Climate Islands brings nature and community into the city

May 17, 2022 by  
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Barcelona landscape and architecture firm SCOB created seven architectural-landscape “interventions” called Climate Islands. They created inviting, green urban environments in inner city spaces that help mitigate the effects of climate change. The Climate Islands are “an operation of ‘urban acupuncture’ that adds new layers to the pre-existing territory and urban intervention that requires a strategic urban vision and careful control of small-scale architecture ,” according to SCOB. Related: Cayman Island house design is sustainable all throughout What does this mean? SCOB is known for their urban architecture and public space “interventions.” These aim to change the way people interact with public spaces and bring nature back into cityscapes. The firm designs everything from buildings to public use furniture and skate parks. Now, these Climate Islands are a way to bring a bit of green back to public parks in a way that promotes wellness and reduces heat in urban spaces. Client Gerencia Urbanistica Port Vell hired SCOB to reimagine the areas closest to the sea around Port Vell. This is to create contact between the urban areas and the ocean . The idea was to integrate these spaces in the port for residents of the Gothic and Barceloneta neighborhoods , and give them a way to connect with the ocean. Furthermore, the final project consists of “islands” of palm trees and plantings. It is surrounded by wide seating areas for gatherings of people to sit and enjoy nature in the middle of the city. One platform is broad enough to host a picnic, a local band or any manner of public get-togethers. To top it all off, against the backdrop of the city on a promenade near the sea. Additionally, cooling mist fountains stand between the seating areas for residents on hot days. The net effect of these raised platforms and plantings create a plaza that is slightly out of the way of pedestrian traffic. Thereby, people can slow down, enjoy each other’s company or the view of the port and the boats coming and going. It all creates a green space to enjoy within a hot cityscape. + SCOB Photography by Adrià Goula

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Climate Islands brings nature and community into the city

Senior home builds a social and eco-friendly community

May 9, 2022 by  
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Located in West Los Angeles , the Howard and Irene Levine Senior Community is a mid-rise housing development for low-income seniors and homeless senior veterans. The apartments were designed by KFA Architecture for Mercy Housing of California . The project sits along Pico Boulevard and is well-knit into the neighborhood’s urban fabric. It is surrounded by cafes , clinics and markets, all of which are easily accessible for the residents. Related: LEED gold LGBT senior complex provides homes to the homeless Furthermore, the 48 residential units comprise of studios and one-bedroom apartments, which consider accessibility and mobility needs of the elderly. Corridors that lead to the living spaces are open, thus allowing light and breezes to brighten and cool the interiors. Each apartment features an entry door recessed in an alcove, providing each unit with a sense of identity and hominess. The two lower floors serve as parking for nearby businesses and synagogue. Meanwhile, the top three floors encompass the residential and recreational spaces for the senior community. Additionally, the building incorporates several terraces and courtyards to maximize spaces that would otherwise be underutilized. These spaces encourage various levels of interaction among the senior residents. On the third floor, residents have access to a large central courtyard . This courtyard faces the main street and features views of Hollywood Hills. Surrounding the courtyard are more shared spaces, including an exercise space, a community room and support and service offices run by New Directions for Veterans. On the higher levels, terraces create cozy nooks for smaller groups. This includes the roof deck, which has informal seating and large, brightly-colored planters that host the community garden. Alongside providing an environment to adaptable social needs, KFA has also incorporated sustainable strategies in the project. The housing complex features solar panels on the roof and uses greywater harvesting for irrigation. Therefore, through its extensive focus on environmental and social needs of residents, the project is currently aiming for a LEED Gold rating. + KFA Architecture Photography by Jim Simmons and Jonathan Ramirez

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Senior home builds a social and eco-friendly community

