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

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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Renzo Piano-designed condo to become first high-end residential Zero Waste Building in NYC

July 2, 2018 by  
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Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano’s first residential building at 565 Broome Soho is nearing completion in New York City—and it’s expected to become the city’s first high-end residential Zero Waste Building. That eco-friendly distinction—achieved through the diversion of over 90 percent of waste from landfills, incinerators and the environment—will be complemented by other green features such as ample daylighting, electric vehicle charging stations, and refillable water bottle stations created with the goal of eliminating all plastic water bottle use in the building. The light-filled, zero-waste condo will be sheathed in low-iron glass and embrace 360-degree panoramic views of the Hudson River, One World Trade Center and beyond. Developed by global real estate firm Bizzi & Partners Development, Aronov Development and Halpern Real Estate Ventures, 565 Broome Soho comprises 112 residences that range from studios to four-bedroom condominium homes. Renzo Piano Building Workshop worked alongside Parisian interior design firm Rena Dumas Architecture Interieure to create an airy, light-filled building that hearkens back to the early industrial Soho lofts. Tall ceilings soar to heights of over 10 feet, while floor-to-ceiling ultra-transparent glass windows emphasize the spacious feel. Residents will be treated to a diverse suite of amenities that include a heated, 55-foot indoor swimming pool ; a fitness center; steam rooms and a sauna; and lush spaces like the landscaped outdoor terrace and the interior landscaped lounge with a 92-foot-tall ceiling and living green wall . The building will also be equipped with automated parking technology. Related: Renzo Piano reveals designs for Toronto courthouse targeting LEED Silver The residential interiors will be dressed with six-inch white oak plank floors, custom wood entry doors, a custom-designed kitchen with white oak cabinetry and high-end fixtures, and Calcacatta Caldia marble slab walls and flooring in the master bathrooms. Pricing at 565 Broome Soho starts at $2,075,000 for a 990-square-foot bedroom and goes up to $40,500,000 for the penthouse residence at 6,655 square feet. + Renzo Piano Building Workshop Images by Noë & Associates with The Boundary

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This passive-energy lake house unites multiple generations under one roof

June 14, 2018 by  
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Located on a peninsula on Ossippee Lake, New Hampshire, the Anker Jordan Residence is a lakeside cottage that offers multi-generational living with a spectacular view. Designed by New York City-based Scalar Architecture , the New England home was created with passive energy performance, privacy, and aging in mind. The dwelling’s relatively compact footprint and its unusual geometric form were informed by passive solar studies as well as surrounding views of the lake, forests, and White Mountains range beyond. Although one of the undeniable charms of the Anker Jordan Residence is the beautiful view, the site also proved one of the project’s most challenging aspects. The property’s main views lie to the north and it receives little southern solar exposure; neighbors on the south and east also posed privacy concerns. In addition to site considerations, Scalar Architecture had to develop a design that allowed for comfortable intermingling between three generations and protected the building against the region’s harsh winter weather. Through adaptive computation design, the 3,000-square-foot Anker Jordan Residence takes on the shape of two conjoined prisms clad in Everest roofing standing seam metal siding and insulated with high-density spray foam insulation. The folded roof mitigates southern exposure, northern views, and snow shed. The orientation of the building allows for the summer westerly winds but deflects northwestern winter winds. Large KasKel windows punctuate the metal-clad envelope to let in views and natural light from all directions. The home also opens up to a 700-square-foot deck. Related: Atmospheric 1950s home renovated as a school facilitates self-guided education “The interior of the prism is articulated as interconnected cells that afford a complex landscape of social interaction,” explain the architects. “The process is then reiterated in a fractal fashion to address a multi-generational dwelling program: A conjoined second prism – evolved from the first one, provides a discreet yet connected realm for the young adults occupying the middle level. Below it, the ground floor is given over to the grandparents’ quarters.” + Scalar Architecture Images by Miguel de Guzman, Imagen Subliminal

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This passive-energy lake house unites multiple generations under one roof

These ultra-durable camping pods are inspired by Quonset huts

June 14, 2018 by  
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Within the world of glamping, there are plenty of wide-ranging amenities meant to provide luxury and comfort. But one savvy Lithuanian company, Eurodita , is bringing the glory of outdoor living back to basics with its simple, but beautiful, wooden camping pods . Inspired by the shape of Quonset huts, these compact, self-sustaining structures are great options for backyard sheds or mountain retreats. The camping pods are available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest one measuring just 80 square feet and the largest at 185 square feet. The curved shape, which draws inspiration from the design of Quonset huts, offers a sense of spaciousness to the compact interior. Related: Loch Ness Glamping Provides Cozy Eco Camping Pods for Monster Watching & Outdoor Adventure The entryway is a tiny deck that can be used as a sitting space or barbecue area. A set of double doors with double-glazed grid windows flood the interior with an abundance of natural light . The layout depends on the size of the pod, but the smallest of the series can fit a double bed, a small sitting area with table and chairs and a folding bench. Although they do not come equipped with bathrooms or kitchens, washrooms can be installed upon request. Buyers can also order electrical connections. Made from rot-proof Nordic spruce, the tiny wooden cabins are fully insulated thanks to the extra thick logs used in their construction. The pods are weather-resistant, waterproof and built to survive long-term in extreme climates. They are ideal for a variety of uses, from sheds and guest studios to off-grid retreats tucked into remote areas. Additionally, these sweet little cabins can be delivered in flat packs or fully assembled to almost anywhere in the world. + Eurodita Camping Pods Via Apartment Therapy Images via Eurodita

