Peek inside the tallest cross-laminated timber building in the US

January 2, 2019 by  
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Portland, one of the leading cities for sustainability initiatives in the U.S., is now home to the nation’s tallest mass timber and cross-laminated timber (CLT) building. Designed by local design studio PATH Architecture , Carbon12 soars to a height of 85 feet and comprises eight stories of mixed-use programming along with 14 residential units. Resistant to earthquakes and other natural disasters, the building is also said to surpass the carbon sequestration attributes of LEED Platinum-certified structures. Carbon12 spans an area of 42,000 square feet and is set along the North Williams Corridor of North Portland . Cross-laminated timber was chosen as the primary building material, as opposed to concrete, because of the developer’s desire to create an environmentally friendly building constructed from locally sourced, renewable materials. Made from kiln-dried timber glued and pressed together, CLT is praised for its quick assembly, lightweight properties, strength and ability to sequester carbon. “In addition to its innovative structure, Carbon12 is one of the most well-prepared residential buildings in the country in regard to earthquakes and other natural disasters,” PATH Architecture said. “The Carbon12 team joined the inherent attributes of engineered timber structures, together with the innovative buckling-restrained brace frame core, to create a building that is extremely well equipped for any seismic event. With a thickened basement slab that rests on 41 steel pilings driven 45 feet deep into the ground, Carbon12 is built to protect its occupants.” Related: Architecture students build a tiny CLT classroom in just 3 weeks Built of Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified softwood timber, the CLT building is only about a quarter of the weight of a concrete structure but equally as strong. “This project truly pushes the envelope on tall mass timber and CLT buildings for Portland, Oregon, and the entire U.S.,” the firm added. “It opens barriers and presents a new era for mass timber in the U.S., where it is well-positioned to be the go-to construction method for this region.” + PATH Architecture Photography by Andrew Pogue via PATH Architecture

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Peek inside the tallest cross-laminated timber building in the US

Eco-friendly guesthouse in Brazil sports a green roof and rammed earth walls

January 2, 2019 by  
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In continuation of its work on the eco-conscious Camburi community center , Sao Paulo-based architecture firm CRU! architects recently completed the Guesthouse Paraty, a sustainable social building project that provided construction jobs and training to the local community. To minimize the environmental impact of the building, the architects used natural materials sourced locally, from red earth excavated on site to the tree trunks and bamboo cut from the surrounding forest. The guesthouse was also built to follow passive solar principles to keep naturally cool in Brazil’s tropical climate. Designed with flexible usage in mind, the nearly 37-square-meter Guesthouse Paraty can be used as short-term lodging, a workspace or a play space for children. The compact, single-story building includes three beds — the bedroom consists of a double bed and a lofted single bed, while a convertible futon sofa is located in the living area. The open-plan living space also includes a small cooking area and dining table. To keep the guesthouse from feeling cramped, the architects installed expansive walls of glass that usher in daylight and frame views of the outdoors; the glazed entrance on one end of the building also opens up to a sheltered outdoor living space. Because the project location is far from the town center, the architects wanted to use materials sourced from the site. As a result, the building was constructed with rammed earth walls and topped with a green roof finished with locally sourced black earth and plant matter. The formwork used for the rammed earth walls was recycled to build the roof structure. The columns supporting the weight of the roof were built from bamboo. Further tying the building in with the site is the inclusion of the existing massive granite rock that now forms part of the bedroom wall. Related: Bamboo community center empowers the local Brazilian community The overhanging roof eaves and the green roof mitigate unwanted solar heat gain. All windows are operable and strategically positioned to optimize cross-ventilation . Insect screens were installed to protect against mosquitoes. + CRU! architects Photography by Nelson Kon via CRU! architects

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Eco-friendly guesthouse in Brazil sports a green roof and rammed earth walls

