This green wall uses upcycled clay tiles for natural cooling

May 15, 2020 by  
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In its latest project to creatively repurpose clay roof tiles, Indian architecture firm Manoj Patel Design Studio has upcycled locally produced tiles into a green wall with natural cooling benefits. Dubbed the Ridge Clay Roof Tile Plantation, the project was created to promote the use of locally produced clay products. It also serves as a reaction against the proliferation of plastic and metal planters that have increasingly replaced clay pots. The Ridge Clay Roof Tile Plantation was installed on the shaded outdoor terrace of a residence in Vadodara, a Gujarati city with an extremely hot climate and temperatures that regularly near or exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Manoj Patel Design Studio created the green wall with repurposed kiln-fired clay roof tiles to help promote natural cooling, stimulate the local economy and to bring a touch of nature to the urban apartment. Artificial turf has also been laid on the terrace. Related: 3D-printed home inspired by a wasp’s nest is made of local clay “Such creative clay roof tile plantations are best suited to hot climatic considerations as clay surface absorbs water from the plants and when air comes in contact with the surface, it releases cool air into the space which also provides close to nature experience to the viewers,” the architects explained. “The use of clay tiles serves the purpose of plantation with environment sensitive transformation providing expression of everlasting beauty in less space.” Produced by local craftsmen, the V-shaped clay tiles are slightly modified with the addition of little grooves to help the tiles bond together. Attached to the wall with cement, the textural wall is assembled by hand and comprises tiles arranged in a zigzag pattern. The “pockets” created by two V-shaped tiles placed opposite one another are used to hold plants and lights or can be sealed off to create a small surface for placing objects. + Manoj Patel Design Studio Images via Manoj Patel Design Studio

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This green wall uses upcycled clay tiles for natural cooling

Half-buried home in Brazil is crafted from rammed earth

May 6, 2020 by  
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On a windswept hill a three-hour drive from São Paulo, Brazilian architecture firm Arquipélago Arquitetos has completed the House in Cunha, a low-lying, contemporary home that is primarily built of locally sourced rammed earth. To protect the building from the cold, prevailing winds, the architects partly buried the structure into the earth and repurposed the excavated soil as construction material for the building walls. The thick, earthen walls and the building’s sunken position also provide the benefit of thermal mass to help maintain comfortable and stable interior temperatures year-round. The design for House in Cunha takes inspiration from the surrounding landscape and the region’s traditional culture for ceramic crafts. Set atop a hill, the building is oriented for optimal views of the Mantiqueira Mountains, while its low-lying profile and rammed earth construction help blend it into the landscape. Related: Inspiring rammed earth hospital brings affordable care to rural Nepal The main walls of the home were constructed of rammed earth via a building technique that allows for easy assembly and disassembly. “All the characteristics of hardness, thermal inertia, color, brightness and tactile quality are factors due to the physical and chemical characteristics of that specific soil,” the architects noted. In addition to rammed earth construction, architects also used a local pottery technique to create straw-colored bricks for the remaining walls. Despite its use of traditional materials and construction techniques, the House in Cunha features a minimalist and contemporary design. The main living areas face north to take advantage of winter sunlight and open up to an L-shaped outdoor deck sheltered by deep roof overhangs. Large windows bring panoramic views and ample natural light indoors, while a mix of timber surfaces and brightly colored furnishings help create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The home also includes three bedrooms and two baths; the bedrooms face the northwest and also open up to the outdoor deck. + Arquipélago Arquitetos Photography by Federico Cairoli via Arquipélago Arquitetos

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Half-buried home in Brazil is crafted from rammed earth

Students propose a biomimetic solution to reduce post-harvest food waste in Nigeria

November 26, 2019 by  
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As one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producers of tomatoes, Nigeria grows up to 1.5 million tons of the fruit annually, yet nearly half of that harvest fails to make it to the market. In a bid to provide a solution to post-harvest food waste, a team of Pratt Institute students designed a storage facility for tomato farmers in Nigeria that takes inspiration from the respiratory system of a cricket and the ribs of a cactus. The proposal — titled Tomato’s Home — was recently named a finalist in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge and has advanced to the Biomimicry Launchpad, an accelerator program that helps early-stage entrepreneurs bring nature-inspired solutions to market. Unlike consumer-driven food waste that plagues the developed world, much of the food waste in developing countries such as Nigeria occurs during the post-processing stage. The students’ proposal focuses on the small farms around Kano in northern Nigeria, where the majority of the country’s tomatoes are grown. Related: 6 groundbreaking examples of tech innovations inspired by biomimcry The students’ solution begins with a storage basket made from natural materials. Inspired by the way peas are protected and arranged in their shell, the students suggest weaving together loofa — the dried, fibrous part of the luffa fruit naturalized in the area — into a basket base for storing the individual tomatoes and to prevent bruising. The soft bed of loofa would be protected and given structure by a layer of woven teak on the outside. To store the tomato baskets, the students have also proposed a modular building constructed from natural materials, including clay bricks and thatch. Designed with an emphasis on natural ventilation and insulation, the buildings take direct inspiration from elements in nature, such as stack flow ventilation that the students say mimic the respiratory system of crickets. Light colors on the facade help reflect heat much like the white shells of certain desert snails, while the thatched roof — inspired by the thatched nests of grass-cutting ants — provide insulating benefits without compromising ventilation. + Pratt Institute Images via Pratt Institute

