LEED Gold-targeted Ottawa library will honor local history

February 13, 2020 by  
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After nearly a year of public input by Canadians from coast to coast, Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects has finally revealed renderings for the new Ottawa library and archives. Designed in collaboration with KWC Architects , the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will be an innovative landmark representative of all Canadians. The building will target, at minimum, LEED Gold certification and will reflect the region’s rich history and natural beauty with its organic and dynamic design oriented for unparalleled views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills in Quebec. The recently unveiled designs for the Ottawa library are the result of an unprecedented public co-design process called the “Inspire555 Series” after the building’s address at 555 Albert Street, on the western edge of downtown Ottawa . The process, which began in February last year, asked residents, indigenous communities and Canadians from across the country to participate in a series of design workshops, pop-up events, expert lectures and online activities to shape the design and direction of the public institution. More than 4,000 people contributed to the library’s major design themes, which include accessibility, a sense of welcoming for diverse groups and needs, site-specific elements and a connection to nature.  Related: Henning Larsen’s energy-efficient Kiruna Town Hall opens to the public As a result, the final design takes cues from Ottawa’s environment with an undulating form that references the nearby Ottawa River. The stone and wood exterior grounds the building into the nearby escarpment landscape, while the top floors, rooftop and abundance of glazing frame views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills. The five-story building will be organized around a large town hall at its heart and will include exhibition and collections spaces, reading rooms, a creative center, a children’s area, a genealogy center and a cafe. “The location at a cultural crossroads of a route that traces the three founding peoples — French, English and Indigenous — underscores the spirit of confluence in the building’s design and the possibilities for these memory institutions in a modern facility to advance the Canadian story,” said Donald Schmitt, principal of Diamond Schmitt Architects. The joint facility has a CA $193 million ($145 million) budget and is scheduled to open in 2024. + Diamond Schmitt Architects Images via Diamond Schmitt Architects

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LEED Gold-targeted Ottawa library will honor local history

In Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the Avant Cycle Cafe builds community