Low-budget, bioclimatic home boasts a minimal energy footprint in Costa Rica

December 12, 2018 by  
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When clients Luis and Marce approached design collective YUSO proyectos for their new home in Costa Rica, they already had a very clear idea of what they wanted. First and foremost, the clients wanted the concept of “honesty” to define not only the design and construction process, but also the final appearance and function of the bioclimatic home. As a result, the site-specific project — dubbed the Esparza House — is primarily built from natural materials with minimal and natural finishes. Located on a rural plot in San Rafael, Costa Rica , the Esparza House was completed for a cost of roughly $84,300 USD and spans a footprint of 1,345 square feet. To keep costs within budget, the architects decided against a concrete slab foundation in favor of elevated footings. The architects also worked with the commercial sizing of the building materials to minimize construction waste and costs. Excess materials were used for decorative purposes. “The project is characterized by the word ‘HONESTY’, a concept that was present in all stages of design and construction,” said the architects, who cite honesty with the environment, honesty with materials, and honesty with clients. “The construction project was designed to adapt to the environment through the setting of the building within the surrounding landscape; bioclimatic housing design to ensure the residents’ comfort in an environment characterized by humid tropical forests with high temperatures and humidity; use of materials with low carbon footprint such as wood; implementation of a rainwater harvesting system for domestic use; as well as a wastewater treatment system to separate organic and inorganic waste.” Related: This sustainable bioclimatic home is made of volcanic ash and prickly pear fibers Filled with natural light and oriented to follow passive design principles, the three-bedroom home maintains a low-energy footprint and stays naturally cool. A digital three-dimensional model was used through the design process as a helpful aid in communicating with the clients and mocking up all proposed modifications. The model was ultimately a “faithful copy of the finished house.” + YUSO proyectos Via ArchDaily Photography by Roberto D´Ambrosio via YUSO proyectos

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Low-budget, bioclimatic home boasts a minimal energy footprint in Costa Rica

Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world

December 12, 2018 by  
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The microplastics problem in the oceans has made its way to sea turtles in a big way. A new study from researchers at the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory along with Greenpeace Research Laboratories has found microplastics in the guts of every single turtle they tested — a total of 102 sea turtles. The researchers tested more than 100 sea turtles from all seven species and three different oceans , and they were looking for synthetic particles less than 5 mm in length. The most common thing the team found were fibers, which most likely came from clothing, tires, cigarette filters and fishing equipment. Related: Microplastics have made their way into human poop “The effect of these particles on turtles is unknown,” said lead author Emily Duncan from the University of Exeter’s Center for Ecology and Conservation. “Their small size means they can pass through the gut without causing a blockage, as is frequently reported with larger plastic fragments.” Duncan added that future work should focus on the effects of microplastics in aquatic organisms , and researchers should look for possible contaminants, bacteria or viruses as well as how the microplastics affect turtles on a cellular level. The researchers found more than 800 synthetic particles in the turtles , but since they only tested part of the gut, they believe the total number of particles could be 20 times higher. They don’t know how the turtles ingest the particles, but they think the sources are polluted seawater and the digestion of polluted prey or plants. Professor Brendan Godley, the senior author of the study, said that the ingestion of microplastics isn’t the biggest threat to sea turtles at the moment, but it is a clear sign that we need to do a better job governing global waste . Penelope Lindeque from Plymouth Marine Laboratory said that during their work over the years, researchers have found microplastics in all of the marine animals they have studied. This turtle study is just more evidence that we need to reduce the amount of plastic waste, so we can maintain clean and healthy oceans for future generations. + University of Exeter Image via Jeremy Bishop

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Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world

Canadas largest net-zero energy college building opens in Ontario

December 11, 2018 by  
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The Canadian port city of Hamilton in Ontario has recently welcomed its first net-zero energy institutional building — the new Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College’s Fennel Campus. Architecture and engineering firm mcCallumSather collaborated with B+H Architects to design the striking solar-powered building, which has also been billed as the largest net-zero energy institutional building in Canada. Conceived as a living lab on sustainability, the Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation will also be the future home to the Centre for Climate Change Management. Spanning an area of 96,000 square feet, the $54 million Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation boasts state-of-the-art research, learning and lab facilities all powered by solar energy . To minimize reliance on artificial lighting, the architects organized the building around a large, light-filled atrium that also doubles as a social activator and central hub. The classrooms, co-working spaces and laboratories that branch off of the atrium are modular for flexible environments. All materials used in the contemporary interiors — from the steel and concrete to the timber and stone tile — were locally sourced. The building is also the first out of 16 selected buildings in Canada completed under the Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) new net-zero carbon pilot program. Students will also be trained on best energy practices and learn how to interpret the building’s real-time energy performance data to help the Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation meet its net-zero energy targets. Related: Perkins + Will’s KTTC building blends beauty and sustainability in Ontario The building is powered with 2,000 solar panels installed on a set of “wings” elevated above the four-story structure with dramatic overhangs that give the Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation its signature shape. The overhangs also provide shade and protection to the outdoor terraces. In addition to the solar panels and optimized building envelope, the net-zero energy building is also equipped with 28 geothermal wells, a rainwater harvesting system capable of storing up to 342,000 liters as well as occupancy sensor-controlled heating, cooling and LED lighting. + mcCallumSather + B+H Architects Photography by Ema Peters via B+H Architects

