These bioclimatic student dorms use low-cost, sustainable materials

March 1, 2021 by  
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In the tropical Vietnamese province of Dong Nai, Southeast Asian architecture firm  T3 Architects  has completed the Hippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitories, a cost-effective housing structure that uses locally sourced materials and  bioclimatic  design principles to stay naturally cool and comfortable year-round. A limited budget and a brief that specified low-impact construction led the architects to explore traditional construction methods such as using Vietnamese bulk rice husk with inspect-resistant diatomaceous earth for the roof insulation. The building is also equipped with composting toilets, low-flow plumbing fixtures and rooftop solar heaters to further minimize the project’s environmental footprint.  Catherine and Olivier, the founders of Hippo Farm, commissioned the Bioclimatic Dormitories as an expansion of their three-hectare permaculture farm in Binh Hoa, about an hour away from downtown  Ho Chi Minh City . The new construction was designed to follow the example of the existing architecture on site, which was constructed for low environmental impact and built with locally sourced natural materials. Hippo Farm’s existing buildings also feature solar panels, graywater recycling and passive solar design principles. As a result, the architects first conducted solar and wind studies to create a  site-specific  design that would not only take advantage of cooling cross breezes in the summer but also protect against water infiltration by rain during the monsoon season. As a first defense, the steel-framed building (a custom structure assembled near the site) is elevated above the flood zone using repurposed debris from demolished horse boxes. Large timber windows with woven bamboo shutters let in natural ventilation, while long roof overhangs provide shelter from intense sun and rain.  Related: A green roof naturally cools a bioclimatic mosque in Indonesia Melaleuca timber makes up the handrails and pergolas, while thermo-wood is used for the decking. The walls are built of local  bricks  covered with natural lime plaster mixed with locally sourced sand for a reddish tint. The landscaping comprises native, low-maintenance species. “This Building is the perfect “manifesto” of a project in line with Happy and Creative Frugality adapted for Tropical country (countryside),” the architects said.  + T3 Architects Images by Herve GOUBAND (Alisa Production)

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These bioclimatic student dorms use low-cost, sustainable materials

This home in Vietnam stays cool with a rooftop rainwater sprinkler

February 5, 2021 by  
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Located in Hai Duong, Vietnam, this solar-powered home designed by H&P Architects and completed in 2020 is made of steel, bamboo and locally sourced brick. The 75-square-meter model, known as HOUSE (Human’s Optional USE), is designed for use in vulnerable, low-income areas and regions prone to flooding. The HOUSE has a unique installation in the form of a rooftop rainwater sprinkler. These multifunctional structures can be grouped together to create different patterns of neighborhoods or even serve as education, healthcare or community spaces. According to the architects, the innovative sprinkler system is used to clean and cool the home’s roof during hot days. The water cools the roof as it evaporates, keeping the summer heat from absorbing into the roof. Otherwise, indoor temperatures would soar and lead to higher air conditioning and energy costs. This water comes from a rainwater harvesting system that reuses rain in order to save domestic water. Related: Porous brick walls keep this bold Vietnamese home naturally cool Structurally, the home has a lifted, reinforced steel frame with a pitched roof and 3-meter-long beamed tubes that fit together through joints. With this design, the home can easily accommodate more floors if necessary, and the lifted frame is suitable for flood-prone areas. The roof is made of pieces of thick bamboo beams positioned for optimal reinforcement. The HOUSE features simple, organic materials with corrugated iron and painted steel on the exterior and bricks and natural wood on the interior. On the top floor, a netted section provides a fun, recreational space for lounging. Multiple doors and windows open on each side to promote cross breezes and passive cooling, especially necessary in the hot, humid Vietnamese climate. In addition to the rainwater sprinkler system, the large roof also holds solar panels that produce twice as much energy needed to power electrical equipment within the household. Residual energy can be stored within the system or traded. + H&P Architects Images via H&P Architects

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This home in Vietnam stays cool with a rooftop rainwater sprinkler

