This will be the largest CLT affordable housing complex in the Netherlands

April 2, 2021 by  
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Rotterdam-based architecture office Powerhouse Company has unveiled designs for Valckensteyn, a circular and sustainable building expected to become the largest timber-built affordable housing complex in the Netherlands. Commissioned by housing corporation Woonstad Rotterdam, the pioneering, 12-story project will feature 11 stories built of cross-laminated timber without the use of adhesives to allow the building to be demounted and reassembled elsewhere as needed. Proposed for the post-war Rotterdam neighborhood of Pendrecht, the 40-meter-tall Valckensteyn will occupy the site of a residential complex that was demolished a decade ago. Due to Valckensteyn’s relatively lightweight timber build as compared to steel-and-concrete construction, the architects will be able to repurpose the old building’s foundations — a sustainable design decision that helps to significantly reduce the project’s carbon footprint . Related: Self-sufficient floating office building for GCA will take anchor in Rotterdam For stability, the affordable housing complex will comprise a concrete ground floor and core. The ground-floor lobby will be clad in travertine — a post-war material with strong ties to the neighborhood — and house a large, inviting space with what the architects hope will be “the most beautiful bicycle storage in Rotterdam.” Cross-laminated timber construction will be exposed in the above floors, where all 82 homes will enjoy connections to the outdoors via floor-to-ceiling windows and timber-clad, west-facing balconies. A lush landscaping plan designed by LAP Landscape & Urban Design will surround the building and stimulate biodiversity. The carpark will also integrate cement-free paving stones and water filtration systems to take on the appearance of a “green carpet.” “With project Valckensteyn, Woonstad set out the challenge to develop a responsible and sustainable housing supply for middle-income families,” said Robbert Groeneveld, senior project manager at Woonstad Rotterdam. “The desire of Woonstad for a wooden building has been developed into an integrated design where sustainability, housing comfort and nature inclusivity come together.” Construction on Valckensteyn is expected to start in January 2022. + Powerhouse Company Images via Powerhouse Company

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This will be the largest CLT affordable housing complex in the Netherlands

Vincent Callebaut envisions a carbon-neutral district for France

April 1, 2021 by  
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Vincent Callebaut Architectures has unveiled a bold vision to transform the heart of Lille, France into a carbon-neutral district capable of producing more energy than it uses. Proposed for the site of the former Lycée Michel Servet, the project is called ‘Archiborescence’ — a combination of the words architecture and arborescence — after its emphasis on biodiversity and solid wood construction. To meet energy self sufficiency and the E4 level of France’s E+C- energy certification for building performance, the futuristic proposal combines low- and high-tech sustainable technologies from the integration of wind chimneys and hemp-based insulation to solar panels and wind turbines. Created as part of Vincent Callebaut Architectures’ vision of transforming cities into ecosystems, Archiborescence takes inspiration from ‘Les Anciens Marais Vauban-Esquermes’ [The Ancient Marshes of Vauban-Esquermes], an area of human-made wetlands in northern France with diverse ecosystems and nutrient cycling. As a result, the architects not only imbued their conceptual, mixed-use development with a strong vegetal and aquatic character but also based their proposal on a Cradle-to-Cradle design approach that uses BIM to optimize material lifecycles.  Related: Vincent Callebaut proposes a green, food-producing footbridge for Paris All construction would be built with cross-laminated timber cut and harvested from responsible forests within the Lille region. The mixed-use district would also follow a circular economy and use an energy exchange system to recycle and transfer energy accumulated in offices during the day to residences at night. Rainwater would be captured and reused for toilet flushing and irrigating all green spaces, including over 3,000 square feet of urban rooftop farms. “In the heart of Lille, the ‘Archiborescence’ project advocates the reconciliation of the City and the Countryside through timber, elegant, and frugal architecture,” the architects said. “It is now a question of producing as close as possible to the consumers and building with the minimum of resources in order to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions .” + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Vincent Callebaut envisions a carbon-neutral district for France

