A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

April 4, 2019 by  
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Oslo-based firm Atelier Oslo has created a beautiful home for a pair of artists who wanted to enjoy a peaceful retreat on the remote Norwegian island of Skåtøy. Built into the rocky landscape, the design for the House on an Island was inspired by the couple’s desire to find a place for contemplation in nature. The 7,500-square-foot glass cube features a prefabricated timber frame enveloped by a loosely gridded timber facade that filters the sunlight into playful shadows throughout the interior, emitting the calming feeling of sitting under a swaying tree. The home was built on a rugged landscape characterized by smooth and curved rocks that run down to the coastline. Although the rocky terrain was challenging, the architects managed to use it to their advantage. Using the large rocks as a base, the architects laid a concrete foundation that wraps around the rocks to mark the home’s layout, resulting in various split-levels that follow the contour of the natural topography. Built on a slight knoll, the home’s frame is made out of prefabricated timber . Related: Prefab CLT pavilion cleverly encourages dialogue at a Vancouver TED conference The main volume is a cube-like shape comprised of massive glass panels partially covered with a timber “netting.” The timber panels, which were made from heat-treated wood that will turn gray over time, covers the rooftop and drops down over the front facade. This system allowed the architects to truly embed the home into its natural surroundings. The timber slats are placed far apart, allowing filtered natural light and playful shadows to emit a calming atmosphere throughout the interior. The living space of the two-bedroom home is an open layout with modern furnishings. Again, using the home’s natural materials to enhance the atmosphere, Atelier Oslo emphasized natural wood and concrete for the interior design. Exposed wooden beams run the length of the ceilings, and concrete flooring gives the space a fun, industrial feel. Concrete was also used to craft an impressive fireplace and adjacent stairwell (which doubles as a bookcase) that leads to the top floor. + Atelier Oslo Via Dezeen Photography by Ivar Kvaal and Charlotte Thiis via Atelier Oslo

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A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

One third of the world’s power now comes from renewable energy

April 4, 2019 by  
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After years of hard work and dedication, a third of the power generated around the world is now linked to renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just released new data that shows impressive growth in both wind and solar energy , which has contributed to the changes in energy sources around the globe. Locations differed in the rate of renewable energy capacity. Asia, for example, witnessed an increase in renewable energy by 11 percent, while Africa’s pace was a little above 8.4 percent. Also contributing the numbers is the fact that two-thirds of the power added last year came from renewable sources, and developing countries are leading the pack. Related: Amazon plans to reach net-zero carbon use by 2030 “Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the technology of choice for new power generation capacity,” the director of IRENA, Adnan Z. Amin explained. Renewable energy has been on the rise for past five years, and the numbers released in IRENA’s study show they are not slowing down. While the numbers are a positive sign for the future, Amin believes they need to increase at an even faster pace if we want to reach our global climate goals. New technology, of course, is the driving force behind renewable energy. Not only does technology make these energy sources possible, but it also makes them easier than ever to access. This includes the use of wind and solar energy, which contributed the most to energy capacities in 2018. Wind energy experienced a growth by around 49 GW while solar energy led the pack with an increase of 94 GW. While hydropower is the largest source of renewable energy, its growth has steadily declined over the years. Other notable sources include bioenergy , which saw growth in both China and the UK, and geothermal energy which increased in Turkey, Indonesia and the United States. Considering the fast growth rate of renewable energy, environmentalists hope the trend will continue for decades to come. If more and more countries continue to invest in renewable energy, we should be able to make great strides in curbing global carbon emissions over the next century. + IRENA Image via IRENA

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H&M releases sustainable fashion line made from fruit and algae