A bamboo meditation center overlooks sunset views in Chiang Mai

January 14, 2021 by  
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Locally sourced bamboo and adobe bricks make up the new Meditation Cathedral & Sunset Sala, a cluster of organically shaped buildings on top of a hill in northern Chiang Mai. Commissioned by Khunying Noi, a member of the Thai royal family, the net-zero carbon project provides the client with a space to enjoy the sunset with loved ones as well as a meditation cathedral for the Buddhist community. Chiangmai Life Architects designed the mountain-inspired buildings with construction carried out by Chiangmai Life Construction craftspeople who mainly comprise locals as well as Thai Yai who fled the Burmese army’s minority prosecution campaigns. Completed in 2018 in the small town of Mae Rim, the Meditation Cathedral & Sunset Sala was initially planned as a simple ‘sala’ — a type of open pavilion in Thai architecture — for enjoying the sunset from a hilltop location. Because Khunying Noi is a practicing Buddhist and active member in the Buddhist community, she later asked the architects to add a dedicated meditation space along with a freestanding bathroom area. This area includes showers and toilets; the architects also inserted a smaller, mushroom-shaped structure to house the mechanical and electrical systems, including a water tank. Related: Giant bamboo arches shield Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute from the sun “The design of all buildings emulates the mountain range and the rolling hills,” said the architects, who constructed the project with adobe walls and bamboo roofs. “Thus, the buildings mold into the scenery as if they grew there themselves.” The Buddhist meditation space features lofty arched ceilings built of bundled bamboo to mimic the domes of Roman or Gothic cathedrals. The architects mainly used bamboo of the Thyrsostachus genus along with Dendrocalamus asper and Bambusa spp species. The bamboo stalks were selected by age and then preserved with a borax/boric acid solution. Once treated, the bamboo is left to dry and cure to ensure long-term durability as a construction material. + Chiangmai Life Architects Photography by Markus Roselieb via Chiangmai Life Architects

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A bamboo meditation center overlooks sunset views in Chiang Mai

Architects turn invasive plants and forestry waste into a sculpture

December 29, 2020 by  
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After Architecture co-founders Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann recently installed Homegrown, a large-scale installation built from invasive plant species and forestry waste . Presented at the South Garden of Tennessee’s Knoxville Museum of Art, the architectural sculpture was crafted in the likeness of a large outdoor room with four walls and openings that serve as doorways and windows. The components of the 10-foot-by-10-foot structure were built of biocomposite panels made from fibrous biomaterials uniquely shaped for varying thicknesses and porosity. Designed to promote an “alternative material ethic,” Homegrown shows how small-scale landscaping waste, forestry scraps that are too small or irregular for industry use and invasive plant species , such as kudzu and bamboo, can be repurposed in architectural applications. MacDonald and Schumann transformed these plant fibers into lightweight, wall-scale panels with bio-based adhesive and an innovative and reusable inflatable mold that the duo developed and dubbed “pillow forming.” Related: Dramatically twisted timber weaves together in the Steampunk pavilion “Pillow forming allows for the design and construction of an infinite number of forms through a malleable process — the injection and removal of air — which can be repeated again and again,” Schumann explained. The architects based the molded designs on computer models for the wall panels. “Traditional digital fabrication of molds often relies on subtractive processes like CNC milling and robotic foam cutting, with each mold producing only a single unique geometry. Our system preferences variable form over repetitious form.”  Homegrown’s combination of high-tech modeling systems and primitive materials results in a one-of-a-kind sculpture with open-ended customization. The panels are covered with pine needles and set on a foundation of dimensional lumber in reference to traditional American framing. The installation and research were funded by the 2019–2020 Tennessee Architecture Fellowship at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Homegrown was temporarily put on view through November 29, 2020. + After Architecture Images via After Architecture

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Architects turn invasive plants and forestry waste into a sculpture

