Check out these amazing sustainable cabins by ZeroCabin

January 23, 2020 by  
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Armed only with experience in biology, chemistry and physics, a group of Chile -based scientists took concepts ranging from photosynthesis to thermodynamics to create ZeroCabin, a collection of off-grid and self-sustaining cabins that use “free energy” to function. With no prior knowledge of architecture between them, the team set out with one rule: to place nature (namely sun and rainwater) at the forefront of the project. The timber-framed cabins are elevated on two-meter wooden piles and built by the company itself, but come with maintenance plans for photovoltaic panels, waste recycling and rainwater collection through reverse osmosis. These kits provide buyers with the tools and information to create a self-sustaining cabin with negative impact customized to function anywhere in the world. The structures use biodegradable insulation, and the need for excess artificial heating and cooling is cut down with thermal glazing. To reduce the need for additional materials during construction, the frame is built without using nails. In the field of botany, phyllotaxis refers to the arrangement of leaves on a plant stem, one of the many ways that nature organically creates the maximum conversion of photosynthesis and harnesses energy more efficiently. ZeroCabin takes this concept and applies it to architecture, arranging each self-sustaining cabin at the optimal angle for sun exposure, therefore gaining the most efficient use of solar panels. For heating, a system was created by placing air suction tubes onto the sides of the stove burn chamber. This allows owners to cook, bake and warm water using one-third the typical amount of wood. Apart from the goal of generating a smaller environmental footprint, ZeroCabin is also driven by creating a higher quality of life for its clients. Lower utility bills on trash, water, electricity and gas mean less financial strain — a cherry on top of zero-impact living. Another inspiration behind ZeroCabin is the sense of freedom gained by using only natural resources as power. The company proves its dedication to the environment even further by putting 10% of its utility towards native forests and wildlife preservation. + ZeroCabin Images via ZeroCabin

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Check out these amazing sustainable cabins by ZeroCabin

Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

January 23, 2020 by  
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The Sun Rain Room is an extension and restoration of a two-story Grade-II listed townhouse designed and constructed by Tonkin Liu. Partnering with local craftspeople to complete the project, the London-based architecture firm was able to create an extension of the existing structure through a landscape that feeds off of the sun and rain . The house, which was built as a home and studio for the owner, features a green roof , garden room and reflecting pool that are all designed to uniquely celebrate nature. The garden room on the ground floor is encased in a wall of curved glass that works as both a living space for occupants and as a meeting area for the owner’s professional studio. The covered outdoor area connected to the garden room contains a studio workshop, kitchen, potting shed, recycling bay and a store. Another wall of sliding mirrors conceals the planter for a collection of small trees that grow through the green roof overhead. The neighboring open patio covers a basement refurbished with a new bedroom, two bathrooms and a utility area. The courtyard garden’s perimeter walls support a roof made of plywood cut to allow the most possible light into the site. Between the patio (which frames the terrace) and the house sits an etched glass staircase to bridge the two spaces. The true meaning of “Sun Rain Room” comes to play with the 110-millimeter structural shell roof that is perforated with coffered skylights made to mimic raindrops that land onto the pool . This creates an ethereal, organic environment inside the home. To make the townhouse more sustainable, heat loss from the ground floor is decreased through double-glazed, double-laminated glass with low-e coatings. Waterproof concrete was used in the construction of the basement, which removed the need for a backup waterproofing system. What’s more, the light-well from the plywood roof around the courtyard has improved the affecting passive ventilation strategy for the home. The green roof not only contributes to sustainable drainage, but is also planted with local trees and plants that suit the natural habitat to improve the site’s biodiversity . The reflecting pool is filled naturally with harvested rainwater, also used to irrigate the green roof. + Tonkin Liu Images via Alex Peacock, Greg Storrar, Tonkin Liu, and Alexander James Photography

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Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

