Contemporary Camp O communes with nature in the Catskills

April 1, 2020 by  
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Humble natural materials and modern sensibilities combine in Camp O, a light-filled house-studio nestled in the middle of the Catskills’ preserve. Designed by New York City-based designer  Maria Milans del Bosch  as a private getaway for herself and her husband, the holiday home pays homage to the local vernacular with a distinctly contemporary twist. The forested landscape also inspired the home, which is wrapped in a cedar rain screen treated with the Japanese charring technique “Shou Sugi Ban.” Carefully placed on an existing clearing to minimize site impact, the 2,190-square-foot Camp O takes cues from the local vernacular architecture for its palette of low-maintenance  natural materials , such as the concrete foundation, wood siding, plywood sheathing, wood stud walls, beams and joists, and metal double-pitched roof. Where the home differs from the neighboring barns and cabins is in how those materials are combined to create a sculptural geometric abode defined by natural light, clean lines and minimalism. The  charred cedar facade  that gives the home its contemporary appeal also protects the building from water, fire and insects and doesn’t require maintenance. Sustainability is further integrated into the design through the strategic orientation of the home for natural ventilation and optimal sun exposure to minimize energy consumption. Insulation was placed outside the building envelope to maximize interior comfort and to allow the interior elements to remain exposed. Bathed in natural light from multiple directions, the airy home appears to change throughout the day and seasons. Related: Beautiful solar-powered minimalist cabins are clad in locally sourced charred timber “At Camp O, the dialogue between the stereotomic and the tectonic together with its haptic qualities transcend the mere appearance of the technical in much the same way as its place-form withstands the passing of time rooting the building into the Nature that surrounds it,” explained the architect in a press release. “The building becomes a resonance box that intensifies the experience of the outdoors indoors : Its insertion into the site, its volumetry and its materiality express the site’s calling into matter.” + Maria Milans Studio Images © Montse Zamorano

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Contemporary Camp O communes with nature in the Catskills

UK university unveils efficient, BREEAM-certified learning center

March 12, 2020 by  
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Years ago, Durham University decided to implement a 10-year plan to improve on-campus facilities for its student body. Tasking British firm Faulkner Browns with the ambitious project, one of the first buildings to come to fruition is the Lower Mountjoy Teaching and Learning Centre. The massive, three-level student center was built to be incredibly energy-efficient , so much so that the innovative design has already been BREEAM-certified for its sustainability profile. The 3,000-square-foot building is clad in handmade gray brick that contrasts with the abundance of greenery that surrounds the site. The design’s most striking feature, however, is the 12 rooftop modules that are all topped with asymmetric pyramidal peaks. Each of these roofs is arranged around a small or large skylight, which brighten the interior spaces with natural light. Related: Ecosistema Urbano designs a digitally integrated eco-campus for the University of Malaga The interior spaces were strategically positioned to foster a strong sense of community. In the past, learning centers were often arranged into multiple private spaces for individual or small group study. While the Lower Mountjoy Teaching and Learning Centre certainly has ample space for quiet study, the main floors are filled according to a specific teaching and learning “space model”, which seeks to create an open and welcoming area for the entire student body, regardless of the students’ specific areas of study. Students and visitors enter through a massive central courtyard , which forms the social hub of the building. Further into the first floor, there are various seminar spaces and project rooms as well as two 250- and 500-seat lecture halls. There is also a spacious cafe for taking a break from the tough studying grind. Leading to the upper floors, a wide staircase adds a dramatic feel to the learning center. On the vaulted top floor, there is an expansive, flexible space that can be used for quiet, contemplative study or as a group lounge-like setting for collaborative learning projects. In addition to the ample natural light that filters through the many skylights, the building features full-height windows that provide views of the landscape. The learning center has a tight thermal envelope and was installed with several energy-efficient features, which has led to the project to earn a distinguished BREEAM Excellent certification. + Faulkner Browns Photography by Jack Hobhouse, David Cadzow and Kristen McCluskie via Faulkner Browns