Mitosis: sustainable living modules cloaked in plants

December 15, 2020 by  
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Together with Arup , Amsterdam architecture practice GG-loop has unveiled designs for Mitosis, a modular building system that emphasizes regenerative, sustainable living and urban development. Designed with biophilic principles and parametric design tools, the prefab timber modules would be optimized for flexibility and scalability to allow for construction in a variety of urban settings. Options range from off-grid, single-family homes to high-density, mixed-use zones. The project builds on GG-loop’s pilot project Freebooter , an award-winning pair of prefabricated, cross-laminated timber apartments completed last year in Amsterdam. Named after the biological process of a single cell dividing itself into two identical daughter cells, the Mitosis project was designed to mimic a flexible organism that evolves to adapt to different settings. The scalable buildings would be made up of individual, rhomboid-shaped modules stacked together to create shared outdoor spaces and private terraces. These outdoor areas would be generously planted with greenery to reconnect residents with nature and to offset the urban heat island effect . The lightweight timber units would primarily consist of cross-laminated timber, which would be reinforced with hybrid concrete construction in larger scale developments. Related: This new 3D-printed house was built by a portable robot in just 48 hours “Mitosis adopts the 14 principles of biophilic design and articulates the relationships between nature, human biology and the design of the built environment,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Its construction is organic and flexible, providing large areas of urban and vertical farming, greenhouses, wildlife corridors and integration of habitat creation, that encourage shared outdoor activities among residents.” Collective living is a central tenet of Mitosis, which would not only provide shared outdoor activities but also amenities to bring neighbors together and encourage them to participate in environmentally friendly activities. Social cohesion could help to promote residents’ health and well-being, which would also be boosted through a natural materials palette, flexible layouts and easy access to greenery in both private and public areas. + GG-loop Images via GG-loop with Hexapixel

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Mitosis: sustainable living modules cloaked in plants

Prefab holiday cabins appear to float among misty tea fields in China

October 6, 2020 by  
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Chinese architecture firms Wiki World and Advanced Architecture Lab have designed and built the Mountain & Cloud Cabins, a boutique hotel hidden in the mountains of Yichang in China’s Hubei province. Commissioned by the local cultural and tourism development agency, the nature-focused hospitality project features 18 timber cabins that are prefabricated and strategically sited for reduced site impact and optimized landscape views. The cabins are also engineered for energy efficiency and include a floor heating system and a fresh air exchange system. Completed earlier this year, the Mountain & Cloud Cabins project takes cues from the lead architect Mu Wei’s experiences living in Norway. The mountainous site in Hubei reminded Wei of the Norwegian landscape, so he channeled Scandinavian minimalism for the design of the modern cabins. The project includes hotel rooms, a cafe and a swimming pool. There are five different types of cabins that range from 35 square meters to 65 square meters in size. Each cabin’s main structure can be assembled in one day thanks to the use of prefabricated, cross-laminated timber panels. Related: Sophisticated, sustainable lakeside cabin showcases the best of Nordic minimalism “You can never order nature, besides you become part of it,” explained the architects, who endeavored to blend the buildings into the landscape. “We try to design and build as nature: cabins seem to come from the future, but disappear in the nature. They are the viewfinders of nature and breathe freely in the forest.” While the structure of the buildings are built of timber, the exterior of the cabins vary depending on the location. A bridge-like cabin that spans the tea valley, for instance, takes the form of an elevated, 14-meter-long wooden bridge with a courtyard terrace, while the angular, spacecraft-like LOFT cabins perched higher up on the mountain are clad in mirrored metal plates that reflect the surrounding environment. The unusual shapes of the various cabins lend the project an extra layer of mystique in the foggy tea field landscape. + Wiki World Photography by ?????? via Wiki World

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Prefab holiday cabins appear to float among misty tea fields in China

Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable

July 6, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based architecture firm AEMSEN has recently unveiled BARBIZON, a design proposal for sustainable apartments built from prefabricated, cross-laminated timber modules. Created with the vision that cities need healthy buildings, BARBIZON’s timber construction would be integrated with shared green spaces to encourage neighborly relations and to offset the urban heat island effect. The concept was originally developed for Barbizonlaan in Capelle aan den IJssel; however, the flexible design could be applied in other parts of the world as well. Energy efficiency, reduced building waste and sequestered carbon are among the many advantages of prefabricated, cross-laminated timber construction. AEMSEN’s BARBIZON proposal would comprise stackable and interchangeable CLT modules that combine to create 112 gas-free and bio-based apartments. The design includes 16 different housing types that vary in size from 45 square meters to 120 square meters to accommodate a variety of residents. Related: Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction “By modular design and building with prefabricated CLT modules, the balance between city and nature can be brought back,” Jasper Jägers of AEMSEN said in a press release, noting the fireproof and lightweight qualities of CLT. “Energy-neutral, modular and circular construction with wood really is the future. It is lighter than traditional construction, it has good insulating properties and it provides much less nitrogen emissions. It makes sustainability and circularity accessible to everyone.” To promote sustainable living practices, BARBIZON developments would be integrated with green roofs and urban farming initiatives along the roofs and terraces. The shared green spaces — known as a “green valley” — would be accessible to all residents to help build a sense of community while providing habitat for local flora and fauna to boost biodiversity, thus bringing back a “balance between city and nature.” Photovoltaic systems could also be installed on top of the building to generate renewable energy. + AEMSEN Images via AEMSEN