Modular homes in Sweden are specially designed for solar panels

January 22, 2020 by  
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Swedish firm Street Monkey Architects has unveiled new solar-powered, prefabricated modular homes in Örebro, Sweden. The row-house project was based on a similar award-winning construction project near Stockholm that was built using passive house principles but designed to complement the urban setting. The single-family structures are designed with energy efficiency in mind to promote lifestyles with smaller carbon footprints. Each home is constructed using six factory-build prefab modules that arrive to the building site already complete with finished walls, bathrooms, kitchens and finishing materials. Onsite, the facade is assembled, and the seams between the modules are finished to remove any evidence of modular prefabrication. Related: Rural, modular home in Mexico allows for a wide variety of configurations The designers heightened the roof in order to better frame the street and allow the homes to stand up against some of the neighborhood’s taller buildings. The facades — which Street Monkey builds once the modular homes arrive to the site — are made from the same combination of wood, steel and plaster as the firm’s Stockholm project but with more exposed steel. The materials used in the facades depend on the orientation, meaning the ones facing east or west have white plaster and the ones facing the north or south are made of either dark silver steel or steel with wood lattice. As a result, the row of modular houses presents three different versions of the same 150-square-meter home and provides a sense of individuality for residents without losing the overall visual cohesiveness of the row. The highlight of the Örebro homes is the utilization of solar panels , the placement of which also depended on the particular house’s orientation. As the solar panels are designed to face south, the architects had to come up with a unique roof designed for both appearance and practicality. Houses that were east-west facing have sawtooth roofs with customized ridgelines and a 45-degree angle for the panels, while homes with north-south facades and east-west ridgelines have asymmetrical, mirrored roofs. + Street Monkey Architects Photography by Mattias Hamrén via Street Monkey Architects

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Modular homes in Sweden are specially designed for solar panels

Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate resistant

January 20, 2020 by  
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Scottish firm Mary Arnold Foster Architects has unveiled a stunning home made out of several timber “pods” and tucked into the idyllic landscape of the Scottish Highlands. Clad in cross-laminated timber ( CLT ) and covered with slats of charred larch, which provide the home with resilience, the Nedd home was built on concrete pillars and set in between two outcrops to minimize damage to the landscape. Located in the remote village of Nedd in the western region of the Scottish Highlands, the eponymous home design was constructed using CLT and covered in burnt larch to give the structure longevity and sufficient durability to stand up to the harsh mountainous climate . Additionally, the charred wood provides the home with an airtight envelope which enables the interior to require very little heating. In fact, a wood-burning stove usually meets most of the home’s heating needs. Related: Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower Made up of connected timber cubes , the Nedd House is divided into three separate volumes. One area houses the central living room, while the remaining cubes house an en-suite master bedroom and a guest bedroom. All three sections are linked by a single corridor, which leads to an ultra-large north-facing window that connects the interior spaces with the  idyllic surroundings . According to the architect, the home design was inspired by the area’s breathtaking views. “I wanted to avoid a wall of glass but instead to frame the large view in two key rooms; the living space and the main bedroom, partly due to the topography of the site,” Arnold-Forster explained. “The other windows frame views of the rocks, heather and grasses.” Contrasting with the dark hue of the exterior, the interior of the home is light and airy thanks to the pale timber walls and ceilings found throughout. Within the main living area, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors provide direct access to an open-air deck that looks out over the landscape. + Mary Arnold Foster Architects Via Dezeen Photography by David Barbour Photography

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Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate resistant

