The largest green wall in Europe will absorb 8 tons of air pollution per year

December 10, 2019 by  
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Located in London, U.K., the Citicape House by Sheppard Robson will feature a 40,000-square-foot green wall , the largest in Europe, that sets the standard for urban green development in the city. Not only is Citicape House designed to become a five-star hotel, but its living wall will also absorb a projected 8 tons of air pollution annually. The hotel, projected to be finished in 2024, will house 382 rooms, 40,000 square feet of workspace, a sky bar, meeting and event spaces, a spa and a restaurant on the ground floor. On the 11th floor, a public green space will be available as well, with an unobstructed rooftop view of St. Paul’s Cathedral. From there, the green wall, consisting of 400,000 plants, will wrap around the exterior of the building and contain designated spaces for threatened species of plants to grow undisturbed. Related: Retrofitted “green” living lamp posts in London reclaim water and run on solar power In addition to the 8 tons of air pollution that will be captured by the Citicape House each year, the building is also projected to produce 6 tons of oxygen and lower the surrounding temperature by between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the wall will trap about 500 kilograms of hazardous airborne particulate matter each year. Apart from the obvious air quality advantages, the building will take measures to function sustainably with features like air-source heat pumps and rainwater collection systems to provide irrigation to the living wall. This project sets an example for the Urban Greening Policy developed by the New London Plan, aimed toward encouraging businesses to prioritize urban greening with a mandated “Urban Greening Factor” (UGF). The Citicape House will exceed the required UGF by more than 45 times. With the massive, striking green wall located within London’s bustling Culture Mile, it is sure to inspire those who see it while addressing environmental issues and positively affecting the region. + Sheppard Robson Via Dezeen Images via Sheppard Robson

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The largest green wall in Europe will absorb 8 tons of air pollution per year

Low-impact Thai home uses modular design to harmonize with nature

December 10, 2019 by  
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Thai architectural firm TA-CHA Design has recently completed the Binary Wood House, a second home for a Bangkokian family of five that emphasizes environmentally friendly design. Located on a hill in Pak Chong in northeastern Thailand, the home was carefully sited to preserve existing Siamese Rosewood trees and is elevated to reduce site impact. To create a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience, the architects employed a modular design, designating each 3.4-meter module as either a “0 (unoccupied/open space)” or a “1 (occupied/close space)” in a binary system that also gave rise to the project’s name.  Spread out across 600 square meters, the Binary Wood House was initially meant to serve as an Airbnb or private resort but later morphed into a second home for the clients with room for their soon-to-retire parents. To lessen site impact, the architects opted to design the home with a metal structure clad in wood paneling instead of concrete. Approximately 80 percent of the wood used in construction was reclaimed . Local craftsmen were hired for the woodworking, which takes inspiration from the region’s traditional “Korat” houses. Related: Reclaimed materials star in this surf villa with ocean views in Bali “Throughout the entire design project of the house, there has been one and only core value on which the owner and the designers agree — to always hold the predecessors in high regard,” the architects said. “In other words, the house exists to respect those who came before, whether they be neighbors, local people, local animals and local trees.” In addition to elevating the home off the ground, the property reduces its environmental footprint by relying on natural cooling instead of air conditioning. Surrounded by covered terraces, the indoor-outdoor living areas feature operable shutters that let in cooling winds, while the preserved trees help mitigate unwanted solar gain. A reflecting pond was also added to increase moisture in the house. + TA-CHA Studio Photography by Beersingnoi via TA-CHA Studio

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Low-impact Thai home uses modular design to harmonize with nature

Artist unveils sand-covered traffic jam on Miami beach to protest climate change

December 9, 2019 by  
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Argentinian conceptual artist Leandro Erlich is already well-known for creating massive art installations that provoke reaction. This time, the innovative artist has unveiled his largest art installation yet — a collection of more than 60 “vehicles” made of sand that are stuck in a traffic jam on Miami Beach. According to the artist, the installation, called Order of Importance, was created to raise awareness to the burgeoning issue of climate change . Unveiled at Lincoln Road for this year’s Miami Art Week, the enormous art installation consists of 66 sand-covered sculptures in the shapes of cars and trucks. Placed in a straight line and separated by a divider, the “vehicles” are arranged to resemble a traffic jam. Seemingly made out of compacted sand, the sculptures are partially buried into the landscape, giving off the illusion that they are being slowly submerged underwater — a nod to the reality of rising sea levels caused by climate change. Related: Leandro Erlich unveils gravity-defying floating room in France The artist’s largest work to date, the project took three months to complete. The colossal installation is especially poignant in the Miami area, considering that the city is one of the many coastal cities around the world threatened by flooding from rising sea levels. At the unveiling, the artist revealed that his work was inspired by the ongoing climate crisis . “Climate change and its consequences are no longer a matter of perspective or opinion,” Erlich said. “The climate crisis has become an objective problem that requires immediate solutions. As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality. In particular, the idea that we cannot shrink away from our responsibilities to protect the planet.” The Order of Importance will be on display until December 15 on the oceanfront of Lincoln Road. Just mere steps away from the Miami Conference Center, visitors are invited to walk around the “traffic jam” while it lasts. + Leandro Erlich Via Dezeen Photography by Greg Lotus and Leandro Erlich Studio