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Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable

Snhetta completes stunning Norwegian cabins for glacier hikers

June 24, 2020 by  
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The breathtaking landscape of Luster in the western part of Norway has recently been joined by Tungestølen, a cluster of timber hiking cabins with cozy interiors and panoramic glacier views. Designed by international design firm Snøhetta for Luster Turlag, a local branch of the Norwegian National Trekking Association, the pentagonal and oblique cabins were built to replace the original Tungestølen Tourist Cabin that had been destroyed by a cyclone in 2011. The new structures are engineered for extreme wind resistance and feature sturdy glulam frames, cross-laminated timber sheeting and ore pine cladding. Perched on a small plateau overlooking the spectacular Jostedalen glacier, Tungestølen is designed to accommodate up to 50 visitors across nine cabins , each of which features a unique, beak-like shape to slow down the strong winds that sweep upward from the valley floor. The sharply pitched roofs give the buildings a playful feel and create dynamic interiors with angular and panoramic windows of varying sizes. Timber lines the light-filled interiors to create a cozy and warm atmosphere.  Related: Elevated, green-roofed cabin minimizes impact on mountain in Norway Because Tungestølen was designed with group hikers in mind, the development is centered on a main cabin that serves as a social hub and meeting spot with its spacious lounge anchored by a large, stone-clad fireplace and panoramic windows that take advantage of the building’s tall ceilings. Built-in benches and furnishings help maximize interior space, which is primarily built of unpainted timber. A restrained color palette that complements the minimalist interiors takes cues from the muted tones of nature and range from charcoal grays to mossy greens. The eight other cabins on site will be used for dormitories and include a single private unit that can accommodate 30 visitors. One of the cabins is based on the original model for the Fuglemyrhytta cabin, another hiking cabin designed by Snøhetta in Oslo that has become a huge hit among hikers since its opening in 2018. Tungestølen was officially inaugurated by Queen Sonja of Norway; the cabins open to the public in June for the hiking season, which spans summer to fall. + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta

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Red brick firehouse in Belgium runs on solar power

May 4, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based studio Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven has built a charming new firehouse for Wilrijk, Belgium. The firehouse is clad in bright red bricks that stand out thanks to white grout and vertical columns made of larger bricks. The building is also incredibly sustainable, generating its own clean energy through a massive rooftop solar array . Located on the city’s main road, the three-story Fire Station Wilrijk doubles as a local landmark. According to Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven, “The monochrome character provides a recognizable identity in the neighborhood, an architecture parlante in which form and appearance irrevocably remind us of the function of the building and the urgency of its users.” Related: LEED Platinum fire station is powered with solar energy in Seattle The building is clad in a robust red brick to help it stand out. In contrast, the interiors feature gray concrete walls framed in CLT panels for a minimalist feel that emphasizes comfort and ease of movement. Spacious rooms and hallways are connected by wide doorways to allow firefighters to respond quickly during emergency calls. The building is divided into two spaces: a double-height garage toward the front that accommodates three firetrucks and firehouse support areas toward the back. The back of the firehouse includes operation rooms, dressing areas, a lounge, sleeping quarters, a kitchen and dining space. The work-focused rooms are on the lower two levels, while beds, the lounge and dressing rooms are on the top floor to make it feel more like home. To power all of these spaces, the firehouse generates its own solar energy via photovoltaic panels on the roof. The project also includes a solar water heater and heat pump to further boost its sustainability. + Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven Via Dezeen Images via Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven

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Whimsical guesthouse uses prefab timber and corten steel