April 4, 2019 by  
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Many people remember Lady Gaga’s jaw dropping meat dress , so when you hear of a dress made out of fruit, your mind is not likely to think of the trendy pieces H&M is releasing next week. On April 11, 2019, fashion giant H&M will release its ninth Conscious Exclusive line, but this year, it has partnered with eco textile companies to make cutting-edge food waste clothing technology a global success. Eco textiles made from fruit waste This newest technology in sustainable fashion includes vegan leather made out of pineapple leaves by Piñatex , a silk alternative made from orange peels by Orange Fiber and shoe soles made from algae by  BLOOM Foam . All of these organic materials are readily available and otherwise considered waste by-products from the harvest of pineapples, juicing of oranges and the harmful overpopulation of algae in waterways. The materials would otherwise rot in landfills but are processed in factories so that they do not biodegrade while you’re wearing them. Related: These vegan “Star Wars” sneakers are made with discarded pineapple leaves Like other fabrics, these eco textiles are finished with harmful chemicals that prevent the fabrics from biodegrading. That also means that they cannot be recycled and do not break down in a landfill, not to mention that the harmful chemical process pollutes waterways. In the end, these textiles have an environmental impact sadly similar to their conventional counterparts. On the positive side, most conventional textiles materials are sourced from endangered  rainforests . Though they aren’t perfect, eco textiles do succeed in more sustainable sourcing. H&M is one of the largest fashion brands, with more than  4,433 retail locations worldwide and nearly 50 online markets. Its Conscious Exclusive line is a way to experiment with and scale-up sustainable technologies that otherwise get little traction from limited boutique markets. Despite H&M’s ninth consecutive sustainable line, critics still argue that experiments with food waste do not address the major environmental problems with fast fashion and that these distracting pineapple gimmicks are just that — gimmicks. Fast fashion and its toll on the environment According to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change , the fast fashion industry contributes approximately 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industries combined. The report said that the fashion industry produces 20 percent of all waste water, and 85 percent of textiles end up in landfills. Related: The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know More than just the harmful sourcing and toxic processing of fabrics, fast fashion culture is highly problematic in terms of the quantities of materials produced, purchased and disposed of. According to the World Resource Institute , the average consumer bought 60 percent more clothing between 2000 and 2014 than previous years and had each item for half as long. Relevant Magazine added that the average article of clothing is only worn five times before it is discarded. Both responsible for and responding to these trends, fast fashion companies like H&M aren’t making clothes to last, but instead to be trendy, cheap enough to be disposable and in quantities that seem endless. H&M as a trendsetter for sustainable fashion There is plenty to criticize about fast fashion and companies’ feeble attempts at sustainability; however, the size and scale of H&M makes it an important ally and trendsetter in shifting the market toward sustainable fashion. The Swedish company has made serious commitments toward sustainability goals that could equate to substantial shifts because of its size. For example, H&M claimed that 57 percent of all its clothing comes from recycled or sustainable sources, and it has set a benchmark goal to get to 100 percent by 2030. In addition, many H&M retail stores have recycling programs where customers can bring in old clothing to be recycled, reused or disposed of properly. Global Citizen also reported that H&M promises to eliminate problematic plastics from its supply chain by 2025. Can eco textiles save fashion? Textiles made from pineapples and oranges are fun and stylish, and they get people talking. As Vogue explained, if your clothing was made from pineapples, isn’t that the first thing you would tell your friends when they compliment your outfit? Despite the sustainable sourcing, though, critics argue that there is simply not enough leaves from pineapple harvests to make this a scalable solution to even address unsustainable fashion within H&M’s own markets. It is only a small bandage and cute talking point. Fashion sustainability expert and former scientist at the Natural Resource Defense Council Linda Greer  argued , “They need to focus on things that matter the most and stop spending time on these amateur initiatives that are never going to scale. They’re just trying to tickle our fancy.” There is still a lot of work to turn shoppers and companies into conscious consumers and producers. Before the general public will consider or prioritize the ethics of their clothing, it has to be the right aesthetic and price point to even get their attention. Even if the eco textiles are not sustainable at a global scale or making a huge impact, a fashion giant like H&M showing public commitment and getting people talking sends a message to consumers around the world and amplifies the conversation. It also sends a message to designers and experimental sustainable fashion start-ups that large manufacturers are paying attention, committing to sustainability goals and looking to their inventions for the next big thing. That motivation alone could be enough to shift the future of the industry. + H&M Via Global Citizen Images via H&M