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LOT-EK upcycles 140 shipping containers into an apartment complex in South Africa

November 27, 2018 by  
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A massive, modular residential building has risen in Johannesburg , South Africa with aims of revitalizing Maboneng Precinct, an area that’s recently undergone a dramatic transformation from a site of urban decay to a thriving enclave for creatives. Having extensive experience in cargotecture, New York- and Naples-based architectural design studio LOT-EK was tapped to design the mixed-use building, which was completed last year. Dubbed Drivelines Studio, the building comprises a total of 140 shipping containers and includes affordable housing as well as ground-floor retail. Located on a triangular site atop an existing single-story structure that used to house a car repair shop, Drivelines Studio includes seven floors with the top six levels comprising residential units, all of which are open-plan studios ranging in size from 300 square feet to 600 square feet and equipped with outdoor terraces with views of greenery below. The ground floor consists of retail along Albertina Sisulu Road, additional residential units in the rear and a private courtyard for residents with gardens and a pool. “Embracing the triangular geometry of the site, the building is conceived as a billboard where two separate volumes of residential units are hinged at the narrow east end of the lot, framing the social space of the open interior courtyard ,”  the firm explained in a project statement. “As in a billboard, the building outer facades are straight and flush with the lot line while the facades in the inner courtyard are articulated by the staircases, the elevator tower and the bridges connecting all levels, and by the open circulation paths activated by the units spillover onto their outdoor space.” Related: Repurposed shipping containers inject funky and unexpected color to a historic home renovation The upcycled shipping containers retain their original color and corrugated siding to reference their industrial past and to allude to the city’s reputation as the largest inland port in the world. The containers were stacked and cut on site with large diagonal cutouts for windows that give the building its distinctive, zigzagging facade pattern. + LOT-EK Photography by Dave Southwood via LOT-EK

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LOT-EK upcycles 140 shipping containers into an apartment complex in South Africa

Solar-powered cork house pursues healthy, sustainable living

October 10, 2018 by  
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Berlin-based architecture office rundzwei Architekten recently completed a light-filled home that showcases the many material benefits of cork . Named the Cork Screw House, the sustainably minded abode boasts a facade and roof clad in natural cork, a material that not only gives the building a highly textured appearance, but also contributes significantly to the home’s energy efficiency thanks to high insulation values. The cork home is set on a base of rammed concrete and comprises a series of split-levels for flexibility. The decision to clad the home in cork emerged from the client’s desire for a house with good acoustic performance. Initially drawn by the acoustic insulation properties of cork, the architects were ultimately convinced by the sustainable benefits of the material, which is made from granulated cork waste that has been pressed into naturally weather- and mold-resistant panels without any artificial additives. In addition to insulating cork panels, the architects carefully chose a natural materials palette and steered clear of chemical adhesives. Wood fiber and cellulose were used as additional insulation, while timber and gypsum fiberboards were selected for their ability to absorb humidity and create a comfortable indoor environment. Created for a family of three, the Cork Screw House is organized around a central, atrium -like staircase illuminated by a skylight. To side-step planning regulations that mandated a maximum floor size of 100 square meters, the architects lowered the base floors and designed the timber-framed upper floors as a series of split-levels, bringing the gross floor area to over 320 square meters. On the ground floor, full-height glazing floods the interior with natural light. The home also includes an exterior sunken pool that’s surrounded by rammed concrete walls for privacy. Related: Elegant cork-clad artists’ studio slots into a bijou London garden Due to the selection of natural materials and ample daylighting, the building “doesn’t need an active ventilation system despite the very low energy standard,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Through a stratified heat storage system supplemented by roof integrated solar panels, the heating supply is almost self-sufficient adding to the efficiency of the building’s overall performance.” + rundzwei Architekten Photography by Gui Rebelo

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Stefano Boeri Architettis iridescent tower breaks ground in Tirana