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UK university unveils efficient, BREEAM-certified learning center

Costa Rican surf hotel gets stunning new athletic center

March 10, 2020 by  
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Costa Rica-based architectural firm Studio Saxe has just completed work on a beautiful, light-filled athletic center for a hotel located in the coastal town of Nosara. However, unlike most gymnasium designs, which are known more for functionality than aesthetic, this low-impact gym was carefully crafted to mimic a “small village amongst the trees” so that visitors would feel connected to the trees and wildlife that surround the site during their workout. Located on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, the Gilded Iguana hotel is known for its stunning beachfront location, and it offers a unique blend of wellness programs and active adventures. Specifically, the off-the-beaten-path hotel caters to flocks of amateur and professional surfers that come from around the world to enjoy the region’s beaches. The hotel reached out to local firm Studio Saxe to build an athletic center that offers guests a wider variety of activity options in addition to surfing. Related: Minimalist hotel gym made out of locally sourced stone features one of the largest glass panels in the world The athletic center is comprised of multiple cubed volumes with a lightweight steel frame, all connected via interior and exterior walkways. Using this system enabled the architects to slightly elevate the structures off the landscape. Within the framework, massive floor-to-ceiling glass panels were strategic in connecting the building to the ample vegetation that surrounds the center. Each rooftop juts out significantly from the core of the building to shade the interior spaces from Costa Rica’s intense sunlight and accompanying heat. The overhangs were also built with rainwater collection systems that reroute rainwater to be used for the building’s mechanical systems and landscaping irrigation. The resulting low-impact design allows visitors to feel a strong connection to nature, even while partaking in the various activities held inside. Guests to the hotel can enjoy taking a yoga, Jiu Jitsu or meditation class or rent surfboards and bikes onsite to make the most of the breathtaking coastal landscape. + Studio Saxe Photography by Andres Garcia Lachner via Studio Saxe

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Costa Rican surf hotel gets stunning new athletic center

Green design at Te Mirumiru center honors Maori history

March 10, 2020 by  
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Architecture encompasses a lot of things. It’s art. It’s function. It’s culture. The Te Mirumiru Early Childhood Education Centre is an example of all three, with the added achievement of a  low environmental impact .  The setting is Kawakawa, New Zealand , and the client is a Maori tribe looking for a school that represents the history of the land and its people. In coordination with Collingridge and Smith Architects (CASA), the project adopted many symbols from the beliefs of the Maori people. The basis for the structure centers on the Maori belief that all life is born from the womb of Papat??nuku (earth mother), under the sea. The Maori word for land (whenua) also means placenta. With this in mind, the land for the build site is shaped like a womb with the building representing a baby within. Even the single entrance into the building is a testament to the history of the iwi (tribe). The slit-like opening pays homage to the first woman ever said to have survived a cesarean birth — a mother from the Maori people over 600 years ago. Related: Green school in Bali students how to live sustainably With such a strong connection to the land, it was important to the Maori to respect nature with low-impact systems.  Passive environmental design features include a thick roof that retains heat and a solar hot water underfloor system. The construction embraces natural ventilation for cooling and is positioned to take advantage of the sun for heat and light. During the day, no additional electrical lighting is used in the space. Aesthetically, a grass roof and adjacent bank blend into the surrounding swampy ecology. For a complete water cycle, all blackwater is treated on-site and the clean nutrient-rich water is used to irrigate the green roof above. The thought and effort put into the design have been rewarded with a six Greenstar Education Rating (the highest rating possible) from the New Zealand  Green Building Council. Te Mirumiru is one of only three buildings in New Zealand to receive this rating and is the only Greenstar rated early childhood center in Australasia. According to a statement from the architects , “Te Mirumiru early childhood centre has received 11 international and national awards, culminating in 2014 with the World Green Building Council’s Leadership in Sustainable Design Award, the only building in the whole of the Asia Pacific region to receive such a title.” + Collingridge and Smith Architects (UK) Ltd   Images via Collingridge and Smith Architects (UK) Ltd  

