MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof

March 21, 2019 by  
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Hot on the heels of its bold “ Times Square” proposal for Taiwan’s capital, MVRDV has broken ground on another project — this time for the island’s southern city of Tainan. Created in collaboration with local architectural firm LLJ Architects, the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market is a wholesale, open-air market that will not only serve as an important hub for the city’s food supply chain, but will also serve as a new public destination. The landmark building will be topped with an undulating green roof that will be accessible to the public and used for growing crops. Because of its large size, the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market will be located in a suburban district to the far east of the city center yet strategically placed near Highway 3 and public transportation links for the convenience of traders, buyers and visitors. Spanning an area of nearly 20 acres, the market will include space for auctions, logistics, freezer storage, service facilities, a restaurant, administrative offices and more. “Tainan, in my opinion, is one of those towns which is so beautiful to me because maybe most of its nature, agriculture fields, farms, sea and mountains,” said Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “Tainan Market can become a building that symbolizes this beauty as it compliments both landscape and its surrounding environment. It is completely functional and caters to the needs for auctioning, selling and buying goods, but its terraced roof with its collection of growing products will allow visitors to take in the landscape while escaping from bustle below.’’ Related: MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone The first phase of the development will be an open-air structure topped with an undulating, terraced green roof accessible from the eastern corner. The terraces of the roof will each be dedicated to growing a different crop — such as pineapples, rice, roses and tea — and will be furnished with benches and picnic tables for visitors to enjoy the surrounding views. The market is slated for completion in late 2020. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof

Site-sensitive Woodhouse Hotel promotes agricultural tourism in Guizhou

March 20, 2019 by  
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In China’s southwest province of Guizhou, Shanghai-based architectural practice ZJJZ has completed the Woodhouse Hotel, a government-backed agricultural tourism project that consists of 10 single-story timber cabins embedded into the hillside in the remote village of Tuanjie. As one of the first projects carried out under the government’s policy to help alleviate rural poverty through environmentally sensitive tourism, the Woodhouse Hotel was designed and constructed with as little site impact as possible. Because the village of Tuanjie had little traditional architecture to draw inspiration from, the architects took cues from the surrounding landscape instead. Free from pollution and blessed with striking views, the village’s surroundings prompted the architects to divide the hotel up into a series of simple timber volumes so as to minimize the development’s visual presence. Each cabin, clad in charred timber , was carefully placed on the rocky terrain to minimize site damage and to capture the best views. “The design of the wood houses aims to harmonize with the landscape and the rustic atmosphere while forming a contrast to the existing village buildings,” the architects explained in their project statement. “Therefore, we avoided complex or exaggerated designs and selected three basic geometric forms. Each house serves as a separate room. The volumes of the rooms are minimized to reduce the sense of presence in the environment while ensuring indoor comfort. For interior space, various windows are cut out in each house according to their form and orientation, introducing rich layers of surrounding landscapes into the pure volumes.” Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills Given the complex terrain and desire to minimize damage to the original rock formations, site surveys were carried out to map the optimal locations for the buildings while all construction materials were manually transported up the mountain. The architects applied a combined structural system for each cabin, built with a wooden frame atop an elevated steel platform. The timber facade was charred on-site to reduce costs. + ZJJZ Photography by  Laurian Ghinitoiu  via ZJJZ

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Site-sensitive Woodhouse Hotel promotes agricultural tourism in Guizhou

Green-roofed timber dwelling in Austria is built with recycled materials

March 19, 2019 by  
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In the historic Austrian village of Purkersdorf, Vienna-based architectural practice Juri Troy Architects has completed the L House, a timber home named after its L-shaped form integrated with sustainable design elements. Built with numerous recycled materials, the house forms a strong connection with nature from its green roof to its large windows that sweep views of the bucolic outdoors in. Nestled into a southern slope above the village of Purkersdorf, the 3,450-square-foot L House boasts striking views of the Vienna woods. Despite its corner lot location, the home’s elevated position affords it privacy; the lower level of the two-story home is obscured from view. As a result, most of the bedrooms are located on the ground floor, where they open up to a south-facing outdoor terrace . The cantilevered upper volume primarily consists of the living spaces, including an open-plan dining area, kitchen and living room that open up to a covered outdoor terrace. The parking pad and main entrance are also on this level as is a bedroom suite. To take advantage of views, floor-to-ceiling glazing opens the open-plan living areas up to the outdoors on two sides. To the south is the public-facing terrace, while the more private outdoor spaces—a courtyard and terrace with a natural pool—are tucked into the hillside. In addition to the use of white fir for cladding the upper volume, the architects also lined the interior walls and ceilings with white fir and built the doors and furnishings out of the same material. Related: A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow As part of L House’s sustainability-focused design, the architects also used numerous recycled materials and topped part of the building with a green roof that buffers rainfall and improves roof insulation. Deep roof overhangs mitigate unwanted solar heat gain while large operable glazing lets in an abundance of natural light and natural ventilation. + Juri Troy Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Juri Troy

