Zaha Hadid Architects breaks ground on Mexicos City tallest residential tower

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Construction has begun on the Bora Residential Tower, a high-rise designed by Zaha Hadid Architects that, when completed, will be the tallest residential tower in Mexico City . Located in the Santa Fe business district in the west of the capital, the luxury complex features Zaha Hadid’s recognizable tapered shape at its base, where the building curves inward before flaring out into “swirling” canopies. The site-specific building optimizes access to natural light and views, while mitigating seismic conditions. Commissioned in 2015 by Nemesis Capital , the Bora Residential Tower occupies prime real estate within walking distance to schools, theaters, cafes, restaurants, and the new Santa Fe Transit Hub that will connect to the city’s metro network next year. The 28-hectare La Mexicana park lies adjacent as well as three universities and the regional offices of Fortune 500 firms including the likes of Apple , Microsoft, and Amazon. Boasting over 50 floors, the record-breaking Bora will comprise over 220 apartments of one, two, and three bedrooms designed for diverse clientele from first-time homeowners and families to retirees. To maximize access to natural light and panoramic views, each apartment features private balconies that extrude vertically. The building’s base tapers inward and then flares out into canopies to shade street-level civic spaces with restaurants and shops. Related: Beautiful co-working space takes over a former industrial factory in Mexico City “The tower’s structure has also been designed for optimum flexibility and ductility, as well as an overall reduction in its weight, to best respond in seismic conditions, with the ten-storey canopies at its base providing additional lateral stability,” wrote Zaha Hadid Architects. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects and LabTop

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Zaha Hadid Architects breaks ground on Mexicos City tallest residential tower

This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

This stunning modernist guest home bears little similarity to its previous form: an old concrete barn for horses. Design-build firm The Construction Zone led the adaptive reuse project, the Barn Guest House, transforming the old horse stalls into room dividers. Full-height north-facing glass gives the guesthouse an indoor-outdoor character that embraces a desert garden In Phoenix. Topped with a flat overhanging roof, the 750-square-foot guest home contains a master suite, kitchen, and living area separated by concrete walls. Timber, seen in the Douglas fir -clad roof and furnishings and cabinetry, imbue the home with much needed warmth in a predominately cool-toned palette of concrete, glass, and black steel. Related: Atelier Data Transforms an Old Horse Stable into a Simple but Stunning Home in Portugal The interior decor is kept minimal to maintain the home’s sense of lightness in the landscape, while a few pops of red hues and natural timber tones break up the gray color scheme. The Barn Guest House looks out over an outdoor entertaining patio , bocce ball court, jacuzzi, and cacti-studded gardens. + The Construction Zone Via Dezeen Images by Bill Timmerman

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This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn

These magenta greenhouses grow plants faster while generating clean energy

November 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Could a new rose-colored glass change the world of greenhouse design? A UC Santa Cruz spinoff called Soliculture has discovered that covering greenhouses in magenta solar panels allows plants to grow better while generating electricity more efficiently and at less cost than with traditional photovoltaic systems. The pinkish panels are a new technology called Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs). A bright magenta luminescent dye is embedded into the panel glass. The dark color absorbs blue and green wavelengths of light and transfers the energy to the photovoltaic strips, where electricity is generated and used to power the greenhouse’s fans, heaters, watering systems, etc. The idea behind the technology is to convert greenhouses into ultra-efficient food production systems that can operate completely off-grid . Related: Solar-powered aquaponic greenhouses grow up to 880 lbs of produce each year The team behind Soliculture conducted a study to compare the growing conditions of traditional, transparent greenhouses with the new magenta-clad buildings. Using a variety of plants, including 20 varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons, limes, peppers, strawberries and basil, the researchers monitored both photosynthesis and fruit production in both structures. The results of the study showed that 80 percent of the plants weren’t affected by the magenta light, and 20 percent of the inventory actually grew better. Even better, the tomato plants grown in the WSPV houses required 5 percent less water. According to Soliculture co-founder Prof. Michael Loik, the colored panels were a bit of an experiment,”I thought the plants would grow more slowly, because it’s darker under these pink panels,” says Loik. “Plants are sensitive not just to the intensity of light but also to color. But it turns out the plants grow just as well.” + Soliculture Via New Atlas Images via Soliculture and Elena Zhukova/UC Santa Cruz