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3D-printed home inspired by a wasp’s nest is made of local clay

March 10, 2020 by  
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There’s very little doubt that 3D-printing could be huge in the future of design, and architects from around the world are taking advantage of the practice to create new visions for urban living. Italian firm Mario Cucinella Architects has designed an innovative, 3D-printed home inspired by potter wasps’ nests. Currently being built in Bologna, Italy, the TECLA house is an experimental 3D-printed prototype that was crafted out of locally sourced clay and may provide an option for sustainable urban housing. According to the architects, the TECLA housing system addresses the need to create sustainable housing for the rapidly growing world population. With approximately 80 million people being added to the world’s population every year, cities are struggling to find adequate housing solutions that are both affordable and sustainable. Related: 3D-printed Aquaponic Homes grow their own veggies and fish Looking for ideas that could curb a massive housing crisis, architect Mario Cucinella has collaborated with WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) to create TECLA, a 3D-printed home that was printed using locally sourced clay — a product that is both biodegradable and recyclable. The natural material is also affordable and enables a zero-waste construction process. Inspired by the shape of a potter wasp’s nest, the TECLA is conceived as a basic cell with a shape and size that can vary depending on its surroundings. The dome-like structure can accommodate any number of living arrangements, but the prototype features an open living space with an adjacent dome housing a separate bedroom. Large skylights in the rooftop would let natural light illuminate the living spaces down below. In addition to acting as a potential housing unit that can be built with nearly zero emissions, the TECLA could serve as a prototype for a new type of sustainable community development, where autonomous eco-cities would run completely off the grid. Producing their own energy through clean energy sources, like solar and wind power , the clay homes would also be laid out around organic community gardens to create a fully self-sustaining housing development. + Mario Cucinella Architects Via TreeHugger Images via Mario Cucinella Architects

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3D-printed home inspired by a wasp’s nest is made of local clay

Solar-powered home embraces tree canopy views in all directions

March 4, 2020 by  
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In the coastal township of Barwon Heads, Australian architecture firm Peter Winkler Architects has completed the Green Velvet House, a family’s solar-powered home that sensitively responds to the landscape in more ways than one. Positioned for passive solar design and to maximize views over the surrounding tree canopy, the sustainable dwelling was engineered to minimize impact on the existing terrain. In addition to walls of glass that let in natural light and ventilation, the home draws power from a rooftop solar array and minimizes its environmental footprint with rainwater collection tanks for irrigation and toilet-flushing. Nestled into an existing depression in the site, the Green Velvet House rises to a height of two stories with 580 square meters of living space. Its minimalist appearance — a facade of cement sheets and floor-to-ceiling glazing divided by exposed structural timbers — helps to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. “In response to the program, we have minimized the building footprint by efficiently consolidating the form, rather than creating a sprawling building that overtakes the site,” the team explained. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne To keep the focus on the outdoors, the solar-powered home is surrounded by walls of glass and terraces that invite the owners outdoors on multiple floors. The outdoor spaces and the interiors are protected from unwanted solar gain by generous eaves and horizontal screens. The main living areas and the guest bedroom are located on the ground floor, while the upper floor is reserved for the more private areas, including the master suite and two children’s bedrooms. Plywood walls and a sealed fiber-cement ceiling reference the exterior materials and lend a sense of warmth to the interiors. Recycled “Grey Ironbark” hardwood columns and beams are also featured throughout the building. For energy efficiency, the Colorbond tray deck roof is fitted with a 10.26 kW photovoltaic system . The aluminum sliding doors are also outfitted with double glazing, while the double-hung, sashless windows can be opened for natural ventilation. Three 5,000-liter water tanks were installed beneath the north deck to store rainwater for garden use and toilet-flushing, while other stormwater runoff is retained in bioswales. The home is also equipped with hydronic heating, wood-burning fireplaces and a Sanden heat pump with a 315-liter water tank. + Peter Winkler Architects Photography by Jack Lovel via Peter Winkler Architects