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Green-roofed timber dwelling in Austria is built with recycled materials

Solar-powered home takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes in Los Angeles

March 19, 2019 by  
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Crafted to embrace spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the Ziering Residence is defined by its dramatically curved architecture and walls of glass. Local practice SPF: architects designed the contemporary house that’s perched high in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles and engineered to take advantage of passive systems, including cooling ocean breezes and the thermal mass of concrete floors. The home also reduces its energy footprint with rooftop solar panels and solar hot water heaters. With Pacific Ocean views on one side and the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains on the other, the solar powered  Ziering Residence was designed to embrace panoramic views on both sides while maintaining a deliberately low-slung profile so as not to obstruct views for neighboring residences. For privacy, the street-facing facade of the dwelling is clad in an ipe wood rainscreen. In contrast, the courtyard side is wrapped in sliding floor-to-ceiling glazing that seamlessly connects the interiors to the outdoors. The spacious 9,000-square-foot home is marked by an open-floor plan. The main living areas are housed in the curved section of the building, along with a guest suite, and overlook views of the ocean as well as the outdoor pool, courtyard  and long wood deck. A large kitchen and parlor connects the curved wing with the bedroom wing that juts out towards the ocean and contains the master bedroom. The lower level, which is partly submerged underground, contains an office, two additional bedrooms, a study, technical rooms, a sauna and a gym. Related: Wave-inspired Rainbow Bridge in Long Beach is covered in mini gardens and twinkling LED lights In addition to rooftop solar panels and passive solar principles , the Ziering Residence reduces its energy footprint by limiting the mechanical AC to only the kitchen, master suite and study. “A patented ‘Climate Right System’ designed and fabricated by the project engineer coordinates and controls all the systems, and a heat recovery ventilation program provides for the continuous cycling of fresh outside air,” the architects add. “Resulting utility costs are kept to a minimum, and like the rest of the home’s design and intent energy use is dictated, maintained, and heavily influenced by the natural climate.” + SPF: architects Images by Bruce Damonte

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Solar-powered home takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes in Los Angeles

A modern timber house in Indonesia celebrates mummified wood

March 18, 2019 by  
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When Bandung-based architectural studio Aaksen Responsible Aarchitecture was asked to renovate an old house in the West Java neighborhood of Kiaracondong in Indonesia, they made a surprising discovery. During the demolition process, the architects found that the wooden roof truss structure was in very good condition, despite its age, thanks to a culturally significant type of timber, a kind of Albizzia wood that’s been mummified to improve strength and durability. Described by the architects as a “local treasure,” the timber was not only preserved in the roof truss, but also becomes a defining element in the contemporary home, aptly named the Albizzia House. Completed in 2019, the Albizzia House spans an area of approximately 2,000 square feet across two floors. The existing timber house was partly demolished to allow for a reorganization of the layout and a structural expansion. Organized around a light-filled atrium housing the primarily living spaces, the home now includes three bedrooms, garden and terrace spaces, a reading room and a ground-floor prayer room. Natural light and ventilation is optimized in the renovated dwelling. One of the key changes to the house was the addition of timber cladding as a secondary skin to mitigate unwanted solar heat gain and privacy concerns. The vertical timber slats—and interior wooden furnishings—are a visual continuation of the Albizzia wood used as accents in the ceiling and reading room. The preserved wood in the existing building’s roof truss is also highlighted with the expansion of the truss into the new structure. Related: Green-roofed Hanging Villa is embedded into a lush jungle landscape Although Albizzia, a fast-growing and economical timber, is typically considered low-grade due to its weak and brittle qualities, local farmers in Ciamis, West Java, discovered long ago a method to improve upon the strength of the wood. In this “long-established technology,” the locally procured wood is buried under the paddy fields after the harvest season and the timber is then “mummified” in the compaction process, which, according to the architects, greatly increases the wood grade. + Aaksen Responsible Aarchitecture Via ArchDaily Images by KIE

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UN predicts dire future for planet unless people change their ways NOW

