Greenhouse produces food and energy for a circular economy

March 10, 2022 by  
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The Solar Greenhouse is a prototype of a space used to harvest food and energy. It allows self-sufficiency for individuals in both urban and rural regions. The project was designed and assembled by a team of students and researchers in the Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) masters program at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). The greenhouse is the product of studies investigating how to meet nutrition and energy needs more sustainably. The project incorporates solar energy harvesting, environmentally-friendly design and advanced cultivation technology as a solution for the European Union ‘s zero-emissions city model for 2050. Related: Natufia’s hydroponic garden embraces farm-to-table eating Specifically, the project is located near the IAAC’s Valldaura Labs Headquarters. The Valldaura campus is in the Collserola Park, on the outskirts of Barcelona . Because the site is rich in resources, the greenhouse is a “zero-kilometer” project. This means that the materials do not need to be brought to the site since water, building materials and growing substrate for the plants are sustainably acquired from the surroundings. For example, the pine timber for the structure is sourced from the park. The team processes the timber at Valldaura Labs and recycles the sawdust byproduct as a growing medium in the greenhouse’s plant beds. By maximizing materials and byproducts found in the vicinity, the system supports a circular economy. Furthermore, the space consists of two floors with distinct functions. The ground level is dedicated to seed germination, while the top level is for harvesting . The project features hydroponic systems, using nutrient-enriched water to grow plants without soil. Nutrients supplied to the planting beds come from an intricate pipe system. Alongside sunlight, which filters through the diamond-shaped roof, the team installed LED light strips to further augment plant growth. These lights are set at particular wavelengths, promoting high crop yields. The Solar Greenhouse’s simplicity allows for replication in both urban and rural communities . The model can easily be scaled for city rooftops, providing buildings with fresh food and renewable energy sources. This concept of self-cultivation tackles food and energy poverty, both presently and in the event of climate-induced crises. + Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) Photography by Adrià Goula

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Greenhouse produces food and energy for a circular economy

3D printing powers this plan for a carbon neutral cacao village

March 4, 2022 by  
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Valentino Gareri Atelier has designed a village made using 3D printing and cacao waste for Ecuadorian chocolate manufacturer MUZE Cacao and nonprofit Avanti. This is the first of a planned global network of sustainable smart villages — a carbon-neutral circular economy for the cacao industry. The Cacao Eco Village is slated to be built in 2022 in Pedernales, a county in the coastal province of Manabi, Ecuador, where cacao farmers live. “We have pushed the circular economy core principles so much that they informed the design philosophy of the entire project,” said designer Valentino Gareri. “The cacao waste, result of the chocolate production process, will be re-utilized for 3D printing parts of the village. Waste is not only turned into a resource, but into architecture.” The sustainable architecture behind Cacao Eco Village focuses on five core principles: modular , functional, sustainable, tech-enabled and connected. This is no minimalist village of huts in the rainforest. The Eco Village will be a smart city. The modular principle is explored through extendable, replicable and adaptable spaces. The village will house co-living and co-working spaces and operate as a cacao processing plant, chocolate factory and educational and research center. Designers also hope to turn the village into an eco-tourism destination. The Eco Village is also self-sufficient through rainwater collection, solar power and natural ventilation. It will also incorporate local building materials such as bamboo , timber and 3D-printed structures formed of cacao shell waste biofilaments. “In the not-too-distant future, we will be able to design buildings entirely made of natural materials and recycle them at the end of their life cycle in order either to create new ones, or to return them back to nature,” Gareri said. How smart is this smart city? Eco Village is going for cutting edge with the use of blockchain, IoT (internet of things) tech integration, and NFTs.Still, Eco Village aims to keep the style of the village and its culture true to historical community traditions. The buildings use local and natural materials, and facades draw inspiration from the multi-colored Ecuadorian houses and the colorful fruits of cacao trees . Water tanks for rain collection are integrated into the rooftops. The shape of the rooftops was inspired by Ecuadorian art patterns. The Eco Village will also feature pedestrian/cyclist pathways and charging stations for electric vehicles . Cars and trucks are only allowed around the factory and production areas, making this a walkable and clean community. Designers are using a circular economy model as a creative solution for reducing the environmental footprint of the cacao industry, while also generating income, reducing resource dependency and minimizing waste .MUZE Cacao aims to create new ethical cacao-based products using the most out of the fruit (~80% is currently wasted). This will reduce waste and offset carbon while creating jobs for cacao farmers. The Village also hopes to be the Silicon Valley of circular economy innovators and attract inventors and testing facilities for AgTech, FinTech and FoodTech startups, manufacturers and researchers. + Valentino Gareri Atelier Via Dezeen Images via Valentino Gareri Atelier

