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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Whimsical guesthouse uses prefab timber and corten steel

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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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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CLT gives a sustainable community center in Copenhagen a welcoming feel

February 20, 2020 by  
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In the Copenhagen suburb of Brønshøj, local architectural practice NORD Architects has completed the Parish Center, a contemporary community center and place of worship that’s primarily built of cross-laminated timber to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. Selected for its renewable and durable features, the cross-laminated timber has also been purposefully left exposed throughout the multifunctional building to lend a sense of welcoming and warmth to the interior. The project serves as a gathering space while providing a new connection between the city square and church, which had previously felt cut off from the community. Officially opened in April 2019 after a five-year process, the Parish Center in Brønshøj arose from a 2015 design competition that named NORD Architects the first place winner. The Danish architects’ winning entry proposed not only a modernized church , but also unifying the church and congregation areas with the city to create a new cultural community center where everyone could feel welcome. Also key to the design was the use of mass timber, also known as cross-laminated timber, to position the building as an example of sustainable architecture in the city. The cross-laminated timber also helps stabilize indoor temperatures, humidity level and acoustics. Related: New Marine Education Center in Malmö raises climate change awareness “We have designed a multifunctional building that provides an open and welcoming space for flexible usage within a modern parish center that gather people in very varied activities,” said Morten Rask Gregersen, partner at NORD Architects. “The large span of CLT wood accommodates this is one gesture and connects the two opposite outdoor spaces. The church on one side and the city on the other.” In addition to the predominate use of natural wood inside and out, a sense of welcoming and inclusion is achieved through the shape of the building, which features curved walls that embrace a garden space on a street-facing corner. A quiet pastor garden tucked behind the building provides connection with the neighboring rectory.  + NORD Architects Photography by Adam Mørk via NORD Architects

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Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate resistant

January 20, 2020 by  
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Scottish firm Mary Arnold Foster Architects has unveiled a stunning home made out of several timber “pods” and tucked into the idyllic landscape of the Scottish Highlands. Clad in cross-laminated timber ( CLT ) and covered with slats of charred larch, which provide the home with resilience, the Nedd home was built on concrete pillars and set in between two outcrops to minimize damage to the landscape. Located in the remote village of Nedd in the western region of the Scottish Highlands, the eponymous home design was constructed using CLT and covered in burnt larch to give the structure longevity and sufficient durability to stand up to the harsh mountainous climate . Additionally, the charred wood provides the home with an airtight envelope which enables the interior to require very little heating. In fact, a wood-burning stove usually meets most of the home’s heating needs. Related: Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower Made up of connected timber cubes , the Nedd House is divided into three separate volumes. One area houses the central living room, while the remaining cubes house an en-suite master bedroom and a guest bedroom. All three sections are linked by a single corridor, which leads to an ultra-large north-facing window that connects the interior spaces with the  idyllic surroundings . According to the architect, the home design was inspired by the area’s breathtaking views. “I wanted to avoid a wall of glass but instead to frame the large view in two key rooms; the living space and the main bedroom, partly due to the topography of the site,” Arnold-Forster explained. “The other windows frame views of the rocks, heather and grasses.” Contrasting with the dark hue of the exterior, the interior of the home is light and airy thanks to the pale timber walls and ceilings found throughout. Within the main living area, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors provide direct access to an open-air deck that looks out over the landscape. + Mary Arnold Foster Architects Via Dezeen Photography by David Barbour Photography

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Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate resistant