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These magenta greenhouses grow plants faster while generating clean energy

Custom ordered tiny homes provide compact living options without sacrificing on comfort

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Not everyone is capable of building their own tiny home, but for those who’d like to live sustainably and efficiently, Fauna Homes can make your tiny home dream come true. The home designs – which are based on the three pillars of minimalism, affordability and sustainability – come in a range of models, but all are strategically designed to provide compact living spaces that don’t sacrifice on comfort. The designs for Fauna Homes are based on providing sustainable options for those looking for an eco-friendly, but comfortable tiny home. The small stature of the structures require fewer building materials, transport, and produce less waste, making it a wise investment for a sustainable lifestyle, and the optimal dimensions provide ample living space. Related: MUJI to sell eagerly awaited $27k minimalist tiny homes this fall As far as sustainable features, the homes are designed to be mounted on a concrete slab in order to reduce its environmental impact. The building materials were chosen to create a strong thermal mass that reduces the need for energy use. The tiny homes can also be ordered with an optional heating floor system, further reducing energy use and costs. Solar rooftop panels and a household waste water recuperation system can also be implemented into the design. All of the Fauna Homes, which can be custom ordered to abide by any local building codes, offer the ultimate in space efficiency, personalized to each homeowner’s needs. Open floor plans and high ceilings with ample windows and glazed walls allow for a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors. Every layout has been optimized for maximum efficiency in terms of flexibility, meaning no space is left unused. Each model also contains a number of strategic storage options such as custom-crafted cabinets. + Fauna Homes  

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Custom ordered tiny homes provide compact living options without sacrificing on comfort

The US is now the only country in the world to refuse the Paris Climate Agreement

November 7, 2017 by  
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Today the war-torn country of Syria officially signed the Paris Climate Agreement , leaving the United States as the only country to refuse the landmark climate deal. Though Barack Obama entered the US into the deal during his time as president, Donald Trump quickly withdrew the nation after his inauguration. The Middle East nation made the announcement in Bonn, Germany, at the COP 23 UN climate summit. Even though Syria is facing its sixth year of a brutal civil conflict, it agreed to limit its carbon emissions in an effort to prevent climate change from worsening. It’s not clear what has changed, and Syria has yet to submit its targets for cutting greenhouse gases . In December 2015, nearly 200 countries signed the Paris Accord . Until last month, Nicaragua was also a holdout nation. However, that was because the Central American country did not think the deal went far enough in putting limits on emissions and helping lower-income nations adapt to an already-changing planet. One of Nicaragua’s complaints was that top polluters — like the US, EU, China, and India — were not keeping their emissions levels low enough to prevent sea levels from rising and global warming under 2 degrees Celsius — let alone the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. Eventually, parties to the deal signed – as the global climate change agreement was better than none at all. Now the US is the last country to sign. In the past, President Trump said that American workers (particularly coal miners) were being put at an “economic disadvantage” by the deal. And even though the US is the second largest emitter of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the world (second to China ), Trump remains committed to the idea that investing in coal — not renewable energy — is the way forward. Related: Edible schoolyards sprout across war-torn Syria “With Syria’s decision, the relentless commitment of the global community to deliver on Paris is more evident than ever,” Paula Caballero , director of the climate change program at the World Resources Institute, told the New York Times . “The US’s stark isolation should give Trump reason to reconsider his ill-advised announcement and join the rest of the world in tackling climate change .” The countries that have signed the Paris Agreement now seek to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Via The Independent , The Verge , BBC Images via Pixabay

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The US is now the only country in the world to refuse the Paris Climate Agreement