Bamboo Compression Socks offer support via natural and recycled materials

December 22, 2020 by  
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Life is busy. Sometimes, it is so busy that it becomes difficult to take proper care of ourselves. One tool for handling long days on your feet or sitting at a computer is a trusty pair of compression socks. Now, Ostrichpillow offers the newly released Bamboo Compression Socks that are made to pamper and support your feet. Ostrichpillow has already made a name for itself as a self-care brand with carefully curated, high-quality products focused on improving sleep and offering pain relief. The latest addition to the product lineup, these compression socks aim to prevent problems like blood clots in the legs by improving circulation, even when you’re not moving. Related: These bamboo socks by Flyte are anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic Pablo Carrascal, CEO of Ostrichpillow said, “We noticed how today’s sedentary lifestyle lacks movement, especially for the legs. The recommendation is to walk about 10,000 steps a day, however, in the US that average is lower than 5,000. We spend so much time still: commuting, in front of the computer, the TV, the tablet… This negatively affects blood circulation, increasing foot and leg swelling, fatigue, and the pooling of blood. In the long term that can be a problem. We thought then of a product which could help to supply that lack of movement effortlessly.” The socks incorporate recycled and natural materials into an eco-fiber blend made up of 50% bamboo, 25% recycled polyester, 10% recycled nylon and 15% spandex. The product earned Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification, which means it is free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be damaging to human health . The Ostrichpillow Bamboo Compression Socks are available in two sizes: S-M (shoe size 5-9) and L/XL (shoe size 9-14). They retail for $29.99 with two color options. Well, actually there are two color combination options, because each pair is intentionally mismatched. You can select from pairs of yellow and blue or red and olive green. Bamboo Compression Socks review The company provided a sample pair of compression socks for me to try at home. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I assumed they would be like other compression socks I’ve worn in the past. They’re not — in all the best ways. These socks feel amazing, like a giant hug of support up and down the leg. I’m fairly tactile-sensitive, so I was happy to find that the fabric felt good against my skin. While I wouldn’t describe it as soft, it certainly was less plastic-like than other compression socks I’ve put on. This is also true when crossing my ankles or otherwise rubbing the socks together. There was nothing abrasive in the contact. As for fit, the socks are much longer than I anticipated. For me (5’6” on a good day), they land a few inches above the knee. I thought that would be annoying, but the additional support throughout the knee region is welcome in alleviating the discomfort from joint issues. I appreciate that the fabric doesn’t bunch up behind the knee or crease when I bend the knee. The pressure is snug but not restrictive. This allows for easy movement without any sort of pinching. Although I didn’t hit the trails in them, I didn’t experience any slipping and never had to pull them up after putting them on for the day. I wore the socks on a fairly cold day, with outdoor temps around 36°F. They feel thick, although they are actually quite thin. I would say these bamboo compression socks are thicker than dress socks but not nearly as thick as winter wool socks. They are equivalent to or even a bit thinner than typical athletic socks. This makes them easy to wear with a variety of shoe options. Due to this thickness and coverage, I thought they would be hot. However, there is a noticeable breathable quality in the fabric, especially where the stripes are located. The construction of the socks felt durable, with a cushioned sole and reinforced heel. The toe seam is often an issue for me if it rubs, pinches or sits off-kilter. This toe bed seems very roomy, perhaps in contrast to the snug fit of the rest of the sock. This allows for plenty of wiggle room for the toes. It will be fun to see if the company offers more color options for the stripes in the future. During my conversations with the company, Carrascal had remarked, “somehow they might remind [of] the kinesiological tapes.” That resonated with me, because they really do! Personally, I think the mismatched colors add character without being overly whimsical. However, the two-tone look might not appeal to some. Because I spend much of my day sitting in front of a computer, I expect to get a lot of use out of these bamboo compression socks. They would also be great for air travel and use in jobs that require long hours on your feet. I can’t personally imagine wearing these during exercise , although I can see how they could offer support and a layer of warmth during a morning fall run. Even if you do break them in with a good sweat, bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, which should keep away foot odor. If you decide to gift the Bamboo Compression Socks to the desk jockey, road warrior or respected elder, know the company responsibly packages shipments with recyclable paper . + Ostrichpillow Images via Ostrichpillow and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Ostrichpillow. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own .