"Embroidered filtering skin helps library regulate light

January 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

French design practice Serero Architectes Urbanistes has recently completed the new Bayeux Media Library, a light-filled cultural institution that connects the northwestern French commune’s historical roots to its future development zones. Inspired by the famous Bayeux Tapestry, the building includes an “embroidered filtering skin” along its north facade comprising a series of multicolored tubes hanging behind the glazed facade to help filter views and light while mitigating unwanted solar gain. Energy usage is reduced thanks to an abundance of glazing outfitted with solar shades as well as an insulating green roof. Located next to the beltway near Bayeux’s dense historic center, the Bayeux Media Library has been strategically located to provide views of the cathedral. To emphasize a connection between the historic center and nearby contemporary development, the architects opted for a “transparent, landscape-building” with a horizontal profile and minimalist design. The glazed library also focuses on the indoor/ outdoor experience with outdoor reading terraces on the south side. At the heart of the contemporary Bayeux Media Library is its reference to the Bayeux Tapestry, a nearly 230-foot-long embroidered cloth dating back to the 11th century that depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. “It inspired the design of the media library’s north façade,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Stitch by stitch and thread by thread, embroidery was applied to the fabric to form the tapestry’s semiotic elements. The Boulevard Ware façade of the library is entirely glazed and protected by a ‘filtering skin’ composed of tubes tinted in the natural colors of the woolen yarns in the famous Bayeux Tapestry: beige, brown, bronze green, blue-black and deep blue with yellow highlights.” Related: Near net-zero energy Helsinki Central Library boasts an award-winning, prefab design In addition to the “embroidered” filtering skin on the north facade, the architects added an overhanging roof to shield the interior from unwanted solar gain on the south facade. The glazed east, west, and south facades are also equipped with roller blinds. Skylights let in additional natural light.  + Serero Architectes Urbanistes Photography by Didier Boy de la Tour via Serero Architectes Urbanistes

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"Embroidered filtering skin helps library regulate light

Ramboll helps Lombok locals build earthquake-resistant bamboo housing

January 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

In 2018 when Lombok was struck by several earthquakes, some measuring up to magnitude 7, local communities around the seismic region were greatly affected. After the series of earthquakes settled, there were over 500 people dead, 445,000 people homeless and 129,000 homes damaged. Concerned that the quality of the area’s buildings was partially to blame, Els Houttave, founder of the Lombok-based charity Grenzeloos Milieu, knew that something had to be done to ensure this type of devastation never happened again. She teamed up with Ramboll bridge engineer Xavier Echegaray and structural engineer Marcin Dawydzik to find a solution that was both sustainable and resilient. When Dawydzik traveled to Lombok, he discovered the problem was in the building techniques and materials : “Villages were flattened with bricks and rubble scattered all around, in many cases the building foundations were all that remained. This was not an unusually powerful earthquake for the region, but lack of reinforcement in the buildings meant the damage, and consequential loss of life, was far greater than it should have been. What I found even more disturbing was that communities had already started rebuilding with the same absence of structural integrity that had existed in the destroyed buildings!”   As it turns out, the building solution was closer than expected. The partially-destroyed villages were surrounded by bamboo forests, a time-honored building material that is lightweight, strong, affordable, sustainable and reaches full maturity in about five years. Working hand-in-hand with the locals, Ramboll has now built three prototype earthquake-proof “template houses” made almost entirely out of locally-sourced bamboo. The homes are raised on cross-braced columns with a central staircase leading to the living area and space for two bedrooms. The walls are finished with bamboo woven sheets or canes and the roofing is made from recycled Tetra Pak carton packaging.  Going even further, the project headed by Grenzeloos Milieu and University College London will provide locals with a free blueprint on how to construct affordable earthquake-proof homes without complicated construction knowledge necessary. Additionally, Grenzeloos Milieu is growing more bamboo forests and teaching communities how to harvest the trees for food and construction. Ramboll volunteers on the ground in Lombok will teach the process hands-on while ensuring safety and efficiency . + Ramboll Via Dezeen Images via Ramboll

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Ramboll helps Lombok locals build earthquake-resistant bamboo housing

