A historical 16th-century building in Austria gets a green makeover

March 4, 2019 by  
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When architectural studio Peter Ebner and friends was tapped to design a building with two residential units in Salzburg, Austria , the firm not only had to contend with an abandoned historic property onsite but also the challenge of pushback from the local community. Although the existing 16th-century building had been neglected for years, fear of change to the building’s historic appearance sparked anxiety among the community and drove the architects to take an especially sensitive approach. The resulting renovation and expansion includes two new floors strategically stacked above the historic part of the building to echo the roofline of the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress. The design also integrates energy-efficient technologies to dramatically reduce the building’s power consumption. Peter Ebner and friends has dubbed the adaptive reuse project “a hidden treasure” after its secluded location and its unusual design, which merges historic and modern architecture. The original building was built in the 16th century under Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Reitenau. Despite being used for a variety of purposes over the years, the building still retains the original Prince-Archbishop’s coat of arms on one of its facades. Romanesque columns from Salzburg Cathedral can also be found on the ground floor. In contrast to the ivory-colored stucco facade of the renovated historic building, the two-story contemporary addition is wrapped in a reflective metal facade that the architects compare to an “iridescent water surface.” With two owners, the residential building features a flexible interior with rooms of various sizes and shapes that can be closed off or combined depending on intended use. “[We] wanted to create a likeness of the historical city, with its alternation of squares and lanes, open and intimate spaces,” said the architects, who were inspired by the urban planning principle of diversity championed in Vincenzo Scamozzi’s treatise ‘The Ideal of Universal Architecture.’ Related: Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape Moreover, the Hidden Treasure Gestüthalle project also boasts a reduced energy footprint. Compared to similar residential buildings in Austria, the building consumes 90 percent less power thanks to green technologies , such as an underground heat pump. + Peter Ebner and friends Via ArchDaily and Elizaveta Klepanova Images by Paul Ott via Peter Ebner and friends

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Snhetta completes LEED Gold-seeking crystal workshop for Swarovski

February 18, 2019 by  
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International architecture firm Snøhetta is breaking the mold for industrial architecture with its contemporary and light-filled production facility for Swarovski Manufaktur. Designed to meet LEED Gold standards, this “crystal workshop for the 21st century” offers a spacious environment conducive for collaboration between the departments of design, product development and production. Wrapped in glare-free glass, the building also features glazing throughout the interior to emphasize lightness and transparency. Located in Wattens, Austria , the 7,000-square-meter Swarovski Manufaktur was created as a new standard for creative work for the Tyrollean crystal manufacturer. The hybrid building not only caters to design and production needs, but also provides Swarovski an attractive and efficient place to work together with customers. Prototyping at Swarovski Manufaktur, for instance, has been cut down from an average of two weeks to six days, which allows the company to bring its clients’ ideas to life — as real crystal prototypes — in much shorter time. Swarovski Manufaktur is part of the firm’s larger 100 million-euro vision that includes the new design and innovation center Campus 311 and the crystal-cutting facility Crystal Factory of the Future, which is slated to open in 2019. Designed for energy efficiency, Swarovski Manufaktur relies primarily on daylight for lighting. In addition to the glazed facades, the building also features 135 skylights , also coated to prevent against glare. The interior is organized around a centrally located staircase that doubles as a meeting space. Related: Calgary Central Library is wrapped in a striking, snowflake-like facade “We tried not to interpret the physical properties of crystals in our building geometry,” explained Patrick Lüth, managing director of Snøhetta’s Studio in Innsbruck. “Instead, we have tried to understand what makes crystal so special and attractive, and to use these ephemeral qualities to create a specific atmosphere. The space has an incredible amount of daylight penetration, which we believe is unparalleled in the typical production facility context. Crystals only come to life with light, so for us it is the intense presence of that daylight that is the most important aesthetic aspect of this building.” + Snøhetta Images by David Schreyer via Snøhetta

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Snhetta completes LEED Gold-seeking crystal workshop for Swarovski

Concrete fins protect this visitor center from rising tides

February 12, 2019 by  
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When the Hampshire County Council’s Property Services decided to build a new visitor center on the coastal area of Lepe Country Park on the England’s south coast, it knew that it had to create a design with several resilient features . The building needed to withstand the area’s brutal natural elements and rising sea levels. Guests to the historic area can now enjoy a bite to eat in the Lookout, an elongated wooden and glass center surrounded by a row of concrete fins that will help protect the building against future rising tides. The design of the visitor center was strategically planned to provide a place where visitors and tourists could stop in to enjoy a bite to eat while taking in the incredible views of the sea. According to the architects, the building also had to be constructed to withstand the current and future climate conditions. “From the outset, it was important that the building had composure in an environment that can be both beautiful and brutal,” said the council’s design manager Martin Hallum. Related: Sleek fiberglass visitor center is a beacon for wind energy in Denmark The building’s elongated volume is comprised of two connected horizontal boxes with the front box containing the main dining area. The box at the rear houses the service areas including the restaurant’s kitchen, the administration offices, meeting spaces and a visitor information point. The center is clad in wooden panels, with the front area punctuated with a series of windows that let in ample natural light . The building’s large sloping roof hangs over the exterior walls, providing shade during the summer months and protection from inclement weather. A wooden open-air deck wraps around the sides of the structure, leading out to the east- and west-facing terraces. Picnic tables surround the building for those wanting to enjoy dining al fresco. + Hampshire County Council’s Property Services Via Dezeen Photography by Jim Stephenson via Hampshire County Council’s Property Services

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Concrete fins protect this visitor center from rising tides

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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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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Canadas largest net-zero energy college building opens in Ontario

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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Solar-powered cork house pursues healthy, sustainable living

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