March 18, 2019 by  
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The United Nations’ newest Global Environmental Outlook reinforces the worries of everyone concerned about the environment and our planet’s future. The 708-page report, released last week, examines human-inflicted woes on air, land and water. Scientists urge humans to immediately change their ways before we render Earth inhabitable. To those who have been paying attention to the planet’s decline, this report will not be news. But seeing all this human-wrought destruction in one enormous document makes for a grim, and even, shocking read. A few lowlights: Most land habitats have decreased in productivity for growing food and other vegetation; urban development and agriculture have claimed 40 percent of wetlands since 1970; water quality continues to worsen, due in part to chemical pollution; biodiversity is tanking, with many land, marine and freshwater species at risk for extinction; a third of the world’s people lack safe sanitation. Related: Air pollution is killing Europeans at an alarming rate With human population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, these problems will only increase. “The science is clear,” Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of U.N. Environment, said in a briefing. “The health and prosperity of humanity is directly tied with the state of our environment .” If we don’t change our ways soon, she said, the problem won’t be reversible. Changes in consumption, energy creation and waste disposal are crucial. Fortunately, the new UN report also contains solutions. For example, changing agricultural practices and redistributing food could help stem land degradation and biodiversity loss. More efficiently using and storing water, and investing in desalination, could improve the water scarcity situation. But it will take more than well-meaning individuals to reverse Earth’s fast track toward destruction. Politicians and policy makers around the world will need to join together to devise and enforce strategies to stabilize and improve water , air and land quality before it’s too late. Via National Geographic Image via 

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UN predicts dire future for planet unless people change their ways NOW

Singapores new-build, first net-zero energy building opens its doors

March 12, 2019 by  
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Opened earlier this year, the newly completed NUS School of Design & Environment 4 (SDE4) is distinguished as Singapore’s first new-build, net-zero energy building school. Developed by the School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore and designed by Serie + Multiply Architects with Surbana Jurong , the six-story multidisciplinary building is located on a hillock along Clementi Road near the southern coastline of Singapore where it joins a larger campus redevelopment. Engineered to strict net-zero energy standards, the 8,500-square-meter building is powered with over 1,200 rooftop solar photovoltaic panels and features a climate-responsive design to stay naturally cool in the region’s tropical climate. Serie + Multiply Architects and Surbana Jurong won the bid for the academic building through an international design competition back in 2013 with their design of a porous structure meant to blur the boundaries between the indoors and outdoors. Instead of creating a hermetically sealed environment heavily reliant on AC—like many of Singapore’s buildings—the architects wanted to integrate Singapore’s lush tropics into the building. Not only do landscape views and natural ventilation penetrate the building, but nature has also been made part of the teaching curriculum, from the planting palette that incorporates many native species to the south gardens that serve as a natural purification system for stormwater runoff. SDE4 includes over 1,500 square meters of design studio space, a 500-square-meter open plaza, public and social spaces, workshops, research centers, a cafe and library. The rooms are designed for flexibility with layouts that can be rearranged to suit diverse usage. The net-zero energy building also takes inspiration from vernacular Southeast Asian tropical architecture with an abundance of verandas and shaded terraces. Natural ventilation is supplemented with an innovative hybrid cooling system that feeds rooms with 100% pre-cooled air that work in tandem with ceiling fans. Related: A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture “Buildings are not isolated entities in their own context,” Lam Khee Poh, Dean of the School of Design and Environment, explains. “They form an environment, a precinct, or a neighborhood supporting community activities, which is crucial for all educational institutions. Our students and faculty get the opportunity to learn both inside and outside the classroom , being engaged in an integrated process of designing, developing, constructing, and operating state-of-the-art buildings that will, in turn, influence them to adapt their own behavior when they occupy it.” + Serie + Multiply Architects + Surbana Jurong Images by Rory Gardiner

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Singapores new-build, first net-zero energy building opens its doors