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Students propose a biomimetic solution to reduce post-harvest food waste in Nigeria

Stunning family home in Ecuador offers serenity in an increasingly noisy world

November 26, 2019 by  
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At one time, we were all so eager to stay connected to everything at every moment, but now, architects are fielding demands to create quiet refuges where people can escape the noise. Case in point is the gorgeous House of Silence designed by Ecuadorian firm Natura Futura Arquitectura . Located just out of Quevedo, this unique home has a massive central courtyard that acts as a serene meditation space for a family looking to block out the noise. Located in Quevedo, a province of Los Ríos, Ecuador, the House of Silence was designed for an elderly man who wanted a home where his family could come together to escape the city and a space where his grandchildren could run and play freely throughout the interior and exterior. Related: A playful home built of recycled materials takes in sunrise views in Ecuador The 1,000-square-foot house creates a seamless connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Two rectangular volumes house the main living area on one side and the private areas on the other. The interior spaces are connected by a large interior courtyard . This central garden, which opens up to an expansive landscape, is at the heart of the design. The serene space includes a wraparound walkway with a pair of hanging hammocks looking out onto a small garden area. Leading farther out toward the landscape, a concrete platform floats over a shallow pool, a strategic feature meant to bring the inhabitants closer to nature. With an opening above, natural light floods the entire space, creating a flexible area that can be used for either quiet meditation or family gatherings. Additionally, this open area has its practical, energy-efficient uses as well. According to the architects, the green-filled space was designed to provide a “ bioclimatic effectiveness ” that naturally cools the interior living spaces during the summertime and warms them during the winter months. + Natura Futura Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Natura Futura Arquitectura

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DIY: How to make your own natural deodorant at home

July 31, 2017 by  
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Did you know you can make your own deodorant? It’s not difficult, and you can save money over buying pricey natural deodorants. Best of all, you can mix and match essential oils to create a scent that you really love (or make it unscented). Whether you have sensitive skin or you’re just picky about body care products, making your own natural deodorant is a fun and easy DIY project  you can complete in under an hour. Step One: Gather your materials Most of the ingredients listed below are available in the bulk purchase area of natural food stores or co-ops, as well as online. There are a few ingredients below that can be swapped out, though doing so may slightly change the color, texture, or scent of your deodorant. The recipe listed below makes one batch of deodorant – simply double or triple the recipe to make a larger batch, create different scents, or to share. Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil 1 Tablespoon Shea Butter (or Cocoa Butter) 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda 1 Tablespoon Arrowroot Powder (or cornstarch) 1 Teaspoon Bentonite Cosmetic Clay (or kaolin) 6 Drops Essential Oil – we used Lavender and Tea Tree Tools: Measuring spoons Mixing spoons Small bowl Small jar or tub to store deodorant in Step Two: Measure coconut oil Measure out one tablespoon of coconut oil and, if it is hardened, mash it in the mixing bowl. RELATED: How to make a summery coconut-sea salt lip scrub Step Three: Measure shea butter Measure one tablespoon of room-temperature shea butter into the bowl and mix it well with the coconut oil. You may substitute room-temperature cocoa butter as well, but it will have a stronger scent. Shea and cocoa butters are a bit harder than coconut oil at room temperature and will help stabilize the deodorant mixture. Step Three: Add baking soda Measure out and add one tablespoon of baking soda. Step Four: Add arrowroot starch Measure out and add one tablespoon of arrowroot starch. This rather unusual ingredient can be found in some larger natural food stores or bulk co-ops, as well as online. If you can’t find any, you can also substitute cornstarch, though its absorptive properties may be slightly lower. RELATED: DIY homemade insect repellent sprays and lotions Step Five: Add clay powder Measure out and add one teaspoon of finely ground cosmetic clay (bentonite or kaolin – found in the bulk or body care section of a natural foods market). Thoroughly mix the deodorant into a thick paste, making sure there are no lumps. Step Six: Add essential oils Add six drops of your favorite essential oil . We used a blend of 3 drops of tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties and astringent odor, in addition to 3 drops of lavender oil for its soothing aroma. Step Seven: Jar it Use a spoon or butter knife to scrape the deodorant into a small jar or other container. You can leave it at room temperature in your bathroom. To apply, simply swipe two or three fingers across the surface of the deodorant and gently rub it into your armpits after a shower. You can put some into a smaller container for travel as well. If you’ve been using commercial aluminum deodorants, you may notice more wetness, but give it a week for your body to adjust. The essential oil blend serves as a deodorant, and the baking soda, arrowroot starch, and clay serve to prevent and absorb perspiration. All photos by Emily Peckenham for Inhabitat

