Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor

August 25, 2021 by  
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In a city otherwise characterized by dense populations, high altitudes and metropolitan buildings, Chiapas 168 Building represents a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle. Located in the Roma district of Mexico City,  Mexico’s  largest and most populous city, this home has an exceptionally tropical feel to it thanks to bamboo wood materials and a grouping of terrace gardens on each level. The Mexico City oasis comes from the minds at Vertebral, a local architecture and  landscaping  studio that highlights designs to bring forested ambiance into the city. Rather than concentrating on the buildings themselves with landscaping as an afterthought, the company says they design gardens and build around them. Related: Aztec-inspired eco home sits lightly on the land in Mexico Chiapas 168 is made up of four residential apartments positioned adjacent to an ancient jacaranda tree, a subtropical plant native to south-central South America and brought to Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. The building features steel planters that run along the balconies, disappearing between purple and jasmine flowers. The architects considered native organisms while designing the layout of the roof and terrace gardens to increase  biodiversity  within the city environment. The exterior of the building uses unpolished concrete and dark stained wood that is translated into the interior, invoking the design’s overall theme of integrating nature into the urban landscape. A core system of vertical circulations helps divide the apartment building’s communal areas from the private residences, connected by a stairwell made of bright pine wood. Unlike other apartment buildings where the stairwells are associated with dark, musty environments, the stairwell here is bathed in bright  natural light . A curtain of  bamboo  to the south protects the back garden from view while also filtering light and wind. Inside, wooden floor-to-ceiling shelving and paneled walls help create privacy without jeopardizing the apartment’s open planned layout in the communal area, complete with a kitchen, dining room and living room.   + Vertebral Via ArchDaily Images courtesy of Onnis Luke

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A green roof makes Lazy House a sustainable beauty

August 9, 2021 by  
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Lazy House’s design emphasizes the relationship between house, garden and city. Each element flows together in this beautiful, harmonious home. Part of a new urban area in the Czech Republic , Lazy House is located above the Zlín valley on a slope that connects to the Lazy residential district. With its lower floor base sunk into the slope, the house has a square floor plan with a rotated layout. The house sits facing the north and the valley below to create gorgeous views. Related: 4 green-roofed volumes combine to form one eco-friendly home The floor plan is divided into two separate guest sections with separate access. There’s also room for a wine cellar and a swimming pool with a grotto. A “social zone” area houses the dining room, living room and kitchen. This is in the central part of the home. The master suite area has a walk-in closet and a “secret” bathroom door. Meanwhile, the two smaller bedrooms share a bathroom. The western part of the house has a guest apartment with a separate entrance, terrace and garden. The unique layout helps eliminate the need for hallways and corridors so that the space is used for living and not for connecting areas. Lazy House is constructed out of reinforced concrete with high-performance thermal insulation . Adapted from the original brick design, the wine cellar features interior steel waxed shelves and a roof covered with Irish moss. The green roof over the main portion of the home creates the look of an infinity meadow that blends into the landscape. The house showcases an open concept that creates stunning panoramic views of the surrounding city. Vegetation around the house creates privacy without destroying this beautiful view. Tall grasses and bamboo plants form a green “fence” of sorts around the property. The design aims to be seamless, streamlined and flowing, like nature itself. Even the garden is made to look like a smooth, natural green carpet. + Petr Janda Photography by BoysPlayNice

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A green roof makes Lazy House a sustainable beauty

Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration

July 21, 2021 by  
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The best architecture tells a story. It honors tradition and culture. It speaks to history. Although it doesn’t require onlookers to understand the heritage behind the design, it does require the architect to have a deep understanding of the traditional elements that define the style. Such is the case with Cloudy Courtyard, a residence and hotel in Shiguan Xiang, Anqing Yuexi, Anhui. Architectural firm One Take Architects recently completed the project, which began with an idea and developed through the study and replication of “traditional houses in west Anhui.” The result is a series of spaces that are intertwined and connected by courtyards . Inside and out, these spaces connect to nature, not only with the use of varying colors and textures but with focused and generalized views of the surrounding area. Cloudy Courtyard is located at the meeting point between Anhui, Jiangxi and Hubei at the end of a rural road in a town called Yuexi, a place well-acclaimed for its architectural richness. Related: Solar Trees Marketplace honors nature, technology and Chinese culture “Yuexi has been on the main road of Hakka immigrants since ancient times. In the early Ming Dynasty, a large number of immigrants from the Poyang Lake Basin in northern Jiangxi moved from Waxieba to Anqing Mansion and elsewhere. And immigration factors made Anqing a subculture area of Jiangxi culture,” the architects explained of the significance and design influence of the location. The rural setting has a backdrop of mountains that further inspired the free-flowing but organized design elements, with an emphasis of framing the vast, countryside and mountainous views from inside the house and in the tranquil inner courtyard. The property sits at a high elevation, contributing to the use of natural ventilation as a result of carefully planned patios and shade-providing plants . The blueprint of the project consists of multiple residences with continuous patios and courtyards. The stepped gable roofline borrows elements from the Ma Tau Wall in Huizhou architecture. Using natural materials from the land around them, the owner and designers sourced pebbles from the mountain stream for use at the base of the wall. They also contracted the cutting down of bamboo from the mountain forest nearby to build the fence. Throughout the project, the architects relied on stone, sand, steel, cement and gravel to replicate the contrasting drama and peace of nature with the goal to make “the architecture symbiotic with the land instead of just building on the land.” + One Take Architects Photography by Wang Shilu (Ranshi Studio) and Nan Xueqian via One Take Architects