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3D printing powers this plan for a carbon neutral cacao village

These solar panels are harvesting the sun twice in Kenya

February 23, 2022 by  
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Solar panels could be used to improve crop production, according to new research. A collaboration between the University of Sheffield, World Agroforestry, and Latia Agripreneurship Instituten based in Kajiado, Kenya, has found potential in initial tests. The project showed increased agricultural production on land where solar panels were used to provide cover for the crops . While solar panels being used to generate electricity is not new to Kenya , the idea of using solar panels for agricultural production is. The agrivoltaics technique allows users to harvest solar energy twice. This energy is used by crops and for generating power to be used in homes. Related: Solar-powered catamaran aims to be the Model T of boats According to the researchers behind the study, cabbage planted under the panels grew a third bigger than those planted in controlled plots with the same amounts of fertilizer and water . Researchers also planted aubergine and lettuce, which also showed promising results. Judy Wairimu, an agronomist at the Latia Agripreneurship Instituten, says that the experiment’s findings are promising. “We wanted to see how crops would perform if grown under these panels,” said Wairimu. “Doubling up the output of the same patch of earth to generate power and cultivate food can go a long way towards helping people with limited land resources.” Dr. Richard Randle-Boggis of the University of Sheffield adds that this initial project can help guide the potential of agrivoltaics in East Africa. “We needed to build a test system to see if this technology will be suitable for the region,” Randle-Boggis said. The agrovoltaic solar panels are erected three meters from the ground, providing sufficient room for the farmer to work. Researchers say that the panels can be elevated for big farms where large machinery is needed. The system offers an alternative to regions where the adoption of greenhouses has been a challenge. Solar energy has potential that is yet to be fully utilized in Africa. While Randle-Boggis acknowledges that the system has its shortcomings, agrivoltaics could help “areas of Kenya which are not currently suitable for horticulture .” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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These solar panels are harvesting the sun twice in Kenya

Paperless Pavilion says goodbye to paper waste

February 16, 2022 by  
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The Consulate General of the Netherlands in Guangzhou approached Superimpose Architecture to design a small pavilion to display Dutch design strategies in China during the 2021 Guangzhou Design Week. Project collaborators include the Dutch Consulate, multimedia designer Shard Island and light innovator Signify. Dubbed Paperless Pavilion, the exhibit replaces the typical event pamphlets and informational posters with live presentations and online video presentations. This approach cuts down on paper waste and challenges how content is usually presented in expositions. The pavilion was designed by Carolyn Leung, Ben de Lange, Ruben Bergambagt and JunWei Loh. Mostly constructed with white painted plasterboard with a brushed metallic veneer layer, the pavilion’s curved walls reflect the LED lights. A special carpet was used to improve acoustics in the auditorium, which is surrounded by entrance atriums via a curved outer wall. Related: Artist Hugo McCloud spotlights waste with art made of plastic bags The Paperless Pavilion’s integrative design allows for both remote and live presentations. Superimpose Architecture wanted to rethink how live presentations are given, both physically in how people gather, and in how marketing materials and content are disseminated. Presenting content without paper materials is just one part of the equation. A QR code at the pavilion’s entrance provides information about the exhibition’s content and replaces the paper marketing materials many projects use. To attract visitors, the designers rigged the pavilion with 124 linear LED light fixtures arranged in 4 horizontal bands on the exterior of the semi-circular wall outside the auditorium portion of the pavilion . The colorful, horizontal bands are arranged in rows like tulip plantings to create an abstract depiction of Dutch flower fields. Shard Island developed an interactive script for the pavilion lights. When an event occurs in the pavilion, the script directly converts real-time presentations into abstract colors through the LED lights on the wall. When the exhibition ends, the LED lights will be disassembled for reuse . + Superimpose Architecture Images via DUO Architecture Photography and Junwei Loh

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Paperless Pavilion says goodbye to paper waste