Seattle apartment is an imaginative response to urban growth

May 9, 2022 by  
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Seattle is expected to grow by another 70,000 residents in the next 20 years. A collaboration between The Miller Hull Partnership and Runberg Architecture Group resulted in a whimsical new style of apartment building. With cantilevered longitudinally placed balconies and a generous public green space in front, 8th and Republican is a different kind of urban residence aiming at a more pleasant and sustainable future. Seattle’s Republican Street is a commercial corridor while 8th Avenue is a busy residential street. As a result, the 8th and Republican development was designed to be mixed use to balance out public and private needs of inhabitants. The new building redevelops half a block of Seattle’s emerging South Lake Union neighborhood with 211 apartments . There will also be a neighborhood café and a photographic equipment room for a longstanding family camera retailer in the neighborhood. Related: Health and wellness come first at this apartment complex The geological and quarry forms inspired the shape of the building in the neighborhood . Installed stormwater infrastructure is visible from the sidewalk. An elevated public walkway called the Megastoop crosses a large rain garden through a stand of trees. The eight-story, post-tensioned concrete building stands behind this garden space. It aims to be more of a backdrop to the scenery than the main event. Furthermore, the café out front features an interactive water feature. The designers say that placing the building back from the street also allowed them to keep the façades simple. It avoids more expensive façade modulation usually required by the Design Review Board. On the other hand, the inside features a two-story lobby . Somethings included are gathering spaces and flexible workspaces for residents. Meanwhile, the roof has a sunset deck with city views. Type l post-tensioned concrete was chosen by the architects for its reduced structural depth. It allowed for the addition of an extra floor and 29 additional apartments in the building. Between concrete slabs, exterior non-bearing walls are framed in wood instead of light-gauge metal to reduce thermal bridging and the need for expensive exterior insulation. Long six by 10-feet balconies extend over the courtyard from a number of apartments, cantilevered to allow for additional expansive views of the green space. The design was awarded an AIA Seattle 2018 Honorable Mention. It’s a unique take on solving urban building challenges while also saving materials, money and conserving green space and biodiversity. + Miller Hull Images via Miller Hull

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Seattle apartment is an imaginative response to urban growth

Reimagine project revamps outdoor spaces in Baltimore

May 9, 2022 by  
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The city of Baltimore , South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, Parks and People Foundation and James Corner Field Operations unveiled an urban renewal project. It will renovate more than 11 miles of shoreline along the Patapsco River in South Baltimore. Called the Middle Branch, the area traditionally was inaccessible to the predominantly minority communities nearby. Incorporating these previously segregated populations into the hub of river activity was at the core of the planning process. So much so, in fact, the planning team eliminated the term “masterplan,” deeming it a slave reference, and replaced it with the project name “Reimagine Middle Branch.” Related: 3D printing is behind plans for futuristic Sunflower Village The overall design plan features a connection to nature with new parks, playgrounds, fishing piers, wetlands (to improve flood resiliency) and pedestrian bridges. Planners are including a sports area with a baseball field called Black Sox Park, which is named for the Negro League Baseball team that used to play there. The park also takes advantage of other historically and culturally significant sites in the area through a connection with the African American Heritage Trail. Although a primary goal of the project is to increase equitability within the region, attention is equally given to public health and the environment . A press release outlined the three guiding principles of the project: “Protect and connect the shoreline; transform barriers into connections; and strengthen communities with parks and programs.” “Our work to ‘reimagine Middle Branch’ is a key component of our larger strategies to revamp and reinvigorate recreation opportunities and outdoor spaces throughout our city,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This is about providing clean, accessible and modern spaces that show our residents, particularly our young people, that they matter. That we care about them and are going to do everything in our power to give them the best quality-of-life possible.” The project has been in the works for many years and the public has repeatedly been invited to contribute to the conversation. There is hope of balancing the needs of the community with the goals of investors and other stakeholders.  “The plan integrates physical planning with economic development that prioritizes job creation, entrepreneurism and increasing the future earning potential of local residents,” said Brad Rogers, executive director at South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. “Alongside new public space amenities, we are equally focused on local workforce development and business incubation opportunities, such as green jobs involved in maintaining and monitoring the restored wetlands and pop-up markets for local vendors.” Funding for this work comes from a variety of sources. This includes casino local impact grant funds, managed by the City of Baltimore, and by South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. There is also a Maryland state capital grant and a mixture of grants secured for wetland construction and trail projects. Finally, there will be a new boathouse, fishing piers, playgrounds , gathering spaces, pedestrian and biking trails. It will connect several parks and other surrounding points of interest, skate park, wetland areas and a marketplace. In addition, traffic flow will be redesigned and slowed for safety throughout the area.  + James Corner Field Operations Images via James Corner Field Operations