May 4, 2020 by  
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Belgian firm  Atelier Vens Vanbelle  has created a stunning guest home for a client who works in the film industry. Located in the Uitbergen region of East Flanders, the Alex Guesthouse boasts an eye-catching design comprised of a unique curved volume made out of prefabricated timber  and clad in corten steel. Tucked into a wooded area of a private yard, the guesthouse sits on a slightly-raised hill, overlooking the main home on one side and a dense forest on the other. The property belongs to an executive in the film industry who tasked the Belgian architects to create a unique space to accommodate international guests. Comprised of a main cabin-like area with living space and one bedroom, the  compact structure  also houses a bar and cinema for entertaining. R elated: Old ruins are transformed into a cozy, off-grid guesthouse in France Prefabricating the materials off-site  enabled the architects to reduce the project’s construction time and costs, as well as reduce the home’s impact. Additionally, the natural materials used in its construction not only allow the structure to blend perfectly into its peaceful natural surroundings, but also reduced the project’s overall environmental footprint. Inside the whimsical guest home, visitors will find a bright and airy space, with minimal furnishings. With walls lined in varying exposed layers of LVL wood, the interior has a modern cabin-like aesthetic. The fun space is flooded with  natural light  thanks to a massive circular window. On the ground floor, the main living area, along with a combo kitchen and dining room make up the central living space, with the large bedroom off to the side. The guest home also has a basement space below and a watchtower above. The basement is set up with a quaint entertainment space, complete with a bar and film-viewing room with ample seating. Working upwards through the home, a  spiral staircase  wraps upwards to the watchtower that leads out to an open-air outdoor space to take in the views. + Atelier Vens Vanbelle Via Design Boom Photography by Tim Van de Velde

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Prefab Danish home was built from CLT and weathered steel in just 3 days

April 21, 2020 by  
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Set into the lush green landscape of Denmark’s Fyn island, Villa Korup is a large home designed for a family of six. A collaboration between Danish architect Jan Henrik Jansen and Australian architect Marshall Blecher , Villa Korup, which features three elongated “wings”, was prefabricated offsite using weathered steel and CLT panels. The project is unique in a number of ways. The home is one of the first private dwellings in Denmark to be constructed out of CLT . Prefabrication enabled the architects to build the home in just three days, reducing construction time and causing minimal disruption to the landscape and wildlife . To add durability, the timber panels were treated in a traditional manner using soap and lye to give the cladding a resilient finish. Related: Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate-resistant In addition to the CLT cladding, the home’s exterior also features weathered steel panels. This industrial material will change color over time, taking on a patina that will gently camouflage the home into its incredible woodland surroundings. Adding to the exceptional design is the unusual layout. Villa Korup is spread out across three elongated wings to create enough space to fit the needs of a family of six. These three sections house the bedrooms and bathrooms, along with other private areas, such as an office. The layout also allows for each wing to enjoy a series of small, individual courtyards. The main social areas are found where the wings converge. Inspired by Scandinavian design principles, the interior design is light and airy. Minimal furnishings and neutral colors were chosen to keep the spaces open and clutter-free. Throughout the design, swaths of glass, including sliding glass doors, open the interior living spaces to the outdoors, making nature one with Villa Korup. + Jan Henrik Jansen + Marshall Blecher Via Wallpaper* Photography by Gabrielle Gualdi , Hampus Berndtson  and Marshall Blecher

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Prefab Danish home was built from CLT and weathered steel in just 3 days

First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

February 24, 2020 by  
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Move over steel and concrete — a pioneering cross-laminated timber (CLT) project that’s set to break ground in Boston could spearhead a greater adoption of mass timber across the country. Local startup  Generate Architecture + Technologies  has teamed up with progressive developer Placetailor to lead the project — the city’s first-ever CLT Cellular Passive House Demonstration Project — and provide live/work spaces in Lower Roxbury. Developed with the startup’s Model-C system for prefabricated kit-of-parts construction, the building will forgo conventional concrete and steel materials in favor of carbon-sequestering engineered wood products. Expected to break ground in June of 2020, the CLT Passive House demonstration project will comprise five floors with 14 residential units as well as innovative and affordable co-working spaces for the local community on the ground floor. In addition to introducing low-carbon, mixed-use  programming to the neighborhood, the project will be a working prototype for Generate’s Model-C, “a replicable system for housing delivery methods designed to address climate and community.”  The Model-C system is not only designed to function at net-zero carbon levels, but is also Passive House certified and built to the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development “Zero Emissions Standards,” which were developed with Placetailor. As a result, the demonstration project is expected to have a significantly reduced carbon footprint as compared to traditional construction. The  CLT  rooftop canopy is also engineered to make it easy to mount solar panels. Modular units, like the bathrooms, can be prefabricated offsite and then plugged into the building to reduce construction time and waste.  Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Thanks to  prefabrication  methods and the reduction of interior framing, the Model-C prototype is expected to completed by the end of 2020 and will be available for tours at the Industrial Wood-Based Construction (IWBC) conference in Boston on November 4. Generate is also exploring the possibility of applying the Model-C system to projects that range from six to 18 stories across the U.S. + Generate Images by Forbes Massie Studio

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