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Artist unveils sand-covered traffic jam on Miami beach to protest climate change

Olson Kundig designs worlds first Recompose facility for composting human remains

December 3, 2019 by  
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Architectural practice Olson Kundig has unveiled designs for the flagship facility of Recompose, a company that will offer a new and sustainable after-death care service, in which human remains are gently converted into clean soil. Presented as a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional burials and cremations, Recompose’s “natural organic reduction” service expects to save over one metric ton of carbon dioxide per person as compared to typical after-death options. The flagship facility in Seattle will emphasize the service’s environmentally friendly aspects with the inclusion of greenery indoors and the use of modular, reusable architecture. In April 2019, Washington state passed a bill that allowed human remains to be composted — making it the first state to legalize such a practice. Yet even before the bill was passed, Katrina Spade, founder and CEO of the Recompose public benefit corporation, had already reached out to Olson Kundig’s design principal, Alan Maskin, in 2015 to begin designing the first prototype of the Recompose vessel. Related: 6 eco burial options for a green afterlife Expected to open in spring 2021, the 18,500-square-foot Seattle flagship facility for Recompose will be located in the city’s SODO neighborhood and will include a ceremonial disposition area ringed by trees, spaces for storage, an area for the preparation of bodies, administrative back-of-house areas and an interpretive public lobby that describes the Recompose process. Approximately 75 modular Recompose vessels — used to compost human remains into soil in about 30 days — will be stacked and arranged around the central gathering space. “This facility hosts the Recompose vessels, but it is also an important space for ritual and public gathering,” Maskin said. “The project will ultimately foster a more direct, participatory experience and dialogue around death and the celebration of life. We’re honored to be involved with this project, and excited for the first Recompose facility in the world to open its doors in Seattle .” + Olson Kundig Images via Olson Kundig

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Olson Kundig designs worlds first Recompose facility for composting human remains

Timber Woody office in France embraces Paris’ largest park

November 29, 2019 by  
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In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of construction, French architecture firm Atelier du Pont has created an office for Santé publique France, the French public healthcare agency. The new office is built almost entirely from wood and is free of solvents and plastics . Nicknamed “Woody” after its timber build, the office is located on the eastern edge of Paris right next to the Bois de Vincennes, the largest public park in the city. The architecture responds to the neighboring landscape with its branching design that embraces the surroundings “like open, protective arms.” Inspired by the Bois de Vincennes, Woody features an all-natural material palette of timber, which is used for everything from the cross-laminated timber structural components and oak flooring to the shingled facades and wood furnishings. Large, furnished terraces jut out from the building to overlook beautiful views of the wooded park, while expansive walls of glass bring those views and natural light indoors. The connection to nature is also referenced in the shape of the building, which resembles a bundle of sticks placed on the ground. Related: Railway enclave in Paris is transformed into a solar-powered mixed-use eco-district “This design symbolizes the mission of this institution, which oversees the health of everyone who lives in France ,” the architects explained in a press release. “The aim is to be exemplary in terms of its impact on the environment and the health. The project has created a pleasant space that takes its users’ wellbeing fully into account.” To create a healthy work environment, the architects have emphasized natural daylighting and a connection to nature. The neutral color palette and unpainted timber lend a warm and tactile feel to the interior. In addition to the nearby park, occupants can enjoy the three gardens around the building, each organized around a theme of beneficial, healing or harmful plants. + Atelier du Pont Photography by Takuji Shimmura via Atelier du Pont

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Timber Woody office in France embraces Paris’ largest park

These adaptive reuse hotel suites in Amsterdam are built inside old bridge houses

