets, extending the elegance of the main hall through to the tower. This modern addition to the Ensemble Buildings in the Coolsingel district is based on an extremely rigorous investigation combined with the expertise gained over two years working with city partners.” + ODA New York Images by Forbes Massie via ODA New York

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ODA to transform Rotterdams historic post office into a vibrant destination

New research shows an organic diet shrinks pesticide exposure

February 13, 2019 by  
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The bad news isn’t news to many — eating a conventional diet leads to pesticide buildup. But a new study published in Environmental Research reveals surprisingly good news. Switching to an all-organic diet quickly and significantly reduced synthetic pesticide levels in study participants. After six days of an all-organic diet, their pesticide and pesticide metabolite levels dropped by an average of 60.5 percent. Four American families of different races participated in the study, titled Organic Diet Intervention Significantly Reduces Urinary Pesticide Levels in U.S. Children and Adults . The families lived in Atlanta, Baltimore, Minneapolis and Oakland. Related: Is a flexitarian diet right for you? The most significant finding was a huge drop in levels of organophosphates, insecticides that are commonly used in agriculture , gardening and household products, such as roach spray. Farm workers often administer them when growing apples, peaches, strawberries, spinach, potatoes and other common crops. The study showed a 95 percent drop in the organophosphate malathion, a probable human carcinogen linked to brain damage in children. Levels of pesticides associated with endocrine disruption, autism, adverse reproductive effects, thyroid disorders, lymphoma and other serious health issues dropped between 37 and 83 percent after a week of all-organic eating. “This study shows that organic works,” said study co-author Kendra Klein, PhD, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth. “We all have the right to food that is free of toxic pesticides . Farmers and farmworkers growing our nation’s food and rural communities have a right not to be exposed to chemicals linked to cancer, autism and infertility. And the way we grow food should protect, not harm, our environment. We urgently need our elected leaders to support our farmers in making healthy organic food available for all.” The study’s authors are affiliated with the University of California at San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Friends of the Earth U.S. and the Commonweal Institute. Friends of the Earth is urging the U.S. Congress to pass a bill to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that causes brain damage in children. In 2017 under President Trump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed its proposed ban on chlorpyrifos. + Friends of the Earth Image via Paja1000

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New research shows an organic diet shrinks pesticide exposure

Locally crafted childrens learning center doubles as an emergency shelter in the Philippines

February 11, 2019 by  
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Scandinavian design studio Native Narrative is raising the bar for after-school facilities in the rural Philippines with their recent completion of the Children’s Learning Center in the Island of Leyte’s Village Mas-in. The facility primarily serves as a child-friendly after-school space during weekdays and weekends, however, it has also been engineered to double as an emergency shelter in the event of a natural disaster. Created in close collaboration with local NGOs and the local government, the prototype project was constructed from locally available materials and local, relatively unskilled labor. The Children’s Learning Center and emergency shelter was created in response to the newly approved Children’s Emergency Relief Protection Act in the Philippines , a law that calls for local and national agencies to establish child-friendly spaces for the improved protection and development of children. Created to serve ages 4 to 17, the 63-square-meter Village Mas-in facility offers a space to play, study and gather with the community. The building includes a library unit, study spaces, a reading area, two bathrooms and a performance area. The facility is one of four Native Narrative-designed after-school facilities built in 2018; five more site-specific buildings will be constructed in 2019. “It has been important for us to create something that made sense in the local context both practically and in terms of character,” explains Jakob Gate, architect at Native Narrative, of the firm’s choice to use locally sourced materials and local labor. “The building is a collection of borrowed components from the predominant architectural language in the locality, although does not resemble any one particular building. The minimal colour pallet is reducing the environment to a backdrop where children, books and toys are standing out.” Local carpenters made all the furniture of plywood, while local weavers wove the seat covers from Pandan grass. Related: The Philippines envisions a green smart city to combat pollution in Manila Due to the Philippines’ location on the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire,’ the country is highly susceptible to natural disasters including typhoons, earthquakes and floods. To fortify the emergency shelter against these events, the architects designed a reinforced-concrete structure with a symmetrical column layout, hollow block walls and a lightweight metal roof. The building is also raised to protect against flooding. + Native Narrative Images by Jakob Gate