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Home in Vietnam is surrounded by a beautiful koi pond

May 6, 2022 by  
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A marketing director in Vietnam wanted a peaceful retreat from the stress of work and Ho Chi Minh City. The client reached out to three architects who now work with three different studios — Nguyen Huu Duy of AmDesign Architects, Bui The Long of CTA|Creative Architects and Nguyen Duy of Time Architects — to collaborate on how to create the perfect retreat. Am House is a modern twist on traditional Vietnamese architectural styles and building techniques. It is all set in the middle of a koi pond on an acre of peaceful property surrounded by trees. The Am House project was built in Can Giuoc, Long An province, Vietnam, about a 45-minute drive from Ho Chi Minh City . The architects used a variety of techniques to create a peaceful setting, while also making the home modern and sustainable. Am House combines several solutions for ventilation to keep the humidity down. There is a peaceful gray color palette and natural light in every room. Additionally, there’s broad accordion doors that open directly onto the pond. The breezes from the pond all combine to create an airy, but solid home for reflection and relaxation. Related: Energy efficient bamboo device in Vietnam is a cooling system Additionally, the roof is thatched, sitting on top of a wooden roof structure covered in metal sheeting. This is a nod to traditional Vietnamese roofing styles, but it also serves as extra insulation against the heat from the sun . The middle of the house also has extra ventilation via gaps around a large pane window . It creates a unique style to the home with regards to how the walls and windows interact. Also, how light plays into the interior while also serving an important function for natural cooling. The pond sits right up against the walls of the house, with paver stepping stones leading to and outdoor deck suspended among the koi fish. Because the pond is so close to the home, it creates an eco-friendly passive cooling system for the home to reduce the need for air conditioning. Inside, the wood-paneled ceiling is painted the same color as the concrete walls and floors. Concrete without tiles keep costs and materials use down, while also creating a cool surface for inhabitants to walk across. The Am House home is composed of five separate block shapes arranged randomly under the thatched roof . This splitting of the interior space creates new viewpoints from inside and outside the home of the beautiful property. The overall effect is one of a peaceful retreat center, a hushed and relaxed space to spend the evening or weekend. We love the passive elements that surrounds the home with its natural surroundings and climate . And imagine, the Am House is nothing short of a sigh of relief at the end of a busy week in the city. + Time Architects , CTA|Creative Architects and AmDesign Architects Photography by Hiroyuki Oki

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Home in Vietnam is surrounded by a beautiful koi pond

AI art stands in the middle of Mexico City

May 4, 2022 by  
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In Mexico City , MIRA’s new urban concept Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco explores art and wellbeing with a look at the possible future of the Nuevo Polanco area. It’s a real estate complex owned by Ivanhoe Cambride and developed by MIRA to center on mobility, art, urbanism, design, community and efficiency. The development will house Latin America’s first artificial intelligence work of art. “The Eye of Mexico” is an installation curated and produced by MASSIVart and created by studio Ouchhh. What is Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco? It’s a mixed use complex designed to reflect the concept of community in a futuristic, sustainable way. Instead of just focusing on environmental sustainability, the city aims to make a positive impact on inhabitants through design. Related: California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection The development has an intertwining system of streets, blocks, plaza and recreation areas. It aims to restore a sense of belonging through an integrated, walkable urbanism. “The distinctive characteristics of our urban spaces contribute to the evolution of cities, guarantee them a future and offer quality time to those who live in them so that their daily lives are extraordinary,” said Roberto Pulido, CEO of MIRA. The heart of Cuadrante Neuchatel will be “The Eye of Mexico.” MIRA partnered with MASSIVart for this piece. They are a global creative public art consulting and production firm that aims to make art more accessible for cultural impact. Thereby, seeks to create experiences that result in stronger, more authentic connections between their clients and audiences. “Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco is an extraordinary opportunity to provide a sustainable place to live, work, play, shop, eat and more. The project is attractive to people who seek a healthier work-life balance, and who want to stay connected with their community. We are delighted to collaborate with MIRA on this great project whose heart, ‘The Eye of Mexico ,’ highlights its modernity,” said Jorge Margain, managing director of Ivanhoe Cambridge Mexico. “The Eye of Mexico” will use artificial intelligence to express, through audiovisuals, a performance with data referring to the way in which the inhabitants of Mexico City move. This will convey to spectators the relationships that exist between art, science, technology , urbanism and mobility. + Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco Images via Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco , MIRA and MASSIVart