November 25, 2019 by  
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What were once 28 unused canal-side bridge houses are now a series of hotel suites reused by Dutch architecture firm Space&Matter for the SWEETS hotel. The hotel concept is that of adaptive reuse , essentially reusing an old building for something that it originally was not used for. More importantly, this approach gives new life to existing structures rather than deploying the extensive resources needed for new construction. Originally built spanning a time frame between 1673 and 2009, the old structures were used for the city’s bridge keepers, those who were responsible for the opening and closing of the bridges as boats and water traffic came through. In modern times, where the bridges are now controlled electronically, the houses eventually became vacant and unused. Related: Studio Puisto transforms an old bank into a modern hostel in Finland To avoid the structures falling into dangerous disrepair, the architects gave new life to the buildings. Even better, the hotel suites continue to respect the early architecture by each representing the history of the specific building through different architectural styles. Interiors of each house distinctly match the exterior in terms of style and architectural period. The suites became, in essence, tiny homes, marked by a distinctive minimal footprint with some floors originally as small as 21 square feet in size. The designers were forced into unique creativity, accomplishing tasks such as transforming small structures with just a few square feet of floor space into two-person, multilevel suites with a bathroom, a double bed, a seating area and a pantry. As of 2018, 11 of the homes were available to book, with the 17 remaining structures set to be remodeled in the coming years. Because the suites are connected through the canals, as the original bridge houses were, the concept is new to both visitors and locals alike. The project is an ode to the industrial and cultural heritage of Amsterdam and brings to light the importance of water to the area. The suites, spread all throughout the city, are a love letter to Amsterdam architecture, from Amsterdam School to Modernism. + SWEETS hotel + Space&Matter Via Dezeen Photography by Mirjam Bleeker and Lotte Holterman via SWEETS hotel

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These adaptive reuse hotel suites in Amsterdam are built inside old bridge houses

ZHA completes LEED Gold-targeted building with worlds largest atrium in Beijing

November 22, 2019 by  
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In China’s capital city, Zaha Hadid Architects has completed the Leeza SOHO tower, a 45-story skyscraper that boasts the world’s largest atrium at 194.15 meters in height. Designed to anchor the new Fengtai business district in southwest Beijing, the futuristic tower is wrapped in a double-insulated unitized glass curtain wall system that curves around its twisting, sculptural form. In addition to double glazing, the Leeza SOHO incorporates water collection, low-flow fixtures, a green roof , photovoltaic panels and other sustainable measures to meet LEED Gold standards. Set atop an underground subway service tunnel, Leeza SOHO was strategically sited next to the business district’s rail station at the intersection of five new lines that are currently under construction. The tunnel that bisects the tower splits the building into two halves; the resulting void in between has been turned into an atrium that acts as a new public square. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects designs BREEAM-targeted terminal for electrified Rail Baltic In addition to providing panoramic views of the city, the rotated atrium also brings daylight deep into the building and doubles as a thermal chimney with an integrated ventilation system to bring clean air to the interiors. Indoor comfort is further achieved with the low-E, double-insulated glazing that ensures stable temperatures. To meet LEED Gold standards, Leeza SOHO features an advanced 3D BIM energy management system to monitor real-time environmental control and energy efficiency. Energy-saving measures include heat recovery from exhaust air; high-efficiency equipment such as pumps, fans and lighting; low-flow water fixtures and gray water flushing. Low-VOC materials were selected to minimize interior pollutants. Occupants and visitors can also enjoy plenty of bicycle parking, with 2,680 spaces available, as well as lockers and shower facilities. Underground, there are also dedicated charging spaces for electric and hybrid cars. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Hufton+Crow / Zaha Hadid Architects

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ZHA completes LEED Gold-targeted building with worlds largest atrium in Beijing

Venice’s worst flood in 50 years blamed on climate change

November 14, 2019 by  
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Venice is inundated with floodwaters, with more than 85 percent of the city, including its historic basilica and centuries-old buildings, experiencing floods. Both residents and tourists are forced to navigate streets in waist-high waters, prompting the Venetian mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, to issue a state of emergency for the city. Nearly a third of Venice’s 1,100 raised walkways are now overwhelmed by high water. While exceptionally high tides, called acqua alta , have occurred here every five years or so, this year’s deluge is the worst since 1966. A combination of climate change and a billion-dollar project derailed by political scandal are factors contributing to the damage. “Venice is on its knees,” Brugnaro lamented earlier this week on Twitter. “We need everyone’s help to overcome these days that are putting us to the test.” Heavy rain, strong southerly winds and a full moon worked together, scientists say, in drawing the tidewater higher than usual. Traditionally, Venetians have recognized that whenever water climbs to more than 4.5 feet above the hydrographic station at Punta della Salute, the tide is then deemed an “exceptional” one. Meanwhile, the high tide earlier this week had a high-water mark registering 6 feet 2 inches, which is just a couple of inches below the highest Venetian flood ever recorded back in 1966. Related: Study estimates sea level rise two times worse than worst-case scenario Climate change is exacerbating the situation as melting ice, snow and glaciers around the world are raising sea levels. The sea level rise places Venice at greater risk. But other aspects are at play as well. Venice is sinking due to subsidence from plate tectonic movement underneath, wherein the Adriatic plate is subducting beneath the Apennines Mountains. Similarly, Venice has long been pumping groundwater from beneath the city; as the ground compacts from centuries of building construction, the city is shifting while it settles, causing a subsidence range of 0.04 to 0.20 inches (or 1 to 5 millimeters) per year. Unfortunately, Venice’s planned project for a series of large, movable undersea barriers, called MOSE, is still far from completion, due to soaring cost overruns, delays and corruption scandals. MOSE’s floodgates are designed to be raised above the seabed to shut off the lagoon from rising sea levels. The endeavor is still in a testing phase. Via NPR and BBC Image via Shutterstock

