Building Local Food Resilience

July 6, 2020 by  
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Building Local Food Resilience

The Invisible House is a reflective building that mirrors its desert surroundings

July 3, 2020 by  
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The Invisible House is a mirror-clad home designed to look like a New York skyscraper flipped on its side. It is covered in heat-reflective “Solarcool” glass to mirror the surrounding remote desert of its site, located 10 minutes from downtown Joshua Tree, California. Designed by architect Tomas Osinski and Chris Hanley, the LA-based producer behind American Psycho , the Invisible House is situated on 90 acres. The 5,500-square-foot building, completed in 2019, is made of concrete , steel and tempered glass. Related: Hidden in the Vinhedo rainforests of Brazil, this glass house was built for a scholar The home has a wall designated for movie screen projections and a catering kitchen. There are four bedrooms and bathrooms separated by white partitions instead of doors to provide views of the desert . The theme of invisibility is reflected in the interior furnishings, such as a bed frame made of glass and and a partially-exposed glass shower. The building’s sustainability features include an efficient insulation system using a combination of closed cell “Cool Roof” foam and a hill-adjacent  location protecting it from the sun. There is a solar water heating system, a thermal mass of concrete and a 100-foot-long indoor swimming pool to help regulate the temperature. During construction, large portions of the building were cantilevered to minimize disturbance of the natural grounds. The steel-frame is elevated above the ground onto cylindrical concrete columns.  The designers conducted a biological survey to map out the native flora and fauna before beginning construction, and the Invisible House has a landscape-to-dwelling footprint of 2,000 to one. Low-emissivity glass in the walls and photovoltaic panels on the roof help further reduce the environmental impact of the home. According to the owner of the house, the local birds have been thriving on the insects around the property and have not been harmed by the reflective glass nor have they flown into the building. + Tomas Osinski Via Dezeen Images via Tomas Osinski

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The Invisible House is a reflective building that mirrors its desert surroundings

Passive House-certified development offers affordable housing in South Bronx

June 17, 2020 by  
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New York City-based Curtis + Ginsberg Architects has completed Park Avenue Green, the largest Passive House development in North America that is inspirational in more ways than one. Designed in collaboration with energy consultant Bright Tower, the building is an energy powerhouse and a new affordable housing community with 154 apartments for low- and extremely low-income households — including 35 units reserved for people who were formerly homeless — in the Melrose neighborhood of the South Bronx. An airtight envelope, energy-efficient appliances and a rooftop solar array have reduced the building’s energy consumption by about 70% of the code-required standards, earning the project certification by the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS). Completed in February 2019, Park Avenue Green has been crafted as a new neighborhood landmark with a 4,300-square-foot community facility on the ground floor. This facility currently houses affordable visual art studies and gallery space for Spaceworks, a nonprofit that provides low-cost spaces for artists. The ground floor also includes a bicycle room and community room for residents. Related: Are these zero-carbon domes the future of sustainable housing? To achieve the stringent energy standards set by PHIUS, the design team outfitted the building with a 34-kilowatt photovoltaic system , a cogeneration scheme, individual VRF heating and cooling units and efficient energy recovery units (ERV) in each apartment. Residents’ comfort and well-being are optimized thanks to these measures and abundant access to natural light that is let in through triple-glazed windows. Park Avenue Green also incorporates storm resiliency and other energy conservation strategies for long-term durability. “We are very excited to be part of the Park Avenue Green team, bringing the largest PHIUS Passive House Project to fruition creating much-needed affordable housing will the smallest possible carbon footprint,” said Mark Ginsberg, partner at Curtis + Ginsberg Architects. The $48.4 million Park Avenue Green project was developed by Omni New York, which also led the creation of the LEED Gold-certified Morris Avenue Apartments in the Bronx .  + Curtis + Ginsberg Architects Photography by John Bartelstone via Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

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New technology could harness energy from trees