NAWA reveals hybrid electric motorcycle at CES 2020

January 20, 2020 by  
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It’s not the first electric motorcycle on the market, but the NAWA Racer is currently the most talked about after a big reveal at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The new tech kid on the block, a French firm called NAWA, has developed a prototype with a body style based on London’s speedy cafe motorcycles from the 1960s. While the sleek design is eye-catching, the innovation hidden within the outer appearance is what makes this motorcycle so unique. Where most electric vehicles rely on lithium-ion for power, NAWA has developed an ultracapacitor that improves performance on nearly every level. For starters, the ultracapacitor can charge and discharge quickly, endless times over. This propels the bike from 0 mph to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. While the ultracapacitor provides stellar power, it works in conjunction with conventional lithium-ion batteries and allows a 93-mile ride per charge. Related: Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle debuts at CES The hybrid ultracapacitor system can reduce the size of the lithium-ion battery by up to half or extend the range by up to double. This is exciting for city riding, which is where the NAWA Racer really excels in efficiency. With the ability to recharge in seconds by recycling energy from the stop-and-go braking of driving in traffic, the energy can last up to 186 miles without recharging. Regenerative braking produces a lot of energy, up to 80% of which is reused for power. The ultracapacitor also provides a fast recharge, allowing the bike to reach 80% of full charge within an hour from a home supply outlet. NAWA fully intends to scale the hybrid technology to other vehicles in the near future. “The NAWA Racer is our vision for the electric motorbike of tomorrow — a retro-inspired machine but one that is thoroughly modern,” said Ulrik Grape, CEO of NAWA Technologies. “It is lightweight, fast and fun, perfect for an emission-free city commute that will put a smile on your face. But it also lays down a blueprint for the future. NAWA Technologies’ next-gen ultracapacitors have unleashed the potential of the hybrid battery system — and this design of powertrain is fully scaleable. There is no reason why this cannot be applied to a larger motorbike or car or other electric vehicle. What is more, this technology could go into production in the very near future.” + NAWA Images via NAWA

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Modern farmhouse in Italy pays homage to its agricultural surroundings

January 20, 2020 by  
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Tucked into the rolling wheat fields of the Italian region of Le Marche, the Border Crossing House is a private residence that pays homage to the area’s rich agricultural history. Designed by Italian firm Simone Subissati Architects, the project manages to skillfully blend a traditional barn volume with several contemporary features, creating a light-filled family home that fits respectfully into its idyllic setting. Located in Polverigi, just outside of Ancona, the Border Crossing House is set on a ridge looking out over expansive fields of wheat. According to the architects, this bucolic location set the tone for the design, which deftly manages to “border” the vernacular aesthetics of both urban and rural architecture. Related: Old Belgian barn is transformed into a gorgeous contemporary home The home’s rectangular volume with an asymmetrical, double-pitched roof, runs from east to west, creating a strong silhouette up on the hill. The exterior cladding, which is made primarily of steel , separates the white upper floor from the ground floor, which was painted in a deep red coating. The home’s classic barn-like volume is broken up, however, by various slatted openings on the roof. These eye-catching slats of different shapes and functions were installed throughout the design as a way of creating a seamless connection between the home and its stunning landscape, which includes fields of wheat, barley, beans and sunflowers. Lead architect, Simone Subissati explained, “The idea was to overflow, to break the boundaries, without following conventions whereby the private living space is separated from the agricultural workspace.” Throughout the two-story home, the layout was designed to be what the architect refers to as a “straightforward simplicity, a true essentially that is very different from today’s trendy poetic of minimalism .” According, the home is functional, efficient and comfortable while maintaining a vibrant, contemporary feel. The ground floor comprises an open-plan living area with a spacious living room, kitchen and spa . A wooden staircase leads to the upper floor, which houses the bedrooms. Protected by a simple chicken coop net, an indoor balcony leads to a central area, where a winter garden and a second living room are located. The second floor is covered with a micro-perforated membrane that allows natural light to brighten the house during the day. At night, the upper part of the home appears to glow from within. The home was also built to passive and bioclimatic standards that created a tight thermal mass for the winter months and a natural cooling system in the warm, summer months. The various openings provide ample cross ventilation, so much so that the home needs no air conditioning to stay cool. A rainwater collection system was also installed and includes several underground storage tanks. + Simone Subissati Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Alessandro Magi Galluzzi via Simone Subissati Architects

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