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Venice’s worst flood in 50 years blamed on climate change

Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower

November 14, 2019 by  
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Amsterdam-based design firm Waterstudio is already well-known for its incredible floating architecture, but it continues to break ground in the world of innovative design. Now, the firm, which is led by Koen Olthuis, has unveiled the world’s first floating timber tower. Slated for the waters of Rotterdam, the tower is made out of CLT and will house office space, a public green park and a restaurant with a terrace. Waterstudio’s most recent project is a contemporary take on floating architecture. The 130-foot-tall tower will be made out of cross-laminated timber, making the structure much lighter than concrete builds. Additionally, working with CLT means the building will be made with a renewable resource , providing the city of Rotterdam with a cutting-edge sustainable landmark. The tower will also make use of large expanses of glass to let plenty of natural light into the interior. Abundant vegetation, including pocket gardens planted with vegetables, will be found throughout the tower — inside and out. Related: Waterstudio.nl’s Sea Tree is a protected floating habitat for flora and fauna According to Olthuis, the building’s design is akin to a sheet of paper that has been pushed together until a tower forms in the middle. The base of the tower is located on a flat platform, which will be covered in vegetation. Rising up from the deck, the tower’s facade is marked by a series of V-shaped columns. Inside, a spacious atrium will be flooded with natural light . Although the tower will be mainly used as office space , there are several areas slated for the public. With offices located on the upper floors, the lower floors and main deck will house several publicly accessible spaces, such as a gallery and a coffee bar. Also on the lower deck, a restaurant will feature a beautiful terrace that provides stunning views of the harbor. For additional space, a lush, green courtyard will let workers and visitors enjoy fresh air day or night. This area is designed to be a flexible space for various functions and events happening year-round. + Waterstudio Images via Waterstudio

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Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower

BREEAM Excellent office building keeps London’s carbon reduction targets in sight

November 4, 2019 by  
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The site of a former petrol station has been given a new lease on life as 1 Valentine Place, an award-winning sustainable office building certified BREEAM Excellent . Completed in March 2013, the seven-story office building was designed by West London architectural practice Stiff + Trevillion , who clad the contemporary structure in anodized aluminum and high-performance, solar-control glazing for a sleek and minimalist appearance. The energy-efficient building was a 2013 NLAwards winner and was shortlisted in the 2014 RIBA London Awards. Located on the corner of Blackfriars Road and Valentine Place, 1 Valentine Place provides grade-A office accommodation across 3,000 square meters within close proximity to the Southwark station. Though undeniably contemporary in design, the building is sensitively scaled and oriented to relate to its more traditional neighbors. For instance, the seven-story office building steps down in mass to match the rooflines of the smaller buildings next door, thus creating space for a large outdoor terrace that overlooks views of the City of London . Related: Railway heat to be repurposed to warm London homes this winter The architects constructed the building with an in situ reinforced concrete frame structure that’s internally exposed to take advantage of passive thermal mass . The exterior is clad in anodized aluminum and energy-efficient glazing as well as solar fins to mitigate unwanted solar heat gain. The glazed, double-height ground floor is protected by an overhang and is designed to engage the pedestrian realm. The reception is lined with wood paneling inspired by the area’s heritage. “Sustainability features such as exposed thermal mass, air-source heat-pump technology and a photovoltaic array far exceed Southwark’s stringent carbon reduction targets,” the architects noted in a project statement. The use of renewable energy and energy-efficient strategies are estimated to provide energy savings of approximately 40 percent. + Stiff + Trevillion Photography by Kilian O’Sullivan via Stiff + Trevillion

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BREEAM Excellent office building keeps London’s carbon reduction targets in sight

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