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This modern art museum was once a cheese factory in Arkansas

March 2, 2020 by  
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In Bentonville, Arkansas, a giant factory that once processed cheese for Kraft Foods has been given new life as The Momentary, a modern art museum satellite to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects led the adaptive reuse project, which has carefully preserved as much of the existing structure as possible while introducing contemporary additions. Like the building, the landscape also follows sustainable design principles and was created in collaboration with Tulsa-based Howell Vancuren Landscape Architects to purify and clean rainwater through a bioswale system. Officially opened on February 22, 2020, The Momentary was conceived as a cultural hub for contemporary international art with both indoor and outdoor areas. The oldest part of the original 63,000-square-foot decommissioned cheese factory was converted into The Galleries, an area spanning more than 24,000 square feet. The old fermentation room was converted into a 100-seat black box theater, called Fermentation Hall, while the former milk intake room has been renamed the RØDE House, which serves as a 350-seat multidisciplinary performance space that can be closed or partially open-air. The employee lunchroom has turned into a social space called The Breakroom. Related: A forgotten railway takes on new life as a new cultural destination in France New additions to the building have been differentiated with materials like steel and glass. An example of this can be seen in the museum’s 70-foot-tall vertical element, dubbed The Tower, which is the largest space in the program. It builds on multiple pre-existing intermediate mezzanines and is topped with a Tower Bar surrounded by panoramic views. Gallery space extends to the outdoors, including sculptures, courtyards like the Arvest Bank Courtyard and the 24,000-square-foot Momentary Green.  “The design centers on authenticity,” said Calli Verkamp, lead project architect at Wheeler Kearns Architects. “Embracing the history of the site, it maintains the industrial integrity of the building and preserves the connection between past and present that it represents for the community .” + Wheeler Kearns Architects Photography by Dero Sanford via The Momentary

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This modern art museum was once a cheese factory in Arkansas

Hydroelectric art gallery will generate enough wave power to be 100% self-sustaining

February 27, 2020 by  
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London-based architect Margot Krasojevic has just unveiled a futuristic art gallery that runs on hydroelectric power. Slated for the coastal Russian region of Sochi, the Hydroelectric Sculpture Gallery will harness enough wave energy to not only be 100% self-sufficient, but it will also be able to channel surplus energy back into the grid, powering around 200 nearby houses and businesses as a result. The art gallery will be located on Sochi’s coastline, where it will use the exceptionally strong coastal swells from the Black Sea to power a water turbine system . Krasojevic’s vision depicts a sculptural volume that rises out of an existing wooden promenade. The building, which will be partly submerged into the sea, will be strategically angled at 45 degrees to the coastline for maximum wave exposure. Related: Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy According to the design plans, the building will “use the environment’s characteristics to generate clean, sustainable energy, without affecting the quality and nature of the landscape.” State-of-the-art engineering will allow the structure to harvest wave energy through oscillating water columns as the waves crash against it. Generating up to 300kW, the system will enable the gallery to operate completely off the grid and channel surplus energy back into the grid. It could supply clean energy to approximately 200 households and businesses in the same area. Visitors to the futuristic gallery will enter through a long walkway stretching out from the shore. The robust exterior of the building will comprise various walkways and ramps that wind around the steel structure. Sinuous volumes will conceal the building’s many turbines, which will also be partially submerged underwater. Inside, the spaces will reflect the building’s functions. The various galleries will be laid out into a power plant format, with steel clad ceilings that mimic the rolling waves that crash into the exterior. Irregularly shaped skylights will also create a vibrant, kaleidoscope show of shadow and light throughout the day. + Margot Krasojevic Images via Margot Krasojevic