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Shipping container delivers heightened drama to a modern island home

July 12, 2017 by  
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A shipping container brings a sense of drama to this beautiful modern home on the tropical island of Lombok east of Bali. Indonesian architect Budi Pradono designed the Clay House, a luxury residence elevated on concrete stilts with views overlooking the Indian Ocean, paddy fields, and tropical forest. The building, which was conceived as a landmark for the island, is topped with a large shipping container placed at a sharp angle to appear as if it were slipping off. Located on a hill in Selong Belanak, the Clay House (nicknamed Seven Havens) comprises two elevated structures built with locally sourced materials . The 2.2-meter-tall shipping container, for instance, was sourced from the port of a nearby island and was placed at an angle of 60 degrees, creating a tall ceiling for the master bedroom to bring extra natural light indoors. The architect also built the 30-centimeter-thick walls from clay collected 20 kilometers from the site that was mixed by local craftsmen with sand, cement, straw, and cow dung. The board-marked clay walls help keep the interior naturally cool. Related: Modern recycled container house in South Africa operates 100% off grid The contemporary interior is grounded by the use of a natural materials palette that also helps complement the heavy building materials. Flattened bamboo lines the interior, while stone tiling is used throughout. The home is organized with open layouts and positioned to optimize views of the outdoors. + Budi Pradono Via Dezeen Images via Budi Pradono

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Shipping container delivers heightened drama to a modern island home

The worlds largest Delta 3D printer creates nearly zero-cost homes out of mud

August 10, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-Oe0XmrYps&list=PLKSfMq7r3YonwY430ZYoF9IwCGlkWQ9pU&index=1 Italian innovator Massimo Moretti launched WASP with the goal to “create a means for affordable fabrication of homes , and provide these means to the locals in poverty stricken areas.” WASP’s affordable housing solution combines 3D printing with biomimicry, drawing inspiration from the mud dauber wasp that constructs its home from one of the world’s oldest building materials: mud. The choice of clay and mud inputs for the portable BigDelta was a conscious choice; although many 3D printers use cement, Moretti chose earth because of its low environmental footprint, local availability, and natural insulating benefits . Based on previous prototypes, the BigDelta will presumably build full-size houses using open-source software and a mixture of mud, clay, and plant fibers for reinforcement. Related: Need a home? Now you can 3D print one—out of mud WASP has come an impressively long way in a short span of time, especially considering that the company doesn’t receive any public financing. They revealed their four-meter tall BigDelta prototype last year , and now their first 3D printed home is nearly complete. The BigDelta printer builds thick walls, and it’s able to lay down 60 cm – 1 meter of material every day. According to Moretti, “When the work starts again, we will raise the wall until 4 meters, then we’ll create the door and build the roof. In the future we will test new materials and continue the research on soil and straw.” Their timing is also advantageous. According to their press release: “Building BigDelta is much more than a dream come true if we consider that, by 2030, international estimates foresee a rapid growth of adequate housing requirements for over 4 billion people living with yearly income below $3,000. The United Nations calculated that over the next 15 years there will be an average daily requirement of 100.000 new housing units to meet this demand.” + World’s Advanced Saving Project

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The worlds largest Delta 3D printer creates nearly zero-cost homes out of mud

Award-winning rammed earth home in Spain halves normal CO2 emissions

July 29, 2016 by  
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Presented as a “contemporary vernacular 21st century house,” Castellarnau’s design incorporates a variety of energy and resource-saving strategies. The stone, earth, and straw used in construction comprises 80 percent of the home’s overall weight, and all building materials, including wood, sheep’s wool and hydraulic lime, were sourced from within a 150 kilometer radius. In addition to supporting local suppliers, this drastically reduces the distance materials have to travel, and thereby the amount of greenhouse gas emissions sent billowing into the atmosphere. In a recent press release, Castellernau reported that the lifecycle analysis of this particular design shows a 50 percent reduction in overall emissions. Related: Dome-shaped Earth Bag House in Colombia keeps residents naturally cool Other notable features include thermo-insulating blinds, thermal accumulator clay plastering, and a biomass boiler, all of which are designed to make the most of natural resources available to the client. Strategically-placed windows maximize the amount of natural light reaching the interior, further reducing energy use, and a cistern collects rainwater for reuse. In her quest to research local, traditional architecture over the last decade, the architect has refined old techniques and developed new ones, many of which she has tested on her own home. She is currently working on two more earth architecture projects in Spain, and we are immensely excited to see the results. + Edra Arquitectura Images via Doble Studio

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Canadian clay kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria on contact

February 1, 2016 by  
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Aboriginal Canadians used clay from Kisameet Bay, British Columbia to treat their ailments for centuries – from stomach complaints to skin irritation. Now, researchers have found that there might just be something to the clay’s purported healing properties after all. It turns out this 10,000-year-old deposit of clay is highly effective against many serious antibiotic-resistant infections. Read the rest of Canadian clay kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria on contact

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World’s largest delta-style 3D printer can print nearly zero-cost housing out of mud

September 18, 2015 by  
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