February 6, 2020 by  
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It all started with a flat tire. A man cycling through Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was charmed by the historic town but really wished it had a bike shop to fix his flat. This cycling mishap has morphed into Avant Cycle Cafe , a community hub that combines a full-service bike shop with excellent coffee and pastries. “Cyclists have a natural inclination to coffee,” managers Ann Esarco and Andrew Gruber told Inhabitat. “When the two worlds came together, it was just a natural fit.” The city of Lake Geneva sits 10 miles north of the Illinois state line in southeastern Wisconsin. Its population of about 7,700 swells in summer, when droves of people from Chicago come for boating and other warm-weather sports. The architecture is another draw. The area saw an upsurge in construction at the end of the 19th century, and many Victorian mansions still stand. This makes the town and environs a compelling place to explore on foot or by bike. Local sourcing at Avant Cycle Cafe The cafe’s menu focuses on hot drinks and treats. Avant Cycle Cafe serves cider made from locally grown apples and has a case full of baked goods. Don’t expect to just order a regular coffee. You can choose from drip, pour over or French press, plus the full range of espresso drinks. You might also be surprised to find that a cafe in a small town in the famous dairy state of Wisconsin offers almond, soy, oat and coconut milk alternatives . Related: San Francisco bike shop lets you trade in car for e-bike This is no ordinary coffee, either. Avant Cycle Cafe sources its beans from Lake Geneva Coffee Roastery . Owner Jeremiah Fox started roasting his own coffee on his stovetop in 2012. Now, the coffee entrepreneur, who is visually impaired, uses his other senses — hearing, taste and smell — to fine-tune his commercial roast profiles. Talking timers and special tactile points on the controls of his machinery allow him to adjust the air flow and temperature for his small-batch coffee. Fox uses electricity for a clean air process, versus roasting with gas, which pollutes both the beans and the air with hydrogen sulfide. According to Fox, his process also makes for coffee that’s easier on customers’ stomachs. Building a cycling community Tourism is seasonal. While some people do visit in winter, summer is high season for Lake Geneva. Avant Cycle Cafe values its summer customers and is happy when they return for more coffee and another bike rental. Both tourists and locals join a series of summer Sunday breakfast rides, where groups pedal together to area restaurants, diners and cafes . The rides are casual with a no-drop policy, meaning nobody gets left behind. Once, the group rode out to see Fox’s coffee roasting operation in the nearby town of Elkhorn. The rides are usually 12 to 15 miles each way. Avant Cycle Cafe believes in cultivating local community year-round, not just when the sun is shining and tourists fill hotel beds. “Our locals are fantastic,” Esarco and Gruber said. They even have one customer who comes in three times a day. In addition to the cafe and bike shop, an upstairs area called The Loft is a rustic, bright and cozy room open to customers for studying and relaxing. It can also be reserved for private events like engagement parties, bridal showers and youth group meetings. This year, Avant Cycle Cafe is hosting a weekly Tuesday night program called 13 Weeks of Winter. “It’s an effort to engage the community in providing entertaining and enriching activities when most people aren’t even thinking of cycling,” Esarco and Gruber explained. While some topics are very on-point, such as a talk by cycling icon Lon Haldeman, an intro to bike maintenance and learning opportunities about the history of coffee, others draw on the community’s wider expertise. Local art gallery ReVive Studio will lead a mosaic pendant class in March. Another night, people can come for Reiki healing. The Chili for Charity contest brought together 10 local restaurants and recently raised more than $1,000 for local organizations. As Esarco and Gruber put it, “Cycling and coffee is just the meeting ground. The community expands out from there.” What’s next for biking in Lake Geneva? Workers at Avant Cycle Cafe are actively making Lake Geneva a better biking town. They’ve begun working with the national Rails to Trails Conservancy, which takes disused railroad tracks and converts them to multi-use trails for hiking and cycling. They are also lobbying elected officials to incorporate bikes into urban planning . “Our aim is to include a marked bike lane on the renovations to Highway 120 from just outside Lake Geneva to the White River State Trail ,” Esarco and Gruber said. This 19-mile trail follows a former rail corridor and is only a few miles from Lake Geneva, so a marked bike lane would greatly improve safe access. Avant Cycle Cafe just started selling and servicing e-bikes , which could give some would-be cyclists an extra boost of confidence. This summer, the cafe will also be offering private, guided tours around the lake. “It’s been wonderful to be in a position to get more people on bikes, having fun and riding around beautiful Lake Geneva,” Esarco and Gruber said. “We want to make Lake Geneva the place to be for cyclists.” + Avant Cycle Cafe Photography by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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In Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the Avant Cycle Cafe builds community

Breezy, prefab cafe blends contemporary and traditional styles in Thailand

July 24, 2018 by  
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BodinChapa Architects designed Pasang, a contemporary, prefab cafe built with modular elements near the verdant city of Chiang Rai, Thailand . Envisioned as a community space where visitors and locals can interact and learn about the region’s relationship with pineapple farming, the cafe references the landscape with its natural material palette. Fitted with operable wood and glass louvers, the building can also be opened up to cross breezes for natural ventilation. Located in a “sufficient economy village” and slightly hidden away from sight, the 90-square-meter Pasang takes its architectural cues from the country’s Lanna vernacular architecture, which used prefabrication in the construction of houses and temples. Constructed with a steel frame fitted with glass, the cafe was designed to embrace the surrounding landscape of fields, fruit orchards, stream and mountains beyond. To mitigate the region’s tropical climate and harsh solar gain, the architects partially wrapped the glass facade with screens of operable louvers . The glazed casement windows can also be opened to let in cooling breezes. “Designed to span the pillar every 1 meter with wood louvers and glass louvers between, the structure can serve as both the wall of the building and voids for natural ventilation ,” explained the architects in a project statement. “By opening all the louvers, [one] can clearly see the form of the architecture and connection of the interior. The building has conveyed a locality in a contemporary style, which is a combination of traditional local wisdom and modern construction technology.” Related: Colossal cardboard temple pops up in Chiang Mai in just one day The cafe is topped with gabled roofs to echo the surrounding architecture. The light-filled interior is divided into split levels to allow for views and to avoid obstructing the flow of natural light and breezes indoors. The kitchen and main seating area are located on the ground floor, while the bathrooms are housed in a freestanding concrete structure. Additional seating can be found on the upper level. + BodinChapa Architects Images by Rungkit Charoenwat