A rustic retreat that’s hidden in a forest of Douglas firs

February 15, 2022 by  
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Mwworks created a warm and rustic, but modern home on Whidbey Island for a multigenerational family to enjoy. Whidbey Island Farm Retreat is a gorgeous getaway that carefully winds its way among Douglas firs the family wanted to protect. It also won the AIA National Honors and Awards 2020 Housing Award and the AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Awards 2019 Honor Award. The owners of Whidbey Island Farm Retreat are a senior couple who reside at the home full-time. According to the designers, the retreat was “built for summer barbecues, fishing retreats and family gatherings with their three adult children, multiple teenage grandchildren and guests, accommodating up to twenty people.” Related: Barn in Canada blends traditional and modern styles Furthermore, the home is intentionally placed between Douglas firs on a wooded hillside to protect the local trees and undergrowth as much as possible. It was also built to keep a low profile relative to the surrounding pastoral lands. Located near turn-of-the-century agricultural buildings, the house has views of chicken sheds, an old red barn , fields and a fishing pond. “The house was designed to be flexible and durable, and reflect the layered history both of the site and of the family itself,” said Steve Mongillo, principal and cofounder of mwworks. Additionally, the living pavilion is a favorite of the designers for its architectural details and the experience of connection between family, forest and the agricultural valley. “Time here is marked by forest shadows stretching across the courtyard to the north, and by cows moving across the pasture below,” said Mongillo. “The timeless beauty of the site is revered and reflected inside this room with local, durable materials and natural finishes.” Using a mix of traditional stem wall, pin piles and shallow in-wall beams to span over and dodge critical roots, the designers preserved the surrounding forest with a specially-engineered foundation for the stone walls. The trees that were felled to build the house are used as lumber for the farm, cattle fencing, seasonal firewood for the fireplace and the new fire pit by the meadow. Continuing throughout the design, the form of the house is broken down into discrete, small volumes that weave between an array of large fir trees. The home wraps around a courtyard of native ferns and shrubs , which was created with a low stacked wall of local basalt. In addition, several interior doors and wall art were carved from solid cedar slabs crafted decades ago by the family patriarch. As a result, the effect of the house is tranquility. Naturally-weathered woods combined with concrete and local stones create a sturdy outer shell accented by oak window jambs, soft plaster walls and black steel. Its a design that, while extremely modern , is intended to be low-maintenance, long-lasting and cost-effective for the owners. + mwworks Photography by Kevin Scott

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A rustic retreat that’s hidden in a forest of Douglas firs

Skyscraper in China offers luxurious city life with ocean views

February 7, 2022 by  
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Shenzhen, China is a growing entertainment and cultural center. To accommodate the growth, China Merchants and 10 Design have collaborated on a plan for a residential development that speaks to modern living near the water in a project called the Prince Bay Taiziwan residences.   Conveniently located near the business hub of the Nanshan District and access for travel to Shenzhen, Hong Kong International Airport and Macau, Prince Bay Taiziwan balances convenience with a calming presence along Shenzhen Bay. It’s city living, complete with vibrant cultural opportunities, museums and a nearby mall. Related: Shopping mall design creates a balance with light and dark Yet, the development offers a slower side of life in waterfront living with easy access to a marina and cruise terminal. Prince Bay Taiziwan is set to become Prince Bay’s tallest residential landmark when it’s completed in June 2023, standing at a towering 250 meters high.  Although priding themselves on luxurious design, the central component of the project is a connection with the outdoor environment . “The design of the luxury apartments begins as an experience of arrival and throughout the journey to home ,” said Design Partner Nick Cordingley. “A key driver is to enhance a close connection to the natural surroundings of air, light, ocean and mountains throughout the journey.”  After a stroll along the water, residents enter the building to be greeted by a four-story atrium garden. Additional outdoor balconies continue the theme of plants , bringing nature to everyday activities and extending indoor activities into outdoor living spaces. Views and lush greenery are the cornerstone of each unit. There are garden villas, horizon views and duplexes. Each offer their own interaction with the environment . “To further extend the experience of luxury living, we have given careful considerations to create premium and highly-personalized amenities as part of the overall design of views from the residences ,” Cordingley said.  Extra touches for the residents include The Horizon Club, situated on the 46th floor, offering 360 degree views, a gym , a reading bar, café, spas, relaxation rooms and more. There is also public spaces with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean , gathering spaces and additional gardens.  The project comes on the heels of another project completed by the 10 Design team — the 117,000 square meters Jinwan Mall nestled up to the edge of Jinsha Lake in Zhuhai, China. Other notable projects include the recently built Industrial Service Center and International Business Center. + 10 Design  Images via 10 Design 