Green-roofed home in Atlanta offers a digital detox with lush nature views

March 6, 2019 by  
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Designed to focus on life in the outdoors, the Split Box House in Atlanta is a quiet, nature-inspired retreat for a family eager to escape from the distractions of the digital world. Designed by local architectural practice DiG Architects , the green-roofed home emphasizes both energy efficiency and indoor-outdoor living throughout. In addition to lush landscaped roofs that help mitigate stormwater runoff and energy consumption, massive low-E windows flood the interior with natural light to reduce dependence on artificial lighting. Covering an area of 2,646 square feet, the Split Box House was created for a busy working couple with three children who wanted a home refreshingly different from the “surrounding banal spec homes, each a louder spectacle than the next.” As a result, the architects focused on a simple and contemporary design that started as a long, 22-foot-wide rectangular volume — the width was based on the distance that a reasonably sized wood truss can span — that then morphed into two rotated and perpendicularly set L-shaped volumes, each roughly equivalent in size and housing the public and private spaces separately. “Arranged in an efficient pattern to eliminate waste, the primary exterior cladding of the box is a low-maintenance gray cement panel,” the architects said. “The panels, attached as an open joint ventilated rainscreen system, help manage moisture intrusion and reduce energy consumption. A complimentary warm ipe wood, alluding to the softer interiors of the house, clads the cuts. Comprised of the bedrooms upstairs and the guesthouse on the main level, the private functions bridge across a covered breezeway creating an outdoor room with a view corridor to the woods and access to the main and guest house entrances.” Related: Green-roofed home is built of waste bricks and wood in Poland The light-filled interiors are mostly dressed in white walls, timber surfaces and minimalist decor so as not to detract attention from the outdoors. A series of site walls were built to mitigate the steep property and form a terraced garden planted with long grasses that reinforces the geometric form of the house. + DiG Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Alexander Herring via DiG Architects

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New hope for plastic recycling with IBM’s VolCat technology

March 6, 2019 by  
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Think how much more material would be reused if plastic recycling didn’t entail washing, sorting and individual processing. Now, IBM researchers have developed a new chemical process called VolatileCatalyst that eliminates these steps. VolCat recycling grinds up plastics, adds a chemical catalyst and cooks them at temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius. The chemicals eat through polymer strands, producing a fine white powder ready to be made into new containers. By heating PET with ethylene glycol and the catalyst, lab workers depolymerize plastic . After distillation, filtration, purification and cooling, scientists eventually recover usable matter called a monomer—in this case the white powder. This process digests and cleans the ground plastic, separating contaminants like dyes, glue and food residue. Related: 6 places to find the best recycled building materials PET is an abbreviation for polyethylene terephthalate, the chemical name for polyester. This type of plastic is used to manufacture containers for two-liter bottles of soft drinks, water bottles, salad dressings, cooking oil, shampoo, liquid hand soap and carry-out food containers. It’s even found in carpet, clothing and tennis balls. DuPont chemists first synthesized PET in the 1940s, probably never guessing that 70 years later between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic would wind up in the ocean each year. Humans have produced more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic since its invention. About half of new plastic becomes trash each year. By 2050, some scientists project there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean . VolCat developers hope to reverse this destructive trend. According to the researchers’ statement, “In the next five years, plastic recycling advancements like VolCat could be adopted around the globe to combat global plastic waste . People at the grocery store buying a bottle of soda or container of strawberries will know that the plastic they’ve purchased won’t end up in the ocean, but instead will be repurposed and put back on the shelf.” + IBM Images via Shutterstock

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Breezy caravan-inspired annex uses passive design for thermal comfort

February 28, 2019 by  
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In Melbourne, Australia, a 1960s family home has been updated with a new contemporary extension that draws inspiration from a traveling caravan. Flanked by lush greenery, the Bent Annexe is filled with natural light and designed to follow passive solar principles for energy efficiency. The modern addition was designed by Australian architectural practice BENT Architecture for an outdoor-loving family of four and their two active Dachshunds. The primary goal of the Bent Annexe was to open the relatively introverted midcentury home up to the garden and bring greater amounts of natural light and ventilation into the living spaces. To that end, the architects removed existing ancillary structures in the rear of the property to make space for the new addition . With the primary living spaces now located in the annex, the architects also took the opportunity to remodel the existing dwelling, which now houses larger bedrooms, a family bathroom, and a second living space. “The trick to making the Annexe feel like a part of the garden is creating green spaces on both sides, by separating the addition from the original home with a courtyard ,” the architects explain of their design process. “Of course, the central courtyard improves cross-flow ventilation and lets north light into the master bedroom, but with full-height windows on both sides of the living area, it also creates the illusion of one continuous space, blurring the boundary between inside and outside.” Related: A 1960s home gets a modern facelift with solar panels and rainwater collection Built to wrap around the original home beneath a continuous roofline, the extension houses open-plan living areas that overlook the landscape through full-height glazing and casement windows. A retractable shading device—a caravan-inspired canvas element—provides shade to a decked outdoor dining area that strengthens the home’s new indoor/ outdoor connection. The use of concrete floors for thermal mass and operable louver windows help passively heat and cool the space to reduce the home’s energy bills. + BENT Architecture Via ArchDaily Images © Tatjana Plitt

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Breezy caravan-inspired annex uses passive design for thermal comfort

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