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Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration

New green school in Kibera slum replaces original started by concerned Kenyan mothers

September 28, 2017 by  
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A group of concerned mothers started the Anwa primary school in Kibera, Kenya , where extremely disadvantaged children previously lacked access to education. Over time, the school has grown in attendance and needed a new facility that would replace the original 2-story ramshackle building. Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) designed the new main building in close collaboration with the school community as a model for sustainable, context-based design. The architects used sustainably-sourced and certified timber framing, wattle and daub mud-walls on the ground floor and mabati (steel) sheeting on the first floor. This references traditional Kibera construction techniques while reflecting a connection with the local identity. Related: Mobile school “walking classrooms” are helping change lives in Kenya KDI carpentry trainees built the doors and windows using bamboo and timber. All materials used were locally-sourced, while the techniques and building methods were transferable to the local community. The next phase in the project will focus on creating a suitable access to the upper storey and a sustainable landscape for the school grounds. The design firm issued a statement: “At KDI, we co-design and build what we call Productive Public Spaces (PPS) – formerly underutilized, unsafe or polluted sites that are transformed into active, attractive community hubs.” + Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI)

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New green school in Kibera slum replaces original started by concerned Kenyan mothers

Elegant bamboo bridge adds unexpected beauty to ancient Chinese town

April 21, 2017 by  
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Most bridges are boring pieces of infrastructure, but Chinese design firm Mimesis Architecture Studio breaks the mold with a hybrid bamboo bridge that adds sculptural beauty to China’s Jiangsu Province. Spanning Lake Taihu in Dingshu Town, the 100-meter-long Wuxi Harbor Bridge is a visual delight with its latticed bamboo structures that frame the road and reference the region’s ancient cultural heritage. Primarily known as the “China Clay Capital” for the rare purple clay found in the nearby mountains, Dingshu Town is also well known for its bamboo craftsmanship. The architects celebrate the bamboo craft with the design of the bridge, which was constructed with help from the local bamboo craftspeople. Built with a curved steel structure, the bridge is framed by large triangular frames made of latticed bamboo poles that were carbonized to improve durability. Related: Amazing transparent bridge seems to disappear into thin air in China’s “Avatar” mountains The geometric bamboo “nets” are lightweight and can be removed and easily replaced if damaged. The bamboo was also used as formwork for concrete , imparting a distinct texture to the deck handrails. “Based on the existing bridge structure, the deck and fence parts are designed,” wrote the architects. “The intertwining images of mountain, river, fog and wind fabricating the site are projected onto the form of the bridge.” + Mimesis Architecture Studio Via Dezeen Images by Jian Jiao, Xing Zheng, Shiliang Hu

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

March 20, 2017 by  
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The far reaches of northern Vietnam are beautiful but heartbreakingly poor. Children of the Hmong ethnic minority who live in the villages routinely suffer from lack of access to healthcare and education. Vietnamese architecture firm 1+1> 2 has provided a ray of hope for those in Lung Luong village in the remote Thai Nguyen Province with the construction of a beautiful new school made from local materials including rammed earth and bamboo. The school’s beautiful swooping and colorful form is an inspiration to the village and serves as a welcoming haven protected from the harsh elements. The Lung Luong elementary school is sited on a mountain peak and constructed to replace a poorly insulated structure that was piercingly cold in days of heavy rain and draught. Under the leadership of architect Hoang Thuc Hao, the villagers excavated part of the peak to create an even foundation. The excavated soil was recycled into rammed earth bricks used to build the school’s structure. The soil bricks’ thermal properties help maintain a temperate indoor climate year round. Locally sourced timber and bamboo were also used in construction and existing trees were protected during the building process. The elementary school is spread out across the mountaintop, covering an area of over 1,400 square meters. The orientation and placement of the buildings and the swooping colorful bamboo canopy above optimize natural lighting, ventilation, and sound insulation. The school comprises classrooms, playgrounds, gardens, multipurpose rooms, a medical room, library, kitchen, toilets, and dormitory. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier “The goal of this project is to create a school with conveniences striving against the harsh nature,” write the architects. “The classrooms are compatible with the mountain, spaces between them are slots which makes everything appears like an architectural picture pasted on the terrain. The corridor connects all functional areas. The foundation of the buildings respects the natural terrain which means that they wind up and down as the mountain path.” + 1+1> 2 Via ArchDaily Images © Son Vu