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Locally crafted childrens learning center doubles as an emergency shelter in the Philippines

Top 10 states for LEED green buildings in 2018

February 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has officially revealed the Top 10 states for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) certification. The states that led the country in LEED standards constructed over 468 million square feet of green building space for a population of 128 million people. The USGBC has high standards when it comes to LEED certification. Buildings that fall under the LEED umbrella have a small carbon footprint, are energy efficient, use less water and are affordable for family and businesses. The new top 10 list corresponds with the newest rating framework, LEED v4.1, which places a higher priority on gathering statistics. Illinois led the pack of the top 10 LEED states in the country. Last year, Illinois had 172 projects that adhered to LEED standards. One of the more interesting projects to come out of the state was the Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, which was built on an older campus and features more than 700 doctors. Related: LEED Gold Gateway Arch Museum sports a 3-acre green roof in St. Louis The most popular reasons for building eco-friendly LEED homes are demand and health concerns. Not only are green buildings better for the environment , but they also improve the health of occupants by increasing the quality of air and water. With LEED being the worldwide standard for best green building practices, the trend is catching on. Massachusetts came in second on the list and is a great example of how schools are incorporating LEED standards into their building practices. The state’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School was certified LEED Platinum for being energy efficient and using its building to teach students about sustainable living. Other states that made it onto the list include Washington, New York, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, California and Maryland. Several states, such as Illinois, Maryland, New York, Colorado, Virginia, California and Maryland, were also in the top 10 in 2017. Via Living Standard ,  USGBC Image via USGBC

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Top 10 states for LEED green buildings in 2018

Sydneys vibrant Green Square Library and Plaza collects and reuses rainwater

February 7, 2019 by  
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Former marshland in Sydney has been transformed into the new Green Square Library and Plaza, a striking project that’s not only revitalizing one of the city’s oldest industrial areas but is also a shining beacon for sustainability. Designed by Sydney-based architecture and urban design practice Stewart Hollenstein in association with Stewart Architecture , the Green Square project features a semi-submerged underground library with a plaza on top. Energy efficiency drove the design as well, from the numerous skylights that let in natural light to the library’s low-energy displacement ventilation system engineered by Arup. Created as a central gathering space for the growing Green Square neighborhood, the Green Square Library and Plaza draws the eye with its playful geometric cutouts and pavilions that punctuate the 8,000-square-meter plaza. The triangular-shaped glass pavilion on one end marks the entrance to the 3,000-square-meter underground library , while the large circular opening next to it brings light into the circular sunken garden at the heart of the library. Also on the plaza is a six-story glazed rectangular volume that includes a double-height reading room, computer lab, black-box theater, music room and community space. An outdoor amphitheater is found on the other end of the plaza. The four areas are visually connected with a series of 49 circular skylights that funnel light into the library, while the rest of the plaza is left open for other activities, from pop-up events on the lawn to a water play zone. Underground, the open-plan library is centered on a sunken garden with a children’s circle and “story tree.” Placing the library underground was no easy feat; because the project sits on former marshland, the area came with a permanent water table above excavation level. Waterproofing with four layers of defense was crucial to protecting the library from damage. The feat of engineering allowed for ample green space above — a key detail that earned the design first place in the global design competition for the public library. Related: This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops Daylight floods the library thanks to the weatherproof skylights that have been engineered to be walked on and to limit external heat gain. At night, the skylights are illuminated to bring visual interest and safety to the plaza. Reduced energy usage is also achieved with Arup’s bookshelf-integrated displacement ventilation system that brings improved indoor air quality and greater cooling efficiency. The landscaping on the plaza was designed to manage stormwater runoff and capture rainwater for reuse in the library. + Stewart Hollenstein Images by Tom Roe and Julien Lanoo via Stewart Hollenstein

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Sydneys vibrant Green Square Library and Plaza collects and reuses rainwater

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