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Frida Escobedos 2018 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London

June 14, 2018 by  
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Mexican architect Frida Escobedo has unveiled this year’s Serpentine Pavilion —a dark and porous envelope that wraps around an inner courtyard with a shallow pool of water. Located on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, the temporary summer pavilion is built with walls of concrete roofing tiles stacked together in a staggered formation on steel poles. The open voids in the stacked tile walls give Escobedo’s pavilion a sense of lightness by allowing natural light and views to pass through. At 38, Escobedo is the youngest architect ever tapped for the design of the annual Serpentine Pavilion. She is also the first solo woman selected for the commission since Zaha Hadid , who designed the first pavilion in 2000. For the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion, now in its 18th iteration, Escobedo took inspiration from domestic Mexican architecture and British materials. An enclosed courtyard —a common feature in Mexican houses—forms the heart of the pavilion, which comprises two rectangular volumes set on a north axis in a nod to the Prime Meridian, a global standard for time and geographic distance. In contrast, the outer walls of the pavilion are aligned with the Serpentine Gallery’s east facade. Escobedo designed lattice-like walls of British-made cement roof tiles that take inspiration from Mexico’s traditional breeze walls, known as celosia. The mirrored underside of the canopy and the triangular pool on the ground reflect the movement of light and shadow to heighten visitors’ awareness of their surroundings. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today “My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the express of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms,” Escobedo said. “For the Pavilion, we have added the materials of light and shadow, reflection and refraction, turning the building into a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.” The Serpentine Pavilion opens June 15 and will run until October 7, 2018. + Frida Escobedo Photography © 2018 Iwan Baan

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DNC votes to ban fossil fuel company donations

June 14, 2018 by  
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The Democratic National Committee (DNC) recently adopted a ban on donations coming from fossil fuel companies, HuffPost reported . The executive committee voted unanimously on a resolution proposed by political strategist Christine Pelosi that doesn’t allow the organization to accept contributions from corporate political action committees (PACs) connected to the oil and gas industry . The text of the resolution says, “…fossil fuel corporations are drowning our democracy in a tidal wave of dark oily money; they have deceived the public about the impacts of climate change , fought the growth of clean renewable energy , and corrupted our political system.” Oil and gas companies in 2016 spent $7.6 million on Democratic races, compared to $53.7 million in direct donations to Republicans . In 2018, Republicans have taken 89 percent of the oil and gas industry’s donations thus far. The DNC confirmed the recent vote to HuffPost but did not comment on the record. Related: Climate change video directed by James Cameron heats up the DNC The resolution’s text says “hundreds of individual Democratic political candidates for office across the country have pledged not to take money from the fossil fuel industry.” Former president Barack Obama prohibited contributions from corporate PACs after winning the Democratic party’s nomination, but former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz lifted that ban before the 2016 election. HuffPost reported the DNC might consider a second resolution in August at a Chicago full board meeting to ban contributions greater than $200 from people working for the fossil fuel industry. Co-author of the recent resolution RL Miller told HuffPost, “So if Eddie Exxon is your college buddy and a frat-boy friend of yours and he’s employed at an Exxon gas station and wishes to donate $25 to have a barbecue and a beer with you, fine. But if Edward J. Exxon in Exxon’s middle management thinks you’re worth contributing $2,700 to out of his own salary, that is much more concerning to us.” + (((sfpelosi))) on Medium Via HuffPost Image via Depositphotos

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Foster + Partners turn an office tower into Hong Kongs newest luxury hotel

May 25, 2018 by  
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Foster + Partners transformed a former government headquarters tower into a luxury hotel in Hong Kong , and it has just opened its doors to the public. Located on the southern edge of Central with sweeping views of The Peak, the 336-room hotel — named The Murray — not only includes a striking interior overhaul, but also features new street frontage and green space to reconnect the 25-story tower with the urban fabric. The adaptive reuse project preserved the existing self-shading facade to maximize daylight penetration while reducing solar gain. The office tower, known as the Murray Building, was designed in the 1970s during an era that primarily catered to the automobile. To make the site more pedestrian friendly , Foster + Partners created new street frontage and added landscaped parks on the ground level to remove the site’s road-dominated appearance. Inside the building, the architects replaced the former car park with hotel lobbies and restaurants; transformed the plant room spaces into banquet halls, pools and spas; and turned the upper-floor office spaces into guest rooms. Though dramatic, the transformation from office to luxury hotel was sensitively executed in order to preserve the building’s architectural integrity. The architects also took care to retain the original facade, which earned the structure an Energy Efficient Building Award in 1994. The exterior features deeply recessed windows that are carefully positioned to avoid harsh tropical sunlight. Enlarged insulated glazing units improve energy efficiency , while a new suite of luxury materials create the hotel’s sense of grandeur. Related: Foster + Partners unveils sustainable masterplan for India’s new state capital Luke Fox, the Head of Studio for Foster + Partners, said, “Our design for The Murray creates a dialogue between the old and the new – giving the building a new lease of life and a renewed purpose, with a unique sense of character that is embedded within the fabric of the building.” + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , by Nigel Young and Michael Weber

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