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Bamboo Compression Socks offer support via natural and recycled materials

Giant bamboo arches shield Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute from the sun

December 9, 2020 by  
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Along the Atlantic coast of Ghana’s Central Region in Apam, Vienna-based, trans-disciplinary lab [applied] Foreign Affairs has designed and erected a giant bamboo dome for the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute, an open institution for artists and cultural practitioners from Africa and Europe. The large-scale project, which was built together with local experts and locals, serves as a multipurpose stage. The experimental structure was constructed with ‘Bambusa vulgaris,’ one of the few species of bamboo available in Ghana that can be used for construction. Designed to serve as a beacon of bamboo architecture in Ghana , the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute stage features a grid shell built primarily of bamboo. “Constructing with bamboo is also meant to foster the reputation of sustainable architecture in Ghana,” the architects explained. The project’s bamboo consultant, Jörg Stamm, adds that the aim of the project is “to put Ghana on the world map of bamboo.” Related: Student designs inflatable bamboo greenhouses for sustainable farming To that end, bamboo was used for both the main structural elements and the joinery. Thousands of bamboo nails were produced — instead of metal elements that can corrode in salty conditions — and used to join together bamboo arches, the culms of which were treated with borax. Once the main structure was erected, the designers covered it with a durable “skin” resistant to strong wind forces that also protects the structure from tropical rains and the intense sunlight. Set close to the water, the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute stage takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes. The bamboo roof connects a rammed earth stage on the south side with a concrete plinth to the north. The site also includes a wooden deck, a café, a lounge and entrances to the beach. The open nature of the stage allows for a variety of seating configurations.  + [applied] Foreign Affairs Photography by Julien Lanoo

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Giant bamboo arches shield Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute from the sun

Inspiring mud-and-bamboo Anandaloy Building uplifts a Bangladeshi community

November 26, 2020 by  
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German architecture practice Studio Anna Heringer has received the international architecture prize OBEL AWARD 2020 for its work on the Anandaloy Building, an unconventional project combining sustainable construction and social development to catalyze local development in rural Bangladesh. Created to follow the practice’s motto that “architecture is a tool to improve lives,” the curved building was built by local villagers using locally sourced mud and bamboo and serves as both a community center for people with disabilities and a small workspace for producing fair textiles. The project’s name Anandaloy means ‘The Place of Deep Joy’ in the local Bengali dialect. Located in the northern Bangladeshi village of Rudrapur, the multifunctional community center was designed to celebrate diversity and inclusion — concepts that are particularly important for those with disabilities in Bangladesh, where having a disability is sometimes regarded as karmic punishment. The building also helps empower local women and counteract urban-rural migration with the clothes-making project Dipdii Textiles located on the first floor. The project supports local textile traditions with work opportunities. Related: Architects recycle shipping containers into a breezy Dhaka home “What I want to transmit with this building is that there is a lot of beauty in not following the typical standard pattern,” Anna Heringer said. “Anandaloy does not follow a simple rectangular layout. Rather, the building is dancing, and dancing with it is the ramp that follows it around. That ramp is essential, because it is the symbol of inclusion. It is the only ramp in the area, and as the most predominant thing about the building, it triggers a lot of questions. In that way, the architecture itself raises awareness of the importance of including everyone. Diversity is something beautiful and something to celebrate.” Local villagers of all ages and genders, including people with disabilities, built Anandaloy with a no-formwork mud construction technique called cob. Bamboo purchased from local farmers was also used for the structural components and the facade, which features a Vienna weaving pattern that the workers selected. The building completely runs on solar energy.  + Studio Anna Heringer Photography by Kurt Hoerbst via Studio Anna Heringer

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Inspiring mud-and-bamboo Anandaloy Building uplifts a Bangladeshi community

YY Nation shoes are made from bamboo, algae, pineapple and sugarcane

November 9, 2020 by  
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Tens of thousands of years ago, early hunter-gatherers braved frozen landscapes to go in search of food. And on their feet, they weren’t wearing nylon, plastic or synthetic materials. They were wearing natural materials. YY Nation does the exact same thing with its incredible new footwear collection. These shoes are made with pineapple husk , bamboo, sugarcane, algae and Merino wool. Why would you need nylon and plastic when there are durable, natural materials like that available? YY Nation says you don’t. Imagine a beautiful beach in Hawaii. A man is walking along the sand with his daughter. They can hear birds singing. They can see the breathtaking ocean lapping against the shore. Then they look down … and see plastic waste and old shoes. This is what happened to Jeremy Bank. After that experience, he created YY Nation. Related: Native Shoes’ Bloom collection is made of repurposed algae Shoes can be stylish, comfortable and still good for the environment; YY Nation is the proof. After launching on Kickstarter, YY Nation began to receive orders worldwide. That makes sense, because YY Nation footwear was created to improve the whole world — in style, of course. These shoes look trendy and fashionable. They are available in a variety of colors, but best of all, they are made with Earth-friendly materials that won’t leave a bunch of waste behind on the beach or anywhere else. The collection includes four styles: loafers, two types of sneakers and high-tops. Not only do these shoes look great, but they’re also odor-resistant, durable and temperature-regulating, so your feet stay comfortable. YY Nation’s goal is to be the most sustainable shoe in the world. These shoes are made with ocean plastics, recycled rubber, sustainably sourced bamboo , algae bloom and other natural materials. They are held together with an eco-friendly, water-based glue. Even the shoeboxes are made with recycled materials, and the shoe laces are made from recycled ocean plastic. This is how the world becomes better: one step at a time. + YY Nation Images via YY Nation