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Breezy, prefab cafe blends contemporary and traditional styles in Thailand

This British caf is serving to-go coffee in ceramic mugs to combat waste

July 5, 2018 by  
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A coffee shop northeast of London wants to serve its customers coffee in a mug from your home.  La Tour Cycle Café has a novel idea to stop its reliance on disposable coffee cups: pour everything into reusable ceramic mugs, even if the order is to-go. A 2017 report from Britain’s House of Commons discovered as many as 2.5 billion coffee cups are disposed across the United Kingdom every year. This equates to more than 6.8 million cups per day. To cut down the amount of waste from hot beverages, the La Tour Cycle Café has started serving everything — including to-go beverages — in  reusable mugs . Although customers sometimes choose to take their beverages with them, supplying more mugs for the next customer isn’t a problem for the café. Every day, the business puts out a collection basket for coffee drinkers to return their cups . While many choose to come back with their glassware, even more use the opportunity to clean out their cabinets and donate their unused mugs to the café. “We’ve all got mugs languishing in our cupboards that we no longer need,” Anna Matthews, the owner of La Tour Cycle Café, told the BBC . “Why not donate them to your local coffee shop and allow people to actually have a hot drink in a china cup while they walk around?” Related: German city offers ingenious alternative to single-use coffee cups The unique program allows people to reduce the amount of waste destined for landfills  while still enjoying their favorite beverages. But reusing and recycling isn’t a new concept for Matthews and La Tour Cycle. Earlier in 2018, Matthews worked with a contractor team to transform a vacated building. Matthews was able to move her business into the bigger space, which features better wheelchair accessibility and public art displays. The café — and its eclectic collection of coffee mugs — only plans to be in the new space for two years;  Matthews has aspirations to move and give new life to another abandoned building by then. + La Tour Cycle Café Via BBC , The East Anglican Daily Times  and  Treehugger

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This British caf is serving to-go coffee in ceramic mugs to combat waste

Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffees first Kyoto location

June 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese architecture firm Schemata Architects has unveiled Blue Bottle Coffee’s first outpost in Kyoto  – and it’s housed in a century-old building. Following the aesthetic of the previous Schemata-designed Blue Bottle cafes in Tokyo, the newest location features a minimalist and modern design that takes inspiration from the surrounding urban fabric. The two-story structure was carefully overhauled to allow for new functionality while preserving and exposing historic elements. Completed in March this year, the Blue Bottle Coffee Kyoto Cafe is located near the base of Kyoto’s forested Higashiyama mountains and along the approach to Nanzen-ji Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple and one of the historic city’s top tourist attractions. The cafe was built inside a traditional Japanese townhouse (known as ‘machiya’) consisting of two separate buildings. Schemata Architects renovated the buildings into a ‘Merchandise building’ and a ‘Cafe building’ with a total floor area of nearly 3,500 square feet. As was typical of traditional Japanese architecture at the turn of the 20th century, the original floors of the machiya were raised nearly 20 inches off the ground. To create a seamless appearance and to accommodate patrons with special mobility needs, the Blue Bottle Cafe’s architects demolished the raised wooden floors and made them level with the ground. The new floors feature terrazzo containing the same type of pebbles used outside. The same terrazzo material was also used in the counters and benches. Related: Tokyo capsule hotel gets a Finnish-inspired refresh and sauna “The floor inside the counter is also level with the customer area to maintain the same eye level between customers and staff following the same concept as the other shops, while integrating Japanese and American cultures at the same time,” said the architects. “The continuous white floor is stripped of all unnecessary things and the structure is stripped of existing finishes to expose the original roof structure and clay walls, and one can see traces of its 100-year old history throughout the large, medium and small spaces in the structure originally composed of two separate buildings.” The second floor has been converted into an open-plan office with glass frontage. + Schemata Architects Images by Takumi Ota

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Undulating green-roofed aquarium proposed for Viennas Schnbrunn Zoo