Stunning, sustainable lodge blends into beautiful landscape

January 16, 2020 by  
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Romanian architecture firm BLIPSZ has created a near-autonomous holiday home that combines the charms of rural Transylvanian architecture with a sustainable and contemporary design aesthetic. Surrounded by gently rolling hills and valley views, the Lodge in a Glade comprises two barn-inspired structures with green-roofed surfaces that appear to emerge from the earth. South-facing solar panels generate about 90% of the building’s energy needs, which are kept to a minimum thanks to its passive solar design and underfloor heating powered by a geothermal heat pump. Located in a Transylvanian mountain village, Lodge in a Glade is a luxurious retreat that seeks to embrace its surroundings while minimizing its visual impact on the landscape. To that end, the architects used mostly natural building materials, including locally molded clay bricks and mineral gabion wall cladding, as well as gabled roof profiles that recall the region’s rural vernacular. The expansive size of the four-bedroom home is partly hidden by its horizontal massing and the local grasses that cover the non-pitched roof sections.  The green roofs provide insulating benefits that are reinforced by cellulose, wood fiber, and compacted straw bale insulation. Triple-glazed windows frame views of the outdoors while locking in heat. The thermal mass of the timber house also benefits from the clay brick wall fillings and thick polished concrete floors throughout. Thirty-three solar panels generate the majority of the home’s energy needs and are complemented by a safety back-up electrical grid connection for very cold and cloudy days. Rainwater is collected and reused for automated irrigation.  Related: Solar-powered Dutch home produces all of its own energy with surplus to spare “The challenge of the project was experimenting with a multitude of alternative techniques and materials to seamlessly integrate traditional and high-tech elements demanded by the clients along with the sustainable , green solutions,” the architects said in a statement. “The required interior area is quite impressive, especially compared to the modest, traditional local households nearby. Shapes and materials were chosen to blend the expansive building in the special scenery.” + BLIPSZ Via ArchDaily Images by Makkai Bence

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Stunning, sustainable lodge blends into beautiful landscape

The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles

January 15, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Architecture is often heavily influenced by the existing landscape surrounding a structure, but architect Dan Brunn didn’t let the weaving waterways on his Los Angeles property limit the options for his home. Dubbed the Bridge House, this 4,500-square-foot home straddles 65 feet of natural stream without harming the landscape. The long, narrow home nestles into the forested background with limited street exposure. The focus on nature is evident with natural light streaming in from expansive windows throughout, a living wall in the living room and an outdoor terrace. In fact, the 210-foot-long home provides a wide expanse of northern exposure for more natural light and less energy consumption. Related: The Garden House features greenery and bee-friendly landscapes While the overall theme is sleek and minimalist, the pool area — complete with a full pool house, an outdoor shower, space for grilling and a Yamaha music room — aims to create an oasis for entertaining. But don’t let the luxuries and size fool you. In addition to the layout and physical situation of the home, each space was designed with low impact in mind. Starting with the foundation, the bridge design suspends a large portion of the structure, minimizing the impact on the landscape. For the structure itself, a BONE steel modular system was incorporated to ease on-site construction with sustainable materials. Plus, the system’s precision leaves little to no cutoff waste, and the steel itself comes from up to 89% recycled material . Although there was waste from the removal of the previous home, all usable parts were donated to the local Habitat for Humanity for reuse. The air quality inside the home is enhanced by the living wall of plants and superior insulation. A water filtration system eliminates the desire for bottled water, and solar power provides for much of the home’s energy needs. + Dan Brunn Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Brandon Shigeta via Dann Brunn Architecture

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The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles

BIG presents a sustainable living laboratory town in Japan for Toyota at CES

January 9, 2020 by  
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As part of CES 2020, Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled exciting designs for its first project in Japan — the Toyota Woven City, a sustainable “living laboratory” at the foothills of Mt. Fuji. Created in collaboration with Toyota Motor Corporation, the project will be the world’s first urban incubator dedicated to the advancement of all aspects of mobility with a focus on sustainability, from renewable energies to shared mobility. The futuristic prototype town will also be notable for its inclusion of Japanese craftsmanship, which will inform the design of the architecture built with mass timber construction. Located at a 175-acre former factory site in the city of Susono in Shizuoka, Toyota Woven City will provide a testing grounds for a futuristic smart city powered by Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology. “Today the typical is mess — with everything and nothing happening everywhere,” said Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of BIG. “With the Woven City, we peel apart and then weave back together the three components of a typical road into a new urban fabric: a street optimized for automated vehicles, a promenade for micro-mobility and a linear park for pedestrians. The resulting pattern of porous 3-by-3 city blocks creates a multitude of different eco-niches for social life, culture and commerce.” Related: Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power The Woven City’s flexible network of streets will cater to multi-modal transit and emphasize pedestrian-friendly connections. Roads will fall into three categories. The first is the primary street for fast-moving, autonomous vehicles, such as the self-driving Toyota e-Palette, with logistical traffic underneath. Then, there will be a recreational promenade open to pedestrians and low-speed, micro-mobility types such as bicycles, scooters and Toyota’s i-Walk. Finally, the project includes linear parks, or pedestrian-only pathways that serve as ecological corridors. The three street types will be woven into 3-by-3 city blocks, each framing a courtyard connected to a promenade or linear park. Mass timber construction built with robotic fabrication technology will be used for all of Woven City’s architecture, which will comprise a mix of housing, retail and business. The timber buildings will be topped with photovoltaic panels and punctuated with large windows to let in natural light and frame views of Mt. Fuji. Robotics and new innovative technology will also be woven into all parts of daily life, from sensor-based AI technology that helps with automatic grocery deliveries and trash disposal to robotic construction facilities housed in Toyota’s R&D spaces. The Toyota Woven City is expected to break ground in phases beginning in 2021. + BIG Images by Squint Opera and BIG

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BIG presents a sustainable living laboratory town in Japan for Toyota at CES

Lush Sky Green towers are the first of their kind in Taichung

January 8, 2020 by  
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Taichung, Taiwan has taken yet another step toward becoming a greener, more livable city with the recent completion of Sky Green, a sustainably minded, mixed-use development. Designed by Singaporean architecture firm WOHA , the high-rise is named after its inclusion of sky gardens and terraces that are filled with lush, subtropical greenery. The project’s integration of green spaces is expected to raise the city’s standards for “skyrise greenery” in future sustainable developments. As an expert in sustainable high-density design, WOHA was initially invited to share its knowledge in 2012 upon invitation by the Taichung City Government and Feng Chia University. The architects’ “Breathing Architecture” exhibition was showcased in Taichung to help inform the government’s new regulations to turn Taichung into a more sustainable, smart city. Following the exhibition, property developer Golden Jade tapped WOHA to design a green mixed-use development in the heart of Taichung — the first of its kind in the city. Related: A disused railway will become a sustainable green corridor in Taiwan “The architectural strategies of Sky Green are new for Taichung, but they have been developed by WOHA over the last 25 years, and many prototypes have been successfully built in Singapore and other regions,” the architects explained in a statement. “The design of Sky Green has been adapted to suit the local culture and subtropical climate, as well as to ensure safety during earthquakes and typhoons. As the first high-density development in Taichung that also provides high amenity with its recreational facilities and ample integrated green spaces, Sky Green will be influential in defining the new benchmark of sustainability and skyrise greenery for the city’s future developments.” The project comprises two rectangular plots with two 26-story residential towers that consist of apartment units stacked atop retail spaces spanning the ground floor to the third level. Large recreational facilities for indoor and outdoor use are integrated throughout the towers. True to the development’s name, the buildings are also engineered with protruding balconies to accommodate sky gardens and even tree planters that give the building a “breathable facade.” Residents can also enjoy a series of sky terraces located at every five floors that emphasize a plant-filled, indoor-outdoor living environment. + WOHA Photography by Kuomin Lee via WOHA

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Lush Sky Green towers are the first of their kind in Taichung

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