MUJIs $26k prefab huts are finally available for sale

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

The wait is over— MUJI’s microhomes are now officially on sale to the public. Ever since MUJI debuted their line of tiny prefabricated homes in 2015, fans of the minimalist design brand have eagerly awaited the chance to get their hands on one of their tiny prefabricated homes, called MUJI Huts , starting at a little over $26,000 USD. Per MUJI’s famous minimalist aesthetic, the MUJI Huts are elegant and understated. Timber surfaces and a light-tone color palette creates a cozy and welcoming character. The first MUJI Hut to hit the market is a compact 9-square-meter cabin clad in blackened timber and lined in domestic fir wood. Sliding glass doors let in ample natural light and open up to a small covered patio. The simplicity of the design makes it easy for the microhome to adapt to variety of environments and uses. Related: MUJI to sell eagerly awaited $27k minimalist tiny homes this fall Base pricing for the MUJI Hut starts at 3 million yen (approximately $26,340 USD), tax and construction costs included. Insulation and electrical outlets are optional add-ons. Unfortunately, MUJI Hut is presently only available for sale in Japan—lucky residents can order a microhome from MUJI’s global flagship store at Yurakucho —but fans of the microhome are always welcome to test drive a MUJI Hut at the MUJI Camp in Tsumagoi , about an hour out of Tokyo via bullet train. + MUJI Hut Via SoraNews24

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MUJIs $26k prefab huts are finally available for sale

Dwell Development introduces net zero-ready homes to Seattles Georgetown neighborhood

November 6, 2017 by  
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Green home builder  Dwell Development  is taking Seattle by storm! After completing several stunning net-zero projects, including this 5-Star Built Green home in Mount Baker , the company has unveiled another two  energy-efficient homes nestled in Georgetown, one of Seattle’s oldest and most eclectic neighborhoods. Both residences feature 12-inch thick walls for optimal thermal insulation, solar-ready rooftop configurations, electric vehicle charging units, and triple-glazed windows. Thanks to these sustainable features, the homes are now targeting 5-star Built Green certification and net zero , highest levels of green building certification. Each is 2500 square feet and includes three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, alley access to a two-car garage and an open-plan layout that maximizes the amount of natural light . Related: Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability The architects drew inspiration from the industrial aesthetic of the neighborhood and its manufacturing tradition. The open-plan layout references airplane hangars, while reclaimed wood accents on the exterior façade act as a nod to the warehouse typology still present in Georgetown. + Dwell Development Photos by Tucker English

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Dwell Development introduces net zero-ready homes to Seattles Georgetown neighborhood

This candy-colored school in Spain disappears into the sky

November 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

  The upper floor of this candy-colored school in the city of Salamanca, Spain, disappears into the sky. Locally based design studio ABLM Arquitectos used mirrored panels to make the upper floor “almost invisible,” while covering the lower story with playful  ceramic stripes. The school is located in a neighborhood on the periphery of Salamanca, which is going through a process of industrialization. Its playful design contrasts this trend, with stripes of colors introducing an element of fun and ease into the area. Related: Japanese kindergarten features awesome green courtyard where kids can run and climb The entrance canopy is covered in the same material as the upper floor of the building. This dematerialization of the structure is achieved thanks to the use of mirrored panels of composite aluminum . Another intent in using reflective materials is to reflect the surroundings and visually reduce the scale of the building. Spanish ceramicist Toni Cumella chose the colors for the lower level, deciding on a wide spectrum of colors–from pink to maroon and green. The interior contrasts the façade and features neutral colors and materials. Related: Barcelona’s Beautiful Martinet School Boasts a Sun-Shielding Ceramic Facade “The almost invisible school proposes a reflection on the domestic scale of this kind of infrastructures, where the little ones must find spaces that they can catch, and places with which they can dream,” said architects Arturo Blanco and Laura Martínez of ABLM Arquitectos. + ABLM Arquitectos Via Dezeen Photos by Miguel de Guzmán

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This candy-colored school in Spain disappears into the sky

Plantagon’s crowdfunded plantscraper aims to produce 500 metric tons of food a year