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YY Nation shoes are made from bamboo, algae, pineapple and sugarcane

A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

September 11, 2020 by  
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Located in Shenzhen, China, the If Factory utilizes a sustainable design that transforms an old and disused factory into a creative mix of office spaces. While the heart of the building contains a public stairway with an inclusive view of the inside, the landscaped bamboo roof terrace is an even more impressive token of the project’s combination of sustainability and community. Rather than demolish the original factory before rebuilding the office space, a project that would require extensive resources and environmental strain, the architects at MVRDV set out to renovate instead. The result is a celebration of old and new, with a simple focus on cleaning out the original building while reinventing the older components of the structure. Related: An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces For example, the architects chose to use new, transparent painting techniques to prevent the older spaces from further aging. This results in the important preservation of the original building’s history and exposed concrete frame while maintaining more modern principles of sustainability and the circular economy. New walls and balconies are made of glass. In an effort to promote exchanges between colleagues, the exterior walls are set back from the building’s frame to allow for circulation. The grand staircase is made of wood to separate the design from the surrounding concrete and glass, and it weaves its way artistically between each floor. MVRDV included windows built into the staircase so that workers can peek into other offices as a commitment to transparency and collaboration. The public roof terrace, known as “The Green House,” includes a green bamboo landscape that is arranged to form a natural maze. This unique design intentionally divides the rooftop into different sections that all contain different programming, including a dance room, a dining area and space for reading, aimed at relaxation and community. + MVRDV Via ArchDaily Images via MVRDV

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

Student designs inflatable bamboo greenhouses for sustainable farming

September 1, 2020 by  
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University of Westminster Master of Architecture (MArch) (RIBA Pt II) student Eliza Hague has proposed an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic-covered greenhouses commonly found in India. In place of the polythene sheeting that is typically used to cover greenhouses , Hague has created a design concept that uses shellac-coated bamboo. If applied, the weather-resistant and durable bamboo-shellac material would give the greenhouses a beautiful, origami-like effect and cut down on the excessive plastic waste generated by polythene sheeting. Created as part of her school’s Architectural Productions module that emphasizes biomimicry in designs, Hague’s shellac-coated bamboo greenhouse proposal follows her studio’s focus on challenging unsustainable architectural structures with nature-inspired alternatives. Polythene sheeting is currently the most popular greenhouse covering material in India. However, it needs replaced every year, which leads to excessive plastic waste. Related: 3-hectare desert farm in Jordan can grow 286,600 pounds of veggies each year Hague minimizes the environmental footprint of her design proposal by using locally sourced bamboo and natural resins extracted from trees. The paper-like bamboo covering is coated with shellac resin for weather-resistance. Hague also took inspiration from the Mimosa Pudica plant in redesigning the greenhouse structure, which would be built with collapsible beams and “inflatable origami hinges” so that the building could be flat-packed and easily transported. Once on site, the greenhouse would be inflated with air, covered with the bamboo-shellac material and fitted with expandable black solar balloons that would sit between the infill beams and cladding for the hinges to promote natural ventilation.  “The tutors in Design Studio 10 encourage you to analyse what it means to be truly sustainable in architecture, rather than integrating sustainability as a generic requirement which is often seen throughout the industry,” Hague said to the University of Westminster. “This helped to develop my project into something that challenges the suitability of widely used materials and current lifestyles.” + University of Westminster Images via University of Westminster

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