June 17, 2020 by  
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A new technology that draws power from trees brings a new dimension to the sustainable energy conversation. New research shows that drawing energy from trees could help power future cities. By converting tree movements into energy, anemokinetics technology taps into the power available in nature. For a long time, the world has struggled to come up with sustainable energy sources. The high demand for energy compared to its limited sources has proved a tough puzzle to solve. Anemokinetics technology could be the answer to this ongoing clean energy issue. The concept of anemokinetics is based on the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. In other words, the energy we use is continuously available in nature in various forms. The problem is converting available energy from one form to another for specific purposes. According to a project published on  Behance , anemokinetics allows scientists to harness energy from trees via the oscillation of branches. The study first investigated tree branches’ range of movement. Research found that tree branch movements fluctuate depending on wind speed, tree height and tree type. Tree branch displacement occurs at a rate of between one and 25 cm every moment. Although further studies are still underway to determine the best way to tap this energy, scientists have already created a prototype electric circuit and conducted field testing. Research found that each branch movement cycle “generates a charge equal to 3.6 volts with a current of 0.1 amperes and a duration of 200 milliseconds.” These figures could spell a bright future for anemokinetics. The project also proposes using the generated energy for off-grid navigation. Although the study still needs investment and further research , the preliminary findings are promising. Anemokinetics technology has plenty of possible applications, including powering sensors to create an Internet of Forest. + Behance Images via Alexander Altenkov

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Research facility minimizes its carbon footprint to attract international talent

June 16, 2020 by  
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Spain’s coastal city of Badalona has recently welcomed the Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image, a new research facility designed to meet high standards of energy efficiency and sustainability. Pilar Calderon and Marc Folch of Barcelona-based architecture firm Calderon-Folch Studio teamed up with Pol Sarsanedas and landscape designer Lluís Corbella to create a site-specific building that would offer the highest levels of comfort as a means to attract and retain both local and international talent. Embedded into the landscape, the compact facility was constructed with a prefabricated wooden framework and clad in larch to blend in with the nearby forest. Because the Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image is located on sloped terrain, the architects placed the portion of the building containing the research floors partly underground to take advantage of thermal mass for stable climatic conditions year-round. Building into the landscape has also allowed the architects to create two access levels: one used as a general entrance for the administrative area, and the other for logistic purposes for the scientific-technical area. The separation of areas by levels optimizes building operations and adheres to the strict requirements of biological containment. Related: Green-roofed Honey Bee Research Centre targets LEED Gold “The new Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image holds a research center of the first order,” the designers explained in a project statement. “A research facility based on ethical research criteria, technical and functional complexity, and comfort features that have been resolved in an efficient and sustainable way that strongly considers its relationship with the environment.” Natural materials, large glazed openings and naturalized exterior spaces visually tie the research facility to the environment. Eco-friendly considerations were also taken with the use of a modular , lightweight wooden framework with loose-fill cellulose and structural insulated panels that minimize material waste. Moreover, the building follows passive solar principles. The research facility is equipped with high-performance energy and air-flow recycling technologies as well as a 250-square-meter rainwater collection tank for sanitary and irrigation purposes. + Calderon-Folch Studio Photography by José Hevia via Calderon-Folch Studio

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Research facility minimizes its carbon footprint to attract international talent

These modular plywood sanctuaries are completely customizable

June 16, 2020 by  
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As more and more people around the world adjust to remote employment and socially distanced hobbies, Equals Architecture is offering a way to add sustainability to a customizable personal space suitable for work or play. Enter the Equals Sanctuary, a modular, prefabricated space that customers can tailor to their exact work or life requirements. Multifunctional and installed onsite, each Equals Sanctuary is made-to-order. The design calls for multiple core elements called “loops,” each fabricated using five sheets of plywood via a machine that leaves only about 2% waste. The loops can then be fitted into eight different options. To add another element of customization, the sanctuaries can be left without insulation, or insulation can be added between the plywood ribs using sustainable materials such as expanded cork, hemp batts or recycled denim. The exterior finishes are made of rubber, reused waterproof canvas and corrugated steel. Customers can choose between a number of face options as well, depending on the use, site and function. Window options range from standard size to full-height. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment No matter the type of layout, Equals Architecture will only use FSC-certified, sustainable and recycled materials . Necessary structural plates and ground anchors are used in place of invasive concrete foundations whenever possible. According to the architects, the main goal is to make each structure entirely reconstructable to maintain longevity. Each sanctuary will be easy to move, adapt and reconfigure throughout its lifespan. Equals Sanctuaries can be viewed, customized and purchased on the architects’ website in the form of flat-pack DIY kits delivered straight to the chosen site. If customers don’t want to build it themselves, they can opt for an onsite team to build it for them. There are four presets to start with — Vitae, Officium, Studio and Tabernam — each designed to appeal to a distinct target audience. + Equals Architecture Images via Equals Architecture