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Hydroelectric art gallery will generate enough wave power to be 100% self-sustaining

Sculptural, energy-saving office boasts the smartest building advances in Germany

February 25, 2020 by  
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In the heart of Berlin, Danish architecture firm 3XN has recently completed Cube Berlin, a striking new office showcasing the latest advances in sustainability, digitization and design. Opened this month, Cube Berlin also serves as a new city landmark with its sculptural, reflective facade designed to engage the pedestrian realm at the historically significant site of Washingtonplatz. The building is expected to achieve DNGB Gold certification and is engineered with smart office technologies that learn and adapt to user behavior to optimize comfort and energy efficiency. Designed as a prismatic reinterpretation of the cube, the sculptural Cube Berlin measures 4.25 meters in all directions. Reflective glazing wraps around the exterior to mirror the surroundings and engage passersby while allowing natural light into the building without compromising privacy. The floor-to-ceiling windows frame stunning views of Berlin landmarks, and select operable openings let in natural ventilation. Solar coatings to the facade, described by the architects as an “osmotic skin,” along with external solar shading mitigate unwanted solar gain and ensure high energy savings. Related: 3XN unveils new, sustainable building for UNSW Sydney In addition to providing visual interest, the reflective prismatic facade also provides opportunities for outdoor terraces on all levels. Outdoor space has also been created on the roof — the “fifth facade” — that features a spacious rooftop terrace shared by office tenants. The office building comprises 10 floors of flexible, multi-tenant office space as well as a ground-floor food market and office lobby, underground parking, plant rooms, conference areas and a rooftop terrace.  As a “next generation smart building,” Cube Berlin allows for greater interactivity between users and the building operations. Building operational information is stored in a “digital brain” server that collects data on energy flow and consumption. Users can use an app to interact with the system by remotely controlling features such as access control, indoor heating and cooling, maintenance, energy supply, room and parking reservations, charging of electric cars and bicycles and more. “In this way, the building and its users enter into an interplay where both are learning from each other,” the architects explained. “The building learns to adjust to the preferences of its users, while the users can control and adapt the building’s settings according to their desires and needs.” + 3XN Photography by Adam Mørk via 3XN

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First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

February 24, 2020 by  
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Move over steel and concrete — a pioneering cross-laminated timber (CLT) project that’s set to break ground in Boston could spearhead a greater adoption of mass timber across the country. Local startup  Generate Architecture + Technologies  has teamed up with progressive developer Placetailor to lead the project — the city’s first-ever CLT Cellular Passive House Demonstration Project — and provide live/work spaces in Lower Roxbury. Developed with the startup’s Model-C system for prefabricated kit-of-parts construction, the building will forgo conventional concrete and steel materials in favor of carbon-sequestering engineered wood products. Expected to break ground in June of 2020, the CLT Passive House demonstration project will comprise five floors with 14 residential units as well as innovative and affordable co-working spaces for the local community on the ground floor. In addition to introducing low-carbon, mixed-use  programming to the neighborhood, the project will be a working prototype for Generate’s Model-C, “a replicable system for housing delivery methods designed to address climate and community.”  The Model-C system is not only designed to function at net-zero carbon levels, but is also Passive House certified and built to the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development “Zero Emissions Standards,” which were developed with Placetailor. As a result, the demonstration project is expected to have a significantly reduced carbon footprint as compared to traditional construction. The  CLT  rooftop canopy is also engineered to make it easy to mount solar panels. Modular units, like the bathrooms, can be prefabricated offsite and then plugged into the building to reduce construction time and waste.  Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Thanks to  prefabrication  methods and the reduction of interior framing, the Model-C prototype is expected to completed by the end of 2020 and will be available for tours at the Industrial Wood-Based Construction (IWBC) conference in Boston on November 4. Generate is also exploring the possibility of applying the Model-C system to projects that range from six to 18 stories across the U.S. + Generate Images by Forbes Massie Studio

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First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

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