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H&M releases sustainable fashion line made from fruit and algae

Peek inside the tallest cross-laminated timber building in the US

January 2, 2019 by  
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Portland, one of the leading cities for sustainability initiatives in the U.S., is now home to the nation’s tallest mass timber and cross-laminated timber (CLT) building. Designed by local design studio PATH Architecture , Carbon12 soars to a height of 85 feet and comprises eight stories of mixed-use programming along with 14 residential units. Resistant to earthquakes and other natural disasters, the building is also said to surpass the carbon sequestration attributes of LEED Platinum-certified structures. Carbon12 spans an area of 42,000 square feet and is set along the North Williams Corridor of North Portland . Cross-laminated timber was chosen as the primary building material, as opposed to concrete, because of the developer’s desire to create an environmentally friendly building constructed from locally sourced, renewable materials. Made from kiln-dried timber glued and pressed together, CLT is praised for its quick assembly, lightweight properties, strength and ability to sequester carbon. “In addition to its innovative structure, Carbon12 is one of the most well-prepared residential buildings in the country in regard to earthquakes and other natural disasters,” PATH Architecture said. “The Carbon12 team joined the inherent attributes of engineered timber structures, together with the innovative buckling-restrained brace frame core, to create a building that is extremely well equipped for any seismic event. With a thickened basement slab that rests on 41 steel pilings driven 45 feet deep into the ground, Carbon12 is built to protect its occupants.” Related: Architecture students build a tiny CLT classroom in just 3 weeks Built of Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified softwood timber, the CLT building is only about a quarter of the weight of a concrete structure but equally as strong. “This project truly pushes the envelope on tall mass timber and CLT buildings for Portland, Oregon, and the entire U.S.,” the firm added. “It opens barriers and presents a new era for mass timber in the U.S., where it is well-positioned to be the go-to construction method for this region.” + PATH Architecture Photography by Andrew Pogue via PATH Architecture

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Peek inside the tallest cross-laminated timber building in the US

Long Lodge is an elegant and sustainable mass timber retreat proposal in the woods

November 19, 2018 by  
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Mass timber construction is growing more popular thanks to efforts like the 2018 Maine Mass Timber Competition , which has prompted elegant and sustainable wood-based designs such as “Long Lodge,” a design concept that won a 2018 Honor Award. Proposed for a specific north-facing property along the Appalachian Trail, the building consists of two wings — one for living and the other for sleeping — joined by a central void that frames views of the “Caribou Pond Trail” that connects to the main trail. The cross-laminated timber building would be elevated off the ground to minimize site impact and would also be wrapped in full-length glazing for direct connections and views of the outdoors. The Long Lodge was designed by a four-person team: Yueqi ‘Jazzy’ Li as the design lead, Shuang Bao, Nan Wei and Braham Berg. To protect the building against winter winds from the west, the designers positioned the building on a north-south axis and installed full-height glazing along the south facade to take advantage of solar gain. Elevated wooden walkways lead to the building and convene in the central outdoor terrace with a lookout point and outdoor grill. The west “living” wing consists of the foyer, lounge, food bar, dining area, library, meeting rooms, a kitchen, food storage and a gear storage/drying room. The “sleeping” wing on the opposite side comprises all the sleeping areas, bathrooms and a staff room. Built with cross-laminated timber for everything from the roof trusses and structural panels to the columns and beams, the building is set on insulated continuous footing foundation. Related: MIT develops a sustainable, mass timber-building prototype modeled after the longhouse “The elegant horizontality of the lodge, punctured by the verticality of native pines, bring to mind the pairing of the most fundamental forms,” the design team explained in their project statement. “An upside down glulam timber truss provides a single roof pitch outside but two opposing slopes inside. The truss makes for an efficient use of material as well as providing flexibility for employing other building systems. As the building pinches in the middle and fans out toward the ends, these trusses accommodate varying spans of 25’-60’. Each truss is supported by a series of posts and beams near their ends and a CLT panel in the middle that does the heavy lifting.” + Maine Mass Timber Images by Yueqi ‘Jazzy’ Li, Shuang Bao, Nan Wei and Braham Berg