November 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

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Swedish company Plantagon believes that ‘plantscrapers’ are the way of the future—and part of solution to the global food crisis. Part urban farm, part skyscraper, these vertical greenhouses could provide large-scale organic food production in cities, with a much smaller energy and carbon footprint than industrial agriculture. After years of research and development, Plantagon is now ready to embark on their first landmark plantscraper, called The World Food Building, and is crowdfunding their way to success . A pioneer in the fields of urban agriculture and food technology, Plantagon has set their sights on solving the food crisis as cities grow larger and arable land shrinks. Thus, the company created The World Food Building, a 60-meter-tall vertical farm and 16-story office building proposed for Linköping, Sweden that, if built, would serve as an international model for vertical industrial urban farming. The innovative ‘plantscraper’ would use Plantagon’s patented technology to produce 500 metric tons of organic food annually in a closed, clean, and climate-controlled environment. At least half of the energy used in food production would be recaptured and reused as floor heat in the office building. Plantagon estimates that The World Food Building could save 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 50 million liters of water as compared to traditional industrial farming systems. To turn their first plantscraper into reality, Plantagon has turned to crowdfunding and asked the community to join them as allies. “We are reaching out to people everywhere who feel that commercial organizations should also be the driving force of change,” said Hans Hassle, Plantagon’s Co-founder and Secretary-General. “People are sick and tired of businesses being shortsighted and just-for-profit driven. We believe it’s time for this to change and the time for ‘business as usual’ is over. With potentially 100,000 allies all over the world supporting Plantagon, we will show that the power of the crowd gets the job done.” + Plantagon

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Plantagon’s crowdfunded plantscraper aims to produce 500 metric tons of food a year

Chinas new futuristic library is unlike any weve seen before

November 3, 2017 by  
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MVRDV just completed the Tianjin Binhai Public Library, a spectacular cultural center that’s unlike any library we’ve ever seen. Created in collaboration with local architects TUPDI, the 33,800-square-meter library features floor-to-ceiling bookcases that cascade in curves around a luminous spherical auditorium. The undulating bookshelves and layered ceiling gives the cavernous library a distinctive sci-fi feel accentuated by the giant illusion of an eye visible from the outside. Built in record-breaking time of just three years, the Tianjin Binhai Library was constructed as part of a cluster of five cultural buildings in the Binhai district all connected by a glass-roofed public corridor. The library design is centered on the massive ball-shaped auditorium behind the information desk. Bookshelves are arranged on either side of the auditorium and ripple outwards and double as seating and stairs. These undulating contours continue to the ceiling where they’re embedded with lighting to create “illuminated topography,” and are echoed on the glass facade as curved louvers . “The Tianjin Binhai Library interior is almost cave-like, a continuous bookshelf. Not being able to touch the building’s volume we ‘rolled’ the ball shaped auditorium demanded by the brief into the building and the building simply made space for it, as a ‘hug’ between media and knowledge” says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “We opened the building by creating a beautiful public space inside; a new urban living room is its centre. The bookshelves are great spaces to sit and at the same time allow for access to the upper floors. The angles and curves are meant to stimulate different uses of the space, such as reading, walking, meeting and discussing. Together they form the ‘eye’ of the building: to see and be seen.” Related: Energy-conscious library that doubles as a “living room” breaks ground in Shanghai The library’s first two floors comprise reading rooms, books, and lounge areas, while the upper floors house meeting rooms, offices, computer and audio rooms, and two rooftop patios . Although MVRDV designed for access to the upper bookshelves, the client decided to go against the original design due to the construction timeline. Instead, perforated aluminum plates printed to represent books were installed on the inaccessible upper shelves. Cleaning is down with ropes and movable scaffolding. While the upper reaches of the library are out of reach, visitors don’t seem to mind; the Tianjin Binhai Library has been a massive hit with the public who have been coming to visit in droves. + MVRDV All photos (c) Ossip van Duivenbode

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Chinas new futuristic library is unlike any weve seen before

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