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AI art stands in the middle of Mexico City

AI art stands in the middle of Mexico City

May 4, 2022 by  
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In Mexico City , MIRA’s new urban concept Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco explores art and wellbeing with a look at the possible future of the Nuevo Polanco area. It’s a real estate complex owned by Ivanhoe Cambride and developed by MIRA to center on mobility, art, urbanism, design, community and efficiency. The development will house Latin America’s first artificial intelligence work of art. “The Eye of Mexico” is an installation curated and produced by MASSIVart and created by studio Ouchhh. What is Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco? It’s a mixed use complex designed to reflect the concept of community in a futuristic, sustainable way. Instead of just focusing on environmental sustainability, the city aims to make a positive impact on inhabitants through design. Related: California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection The development has an intertwining system of streets, blocks, plaza and recreation areas. It aims to restore a sense of belonging through an integrated, walkable urbanism. “The distinctive characteristics of our urban spaces contribute to the evolution of cities, guarantee them a future and offer quality time to those who live in them so that their daily lives are extraordinary,” said Roberto Pulido, CEO of MIRA. The heart of Cuadrante Neuchatel will be “The Eye of Mexico.” MIRA partnered with MASSIVart for this piece. They are a global creative public art consulting and production firm that aims to make art more accessible for cultural impact. Thereby, seeks to create experiences that result in stronger, more authentic connections between their clients and audiences. “Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco is an extraordinary opportunity to provide a sustainable place to live, work, play, shop, eat and more. The project is attractive to people who seek a healthier work-life balance, and who want to stay connected with their community. We are delighted to collaborate with MIRA on this great project whose heart, ‘The Eye of Mexico ,’ highlights its modernity,” said Jorge Margain, managing director of Ivanhoe Cambridge Mexico. “The Eye of Mexico” will use artificial intelligence to express, through audiovisuals, a performance with data referring to the way in which the inhabitants of Mexico City move. This will convey to spectators the relationships that exist between art, science, technology , urbanism and mobility. + Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco Images via Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco , MIRA and MASSIVart

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AI art stands in the middle of Mexico City

First climate-positive, net-zero city in the world

May 2, 2022 by  
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Nexgen sustainable city is a masterplan from URB for a city in Egypt . It will become the world’s first net-zero city producing more energy and food than it consumes. The new city is designed to provide food, energy and water for its own residents and become an eco-tourism destination. Nexgen will be located in the eastern district of Cairo on a 580 hectare plot. Nine thousand housing units will be available for 35,000 residents of all income levels. The building project itself will create 10,000 jobs in food tech, clean energy, water and waste. Therefore, creating a circular green economy for the city. Related: Rivendell net-zero energy house optimizes solar energy Furthermore, Nexgen hopes to become a tourism destination in its own right. Meaning, not just for the sake of touring the green technology systems of the city. There will be a five-star eco-resort, glamping facilities, an eco-tourism visitor center and a nature reserve for land conservation and biodiversity. Medical facilities also aim to attract visitors from outside the city. They will include an autism village, a rehabilitation and wellness center and various other clinics. Baharash Bagherian, founder and CEO of Nexgen creator URB, helped design other sustainable cities. He aims with this new project to address food insecurity, which affects one in every four global residents. Thereby, Nexgen will include multiple systems for producing food locally and sustainably for residents. Solar atmospheric water generators will produce clean drinking water from air. Additionally, they will also address water security in a dry region. “The creation of the next generation net-zero cities that provide food, energy and water as security is no longer a choice, it has become a necessity,” said Bagherian. “Nexgen is the next evolution in sustainable cities that provide innovative multi-functional solutions for social, economic and environmental challenges whilst setting the highest sustainability standards for building resilient and livable cities.” + URB Images via URB

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First climate-positive, net-zero city in the world

Airport expansion aims to become the greenest in the U.S.