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Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape

November 19, 2018 by  
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Located in the mountainous area of Filefjell, Norway, a stunning, solitary cabin peeks out over the snow-covered landscape. Designed by Oslo-based firm  Helen & Hard Architects , the beautiful Gubrandslie Cabin, which is made out of prefabricated solid wood panels, is designed to provide a low-impact shelter that can withstand the extreme climate characterized by harsh wind and snow. Located on the border of Jotunheimen National Park, the private, 1,184-square-foot home is sturdy enough to withstand the weather while simultaneously leaving  minimal impact on the pristine landscape. Large snow falls can wreck havoc on structures in this area, so the architects built the cabin to be inherently sheltered from the elements. Related: Contemporary ski chalet boasts gorgeous panoramic views and a low-energy footprint The first step in creating the  resilient design was to research the local climate and geography. Using extensive wind studies as a guide, the architects formed the home’s volume into an L-shape to mimic the slope of the landscape. Additionally, the cabin is integrated deep into the terrain to protect it from the elements. The roofs are slightly slanted in order to make it easier for the wind and snow to blow over the structure, avoiding heavy snow loads. Using the same climate to the home’s advantage, the architects were focused on creating a serene living space that took full advantage of the stunning, wintry landscape. The volume of the cabin is divided into three levels that follow the topography. The ground floor, which is embedded into the landscape, houses a sauna as well as the garage and plenty of storage. On the first floor, an all-glass facade makes up the entryway, which leads into a spacious, open-plan living area. The living, kitchen and dining space was orientated to face another wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels , providing breathtaking views of the exterior landscape. On the back side of the cabin, which houses the bedrooms, clerestory windows follow the length of the structure, allowing natural light to flow into the spaces without sacrificing privacy. + Helen & Hard Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Rasmus Norlander and Ragnar Hartvig via Helen & Hard Architects

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Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape

Yale architecture students designed and built this handsome home for the homeless

May 17, 2018 by  
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Since 1967, first-year Yale architecture students have designed and built buildings to better the community — and last year’s project was a stellar showing in affordable housing. For the 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project , students completed a 1,000-square-foot home that explores cost-efficient and flexible design. Constructed in New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood, the dwelling was created to provide shelter for the homeless. The 1,000-square-foot house for the homeless is a handsome prefabricated structure clad in cedar and topped with a standing-seam metal gable roof. According to the project statement, students were “challenged to develop a cost-efficient, flexible design that tackles replicability in material, means, and method of construction.” The house comprises two separate dwellings: one is a studio, while the other is a two-bedroom apartment with built-in storage. Related: Washington D.C. architect wants to shelter the homeless in decommissioned subway cars The project also marked the first partnership between the Yale School of Architecture and the non-profit Columbus House , an organization that has been providing solutions to homelessness in the New Haven area since 1982. The house was the 50th Jim Vlock First Year Building. For the 2018 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, the Yale School of Architecture will partner with SmartLam , the first manufacturer of cross-laminated timber in the U.S., which will provide CLT panels for the construction of a two-family home for the homeless. + Jim Vlock First Year Building Project Images by Haylie Chan and Zelig Fok

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Yale architecture students designed and built this handsome home for the homeless