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These modular plywood sanctuaries are completely customizable

UNStudio installs new energy-generating facade for solar producer Hanwhas HQ

May 4, 2020 by  
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UNStudio has completed renovations of the Hanwha headquarters in Seoul — all without disrupting the building’s normal business operations. The impressive feat was achieved thanks to efficient and low-impact construction methods that the international design firm dubs “remodeling in place.” In addition to renovated interior spaces and a redesigned landscape , the Hanwha headquarters is now home to a completely new, energy-generating facade with integrated solar panels to express the company’s identity as an ambitious global leader in the solar panel industry.  Located along the Cheonggyecheon in Seoul , the 57,696-square-meter Hanwha headquarters building had been suffering from a disconnect between its dated appearance and the company’s desire to be seen as a leading environmental technology provider. UNStudio won a competition to lead the redesign along with sustainability and facade consultant Arup and landscape design firm Loos van Vilet. Critical to the redesign was the replacement of the original facade, which included horizontal bands of opaque paneling and single-paneled dark glass. The new facade features clear, insulated glass with aluminum framing and integrated solar panels. Related: MVRDV to transform Seoul’s concrete-dominated waterfront into a vibrant, green oasis The renovation takes inspiration from nature and the surrounding environment. For example, the facade opens up along the north side to enable daylighting while the southern facade is more opaque to mitigate unwanted solar gain. The openings in the facade and the placement of facade panels also respond to views and the programs within the rooms. The solar panels are placed on the opaque panels on the south and southeastern facade and are angled for optimal solar harvesting. Glazing has also been positioned to reduce direct solar impact. “By means of a reductive, integrated gesture, the facade design for the Hanwha HQ implements fully inclusive systems, which significantly impact the interior climate of the building, improve user comfort and ensure high levels of sustainability and affordability,” Ben van Berkel, founder of UNStudio, said. “Through fully integrated design strategies, today’s facades can provide responsive and performative envelopes that both contextually and conceptually react to their local surroundings, whilst simultaneously determining interior conditions.” + UNStudio Photography by Rohspace via UNStudio

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UNStudio installs new energy-generating facade for solar producer Hanwhas HQ

Relax and unwind in this tiny home with a walk-in hot tub

May 4, 2020 by  
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From climbing walls to a roaming music studio , we’ve seen a lot of ingenious tiny house features over the years. But this tiny home on wheels from Movable Roots has a distinct feature we never thought was possible — a walk-in hot tub! The Culp is a 500-square-foot home that, in addition to its accessible, spa-like bathroom, boasts unique cork flooring and an incinerating toilet. Based in Melbourne, Florida, Movable Roots has already made a name for itself as a leading builder of tiny homes. But The Culp is sure to rocket the company to sheer tiny home stardom. The 500-square-foot tiny home on wheels features a two-tone metal exterior that was chosen for its low-maintenance properties. The entrance is through a screened-in porch, which is a relaxing outdoor space to take in some fresh air while sipping a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a refreshing mint julep. Related: This tiny home on wheels features a cool laundry chute Inside, the interior design is modern and fresh. Comprised of white walls with plank-style cork flooring throughout, the living space has subtle gold and aqua accents that add character. The living room has enough space for a couch, which sits across from a low-lying gas fireplace and a flat-screen television mounted on the wall. A galley kitchen with standard-sized appliances is on one end, while the master bedroom is on the back end of the tiny home . Across from the kitchen, there is a set of stairs along the wall. These stairs lead up to dual loft spaces and double as storage. Spacious and naturally lit, the two lofts can be customized as guest rooms, offices or additional storage areas. In between the living room and the bedroom is the impressive bathroom. At the request of the client, the designers were able to make room for a walk-in hot tub — a feature not often seen in tiny homes. In addition to this soaking tub, the bathroom was also installed with an incinerating toilet, which eliminates the need for blackwater plumbing. + Movable Roots Via Tiny House Talk Images via Movable Roots