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McDonough House is built to last 80 years

February 3, 2022 by  
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McDonough House at Loghaven Artist Residency in Knoxville, Tennessee is a cabin built of RHEINZINK-prePATINA gray zinc material. It’s meant to last more than 80 years on the 90 acres of woodlands overlooking the Tennessee River. RHEINZINK-prePATINA products are processed to achieve a natural, pre-weathered patina during production and will continue to patina over time as it is exposed to the elements of Tennessee’s woodlands. The McDonough House is an unobtrusive modern cabin with skylights on the paneled wood raised ceilings inside. The small building is nestled within a stand of oak and hemlock. The zinc roof was complemented by Sanders Pace Architecture’s design for the building of bluestone base, bronze railings, a wood rain screen siding system and mahogany window frames. From a distance, the cabin looks like any other in an artists’ colony. Up close, the attention to detail becomes apparent. Related: These sustainable cabins settle into gorgeous landscapes So apparent it earned awards, including an American Institute of Architects 2021 Architecture Award. The McDonough House is named in honor of late Aslan Foundation Board Member James McDonough, the foundation that established the Loghaven Artist Residency. The goal of the organization is to support arts and culture , animal welfare, land conservation and livability in the Knoxville area. However, original founder Myssie Thompson built Loghaven as a cabin rental community in the 1930s to support her two sons. The Foundation’s goals were to preserve the cabin’s original character and inspirational intent to support artists, protect the local ecosystem and create an artist residency to promote new work. “The McDonough House has a similar visual language to the nearby historic cabins, reinterpreted in a more modern way to create a restrained and harmonious contemporary addition to the campus ,” said Brandon Pace, Sanders Pace Architecture’s founding partner, FAIA, LEED AP. General contractor Johnson and Galyon Inc. worked with a team of specialists to build the new 4,528 square-foot structure. Above All Roofing Contractor installed the double-lock standing-seam roof. Inside, the fireplace is also made of bluestone. Beams, floors and the vaulted ceilings are made of white oak to create a comfortable and welcoming place for resident artists. The chimney is clad in the same zinc panels, as is the exterior trim, which has hidden LEDs installed above the exterior windows and sliding doors to highlight the beauty of the building. This zinc material doesn’t just last a long time, it is also 100% recyclable . This corrosion-resistant metal requires minimal maintenance to last up to 80 years and is the only material of its type currently approved for this use. “The McDonough House is a stunning example of quality design, materials and craftsmanship that will serve thousands of  artists  by inspiring new work and collaboration,” said Andrea Bailey, executive director of The Aslan Foundation. + Sanders Pace Architecture Images via Bruce Cole Photography

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McDonough House is built to last 80 years

Robots built this timber rehearsal studio for musicians

January 31, 2022 by  
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When you need housing in a technical world where sustainability is paramount, turn to technology. Automated Architecture (AUAR Ltd.) created the timber Dwelling Unit for Musicians with robotics, automation and sustainable materials. The building is 10 square meters, or about 107 square feet. It is built using AUAR’s modular timber building system, a design created by the firm. Automation and robotics were used to construct it all. Related: Architecture students design a LEED Platinum home with an ADU in Kansas The Dwelling Unit will serve as an office space and rehearsal studio . Timber building blocks were robotically prefabricated. The robots create and stack the timber blocks so they can be transported. Once on site, the blocks can be put together in any way to create custom designs . They can be taken down and reassembled as desired. To create this unique building, AUAR developed multiple potential designs. The clients picked the one they wanted and the features they needed out of all the options. Creating the blocks, which were made locally in regard to the building’s location, took about two weeks. All the construction materials used in this building were chosen for their sustainability and low carbon footprint . There is paper cellulose insulation, a rubber floor and a recyclable EPDM roof. The finished unit blends beautifully into the surrounding landscape . On the other hand, the enormous door offers an amazing view of the outside world from within. More natural light comes in through the skylight above the desk. Rather than transporting these modular dwellings across great distances, AUAR sources locally to reduce the carbon footprint and engage the community . “For AUAR, people are central to automation. This starts with design,” said CTO Gilles Retsin. “Our homes are not standard, one-size-fits-all spaces, but can be tailored and customized for every unique client, for each specific plot of land .” + Automated Architecture (AUAR Ltd.) Photography by naaro