April 28, 2022 by  
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The new expansion of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is a showcase of sustainable design. It is also a celebration of the natural landscape itself. It’s an airport design for a greener future. The C Concourse Expansion at SEA was designed by Miller Hull and Woods Bagot. SEA is operated by the Port of Seattle , which has a clear and distinct goal: to become the greenest, most energy-efficient port in all of North America. Related: CLT and local materials comprise new airport terminal The concourse has been designed with multiple sustainable features. Rooftop photovoltaics provide solar energy , while the electrochromic glazing on the windows prevents energy loss. The heating and hot water systems doesn’t use fossil fuel energy. There are also low-flow water fixtures everywhere. Carbon reduction strategies and biophilic design principles were used throughout the design. Additionally, the design will add fur new floors to the existing design. The Grand Stairs serve as a centerpiece for Concourse 2. The stunning design includes seating, views of the airfield and space for music and art. There are multiple dining and retail options. “You can feel the difference now at the newly modernized N Concourse and soon to open International Arrivals Facility. The C Concourse Expansion is what’s next in how SEA serves travelers, and we can’t wait,” said SEA Managing Director Lance Lyttle. In the coming years, the airport will continue to evolve. Upcoming projects include a modernization of the N Concourse and a brand-new International Arrivals Facility. Moreover, the natural forests of the Pacific Northwest inspired the design. The canopy effect of the grand stairs, the way the building captures light , the size and scale of the concourse itself all evoke the natural grandeur of the Washington state landscape. The concourse also includes areas for farmers’ markets, dining areas and retail spaces . There’s even an amphitheater for live performances. Like the forest itself, the shell of the building collects energy and modulates light. Materials used in the public areas were picked to reflect the textures of Seattle itself, the markets and the nature that give this city its distinct look and feel. Meanwhile, gorgeous views of the airfield and the Olympic Mountains beyond create an amazing backdrop. It’s a reminder of how powerful and important nature really is. + Miller Hull and Woods Bagot Images via Woods Bagot and The Miller Hull Partnership

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Leonardo DiCaprio invests in sustainable Champagne Telmont

April 22, 2022 by  
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The Champagne Telmont story began in 1912, following the champagne riots in France . Fast forward over 100 years, and Telmont earned organic certification. Now, this sustainable champagne brand is being endorsed by actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio. Here’s what makes the brand so unique. Champagne Telmont was handed down through generations of family, and in 2007 the house began offering tourism as part of its operations. Just 10 years later in 2017, parts of the vineyard gained organic certification. In 2021, Champagne Telmont launched its first organic cuvée, with no transparent bottles or extra labels and packaging. Now, the champagne house has new investors and an invigorating vision for quality and sustainability in French champagne. Related: Champagne could lose its classic taste due to climate change DiCaprio’s involvement came in 2022 when he became a minority shareholder in the business. “Champagne Telmont, together with its partner wine-growers, has set its sights on producing 100% organic champagne, ensuring a completely sustainable production lifecycle in the coming years. From protecting biodiversity on its land, to using 100% renewable electricity, Champagne Telmont is determined to radically lower its environmental footprint, making me proud to join as an investor,” DiCaprio said. By 2025, Champagne Telmont plans to have the vineyard’s vines certified 100% organic. By 2031, 100% of the house’s wine-growing partners will be certified in organic agriculture . The goal is to cement Telmont as a leader in organic agriculture. Telmont’s plan is ambitious, as the city of Champagne’s climate is moist, making it hard to avoid using pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Currently, certified organic vineyards make up under 4% of Champagne’s vineyards. Telmont continues the four-generation-long tradition of creating great champagne while eyeing a sustainable future. Ludovic du Plessis, CEO of Telmont, and Bertrand Lhopital, the champagne house’s fourth-generation cellar master and head of viticulture, are teaming up to create a new sustainable plan called Au Nom de la Terre, meaning In the Name of Mother Nature. Du Plessis drew in DiCaprio as an investor to help with the plan, as he knew him personally, and they shared an interest in sustainable champagne. The plan includes elements such as banning the use of air freight to ship Telmont products, protecting biodiversity through land conservation on-site, using 100% renewable electricity and shifting the large acreage to 100% organic farming. + Champagne Telmont Via Forbes Lead image via Pexels Images via Champagne Telmont

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Leonardo DiCaprio invests in sustainable Champagne Telmont

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