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

Giant glowing bamboo orbs create a magical hideaway in Taiwan

February 9, 2017 by  
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Bamboo weaving is an ancient and endangered craft but a visionary Taiwanese artist has revived the art with a modern, community-oriented project. Cheng-Tsung Feng , a designer who specializes in bamboo craft design and art, completed Beside, a public art installation featuring two giant and globular installations made from Taiwanese Moso bamboo. These sculptural pieces, installed in Taiwan’s Teng Yu-Hsien Music Culture Park in Qionglin Township, were created with the help of 60 local residents and are lit at night to glow like beautiful paper lanterns. The Beside public art installation comprises two bamboo spheres, the larger of which measures approximately 12.25 square meters in area and 4.3 meters in height, while the smaller measures one square meter and 1.35 meters in height. The sculptures are large enough for adults and children to enter and provide a beautiful space for relaxation day and night. Each steel-framed bamboo sphere was made using circle weaving and random weaving techniques. The porous, lace-like pattern with differently shaped and sized holes allows for views and airflow. Related: Artist Weaves Together Massive Basket-like Bamboo Tunnel for Australian Music Festival Feng designed and constructed the sculptures with help from the community . “If they can participate together, then there will be more feelings attached,” said Feng. The sixty locals who participated in the project had no prior experience with bamboo weaving, however, they were taught easy and simple “random weaving” techniques in as little as a couple hours. “This project enables an opportunity for the residents to be in contact with the endangered traditional weaving culture, which is fading away from our daily life,” wrote the artist. “By means of the co-production with the residents, the traditional craft art is no longer a professional skill, but an approachable wisdom for ordinary people.” + Cheng-Tsung Feng Images by LIN, CI-XIA

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Sleep in sustainable luxury inside this eco-friendly jungle treehouse

January 25, 2017 by  
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Travelers looking to indulge in a different perspective of the beautiful Yucatán coastline will do well by ascending the eco-friendly Treehouse at Papaya Playa Project . As the newest addition to the luxury resort’s 85 casitas and cabañas, this hotel room nestled in the heart of the jungle offers luxury with an environmentally friendly twist. Elevated on stilts to minimize site impact , the Treehouse was built of locally sourced materials and recycled wood using age-old Maya construction techniques. The Papaya Playa Project is a resort that stretches across 900 meters on the Caribbean coast in the Mexican town of Tulum, around 130 kilometers south of Cancún. Like all of the resort offerings, the recently unveiled Treehouse is ecologically built with local materials such as thatched palapa roofing, wood-and-plaster composite walls, and bamboo window coverings. Unlike most of the cabañas, however, the Treehouse is removed from the coastline and instead offers a retreat deep in the verdant jungle though views of the azure Caribbean Ocean can still be enjoyed from its panoramic windows. Related: Eco-friendly resort in Australia mimics the surrounding sand dunes “Sustainability means life for future generations and integrity for the current one,” says Emilio Heredia, owner of the Papaya Playa Project. “Elevating the structure encourages the growth of jungle plants around the treehouse and ensures the building does not interfere with nature. We wanted to show the utmost respect to all the wildlife living in the jungle when building the treehouse.” Experiencing sustainable luxury in the 35-square-meter treehouse won’t come cheap however—one night at the Treehouse can set you back $1,400 for two. + Papaya Playa Project

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Plant-covered bamboo structure in Vietnam offers low-cost sanitation and food

November 25, 2016 by  
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The project is based on the same principle as the firm’s previous project in Son Lap, aiming to provide a low-cost sanitation solution that can be easily and quickly constructed and transported across the country. Toigetation 2 lightly touches the ground with a layer of vegetation on its four sides. This layer of foliage helps regulate indoor temperatures and functions as a food source. Related: Vo Trong Nghia Unveils Lovely Low-Cost Housing Made from Locally Sourced Palm Trees Local craftsmen used locally-sourced materials to construct the building. Solar panels provide energy for the lighting, while rainwater and waste water are used for cleaning and irrigating the adjacent garden. Efficient, low-cost construction methods and the use of local materials make this project replicable in areas experiencing a severe shortage of proper sanitation facilities , including schools in rural Vietnam . + H&P Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Nguyen Tien Thanh

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Extraordinary national park gateway in China opens to a sea of bamboo

October 24, 2016 by  
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The park gateway is located in Zhuhai National Park in Guizhou province, South-West China. Hidden among the Bamboo Sea, the gate plays with the elements to create an iconic park entrance. Its support system is made of concrete and bamboo hung from the glass roof that protects the bamboo from rain. Related: Studio Mumbai unveils handmade pavilion crafted from seven kilometers of bamboo In order to mitigate the effects of high humidity and temperature fluctuations on the material, the architects steam-treated the bamboo to take out its natural oil and prevent decay. The team has also built a water pond directly under the gate to facilitate the creation of fog which envelops the structure, giving it an otherworldly appearance. Via  Archdaily Photos by Jingsong Xie, Martina Muratori, Haobo Wei

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