April 30, 2018 by  
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3XN and GERNER GERNER PLUS recently revealed their proposal for the design of a new aquarium for Vienna’s Schönbrunn Zoo. Titled “Poseidon’s Realm,” the proposed aquarium stretches across the landscape like an undulating “veil” that the architects describe as “elegant, simple and mysterious.” The green-roofed design received second place in an international design competition for the aquarium, with the winner yet to be announced. Created in collaboration with aquarium specialists ATT, Poseidon’s Realm covers 65,000 square feet across four floors. The aquarium was envisioned to be built mainly of concrete and is embedded into the landscape to look like a natural extension of the earth. A wave-shaped green roof marks the entrance to the “softly undulating waterworld” where a rich diversity of environments differing in temperatures, sounds, lighting and spatial layouts welcome visitors. Related: Northern Europe’s largest aquarium unveiled for former Oslo airport site A massive shark tanks forms the focal point of the building and its size would have necessitated a 21-inch-thick glass display in addition to extra floor reinforcement. The end of the aquarium is marked with a cafe and shop, as well as a path that leads to an outdoor terrace . A walkway also traces its way to the landscaped roof of the aquarium where an aviary for bearded vultures is located. + 3XN + GERNER GERNER PLUS Via ArchDaily Images via 3XN and GERNER GERNER PLUS

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Undulating green-roofed aquarium proposed for Viennas Schnbrunn Zoo

Pyramidal floating buildings envisioned for a self-sustaining city on the sea

April 30, 2018 by  
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As the world’s first floating city draws closer to completion, designers like Pierpaolo Lazzarini have begun drawing up their own utopian sea-based societies as well. The Italian designer recently unveiled plans for Wayaland, a floating self-sustainable community comprising solar- and wind- powered pyramidal buildings. Lazzarini hopes to turn the futuristic scheme into reality with a crowdfunding campaign that offers people the chance to stay in a yet-to-be-completed floating module for €1,000 ($1,200) a night. Inspired by ancient Mayan architecture, the pyramidal buildings comprise stacked prefabricated modules that can be adapted for a variety of purposes, from housing to entertainment. Powered by solar and wind energy, each relatively lightweight structure would be built from a combination of fiberglass , carbon and steel. The submerged floating basement would house the engine that propels the buildings, energy storage, and other service equipment like desalinators. Related: World’s first floating city one step closer to reality in French Polynesia Lazzarini hopes to jumpstart his floating city dream with a crowdfunding campaign targeting €350,000 ($423,000), the amount he says is necessary to build The Waya Suite, a residential floating module measuring 1,076 square feet over two floors with an expected delivery date of 2022. Supporters can pre-order a night on the home for €1,000 ($1,200) a night. + Wayaland Via New Atlas Images via Pierpaolo Lazzarini

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Pyramidal floating buildings envisioned for a self-sustaining city on the sea

Small town restauranteurs transform former church into a stunning cafe

January 20, 2016 by  
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California’s Cat Town is Opening the First Permanent Cat Café in the U.S.

October 2, 2014 by  
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Oakland’s Cat Town , a nonprofit cat rescue and adoption organization, is set to open the first permanent cat café in the U.S. this month. Following the hugely popular Japanese cat café model, café-goers will be able to enjoy tasty drinks and snacks, then slip into the adjacent “Cat Zone” for some feline snuggles. All the cats at the café will be rescue cats, and all will be up for adoption – should you fall in love and decide you want more than just a coffee to go. Read the rest of California’s Cat Town is Opening the First Permanent Cat Café in the U.S. Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal welfare , cafe , California , cat adoption , cat café US , cat cafe , cat rescue , Cat Town , Cat Town Café , Cat Town Café first cat café in America , cats , dining , nonprofit , oakland

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California’s Cat Town is Opening the First Permanent Cat Café in the U.S.

Jensen Architects’ Green “SHED” Takes Modern Grange Ideals to New Heights

July 25, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Jensen Architects’ Green “SHED” Takes Modern Grange Ideals to New Heights Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , barn , cafe , California , farming , grange , healdsburg , Jensen Architects , shed , store , Sustainable        

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