September 18, 2018 by  
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Stefano Boeri Architetti , the Italian architecture firm behind the vertical forest towers , has unveiled designs for the Blloku Cube, a mixed-use high-rise marked by its distinctive energy-efficient cladding. Located in the heart of Albania’s capital of Tirana, the Blloku Cube is a multifunctional center instrumental in the Tirana 2030 master plan — also designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti — that aims to breathe new life into one of the most prestigious districts in the city. Construction on the Blloku Cube recently broke ground in July 2018. Covering a project area of approximately 12,000 square feet (1,117 square meters), the Blloku Cube is currently being constructed on the intersection between the streets of Pjeter Bogdani and Vaso Pasha. The eye-catching cuboid structure was designed to enhance the vibrant district, which was reborn from a former military zone with restricted access into a major city hub flush with shops, bars and restaurants. Blloku Cube will comprise office space stacked atop multiple levels of retail. A Roof Garden Restaurant will occupy the seventh floor. “The identity of the building is strongly characterized by a special cladding, a standout feature that makes it recognizable and unique in the city skyline and, at the same time, highly performing in terms of thermal efficiency, thanks to a ‘double skin’ technological system,” the firm said in a project statement. Energy-efficient glass curtain walls are considered the first “skin,” and the second “skin” consists of a shimmering “sophisticated technological shielding system” made up of anodized aluminum modules carefully angled to filter the sunlight and optimize natural light indoors. Related: The world’s first vertical forest for low-income housing is coming to the Netherlands Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Stefano Boeri Architetti project director, added, “This particular cladding solution, specifically designed for our first Albanian project, plays an essential role in defining the uniqueness of the building and contributes to underlining its importance as a new landmark of this urban district.” + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images by Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Stefano Boeri Architettis iridescent tower breaks ground in Tirana

Recyclable House is an eco-getaway that celebrates the circular economy

July 25, 2018 by  
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A recently completed environmentally friendly retreat has opened for bookings on AirBnB in the picturesque countryside near Beaufort, Australia. Designed by  Quentin Irvine , the Recyclable House is an experimental modern home that stays true to its name with its use of recyclable materials and passive solar construction principles. Conceived as a “prototype house for the circular economy,” the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath rental comfortably fits 10 guests and promises “sensational indoor air quality.” Inspired by Australia’s iconic galvanized steel woodsheds, Irvine designed the Recyclable House with a gabled farmhouse aesthetic. Three sides of the building are clad in durable Z600 galvanized steel. The fourth facade is covered in timber planks charred using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique. All components in the home were selected for durability and are either biologically or technologically recyclable. Even the walls, which are built with plasterboard, are fully compostable. Passive solar principles and highly effective insulation create comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, with extra heating provided by a Pyroclassic wood-burning stove and a solar hot-water system; no air conditioning has been installed. Natural finishes used throughout ensure low toxicity. Related: Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home “Whilst learning the building profession I identified and became frustrated with the fact that most Australian homes are essentially built with/for rubbish whether they were promoted as eco friendly homes or not,” explains Irvine, discussing the impetus behind his project. “Even though materials were often coming to site as quality recyclable materials , they would be destined for landfill the minute that they were installed due to the building practices and installation methods used. I found solutions to many of these problems by researching older building methods as well as thinking creatively about the problem.” Completed in December 2015, the Recyclable House was recently made available to rent on AirBnB starting at $95 a night. + Recyclable House AirBnB Images by Nic Granleese

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A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience

July 25, 2018 by  
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Modular architecture and sustainable strategies blend together in the Ivanhoe Extension, a bold and contemporary addition to a suburban home in Melbourne. Designed by Australian practice Modscape , the two-story extension not only creates more space for the clients’ growing family, but also offers a new way to embrace their beautifully landscaped backyard. The house is equipped with many energy-efficient solutions such as solar passive heating, rainwater harvesting and double glazing with thermal break frames. Located behind a weatherboard house, the Ivanhoe Extension is a handsome structure clad in sustainably sourced blackbutt timber and Colorbond Diversaclad. The ground floor is fitted with full-height glazing for a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience, while the upper floor is wrapped in a curved battened screen to ensure privacy and protection from the sun. The new addition houses an open-plan living space, dining area and kitchen on the ground floor, and the master suite is found on the upper level. The original house has been turned over to the “kids domain.” “A new double?height entrance space has been created in the middle of the house providing a clean separation and demarcation between existing and new,” Modscape explained. “As soon as you walk in the front door, your eye is drawn up to the circular skylight, which casts directed light to the open stairs below. To accommodate for the sloping site, the extension is terraced down the block with a slight change in levels between the original house (which has now become the kids domain), the entrance way and the new modular living area. This helps to subtly define different zones, while the same oak flooring used throughout provides continuity and flow.” Related: This highly insulated modular home is completely self-sustaining The modular components were prefabricated offsite within a factory so that the clients could continue living in their house free of disruptions. Demolition and site preparation took approximately three weeks — the clients moved out four weeks prior — and installation of the modules took only one day. + Modscape Images by John Madden

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