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Robots built this timber rehearsal studio for musicians

Recycled shipping containers make up this off-grid retreat

January 31, 2022 by  
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When homeowner Rosie dreams, she dreams big. Yet her home is anything but. Totaling only 60 square meters, her off-grid home is made from shipping containers, creating an environment that transports her into nature. Dubbed Ahurewa, the home sits in a protected area of New Zealand’s Mahakirau Forest Estate. Rosie was able to buy a 23-acre parcel of land in the preserve following the sale of her home in Auckland. As such, Rosie is an appointed guardian of the land through an agreement with the QEII National Trust. Related: Dvele prefab, off-grid homes are dedicated to the environment Four shipping containers were fitted together to make up the main living spaces within the tiny home . It features a kitchen, a single bedroom and bathroom, sitting areas and a library with reading area.  Because Ahurewa is completely off-grid, each system was selected to provide comfort and efficiency. Solar power is produced by a row of panels on the roof. A fifth shipping container houses the inverter and battery storage, as well as functioning as a mudroom to transition between the outdoors and the main part of the house.  Two 25,000-liter water tanks sit outside the home. Water inside the home functions like any other house. The toilet flushes and is diverted into a black tank equipped with a worm-composting septic system. Greywater is similarly diverted and filtered. The home is tightly insulated with natural eco-insulation for energy-efficiency . A small wood-burning stove supplements heating needs. The wood stove also features a built-in oven in case the home runs out of gas for the primary oven in the kitchen.  The modular design of the tiny house allows for expansion at a later date if Rosie decides to add on or build up. Each cargo container is placed to provide views from every window. All of the units surround a central outdoor deck and large doors open up the indoor space to the outdoor area. Natural light streams into one side of the home in the morning and the other side in the afternoon and evening.  Throughout the space, natural materials like wood are used from floor to ceiling, all working in conjunction with the industrial theme throughout the interior design . + Living Big in a Tiny House  Images via Living Big in a Tiny House

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Recycled shipping containers make up this off-grid retreat

Scrap wood makes up this award-winning art installation

January 28, 2022 by  
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The “Fragrance with Lotus Flowers” installation by Nakamura Kazunobu Design-Works uses scrap wood to create an entrancing space for Japanese dance. The designers’ manipulation of space through light and form creates a misty atmosphere that complements the elegant performances. In 2021, the project earned recognition from Interior Design as a Best of Year (BoY) Honoree and won an Architecture MasterPrize (AMP) Best of Best award. The project draws on elements of traditional Japanese gardens . The sacred lotus flower is a key feature of the gardens. In the early morning, a light mist often envelopes the flowers. Viewed as sacred, the fog represents profundity. For the designers, the softening quality of the mist helps visualize the fragrance of the lotus flowers. They emulate this in the installation through transparency and opacity of light and shadow. Related: Smart flower LOTUS moves in response to light Sustainable scrap wood design The installation is composed of over 1,000 thin, vertical lines that form a cloud-like flurry. These strands, made of cypress timber, pay homage to Japanese Cypress trees, believed to be inhabited by the gods. The rods use repurposed wood scraps to avoid harming the lush Cypress forests. According to a press release, “this installation is a sustainable design that can be developed in a variety of ways to suit different spaces by changing the number of lines and the arrangement of the lines.” The timber lines are held together by intricate metal lattices, assembled with rods that are only one millimeter in diameter. These lightweight lattices are sturdy enough to suspend from the ceiling and form horizontal lines that bisect the vertical wooden strips. Japanese gardens are maintained by pruning leaves and branches to create gradations of sparseness and density that influence light-play and depth. Similarly, the designers used 3D modeling software to calculate the exact placement and light intensity for each rod. By manipulating the density of the wooden strips and their shifting positions in three dimensions, the designers played with transparency and depth, creating light and opacity gradations reminiscent of fog. Often, Japanese spatial design focuses on effects produced by formal elements. Through its meticulous design, the cloud-like exhibit evokes an enchanting mood and engulfs performers in a soft glow. + Nakamura Kazunobu Design-Works Images by Masaki Komatsu

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Scrap wood makes up this award-winning art installation

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