Architecture students build a tiny CLT classroom in just 3 weeks

April 3, 2018 by  
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A team of 13 University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) architecture students designed and built Emerge, a tiny timber classroom that will help promote sustainable forestry through education. Located in the woods near Eugene, Oregon, the student project was crafted as part of UNL’s PLAIN design/build program in collaboration with the 673-acre family-owned Bauman Tree Farm, and The DR Johnson Lumber Mill. The micro cabin was erected in just three short weeks thanks to the use of prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels that make up the walls and floor. Set atop concrete footings, the elevated 80-square-foot Emerge cabin strives for minimal landscape impact and to foster a greater appreciation of the timber industry and the surrounding forest. The cabin opens up through a wooden pivot door raised using a counterweight system. A large skylight funnels natural light and canopy views into the one-room interior. Movable cross-laminated timber sitting blocks and a table allow for customization of the classroom. Related: Nation’s first large-scale mass timber residence hall breaks ground in Arkansas The students also designed screens with irregular patterns to communicate the relationship between the lumber industry and the forest. The screens, located at the front and rear, comprise slatted timber elements that appear straight at the bottom and become increasingly angled near the top to evoke tree branches. The visual change references the process in which trees become dimensional lumber. “[The] compound angles…create a rain screen for exposed CLT ,” add the students. This pattern is also visible around the skylight. + University of Nebraska-Lincoln Architecture Department Via Dezeen Images via Mike Lundgren

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Architecture students build a tiny CLT classroom in just 3 weeks

Nations tallest timber building to rise in Portland

June 6, 2017 by  
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The nation’s tallest wooden high-rise will soon take shape in Portland , Oregon. Funded by a $1.5 million-dollar award from the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition , the innovative timber building, named Framework, will be built from domestically sourced and engineered wood products. LEVER Architecture designed the mixed-use high-rise as a beacon of sustainability with its use of low-carbon materials, green roof, and resilient design. Slated to begin construction this fall, the 12-story Framework building will comprise ground-floor bank and retail, five floors of office space, and five floors for 60 residential units with a mix of studios as well as one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Nearly half of the 90,000-square-foot building will be zoned for affordable housing. The mixed-use building will also be primarily built of cross laminated timber and is designed to be fire- and earthquake-resistant. In a Framework press release: “Beneficial State Bank, a triple bottom line community bank, teamed with project^, a values-based commercial real estate developer; and Home Forward, the public housing authority for Multnomah County, Oregon to reimagine their existing Pearl District property in Portland, Oregon into Framework, the nation’s first wood high-rise building. The building seeks to develop a model for a sustainable urban ecology by promoting social justice , sustainable building, and economic opportunity thus yielding broad advancement of these objectives at a national scale.” Related: Magnificent timber skyscraper will sequester carbon and add greenery to Bordeaux Framework, which is expected to complete construction in late 2018, will likely be the nation’s first timber high-rise building with wood from the ground-floor as well as the first with exposed wood in North America. The building is also expected to use significantly less energy than a traditional building of similar size and function with energy savings of 60 percent when compared to code and water savings exceeding 30 percent compared to code. Framework is also expected to result in 1,824 tons of carbon dioxide emission offsets, equivalent to taking 348 cars off the road for a year. + LEVER Architecture

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Nations tallest timber building to rise in Portland

Office with arched openings shows off the beauty of cross-laminated timber

March 29, 2017 by  
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Increasing numbers of architects are celebrating the strength, beauty, and sustainable properties of cross-laminated timber . Japanese architecture firm Junichi Kato & Associates shows off how the timber can be used as both a structural and finishing material in the Santo CLT Office. Built in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture, this nearly 140-square-meter office building houses warm and welcoming workspaces with arched openings. Inspired by the climbing kiln in Shigaraki, a town famous for ceramics, Junichi Kato & Associates introduced an arch -shaped continuous frame into the building structure. A raised wooden terrace wraps around two sides of the building and is partly shaded by the roof overhang. The walls and floors are constructed from cross-laminated timber, while foam insulation and low-e glass improve energy efficiency. Related: Taiwan’s first CLT building paves way to greener alternatives to concrete and steel The office is entered from the west and visitors are immediately greeted with an exhibition space, reception desk, and a small informal meeting area. A wall divides the entrance area from the large working space in the center of the building. The night-duty room, shower, and toilet are located in the rear. Large windows fill the office with natural light which, coupled with the ample use of wood, gives the office its cozy and welcoming character. + Junichi Kato & Associates Via ArchDaily Images by Kei Sugino

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