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Relax and unwind in this tiny home with a walk-in hot tub

Natural materials make up this energy-saving Jakarta home

April 24, 2020 by  
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Architecture firm Atelier Riri has reaped the energy-saving benefits of Indonesia’s tropical climate in their design of the House at Serpong, a climate-responsive suburban house in Jakarta . After conducting solar studies and site analyses, the architects crafted the four-story home with strategically placed voids, windows, elevated gardens and solar shading devices to reduce unwanted solar gain and take advantage of natural cooling. The home was built primarily of natural materials that give the building a warm and tactile feel. Completed last year, the House at Serpong directly faces a public park on the west side, while its side facade faces the south. To minimize unwanted solar gain , large facade elements were installed on the west and deep overhangs placed along the south. The architects further reduced the energy footprint of the building by setting the structure back from the north and east property lines to ensure that every room would receive indirect sunlight. A central courtyard and a series of open voids also help funnel light indoors and create a stack effect for natural cooling. Additionally, the home is equipped with an energy-saving air conditioning system, solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems on the roof.  The home comprises four levels, each designed for a different function. The ground floor includes the garage and service areas. Communal areas, such as the  open-plan  dining area, living room and kitchen are located on the second floor, as are a guest bedroom, office space and a courtyard with a reflecting pool. The master bedroom with ensuite bath, two additional bedrooms and a media room are on the third floor. The fourth and final floor includes a spacious living area with a kitchen that opens up to an L-shaped rooftop deck and garden through folding doors.  Related: A beachside resort on a remote Indonesian island resembles a traditional village “This house aimed to redefine the modern community of people in Indonesia with a strong composition form using dominant and contextual natural materials,” explained the architects in a project statement. “Each stone, wood, rattan and metal provides unique textural identities in a dynamic line and form.” + Atelier Riri Images by Daniel Jiang

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Natural materials make up this energy-saving Jakarta home

Indonesian Microlibrary uses prefab FSC-certified timber

April 23, 2020 by  
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In the Indonesian city of Semarang, international architecture firm SHAU has completed Microlibrary Warak Kayu, an inspiring new public space that raises the bar for community design and sustainable architecture. Prefabricated with only FSC-certified timber, the new neighborhood icon is the fifth built project in the Microlibrary series, an initiative to encourage reading in low-income areas by creating “socially performative multifunctional community spaces with environmentally conscious designs and materials.” In addition to the exclusive use of sustainably grown and logged timbers, the project is the first library in Indonesia made entirely of FSC-certified wood. The Microlibrary Warak Kayu is also designed around passive solar principles so that no air conditioning is needed. Built for approximately $75,000, the Microlibrary Warak Kayu was made possible through a collaborative community, private sector and government partnership. As a gift from the Arkatama Isvara Foundation to the City of Semarang, the Microlibrary is free and open for public use. Inspired by traditional Indonesian architecture, the architects modeled the building after the ‘rumah panggung’ (house on stilts) and elevated the structure to create various spatial configurations. The diamond-shaped  brise soleil  that wraps around the building evokes the scales of the local mythical creature ‘Warak Ngendog.’ That likeness gave rise to the building’s name, Warak Kayu, which means Wooden Warak.  In addition to celebrating elements of local culture and architecture, the microlibrary serves as a living educational showcase for Indonesian engineered wood products and manufacturing capabilities. All the wooden materials were sustainably logged in Central Kalimantan and then shipped from Sampit over the Java Sea to the nearby Semarang factory, where PT Kayu Lapis Indonesia handled the  prefabrication  process. A variety of timbers were used, from the tropical hardwood Bangkirai for the main structural frame to different Meranti-based plywoods for the decking and the brise soleil.  Related: Microlibrary built with 2,000 recycled ice cream buckets tackles illiteracy in Indonesia Although temperatures in Semarang can rise into the 90s, the Microlibrary Warak Kayu stays naturally cool thanks to the implementation of passive climate principles. The brise soleil and deep roof overhangs protect the interior from unwanted solar gain, while openings promote  cross ventilation to cool the building. The natural breezes also help protect books from moisture damage caused by humidity.  + SHAU Images by KIE

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